Monday, August 25, 2014

The Thing About Electronics--Guest Jacqui Jacoby

Five computers, one tablet, three headsets and four phones.

That’s my tally since February 2014.  I crashed them, I burned them, I destroyed them.  I had one that I swear hated my guts.  I think that one was issuing a personal vendetta to cause my suffering.

The first computer to go, I gotta say, that laptop checked out with class.  He told me ahead of time with a message that read something like “I’m sorry, honey.  But I will be crashing every system very shortly. I suggest you commence an emergency back-up of all your files.

My computer knowing son gave me three days to finish the project I was on deadline for.  

The laptop lasted two. I still haven’t gotten to the deadline as technology has it out for me.  However, I did get everything off that sweetie in time then kept the little guy set up on my table so I could walk by every now and then and hit ‘enter’ to see another “I am dead.  Mourn for me,” appear on the screen.

The second computer to go?  The brand new piece of art my husband surprised me with.  Five weeks in, just after the possibility of returning it, I got the blue screen of death.  The thing had been sold to us with a fried hard drive.  The company is still determining how to fix the situation.

Now the tablet … this was personal.  He hated me.  Totally.  When I finally gave up after four weeks of trying to learn it, I pulled all my data off, saving in three places.  When I went to the borrowed lap top (the one I didn’t kill) I found that the tablet had erased all the saved files from my flash drives, except for one.  That file had been rearranged and mangled beyond recognition.  Every sentence from page one on was a new version, not translated from any form of any human language.  

I don’t know what was a better or worse ending of that story.  The file was mangled?  Or the fact when I went back to work on fixing the entire thing—all 562 pages—was gone. Just gone.  I was staring at the blank file thinking the mangling might not have been too bad.

It was about this time my language started to became … shall we say … colorful? 

I got a new phone last winter. It was broken by the time I got home.  I had to send it back and they sent me a new one, which I sent back.  Then they sent me one that like … you know … worked.  Until I got my upgrade four months later.  I kept this one, even though it doesn’t work right, figuring I can teach myself to learn its ‘special’ behavior. I cannot face having to reboot another device and transferring over the data. I changed Suri’s  name to Scottie, gave him a sex change and altered his voice to male.  We get along better now.

The headsets?  I’m so not going there.  The one I ended up with is demonic and does things no headset should do. Like call health professionals without telling me, confusing the doctor’s receptionist … who see my name come up on caller ID.

I am more weeks late on a project due to my agent then I care to admit.  The last time I looked at the calendar it was dangerously behind. She’s cool, though I think a little amused at the photos I keep sending of dead screens to prove I am trying even as another device fails.

There tends to be a universe puzzlement of “what are you doing to them to make them self-destruct …?”

My son says it’s because I am an EMP ( Electric Magnetic Pulse). EMPs are used as weapons to take out the enemy’s defenses.  I’m just a smaller version with devices that come in the box.  Because of this, he says that for Christmas, he’s getting me a fifteenth century monk, complete with ink well and quill who I can dictate my projects to. Son figures I can’t possibly crash that.

Yeah.  Sure.  I’m sure the new guy will be perfectly safe.

I’ll take the monk, weird hair cut and all, as long as I can plug fourteen flash drives into him to save every bit of data there is.  Because as hard as I tried, I lost a ton.  Scenes, chapters, new directions of plot gone from my flash drives but still in my brain. The thought of retyping them all is daunting but a task I know I will undertake.

I read a quote years ago. So long in fact I can’t even credit the source. But something like this: there are two types of people in this world. Those who have lost all their data and those who are getting ready to lose their data ....

My advice?  Back-up to as many sources as you can.  Keep an easy to track naming system of the files so you can get into them quick and check.  I’ve been using two flash drives, one external hard drive and the hard drive on the computer and I lost the entire ending of Book Four, the middle of Book Three as well as multiple copies of the Book One I am supposed to have sent a month ago.

I have a new laptop now.  No, there are no programs on it but one: The Word.  There will be no Google searches or YouTube viewing until I get this file sent.  I am not going to give this contraption an ounce of room in attempting a suicide.  

I will open that file my agents wants, head back over to page one and begin reading it again to make sure no damage was done to this version.

