Saturday, March 29, 2008

Memphis Update! Finally!

I'm exhausted! Last weekend's trip to Memphis was a blast but we packed way too much into a two day trip. I took Monday off to recuperate but ended up writing all day. Not much rest. Then the Evil Day Job was just...well, evil! *cackle* The EVIL CFO decided he wanted to separate one division into it's own company within our software. Guess who had to convert the division in time for an April 1st switch over? Let's just say the voodoo doll I bought at Tater Red's in Memphis has been put to good use... *insert malicious laugh here*

Each night, I'd get home and work like a fiend to finish my WIP. It's a 20k novella tentatively titled DOUBLE HAPPINESS for a publisher I haven't subbed to before. Last night, I finished self-edits and put the submissions packet together. The email is sitting in my drafts folder. I'll look at it again before I send it. I'm leery of sending important emails in the wee hours of the morning--afraid I forgot something! LOL

So the Memphis trip was great! Delilah Devlin and I left her house early Saturday morning and made great time to Memphis. We hit the Welcome Center off I-40 first. Drove the poor man crazy asking weird questions. (Click on the pictures for a larger view!)

Best Misunderstood Quote of the Weekend--

Delilah: Can you tell me where I can find some old churches? I need some places to desecrate.
Man: *eyebrows hit hairline*
Shayla: In her book! She's writing a novel about a demon!

Too funny! I'm surprised we didn't have a cop tailing us out of there! Of course, that would have saved us the trouble of waiting for the cop we found working a vehicle break-in on Riverfront Drive. One of our goals was to speak to a Memphis police officer and maybe get a picture so we had a reference for describing the uniform.

We stopped at the park on Riverfront Drive to take pictures of the Mississippi River. With all the rain lately, the river was up high. Flotsam beat against crooks and crannies of the shore. Great pictures for how a body would float up! As we were leaving the park, we came across the police officer. As we hung around, we learned what happened. Five women had gone to the Arkansas side of the river for bridesmaid dress fittings then decided to stop at the park on the way back. They weren't gone more than a few minutes when someone broke the window of their SUV and stole two of the purse. A quick smash and grab, the thieves left several purses and a laptop behind.

The officer was a real sweetheart. After taking all the information, he cleaned out the glass from the seat and floor plus knocked out the rest of the glass in the broken window. Then he helped the SUV's owner put a jacket over the open window, tucking it in the closed door.

Once he was finished, Delilah explained that we were authors on a research trip and we'd like to ask him a few questions about the Memphis PD. And, if he didn't mind, we'd like a picture of him.

He joked around about finding his picture on the internet with someone else's head. We assured him we wouldn't do anything bad. *cackle* Then he asked, "How do you want me?" And draped his chest across the top of the squad car! He was too funny and a great sport! Got lots of good info!

After that, we headed to the Metal Museum. We'd been told the building was once a Marine Hospital and some said it was haunted. Behind the museum was a great deserted building! We found some great statues and got some great ideas. Across the street from the Museum were several huge hills, obviously man-made. We speculated about them being Civil War bunkers since they overlooked the river.

My curiosity got the best of me and I climbed one to see what was up there. I'm not in the best shape--okay, I'm old and overweight with bad knees. So negotiating the steep slope wasn't one of my best ideas. Getting up was okay. Getting down was another story. Fortunately, Delilah missed the shot of me backing down the hill.

We went back into the Museum and asked about the hills. We were right about the Civil War bunkers but soldiers didn't create them. They were old Indian burial mounds! More great ideas!

CuckalissaNext on the list of things to do--Chucalissa! This museum is an archaeological dig on the site of American Indians who vanished before Europeans set foot in America. The mounds here were the center of village life and where the village elder lived. More great ideas!

By the time we checked into our hotel, we'd already done half the stuff on our list plus some! After unpacking and freshening up, we headed out to Beale Street, home of the blues! We had a few beers while we ate ribs at the Blues City Cafe! Delilah was a serious impediment to my diet. She insisted we have a fried pie a la mode! It was soooo good!

After dinner, we strolled up and down Beale Street, stopping in Tater Red's. I must have had a vision when I bought that voodoo doll. I knew I'd end up using it on the EVIL CFO! *cackle* We took a tons of pictures, soaked in the ambiance and had a blast--as well as Starbucks and chocolate covered strawberries from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory! I told you Delilah was a bad influence on my diet!

The next morning, we wanted to go to a patisserie we'd seen near Beale Street for breakfast. The Main Street Trolley runs in the direction we wanted to go and when we walked out of the hotel, one was sitting there--just waiting for us! LOL So we jump on and pay our fare only to find out, it's not the Main Street Trolley--it's the Medical Center Trolley. We were the only passengers so the driver told us to stay and he'd give us a tour.

John was a great tour guide! We explained we were on a research trip and he gave us several places to check out, including a burned out church near the hotel! Delilah was thrilled! A church she didn't have to desecrate! *cackle* He even told us that the locals called Chucaliss, Voodoo Village! Talk about story ideas! LOL

After our trip through mid-town, we returned to Beale Street. The place we wanted to eat was closed, after all it was Easter Sunday... We found a little diner about a half block from the hotel and had a great breakfast.

Then we walked up to the burned out church for pictures before checking out of our hotel. But we weren't finished with Memphis. One of the bridesmaid ladies from the riverfront mentioned a decrepit house built to resemble a castle. She'd given us excellent directions and we found it with no problem. After getting pictures there, we headed to the Elmwood Cemetery, one of the oldest in Memphis.

Great pictures, great ideas! Yes, we are a little ghoulish. Actually, Delilah is a lot ghoulish! The beginning of her book, Seduced By Darkness, gives me the creeps every time! Her demons and zombies are chilling! LOL

So we ended our trip to Memphis and headed home--exhausted but happy with our research results and planning another trip to Memphis soon!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Road Trip!

