Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I Read in the Past Week

Got one book read. Yikes. Deadlines really DO take up more time!

Feb 26: "Silenced" by Allison Brennan. Book 4 of the Lucy Kincaid series. Blurb: It has been seven years since Lucy was attacked – and almost killed – by an online predator. Today, she is well on her way toward a new life. While waiting to begin her training at the FBI Academy, Lucy is tireless in her fight against cyber sex crime. Her current mission: to find out who killed a high-priced call girl linked to a powerful Congressman. A number of known prostitutes – with scores of high-profile clients – are turning up dead all over D.C. Is this the work of a depraved killer? Or the result of an inside job? Lucy's investigation will take her into an underground network of prostitutes, the chambers of the country's most powerful players, and her own dark past to confront an unknown enemy who's always one step ahead of her. With the help of her P.I boyfriend Sean Rogan, Lucy must find and protect the only witness who can identify the killer and end the consipiracy, but can the witness be trusted? Lucy will risk everything to expose the truth and ensure justice is served, even if that means putting herself in the line of fire… Suspenseful? You bet! Romantic? Lucy and Sean are still getting to know one another, so not a typical romance, but highly enjoyable. It's still got me hooked, anyway. I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads and I will be reading Book 5 next!

I did go out to the movies last night (a nice break). Saw "Beautiful Creatures" with my daughter. I haven't read the book, she has. She said if she hadn't have read the book, she would have enjoyed the movie, but that the movie wasn't anything like the book. I liked the movie, but didn't care for the end. But after talking with my daughter, I am a tiny bit interested in reading the book now. Maybe someday.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Crunch Time

My pre edits are due Friday. A short story I want to submit is due Friday. I'm going to beg off on the blog until I'm finished. However, if I finish the book I'm reading by Wednesday (and it's possible – I have a doctor appointment on Tuesday), I'll post the book. Otherwise, I'll return when I'm finished. I know you all understand.

Here's to a productive week!


Friday, February 22, 2013


I have to say – having a deadline makes a HUGE difference in the way I treat my writing.

Used to be if I got tired, I'd stop and read or watch TV. Writing was only for me and I wasn't in any hurry to get a project done. In other words: I didn't push myself.


I get tired, but know I HAVE to get it done. Someone is WAITING on me. There's no later, there's only now. So I push myself.

I find that rather invigorating.

My writing has purpose!

I don't think I've ever enjoyed it more.

In other news, I have this picture…

Proof I was on a panel (I have no idea what that expression on my face is!).
From left: Melissa Landers( w/a Macy Beckett), Lori Langdon,
Kristen Bailey (w/a Jess Granger), Jennette Marie Powell, and me

And lastly…

Yesterday was my husband's 60th birthday. We went out to dinner (after his class), but will celebrate with the kids on Sunday and then with our friend later, in March. But I didn't want the big day not to go unnoticed (especially since he made sure no one at work knew!) so I'm here to say…


Now I'll find out if he reads my blog – ha ha ha!

Have a nice Friday, all!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I Read the Past Week

Life has definitely gotten hectic – the writing side anyway. I'll be lucky to get one book read a week, I think (but I won't quit – can't do that – besides, there's always time to read). At least I got those judged books read and out of the way (until the next contest…oops!). Anyway, here is what I read in the past week:

Feb 13: "Unbridled and Untangled" by Elle Saint James. This book is an erotic romance and is the eighth book in a series dubbed "The Double Rider Men's Club." Menage, anyone? Blurb: Olivia Stanton, the new CEO of the family business, steps out for a wild weekend at the annual Stadium event for the DRMC and falls for both Dalton and Wade. However, she has important responsibilities and leaves them for her job. Dalton Rourke and Wade Granger haven't been members of the DRMC for long and haven't found a special woman to share until they meet Olivia. After the wicked weekend spent together, they want to keep her forever. Olivia considers meeting her two men in secret, but her new position is threatened by another family member wanting to take over. Dalton and Wade discover her wealthy socialite lifestyle and wonder if she truly loves them beyond the sexy weekend they shared. Will she be able to keep her job safe and mend her shaky relationship with the two men she loves, or will she lose everything she's ever wanted? This is definitely one HOT book. I liked the characters except for one whose POV was a little distracting (and not really needed), but he's probably in all the books. Yeah, you don't really have to read these in order. I think the only thing in common is the club. I enjoyed this book though (another one I judged) and gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Feb 19: "Dangerous Shift" by Jill James. This book is a paranormal romance. Blurb: Shapeshifters live among us but remain unknown to most people except for the highest echelons of law enforcement, the military, science, and medical fields – until now. When a fatal virus strikes Shapeshifters all over the west coast, including members of the Shapeshifter Task Force in San Laura, California, reinforcements are called in from around the United States. Lt. Nikki Hill of Missouri comes to San Laura and is partnered up with Lt. Sean Evans. They quickly butt heads on everything from proper police procedures to the moral ethics of euthanasia. They can't seem to get a lead on the serial killer even as members of their own families are stricken with the virus. In their grief they turn to each other and hope they have time to discover if their relationship stands a chance or if they might just be the next victims of the species extinction disease. The story and premise were interesting, but I don't like books when it takes over 100 pages for the couple to finally LIKE each other. It also dragged in parts (particularly the ending). I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.
Sorry if I don't visit your blogs as much, but I definitely do NOT want to be late for my first deadline, you know? Still, I can't edit all the time, my mind would turn to MUSH. Maybe it already has.

