Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Catching Up & Writing

I swear I never thought getting a part time job would take up so much of my time. Yes, yes, I knew I'd be actually leaving my house on a regular basis, driving 20 minutes to the next town, and working for a few hours before making the trek back home, but for some reason 24 hours of job time didn't seem like a lot in the scheme of things.

That is, if I actually got 24 hours. Eek! The first week was 28 hours. The second week was 31 hours. This week is scheduled for 34 hours. However, I am the only person in this position... for now. Next week a full timer comes on and I'm supposed to finally get on a regular 24 hour schedule. Monday through Thursday from 8:30am to 2:30pm, and every other Saturday (9:30am-3pm) will make me a happy woman.

I'll bring home enough $$$ to make the job worth my while and still be able to pick my youngest daughter up from school every day. Not to mention the few hours every afternoon/evening of writing I'll be able to get in before dealing with dinner and preparing for the next day. Oh, and of course every Friday off to run my errands, pay bills, and buy groceries. And every other week I get a 3-day weekend. Woot, Woot!

Now if I can just get there. I'm off today, but the next two days will be long 9 1/2 hour days. I just have to keep reminding myself that this is for the greater good. I'm doing this for a reason. I do enjoy the job and the people I'm with all day. It will give me a greater sense of people by being out in the middle of all of them. (It's too peopley out there!) And, I've already seen some interesting folk who will be making appearances in future stories.

Overall, it's a good thing, but I'm really looking forward to a more rigid everyday schedule so I can get back to my writing. My goal of 3 books and a short story in 2017 NEEDS a more rigid schedule. The 500 words a week I've gotten over the last 3 weeks is soooooo not gonna get me there.

Okay, I'm off to get more writing done today (since it's my only day off 'til the weekend). I hope all of you are having a great week!

Oh, and Happy 41st Birthday to the love of my life, Tim! I love you, baby!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Working Outside & Inside the Home

This past week has been a new experience for me. I've never had an outside the home job AND children. I was able to leave the public working class when I was six months pregnant with our first child. I worked from home for many, many years... 20 years to be exact. I was able to always been 100% accessible to my entire family, including all the pets we have. Now, for the first time in all these years, I'm not available at all hours of the day. And everyone is having to adjust to that new arrangement.

I've had numerous texts throughout the days I'm at working asking how to do something, if I can talk, where something is, can so-&-so go somewhere, etc. Even my dog has decided to get an upset stomach, out of the blue, during my first week at work. WTH?!

I knew it would be an adjustment, but this is crazy. I still haven't been able to figure out my writing schedule because the new job is still working on getting things in order so there will be two of us working part time instead of me doing full & the other just doing Saturdays. Once that's worked out I'll have more time at home & truly be working part time.

Soooo, keep your fingers crossed that both my family & I will survive this transition without me committing some sort of murder. LOL!

Oh, and BTW, the hubby and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary on Sunday, April 9th. We had a nice day together and I got to enjoy some yummiliciousness at The Cheesecake Factory. Mmmm!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Part time job

Well, it happened. I broke down and got a part time job. It's been 20 years since I held a public job, so this will be a new experience for me. I was 6 months pregnant with our first daughter when I left the public workforce, and she's 20 now! Eek! I've never worked a job with kids at home. I'm grateful that they're so old now, with my youngest being 12. It definitely makes the decision easier on me.

With my husband's job change back in November, and the loss of income because of his pay decrease, I figured it was time to pick up something more reliable than just book royalties (which all authors know are not reliable at all). And this job seemed like something right up my alley. I'll be cashier/shopkeeper of an herbal health shop. They offer all sorts of services like massage, plus the normal vitamins, essential oils, and food additives. I interviewed for it on the 23rd and was asked to come in and get the lay of the land for a couple of hours on the 31st. This week is my first full week of work.

As you're reading this, I'm at work (thank goodness for blog scheduling!) and probably enjoying my new job as I'm learning all about what's sold here. I've always enjoyed the herbal and natural remedies stuff, but there's soooooo much to learn I'm feeling a little overwhelmed... but in a good way. I'll get it and it'll be fun to learn new things. In the meantime, I'll be able to do some people watching and (hopefully) come up with new story lines in the process.

Though I'll be working outside the home, I'm still on schedule for the release of Sorrow Meets Death. It's planned for June and I intend to make the deadline. Unlike previously, when I only worked on week days and took the weekends off, now I'll be doing the majority of my writing on the weekends and weekday evenings. It'll be a massive adjustment. Well, all of this will be a massive adjustment. Every one's schedules will have to change and adjust just to accommodate Mom's new job.

