Why What When Wednesday

Purge the Sh*t! (this is also posted over at KissandTellGirls, but I wanted it on my blog as well.)

It’s me again. You won’t see me here tomorrow though. I’ll be guest blogging at Phoebe Jordan’s place about Sugar Rush. What else, right? Grins…

Mari and I switched days this week when we thought yesterday was going to be used by another person. You’ll see her tomorrow!

I followed a link from Yahoo to a blog that I followed to another blog that I…well, you get the idea. These are not author or reader blogs. These are not industry or publisher or editor blogs. They have nothing to do at all with our business. I was telling someone yesterday that I don’t read a lot of ‘our business’ blogs. I read some, a few, but some of the content is mirrored from one blog to another, so I spend blog reading time (yeah right, like I have any extra that is designated like that) on reading personal blogs. (How many times did I say blogs in that paragraph? My editors would clobber me…)

The one I ended up on today is called fit this, girl. She’s a runner, a freelance writer, blogger. I read a few of her posts, including yesterday’s about the activity pyramid which I think is cool. But, the one that caught my eye was one she had titled Great Purge of 2009. Basically, it was about purging the sh*t. Decluttering. Organizing. Down-sizing. I need to do all of that. Not just my closets, which I did back in December, but the downstairs closets, my son’s toys, the boxes of school art projects, the paperbacks, the stuff in boxes in the garage that I haven’t looked at in 3 years.

I read another blog a few years ago where the person said to take photos of memorable items and then toss the items. It was a way to keep the memory but chuck the actual clutter. Yes, even those momentos from high school and college and all the weddings you were in, and this birthday and that anniversary…if it’s all in a box, what good is it doing?

We all have stuff we know we cannot and will not ever part with until we’re dead. We all have things grandma or mom made or that grandpa or dad built. I’m not talking about that kind of stuff, but the stuff that we collect, and then we have to buy more stuff to put the old stuff in, thereby creating more clutter, more that we have to deal with. And maybe it’s just me that has all this crap around, but somehow I highly doubt it.

There’s the question of why we hold onto thing and for me…it’s just easier at the time to throw it in a box to deal with later than to deal with it RIGHT NOW! I hope to break that bad habit this year.

I read on another blog a few years ago about a 6-month box. You take whatever you’re cleaning at the time and unsure what to do with and put it in a box. Label the box with what it is and put the date on it. Mark 6 months later on your calendar that way when the 6 month date comes around, you’ll know it’s time to deal with that box. The trick is…if you haven’t opened it in all that time, you. don’t. need. it. Of course, ask me how many 6 month boxes I have? LOL…

It’s a good practice though. I have tried it before and it did work. I just haven’t been all that diligent with it of late. fit this, girl Mary talks about how she looses entire weekends cleaning or doing laundry and yeah, she’s single, but it still applies to all of us. We all talk about how it takes us a whole day or weekend to clean this, do those clothes, etc…  I would rather not lose that much time. It clutters our brains, too. We know we need to write, but we also know we need to clean and do laundry and often one or both gets put off in favor of the other or neither.

Though, again, I could just be the only one.

I need to purge the sh*t. I need to clean the house, the garage, declutter, and organize what’s left. I need to clear the space around me so that my mind is clear, my spirit is clear for me to create the erotic romance stories I love. Honestly speaking, it’s one of the reasons I love my itouch so much. I rarely buy print books anymore because I don’t want the clutter of them. I don’t want them to take up space I really don’t have. My itouch organizes the books for me in one small device and I can have as many books as I want. Of course, no only the itouch can do that, but, that’s the one I’ve got and that’s the one I can relate to.

There’s a scene in Sugar Rush (y’all knew I was gonna throw in a bit of promo here somewhere) where Jane takes down the box her ex had left for her of all the things from their years together. (Most of us have or had boxes like this) She realizes that by hanging on to it, she’s also hanging on to the past, the memories, and the hurt and that it’s got more of a hold on her than she has on it. In order for her to move on, to let go and give in to Graham, she must give up the box and the hurt and make a conscious step into something new and different. 

That scene is personal to me because I know I’ve done that, and it doesn’t have to be tangible items. It can be an email, an IM conversation that we hold on to, that we keep going back to, that we can’t let go of (talking about painful ones).

We should live and move forward and not hold so tightly to the past, to the things. We should instead have more time for what and who we love.