See you around!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Great News - I'm Going to be Published!

For those of you who don't know (since I put it out on Facebook on Friday), MY SUNNY VAMPIRE will be published by Lyrical Press. Yay! Happy Dance!

Yeah, I'm still in shock.

Guess I don't have to worry about what my next project will be for awhile, since I now have a – gasp! – deadline! The first of many, I'm sure. And you know what? That makes me sooooo happy!

Okay, and a little freaked out.

It's strange going from doing whatever to oh-my-God-I-have-to-get-this-done-in-two-weeks! And then to find out the short story I want to submit to my chapter's anthology is also due in two weeks.

Did I mention I was a little freaked out?

Okay, so much for reading. So much for blog hopping. I've got some work to do!

Oh, and before I forget, I learned one thing this weekend. I was so excited about my news, I never got a chance to be nervous for being on the romance panel (which went very well, by the way). Who knew? Not me!

I thought 2013 would be my year. I just never realized how BIG!



Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm Guest Blogging - Come Visit!

I'm over at Romancing the Genres today and talking about Dragon*Con.

While I do have my romance panel this morning at the Dayton Metro Library (see side bar), I will check in with my guest post later this afternoon, so please stop by and say hi!

Busy day!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

It's Friday and I Met My Goal!!

I can honestly say I have finished my editing project of BITE ME, I'M YOURS. Yay! I will now read through it one more time before I give it to some fresh eyes.

Seems strange not having that large project in front of me anymore, though. Must find another one. Oh wait, I have my alien story I can work on. Calix & Annie, here I come!

This Saturday is the big day for me. My first writers' panel. I'm surprised I'm not more nervous. I'm sure I will once the time arrives. Never fails! But if you're in the area and want to hear some writers speak, come on over (see address on side panel). I believe they're serving chocolate, too. Mmmm.

Short post because I failed to prepare. Bad me (slaps hands). I can blame Valentine's Day.

Husband teaches on Thursday, but I wanted to have dinner with him, so I went with him to class, sat around and read while he taught, and then we had dinner. Of course, the restaurant was busy (duh), but we made it home around 8:30pm, so not too bad. You'd think I'd be able to get something written then, but ha ha, I forgot. Yep, that's me – old forgettable. Anyway, dinner was nice. I don't believe we've ever really celebrated the holiday (or non-holiday, as my husband calls it) before. And now you can probably guess why! Ha ha!

Got any plans for the weekend?



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What I Read Last Week

It's been an interesting last few days. I might have actually sold MY SUNNY VAMPIRE. Yeah, shocked me, too. I'll certainly share all the details as soon as I can. Let me just say I'm silently freaking out. It's one thing dreaming about something, but something totally different when it might actually come true. It's not just about me any more and that scares the bejesus out of me!

Anyway, on to my post. Here's what I read in the past week.

Feb 8: "Kiss Me, Kill Me" by Allison Brennan. This is the second book in the Lucy Kincaid series. Yes, if you were to read these, it would be best to read them in order. Blurb: Lucy Kincaid has firsthand experience dealing with deadly criminal predators, and she's fully prepared to share her many talents with the FBI. But when her career plans are derailed, her boyfriend, security expert Sean Rogan, asks for help on his latest private investigation. Using her well-honed cyber-hunting skills, Lucy is soon on the trail of a missing teenage girl with a penchant for disappearing – and a shocking secret life. FBI Agent Suzanne Madeaux is also tracking someone; a serial killer on the loose in New York City. Dubbed by the press the Cinderella Strangler, he cruises seamy underground sex parties where drug-fueled women make for easy pickings. As Lucy and Sean's desperate search collides with the FBI's hunt, Lucy isn't about to step aside. Haunted by painful memories of her own harrowing encounters with evil, she's determined to keep any more innocents from meeting the fate she so narrowly escaped. Delving deep into the twisted psyche of a remorseless killer, Lucy must confront her own fears – even if it means risking a future job with the FBI and future happiness with Sean. I loved this book. I like how the characters Lucy and Sean meet up are different than the previous book, making it fresh. It's hard to comment on a series without giving stuff away, though, so I'll end here. I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. And while I should be reading some books I said I'd judge, I'm delving into the next (since it's staring at me – taunting me…).

