Thursday, April 3, 2014

What's new?

Hi, friends!!

Sometimes I miss the old days when I blogged all the time! How is everybody? And how is there so much more to do these days? Is it spring yet? Because it's snowing out the window. *sob* The mister and I just watched an episode of our new massively fave show, The Americans, and I'm settling into some long procrastinated day job work. *eyes chocolate drawer* But first, an update!

RITA® nomination!
I was so crazy thrilled last week that Off the Edge was nominated for the prestigious RITA award in the category of Romantic Suspense, bestowed by RWA for the best in romance. It is a huge honor. I don't find out if I actually won it until the convention in July - it's like the Oscars where you don't know until they announce it, but just to be nominated is MASSIVE. I'm especially grateful because of how many excellent RS books were released in 2013.

New projects
I recently finished the second draft of the third Undercover Associates book, which is about Thorne, and it involves a secret baby. I'm also involved in a very secret project that I can't talk about yet, and Annika Martin is putting the finishing touches on the third in her dirty-minded Hunky Bank Robbers series. So, three projects. Little buds of spring that will hopefully bloom into nice flowers instead of misshapen weird things! Isn't that every writer's dream?

Shorts
I'm putting up all my short stories over the next few weeks. Kitten-Tiger and the Monk, the story from Wild & Steamy is currently out. Conjuring Max, the story from Fire & Frost is coming, and so is Old Salt, the Story from Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance.  I'll post when they're up!

Interview!
I did a really fun interview at Love is a Mystery today, and I'm giving away a free ebook if you comment (your chances of winning are VERY good as of this writing!)

Also, look at this psycho picture of Tiberius! lol. That's all. Have a nice weekend, everyone!




Monday, February 3, 2014

My day as the neighborhood psycho!

click to enlarge
I'm at Smexy Books today with a funny story about the scraps of paper I scribble notes on for novels (often while out running) getting out of the recycling bin and blowing all over the neighborhood - and out of context, how psycho they must sound! 

Come say hi! Here is the link.


AND, if you reveal in the comments whether or not you like to read scraps of paper you find in the street, I might send you your choice of backlist ebooks from me AND a candy bar!
 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My first week with my new treadmill desk: a scintillating report!

So I recently got a new treadmill desk, and I wanted to talk about it, because it's kind of fun and exciting and also, a lot of people have been asking me about it.

I got the idea from my BFF Jeffe Kennedy, who has written about her desk here. I was talking with her just before Christmas and she told me how many miles she puts on it a day. That kind of sold me.

Like Jeffe, I have a straight job where I spend tons of time at my desk, (freelance marketing writer) and when you put that together with writing novels, I'm sitting a good 12 hours a day, which is apparently Very Deadly, according to many articles. Even though I run outside when it's not snowy, it's still bad.

So, I splurged on this treadmill desk. Because, even at $1500, a treadmill desk is a lot cheaper than the chronic degenerative diseases that the articles warn about, that was my rationale. After a bit of research, I chose this manual crank table ($479) and this treadmill ($999).

It's been one week with it up and running, and I already know it was a good investment. At first, I felt like I could only read and email and brainstorm while on it, not do full-blown creative writing. But the last few days, I've been doing lots of copywriting work on it. Yesterday I wrote a whole big piece I had due, and when I was done, I'd walked 2 miles, and it was nothing. So I'm really excited. I can see writing books on here. I am now on it as I type these very words!


I have my low desk next to it, as you see from this picture, complete with my overlord, bathed in golden light, as befitting his station in life.

If I had a different kind of space, I might roll the treadmill out of the way and crank the table down when I want to sit (the crank is really easy to use) but that's not the kind of space I have (corner of living room).

