Archive | April 2011

You and your flippin’ Cadbury Eggs!

Every single time I open the fridge, I see those evil horrid boxes of Cadbury Caramel Eggs. Damn those after Easter sales. I think hubby said they were half off so he bought two boxes and there they sit, right in the door of the fridge, taunting me.

This isn’t a post about willpower. You see, refined sugar is one of my migraine triggers. If I were to actually eat one of those things, it might actually mean my death by chocolate.  I would certainly be laid out for at least three days and ready to off myself.

The funny thing is, dessert, chocolate, ice cream, that sort of thing doesn’t usually tempt me in the least. Think of that time you had way too much of a certain drink, say margaritas (Angie, I’m looking at you), and now every time you even think of tequila your gag reflex kicks in. It’s sort of like that, minus the gag reflex, but still I have no desire to inflict that sort of torture on myself.

Most people I know apologize when they are indulging in their sugary goodness of choice  when I’m around, knowing I can’t eat it. Let me assure you, this is totally unnessesary. I don’t want it and if I get a sugar craving there are substitutes. Still, thos flippin’ Cadbury Caramel Eggs are calling to me and I haven’t run across a suitable substitute.

Damn you, G, Hurry up and eat them so I don’t have to keep thinking about them.

Impossible goals

Do you set yourself impossible goals? I do. Every damn day.

On one hand, I think it’s great I have goals and I set them usually just out of my reach, so I’ll keep pushing myself to get there. Then other days, like today, when I look around at all the things I was supposed to finish yesterday and didn’t and all the things on my mental list today, all I want to do is cry.

But that’s just silly. There isn’t anything to cry about, other than feeling overwhelmed. Instead, I surfed around the internet and decided it was time to change my banner to match my book cover and spent thirty minutes working on that, instead of opening the current file that needs to be edited. BTW, let me just say I have used up my lifetime allotment of “she looked” or “she felt” in this one manuscript. Thank you Word for  the “find” feature.

This month is especially bad because I have a deadline to get this ms done and off to my editor. Plus, I have Bead and Button coming up at the beginning of June and I need to really get moving on stocking that table and to top it off I ran a sale in the Etsy store. Which was a huge success and I wouldn’t dare dream of complaining about that. I’m thrilled. But it means, Bead and Button stock has taken a major back seat while I get the orders done.

So, my goals in addition to usual stuff- business emails, listings, shipping, working out, finding time to shower (especially important after work out), remember to eat, and pay attention to when the dogs need to go out- are:

Edit two chapters a day (until I open the first one and find out it is 5000 words and needs some serious revising and cutting).

Get at least three orders done and/or torch for at least four hours. And try to make something new to list…somewhere, Ebay Etsy, whatever (that hasn’t happened in a week, so I relist stock I have hanging around).

Bead and Button hasn’t gotten any attention for eight days.

So, how is this going? Well, I edited one chapter each on Saturday and Sunday and I haven’t managed to fill three orders a day, though I did torch for fours hours each day.

I guess I always think I am going to get stuff done faster than I can actually do it. Impossible goals.

Book Recommendation Thursday-Adrian Phoenix

Okay, so it’s Friday and I’m a day late. And my writing number over there to the right has been stagnate for over a week. You must be thinking, “What the heydo is she doing?” Well, the last few days were filled with book design stuff. I, along with my book designer Lisa Liddy at The Printed Page, have been brain storming and working on ideas and I am happy to announce I should have the book cover to show you sometime today or tomorrow. Woot!

As far as that writing number, I have spent the last week editing over 22,000 words. So I am getting it done, so to speak.

On to my weekly book of choice.

Adrain Phoenix

A Rush of Wings

Urban Fantasy

From the B&N Website:
“HIS NAME IS DANTE.

Dark. Talented. Beautiful. Star of the rock band Inferno. Rumored owner of the hot New Orleans nightspot Club Hell. Born of the Blood, then broken by an evil beyond imagination.