Fingers crossed. Wish me luck. Think happy thoughts. And, finally, thanks for all your support! :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Working toward June & Sorrow Meets Death

Last week I posted my 2017 publishing schedule. This week I'm working toward that first goal of getting the short story with Liz and Penny created. The story is titled Sorrow Meets Death and it begins with Penny entering Liz's bar, Athena's Ambrosia. The two sense one another and realize something interesting is going on here. Then, of course, that's when trouble begins.

This is going to be a short story that will fit between Penny's 1st and 2nd books, as well as Liz's 6th and 7th books. Just like the other Liz short story, this one will be a freebie available for download on my website. If you're a Liz Baker fan and haven't read Death Reflected, book 3.5, pop on over to the website and download it.

I'm really looking forward to this story. I've been wanting to tie the two characters together ever since Penny came to me. I knew there had to be a way to bring them together, even just for a short story, and in Devastating Sorrow I hinted at just that meeting.

I hope you'll enjoy this upcoming read, and be sure to pop by regularly for updates about its progress.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2017 Book Schedule

As most of you know, my newest book released back on March 7th. So far, Devastating Sorrow has received a warm welcome and I envision a lot of excitement in Penny Montague's future as more books in her series come to me. She will still fight to control her grief from losing her son, but also fight for those around her. There's a lot to come for her, but before all that, I thought I'd share with all of you my plans for the rest of 2017.

Before this release, my last book came out at the end of 2014. *Gasp* Before then, I was release 2-3 books a year. Throw in short stories and articles, and I was a busy bee. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond my control dictated that I work less on my books and more on family relations (my mother's cancer & passing). I'll never regret that, but it did take me away from the work I love.

Therefore, I'm planning to make 2017 my best publishing year yet! Not only did you get Devastating Sorrow, but I'm planning two more books and a short story this year. Woohoo!!

Keep in mind, the actual dates of releases will be posted closer to time, but for now here is the tentative scheduling.....

Sorrow Meets Death
Liz Baker/Penny Montague Crossover Short Story:  
June 2017

Liz Baker Series, Book #7:  
August 2017

Penny Montague Series, Book #2: 
December 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chapter 1 of Devastating Sorrow

My newest book series is all about an immortal named Penelope (Penny) Ann Montague. She's a 150 year old woman who is entirely sick and tired of life. She's tired of living the long, endless days. At night she works as a phone sex operator just to feel some sort of connection to the human race. She certainly doesn't do it for the money. And during her off hours she experiments with her immortality in an attempt to end her long, lonely existence after the death of her only child.

Penny has an annoying younger brother who is also an immortal. Byron Montague is nothing but an annoyance these days. He's a womanizing beast who enjoys the finer things in life: watches, cars, clothes, and other men's wives. If it's pretty and sparkly he wants it.

In their world, Penny and Byron are the results of a birth defect. Born in a time when women lost more children than not, Penny and Byron grew and aged, watching siblings come along, and enjoying their simple life, until one day it wasn't so simple anymore.

Once their immortality was discovered, the two were whisked away to the immortal world. They were raised by an immortal witch who recognizes Penny's affinity for the magic all around us. Penny learned and grew in strength, but Byron--who didn't have a lick of magical talent--was sent away to school.

After years of training, Penny joins the North American Immortal Faction and Byron goes off to college, quickly becoming the party animal he is today. This is where the two are in their stories when Byron shows up on Penny's doorstep, in trouble yet again.

Check out Chapter 1 of Devastating Sorrow to see where that middle of the night knock on the door leads.