It’s a good story.  I love this story. I so don’t want to read it again for the seventh time in five weeks. Though to be honest, not once have I gotten to The End as all the machines died so soon.  So maybe this time, this time I will push on through and prove to the world I can tackle any electriconics and win. 

With a Vengeance

The more she wanted out, the more they dragged her back in.

Daughter to murdered CIA officers, niece to a deputy director, Jaime Walsh has never known life outside the world of espionage. Until a high-action case in Buenos Aires leaves her gutted. Physically, emotionally…and professionally.

She’d planned for her long-overdue vacation to be a time to rest and reassess. With her longtime partner Stephen not far behind, it’s a tropical paradise away from work. A paradise where boundaries will be tested.

From their training days, Stephen Reid has watched Jaime kick ass while performing what has become his second job—watching her back. But now his feelings have grown.

As best friends look at each other in a new light, they like what they see. And Jaime dreams of a new life outside “the company”.

Except someone from their past won’t be satisfied until Jaime and the man she loves are hunted to the brink of death. Now Jaime must find the strength to trust her heart and let go of her fear. Before she loses everything…

Product Warnings
This book contains world travel with stops in exotic locations, a kick-ass heroine who just wants to be left alone and a sexy hero who can’t seem to stop himself from watching her back. 
Amazon B&N Samhain 

When asked how she got started in writing, Jacqui Jacoby looks a little confused. “Actual writing? You mean like pen to paper?” she wants to know. “Not until about 1989... April in fact. My son was eleven months old, my daughter about three. I’d been out of school for a year and a half and I was going a little batty. So, finally, I began to write down the stories that had been playing in my head.” Back in the 70’s when they still called Junior High, Junior High and not Middle School, Jacqui used to take TV series she liked and rework the characters and plot, maybe kill someone off, add someone new. Today this is called ‘fan fiction’ and is a popular form of Internet entertainment.

But when Starskey & Hutch was still on the air and Shaun Cassidy was the heart throb of the day, it was just sorta weird. “My problem was--and still is, in fact--” says Jacqui, “is that when I work dialogue, my lips move. Sometimes I even talk to myself and use hand gestures and facial expressions. My kids know that when they see me doing this, don’t bother me. But back in the 70’s... it was just strange. Try sitting in gym class with your lips moving and see if everyone around you doesn't move three feet away!"

These days, Jacqui spends five days a week at her computer, creating her stories and writing her articles. “The most fun, though, is the research,” she says. “ I’ve worked with rock bands and spoken to the CIA to get info for books. One of the reasons I’ve been taking martial arts for so many years is because I can’t stand heroines who are weak and sniveling. I don’t mind a hero showing up in the nick of time to save the day, but I want the heroine to be able to take care of herself. Or how about she shows up to save him?! That works for me!” she says.

Currently working on a paranormal set in Hollywood, California, Jacqui spent the first week of October in the LA area, researching the book. “I went to the old Hollywood Memorial Park [now called Hollywood Forever] where Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolph Valentino are buried. My girls were with me so it was a great day out... just me, the daughters and a graveyard!” Jacqui laughs.

A graduate of UCLA, Jacqui currently lives in Northern Arizona. The whole family is studying for their black belts. "I think it was 1998. I decided I wanted to be Xena when I grew up and enrolled myself and my two eldest kids into a local Tae Kwon Do class. Now we all do some form of martial arts."

Does she do it just for the books? No, she admits. She does it because it's fun and the whole family is involved. And there's something cool about beating up inanimate objects after a rough day.

Books, fitness, and family; reading from right to left. That’s how Jacqui likes her life. “I write on a regular schedule because it’s what I have to do to stay fulfilled. I am, however, very aware that my kids won’t always be at home and there will be more time later to put in more pages.”

With the oldest kid heading for college soon and another who isn’t far behind, it’s easy to see where more time will be freeing up. Why not just wait? Why not write when the kids have flown the nest?

“Old or young, my kids need their mom. And I need the time to write in order to stay sane. It’s a matter of balance,” says Jacqui. “I have to balance work with family, with housekeeping, with personal time. Just like a ton of other working mothers. And I love it. I’m happy.”

As far as Jacqui is concerned, that’s all that matters in the great scheme of things. Being happy is what you do every day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Finding Comfort in the Sexiest of Places...

I have always been a bit odd. Some might say the black sheep, the odd man out, or special. And I don't think they meant special in a good way.