There were other great things I pulled out of this fit this, girl’s blog, like the when you go shopping question list…

WHY am I here?
DO I need this item?
HOW will I pay for it?
WHAT if I wait ?
WHERE will I put it?
WHY do I want it? 

It’s a great list too and one that I’m going to start putting into practice, but…the getting rid of things and how it ties us down, how it keeps us bound (and not in the good fun kinky way), how it bleeds us of money and zaps some of our freedom…that’s what I took out of it most.
Do YOU have anything or a lot of anythings you could and/or should clear out, clean out? If so, what?
Have a great Wednesday!

~lissa 

Thankful Tuesday

I have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to this chosen profession. This journey began for me in January two years ago with a gentle nudge from Eliza Gayle. She urged me to enter the Cobblestone Press contest for their Wicked line. I did and was chosen as a finalist which resulted in my receiving my first contract.

From there, I met some other amazing authors. Moira Rogers. Dee Carney. Moira Reid. Leila Brown. Selena Blake. Layla Aaron. And L. Shannon.

A lot of us used to word war together, used to talk a lot about what we were doing, where we wanted to go, celebrating success, commiserating over rejections and disappointments. I really appreciated those women and their support. I still do. I still think very highly of them and wish for them all the best.

I am lucky to still be close to a few of them and able to watch from the sidelines as the others achieve awesome success. I owe a lot to that group I met at Cobblestone Press. I wouldn’t be where I am without their early encouragement and support and the introduction of word wars.

So, thank you Bree and Donna (Moira Rogers), Dee, Moira Reid, Selena, L. Shannon, Leila, Layla.

I also met Amie Stuart around the same time. We became friends over the last year and I have to say, I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s made me laugh until I cried, usually over the antics of kids. She’s listened and given advice when I’ve asked for it about submissions, agents, and NY. She’s also been a tremendous source of support and in this business, I’ve found that friends like that can’t be taken for granted.

There’s a lot of luck associated with this business. Sometimes it’s who you know. Sometimes it’s that your manuscript ended up in the slush pile at just the right time. It can be luck of the draw at any given publisher or agent or editor. And it can be that there’s so much talent in our little toes that we can’t help but be offered contract after contract after contract. LOL… I know some of what I’ve achieved is by sheer luck. I work hard on my writing. I have a friend that calls me the hardest working writer he knows, but there’s some small measure of blessing or luck or falling stardust or something…there has to be. And if there isn’t, well, that is luck itself.

I can’t begin to list or thank all the people that I have met since that first group (though a few are Samantha Kane, Mari Freeman, Talya Bosco, Selena Illyria).  I have learned a lot. I have made a ton of mistakes, missteps, said things I shouldn’t have, done things I shouldn’t have. I’ve overstepped, asked inappropriate questions, and at times have stalked (with her permission) Eden Bradley. And yes, I have a crush on Eden. She knows this and is okay with it!!!! Grins…

Two years after that first foray into the eBook world, I have books published with Phaze Books, Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, and now, as of today, Loose Id. I don’t have many books out, but have hopes for many more in the future. Whatever it was that made my editor curious about my books enough to contract then, I am very grateful and many times humbled and speechless that they have found my writing worthy of their publisher. In a previous post, I have thanked my editors, so I will leave it at that.

I try not to take for granted the people I have met, the people that have helped me, the people that have lent a supportive ear, an encouraging word, or that have let me throw a tantrum and still liked me afterward. I have done my fair share of dumbass things in the last couple years with regards to this business. I have also moved forward, careful not to make the same mistakes.

Again, thank you. You are all very special and important people to me for the roles you have played in helping me achieve my dreams.

~lissa

P.S. Sugar Rush is available today! Like, RIGHT NOW for those of you that haven’t seen my bazillion posts all over Twitter and Facebook! MySpace is next! 

Head of the House

Photobucket Housewife. Stay at home mom. Home school teacher. Author. Under each of those job categories, there are many other subcategories. And none of them pay nearly enough in money. But…they have their own rewards if I really think about it, if I really step back and take time to appreciate them. One thing that is seriously lacking in a lot of ways though, is respect, from me for myself and what all I do as well as from others.

When I graduated from high school being a stay at home mom and house wife were the two things so far from my mind. I was going to have a career. I was going to earn my own money. I was going have kids and pets and a fantastic husband…one day. Oh, and he was going to make a ton of money and we were going to live in ‘that’ neighborhood. You know the one I’m talking about.