     I've never understood the desire to talk to someone on the phone during intimate activities with yourself. Why is it necessary for some men to spend hundreds of dollars in order to hear another voice on the other end of the line while using his own hand to elicit satisfaction? I highly doubt these men are ignorant enough to mistaken the sound of a crude performance for real lust and affection, and yet there are the regulars who call back night after night asking specifically for “Miss Veronica”.
     Of course Miss Veronica is merely my phone sex operator name. I would never give these men my real name. Who knows how dangerous, and possibly embarrassing that would be out in the real world? But then again, after living for one hundred and fifty years there isn't much left that does embarrass me.
     If it wasn't for the freedom and security in the phone sex industry I wouldn't be able to afford the lifestyle I lived. Well, that's not true. I can afford anything I want, what with all the money I had squared away in numerous accounts around the world, but I get bored. Yet, I enjoy the quiet solitude and the ability to stay out of the public eye this job affords me.
     The world has changed so much since I was born that now I don't even have to leave my house for weeks at a time if I so desire. With the internet, cell phones, grocery deliveries, and the ability to pay bills online automatically, I can hide away and wallow in my self-doubt and depression without drawing unwanted attention to myself.
     “Are you still there, Miss Veronica?” the raspy, panting voice on the line asked. He'd finished with a grunt and a moan seconds before, after asking me to say something derogatory about his mother.
     “Oh yes,” I cooed seductively while flipping to the next page in the newest Cosmopolitan edition. Yet another article about how to please your man in bed. With an eye roll, I tossed the magazine to the other side of my brown suede sofa.
     The battery on my phone chirped annoyingly to remind me that it was time to end this call with Charlie Brown. And yes, that's what he said his name was. I had no idea if it were true or not, and I didn't care in the slightest.
     “Oh, Charlie. You're so hot,” I drawled. “You make me so horny. I hope you'll give Miss Veronica a call again real soon.”
     “But, wait. No,” he stammered with a gasp. “Are you sure we can't just talk for a little while longer? I don't mind paying.”
     Sure, I wouldn't mind the extra money, but I was done for the day. Listening to these men grunt and groan and pretend to be my lovers was mentally exhausting to the point of making me want to throw myself off the top of this five story apartment building. Again.
     “Thank you for the offer, honey pie, but after this time with you, Miss Veronica is exhausted. You tire me out, handsome.” I threw in a yawn to get my point across. If he couldn't tell the difference between real sex sounds and fake it was doubtful he could tell a fake yawn when it slapped him in the face.
     “Um. Okay then,” Charlie sighed. “Is it okay if I call you again, tomorrow? At the same time?”
     Covering the phone with my hand and holding it away. I growled loudly toward the ceiling before returning it to my ear. “Sure thing, honey pie. You go ahead and call Miss Veronica whenever you want between the hours of nine and three, Tuesday through Saturday.”
     He said something else, but I didn't make it out before I clicked the phone off and placed it in the charging base on the table beside me.
     I pulled my laptop from the coffee table, crossed my legs and placed it on top of them. After each call session, the company I worked for—Hot Young Women, Inc.—required all of its operators to access a private operators’ log board to share information about our callers, what they liked, what they requested, and how long the calls last. This helps others who may get calls from the same clients stick to what those clients enjoy. It's also a good way to pinpoint the troublemakers who are looking for more than just a few minutes of noise to jerk off to.
     I logged my information about Charlie Brown, noting that this time he had talked a lot more about his mother than usual. I online chatted with a few of the other operators who were calling it a night before logging off and plugging my laptop up to charge next to the phone.
     It was a quarter after three in the morning, but with the hours I keep this was the middle of the day for me. I made a sandwich and grabbed a grape soda from the fridge. I had just placed the can on the table next to my plate when there was a loud, aggressive knock at the door. I jumped at the banging and glanced around the apartment, fully expecting cloaked invaders to crash through the floor-to-ceiling windows on the east facing wall.
     Abandoning the idea of assassins attacking me, I made my way to the door and peered through the tiny peephole. “Shit.” Him again? He was always causing me trouble, no matter how we left things the last time we parted.
     He banged again, harder this time, bouncing the door on its hinges. I pulled away before I was dealing with an eye injury as well as the annoying visitor.
     “Come on, Penny. I know you're in there.” When I didn't respond he added, “I can see your eye.”
     “Shit.” I shook my head and reached for the deadbolts. “Okay. Okay. Give me a minute.” Three deadbolts, one slide bolt, a chain, and a door knob later I stared out at my little brother.
     Without asking, Byron Montague barged through the door, pushed past me, and proceeded to sit his ass at my table and help himself to my sandwich and soda.
“Hey! I was going to eat that.” I grabbed the plate from his hands and threw the bitten sandwich into the kitchen sink.
     With a full mouth, he popped the top of the soda can and gulped greedily. He swiped his mouth with the back of his hand before plopping the can back down on the table and leaning back in the chair. “I was eating that. Ever heard of family generosity? Do you have any beer?” His long, lithe legs stretched out in front of him as he reached his hands toward the ceiling. I heard his back pop and he groaned.
     “Out of shape, little brother?” I scoffed. “You know better than that.” He propped his feet up in the next table chair and I smacked him on the back of the head. “Feet down.” I sat in the chair to his right and turned it to face him with a sigh. “Why are you here?”
     “What?” He tried to look all innocent, but I knew better.
     Byron looked a lot like me. He had the same wavy dark hair, the same complexion, and even a similar jawline, though his was a bit more pronounced than mine. Everyone had thought us twins when we were children, but I'm actually older.
     Up until puberty we aged just like any other person around us, but after that our bodies slowed down drastically. We might age five to ten years in about one hundred years of living. My brother and I looked to be in our twenties, when in actuality we're seven times that.
     The immortal community had men and women who looked to be in their eighties or nineties. No one really knows how old they are though. Most of the time they don't know themselves.
     Byron's flawless skin, blue eyes, and messy black hair might get him whatever he wanted from unsuspecting twenty-somethings, but I knew my brother was a pro at manipulating people. I just wasn't one of those people.
     “Don't give me your bull shit, Byron.” I crossed my arms and narrowed my gaze. “What kind of trouble have you gotten yourself into this time? Oh, and did you happen to notice that it's three in the morning? Who bangs on someone’s door like that at three in the morning?”
     “Aww, I knew you'd be awake, Sis.” He glanced at a Rolex wristwatch. I wondered what rich woman he'd slept with to get that little pretty. He leaned in close, placing both hands on my arms. Giving a little squeeze he looked deep in my eyes. “I know all about your little phone job. I knew you'd be up. Besides, we missed getting together for Thanksgiving, and Christmas was a couple weeks ago.”
     I gasped. How did he know? I hadn't seen him in months and I never told him anything about my private life anyway. Byron was trouble with a capital T, and I'd learned over the years not to tell him anything I didn't want the entire immortal population, and half of the human race, to know.
     He released my arms with a chuckle, retreating to the kitchen sink and retrieving the sandwich. “Don't worry, big sis, I haven't told anyone about you masquerading as Miss Veronica.” Returning to the table, he took another big bite from the sandwich and sat again.
     I frowned deeply, watching my brother pig out on my sandwich at three in the morning. The city outside was quiet, but the noises coming from Byron's mouth reminded me of our childhood. Slopping the hogs wasn't much different than my brother's eating habits.
     I took a deep, calming breath, laced my fingers in my lap, and narrowed my gaze at the messy man in front of me. “I'll ask this one more time, little brother, and this time I better get a straight answer.” He looked up from the nearly gone sandwich. Seeing that I was completely serious, he placed what was left back on the plate and sat up a little straighter. “Why are you here?”
     “I'm worried about you, Penny.” Tiny lines formed around his eyes and across his forehead as he frowned.
     “Bull shit.” I knew better than to think my self-centered little brother felt anything closely resembling worry after all these years where I was involved. More likely he was concerned his safe haven would disappear.
     “Not bull shit!” His fist came down hard on my table. “I've heard things. Things about you.”
     Who would be talking about me? I kept to myself and didn't interact with any of the other immortals. The few interactions I had were always with humans who could be easily manipulated and convinced that anything out of the ordinary was, in fact, perfectly normal. All it took was telling them I was a foreigner and had a phobia to crowds. That worked in almost all situations where my youthful appearance and my desire to refrain from socializing came into question. And when that stopped working I moved to a different part of the country.
     “And who has been talking to you about me? One of your little sluts, maybe? Or could it be one of their husbands?” I shook my head and walked away. I settled on the sofa and grabbed the remote control. At this time of the night there wouldn't be anything more than infomercials on, but even that was better than listening to Byron.
     “Not even close,” he said, stomping toward me. “Not only do I know about the job, but I also know about your new obsession with ending your life.” He grabbed at the remote, but I held it up and away. “I know you've been researching and trying out all kinds of different techniques.”
     If he knew even a fraction of what he thought he knew about my suicide attempts he wouldn't be as calm as he was. I thought I'd come close the last time I tried, but I woke up three days later alive and fully healed from the freezer burn. Disappointment wasn't even the right word to describe how I felt that day.
     He grabbed at the remote again, but I shoved it down behind me into the cushions, accidentally pushing buttons along the way. The television switched channels a few times, ending up on CNN. “Don't be a child, Penny! Give me the remote!”
     Byron shoved me over to the next cushion and retrieved the remote from the depths of the sofa. A sticky gum wrapper came along with it, but he pulled it off before stabbing at the Off button. The apartment went silent, again.
     He sat down next to me. He was breathing heavy, which was very unusual. “You really are out of shape, aren't you?” In all the years we've been immortal, Byron and I made sure we were always in tip top shape. In the early years we never knew when someone would notice we didn't age and we'd have to fight or run for our lives. This was out of character.
     “Wanna explain the suicide experiment?”
     “Wanna tell me where you've been in the last few months? Someone keeping you hidden away in their secret love dungeon, or something?”
     He sighed deeply, shaking his head, and sitting back into the cushions. “Not even close to funny, sister.” It was at that moment I really took a good look at my brother.
     The wrinkles around his eyes were new; we didn't have wrinkles, and probably wouldn't for several more centuries. His usual smooth, shiny hair was ragged and dull, longer than he normally kept it. The ends were split and frizzy like he hadn't had a trim in months. He wore a faded Atlanta Braves T-shirt, a little on the big side, and a pair of faded jeans with both knees torn out. They didn't fit quite right either. The most shocking was what he wore on his feet. Flip-flops. Byron didn't wear flip-flops!
     The only Byron-like thing on his body was the Rolex watch on his wrist. He liked the finer things in life: food, wine, clothes, cars, and women. Something was askew here.
I pinched a bundle of denim on the leg of his jeans. “Where did you get these clothes, Byron?”
     Throwing his head back, he scrubbed at his face with both hands. “Ugh! I was hoping I wouldn't have to tell you, but maybe if I do you'll tell me what's up with you,” he mumbled from behind his hands.
     “Tell me what? Where have you been the last nine months?” I leaned in close, my nose only inches from his face. “Tell me.”
     He pulled his hands away and slowly returned my gaze. “I've been in the dungeons of Midnight Manor.”
     “Are you joking? 'Cause that's not funny in the least, Byron.”
     He dropped his eyes and didn't even bother to respond to my question. A few seconds later and it finally clicked for me.
     Jumping from my seat, I screamed, “Midnight Manor?” Tears pooled in his eyes, but he'd never let them fall. He blinked to clear his vision and stretched out a hand. “Come sit back down and I'll tell you everything.”
     “I doubt that,” I shouted back. “You never tell me everything!” I picked up a near-by book and aimed for his head. He ducked to one side and the book zoomed past his ear. “Midnight-fucking-Manor!”
     I paced in the area between the dining room table and the living room coffee table. How could he do this? Something like Midnight Manor wasn't just about him. If anyone, and I mean anyone, there knew Byron had a sister they would find me. Trouble with Midnight Manor was a family affair.
     “How could you do this to me, Byron?” Ringing my hands, I paced back and forth, back and forth. “What did I ever do to you to constitute Midnight Manor?” I wasn't a bad sister. Was I?
     I had raised him the best I could once we had to leave our parents and younger sisters behind. Hadn't I? What could I have done differently? Nothing, that's what! We had lived through some really tough times full of disease and poverty. I'd done the best I could until he finally decided it was time to be an adult and go out on his own. His decision had broken my heart, but it was the right thing to do for both of us. He'd gone to college and I joined the guard.
