Vacation Sex

No Man's Land 2Why is vacation sex the best ever?

Is it the high of being in a new environment? The possibility of ordering champers and room service twenty-four by seven and never setting foot outside the hotel room? The sudden relief from the pressure of not having to go to work? Not  having to deal with the mundane, day-to-day responsibilities of life? Or, maybe the simple fact that you’re sans kids for a solitary night?

Perhaps it’s a combination of all of the above. Almost every woman I know agrees; vacation sex is the best.

One of my friends relates that from the time she awakes to the time she peels back the bed covers, every moment’s scheduled according to everyone else’s demands. First, it’s what needs to be done for the kids, then her partner, and then her boss. When she finally lies down sleep’s impossible because she’s too preoccupied composing mental to do lists for the following day.

Have we become so busy that sex is no longer a priority?

It’s now common to discover you’re no longer in a relationship not from your better half, but on Facebook or Twitter.

Exactly when did living virtually replace the physical nitty-gritty of reality?

All my fingers and toes are crossed in the hopes that the wild pendulum swing of social networking will somehow settle, and we’ll find a healthy middle ground. But I have this sinking feeling that things are going to get a heckuva lot worse before they begin to get better.

What’s your take on the topic?

Cheers,

Jianne

Wanted: Strong, honest, sometimes mean editors

This was the week I crashed and burned as a writer. Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but the truth is this was a bad week for my (not so) illustrious writing career. Several stories back from edits (because they always come back at the same time) and needing major work.

Hey, it happens—too many irons in the fire make it hard to concentrate!

And sometimes I may rush and submit too quickly without giving a manuscript the proper read through…she admits with a rushed and mumbled voice.

So, while wallowing in the bowels of editing hell, I pulled up my big girl panties and decided I needed to remind myself of a few things…like why I love my editors.

  1. They are honest, even when it hurts. While beta readers toss a few corrections out and say how much they loved something, editors have the nerve to say, “This is really bad.” Okay, so that may sound harsh, but isn’t it better to hear that from an editor than a reader?
  2. I can’t edit my own work. I know what I mean, and so it reads okay to me. I need someone to point out that, no, it doesn’t sound okay.
  3. They have my best interests at heart. Of course they gets paid to fix my ramblings, but I’m an editor and I know what editors make. They aren’t doing this for the money. They does it because they believe in my books and want them to be the best they can possibly be.
  4. They are wise beyond reason. That may sound like a bit of ego-stroking, maybe it is, but it’s kind of true too. Editors have a lot of information crammed into the old noggin, and they put it to good use by reminding me of things like dangling modifiers are bad and…you know…other things.
  5. They keep me grounded. So some people liked my books. So what? Editors aren’t impressed. They see great books every day, they work with great writers every day. I’m not special. And they like to remind me of that.

I could probably think of a few other reasons why I love my editors, but I don’t want them to get big heads either. So, I’ll just say thanks. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not so great, I’m not so special, and sometimes I outright suck. And when I do, thank you for setting me straight and making me shine.

The Egg and I

The_Egg_(Albany,_New_York)_003No, that is not a UFO.  That is the Egg in Albany, NY, a performing arts center and convention center in the Empire State Plaza.  For those who slept through Geography in grade school, Albany is the capital of New York and is located on the Hudson River about 150 miles to the north of New York City.

And why am I telling/showing you this, you ask?

Because I spent six days there for Bouchercon 2013, the World Mystery Convention.  I have been to the state of New York before and find it to be very rural and lovely.  We took the New York State Thruway (I-90) and saw the wine country, the foothills of the Adirondacks and the Catskills, the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers, and vestiges of the Erie Canal.  Parts of the Revolutionary and French and Indian Wars were fought in the areas we passed through.  I want to go back and visit the Finger Lakes region in depth (went there with my son when he interviewed at Cornell and fell in love with the area). I could spend at least a week just touring the wineries and the local craftsman (Mackenzie-Child pottery is made here).

So, enough about New York, what about the convention?

This has to be one of my favorite conventions.  I usually do a panel that deals with either paranormal mystery/suspense or romantic suspense/mystery.  This year my panel was Temptation, the title is sort of self-explanatory.  I also do a Booze and Broads signing in the Dealer Room with special author friends courtesy of my dealer friend, Mystery Mike.  This year the B&B II consisted of me, Heather Graham, Melinda Leigh, and Tina Whittle.  All wonderful gals and authors and fellow whiskey drinkers. I posted a picture of us on FaceBook.

