Friday, April 17, 2015

Release Day! *boogie down*

Haunted is out today! I'm very excited. Not only did I fall in love with this story while writing it, but it's the last novella I wrote while Jim was still alive. I wrote the majority of it by his beside. For that reason it's especially beloved to me.

I won't ramble on. I'll just post the blurb and the buy links below. I hope you'll consider giving it a read and then telling me what you think.

XOXO
Sommer

Amazon
Excessica
*also available at most major vendors. I just haven't grabbed the links yet!

A paranormal erotic romance...

Two people lost and alone in life searching for answers…

Maddox visits abandoned sites to take photographs and figure out his future. He haunts the places that are monuments to the way he feels inside. Stark, empty, raw. And Olyvia searches for answers to her own painful loss by hunting ghosts. Trying to comfort herself by seeking proof of an afterlife.

One haunted amusement park with a dark history…

Maddox and Olyvia recognize kindred souls in one another. But a chance to fully explore their connection is a luxury they may not have. There’s a ghost stalking Screamland hell-bent on revenge. And it’s targeting them. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

All Aboard the Procrastination Train...


photo credit: 47727 Passes Cheeseman's Green via photopin (license)




If you’ve ever read an interview with yours truly, when they get to the part where they ask for advice for new writers, you’ll see this: Write. Write every day…

Or something similar.

Physician heal thyself!

Lately, I’ve been on the procrastination train. I’m trying to be patient with myself. I try to remember my entire world has shifted, rather quickly, and I need to give myself the understanding I would give another person in my position.

Easier said than done, my friend.

So, what have I been doing? Well, everything I shouldn’t, to be honest.

It sort of goes like this in my head.

I’m only half done this novel due in June. It never takes you this long. You should write…

But there’s a lot left. And only a little time. So, instead how about we…

Sew. Watch Netflix. Watch Prime Instant Video. (Seriously, technology is the devil. We inhaled the final two seasons of Veronica Mars in a week. A week!) Go somewhere with girl child (she’s been on break). Go somewhere else with girl child. Sew some more. Clean. Dance to Uptown Funk for the millionth time. Meditate and do yoga. See if I can get a selfie of myself I like. Sit and stare into space…

The list continues.

How avoiding work because there’s so much and so little time works as time management…I’m not sure. Actually, it doesn’t. But the project seemed so big in so short a time span I figured why not just hide! (That’s logical right?)

So, yesterday, I sat and I used my handy dandy new phone—yeah, as a calculator, *snort*--to figure it out. I have X amount of days and X amount of words. Once the hives from having to do math, even with technological assistance, passed I found that I have to write 647 words a day to get this sucker done on time. Usually, 647 words for me is just a warm up, an appetizer. Luckily, it also seems a reasonable number for me to commit to without freaking myself out.

I’ve already hit the goal for today. Thank goodness. I am not sure, barring the obvious, how my normal work pattern has shifted so quickly. Even when I was a full-time mom, full-time caregiver, full-time writer, full-time everything all at once, I managed to write almost every day. Now I have a lot more time on my hands and I can’t seem to tap into that normally, nearly manic, insane drive.
So, I’m going to be patient. And I’m going to put my head down and get my shit together. Because I must.

I guess in the next interview you’ll see this: “Write. Every day. Unless you can’t. Then take a break, blow of steam, work through your shit, and then disembark the procrastination train and get yourself back on track.”

Tada!

XOXO
Sommer
 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sending Flowers to Alison Tyler...

In case you've missed it, Alison Tyler is on a #10000flowers mission. She's asking folks to send her shots of flowers for her blog and to share. To spread something nice and pretty around online.

I'm such a good friend (actually, I'm just quite obsessive when given a mission). Below are some of the flowers I've sent to AT. And believe it or not, I have another. When I wasn't looking, flowers began to spring up in my life. Inside, outside, and now thanks to Ms. Tyler...online!

Send her some flowers and brighten her day. And anyone else's who happens to get a glimpse of the pretty you've sent along.

p.s. Sorry so incommunicado. I've been writing and 'spring-breaking' with girl child. I'll probably be less inclined to silence when my mini-me has been returned to the classroom. (*sob!*)






Monday, March 23, 2015

Spontaneous Cover Reveal!

Spontaneous cover reveal (because I can't stand to wait) for my upcoming novella Haunted (erotic romance) due out 4/17. Of course, cover by the amazing Willsin Rowe​. Story inspired by the magical writing-prompts of Kiki Howell​ Editing by the bad ass Chris Allen-Riley​ of Round Table Author Services​. #boom !

What happens when two people who've hit rock bottom due to loss and pain meet in a haunted amusement park? Will they connect on a level never expected or fall victim to a ghost hell-bent on revenge?




Friday, March 20, 2015

I just want to do the job...



So, yeah…I took a break for a few days. I’m back now. Sort of. While I’m here, I wanted to blog about a few things and just put some of it out there. Readers are welcome to take it, leave it, or just not read it. It’s entirely up to you, but I’m posting because it’s about things online that have been weighing heavily on me for some time and I’m just kind of done. If you know what I mean.

I am finding it harder and harder to navigate online waters without crashing into huge boulders of negativity, aggressiveness, and downright maliciousness. This is not a good environment for me. I don’t really think it’s good for anyone, barring those who get off on drama for drama’s sake. I've kind of felt like I was in an episode of The Walking Dead, having to machete, slice, and shoot my way toward my goal (the wonderful people I’ve bonded with over the years, positive posts, good things) through a sea of groping monsters. I’m mixing a ton of metaphors, but when I started writing full-time, ten years ago this month, and joined the erotica community, it reminded me of a giant dirty slumber party. Going on to chat and check in was fun. It was pleasurable. Now, it often feels like Fight Club. I’m always waiting for the unexpected left hook out of nowhere.



Ironically, no one has really ever done anything to me. That’s not always the important part of the equation, though, is it? Just because no one has ever done anything to me, I’ve still seen flocks of people go after a lot of writers I care about. It’s unnerving to say the least the way these things start as a seed of truth, or sometimes misinformation, and then boom! Overnight you have a huge towering oak of anger, rage and blame.

Sounds a bit dramatic, I know. But the feelings and the stress of a lot of the online goings on, both in the publishing world and outside of it, are very real. Because I’m a human. And what I absorb I respond to. Simple as that.

So, what did I do while offline? Hmm. Let’s see…

I cleaned. Including approximately fifty pounds of once frozen, now-thawed dachshund poop. That was NOT my favorite part of my internet ban.
I cleaned other things. My house is neater. Things I’ve been ignoring since Jim’s death, well, those things got done.
I wrote. I didn’t necessarily write more often. I wrote for longer sprints. I put down more words. I wasn’t constantly checking in on Twitter and Facebook. My thought process was clearer. My mind more in tune with the task.
I watched Netflix. A looooot of Netflix. And also Durham County S1 and S2 on DVD. You’d think I’d get nothing done, watching all these dark crime shows (hey, it’s research. I want to tackle a dark crime novel). You’d be wrong. Without checking in constantly, I still managed to get a shit-ton done.
I breathed/meditated. When I started meditating after Jim died my brain was like a rat in a cage. My mind had been through a lot. It was traumatic, not to put too fine a point on it. But I stuck with it, and now it grounds me. It helps me with my writing, it supplies the plotline gaps, it also let me release all the negativity I’d been taking in.
Most importantly: I was calmer.

Now this is the point where I warn you that if you’re reading this because you think I’m going to name names or point fingers or supply specific situational information that caused my break from social media, sorry. Not gonna happen. That would simply be perpetuating the things that caused me to flee like my hair was on fire in the first place. Ironically, I once saw a writer publicly called out and persecuted for not naming names. For addressing issues and not pointing fingers at specific people. Quite frankly, that literally makes my brain hurt. But much like that friend, I won’t do it. I won’t change my beliefs or actions for anyone else. Period.

Here I get to an amusing part (not really). I broke my internet ban for approximately two seconds the other day to retweet something from an author that helped clarify a misunderstanding that was causing a lot of people to jump all over, quite viciously, I might add, a person I greatly admire and think is a wonderful person.

Two seconds…

The next time I dared to look the very first response to a simple RT was an aggressive tweet. Which served absolutely no purpose other than to be inflammatory.

I retreated back into my turtle shell of Netflix, cleaning, writing and being in real life. Because the immediate off-the-cuff passive-aggressive (not really, more like aggressive-aggressive) nature of the tweet hurt.

Yes, you heard me. It hurt.

I also had an instance of feeling this, if I'm honest~



Here’s the part where people say, “Don’t be so sensitive. Don’t take these things personally.” Yeah but, here’s the problem: I’M A PERSON. It’s hard to not take things personally when you’re seeing someone being falsely accused of a great disservice and you know for a fact that they didn’t do it. Sorry, that hurts. Might not hurt you, but it hurts me and my feelings are the only ones I have to go on. Because I swim around in them all day.

Another part of the internet shunning, for me, was that it’s not getting better. It appears to be getting worse. Every day is a new instance of meanness for meanness sake. Immediate, knee-jerk, decisions to ‘convict’ ____fill in the blank_____ of something. Cruelty, in some instances. What was once a very happy place for me has become a stress trigger more often than not.

Can I change it? Nope. At least not in big ways.

Can I walk away from it? Yep.

It has finally dawned on me, after 43 years, that I choose what goes into my head. I used to say to myself, “You can’t be so sensitive. Everyone is different. Not everyone thinks and/or operates the way you do.” But I have realized, that though that is true, I get to control the junk that goes into my head. I get to control my online environment. And if I don’t want it, I don’t have to have it. Period. Not in the name of ‘sucking it up’.

I ‘sucked it up’ a lot for almost two years during Jim’s illness and then death. What that taught me, along with love someone you love as MUCH as you can love them EVERY DAY, is this:

Live the life you want NOW.

I don’t want the drama. I just want to write.

I told you I’ve been watching a lot of TV (heh). Det. Tom Bykowski on Durham County summed it up best in a S1 episode. My heart leapt when he said it. Yes, I thought. Yes, this is me!



“I just want to do the job. That’s enough for me. I don’t want to play the game.”

Amen.

I know I’ve changed these last two years. I don’t think you could go through losing the love of your life and not change. It’s sensitized me, for sure. Made me more aware of how we treat one another and the consequences of what we choose to focus our energy on. And that awareness is okay. It’s good, in fact.

To wrap up this ridiculously long blog (sorry about that, folks), I’m coming back online. Albeit, slowly and with great care. This industry and online in general can often feel like a mine field, at least for me, personally. No path is the safe path, but I keep stepping the way that feels the best. To the amazing people I’ve been blessed to get to know after ten years of doing this job. Yes, that’s right, there is, in fact, magic on the internet too. Lots of good. Lots of kindness. I’ve witnessed it firsthand and at one point in my life, it literally saved my sanity. The online world of support and love my family and I received was astounding. When I go online, I work my way toward the people who supported me and mine in so many ways, ways I can’t even describe, during the slow and horrible loss of my husband.

So…"I’m back, baby!" to quote George Costanza. It will be in measured doses with a healthy chunk of perspective I’ll carry with me at all times. I’ll gravitate to the good, the happy, the uplifting.
All the rest I plan to blow away with a breath of kindness. Or, ya know, unfriend/unfollow/not look—but kindly-like ;)

This blog is strictly for and about me. I’m not preaching to anyone or judging how you spend your online time. It’s not my place to do so. However, I’d encourage people to not gut react and trash talk online w/o a healthy slab of facts at your disposal, but I fear, in some cases, that’s probably a wasted statement. Instead, I’ll leave you with this…


XOXO
Sommer

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Promo Spotlight: Kiki Howell's new release FORBIDDEN

Today one of my favorite people is on my blog. Kiki Howell's new release Forbidden is 99c for a limited time only. Snatch it up while you can! :)

XOXO
Sommer
Available for a Limited Time at the special price of $0.99 !

Blurb:
James Alexander Whitmore III, better known as Jaws as a joke among his co-workers, doesn’t even want to be on this cruise he’s been guilted into.


A rule-breaker in his CEO father’s eyes, he’s a software engineer who designs video games. Although, he’s not your typical geek, either, with his muscular body framed by long, dark hair and home to tribal tattoos from his latest successful game.


After traveling around the world to gain certificates as a personal trainer and yoga instructor, Samantha has finally landed her perfect job working on a cruise ship. As a staff member, Sam has the run of the ship. She can fraternize with the passengers, but being caught in flagrante delicto is grounds for immediate dismissal.


While an adventurer, she’s not a rule-breaker, so this poses a problem when she meets Mr. Tall, Dark and Mysterious. While she can’t imagine fitting into the world of a man who can rent a secluded cabin in the Grand Turks for the five hours they are in port, he just may prove to be her greatest adventure yet, in the bedroom and out.



Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance


Available Now at AmazonAll Romance EbooksNNP Store

Reviews:

“This book is sexy, sweet, funny and absolutely worth devouring! Watching Samantha struggle with her decision and Jaws flirting with destiny had me glued to the pages.” ~5 Stars, Ava Mallory
The romance that flourishes between them is swoon-worthy, and the narrative is far too good to not read all in one setting. I didn’t want to put it down! If there is one thing Kiki Howell knows how to do, it’s write a romance that is the perfect blend of erotic sensuality and passionate romance.Your breath will catch, your face will flush. You will swoon, you will sigh. In the end, you will read the final word with a smile on your face. That’s how you know it’s a great romance.” ~ 5 Stars from AP Bullard, Triskele reviews