And Then Life Happened…. Lynn Lorenz

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know I’m in the middle of one of the top life events that cause major stress.
It’s not death of a loved one, or marriage or divorce, but moving.

I’m moving. I can say that with a little less trepidation than, say, three weeks ago. I’m getting to the part where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not on-coming traffic.

It’s an almost empty house. Except it’s not at all empty. Yet.
It’s the yet part that’s stressing me. I want this over and done. My hubs declared “I’m done!” about a week ago, when the wall oven we ordered, and paid a small fortune for, didn’t fit. That’s right. It didn’t fit. Yes, they are standard sizes. Now. Back when our house was built in 1999, the cabinet depth was…shorter. Ovens were shorter. Today’s ovens are…longer.

I did not know that. And it seemed, no one at the store knew it either.
So for almost two weeks, the oven, out of it’s box, sat on our kitchen floor in all it’s stainless steel glory. In front of the cook top, so we couldn’t access that either.

That’s when hubs threw up his hands and made his declaration of independence.

I can’t blame him. He wanted to just burn the place to the ground rather than move. I believe he’d just rather not have spent the money it took to get us this far. Spend money to make money. So we hired a handyman to get the oven to fit. He did a great job and in only a few short hours, the oven was installed.

Hubs made another declaration. “We shall not now, or in the future, use this oven and destroy it’s pristine existence.” So, yeah, no oven. But we can get to the cooktop now, so there’s that.

Now we’re on hold, waiting for the auction house to come and pick up our entire house of stuff. Everything, except what we’ve already packed and moved into a 5′ x 10′ storage unit. (Thanks, kids! I knew I had you both for a reason.) But we’ve been here for 16 yrs and we have accumulated a lot of stuff. A. Lot. Of. Stuff.

And it’s all going. As I told my kids, it’s only stuff. We will buy more stuff. New stuff. But much much much less stuff. We will embrace minimalism. We will learn to live with less. And in return, we will be more mobile, more sleek and shiny and able to travel at the speed of “Hey, let’s go there!” So, we’re giving up what used to be our dream – owning a home, having lots of stuff to prove our “worth”, and that glory of glory, subdivision life, for a new set of dreams.

We’re reinventing ourselves. We’re going to be homeless from April to August. Live out of suitcases and in hotels. We’re going to get in our car and drive to places we’ve never been before (cooler, less hot, places, hubs declares) and see some of our country while we can still drive, and our kids will still sit in a car with us for an extended period of time.

It’s a big change for them. They’re young and only really remember this house as their home, even though we lived in two other houses and an apartment before landing here. This has been home for them, true. But they have seen change! They have seen their mom (me!) start an entirely new and different career as an author while keeping the old corporate career and finally retirement and full time writing. They’ve seen their dad go from manager of a business to stay-at-home dad, to owner of his own business and then to retirement. No strangers to change, these kids.

And we always spoke of change to them. That things change. Stuff changes. Houses. Cars. Schools. Jobs. Even friends. But never our family. Our family is the one constant in their lives. Our family is HOME. Where we live makes no difference. House. Apartment. Hotel. Those are just places. Our family being together, loving each other, supporting each other – that’s where home is.

Sure, it’s a little scary. But in each of our own ways, we’re looking forward to this new change. To the travel. To the new apartment that will be our home for the next 4-5yrs. To being in the same town again so we can hang out, if they want to, or just have lunch or dinner together to reconnect. The kids have tasted independence and they love it. I love it. Hubs loves it. But we also love being together every now and then.
Being home.

Forget the crap of life that we gathered along the way. Letting it all go has been freeing to all of us and has made us all realize, that despite all the crap that goes along with unloading our stuff, our possessions, and willowing through it all to pick and chose what is most valuable to each of us, we’ve got a better, more focused, understanding of how little physical things we need, and how important our family is to us.

I hope that everyone out there who reads this has a place they call home. Has people who are home.

Who is your home?

Posted in Lynn Lorenz, Theodora Lane | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Let the blog hop begin

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The Road Leads Back is available for Pre-Order Click on image

I am so excited, guys!

Monday I am kicking off my The Road Leads Back Blog Tour. This book is very close to my heart (wait, I say that every about every book, don’t I? Well, it’s always true!). I am beyond thrilled that it is almost time to spring it upon the world.

I’ll be making several stops at some of my favorite blogs to share stories, blurbs, excerpts, and contest information. Want to win a signed copy and some awesome swag??