     Byron rose and strode over to me. He grabbed my hands and stopped my pacing. “You did nothing, Penny. You were the best sister and mother you knew how to be. None of this is your fault, and I'm sorry I brought this down on our heads.”
     “Then why did you do it?” I hadn't realized it until a tear rolled down my cheek, but I was sobbing at this point. “Why did you have to do something that bad? Couldn't you have stuck to your normal scams?” Sobbing harder, I slid to the floor and fell into a broken pile of myself. “Why Midnight Manor?”
     He sat on the floor in front of me, rubbing my back and stroking my hair. Over and over he said he was sorry, but all I could think of was how grateful I was our parents and sisters were long gone. I couldn't have stood the thoughts and despair if they had been trapped inside Midnight Manor. Or worse.
     After the heaving sobbing subsided, I lifted my head and swatted his hands away from me. “Tell me, now, what you did. How did this happen, Byron?” I backed up and propped against the nearest wall. I hugged my knees and glared at my brother until he spoke.
     “It all started when I met this woman—”
     I held up my hand. “I'm going to stop you right there. Give me the abridged version.”
     He sighed and shook his head. “Fine. Here it is. I screwed the wrong man's wife and he had power enough to throw me under the manor with enough charges to make immortality a never-ending torment of skinning, burning, drowning, and all sorts of other creative punishments.”
     I flinched at the thought. I'd heard the rumors of the kinds of tortures they were happy to dole out at Midnight Manor, and none of them were even close to as pretty as burning and skinning. And, of course Byron's trouble would be brought on by a woman. He never could keep his dick in his pants, even when his life depends on it.
     I rested my forehead on my knees. How could we get through this? There had to be a way to take care of this without him going back to the manor.
     “Wait a minute.” A thought hit me. “Why are you here?”
     “What do you mean?” His forehead wrinkled. “I'm here for you.”
     I shook my head. “No, you know what I mean.” I pointed at him. “If you were in the dungeons, why are you here now? They wouldn't just let you go.”
     The only way Midnight Manor released a prisoner was if that prisoner could offer them more alive than dead, or incarcerated.
     There was that guilty look. Even as young children I could tell when Byron was lying or felt guilty about something. He had a hard time hiding those feelings from me. And after nearly two centuries he wasn't any better at it.
     “What did you promise them?” I demanded. He stood and stomped to the fridge. He pulled another soda out and popped the top. I watched in disbelief as he took a long pull off the can. “Byron!”
     Slamming the fridge door closed he yelled, “You! Okay? I promised them you!”
     I slowly rose from the floor. “Me? What do you mean you promised them me?”
     He leaned over the sink like he was going to be sick. His voice echoed in the stainless steel as he replied, “I promised you would help retrieve a runner.”
     “Why would you do that? You know I left the business!”
     The anger rose swiftly. I couldn't believe he would do such a thing. And all for a woman, at that!
     When he didn't answer me, the anger boiled over. I charged him, screaming like an Amazonian warrior. He turned just in time for my fist to make direct contact with his jaw. Bones crunched beneath my knuckles and his face moved in slow motion from one side to the other with the force of my strike. I'd caught him so off-guard he didn't have time to strengthen his stance against the blow so his entire body flew to the left. He bounced off the in-wall oven and landed in a pile at my feet.
     A short whimper came from him, but I didn't care. “Get up, you back stabber! Take what you have coming to you!”
     “Penny, stop. Please,” he moaned, holding up his hands in surrender. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth and dripped onto my clean linoleum floor.
     “Get up,” I growled. “You're getting blood on my floor.” I walked away from him toward my bedroom. I cursed loudly as I pulled blankets and a pillow from the top of my closet. Handbags fell to the floor, but I just kicked them to the side and continued stomping back to the living room. “Don't get blood on my couch, you dick!”
     I dropped the bedding on the couch and stomped back to my room, slamming the door and muttering to myself about how irresponsible and untrustworthy my brother had turned out to be on the way to the en suite. “How could I have screwed him up so badly? He was a decent kid at one point,” I questioned the empty bathroom while stripping clothes off and tossing them into the plastic hamper against the wall.
     I showered while thoughts of how I intended to handle this situation ran through my head. One scenario after another played through my mind. None seeming the right fix. Of course I'd have to do whatever Midnight Manor wanted in order to save Byron from an eternity of torture, but I didn't have to be happy, or very cooperative about it.
     Runners were very complicated creatures. The elders of the immortals consider runners to be any immortal who doesn't abide by their rules and desires, and then tries to take off instead of facing judgment. Thus, runners. Runners could vary from one extreme to another depending on the elder immortal who is doling out the judgment at the time. Some are a little more fickle than others.
     The mildest example of insult resulting in time spent at Midnight Manor was back in 1805 when a French immortal decided he didn't want to speak with the Immortal King after a dinner party. The offending Frenchman felt ill after eating tainted shellfish and instead of saying good night to the king he merely left. The next morning he found himself shackled to a dungeon wall at Midnight Manor. As far as I know, he's still there.
     The most severe incident was an immortal woman who severed the head of her neighbor, who just so happened to be sleeping with her husband. It didn't kill the neighbor, but it would take centuries for the woman's head to reattach to her body. And that's if the doctors could keep the body's tissue viable enough for all those years.
     The offending woman was punished by having her own head removed. Her live and talking head was currently in a collection room at Midnight Manor. Or though that's how the story goes. I've never seen it for myself. I stay as far away from Midnight Manor as possible.
     Dressed in my favorite pair of yoga pants and tank top, I crawled into bed. “I'll think of something,” I whispered to the bedside lamp as I flicked the switch.
     I fell asleep with thoughts of our parents. What would they tell me to do? Honestly, they wouldn't know what to say. They were simple people in a simple time. They never expected to have immortal children, much less two of them. It was merely a genetic defect. Unlike other birth defects, their children didn't die as infants. They live forever.      Sometimes I wished I'd died all those years ago. At least then I wouldn't be trying to find a way out now.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Release Day!