HIS PAST IS A MYSTERY.

F.B.I. Special Agent Heather Wallace has been tracking a sadistic serial murderer known as the Cross Country Killer, and the trail has led her to New Orleans, Club Hell, and Dante. But the dangerously attractive musician not only resists her investigation, he claims to be “nightkind”: in other words, a vampire. Digging into his past for answers reveals little. A juvenile record a mile long. No social security number. No known birth date. In and out of foster homes for most of his life before being taken in by a man named Lucien DeNoir, who appears to guard mysteries of his own.

HIS FUTURE IS CHAOS.

What Heather does know about Dante is that something links him to the killer — and she’s pretty sure that link makes him the CCK’s next target. Heather must unravel the truth about this sensual, complicated, vulnerable young man — who, she begins to believe, may indeed be a vampire — in order to finally bring a killer to justice. But Dante’s past holds a shocking, dangerous secret, and once it is revealed not even Heather will be able to protect him from his destiny….”

Rwar. Dante is a dark sexy vampire who speaks Cajun French and is a rock star. Nice right? He also has a dark past that when combined with his kindness, loyalty, and tender heart makes for a hero it’s easy to root for. FBI agent Heather is a different kind of heroine. She’s tough sure, but she is no nonsense and practical. It’s interesting to watch her go through the process of accepting Dante and falling for him.

Adrain’s tale is dark, twisted, and has plenty of plot, but the characters are what is most interesting. Plus it’s set in New Orleans (you know I love that). I couldn’t get enough. Not only that but Adrain has a beautiful writing style, I couldn’t help but admire. If you like urban Fantasy or vampire novels this one is a must have.

Exciting News

It’s official. I have secured an editor and a book designer for my paranormal romance, Haunted on Bourbon Street. My final draft will go to my editor in mid May. This means I am shooting for a July release date. A release date, that sounds so official. Squeal!

I am nervous and super excited at the same time. If you’ve paid attention at all to the publishing world you know things are changing and fast. With ereaders steadily rising in popularity, more and more people are moving to the ebook format. I myself got my NOOK in December and I’m pretty sure I’ve already bought more books this year than I did all of last year. It’s so easy. Just turn it on and the whole book store is in my hands and I don’t have to worry if the title is in stock. It’s amazing.

With that in mind and the ability to publish to Amazon’s Kindle format and Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, it makes it so much easier for authors to get their work out there without waiting years to find an agent and/or a publisher. I don’t have stars in my eyes over the recent Amanda Hocking news-the self-publishing phenomenon who made almost two million dollars in one year self-publishing. I know it’s hard work and Amanda’s story, while no doubt she worked very hard for her success, is not even remotely normal. Still, there is a future for self-published authors and I am no stranger to marketing my work or finding an audience. I’ve been doing it for ten years with the lampwork business.

So wish me luck on my newest endeavor. I’ll be sure to let you know the exact release date and the status of the rest of the series. And for my bead followers, don’t worry, you can still find me at my torch everyday.

P.s. For those of you without ereaders just yet, I will also be releasing a print version.

Edited to add this blog post by Joe Konrath:

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/04/are-you-dense.html

While I think his delivery is a little over the top, he touches on many of the reasons I decided to self-publish. That’s not to say I’ll ever rule out traditional publishing. A writer can do both and there are benefits both ways.

Book Recommondation Thursday-Ally Carter

I almost gave you another urban fantasy today, but decided to change it up a bit.

Ally Carter

I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You

Young Adult

From the B&N website

“Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school—that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies.

Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”—but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission—falling in love.”

I’ll admit this isn’t the usual kind of book I’d read. I am a paranormal/urban fantasy kind of girl at heart. Obviously. Sure, I try other stuff when friends recommend it, but when left to my own devices you can bet I’m in one of those categories.