Then I hope you’ll join me along the way. Here’s my schedule:

Monday, March 30:  Rants and Raves by KaLyn Cooper

Tuesday, March 31: Christy Gissendaner

Wednesday, April 1: Sara Daniel

Thursday, April 2: Emilia Mancini (What? I’m totally allowed to host myself!)

Friday, April 3:  Sam Cheever’s Eclectic Insights

Monday, April 6: Lizzie’s Way (Lizzie T. Leaf)

Tuesday, April 7: Jianne Carlo

Wednesday, April 8: Parker Kincade

Thursday, April 9: The Gemini Girls and Sotia Lazu

Friday, April 10: Romantic Imperative with Monette Michaels

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“I’ll take Potpourri for $100, Alex”

If you love Jeopardy as much as I do, you know the category – the answers could be anything. So, I felt it was appropriate to use as the title of this blog, because I am addressing a little bit of everything. :)

MM_SSI4_StormWarning_300x400First, I’d like to announce the names I chose for the secondary characters in Storm Warning, SSI Book 4, and my current WIP.  If y’all recall, I asked for help a while back and I finally got around to choosing the final names after mulling them over and letting my Muse pick the ones that struck her fancy.

There could be spoilers for anyone who has not read Weather the Storm, so you might want to skip these.  :)

1. Dept. of Defense Capt. Syd MacLean escapes in the early part of Weather the Storm. He escapes to Rio where he undergoes plastic surgery and then takes on the identity of a reclusive Brazilian import-export businessman that he had set up many years ago.  Of course, his business is a front for illegal trafficking of all kinds. His alternative identity is feared in Central and South America, mainly because of the men who enforce his dictates.

Name:  Sergio Manuel Lazaro aka “Oraio” (storm or lightning) — suggested by Valy Samouillan.

2.  The man who is the front man for Oraio’s Brazilian business is a red-haired Irish-looking male.  He is the man who puts together the hack-a-thon that Tweeter and DJ infiltrate in Belize to gather intelligence for NSA about the reclusive Brazilian businessman who is no longer so reclusive and who is making power moves in the Southern hemisphere. He is glib and personable, but underneath he is a shark.

Name:  Declan O’Riley — suggested by Heather Hand.

3.  The negotiator for Oraio’s business.  This is the guy who is GQ handsome in a South American sort of Latin lover way.  He negotiates from a position of strength and power and usually meets little opposition, but when he does he sends in the business’s enforcer.

Name:  Alejandro Salazar – suggested by Erin Bentley.

4.  The enforcer for Oraio’s business.  He is also Latin American, but he looks like he would eat babies for breakfast.  He is scarred from torture in a Colombian prison. He is ruthless.

Name:  Alberto Rossi aka “the Albatross” – suggested by Heather Hand.

5.  And I needed a name for Tweeter’s alter ego on the Dark Net which he uses to get invited to the hack-a-thon.  I needed both his Dark Net handle and false identity name that he and Keely created with the DIA’s help so he could troll the shadow net for terrorists, drug runners, gun traffickers and the like.  His reputation on the Dark Net makes him the man to beat out for the job being offered at the end of the hack-a-thon.

Dark Net handle:  Phantom/Alternate identity name: Erik Slade– suggested by Valy Samouillan.

THANK YOU  for all the fabulous suggestions.  The winning names will be acknowledged in the front of Storm Warning.

And don’t be surprised if some of the other names y’all suggested appear in a future SSI book.  I am keeping all of them with the person’s name who suggested them and will acknowledge if and when I use them.

11650_mlt_fiber_optic_hair_clip_modelv2_600Second, my Swag bag dilemma. I want to thank everyone who made suggestions, but I decided to stick with the gallon-size Zip-lock bag. I pulled the barrette out of its plastic sleeve and folded the cardboard backer so I could put the barrette into the bag and then added the other goodies.  That worked the best since it would also make it easier for the stuffers to stuff the goody bags and it kept all my swag together.  I am happy to say all the swag is bagged and now boxed and just waiting for April 6th to arrive so my shipment doesn’t get to Texas too early.

If you’re coming to RT in Dallas, you’ll definitely want to attend the Intergalactic Bar and Grille on Friday evening (May 15) for multitudinous swag, munchies and wine, and lots of games in which you can win great loot.  I’ll be there as one of Linnea Sinclair’s crew.

charm bracelet less beadsThird, after all the fun at RT in Dallas, I will be coming home and then almost immediately leaving for Lori Foster’s Reader-Author Get Together in Cincinnati in early June.  I along with six other authors will be manning the Liquid Silver boardroom.  This is LSB’s parent company’s 15th anniversary year, so we are going to have lots of games and prizes.