A few random things:

  • At night after dinner, I typically go back to work. It used to be that when I felt tired, I'd eat some chocolate for energy. Now I hop on the treadmill desk and work there for a bit, and it perks me up. Don't get me wrong, I still eat chocolate for dessert, but not as an energy thing and not as much.  
  • I go on and off it; that is, I don't do one big push. That really works for me. Yesterday I felt like I hardly used it at all, and at the end of the day when I turned it off, I had over 4 miles on there, just from popping on now and then when the mood struck.
  • It actually has worked when I'm stuck with a project or super bored, as a change of scenery.
  • I tried using it in my bare feet, but it was kind of hard on the soles of my feet after a while. But, I'm going to work up to bare feet. I think I'd like that better. Bonus: when summer hits, I will be able to walk on the sidewalk in bare feet with ease. 
  • Jeffe suggested I work up my speed, starting slow and increasing. Right now, I'm going 1.8 mph. That feels about right. When I go super slow, it's almost harder. If I was on a phone call, I'd likely go faster. 
  • This might be overall harder than regular walking. Sometimes when I use it a lot, I really feel it. I am in reasonable shape and I can walk miles outside without getting tired, but this thing uses slightly different muscles, it seems. 
  • There is this plastic key thing that you stick in the console and it has a clip on the end of a cloth cord, and it mystified me for the longest time. The cat played with it a lot. Then one day my treadmill wouldn't go, and I noticed the key thing had been pulled out. So I stuck it back in and the treadmill worked again. So I'm now thinking you are supposed to clip it to yourself, and if you forget to keep walking...does it stop the treadmill before you fall off the end? I don't know. The image is kind of funny. Whatever. Like I'm going to clip myself to the console. Not. 
  • It's kind of too bad I'm sort of a healthy eater, because I was thinking, walking on this thing, I could really chow down on pizza and french fries and not gain weight. 
  • I was worried the cats would claw the tread, and I had evil plans to turn it on if they did, but so far, no clawing, Though Oblio is completely baffled by it. Tiberius doesn't much care. 
Okay, just working on this post and taking a client call and doing some emailing, I have walked 2.01 miles. Yeah! Now I'll change gears and sit for a different project.  



Monday, January 20, 2014

Off the Edge: Print arrival and end of sale price....

Thank you to everybody who bought Off the Edge and for all the enthusiastic words and tweets and reviews. It's been such a fun release. And I've been so crazy, I haven't updated forever. And look! Our Christmas lights are still up!

Print
The print edition (pictured) is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and in bookstores by special order). Amber at BookBeautiful did this cover, and it is even more stunning in print than in ebook. If you buy it at Amazon, you get the ebook free!

printAmazon | Nook | Book Depository

Ebook sale coming to an end
The ebook has been $2.99, but it's raising up to $3.99 this week. So, last few days of sale!

ebookKindle | Nook | Apple | Kobo | ARE | Smashwords


"I was captivated by the story and flow of Off the Edge and I cannot wait to read more."
~FV Jen, Fiction Vixen

"One of the very best romantic suspense novels I read in 2013."
~Dabney, ThePassionateReader.com

"Do yourself a favor and pick up this Carolyn Crane book.  It is unique and stimulating and one of my favorites for this year."
~Sunny, Love Affair With an Ereader

"The book was seriously on-the-edge suspenseful. I loved the chemistry between Laney and Peter."
~Christi, Smitten with Reading

Monday, December 23, 2013

The 13 holiday gifts you must not buy for werewolves under any circumstances!

 It is not easy to buy gifts for paranormals - especially werewolves. While they are typically polite about accepting items they don't like, quietly returning them when you're not around, some gifts that can upset them greatly, and should be avoided at all costs.

Hopefully this post, which I have reprised in part from the Christmas past, will help.

Do NOT give your werewolf friends and family the following gifts:

1. Any chia pet in the shape of a canine. Deeply offensive to the werewolf psyche.

2. A Friendship bracelet that you worked really hard on, that the werewolf must never take off, and you'll be really mad if they lose it. Because they will! 