I ran across the Cammie Morgan series while frequenting Kristen Nelsen’s blog (Ally’s agent). For those of us aspiring to be published (at least traditionally), Kristen’s blog is a must read). On a whim, I ordered the book when Kristen announced it had hit the New York Times best seller list. I finished it in one sitting and  was hooked. Although I admit I don’t stalk Ally’s website for publication dates like I do some my favorite Urban Fantasy authors, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed each book in the series.

Who doesn’t want to read about girls in high school, training to be high level spies? These books are fun, easy reads and I wish they’d been around when I was a preteen. They would have been a nice contrast to the dozens of Sweet Valley High books I devoured.

Importance of Routine

This last month has taught me the importance of sticking to a routine. It all started with a post on Facebook about how to get motivated in the morning. See, I am not a morning person (my whole family is nodding emphatically at these words). Luckily, neither is my hubby, so we just ignore each other until we both wake up.

Anywho, my work schedule for the lampworking business is sort of flexible. I do computer work and shipping in the morning…er…early afternoon, and torch in the evening,usually starting around 5pm. This means I have all day to do my computer stuff and shipping. Sometimes it takes me an hour and other days I’m at it for five. It all depends on what is going on.

The problem started when I noticed I didn’t have time for anything else. Like writing or working out. Or working on new and fun beads at the torch vs production. So with the advice of my know-it-all helpful friends, I started working out right after I woke up in the morning. My one friend said, “You’ll be halfway done before you even know what’s going on.” She was right of course and I kind of hate her a little (J/K Susan, you know I heart you) because I really, really don’t like climbing on the elliptical first thing. But afterward I feel great and get a jump on my day.

Since then I have also instilled a 1000 word count goal in writing and have managed to stick to it. No going to bed until those words are down and in nine days I managed to eek out over 10,000 words. I am elated. That’s more than all of last month.

So for me, getting anything done, from working out to doing laundry, I need a routine, otherwise I am just a computer potato and end up wasting my whole day on facebook or twitter or lampworketc or etsy and ebay. Okay, you’ll still find me in all of those places, but at least I’m also finding the time to get my stuff done.

Do you have a routine? What are you wishing you could get done but can’t find the time?

Book Recommondation Thursday-Richelle Mead

Today’s offering:

Richelle Mead’s succubus series:

Succubus Blues
Succubus on Top
Succubus Dreams
Succubus Heat
Succubus Shadows
Succubus Revealed (Coming Aug 2011)

Urban Fantasy

Summery from the B&N

“When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?

But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid’s life is far less exotic. At least there’s her day job at a local bookstore—free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can’t.

But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help because Georgina’s about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny…”

What can I say other than *I Heart Seth Mortensen*? He is one of my favorite heroes ever. So many of the heroes in urban fantasy are the to-die-for alpha male (which is good, I’m not saying otherwise.  There are plenty I heart there, too), but Seth is the quiet, sensitive, yet sexy, hero.  And Georgia is a tortured, soul sucking demon, with heart, doomed to have sex with men for thousands of years just to survive. She does what any goodhearted demon would do and preys on the morally corrupted. Seth is anything but unmoral, which means he is hands off. That’s hard to do when the heart is involved.

For five books now, I have followed the ups and downs of the relationship of these two characters and all I can say is I can’t wait to find out how it all ends in book six.

Disclaimer, these books are about a succubus who feeds off of sex to survive, so there is a fair amount of sexy times in each and everyone. If that isn’t your thing, be forewarned.

Traveling and Souvenirs

Alright, yes, I make craft for a living, so my perspective might be just a little skewed. I own that. But still, even way back in the old days (pre-2003) before I ever even dreamed of lampworking, I still never understood the practice of going on vacation and then buying a souvenir that wasn’t from or made specifically for that area. For instance, down in the French Quarter there is this store that stocks some things New Orleans related, but then they also have a whole bunch of ceramic animals. Like moose. Cause here in Southeast Louisiana we have our fair share of moose each year-oh, wait.

