Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Year In Review

2008 has been an interesting year. Lots of ups and downs and some downs that were kind of up. My writing career progressed well.

My writing year in review:

PAST LIES was released in April. (Ellora's Cave) This was my 2007 NaNoWriMo novel.
Wrote novella LONGING FOR ETERNITY. Released July. (Book 3 Eternity series-Ellora's Cave)
Finished novella A HELPING HAND. Started in 2006! Released August. (Ellora's Cave)
Wrote novella DOUBLE HAPPINESS for another publisher and was rejected. Revised a little and sold to Ellora's Cave. Released October.
Wrote and sold a short story for Black Lace. THE SHOPPING LIST is in the SEDUCTION anthology. Release date Feb 09 UK/Apr 09 US.
Wrote and submitted another short story for Black Lace. Waiting for response.
Wrote and sold novella POSITIVE POSSIBILITIES. Release date February 4. (Ellora's Cave)
Wrote and sold novella HIDDEN HANDS. Waiting on edits. (Ellora's Cave)
Wrote and submitted novella FIGHTING FOR ETERNITY (Book 4 Eternity series-Ellora's Cave) Waiting for response.
Wrote 17k of new novella. Target Ellora's Cave.
Working on revisions of short story rejected by Spice for Ellora's Cave.
Worked on worldbuilding for a scifi series.
Did several false starts for Harlequin Blaze submission. I can't seem to strike a story that works. Maybe because I've been writing much hotter than Blaze.

The evil day job was a pain because there just wasn't enough work. I hated spending the day sitting in front of a computer with nothing to do. The days drag on that way. So it really wasn't much of a surprise when lay offs were discussed in October. The boss' evil boss and I came to an agreement. I took the severance and ran. My eventual goal of writing fulltime came way sooner than I expected but I looked at it as a blessing in disguise. Not having a day job, I could concentrate on writing and see if I have what it takes to make it as a writer. Yes, my poor savings would probably be reduced some but I was okay with that.

For October and November, I did really well at keeping a schedule and making sure I hit word counts. Didn't make NaNoWriMo this year because I was concentrating on novellas instead of a longer title. December I kind of crashed a little. With the holidays approaching, I was distracted. Still I managed a decent word count plus I've been mulling over a scifi concept for a good part of the month.

Heath-wise, life was interesting and filled with blessed relief. I had a lung cancer scare. Between CAT scans, PET scan and a lung biopsy, the pulmonary specialist said it wasn't cancer but an infection. We have to keep an eye on it for a while. Shortly after the relief of those results, I found out my thyroid wasn't working. Doc said hyperthyroidism. An ultrasound didn't reveal any additional problems so I'm on yet another pill for the rest of my life. But if that's the worst of it, I'm happy. It's not like I don't already take a bunch of pills! LOL

So as the end of the year approached, and the severance ran out, I started feeling a little paranoid about the budget. I knew I could make it but I abhor stealing from savings to live. The deductibles on the extra doctor bills pretty much guaranteed I would have to dip into the piggy bank. Then I hear from my counterpart at the old day job. She's found another job and was leaving the week of Christmas.

I was torn hearing the news. Thrilled for her, mind you! She had an hour and a half commute and her new job was ten minutes from her house. But what did this mean for me? I taught her most of the stuff she did and I'm collecting unemployment on this company. Legally, they could call me back full-time. If I refused, I'd lose my unemployment. Not that I thought my old boss would do that but hey, it's the company's right.

In the end, I called her and offered to come back part-time. We worked out terms, pay, hours, etc. For the most part, I'll work the first part of the month to close the books. The rest of the month, I'll be off with time to write. Plus it gets me out of the house some and the extra money will help me with the doctor bills! And I'm beginning to have a little cabin fever. *cackle* She doesn't really need someone full-time. I should be able to train some of the other staff for part of the responsibilities. The work may dwindle off or may end up just a week a month. What happens remains to be seen.

I dread the commute again. It's an hour trip one way on a back country highway. Then I tell myself to look on the bright side. I get a lot of good writing ideas during long drives. Need to make sure my voice recorders have good batteries!

So 2008 was full of the unexpected and it looks like 2009 probably won't change much. But that's okay. Life is an adventure and I don't want to know the end of the book before I've read it.

May your 2009 bring all your dreams home to roost! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmas Miracle!

I have a very peculiar cat named Princess. She's a tiny cat--about five pounds soaking wet with the loudest, most demanding meow I've ever heard. Twice I've had to take her to the vet for snake bites. She has a thing about running water, as in she fights me for the sink when I turn on the water. She feels it is her right to drink from the faucet instead of the *sniff* water bowl.

A few months ago, Princess disappeared for a couple of days. I'd stand outside and call her but to no avail, she wouldn't come home. Since the vet believes she's about 15 years old, each disappearance makes me think she won't be back. Cats have a tendency to wander off to die. But after a few days, she'd show back up looking none the worse for a few nights out in the elements. (No, she's not catting around, she's fixed!) Momma and I started joking about Princess' "other" family. The people she must be staying with when she wasn't here.

