Monday, May 29, 2017

Excuse me.

I have all the excuses. The best excuses. No one makes excuses better than I do.

My excuses can elicit sympathy, pity, perhaps a little disbelief at times, but shit...if you don't want to be a dick, you're most likely going to commiserate with me anyway.

I listened to a fabulous podcast by Sarah Werner about excuses a while back. I highly recommend her whole podcast to writers, but this one hit me in the procrastination bone.

(Find the episode I'm talking about HERE.)

The part of her episode that spoke to me most was looking at your reasons for not writing and deciphering if they were excuses or real legitimate reasons for not writing.

And while the podcast is devoted to writing as a craft and making time for your writing on the daily, this episode in particular could be used in any aspect of your life you're putting off.

So I thought I'd list my top three excuses for not writing everyday, and bust them open.

1.  I'm tired. No shit. We're all tired. Life is hard. They make coffee for that. And if I can watch YouTube, I'm not too tired to write. I could also go to bed earlier. Because I'm an adult and I have control of this.

2.  I'm not inspired. So? The best ideas I have had, have come from getting the crap out of my fingers first. I know this. Sitting my ass down and writing is what gets the inspiration flowing. My muse can't show up while I'm dancing in the kitchen to Bruno Mars. (Although he is sexy as hell, and I'm listening to his music as I type this.) Not feeling inspired before writing is an excuse. Can't get the water flowing until you turn on the faucet.

3.  Everything I'm writing sucks. This? This here? This is fear. Something I had to decide when I sent in my first manuscript was to get over the fear of failure. You know how to get better at something? Practice. Research, classes, reading books on craft...all these things are great. But only if you are doing them while writing. So when I get to the point where I want to stop because I'm sure everything I'm writing, and everything I've ever written is a huge pile of garbage, (and we've ALL been there) I still open my laptop. I'll write until I get past the crap and get the good stuff out.

Of course I always have the old stand-by of dirty dishes and laundry, and all the other various adulting things I have on my plate, but those are just as easy to debunk.

What are your excuses?

I didn't have time this morning to write a blog. I have to be at work in an hour. Huh...guess I got past my first excuse of the day. ;)


To find Roxy's books with buy links and what she has coming up next check out her website at

Monday, May 22, 2017

When you have to start all over...

Once upon a time I had 8 books (full-length, novellas, and shorts) published and out alive in the world.

I had a publisher I loved, and I got to talk with readers about my stories. publisher closed.

Damn. But it was okay, because I had my books. Then I decided to try and gain traction with some bundles...

...that crashed and burned due to unforeseen circumstances.

Which meant I had NADDA.

After a lot (and I mean a LOT) of cursing, and kermit flailing around, I realized I have an opportunity to put these books out exactly as I want them. Market them exactly as I want, and own all of it myself.

They say you should start small. So...I figured I'd start TINY. I've got the ebook for Love Shack locked, loaded and ready to re-release all over the interwebs on June 6th.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and KOBO

And you know what? I'm just as nervous as I was releasing it the first time!! How? How is that a thing? More seasoned writers can chime in here, but my heart is trying to crawl out of my throat, and I think I should get a pass from the nerves since this is the second time.

My obsession with Tiny Houses and all the imagery/reality TV blended with my adoration of the close proximity trope in this book where a banker and minimalist meet each other in the middle of a crazy idea.

And yes. I'm nervous, but I'm also excited. I'm trying to do one new thing in the publishing process with each book I re-release. I'm learning all the things, and working toward that hybrid author status I'd dreamed of. I'm just working from the self-pub side first this round. 

They say you should always do the thing that scares you the most, well...come along on my "tiny" terrifying journey. 

I love this book, and I hope you'll all give it a chance. 

What are you doing to chase your own dreams today?


To find Roxy's books with buy links and what she has coming up next check out her website at

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cheap Date with Dani Morgan! (And wine)

This bottle was picked out for my by the fabu Dani Morgan. (Who needs to get her story finished… Yeah. I called you out. ;p)

"Aconga" was the result of a night out with friends. It was $3.99 on sale at the nearby Kroger. It may have been picked 90% on the packaging. Because really…this thing looks a little like a filigree gun barrel. With the black bottle and seal, it really has a badass vibe.