3. The complete 5-volume Dog Whisperer DVD set featuring Cesar Millan. A werewolf will instantly rip it apart.

4. Nature's Sense Aromatherapy patchouli-scented Joy candles. Due to the werewolf's keen sense of smell, such a gift is not joyful. Plus, patchouli.

5. Actually, any heavily scented products are poor gift choices for werewolves.

6. Ten-hour video set of the historic Apollo 11 Lunar Landing. This type of close-up non-stop full moon footage can be overstimulating to werewolves, and lead to destruction of furnishings and upholstery and also set off howling that can result in noise complaints from the neighbors.

7. Road Runner vs. Wiley Coyote cartoon DVD set. (Not even as a joke, unless you hated your TV set anyway.)

8. Joy of yodelling CD. (Gets werewolves riled up, not in a good way.)

9. A surprise pre-paid trip to the dentist to get all cavities filled with silver fillings.

10. The clapper, or worse, if you helpfully change all their lights over to operation by the clapper. This is not something that the werewolf in your life will find at all helpful .

11. Rogaine.

12. The Slanket. While this gift may be exciting and attractive to your comfort-loving werewolf friend, it is actually very restrictive, and when it comes to shifting form unexpectedly, BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN.


13
. The Miau Kitty Christmas Carol album: definitely NOT a recommended buy for werewolves this holiday season.


Do not under ANY circumstances purchase this music CD for a werewolf. 


Best gifts for a werewolf: 

1. Subscription to "venison of the month" club. Helpful hint: in the box where it asks for delivery instructions for postal carrier, write: throw onto doorstep; do not carry to door and ring bell.

2. Ultra-whitening toothpaste for an extra scary effect out on the hunting trail. Rawr!

3. A fabulous book to read while waiting for the next full moon. Might I suggest:

• Seven Steps to Impressing Your Friends With a Truly Vicious Snarl:  Workbook edition with facial muscle exercises
 The Secret Lives of Rabbits: Your Next Meal May Be Closer Than You Think
• Or, of course: Off the Edge, my awesome new romantic suspense, which is now live at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and ARE.  Because what werewolf wouldn't want to read about a sexy, badass secret agent-linguistics expert?

Hey, happy holidays everyone! I hope you have a cozy, safe holiday full of your favorite people and favorite books.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Off the Edge: popping up in stores + special holiday price

I'm so excited to see Off the Edge starting to hit the stores!

It's at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ARE right now (at ARE you can get epubs, mobi, and PDFs). It will appear in Kobo, Sony, Apple and elsewhere after Christmas. Print will be available then, too.

Special holiday price!
Right now Off the Edge is on sale for $2.99, but in early January it will go up to $3.99 and stay there for the long haul. So, grab it now if you want a buck off!

I loved writing this book and I loved being able to combine two of my passions - badass toughness and word nerdiness - into one yummalicious hero.  I guess I like to have my peanut butter with my chocolate. Because, why not?

Thank you so much, everybody, for all your enthusiasm, and the lovely early reviews. It makes my heart so happy to have such awesome readers!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Your odds of winning chocolate, free ebooks & an ARC are pretty AMAZING!

The odds are sooooo excellent that you could win one of these fabulous giveaways! Rake it in!

Chocolate treats in the mail, and an advance ebook copy of OFF THE EDGE.
My awesome pal Jeffe Kennedy is counting down the days to Christmas on her blog (go there to win something fun every day!) Today, Sunday, is Ten Lords A-Leaping. Why are they leaping? Chocolate and ebooks from me!

Closes: Monday morning 12/16
Entering: RT or spread the link with the hashtag #JK12daysGifts on twitter, Facebook or elsewhere and comment to let her know you did it. As of this writing, there are only two entries!

Holiday ebooks written by author pals of mine!
So I noticed some of my favorite author pals have written holiday books. I am giving them away on my Facebook author page. Some have NO entrants yet. Is everybody out Christmas shopping or what?

