Making Plans and Apologies

So excited to be headed to New York for the Romance Writers of America national conference. Normally I don’t go every year, but NYC’s conference will always be a must-attend for me.

This is my first time sitting on an RWA panel– 50 Shades of Love: Writing the Multicultural Romance (RESEARCH) which will be at 2pm on Friday. There are two other multicultural panels this year as well, both are on Thursday.

  • Diversity in Romance: Why it Matters (WRITER’S LIFE) will be at 9:45
  • Multicultural Romance: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong, and How to Make it Right (CAREER) at 3:15

This year, my focus is on career building and my production schedule. I have only one indie project this year (Prescription for Love, in the 12 Alphas 12 Months anthology that released earlier this month.) It is a sequel of sorts to Three Wishes and my goal is to expand it so that I can release it and Nick and Maya’s wedding story, Four Hearts, together.

It was my intention to release these this year, but sometimes life happens, which it did late last year/earlier this year. I had a delay in finishing the contracted book for the Sugar and Spice, which pushed everything back by four months. Which meant my indie projects have to give. Not the contracted stuff, not the day job stuff, but the things you’ve been asking me for. For that, I’m sorry.

So where do things stand? I have one more contracted book for the Sugar and Spice series, NAUGHTY. I really enjoy writing about these friends and their issues with various forms of addiction and recovery, and I hope I can write more of them. We’ll see when I work on the proposal after turning in book 3. Once I turn that book and the proposal in, I plan to work on expanding PRESCRIPTION FOR LOVE . I also plan on working on SHADOW HUNT and the true sequel to Three Wishes which is FOUR HEARTS. Someone asked about Sons of Anubis. I would love to continue those stories too. I’ve planned another three in that series, but now I’m wondering is I could/should do some crossover with the Shadowchaser series.

Anyway, that’s where I am, and why I’m heading to New York to learn, to recharge, and put the pedal to the floor. Thanks to all of you for your patience and support!

The Story Behind the Stories

Image courtesy of Simon Howden /

Image courtesy of Simon Howden /

I know all of you are waiting for new stories from me (for you paranormal romance fans, CLAIMING THE JACKAL will be out November 1st!) But I was wondering: while you’re waiting for me to get my writing act together, would you be interested in seeing a series of posts about why I wrote a particular story? These might be once a week postings coming on Mondays or Fridays, and would basically be my recollections of why I wrote the story, what my process was, and any interesting events that happened as I created the story.

If you’re interested, leave a comment!

Living the Dream

Today I’m blogging over at ReadersRooms about Living the Dream and what it means to me.  I sure hope you’re able to stop by!

The Forbidden Kingdom

Let me start with a confession: my first crush was on Bruce Lee. The movie was Enter the Dragon, and my mom took us kids to the Rialto theater in downtown Atlanta to see it. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Now I love Jet Li and Jackie Chan. And April 18th, I get to see them both in a movie, called The Forbidden Kingdom. Happy Spring for me!

PS: Speaking of spring, I’m blogging over at Blogging in Black today. Look for my post entitled “The Call of the New”. and comment if you can. I’ll be going on a writing vacation tomorrow (checking into a hotel for the weekend, coming out with an edit, a novella, and a couple of proposals, I hope. And a blog post for Divas of the Dark.) Here’s hoping your weekend is a happy and productive one!

Sick Again

Yesterday was rainy and 67 degrees. Today there were snow flurries and the high is 39. Low tonight in the 20’s. And once again, I am sick. Day three of the sore throat and ears. All I want to do is curl up on my couch with the last Harry Potter book that I’ve owned for six months and STILL haven’t read.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my characters won’t let me. And I mean a lot of them. Maybe it’s the sickness, but I have characters from four separate stories all vying for attention. I sent off blurbs to my editor for the upcoming anthologies (you can check them out on my WIP page) one of which was a story I hadn’t even named the heroine for. But the story just popped into my head, clear as crystal and just as bright. I’m going to enjoy writing about Anaru and Cam. If you thought Dream of Shadows was dark, wait until you check out this premise for the anthology Carnivale Diabolique.

