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!
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.
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!
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!
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 .
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 Amazon, Barnes & 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.)
I write romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of adventure and romance published by Random House, Samhain and the indie route. My man and I live in 1920s condo with two loving cats. During rare moments when I'm not at her computer, I can be found reading in bed, running, or helping animals.