If you are quick enough off the mark on the first full day (Friday, June 5th), you’ll hit the LSB boardroom early to get a chance to be Charmed by An LSB Author. The number of participants will be limited. The early birds will get a bangle bracelet loaded with a silver drop and some beads. Then the fun begins.

This is an “author hunt” game — you will hunt down the seven LSB authors to collect charms for the bracelet. Once the bracelet is completed, i.e., you collect all seven author charms, you will get a chance to win another prize (TBA). Easy and fun!!

Now, I might be prejudiced, but the bracelet itself is worth playing for.  Dontcha think? Again, numbers will be limited.  So, if you are attending RAGT, plan on being outside the LSB boardroom when it opens that Friday morning.

The participating authors besides myself?  KaLyn Cooper (my LL&L buddy!!), Eve Langlais, Wendi Zwaduk/Megan Slayer, Kelli Evans, Maddy Barone, and Lynn Rae/ J.J. Lore. These ladies are fabulous and fun people.

And, last but not least, just wanted to let my fans know that because of my husband’s quintuple bypass surgery in early February, I am way off schedule in writing Storm Warning. As Rosanna and Lynn both so eloquently blogged here at LL&L, sometimes life just gets in the way.

So, I am promising you–I do plan to finish Tweeter and DJ’s story, but I can’t promise when it will be published.  I have to get back into the rhythm of writing. I have not written a single new word since the day my husband was told he needed surgery and that was February 4th.  I have done some hard copy edits and am now transferring those to the computer manuscript as a means of getting back into the story.  And I have, as detailed above, with the help of my fans and friends, named the characters who’d only previously been labeled “bad guy 1″, “bad guy 2″, and so on.  :)

Good news is — I am dreaming the story again, which means my Muse is ready to get back to to work. I am cautiously optimistic that I can finish the story soon.  Then the revising and rewriting begins.  But every step forward is that much closer to typing “the End.”

Thanks to all of you for your support and good wishes while my husband and I dealt with this very life-altering event — and trust me, it is life-altering.  While he is recovering nicely, he will always have the wires in his sternum (hubby being a pathologist can detail all the potential issues with such) and have to deal with changes in his lifestyle.

I’m just blessed that my soul mate and love of my life for 45 years is still here to, as he always says with a naughty grin, “to make your life wonderful.”  xoxoxo– Monette

Posted in Monette Michaels | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Spring Means More Audio Books

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Spring has arrived in Eastern Tennessee

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My spring garden

My daffodils are out. Yea!

My early spring garden is planted. Oh, yeah, look who’s on top of the season.

The grass is growing.

The last statement brings a variety of sentiments depending on your relationship with constantly cutting the green growth. I look forward to mowing because it’s mindless me time when I can get lost in a book.

I am addicted to audio books so I plug in the ear buds to my iPod, hop on the riding lawn mower let someone read to me for the next four hours. I mow about four acres.

1980s cassette player

I had a cassette player like this on my car seat

I’ve listened to books for over twenty-five years. Back in the eighties, as the mother of small children and owner of a large advertising agency, I didn’t have time to read. I put a portable cassette player on my car seat – yes, I’m that old that cars didn’t have them – and listened to self-help books between clients and day care. Over time, I stepped up to CDs which were a Godsend while driving the four hours each way every weekend to join my family in Tennessee while I lived in Kentucky awaiting the sale of our house there. It took sixteen months to sell…too many books to count.

Audio books started me on the journey to become a romance author. During the year we built our new house, while hanging insulation, laying tile and painting, I spent endless hours listening to more than 500 audio books. I got hooked on romance, specifically romantic suspense. Then I wrote a book, which I hope will get sold and published this summer.

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I listen to 5-8 audio books every month, more in the summer

Last night I scanned Audible for new books since I have to mow today, and discovered several new listings, which came as no surprise. Audio books are the fastest growing segment of book publishing. Amazon expects by the end of 2016, it will comprise 20 percent of book sales. ACX, a division of Amazon, produces over 1,000 titles every month.

As a reader, that means more choices. As an author, it’s a category of publishing I must seriously consider.

How about you?

Readers – Do you listen to audio books? How often? What are you listening to now?

Authors – Have you turned any of your books into audio? If so, post a link.