Hubby saw me taking pictures of the bottle and grimaced. “Am I going to have to taste it?”

I wasn’t sure I was going to make him, but then he asked if he was an official part of the Cheap Date review and smiled. Awww. He feels included. (Still won’t read a thing I write, but hey…at least the man will drink with me.)


Is it sad that even all these years after college, one of the first things I look at is the percentage of alcohol? 

You’d understand after the helacious harry buffalo we made. That sucker was potent.

But the Aconga isn’t like the Everclear we used in college (thank god.) This wine is 13% alcohol.

The back of the bottle reads “An ancient Incan word meaning “Stone Sentinel”, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas, towering over Mendoza. It is this great mountain’s name that inspired “Aconga,” A symbol of grandeur and the celebration of a land steeped in history. Argentina, known as the land of silver, embraces artisans well known for their unparalleled silver craftsmanship.”

Huh. Who says alcohol makes you stupid? This wine just taught me something. And I feel mildly proud of myself for catching onto the silver link. *pats self on back*

There isn’t a whole lot of sweet/dry info on it, and despite the very long flavor description, “soft and supple” doesn’t tell me much.

We’ll just have to test it out. At least, I learned the where the highest mountain in the Americas is!

I have learned something through this whole cheap date process. If you have a foil seal over the cork, there is no need to take it off before putting the corkscrew in. The cork will usually break the seal when you yank that bad boy out. Then I just peel back the foil until it pours without spilling everywhere. I’ve only dropped a few pieces of the seal into the wine. It didn’t kill me. Think of it like finding the wishbone. Make it a game!

Well…look at that. The cork has a map on it, highlighting Argentina. This wine is teaching us all kinds of things!


Definitely more than fruit here. This has a few different flavors going on. It’s got a spicy scent that reminds me of either coffee or chocolate, along with dark tart berries. I’m down.


A few bubbles collected at the top as I poured but quickly dissipated. It’s a deep ruby color and hugs the glass as I swirl it. A couple little pockmarks interrupt the smooth flow of the drag on the glass, but not too much.

Now that it’s in the glass, the smell is all smoke and spice. I can smell very little fruit.


Oooh. That’s different. It’s not sweet, but it’s got a soft tart flavor that I can’t quite place. The wine coats my mouth and has a fantastic warmth to the drink.

The bottle recommends this be paired with beef or red sauce on pasta. It reminds me of eating at an Italian restaurant where you order the red because that’s the house wine and the only one under $10 a glass.

I can also smell it without another sip. This stuff invaded my sinus cavity. Good thing I already ate, because I doubt this would pair well with McDonalds.


I woke him up to make him take a sip. I’m an awesome wife.

Him: “It tastes like fermented grapes.”

Me: *eyeroll*

Him: “It’s more bland, I guess, but it’s not sweet, so eh?”

Me: “Bland? So if someone put it in front of you for free would you drink it?”

Him: “If there was no alternative, yes.”


I get what they mean by the word “soft” now. It’s not super dry, and it’s not super sweet. This is a wine that would go well with dinner. Not so much with a chocolate mousse.

It’s something to sip while writing or watching a movie, and at $4, I can see myself buying this again.

Two wino thumbs up.

And it taught me something! If I start buying wines from around the world that teach me about the place they are from, imagine how smart I could be in a year.

Furthering my education one bottle at a time.

Not bad for a cheap date. 


Monday, May 1, 2017

Pec or chest? Bicep or Biceps? And just what the heck *is* a trapezius?

Capcom's Human Anatomical Reference for artists
Steamy romance isn't as easy to write as some folks think. You have to be part doctor, part wordsmith, part matchmaker--and still love to put your couple through hell before they get their heaven, lol. But the biggest challenge is making detailed body descriptions both easy to understand and sexy.

Here's an example.