So a week or so ago when the weather turned off very cold, I hadn't seen her in a couple of days. No amount of calling or tramping around the neighborhood brought her home. Then a heavy sleet hit. It looked like we had several inches of snow but it was all ice and still no Princess. I couldn't get out to look for her because the ice was terrible and I had no idea where to look! So I worried and went to the living room window or the front door and called her a couple of times an hour. I told Momma I didn't think she'd come back.

So the day after the ice storm I tramp around--more like slip and slide around--looking for her or her poor frozen body. I headed off in one direction I'd seen her go--out of many but you have to start somewhere. Through a little patch of woods, there is a duplex facing the highway a block away. Near the duplex was a couple of storage sheds. I'd seen Princess over by the sheds before so I thought maybe she'd gotten locked inside one. Both sheds had latches and I didn't want to get caught rummaging through someone's property. I went around to the closest side of the duplex and knocked on the door.

A woman answered and I asked her if she'd seen a little black and white cat hanging around. She said wait a minute, disappeared for a minute then returned with Princess. Evidently Princess had been coming over there on a regular basis for months. The last time her mouth was messed up by a snake bite, she was getting special food from me and kitten milk and canned food from them. I told the woman and her teenage daughter that I didn't mind if Princess stayed over there. I was just worried when she didn't come home during the storm.

Now, I have seven cats, if you count Princess, and giving one away to someone willing to spoil a cat properly should be a good thing. And they knew how to spoil cats from the look of their other two. But it still pained me to lose Princess and I kept hoping she'd decide to come home. So a week goes by without seeing her little face or hearing her big meow. Until Wednesday.

Princess showed up, crying for food and demanding the water faucet be turned on for her personal use. I complied but I was supposed to pick up Momma to go shopping so I had to leave. When I got back, Princess wasn't around. I pouted for a little while. About six Wednesday evening, she showed up again and this time she stayed. Christmas Eve, yesterday, last night and today. Right now, she's perched on the back of the beddesk behind my laptop.

I told my mother it was a Christmas miracle. She suggested that Princess' new family had left town for the holidays. And damn if the last four times I've driven past their house, their car was gone. Momma's probably right. *cackle* But for now, all my critters are safe, sound, well fed, and happy with me.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Have a very Merry Cristmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Yule, Happy Kwanzaa...

Whatever you celebrate or don't, I hope this season brings you joy, health, love, happiness and peace.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Cold & Lazy Monday!

Well, I guess instead of bitching about the horribly cold weather, I could be happy I didn' t have to go anywhere today! Talked to my friend at the old day job. The temp was 15 when she left her house this morning. When she left her house, I was curled up under the covers with a dog keeping my feet warm and two cats sleeping on my side!

I did get about 600 words done today. Not much but more than yesterday!

I have some crazy ideas bouncing around for a new series but I have to work through some issues with it. Like, do I want it to be something to sub mainstream or gay, erotic or not. I'm finally thinking of doing something scifi. I mean, I've been a scifi geek since I was a child watching the original run of Star Trek (Yes, the original series--I'm really old.) You'd think I would have attempted something scifi by now. The closest I came to scifi was submitting a synopsis and sample chapters to an open call to Fandemonium Books in 2004 for the Stargate SG1 books. Still haven't gotten a rejection for that! Not really counting on hearing from them at this point.

I'm off to bed now. I'm aiming for at least 2k words tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Sale!

My Ellora's Cave editor made an offer on my gay romance novella, HIDDEN HANDS. Woo hoo! Snoopy dancing here!

Unedited Blurb:

Detective Jeremy Lawson doesn’t expect anything from his one night stand except sex. What he gets is a shooting, a mystery plus some of the best sex he’s had in a long time. Somewhere along the way, he also finds some tenderness for a lost soul in need of rescuing.

David March has let his troubled past blind him to any kind of happy future. But when a one night stand turns out to be a cop in shining armor, David begins to think differently about his life. As in, he wants one. But to have one, he has to stay alive.

(For those of you who asked for the story of some of my secondary characters, Jeremy is from A HELPING HAND and David is from HIDDEN FORCE. Two for the price of one! *cackle*)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh, crap...

I'm the first to admit I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to television. I watch few shows regularly but, I've always claimed with much pride, I absolutely do not watch those trashy reality shows! At least not until now. *hangs head in shame*

I blame Twitter. I'm not sure who on Twitter. I need to go back and figure out who made the comment about Top Chef. Something to do with someone said something about the Today Show host's lack of taste--as in an unsophisticated pallet. I had to check this out and I became hooked. Since Bravo replays all the episodes during the week, I've caught up on this season. I also watched another season of reruns.

Now I can't help myself. If I'm channel surfing and see "Top Chef" on the online guide, I'm there! I'm addicted to a reality show complete with the over the top dramatic music, the long (meant to be) suspenseful pauses and the back biting bitchiness of the contestants and sometimes the judges. ARGH!! Yes, I need to figure out who posted that comment on Twitter and then use the vodoo doll on them!