Closes: Tuesday 12/17 5 pm CST
Entering: I have put like 7 covers up on my Facebook page, and all you have to do is comment under the cover of the book you want to win. There is no limit to how many you could win. Comment on them all! 

Off the Edge ARC
You could win an early ebook copy of Off the Edge on my post at lovely Twimom's blog. While there, you can read up on dirty Secret Agent holiday tricks.

Closes: Wednesday 12/18 12 AM EST
Entering: Just leave a comment about a holiday tip or trick.

Good luck, friends! And happy holidays.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Secret Agents reveal their dirty holiday tips and tricks!

As part of Twimom and Book Nympho's big Mistletoe Madness celebration, I gathered the secret agents of the Association together to tell their best holiday tips and tricks.

Their tips and tricks were not very wholesome! Or festive. But what can you expect from secret agents?

Drop by and see how secret agents handle holiday madness, and you could enter to win an advance copy of OFF THE EDGE!!

Click here  to stop by! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Off the Edge - mad cover makeover and upcoming release!

Off the Edge is with the proofreader!! I'm super excited to release this one, which will come out around Christmas.

I did a Facebook and blog poll not too long ago on my former covers asking readers about shirt vs. shirtless cover for Off the Edge, and it was really interesting how readers loved a shirt guy. I was feeling like it was a good change for the series, too.

Former covers:

But when I thought about it more, much as I love shirt-suspenders guy, the reader fave, and agreed a shirt guy is right for The Associates, after living with the cover a while and talking with other authors, I realized you kind of can't tell the genre that well. (Way more my fault than the first designer - I had this whole vision. Don't ask. My wayward cover visions - that is another post.)

Anyway the first says suspense but also contemporary romance, and suspenders guy isn't very romance. It's more adventure.

So, I decided the series needed a fresh look - a shirt guy, but more RS. I have so loved the work of Amber Shah at BookBeautiful. I especially like how she works with lighting, and color, and just her entire sensibility, so I asked her to do a new set that would have a guy in a shirt, but be specifically romantic suspense, so that it is clear what kind of tale is here. I wanted something in the genre, but I wanted something that I would personally like full of sexy fun and danger.

Amber totally pulled it out. I am so loving this new cover for OFF THE EDGE.


I love the drama of the yellow and black and orange, and I'm so into this image of my secret agent, Macmillan, who is a linguistics expert, and also badass. It feels strong and smart and sexy.


Here is the new one for Against the Dark, which is already published. I'm going to flip these out soon. I love the colors of this, and just how my name is kind of gritty. But there is also a brightness to both of these covers, like they don't take themselves overly seriously.

Anyway, it feels so good to get the right cover system for a book series. Look for Off the Edge around Christmas! And print of both really soon.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Man chest with heroine...or shirt with big freakin' gun?

Just in case you're not on my facebook (which you can like here if you're a FB liking type!)  I am gathering opinions on Off the Edge covers...because you know how I feel compelled to change covers all the time. It is a mania!

Anyway, I got it in my head today that poor Macmillan needs a shirt. And one thing led to another...

So, man chest with heroine or shirt with big freakin' gun?

PS: This book should be out in December. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cover copy: opinions welcome!

Hey friends!

I've been working hard on my next book, OFF THE EDGE. (out in a month or so). I'm toggling between two approaches to the cover copy. Do you hate either? Love either? Are you all about the mix and match? Should I toss everything? Is 'secret agent linguistcs expert' waaaay too long? I'll shut up now. Opinions welcome!

*****Obsess one*********


HE SHOULDN’T OBSESS OVER HER

Seducing women is just part of the job for deadly, charming secret agent linguistics expert Peter Macmillan. But the Bangkok hotel singer who holds the key to his latest mission also possesses the power to crack his cool façade—one that hides another life…and a dark tragedy.