Right now, I’m finishing up IN WALKS TROUBLE, my story in the last of the Vegas Bites Trilogy. It was supposed to be very action oriented, but it looks instead like it’s going to be another angst-filled, character-driven tale. I hope people don’t mind, but I think my co-authors are well and truly able to deliver action.

When I get done with that, I’m going to immediately roll into RODE HARD, which is a sequel of sorts to my entry in my latest release, What White Boyz Want. Gina is sarcastic and funny and deserves her own story. Come on, her name is Regina Maria Lourdes Lieberman, and she’s a black Puerto Rican Jewish woman. She’s got to have a sense of humor.

And then, then I get to THE SHARPEST EDGE, which is my entry for Carnivale Diabolique. I really do enjoy writing novellas. I think they’re perfect for my Geminian short attention span nature.

By the way, those of you waiting for the sequel to DREAM OF SHADOWS, I need to offer my apologies. Between real-life issues and the current writing schedule, the sequel hasn’t been written yet and therefore won’t be out until late 2009 or early 2010. But the good news is that it will be A CURSE OF SHADOWS, chronicling the story of Nicole’s parents, the Romanian parapsychologist Stefan Antonescu and Arielle Legere, who became head of her family at 19. That means it will be an interracial paranormal historical romantic thriller. Confusing enough? Yeah, I’m a touch ambitious–or a glutton for punishment.

Apparently I’m sick in more ways than one.

In Like a Lion…

Wow, it’s March and my Rita scores are due in three days. What’s neat is that we can log the scores in online, which I think is really cool. Still, I think I’m going to take a break from judging next year. Which of course, means I shouldn’t enter next year, but that’s okay.

Because I entered the paranormal category, I couldn’t judge that one, so I got a mix of a couple of others. Some were good, some were great, and some were okay. I read a variety of genres, so it’s not like I got a category I would never read in a million years even if all the other books were vaporized. (sob!)

But I got to thinking–I know, not a good thing–and really, this isn’t truly a reflection on the books I judged, but I miss the romance of romance books.

Now I know I’m sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, but here I go: I miss the days when you could pick up a book with romance on the spine and expect certain things: the genesis, development, and mostly maturation of a romantic relationship. Some hint of a happily-ever after. I don’t need a wedding at the end of the book, but I don’t want it to end with, “hey, let’s go for coffee,” or “You know, you’re pretty hot,” or “I think I like you,” or heaven forbid, the death of one of the principal characters.

I don’t care if there’s more than two people compiling the relationship. I don’t care if there’s hot monkey sex on page one (if it makes sense to the story, but that’s a post for another day.) Just make sure there’s a believable romantic relationship that has a clear-to-me happy ending by the time I close the book.

Is lurve and commitment too much to ask for in romance these days?

A Tale of Two $20's

So yesterday, my sister and I went to the Michael C. Carlos Museum on Emory University’s campus. This museum is most famous for having the mummy of Ramesses I and donating it back to the Cairo Museum in Egypt. I went because my sister and I have both long been fascinated with Ancient Egypt, and they have a great collection. They also just opened a special exhibition of Nubian Treasures and I wanted to see it.

For $20, my sister and I got admission to the museum and the audio tour. The Nubian exhibition was great and did what it was supposed to do–made me hungry to know more about this ancient civilization that gave the 25th Dynasty to Egypt. I’ve been doing some research ostensibly for an urban fantasy and my hero is an immortal Nubian, but really I’m completely fixated on the history.

The exhibit was awesome, and I bought some books from the museum store that will further my research.  There are lectures coming up later this month and next that I hope to attend as a human sponge.  I won’t be able to work on that urban fantasy for a while, but I’m so glad the exhibit’s there.

After the museum, we went to the movies.  Unfortunately at 4 pm, there was only one show we wouldn’t have to wait 40 minutes for: Jumper, based on a 1992 novel by Stephen Gould.  Apparently Regal Theaters has abolished not only the matinee, but the $9 ticket.  Jumper cost us $10 each.  Add to that $7 for a large popcorn (we stopped and bought candy and sodas at a convenience store) and the movie cost more than our museum trip did.