It's finally here! Woohoo! Release Day for Devastating Sorrow has arrived and I'm so happy to share it with all of you.

This is the first book in my new Penny Montague series. However, I think my Liz Baker fans out there will enjoy it just as much. There's even a little hinty hint at possibly a future meeting between the two women. ;)

This was a book almost two years in the making. I started writing it a month before my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Once her diagnosis came in and I was taking her for doctor appointments, chemo, transfusions, radiations, and all the other stuff that cancer involves, I had to put my work aside to focus solely on her. It took almost six months after her passing for me to pick up the story, again. Today is more of a release for me than just putting Devastating Sorrow out into the world. It's a sigh of relief. It's a point in time where I can relax and finally, after all the struggles we dealt with, say, "It's over." This book release is a cleansing, of sorts, for my writing palate, and I'm ready to move on to the next project. :)

If you're a subscriber to the newsletter you've already received the first chapter this morning. I hope you enjoy it.

I'm still waiting the paperback to go live (it might take a few days), but the eBook is ready for your attention...



Witch and ex-military, Penny Montague is sick of her immortal life. Working as a phone sex operator to occupy her time and keep in touch with her humanity, she spends her days trying to find a way to end her long, lonely existence and her nights pretending to care about men with mommy issues, strange fantasies, and twisted imaginations.

Life wasn't always this bad though. When Penny's ninety-two year old son, Charlie, dies in her arms the crushing reality of her long life truly hits her. What else is there to live for without her son? She's ready to give it all up, and has tried multiple times, when her brother, Byron, shows up on her doorstep, trouble on his tail as always. It wasn't until armed guards burst into her home, drag her from her bed, and throw them both into the dungeons of Midnight Manor that Penny realizes this is much worse than Byron's normal scheming.

Midnight Manor is the control center of all immortals, run by an elite group called The Elders' Court. Nothing happens in the world without Midnight Manor having their fingers in the pot. They raise and educate immortal children from an early age and place them throughout the world in positions beneficial to their causes, both present and future. There isn't anything that happens, be it war, arms trades, or scientific achievement, that Midnight Manor doesn't influence.