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An uncluttered space. An uncluttered mind.

I suppose it’s fitting that this post should follow Jianne’s post about work spaces yesterday. I looked around my writing space today (our spare bedroom), lamenting that it had grown cluttered again, and I realized it needed a good spring cleaning.

Oh, it’s not dirty, but like so many spare bedrooms, it tends to accumulate the junk we haven’t yet put away. So there are piles of old kids’ clothes on the bed, waiting for the next charity pick-up truck. There are stacks of bills and papers that need to be filed. And don’t even get me started on my writing items. I have notebooks and papers on just about every surface.

It’s no wonder my recent manuscript has felt a bit stalled lately. I can’t think while surrounded by chaos.

I’ve always been of the opinion that an uncluttered space leads to an uncluttered mind. At heart, I do enjoy a good purge. I love throwing old things away. I’m like my mom that way. She hates trinkets and knick knacks and seeing things laying about, and so do I.

And I will admit, when I have allowed my environment to get messy, my life seems to follow suit. My writing definitely reacts similarly. If I’m surrounded by junk, so is my story. In order to see clearly, sometimes we need to remove the refuse from our path. Call it the feng shui of writing. Call it whatever you want. But in my case, a regular purge does appear to help. When my home is tidy, I feel better and I sleep better and I write with ease. When my home is messy, I feel a burden. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to create when I can’t stop thinking of all the chores I haven’t done.

For anyone who is currently stalled in her writing process, I would urge you to look around. Does your writing space need a little spring cleaning? If so, take a few moments and dust off that dust rag. You might be surprised at how it affects your writing for the better.

Posted in Rosanna Leo | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Would We Work Better … With No Offices at All?

1024px-CubeSpaceMost of the LLL ladies (with the exception of Monette and our recent retiree, Lynn) work the Evil Day Job (EDJ).

I do, except that I really do love my day job. Lucky for me, I’m a virtual worker. Though I have to see clients on a regular basis, I can determine when and where. I haven’t had to battle ‘rush hour’ in years.

Why an I introducing this topic?

Because I read a recent OZY article entitled — Would we work better with no offices at all? The argument intrigued me. Here’s the bulk of it:

Office space is expensive — In San Francisco, companies dole out as much as $100 per square foot.

Commuting — The census shows average American commute time is around 25 minutes, but add to that the hustle of getting yourself or kids out of bed, fitting in a half-hour at the gym, attempting to cram a healthy breakfast down your piehole … oh, and don’t forget commuting’s adverse impact on marriage, health and women’s participation in the workforce.

Transparency — With  today’s technology we have full transparency now. You can see the trail of technology — when you called, who you emailed, which conference call you jumped in and out of. We know exactly what you’re doing. Who cares where you’re doing it from? Who cares, indeed, since apparently the panopticon is now officially inescapable.

Of course, the advantages of the physical office, everyone agrees, are essentially twofold, and obvious enough: Casual chitchat begets both good ideas and a brain break for the weary. Plus, sometimes you really need to get away from your kids, or spouse, or roommates. Which is why in some cases, you need to beam down to real life — and  arrange a physical meeting space for creative work.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Not much for me, because I am a virtual worker. But most of my author friends do the commute to an office and work at least part-time. Imagine the exponential increase in productivity if they could work from home? Not to mention the reduction in stress.

What do you think? Is it time, in most cases, to abolish the office as your permanent workspace? Could you do your job from home?

Cheers,

Jianne

Parts of this blog are taken from an OZY article—Read more: OZY – Smarter, Fresher, Different

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When Life Happens by Lynn Lorenz

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know I’m in the middle of selling a house, finding a place to stay temporarily, dealing with packing, college kids, and last and certainly least right now, writing.

For the last month or so, as the time to actually move approaches, my writing has fallen more and more to the background. It has to right now. And as much as I would love to just close the world of “this move is happening” away, I can’t. So either it drives me nuts (and I’m well on the way down that road, thanks to hubs, who hates everything about moving and selling a house) or I can just tell myself, chill. You’ll write again once you are in the hotel. For months. *sigh*

So, for me, I’m chilling on the writing until there is less drama/stress/crap in my life. Hopefully, once it all calms down, it won’t take me long to fire up all the writing engines and get going again. So, my advice is “Don’t feel guilty because you can’t write. Sometimes, there are more important things to do.”

I do have two new books out. Here’s the covers and buy links. They are short stories and center around a Houston gay BDSM club and the doms and their subs. Quick, hot and happy!


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