Pipe dreams. And I didn’t even have to smoke it.  Photobucket

However, once I fell into the ‘wrong’ crowd and you’d probably be surprised at my definition of the ‘wrong’ crowd, I began to see things a little different. I wanted to stay home with my kids, but I worked then and I work now.  I’ve worked since I was 14 years old. And believe me when I say that I’ve never had a job working for anyone else that is as hard as the one I have now…working for me and working for my family. That’s what all the cleaning, the laundry, the cooking, the chauffeuring, the raking, the fielding phone calls, the home schooling, the organizing, the budgeting…it’s work. It’s hard work. It’s not sit on my ass all day at the computer or in front of the television or shopping work.
Photobucket  It’s wondering what the gunk is in the shower drain. It’s scrubbing the grout. It’s sweeping the floors everyday and wondering how so much crap gets tracked in. It’s wrestling with the blanket from hell because the washer keeps throwing it to one side and becoming unbalanced. It’s trying to save money on groceries and still eat moderately healthy. It’s finding happiness and smiles wherever you can. And you know what?

I wouldn’t trade any of it.

I can sit on my ass all day if I want. I can watch Food Network all day if I want (it’s usually on anyway in the background for the noise). I can cook all day or bake or make coffee. I can nap. I can go lay out in my backyard. I can read. I can go wander the mall or take a drive and get lost, though I do have to find my way back in time to pick up my daughter from school. I can do anything.

I spend hours a day home schooling my son. It’s tiring, frustrating, and I hated math then and I hate it now. But I love the smile on his face more when he gets it. He doesn’t like sitting down to do it, but he likes it better than spending 6-8 hours a day in a classroom. He likes sleeping late and watching Sportscenter before getting out of bed. Who can blame him? I can’t.

Up until summer of 2009, I had a job of some sort. From 2000 to 2007, I had a job, full-time working from home for someone else. The money was great. The job sucked. I did it though. When we moved here in 2007 and I got serious about starting something for myself, starting my writing career, I started looking for something else I could do from home. That something ended up being editing and proofreading. It got to where though, I was able to write as much, to do everything at home and the editing had to go. I haven’t regretted it. Sure, the money is tight. Living on one income in today’s times is hard. Hard. Hard. Hard. It’s a choice. It is full of sacrifice. It is having to make difficult choices and having to say no to family, to the kids, to friends, and to ourselves, me especially. DH has always played softball and golf and doesn’t do without NFL Sunday Ticket and MLB Extra Innings. He won’t give those up without being dead.
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I have lost myself in crafts, taken cake decorating classes, read more books than a small town library could stock, learning a lot about cooking, and have found another calling in life…writing.

Sometime, there’s this feeling that no one respects those of us that make the choice to stay home and raise the kids, teach the kids, keep the house, etc… How much are we actually making a difference? Are we? Is what we do as important as a woman that goes off to a full-time job? I do believe the answer to all of those is yes. I’ve been on both sides of the debate and both are valid and have merit. I can defend each one equally and I have great admiration for women that have careers they love or those that have the EDJ that they hate but go to everyday. Been on both ends of that one, too.

Women in general, and for the topic of choice in this blog, house wives and stay at home moms, have to be the ones though that start with the respect. Giving it to one another, but also to ourselves. We are the ones that end up on the bottom of the totem pole when we need to be at the top of it. If we can’t or don’t or won’t take care of ourselves then who will? It also sends the wrong message to our kids… Remember that saying… If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy? There’s a lot of truth in that.

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We don’t receive validation or admiration from anyone, not like those in the workplace do or even those that have jobs at home where they work for someone else. So if the respect is gonna come, it has to start with us.

I love this song by SheDAISY. As I was sweeping and mopping yesterday, it was on and it got me to thinking. Housewives do need a miracle. And we do still need to consider ourselves women, laugh at the situations sometimes, wear the sexy bra and panties under the sweats, remember that we’re not just here for everyone else…

God Bless The American Housewife by sheDAISY

Look at me,I’m gorgeous in my housecoat with my coffee cup
I bend down to get the paper,every neighbor tryin’ to check me out
Look at me,I’m lovely as I wave beside my minivan
Look at how my diamonds seem to sparkle on the garbage can

Chorus:
God bless the American housewife
How she does it all I’ll never know
God bless the American housewife
She could use a miracle for sure
God bless the American housewife
Cleanin’ up the world for you and me
God bless the American housewife
(Ah Ah Ah Ah AH)