As for the movie, all I can hope is that the book is better.  Too many holes and unanswered questions.  How does a guy in Post-911 America get through airport security with a backpack stuffed with loose cash?  If the NSA knows who he is (Samuel L Jackson visits his apartment) then why not flag his passport so he can’t fly out of the country with his girlfriend?  ANd please don’t get me started on the girlfriend.

The bottom line is, no more so-so movies for me.  If movies are going to cost me $20 (I can’t go without my popcorn) then it better be a fla-damn movie from now on.  Otherwise, I’m going to buy books instead.

Drought + Freeze Warning = WTF?

So I get home today to find a notice on the townhouse door. The management company has a Freezing Weather policy that they wanted to make me aware of. Basically, I have to turn on every faucet in the house, both hot and cold taps, and run a stream at the thickness of pencil, until they take the signs down.

    Did I mention I pay the water bill?
    Did I mention I have six faucets in my townhouse?
    Did I mention Georgia is still suffering from drought, and that we barely escaped having the driest year on record by five-hundredths of an inch?

Oh, and I also have to run the heat so that the interior will remain at least 60 degrees, and I have to open the cabinet and closet doors so the pipes can be heated and those areas can be warmed too.

Nice. Wonder if I get a discount for following all their rules.

But hey–it saves them from having to pay for a busted pipe. I’m so glad I can save them money.

Loreena McKennitt, I hate you

I went to your concert at the Fox Theater on Thursday night. It had been almost a decade since your last studio album and at least that long since you toured, so it was my first time seeing you. The Fox, a National Historic Landmark and originally the Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque, was designed in the late 1920’s as headquarters for the Shriners organization. It looks like a your just outside a Bedouin tent or a Moroccan market at nightfall, complete with twinkling stars, a tent, minarets, everything but camels.

Fox Theater

Basically the perfect setting for a composer who mixes Celtic and Middle Eastern influences in her works.

What I’d forgotten is that there are a couple of McKennitt’s songs make me cry. I was just blithely enjoying the hurdy-gurdy, the oud and every other amazing instruments when I realized that if a certain song was performed, I’d be in trouble.

Then it started.

The Highwayman.

The Highwayman is based on a poem by Alfred Noyes, about…a highwayman who visited his sweetheart Bess, the innkeeper’s daughter. Then the redcoats come, tie her up at her bed with a musket beside her, waiting for the highwayman to come back. She warns him away the only way she can–by pulling the trigger. It’s not until morning that he realizes what happened and races back, only to be shot himself. The poem is dramatic all by itself and so’s the recording, but to hear it live–did I mention I was in the fifth row from the orchestra pit?–was an emotional sucker punch.

Yep, I was blubbering by the emotional climax of the story. I hurriedly wiped my eyes and applauded along with everyone else, thinking I’d get a reprieve. But no, she launched into the other song guaranteed to reduce me to tears: Dante’s Prayer.

There were other songs that were just as moving, but really, the whole concert was just amazing. The Old Ways, The Lady of Shalott, I could go on, but at the end–which came much too quickly, I and four thousand other people were just grateful that she’d decided to record and tour again.

It was simply an amazing concert experience. Damn you Loreena, and I have to get the live CD just to experience it again.

Joyfully Reviewed Chats this month

<a href=””>Joyfully Reviewed</a> is offering up a slew of chats this month in honor of their second anniversary. This past Friday was the chat for vampires, werewolves, and cat-shifters, but there are several more chats to go:

10/05 Vamps, Wolfies and Cat-Shifters
10/08 All other Paranormal – Dragons/Witches/Fantasy,etc
10/10 Interracial, Multi-Cultural & African /American
10/11 Westerns
10/12 Menage a Trois & Quad’s
10/15 BDSM
10/17 Historical
10/22 Contemporary , Romantic Comedies & Suspense
10/26 Voluptuous & Loving It
10/29 Sweet / Inspirational
10/30 Futuristic/Sci-Fi
10/31 M/M – F/F

I’ll be participating in the African-American chat, and I’ll be giving away several copies of Dream of Shadows. Please <a href=””>join the discussion</a>.