Penny retired from the Midnight Manor military nearly a century before, but now, in order to save her brother from being tortured for the rest of his immortal life because he slept with the wrong man's wife, The Elders' Court gives Penny the choice to hunt down and return a runaway scientist or risk a fate worse than death and join her brother in the torture chambers for eternity.

Penny, with the help of a few people from her past, decides to at least attempt the retrieval. After all, according to The Elders' Court, the scientist is a danger to all immortals and his research must be returned. Tracking was her specialty during her time in the service.

This should be an easy in and out kind of mission with only a couple of days of work involved. Right?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Characters: Meet Penny Montague

In my newest book, you'll meet Penny (Penelope) Ann Montague. She is a 150 year old immortal who is truly sick and tired of her immortality. After the death of her son, she spends her nights as a phone sex operator in an attempt to connect with the human race, and her off time experimenting with the immortality she's so very tired of living. Her life is long and lonely, and missing her son every waking hour doesn't help.

In her past she was a member of the North American Immortal Corp, but after decades watching and listening, and even following the orders of a most corrupt and hypocritical government, she finally ended her time with the corp and moved on to civilian life.

Penny raised her adopted son from the age of two to the ripe old age of ninety-six. He had been her whole world from the moment she set eyes on his beautiful, little face. Now that he was gone, what did she have to live for?

Heartbroken and discouraged with her experiments in death, Penny doesn't know what to do next. That is, until her degenerate brother shows up in trouble... again!

Find out more about Penny and her life when the first book in this series, Devastating Sorrow, releases on March 7, 2017.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Time for the real fun.

With the first draft of a story complete, the real work begins. It's time to dive into edits, rewrites, deletions, and additions. My stories usually go through at least half a dozen rounds of the process, both via myself and several others. And yet there will always be something that slips through the cracks. We're only human, after all.

A lot of writers hate this part of the process, but I actually like it. I like that the story is already there, complete, in front of me. No more thinking of what the characters will do next. Nope. Now, at this point, I only have to think of how to enhance the story. Adding more details, removing redundant material, and even correcting weird sentence structures are the challenges ahead of me.

I do all of this in the old-fashion manner of putting pen to paper. My entire story is printed out and I sit down with my red ink pen going over sheet after sheet. When one chapter is complete I go to the computer file and input my changes. And then I do it all over again. After the second run through, I send the story off to my editor for her input. After her changes are implemented it's time for beta readers. These are the people who will tell me what they think of the story: how it flows, plot structure, and whether or not it held their attention. The betas will offered up their suggestions and I choose to include them or leave the story as is.

And that's when I finally determine the story has been edited to death and plan for the big release date.

No matter how many times a writer goes over their story there will always be something to change. However, at some point you just have to quit and move on to the next project, or fear editing the story into dust. We don't want to lose the feel of the story by changing everything you started out with. As a writer you have a feel for a story when you're writing it, so don't make it as mundane as a brown paper bag by editing out all the finer qualities.

And here I am, looking forward to the next few weeks of edits and rewrites before the big release day for this new story. And when March 7th comes and goes, the book delivered to the world, I'll hope the story draws in its readers and I'll move on to the next story. Thus is the life of a writer. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Keeping My Muse Happy

Keeping my muse happy w/fireworks.
You may have heard writers talking about not being able to write when their muse is unhappy. Or that their muse has run off and abandoned them. Sometimes I feel like my muse ran off with the devil and they're both sitting somewhere mocking me as I fumble for just the right word, typing and deleting numerous time over the time frame of an hour. I've even done it here on the blog before giving up and deciding to try it again tomorrow.

A writer must keep her muse happy. How do I do that, you ask? Well, my muse is particularly enthralled with loud, raunchy music that has a deep booming beat. Anything with a lot of bass and preferably curse words. Oh, and a Diet Mountain Dew to go with it. She also likes hot tea and chocolate, but usually only one cup of tea a day. Sometimes my muse demands I take a break from writing entirely and recharge with a comedy or a good book. But usually, it's the raunchy music that works on a day to day basis.

Today, for example, we started out together with a mug of hot peach tea and listening to Ludacris, and ended our writing time with a Diet Mountain Dew, piece of Lindt Lindor chocolate, listening to 50 Cent. In the middle there was Meghan Trainer, 21 Pilots, Nicki Minaj, Stabbing Westward, and Pink. Plus many more. I work for no less than 3 hour stretches so I have to have a large music library.

Sometimes I think it would be fun to match my music choices with the character I'm writing, but then I realize that's just too much work. LOL! Sooooo, I just listen to all of it all the time.