Look at how my children play Commando in the cul-de-sac
Look at how my husband has survived another heart attack
Look at all the other mothers envious of all my things
Have to call the plummer Cause my daughter flushed my wedding ring

(Repeat Chorus)

Look at me, I’m beautiful and glamorous in rubber gloves
Look how my tiara can be bent back to the shape it was
I can do the laundrt and make dinner while I’m on the phone
Look at me, I’m sexy as the devil when I mow the lawn

Chorus 2x

How she does it all I’ll never know
God bless the American housewife

Have a wonderful Thursday! I have glamorous things to do today! What about you?  Grins…

~lissa

Mocha Monday – Reading Male/Male

The few people that pay attention to anything I say, have learned by now, or should have, that male/male stories take up the majority of space on my iTouch. Be it historical, contemporary, BDSM, or paranormal, I’ve read quite a bit over the last year. If I’m reading a menage with two men and a woman, I want the men to be lovers as well. There are a few m/f/m menage books I like, but I much prefer either strictly male/male or male/male/female stories.

The other day on Twitter, I asked for some recommendations of male/male books and between Twitter and Facebook, I received the following suggestions:

Private Dicks by Katie Allen
A Helping Hand by Shayla Kersten
the Sweet Oblivion series by Jordan Castillo Price
anything by K.A. Mitchell
a futuristic yet to be released by Christine d’Abo
Happy Ending by L.B. Gregg
Dangerous Ground by Josh Lanyon
The Tin Star by J.L. Langely (I’ve read this one already. In fact, I’ve read all of J L Langely’s books and cannot wait until a new one comes out!!!! Another in her Sci-Fi/Fantasy series would be FABULOUS! I really really enjoyed My Fair Captain. It was my first foray into male/male reading other than some proofing I was doing at the time.)
Heaven by Jet Mykles
Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson
Upon Midnight by Buffy Christopher
K Z Snow
DJ Manly
T.A. Chase
Ally Blue
Ryan Field
Amber Greene
Morgan Hawke

Now, the few that I have read that weren’t on this list of suggestions anywhere were M. L. Rhodes, Ava March, Cameron Dane, and Rowan McBride, Z.A. Maxfield, and Anna Leigh Keaton’s Soren’s Surrender.

One of the things I like in my male/male reading is…men. I love men. Hot yummy men. Not whiny crybaby men. I’ve read a few books where the men are just that…whiny and crybabies…worse than little girls. I don’t want that. I want emotional attachment. I like hard rugged men. I like softer tender men. But I like them to still be men, not just have the plumbing.

Does that make me sound harsh? Mean? I hope not, because I don’t mean it that way. It’s just the way I like my stories. Strong, independent men that know who they are or that are finding out who they are, accepting, loving, know what they want, real emotions, real struggles, and naughty naughty naughty in bed. grins…

I hope you all have a great Monday. It’s back to the grind for most all of us, so I hope yours is fine…

If you have any further suggested male/male reading, let me know. Tell me your faves.

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Unusual Professions

Today’s theme is Unusual Professions. I don’t know that I’ve written unusual professions per se. At the same time, perhaps I have…cake baker, professor, race car driver, classical flautist and instrument tech (however those last two are in a book awaiting edits).
I spent some time in conversation yesterday with theblackraven and we decided on my candy maker, Jane from Sugar Rush. She makes chocolate truffles infused with chilies.

“All right, so, you’ve seen me. You can go now. I believe you know where the door is.”

“I appreciate the invitation to leave, but I was hoping we could have dinner together.”

“Nuh-uh. No, sorry. I’m not dating right now.” And she wasn’t. She’d given two years to a guy who had sweet-talked her, who wasn’t even in the same yummy ballpark as Cowboy Surfer, and look where that got her? Nowhere. She was safe like this, living vicariously through Edward’s tireless, sex-filled search for “the one.”

“Fair enough, but just so you know, I don’t believe you.”

“It doesn’t matter what you don’t believe.” She turned off the stove and poured the scalded cream over chopped bittersweet chocolate. The aroma filled the immediate air around her, and she inhaled deeply. The scent of excellent chocolate never got old.

“What are you making?”

He’d stepped close, standing just behind her shoulders. She could feel the heat coming off his body and if she leaned back, she’d be touching his chest. Instead of doing just that — because she so wanted to — she pressed herself closer into the edge of the counter, picked up a wooden spoon, and slowly started to stir the cream into the chocolate. “Truffles. Like the ones you didn’t get this afternoon.”