Biting Nixie by Mary Hughes – Smoldering hot vampire alert
     In the center of the room, naked to the waist, was Julian Emerson.
     He stood like some latter-day Goliath, his fists raised over his head. Muscles bunched and strained in his arms and chest. Loose black trousers hung low on lean hips. He slid one bare foot out, legs bent. Crossed powerful wrists in front of him. Pivoted and punched both arms up in a fluid harmony of motion.
     My breath punched out as well, like I’d been hit by a truck. Julian’s body was beyond gorgeous. His abs were cut like diamonds, his chest was chiseled marble. He turned and his back…stars above. His back made me want to wrap my thighs around him and ride him like a horse.
     Twin wings of pure, hard muscle flared from his narrow waist to his immense shoulders. I could see individual muscles work as his fists spun out in a ballet of power. A thin sheen of sweat slicked his skin. I wanted to lick it off.
     He turned again and I was overwhelmed by color. Bronze skin, deep bronze nipples. Short black hairs feathered up the center of his abs and over his broad chest. Black glossy hair curled around his ears as his two-hundred-dollar haircut absorbed the sweat of his exertion. Laser-blue eyes, made even more startling by his black sweeping lashes, stared—
     Julian Emerson was staring straight at me.
So what I'm describing here is Julian (a lawyer) doing the second blackbelt form in Taekwondo (Keumgang (금강)) - second dan ("diamond", symbolizing hardness, unbreakable)).  Specifically his pectorals are chiseled marble and his latissimi dorsi (lats) are flaring, and certainly I could have named particular muscles as they contracted and released, but that wasn't the point of this passage. The point was to let the reader experience Nixie's stunned reaction to her first sight of Julian.

In Nixie and Julian's honeymoon story, Biting Christmas (free as part of Biting Holiday Honeymoons on Amazon, Nook, and others) Nixie does mention more specific muscles. She's mounting him in a hot tub.
I grabbed the tops of my husband's broad shoulders. He lifted them slightly, making his trapezius muscles two convenient handholds.
Since Nixie had identified the "tops" of her husband's shoulders, I was pretty confident the reader would know the trapezius was the neck-to-shouldertip muscle without being disrupted from the story.

The more erotic books gained traction in the marketplace, the more confident I was using anatomical terms. In Passion Bites, first published in 2015, Alexis was using pectorals by page 14. Then again, she's a doctor, so she'd know her body parts, lol.
Passion Bites by Mary Hughes – Steamy vampire kiss alert
     I stood, palms on his chest, and pressed flush to him.
     A thin layer of cotton shirt covered hot boulders beneath my palms. I’d touched well-built men, toned muscles and warm skin. I’d never felt a man like him, like scaling bare rock cliffs. A moan tore from my throat.
     His groan twined in. “You taste amazing. All hot and wet.” His head slanted, his tongue beginning to plunge. Angel wings became angel fire.
     I gasped. That driving tongue pistoned with intense male power. His heat rushed in, waking every bit of my mouth. Like biting a cinnamon red-hot, my lips, then my whole body flushed with desire, a flame spiraling through me like a coiled, lit fuse.
     Luke might look like an angel, but his kiss was hotter than sin.
     Hunger rushed through me, dark and powerful. Suddenly I was the most excited I’d been in my life. Ready to hop up on the exam table, pull out the stirrups and play doctor. My fingers curled, digging into iron-hard pectorals, and I swirled my hips against him.
     As if my hip bump was a cue, something unlocked in him. Strong arms wrapped me, pulling me into an inferno of lust. He wasn’t playing anymore. He kissed me in a flurry of lips and teeth and tongue, driving me mad with desire. I pressed into his hard body. He embraced me so tightly, we melded.
     Against my belly, a hard length grew enticingly.
     I was two seconds from suggesting we put the exam table to good use when the door clicked open.
The important thing is for the author to know exactly what body part she's picturing, then express it in such a way as to  make it clear without breaking the reader from the story.

So I was pretty chuffed when I found out comic book and video game designers are just as exacting with their art. Check out these amazing drawings from Capcom for warriors.

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Landon "Rebel" Lovless has a ragged scar on one round, powerful biceps. My darling husband pointed out that's confusing, as it sounds like two muscles. That's the correct term, though, it's a single muscle with two heads. I left it in. Was the right or wrong call? Let me know in the comments below!

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