There are still a few openings for Authors After Dark.
Yes, folks, this is my June newsletter, and I'm admitting to barely squeaking in under the wire, but it's been crazy busy here. I was almost done with Intimate when my editor asked me to make the story longer, so I've been going back and doing things with it I wanted to do before but didn't have the room with the original word count. It's taking me longer, but there's going to be a lot more meat to the story.
It's been hot and dry here. I'm so glad we don't have a lawn, as the beautiful yards here in town are mostly brown. (You can tell when someone's not being careful with water usage--green and lush is NOT good!) Dirty cars and brown lawns are becoming a symbol around town, though my husband did manage to wash my filthy Subaru with a one gallon bucket of recycled water, and rinsed it with about the same amount, also recycled. I was impressed. Of course, I must drive with a look of shame on my face...
Our yard is mostly drought tolerant plants and everything is on drip. Even so, we've managed to cut our water usage by over 40% compared to last year. It hasn't been that difficult--larger wash loads, saving the water that generally goes down the sink while waiting for hot water in the shower--that sort of thing. Our lives revolve around those big, white, five gallon buckets!
The drought was really brought home to us when we traveled into northern California for a short getaway earlier in the month. The beautiful wetlands up near Tule Lake were bone dry. That's a major rest stop for migrating waterfowl, and there were very few areas with any water at all. It's pretty scary stuff.
Enough doom and gloom--I won't be around much over the next couple of weeks as our son and his family are here for their annual summer vacation. Of course, since they live in Hawaii, it's hard to know what they're vacationing from...too much paradise? We only get all six grandkids together a couple of times a year, so I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.
As soon as I finish writing INTIMATE, I plan to jump right into the next book. Still not sure of a title, but since I'll be writing about a man who is trying to find peace after making some terrible mistakes in his youth, I'm leaning toward the title, REDEMPTION. Not sure if my editor will go for it or not. My agent doesn't think it's sexy enough. Personally, I don't think there's anything more romantic than a strong man brought to his knees by love, one willing to become a better man because he's found a woman who loves him even though he's flawed.
Benjamin Lowell is deeply flawed, but after almost twenty years' worth of penance, it's time for him to find out what life really has to offer.
I've had a chance to read some wonderful stories over the past couple weeks--RIVER'S BEND by JoAnn Ross, a revised, expanded version of her book, Murphy's Law. It's wonderful, a real "feel good" story. That's been my theme over the past few weeks--reading books that make me feel good! Obviously, Robyn Carr's newest, THE PROMISE, was a perfect fit. An excellent story and a wonderful chapter to her Thunder Bay series. One of the gems I read was a novella by Susan Fox, aka Susan Lyons, aka Savanna Fox. STAND BY YOUR MAN is part of her Caribou Crossing series. Susan has the amazing skill to take flawed characters and turn them into perfect romance heroes. She also writes multicultural stories with the characters so perfectly drawn that you can't help but see them as real people.
I've always liked the idea of writing stories with variations of race and ethnicity without bludgeoning the reader OVER the head with the characters' color. I recently received a one star review on Amazon from a reader who bought DARK REFUGE because there's a "black man" on the cover, and then she trashed the book because I didn't talk about Gabe's "blackness." Those of you who read the series know that Gabe is biracial--his father, Anton Cheval, is white. His mother, Keisha Rialto Cheval is black, but all three of them are Chanku. That's the most important racial/species characteristic Gabe--or any of the pack--have, but I guess you can't please everyone.
Okay...rant over. I hope you've all had a good start to the summer. For those of you looking for reading material, I'm offering ebook copies of some of my self-published stories, mainly because it's easier to send an ebook via email than to package and mail a print book.
Choose one of the following titles, and PLEASE note it in your entry. I've been pretty forgiving, but not this month. When you enter the contest, I'll need your name and email address, but instead of your street address, tell me the title of the book you want, and the FORMAT! Be specific--mobi, epub, pdf, or html. You can choose from the following titles:
CARVED IN STONE
68 & CLIMBING
(Oops...Unbalanced is already free online! I forgot...)
And don't forget to take time for yourselves. Life's pretty busy--we all need to learn to slow down and enjoy. And if you're curious about the pictures of the lily up above, I was so fascinated by the difference in photos taken in daylight and at night that I wanted to share. And I'll close with a shot of this little guy, cheerfully munching away on my parsley...if you're on Facebook, you may have already seen him! He'll grow up to be a yellow swallowtail butterfly.
Have a wonderful FOURTH of JULY, all of you folks here in the states!