“I smell chili peppers.”

“Mmm. Yes. We infuse the cream with them. It is a very delicate balance of flavor, the chocolate and the chili. It’s sweet at first bite, but then a blast of heat erupts on your tongue, completely intoxicating your mouth with flavor.”

“You know they say that chili peppers are an aphrodisiac, stimulating the blood and nerve endings.” He leaned closer still, his breath blowing against her hair. “Maybe we should try it out.”

“Not on your life.” Go away go away go away.

“We’ll see.” His breath brushed the edge of her ear, sending a shiver up her spine. What did she have to promise the universe to get him to leave and stop tempting her? “Is this your business then?”

“It’s mine and Edward’s. We started it after he went through a hard breakup with a guy he’d been dating at work. He quit shortly after and decided that the way to mend a broken heart was through chocolate.”

“I know many women that would agree with that. How did you meet? You and Edward, I mean.”

Many women? Of course there were many women in his life. Just look at him. She was nothing more to him than a blind date. It didn’t really explain what he was doing in her kitchen though. Blind dates that didn’t go right usually didn’t get a second chance, and guys like him didn’t chase after women like her either. “In a candy making class a little over a year ago.”

“And? I want the whole story.”

Jane sighed and fought against grinding her teeth in frustration. “He was taking the class to learn to make candy for Valentine’s Day for his boyfriend. When they broke up, I made these for him one day to try and cheer him up and, well, here we are.” Having Graham so near made concentrating on anything difficult. It was a wonder she could think straight at all.

“So, are these what he was talking about when he said you were sitting around eating chocolate all the time?”

There was laughter in his voice. While not surprising, it stung that he was laughing at her, teasing her about it. “He said that?” Mortified, she whirled around and wished she hadn’t. He was standing right there, her nose not even an inch from his chest. He was broad and solid, and she wanted to be wrapped in his arms. Stop that. She looked up at him. Something else she wished she hadn’t done.

“Yes. And it turned me on immediately.”
   
“Don’t say that. Don’t say you were turned on because I eat chocolate. I swear I’m going to kill him.” She was struggling not to cry, but more from anger and humiliation than sadness. “He shouldn’t be telling people that! Dammit!” She began to turn away, but Graham’s hand on her arm stopped her movement and held her firmly between his body and the counter. She tried to move, tried to push against his grip on her, but he wouldn’t let up. Fucking truth be told, she didn’t want him to let go. She wanted him to really, really want her.

“Jane, it’s okay. He’s worried about you. And…” His gaze traveled up and down her body, heat flaring in eyes she shouldn’t be looking into, voice dropping low. “It’s true. I happen to like that you aren’t afraid to indulge yourself in chocolate. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to know what else you like to indulge in.”

She gave a self-depreciating snort and fought to keep the negative words on the tip of her tongue from spewing out her mouth.

“You’re insufferable, and I still think you should leave. You know as well as I do nothing could ever work between us. All we’ve done is argue since we met earlier.” With a sharp tug, she broke free of his grasp and turned back to the chocolate. She pulled the spoon out and took the bowl to the refrigerator. Once she put it inside, she closed the door and leaned her head against it.

“No, I actually don’t know that and neither do you. What’s more, I don’t believe it. We’ve only argued because you’re too stubborn to admit you want to see me naked.”

She couldn’t believe he just said that, that he’d come to that conclusion. “What?”

But, oh dear God, he was right. She wanted to see him naked. She wanted his hands all over her as he kissed her harder than he had at the cabin. She…she had to stop thinking like that. She didn’t want to be hurt again, and man oh man could he hurt the hell out of her. “Then I’ll believe it enough for the both of us.”

“Are you sure you want me to go?”

No. “Yes.” She closed her eyes and waited without turning around. A few heartbeats later, the door closed and when she looked up, he was gone. So, why didn’t she feel better?

Because you really didn’t want him to leave.

“Oh shut up,” she murmured.

Sugar Rush will be available from Loose Id later this month. Please enjoy Snippet Saturday by visiting the blogs of the following wonderful authors:

McKenna Jeffries
Vivian Arend
Ashley Ladd
Kelly Maher
Mari Carr
Jody Wallace
Shelley Munro
Taige Crenshaw
~lissa