What I have learned about myself over the years is that I needed to stop listening to the voices around me that tell me where I should find comfort.

Sure it's okay to try new things, like when someone says "Soaking in a hot bath and drinking a glass of wine will help you relax." That doesn't mean it will work for me. I tried this. My back started to hurt, and because my tub isn't really big enough for soaking my knees always get cold. Then I always either break the wine glass or end up with a wine/bath water combo that I'm not too excited about consuming.

That's not my kind of relaxing.

Someone else once recommended going to get a massage. Here's the thing. I am not a really touchy-feely person, and I like to keep my personal bubble intact. The very idea of someone oiling up my near naked body (who isn't my hubby) makes me break out in hives. I also get  bored when I am sitting still, and don't think I could lay there without, at the very least, playing a little Sims.

Again...not my idea of relaxing.

I grew up as an only child and absolutely adore my alone time. I know what works to help me relax if I just take the time to listen to what my soul needs.

You know what my soul needs? My soul needs people getting it on in the middle of a great story told with a sense of humor.

I have a few books that I always go back to when I need some time to myself. Even though I have read these books MULTIPLE times, re-reading them is like a visit with an old friend. And now that I have met these authors, these books are even more special to me.

So if you like books with humor, great story lines, and smoking hot scenes (Warning: heat level may vary based on author and your personal kink scale)

1. Bite My Fire by Mary Hughes. (yes I know she's already on th
is blog, but I love this book so suck it up.)
Nothing gets me to smile like an impromptu drunken strip tease with a laundry day bra. And the biting...oh the biting.

2. Three to Ride by Sophie Oak.
Yes, this book is about twins. I adore their very different personalities, and how one woman completes them as a trio.

And I like it when she beats them with flowers.

3. The Ghost Shrink, The Accidental Gigolo, & Poltergeist Accountant by Vivi Andrews.
I was researching mediums in stories because I was writing one and wanted to see how it was done. This is how it is done.

A case of hilarious mistaken identity and hilarious ghosts.

Those are the books I reread to the point of obsession. And being the tech nerd I am, I will usually read them with my computer on my lap, my cell at my side and the television on. It works. Don't judge. ;p

What works for you? When you want to run away from reality, where do you run to? If you read, what are some of your favorite books?

Let's fangirl out together.


Read some of what goes on in Roxy's Brain in her series Hart Clan Hybrids, follow her on Twitter, or give her a like on Facebook to keep up to date on her books.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How hot is it?!?

So last week I released my sixteenth book. *stops to ponder that and waits for my brain to explode* Wow, that number is kind of freaking me out right now. But anywho, in all the crazy chaos leading up to and following the book release for Perfect Chemistry, I was at a complete loss on what I should blog about this week. Fortunately my cohorts in crime here at Lust With a Laugh came up with a fun idea based on this Facebook convo revolving around the cover for Perfect Chemistry:

Mary Hughes Author  This cover is so hot, I could cook my dinner.
Keith Melton Hey Mary, that cover is so hot it melted the hot plate I was using to cook my dinner.

Mary Hughes Author So hot it made the hot plate go *bomf* and the smoke alarm spontaneously combusted
Keith Melton So hot my dragon flew away weeping tears of napalm!

Needless to say, Mary and Keith are the reigning champions of the cover edition of How Hot Is It, but just for fun--and a shot at a copy of Perfect Chemistry--sound off in the comments section with your own How Hot Is It answer. I'll draw a winner at noon, Friday August 15. Good luck, and have fun with your answers!

                                                            Available now at Amazon

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wuv, Twue Wuv... Celebrate Romance! (Read-A-Romance Month)

photo credit: Edgar Barany via photopin cc
My husband and I were having a discussion the other day about couples. We've gotten to the stage in our lives when we've rubbed a lot of the painful edges off each other--not quite to where we look alike but I can see the day looming coming.