SHE SHOULDN’T HELP HIM

He ravished her body. He stole her secrets. He won’t reveal his identity. So maybe Laney Lancaster shouldn’t feel sorry for the man when she finds him shirtless, sweaty, and chained up in the hotel’s dank dungeon. Maybe she shouldn’t be sneaking down, trying to free him. Except she knows firsthand what it’s like to be wounded, trapped and alone…thanks to a murderous ex-husband who hunts her across the globe. 

THEY SHOULDN’T SURVIVE

As deadly forces align against them, Laney and Macmillan find themselves on the run, in the grip of wilder passion and darker danger than either of them ever imagined. To survive, they must trust each other with their lives...and their hearts.

******or enemies one*******



SHE MAY BE HIS WORST ENEMY…

For Peter Macmillan, the Association’s deadliest and most charming secret agent, language is a weapon – one he’s used to hunt the world’s most dangerous criminals. Seducing a singer in a second-rate Bangkok hotel should be a piece of cake. Except the woman who holds the key to his latest mission seems to have the power to destroy his cool façade—and with it, his last defense against a dark past.

HE MAY BE HER ONLY HOPE…

He ravished her body. He stole her secrets. He won’t reveal his true identity. So maybe Laney Lancaster shouldn’t feel sorry for the man when she finds him shirtless, sweaty, and chained up in the hotel’s dank dungeon. Maybe she shouldn’t be sneaking down, trying to free him. Except she knows firsthand what it’s like to be wounded, trapped and alone…thanks to a murderous ex-husband who hunts her across the globe. 

But when they cross the wrong people, they find themselves on the run, in the grip of wilder passion and darker danger than either of them ever imagined.




Saturday, September 28, 2013

10 things about my Megabus trip


So, I took the Megabus to visit my mom. I am writing this from my perch on her very, very floral couch! I would love it if she'd bus instead of that long drive, so I was checking it out for her. I'm curious for myself, too - I can get a lot more done sitting on a bus instead of driving. 

Findings:

1. Megabus made the 350 mile trip faster than the Amtrak and as fast as a car. This was an express bus that had only one stop.

2. It wasn't seedy at all, like how bus trips sometimes used to be. Everybody was very nice.

3. It had wi-fi! I was going to do a post, but the Thrillionth page was blocked. Too hot for Megabus.

4. I sat next to a retired schoolteacher named Judy. She was super nice and it was her first Megabus ride, too. We showed each other pet pictures on the phone. Even on the Megabus, I am the queen of cat pictures.

5. TIP: Sit on the lower level of the megabus. That is the quiet level, apparently.

6. The woman in front of Judy and me was a Megabus Pro. Judy and I were pleased that the seat we chose was behind the Megabus Pro's seat, because Megabus Pro got there early to get her pick. (Lower level, middle).

7. The Megabus Pro booked 2 months in advance and got a round trip for $2.50. I paid $60 for Minneapolis to Milwaukee round trip.

8. Wear warm clothes. That was some serious AC!

9. I need one of those privacy computer screen thingys. Nice as Judy was, she couldn't help but look at my computer screen and see I was writing some type of book, and asking me about it. Well, don't we all glance at people's screens when they're inches away? I was SO glad I wasn't working on a super dirty part. 

10. The photo is of us at our one stop in Mauston, WI. The driver was hilarious, and she promised she would leave anybody who took more than the allotted 20 minutes there. She gave enough details about what would happen to make me think she actually HAD left people there.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My megabus experiment weekend!

Okay, wish me luck, friends! I'm going on a 6-hour bus trip tomorrow to Milwaukee...that's right, on the bus!!

It's sort of recon for my elderly mom, who loves to drive to Minneapolis to visit me, but I would feel sooo much better if she took the bus. So I'm checking it out! I'm being the guinea pig. 

Oh, I remember my college days of taking the seedy, scary Greyhound around. That's kind of all I can think of.

Supposedly busses have improved since them. I'll give a report, maybe even some pictures. Hey, maybe it will be better than driving! I hear they even have wi-fi now. Maybe I'll get some writing done.

Gulp. What's everyone else up to this weekend?


Friday, September 20, 2013

Wild and wacky birthday weekend!

It's my birthday this weekend, so I'm going to be doing a big, fun giveaway on my author facebook page. You can win all kinds of books that just got released.

But you're going to have to work for it...by answering my chocolate trivia questions!! Hah!

Stop by on facebook!

And you don't have to like my page to play, but if you DO like my page, in my mind I will give you a big hug!

Have a great weekend, everybody!




What do authors ask other authors?

I'm over at Julie's Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks blog this week for a fun feature she has where authors ask each other questions.

I loved answering the questions, and I check back every Thursday now to see how the other authors answered. What could be better than that? How about the chance to win a copy of OFF THE EDGE?

Stop by and say hi at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks here!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Poor, ignorant Carolyn Crane: A confession, a question, and 10 fun facts at Mythic Monday

Happy Tuesday, friends! So, I'm visiting with Melissa over at the My World in Words & Pages blog for Mythical Monday.

This is a fun feature she has where authors post about the myths that inspired their series.

In writing this post, I learned that I don't know much at all about the myth that inspired the Code of Shadows series (Fire & Frost prequel & Mr. Real) among other things.

Come join the fun, answer my question, and more. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fire & Frost - just released and on a sweet cheapie sale!


Fire and Frost is out! I so love this book. I want to rip the pages apart and slather myself in them and roll around in them, except that doesn't work out so well when it's just an ebook. 

But soon it will be print, too. Yee-hah!!

Okay. ahem. *sips tea*

This is the anthology that Meljean Brook, Jessica Sims (aka Jill Myles), and I have been excitedly working on for a while.

These three very different tales combine cool iciness and smoldering, sexy heat. I love how they are arranged to create a fun style spectrum, and I love the cover (even though I've completely defaced it here) and I guess I love just everything. And the stories of my antho-mates blew me away – if you don’t know them this is a great place to start. These tales relate to existing worlds we’ve all written, but stand completely alone. 

~On sale for  $0.99 ~
ebook: Amazon | Nook | ARE | Kobo | Apple | Sony
(should be everywhere soon)
Regular price : $2.99
Print: see below

The info: 

Wrecked by Meljean Brook
Elizabeth has spent the past five years running from her father; her father’s huntsman, Caius, has spent the past five years pursuing her. But when he finally catches up to her on an airship flying above Europe’s zombie-infested cities, Elizabeth discovers that Caius isn’t the only danger she has to fear—and now that he’s found her, Caius doesn’t intend to let her go…

Conjuring Max by Carolyn Crane
The witches of the world ridiculed and rejected nerdy Veronica for trying to use newfangled computers to enhance old world spellcasting. Well, it’s 1984 now, and she’s perfected her spellcasting computer program. Hey, who needs friends when you can conjure virtually anything…or anybody? So when Veronica makes powerful new enemies, she conjures Max, a pitbull of a cop, to deal with the pesky hitmen who keep coming around. But tough-guy Max is in no mood to play lapdog to a gorgeous witch.

Speed Mating by Jessica Sims 
Estrella may be going into heat, but she’s determined to remain in control. Just because she’s ovulating doesn’t mean she has to settle for just any man (or his beast). Her sexy alpha’s determined to find her a tiger to take care of her heat and father her child…but no one seems to look quite as good as the man in charge. Will giving in to her need for her alpha ruin her tenuous relationship with her clan or be a match made in heaven?

The Print Collection: Novellas & Stories

Since many of our readers prefer print, we decided to combine both of our anthologies (Fire & Frost and Wild & Steamy) into one economical edition (beautifully designed by Meljean. Seriously, beautifully.)

Novellas & Stories is available in  trade paperback, orderable from all the usual places and even in libraries.


It's available at Amazon, and will be soon elsewhere.   

Novellas & Stories by Meljean Brook, Jessica Sims & Carolyn Crane
Price: $13.99
ISBN: 978-14848281387
Available early June