I also help out Mystery Mike by selling books for him– so I meet everyone.  I am getting to know the collectors on sight and many of the authors stop by to sign first editions for Mike’s stock and so I get to know them also.  I had lovely chats this year with Tess Gerritson (when she signed books)  and Anne Perry while waiting on the elevators at the hotel. Sue Grafton was there to sign W is for Wasted and she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Anne was International Guest of Honor and Tess was American GOH.

I think this convention is my favorite because mystery readers never meet a stranger — these are some of the friendliest fans, authors, and publishers in the world.

Next year is in Long Beach and I will miss that one.  But 2015 is in Raleigh and 2016 is in New Orleans (I am Registration Chair for that one because the Co-Chairs Heather Graham and Connie Perry asked me and I was delighted to help them out.)  Oh and I hear 2017 is in Toronto — I’ve been to Toronto for a previous Bouchercon and had a blast (it was the con that Mystery Mike introduced me to the wonders of single malt scotch — blends were history after that).

So, if you like mystery, suspense, thrillers — please come join us.  You’ll never meet a nicer bunch of people in the world.

Photo of  the Egg, Leonard J. DeFrancisci [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

You say potato……..

Recently I’ve been writing and more and more I’ve found that I’m double checking words. Not the spelling, we all know I suck at that. No, its words I take for granted that are causing the problem and it got me to thinking about all the words out there that are very typical of where you live but don’t really translate out of that area.

Now I come from North London, which in itself has phrases and words that I’m sure even other Londoners would have problems understanding.

But I think that’s what makes me love writing, not only am I creating worlds where anything can happen, but I am learning new things about places I may never have been too.

In a recent submission to a publisher I used the word “bonnet”. Right now half of you are picturing a cute little hat a lady or baby might wear, aren’t ya…… but that’s not what I meant. I was actually talking about the hood of car. A friend who was reading the draft for me, pulled me up on it. Now you can understand why more and more I’ve had to check the words I’m using.

To me they are every day speak, but to others people I sound like a nutbar more than I do normally!

Where I’m from there is such a diverse amount of ethnic groups that in our everyday language we use words from around the world. I think the UK has always been like that, one giant melting pot and I really love that.

Is there a word or phrase that you’ve read in a book that means something very different where you are from? Or are you a writer who has the same problem as me? Let me know.

On a separate note: Short stories….that’s all I’m saying…. I definitely ain’t telling ya that we might be having  a series of them on this blog soon…nope definitly not me…. I’d never do that and I’m offended you’d even suggest it!

Until next time or as they say where I’m from….let me catch ya inna piece…

Remember….. sighing dramatically when your Dom/me spanks you is just asking for trouble!

Taking a criticism, and letting it go.

It seems we are never too old to learn new things about ourselves. Not long ago, I learned I make a really bad crit partner. Oh, I think I give good criticism, constructive and respectful. However, it appears I’m not so good at receiving it.

I generally have not worked with crit partners up until recently. Perhaps I should have, I don’t know. I suppose when I entered this industry, I never really dreamed anyone would read my books, and so I kept them to myself. It was only when Liquid Silver Books said “yes” to my first book that I began to realize I could do this. And it was only a few months ago that I took on a crit partnership with a few other Liquid Silver authors. For the most part, it all went really well.

And then I received “the” criticism.

I was part of the way into my current WIP, and was still struggling with a few issues when I sent out some passages to one or two people, just so I could get their overall feelings on the book. One of the crits I received really did a number on my confidence.

Now, let me say this: the author who provided the crit said nothing disrespectful. In fact, she had some fabulous points and expressed them with honesty. However, one of her points was that the heroine was completely unlikable and demonstrated few redeeming qualities.

Whoa. Back to square one.

I continued writing and revising this work, but the crit bore a hole in my head and I couldn’t let it go. I began reading between my own lines. I started to dislike my own characters, and doubted the story I needed to tell. All of a sudden, the whole thing seemed unusable. I was ready to dump it.

I had to remind myself: this is one person’s opinion. I hear people express their opinions everyday, and they don’t always jive with mine. So why would this one sting so much?