Anyway, we've iterated through this conversation several times over the years and keep adding refinements. Here's what we've learned. I'm not saying these are pearls of wisdom but they are my best approximation at this time :)
  • Couples must have that first blush of attraction. The heart beating faster, the desire to be with the other person. For hubby and me, before dating, it was getting off work near the same time and sometimes...more often than not...finding each other on the freeway going home. 
  • Couples must have and enjoy bodily, skin-to-skin contact. This isn't just sex. This is hugs, massage, everything. I go for a couple weeks during the summer where my body swells and I can't stand touching anything. We still manage to hug or touch elbows. If you have any other suggestions, I'm open to hearing them. Frankly, without skin-to-skin I get squirrelly.
  • Couples must go to bed together. This one's harder. My husband snores. I only deep-sleep the hour after he gets up in the morning. So I stay awake an hour after he's down. But we're in bed at the same time. Does that count? Also, I know couples who don't share a bed but they're fine. What about you?
  • Couples must not go to bed on an argument. This one's harder yet. Sometimes we haven't even realized there's a problem until weeks later. Sometimes we just fight because we're pissed at things or folks outside the marriage but the spouse is safer to yell at. --Which has its own problems so we don't do that much anymore. (Besides, we're both blackbelts. Fights in our house could get, um, problematic. So we don't ever get physical.)
  • Couples must enjoy being with each other. This is going to be controversial, but I don't think couples need to share interests, although my husband and I do, to an almost alarming degree. Lol. But I think you can work as a couple if you like to read and he likes to tie fishing lures as long as you both like to do it better in the same room.
  • Couples must get past the first blush of attraction. In order to keep a partnership going, you have to commit, not just to the partner, but to the relationship itself. So there's something worth fighting for even if you're angry at your partner. Which brings me to... 
  • Couples must be partners. Respected equals. If you disdain your spouse that's a problem. 
Here's our new one: Couples must be business partners. They have to complement each other in the skills it takes to run a home together. For example, I'm good at managing money. My husband's good at taking risks. So I do the bills. He does the investments. Why is this important? Think about it. You could be perfect mates in everything but this--but then where would you live?

For long-lasting companionship (plus weird faces and messy sheets), you need to mesh at several levels, not just first blush.

More Read-a-Romance here!

Speaking of ongoing couples, Nixie and Julian have a new adventure available. Murder at Chipmunk Lake is a fast-paced novella with sex, action, mystery and arguments over what to name the baby. Takes place between Biting Oz and Beauty Bites.

Nixie's lost her mojo!
A Nixie and Julian Story.
*Paranormal. Hot.*
Amazon B&N MACL Smashwords
Nixie Emerson, punk rock musician and first-time mom-to-be, has a stalker. Her band Guns and Polkas has gone national after their big stage debut, but the price of fame is the stalker trying to scare her into leaving the band.

Her husband, master vampire Julian, whisks Nixie away to the Wisconsin north woods--where they meet the stalker on the pier of their cabin and he again threatens Nixie.

Julian punches him out and the couple walks away thinking the problem is over. But when the next evening the stalker is found dead, they find out the trouble is only starting.

Warning: contains a cranky pregnant lady trying to control her swearing, a master vampire appeasing his wife with food and creative sex, murder, mayhem and several arguments over what to name the baby.

I have not one but TWO new releases! Plus a Goodreads giveaway here.

Beauty Bites PRINT releases tomorrow! Check out my Goodreads giveaway.
Beauty is skin deep…but the beast goes all the way. 

When top Minneapolis ad man Ric Holiday is asked to design a campaign for a quaint little town, his first reaction is absolutely not. Meiers Corners is too near Chicago, home of the vampire who turned him as an orphaned boy.

Then the city sends an angel-faced med student with a body made for sin to plead their case. Synnove Byornsson is the ray of sunshine Ric hasn’t felt since he was human.

Armed with determination and a micro miniskirt, Synnove is prepared to crash Holiday’s penthouse cocktail party—and to dislike him on sight. But Mr. All-Style-No-Substance turns out to have a deadly smile, a barely restrained, feral strength, and piercing blue eyes that look at her—not at her cleavage.

Unfortunately Synnove has competition in the form of a sly temptress with a counterproposal. For the first time in her life, Synnove must cash in her genetic lottery ticket and fire back with some sizzle of her own—or her beloved Meiers Corners could become the new Sin City.

Warning: Contains a doctor with a bod for sin, an ad exec with a chip on his shoulder, sarcasm, sex, and a cabin full of annoying friends. Secrets are revealed. One heart-stopping, horrific moment leads to the ultimate of happily-ever-afters.

**Guilty Pleasures A True Gem; Blackraven's Reviews Recommended Read, Harlie's Book Reviews Recommended Read; RT Reviews 4-Star review