You’ve all seen them. The craptastic stores in your tourist area of choice filled with cheap crap made in China. How do these stores stay in business? Is it the sun screen and cheap sunglasses that keeps them going? And if so why are those stores stocked with a multitude of pure crap knickknacks?  It’s a mystery. Who buys that stuff? Sadly, someone near and dear to me loves those shops.  I don’t get it.

Anyway, these aren’t the stores that really piss me off. The ones that really get me are the “art galleries” stocking stuff made in China or where ever else they make mass produced items. There is one in the French Quarter, actually owned by an artist-AN ARTIST-whom we have spoken to a few times and really liked. Greg is fascinated with his art work and we had contemplated getting a piece when funds allowed. Then one day we walked in to find the artist had hired a manager. Great the artist has work to do, making art. But the manager started stocking the store with stuff made in China.

That’s right. In an art gallery owned by an artist in the French Quarter, I found lampwork beads made in China. A whole giant display of them. It’s an art gallery! Not a bead store (which by the way I have no problem with beads stores carrying mass produced lampwork), but an honest to goodness artist owned gallery. Btw, there were other mass produced things there too, so this isn’t just me being sensitive about beads, that was just the first thing I noticed, being a beadmaker and all. Needless to say, that artist’s work will never being gracing our house. Sad really.

Look, I understand the need to turn a profit, but there has to be better way. There are millions of artist out there. Is it really to crazy to think they couldn’t have found lower end, hand crafted items that could turn around quickly. Have they never heard of wholesalecrafts.com?

Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, but when we used to travel a lot, it wasn’t unusual for us to buy our souvenir at a gallery, even if that piece wasn’t from the area. It holds meaning and every time we see the piece we remember the trip. I think I just outed myself as a bit of a snob with that last line. I suppose cheap mass produced items could hold the same memories.  Though I have trouble seeing how a ceramic moose would ever remind anyone of the French Quarter.

The Joy of New Orleans Street Artists

On any given day you can find at least half a dozen street performance artists doing their thing down in the French Quarter. It wouldn’t be Jackson Square without the silver metallic painted man standing for hours in various poses.  And who would tourists take their picture with if the guy walking a battery operated dog or the guy who balances on the wooden latter, seeming to defy gravity, didn’t come out to entertain them?

Yesterday, a perfect spring day, Greg and I headed off to NOLA for a much needed day off and to celebrate our fifteen-year anniversary. We didn’t have a plan other than to eat at Muriels, where I had the crawfish and goat cheese crapes. Oh. My. God. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Yeah, the filet mignon was excellent, but I could have happily gorged myself on crapes all night.  Anyhow, it was a beautiful out and we opted to spend the day exploring the quarter. Sure, we live nearby so we’ve done this dozens of times, but while the quarter seems to stand still in time, it’s ever changing  with new artists and shops coming and going. We like to check in and see what’s happening.

We walked until our feet started to complain and settled on the steps outside St Louis Cathedral to listen to some live music and people watch. That’s when we spotted him. Imagine if you will a tall, six-foot-four, man weighing no more than one hundred-twenty  pounds…in a purple unitard, with only a fanning pack positioned over his man bits. Don’t forget to factor in the grunge-fro look he had going on for a hairstyle.

The look alone is enough to frighten you, yes?

Yeah, well you didn’t see his act.  *Insert creepy dance music here* and add naked baby dolls and body parts. A few baby dolls as well as some sort of animal skeletons were tied up as marionettes that he danced around, all the while doing his signature pelvic thrust for the obviously horrified crowd. Remember the fanny pack? Yeah, thank God for that. Though I had to wonder if he was hurting himself with all the bouncing it did.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, he knocked a baby doll’s head off and somehow manged to get the hands and feet of a doll onto his fingers, which he then walked over to the feet of a few teenage girls, where the baby doll’s head had landed. There was a bit of yelping and jumping back at this point. All I could think about was my friend Kelley who is terrified of dolls and I couldn’t stop laughing. What her face would have looked like.

Anyway, I apologize for not snapping a picture, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Then I’d have been obligated to tip this poor misguided soul.