Perhaps the other author was correct and I didn’t like admitting it. After careful consideration, I set about making some improvements to the piece, and it is better. Even still, I hear the words of that crit every day in my head and worry about the story. I worry about submitting it. I worry about subsequent reviews. I worry, worry, worry.

I finally took the email with the criticism, read it one last time to learn what I could, and deleted it. I felt a lot better after that. After all, a person can only dwell on a negative thought for so long. Eventually, one has to believe and have faith in one’s talent and work.

I reread the manuscript and found passages that made me smile. I revisited my troublesome heroine, and realized there was a lot to admire in her. And I love my hero. This book will work.

So many times in life, we receive messages that we don’t want to hear or accept. That’s normal. Hearing them is one thing, but letting them go is another. At the end of the day, I remembered how I got to this spot in my life, and realized my stories have an audience. I don’t want to let that audience down. I work to craft the best book I can, and hope it floats. I’ve learned that when someone has a negative comment about my work, I need to absorb and use whatever is useful to me. After that, I say “thank you” and to allow it to drift away into the stratosphere.

Criticism can be wonderful, but we need to wear our thick skin when receiving it. After all, none of us is perfect. We can all improve on our work. I thank the author who gave me that critique. I did learn a lot about my writing from it.

However, in retrospect, I think I learned even more about myself.

Growing up in the South

Growing up in the South was quite an experience. With acres and acres of land to roam, trees to climb, and the ever-present humidity, you haven’t lived “rural” until you’ve come to my neck of the woods. And contrary to popular belief, we all don’t grow our beards and hunt ducks!

Summers were always my favorite. Not only could I catch up on non-school-required reading, but there were peas and butterbeans to shell (and EAT!), ponds to swim in, and go-karts to ride.  I could also catch up on my “stories”, otherwise known as soap operas. My brothers, my cousins, and I would hike the back fields, build forts, and pick plums and bullices (scumplins) straight off the tree/vine.

But probably the absolute best thing about growing up in Alabama was the rivers. There’s tons of fishing in my area, thanks mostly to Tom Mann Outdoors. Not that I do much fishing, but swimming and picnics waterside were the perfect ending to the long, hot, humid days.

Being a proud Southerner, it’s no wonder so many of my books take place in the southeastern United States. A Hot Mess, Christmas Spirits, and Overnight Sensation had characters based in Georgia. Some Kind of Trouble and A Touch of Sin take place in good ole ‘Bama.

My latest release, Just Right, moved up to Memphis, Tennessee. The center of soul and Elvis, Memphis is like Los Angeles of the South. I once visited Memphis for a concert. (*NSYNC. Shouldn’t come as a surprise since my love of the former pop band is well documented.) Going to the Peabody, Beale Street, Graceland, and the Pyramid were highlights of my vacation. I also got to enjoy the yummy offerings from B.B. King’s Café. (Try the chili. Trust me!) I’m happy to say that many of my favorite tourist attractions made their way into Sadie and Jason’s story.

I know many of my fellow LL&L ladies have either lived or now live in the South. So today I want to hear what’s some of ya’ll’s (It’s a word I swear!) favorite cities and memories.

Just a blurb…

Finally! I know some of you have been (not so) patiently waiting for the back cover blurb for Shadow of Sin. It’s official – got the seal of approval from my editor so…here it is!

Let the countdown begin. 49 days and counting…

ShadowofSin_final_1600x2400A man determined to protect her…

Caleb Martin is no stranger to hazardous situations. He’s seen enough bloodshed to last two lifetimes. When an innocent evening takes a dangerous turn, Caleb takes matters into his own hands. If she wants his help, it’s his rules, his way. Period.

A woman who won’t be controlled…

When it comes to relationships, Samantha keeps things casual, unassuming. Safe. Caleb Martin is far from safe. His ‘my way or the highway’ attitude pushes all the wrong buttons, and she’d sworn no man would have that kind of power over her again.

A hunger that won’t be denied…

Protecting Samantha from the man that stalks her shouldn’t test his patience—or his control—but her smart mouth and hot Irish temper stoke the fuel of his desire. She is pure sin—a distraction he doesn’t need, a temptation he can’t resist.

Despite their animosity, Caleb has starred in her fantasies for years. His ruthless sensuality proves to be more potent than she ever imagined. As Caleb masters her body, Samantha must keep a tight grip her heart.

Are you excited yet?

Until next time…