If you have a question about what inspires my muse feel free to ask below or email me at and I'll do my best to answer it. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Survey Time

I've noticed a lot of authors I follow like to put excerpts, and even entire chapters of their new books in their newsletters. What are your opinions of this practice? Do you like to read chapter one in the newsletter, or just wait until the book comes out?

Create your own user feedback survey

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Writing a Book's Back Cover Blurb

For the days I'm drawing a blank, I have a list of blog ideas and it just so happens that today's activities coincided with one of the topics: Difficulties in Writing a Back Blurb.

Ack! Today, I'm doing just that for the upcoming first book of my Penny Montague series. How do you condense hundreds and hundreds of pages into only a few paragraphs for the back cover? I'll tell you right now it is NOT easy. It's hard to take this story you've been working on for months, or even years, and shrink it down into a snippet that's supposed to attract readers. You know the story inside and out, left and right, up and down, but you have to remember that your readers don't. This is their first introduction to the story and they're waiting on you to rile their interest enough to say, "Hm, that sounds interesting."

I usually go through several drafts of a back blurb before finally settling on the finished product. And even then I'll still second guess myself and want to change things. However, once it goes to the cover designer that's that. No more changes. Game over. Deal with it and move on.

My process usually consists of an ink pen and a legal pad pages, with numerous additions, words marked out, arrows pointing to different locations for certain paragraphs, and maybe even some frustrated scribbling. And even when I think I finally have it and I start typing it into my computer, I still change, add, and subtract things from it. Today was no different.

Penny's story is flowing well for me right now, but that doesn't mean her blurb would. It took me several hours to get this the way I wanted it, and even then I sent it off to a couple of my trusted readers for a double, triple, quadruple check before sending it to my cover designer, and ultimately sharing it with all of you.

So, without further adieu, here is the description for:

Penny Montague, Book 1

Witch and ex-military, Penny Montague is sick of her immortal life. Working as a phone sex operator to occupy her time and keep in touch with her humanity, she spends her days trying to find a way to end her long, lonely existence and her nights pretending to care about men with mommy issues, strange fantasies, and twisted imaginations.

Life wasn't always this bad though. When Penny's ninety-four year old son, Charlie, dies in her arms the crushing reality of her long life truly hits her. What else is there to live for without her son? She's ready to give it all up, and has tried multiple times, when her brother, Byron, shows up on her doorstep, trouble on his tail as always. It wasn't until armed guards burst into her home, drag her from her bed, and throw them both into the dungeons of Midnight Manor that Penny realizes this is much worse than Byron's normal scheming.

Midnight Manor is the control center of all immortals, run by an elite group called The Council. Nothing happens in the world without Midnight Manor having their fingers in the pot. They raise and educate immortal children from an early age and place them throughout the world in positions beneficial to their causes, both present and future. There isn't anything that happens, be it war, arms trades, or scientific achievement, that Midnight Manor doesn't influence.

Penny retired from the Midnight Manor military nearly a century before, but now, in order to save her brother from being tortured for the rest of his immortal life because he slept with the wrong man's wife, The Council gives Penny the choice to hunt down and return a runaway scientist or risk a fate worse than death and join her brother in the torture chambers for eternity.

Penny, with the help of a few people from her past, decides to at least attempt the retrieval. After all, according to The Council, the scientist is a danger to all immortals and his research must be returned. Tracking was her specialty during her time in the service. 

This should be an easy in and out kind of mission with only a couple of days of work involved. Right?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My Writing Life: Where I Create Magic!

Well, I have a whole new place to create my magic these days than I had a few months ago. It used to be my bedroom, notebooks, Post-It notes, and my laptop spread across my desk, with a mug of hot tea or a glass of Diet Mountain Dew to the side somewhere. However, the hubby changed jobs and the new job is night shift. Ugh! That means he's taken over the bedroom during my optimum writing hours. And until I get one more kid off to college there isn't anywhere else for me to close myself off.

Sooooo, I get the dining room table. Yep, here's where I am for the time being. My laptop, notebooks, and drinks still work here, but now my Post-It notes are stuck inside my notebooks instead of plastered all over the wall. I keep everything in a neat pile when not in use so I can quickly scoop it all up if we have guests.

My second daughter will be heading off to college in the fall of 2018. When that happens I'll finally get my very own office. I'm looking forward to having a space of my own, with all my bookshelves, all my notebooks and ink pens (I have a big obsession with pens and paper), and all the quiet time I can stand. I'm excited at the prospect of creating my very own sanctuary to enjoy my characters. I'm already thinking of paint colors, what furnishings I want in my office, and where to put all my book shelves. I've even warned the hubby that he'll be building me at least one more book shelf to fit in a specific spot. All mine!  Woohoo!

In the meantime, I'll keep working at the dining room table, but be sure when the day comes that I get my office I'll be sharing pictures with all of you. :)