Tomorrow morning, galpal Delilah Devlin and I are off to Memphis for the weekend! "Road trip! Road trip! Road trip!" Officially a research trip for books we're working on set in Memphis, it'll be great spending some time with her. DD and I have known each other for more years than either of us care to admit. *cackle* Until last year, our main source of communication was the internet. Then last summer, she moved back to Arkansas. Yipeee!

Of course, Arkansas is a big state and she's still two hours away but we meet at least once a month for the Diamond State Romance Author meetings. Usually we hit the local Barnes & Noble afterward for coffee, brainstorming and browsing books. Saturday we worked on some details of a fantastic new story she's working on. The story is set in Memphis, hence the road trip for location and ambiance research. And lots of brainstorming. DD is fantastic at helping with story ideas and great plot development!

The story I want to research is also set in Memphis--a paranormal targeted at Harlequin Nocturne. I probably won't start the book until around June. I need to finish a short novella (20k) for a submission to a new publisher plus I want to write the fourth book in the Eternity series for Ellora's Cave. Book 4 will probably be around 50k. So June is about as soon as I can start the Nocturne story.

I took today off from the day job to get a little rest and some writing done before the weekend. Not to mention a little housework and laundry. Momma will be by while I'm gone to check on the critters so the house needs to have the appearance of decent upkeep. *cackle* Not much I can do about the ragged looking yard. With all the rain this week--about 7 inches--my yard is too wet to walk in much less mow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Car Repairs & Naughty Writing...

I bought a new car in November. Nothing fancy. Since the day job requires a 100+ mile round trip commute, I don't do expensive cars. I go for good gas mileage and not a lot of money because I'll rack up 30k miles a year and end up with no trade in value by the time I pay it off.

Well, my new little Chevy--now with 8800 miles on it--needed a front end alignment. I know. It shouldn't this soon but it could have something to do with the way I take the curves on the commute. *grins* But that's another story.

Anyway... Yesterday I call the dealership and get an appointment for today. Of course, they don't have weekend hours so I have to miss work. Brilliant idea! I ask if they have wireless internet access. I can log into the office and get some much needed work done! The answer is yes. I should have been more specific. Yes, they have it but no, I couldn't access it. Secured.

So here I am with my computer and a couple hours to kill. Hmmm... I open up my latest WIP and start writing! About the book... it's male/male and it's explicit. Well, duh... But I thought I was safe. I wrote a long sex scene last night. I needed to transition to another scene--one that wasn't erotic. Well, my characters didn't behave. Yep, you guessed it. They wanted more sex. What's a writer to do?

Now, anyone who writes erotic romance will understand the predicament I found myself in. Let's just say if the scene doesn't get the writer hot, it probably won't do it for the readers either. But the muse demanded I keep going!

In spite of the four or five other customers and half a dozen service people wandering in and out of the waiting room, I wrote a scorching 1500 word sex scene while waiting for my car. Then I went and stood in the rain for a little while...

Now, I have a question. Should I acknowledge the dealership in the credits? *cackle*

PAST LIES Release Date Change!

My editor emailed me yesterday with wonderful news. Ellora's Cave moved the release date of PAST LIES to April 9th! Woo hoo! I posted an excerpt on my wesite. Check out the coming soon page at!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Cover!


Coming to Ellora's Cave, May 28, 2008

Two opposite men, two different lives, two sets of past lies.

With his twenty year high school reunion looming, Paul Loughton dreads seeing the one person who could tempt him to stray from his path. Small town mayor, lawyer and budding politician, Paul can’t—won’t—admit he’s gay, even to himself. Years of denial and lies are now threatened by an inevitable encounter. With his denial slipping, he has to come face to face with temptation.

Randy Martin left his small town roots behind before the ink on his diploma was dry. The cliquish world of his childhood didn’t have room for the weird kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Rumors of his sexual preferences made life that much more difficult. Now, twenty years later, he should be anxious to rub his wealth and success in the faces of his former classmates. Except with one of them, the urge to rub something else hasn’t diminished over the years.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Another Sven Update!

Well, not much in the word count department since Wednesday. Actually, I've lost words! *cackle*

I finished edits on my EC novella, Longing For Eternity, on Thursday and received another round from my editor early this morning. I just emailed this round back to her. *crosses fingers* Usually my edits are minimal but LFE is the third in a series and I'm having trouble balancing necessary backstory for new readers.

Friday and Saturday I worked on self-edits and comments from my CP on a new manuscript. This is where I lost a lot of words. I hope to finish it tonight. I'm almost there. A little tweaking for overuse of a couple of words. Then it's off to EC as well. *crosses toes*

I also received the cover art for Past Lies! Can we say HAWT boys and girls? I'll post a copy here later. And I have a release date--May 28th!

Now I just have to be a good girl and wait patiently for Longing For Eternity's release date. Of course, patience is a virtue and no one ever accused me of being virtuous! *cackle* *snort*


Sven's 70 Days Of Sweat

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Update on 70 Days of Sweat!

Well, after reporting in Sunday morning with a big fat zero for Saturday, I managed 2100 words on my 20k novella. I started it before March 1st so I'm up to 4100 words.

Monday was a waste! Didn't leave the day job until 6:30 and my hour commute turned into two due to a power pole across the highway. *pouts*

Last night, my Ellora's Cave editor sent me edits on the short novella Longing For Eternity so I've been working on that ms instead of the new one. I think I'm done but I'll give it another read through tomorrow night.

Also last night, my critique partner sent me a ms she'd finished critting so I need to look at that and get it shipped to my editor.

So...I'll probably not get back to writing on the new one until Friday or Saturday. But it's all writing progress!

For more about Sven's workout: