Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?

Is your family like this? Then my new holiday novella might be the perfect quick, festive break for you. A cup of coffee and some cookies and a little Christmas fun.

My shameless plug for the week, ladies and gentlemen. Which always makes me think of a...ya know...butt plug, for some reason. So, there you go again, my weird mental tangent for the week. Tada!

And now on to one of my favorite snippets of my favorite scenes in 'tis the Season. :)

What had I done?

I stood at the antique China cabinet that had been my grandmother’s and tried to pick out the wine glasses. My mother was futzing with my cheese platter for the fourth time.

After we’d sat and talked over more wine the night before, Brogan had helped me tether the tree so it wouldn’t attack me anymore and then gone up to his apartment after a very steamy and very long kiss goodnight.

Now, I was about to subject him to my family. See, I get these super romantic notions of the holidays every year. And every year, once everything begins and people are arriving, I remember why this isn’t a movie. The holidays rarely mimic TV shows and holiday films. Unless you count the show Cops or the movie The Ref.

“Now, this young man you’ve invited. Wait, what is this stuff again?” My mother pointed to the green on my cheese platter. I’d gone all out. Nice cheeses, grapes of three colors, two kinds of olives, salted nuts and a variety of crackers.

I sighed. “Fig leaves, Mom.”

“They’re not poisonous are they?”

I looked at her, a wine glass in each hand.

“Because I don’t want to have to go to the emergency room on Christmas Eve. It will be mobbed.”

I wanted to answer, but I was too dumbfounded to speak.

“Natalie Jane, have you been struck mute?”

“Mom, are figs poisonous?”

“Well, of course not.”

“So why in the world would the leaves be?”

“Your logic is flawed, Natalie. There are many plants that have some poisonous bits and 
some edible bits.”


“Okay,” I said. “Let me ask you this. Why would I put poisonous leaves on a cheese platter?”

“Maybe you didn’t know.”

“Well, how would I know to answer your question then?”

My mother pressed her hot pink, lipsticked lips together and narrowed her eyes. “I hope we don’t all die.”

“Me, too,” I said. Well, most of us

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A grimy excerpt, an A+++ review and the Stephen King connection...

So I spent my morning at the Social Security Administration. Not as bad as I anticipated. We waited about an hour but then I got a lovely gentleman who was super nice, helpful and in good spirits. Trust me, that last one is a perk.

I came home from lunch with my mom and girl child to find two lovely things.

Lovely thing #1: I'm the excerpt for 9-to-5 Fantasies edited by Alison Tyler on Tada! If you want to read the opening of my story Grimy, you can go...HERE.

And please do grab the book if you like the tease. It's chock full of dirty goodness. The perfect distraction for the chaos of the holiday season. At least, that's the kind of distraction I like during chaos.

Lovely thing #2:

The Mighty Quinn, one of my most beloved novels, received an A+++ review from Delilah Night. You can check out the full review of Quinn on her blog. But here's my favorite bit:

The sex scenes made me squirm in my seat—in the best possible way.  But unlike those early erotic novels, I want to read the whole book again.  I want to go through the journey that gets me to those sex scenes because they’re not just hot, I’m emotionally invested in the relationship.

And I'm sure you're wondering about the Stephen King connection, right? Well, I found one of those thingies in someone's tweet last night and plugged in a bit of my text and got...

I write like
Stephen King
I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Of course, I plugged in two different excerpts and got Dan Brown and J.D. Salinger, but I'm sticking with King. You knew I would, now didn't you? Click the link if you're interested in finding out who you write like. Or who your specific bit of chosen text is written like...

I'm almost ready for Christmas. Of course "almost" is relative. But basically I haven't started yelling, "Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?" yet. So, I'm counting that as a victory. :)

Ho, ho, ho!

Friday, December 12, 2014

My big, fat, jolly list of ideas for gift giving!

If you're like me, you have a 'one for you one for me' version of holiday shopping. I can go all year long without shopping for myself, but then when I Christmas shop, bam! all kinds of stuff I want for myself. I've always considered myself lucky that my birthday kicks off December because I almost always have birthday money in tow to satisfy my urgent coveting of items.

I've broken it down into a few categories, but basically these are things I have been using or have just discovered that I have fallen in love with. I'll cop to being inspired by Alison Tyler's gift guides (go to her blog and check them out) so I'll give her a friendly little wave and blow her a kiss for the inspiration.

For gluten free folks in your life:

I have always used Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix. On a whim I tried the oatmeal cookie mix, unusual for me because I am a proud and loud from-scratch baker. But lately I can abide by some shortcuts. They were phenomenal. So I tried some other of their products. Besides the two already mentioned, I highly recommend the Pizza Crust Mix for the GF people in your life because...well, one word: Focaccia. I haven't even used it as pizza dough yet but I made the Focaccia and it was inhaled. But not just by me! By two teens with expert palates. The all purpose artisan flour mix is great too--helped me to master gf pie crust. Again, I usually make my own flour but I always try to have some pre-made stuff in my house for those urgent baking cravings.

On to...

The fitness nuts in your life:

It's no secret that in April I became addicted to T25. Thirty pounds, multiple smaller jean sizes and size Medium shirts later...I tried Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results. Love it! Despite having no rhythm at all, I have a great time dancing with this program and I've actually developed a tiny bit of skill in the area. Oh, there will be no The Hot Chick style dance-offs in my future, but I look forward to working out every day (and still mix in T25). My Xmas gift to myself was Shaun T's InsanityMAX: 30 and though I haven't tried it yet, I am super duper excited (or just masochistic).

For the readers:

I have a few. YA books I recommend are Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers series. Girl child read them, I followed suit and I'm currently reading the third and final book of the trilogy. Also, approved by yours truly and her female offspring is Eventide by Christine Allen-Riley. Girl child actually beta read for this book and I bought her a gorgeous print copy now placed in a prized position on her hunormous bookshelf. Mystery/thriller lovers, again, I have one word: Mo Hayder. The Jack Caffery books are dark, addictive and breathtaking. My favorites (I have read them all at this point and am out...*sniffle*) were Birdman, The Treatment, Poppet and the most recent Wolf. Fabulous writing that never lets up. It's like being on a runaway locomotive of reading. And finally, dirty book readers, I recommend you stuff your beloved's Kindle with Alison Tyler's recent mini books Alison on the Rocks and Alison on Top. Alison never disappoints when it comes to kink, sex and a old-fashioned damn fine storytelling.

And why not treat yourself to my Christmas novella 'tis the Season? Just for a small reading break. Perhaps with a glass of wine and a gluten free cookie or five.

For the tippler in your life:

Now Alison Tyler (like Elf on the Shelf she just keeps popping up!) sent me these for my birthday [sadly unavailable at the mo :( ]and they were in one of her gift guides, but I'm repeating here. The Wines that Rock [a different selection in the link] wines weren't just awesomely cool to look at but they were tasty, tasty, tasty too. So you could go ahead and satisfy a music lover who loves to sip some vino with one gift. Also, I have discovered in the last year: Pimm's! When I say discovered I mean became addicted too. A bottle of Pimm's, a bottle of lemonade, some 7Up and a cool glass and you have yourself a prezzie. And let's not forget, the lovely author who sent me a gift card to DrinkUpNY! (Thank you again, JA). Anyways, they ship booze, have good prices, great service and really, let's tell the truth, what is better than getting a freaking UPS man to bring your booze right to your house? Nothing! Unless Santa's bringing it.

Girl child, despite my distaste (or so I claim) of all things a cappella, girl child has gotten me hooked on Pentatonix and well...see for yourself. *I had a video embedded but Youtube apparently farted and something got messed up. So I had to take it down. Search: Mary did you Know? It'll pop up first thing!

Also, boy child introduced me to Noah Gunderson who does something to my soul. Seriously...

And though it's not music, thanks to a random comment on FB from Willsin Rowe, we discovered and became hooked on Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk with Me.

I have more, but your eyes are probably crossing by now. If you have any gifties you're giving that you want to share, let loose in the comments. And I can't believe honest to goodness blog this time. It's crazy. Seems like forever. You're amazed aren't you?  I know...


Monday, December 8, 2014

Cover reveal!

I have no self control. I said I wouldn't post this for a while but I can't stand it anymore. This is the cover by the amazeballs Willsin Rowe for the upcoming Lucky Streak. Lucky Streak is the sequel to Lucky 13: 13 Tales of Getting Lucky. It will include 13 all new, never before published, tales of getting lucky.

It's due out January 16th from Excessica Publishing. And I am so excited...I erm...just can't hide it. Okay, so I strayed into Pointer Sisters territory there, but you'll just have to deal with it.

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Amazon says no so...

The first review of 'tis the Season went up yesterday. should have. But for some reason they've rejected Kiki Howell's review of my new Christmas novella. Citing obscene language and/or links embedded. Well...neither of those was accurate but there's no way to respond. So, I did what any good writer would do, I immortalized it and am posting it here. This is what SHOULD be up on Amazon for my book, but instead it's here. Either way, I'm thrilled that this is Kiki's take on my book and I'm grateful she took the time to write a review!

Ta and da.

Friday, December 5, 2014

'tis the Season...for sexy time

So here's the bright spot in December I've been waiting for. My holiday novella 'tis the Season. :) I had a lot of fun writing this one when things were feeling pretty dark and gray in my life. I treasure it. If you're in the mood for a comical, fun, flirty and sexy little tale during the craziness of the holiday season, I hope you'll check it out!

'tis the Season for a fun, flirty tale of holiday passion. A perfect short, cheerful read at that busy time of year. Nothing but lots of humor with a festive cast of characters, a dashing hero, a good-hearted heroine and a warm afterglow. All thanks to the magic of Christmas...oh, and a stuck thermostat. Hot from the word go, 'tis the Season is just the right amount of comedy and romance and sex to give yourself a break when that holiday stress gets to be too much. A package you'll definitely want to open before Christmas.


It was surreally hot in here. I stood at the small gathering of wine bottles near the kitchen of my apartment and watched each one seeping a long, red line of wine from cork to carpet.

I groaned. There went God knew how much money. The wine would be skunked now.

I went to the thermostat by my desk and saw it read a balmy 94 degrees. I sighed.

“Great. Three days before Christmas, but in my apartment it’s nearly a desert temperature.”

The phone rang, but I let it go. Searching through the dining room closet for the spray cleaner and a new sponge. Sweat rolled down my neck and under my fetching red sweater. I snatched the Santa hat off my head and tossed it on the dining room table. Hot. Too hot.

I found the spray cleaner with a victorious little cry and went to the wine rack. It was messy work taking each bottle and setting it on its end on the sideboard. The rack was coated in wine, the antique wood of the sideboard was puddled with ruby liquid and nearly every bottle had given up the ghost.

“Fan-fucking-tastic.” I sprayed the dots of red on the beige carpet and wondered just how much of my security deposit I’d get back when I moved. Probably none. They’d claim the carpet was irreparably damaged and would have to be replaced.

“Balls!” I said.

I heard a thump from over my head and knew Brogan was home. I’d have to head up there once the carpet was sprayed and the little tiny peroxide bubbles of cleaning goodness were doing their job. He’d need to come down with his key and unstick my stuck thermostat.

Thank god he was home.

Jon Brogan had lived above me since I’d moved in and had said about three words total to me. All of them “hi”. He was nice enough and smiled but sorta shy and I was not the person who had a lot of time or energy to draw out idle chitchat from men who didn’t want to talk to me.

I glanced at the desk by the foyer door and saw there was a goodie bag for him. Christmas was a big thing with me and I always had little gifts to give out. Since he was the live-in handyman at this six apartment joint, I had a little gift for him.

“Hello, Jon Brogan,” I said as I vigorously sprayed. “No, no. No need to speak to me. I just wanted you to have this little Christmas goodie and to…ya know…come turn my apartment into a livable space that isn’t the optimum temperature and humidity for growing hot house tomatoes!”

I stood, brushed my black slacks at the knees and wished I was back at the office Christmas party I’d just left. Then I sighed. The only thing worse than coming home from a party to a ninety-something degree apartment in December is coming home to it late. And drunk.

“You did well, Natalie,” I said to myself. “Leaving to avoid Kevin-the-handsy-IT-guy was genius. You’re a gem. You’re a goddess.”

Then I laughed at myself. Okay, I might be slightly drunk. Well, not drunk. Let’s say buzzed, shall we? It’s a little classier.

I kicked off my heels and peeled off my red sweater. Then I took a big breath. I did the logical thing and opened the windows. A cold blast of winter air came rushing in.

Another big breath and my fingers sifted through my long hair. A few sweat-sticky dark strands hugged my cheeks, and I brushed them away. I’d let the wind work its magic and go beg Brogan—because no one called him Jon—to come down and fix this mess. Quick. Like one of Santa’s elves.

I unlocked the door to the connecting hallway and took the steps in my stockinged feet. I was seriously reconsidering bothering a man who’d barely spoken to me the year I’d lived in the apartments. Oh, he was pretty, I’d give him that. Dark brown hair so rich it almost appeared black and big blue eyes that seemed to swing their way round to green when he was smiling. But he had a girlfriend who was about as sane as a sack full of angry cats. I’d heard her yelling and storming out on more than one occasion recently.

I paused. Had I seen Celine’s car out front? I thought and thought and realized that the only cars parked out in the reserved spots had been mine, Brogan’s big ugly green truck and Mrs. Wilson from unit five’s ancient Chevy Malibu.

A few more steps disappeared beneath my feet and I paused again. Was I going to be disturbing him?

“Stop it, stop it, stop it,” I whispered to myself. “You’re only asking the man to do his job, not come string tinsel and go caroling with you. Go.”

I went.

At the top of the steps I knocked lightly and waited. Nothing. No sound at all. Of course not, I’d barely rapped the wood with my knuckles. I knocked again. Louder this time.

I heard a muffled response that sounded like “Come in!”

So I did. I went in. I opened the door and was met with a neat and orderly apartment. And Brogan on his sofa, quickly tucking himself into jaunty Ho, Ho, Ho! boxer shorts.

I gasped, covered my eyes and let out a tortured little squeal. He’d been…um. Entertaining himself.