Feb 11: "If I Should Die" by Allison Brennan. This is the third book in the Lucy Kincaid series. Blurb: Aspiring FBI agent Lucy Kincaid and her P.I. boyfriend, Sean Rogan, are heading to the Adirondack Mountains for a pleasant romantic getaway when they detour to help troubled friends, owners of a new resort who are battling malicious vandals. After Lucy and Sean pursue an arsonist into an abandoned mine shaft, Lucy stumbles upon an even more heinous crime – and the perfectly preserved remains of its victim. The only thing more disturbing than the discovery of the corpse is its sudden disappearance. While the local police remain skeptical, Lucy is dead certain that there's a connection between the sabotage at the resort and the murder – one that the lest-than-neighborly citizens of Spruce Lake seem to have a stake in keeping hidden. Then, when a cold-blooded sniper targets Sean and Lucy, FBI agent Noah Armstrong enters the fray to ensure that more bodies don't hit the ground. Now three outsiders race to untangle a violent conspiracy before they end up like the rest of Spruce Lake's secrets: dead and buried. Told you this book taunted me, and there's a reason it's called a suspense – I couldn't put it down! I really love this series and gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. I do not have the next book on hand to read (although it's ordered), and I do have some to judge, so I'll be taking a break (grumble, grumble).

Feb 12: "Hers for the Holidays" by SamanthaHunter. This is labeled as an erotic romance. Blurb: Bodyguard Ely Berringer's job was simple: find the missing woman. But there's nothing simple about smokin'-hot tattoo artist Lydia Hamilton…or the fact that they once shared a wickedly sexy night together. And once he finds her in Montana, he realizes that one night with Lydia was definitely not enough! Lydia's been trying to sort out the sale of her childhood home and ranch. But lately there's been a rash of nasty incidents – break-ins, damaged property…just enough to convince Ely that he needs to stick around. And if that means some no-strings-attached naughty nights? Well, he's all hers…even if it is only for the holiday! Frankly, I don't consider this erotic. Yeah, it has some steamy scenes, but I get more from a JR Ward book! I did like the story, but this is not my typical fare. Harlequin books are just too short (for my taste). I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

I do have a question for you – do you read the blurbs? Does it help I put them in italics? Just wondering how you feel about them, I guess.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sunshine and Rainbows

In case you missed Friday's post, I'm looking for a few readers. If you're interested, click HERE.
Last Thursday I met with one of my writers' groups. This group actually does critiques, but only three pages worth. It's fair, because there's no time for more. But when your story is longer, it can make for a difficult read, especially if you bring in something from the middle of your story. I really hate critiquing those (it's like reading three pages out of context), but I do what I can.

That's why I usually just stick to bringing in the beginning of my stories (whether from a novel or short story). If the beginning's not right, or it's not hooking the reader, it really doesn't matter what's in the middle. Of course, when I bring these pages in, sometimes I end up re-writing the whole beginning.

I did that with the short story that's included in "Home for the Holidays." I thought I had a great beginning. Turns out it was confusing. It also made my story too long (if it didn't, I might have reworked it so it wasn't so confusing). Scratch! I found a better starting point and it worked tons better.

This past meeting I brought in another short, which I hope will be included in the next anthology my RWA chapter is putting together. It got some good comments (yay – not confusing), but one person suggested something. Nothing major, but enough to put a bug in my head, apparently. I slept on it, and WHAM! It hit me. Rewrite! It's so much better now and has helped me to see how to END the story (which I was struggling with).

Can't say I get lucky like that all the time, but when it happens, it's like sunshine and rainbows and joy all around! I just love that feeling. Only writing has ever done that to me.

What gives YOU that kind of feeling?

My first writers' panel is coming up THIS SATURDAY! And I finally figured out how to make the flyer into a jpeg. See – isn't it pretty?
Why is the easy stuff so hard to figure out, though? I've been trying to do this for I don't know how long now and all it took was to copy it to a clipboard? Yee gads! Oh well… At least I can say that I'm not shaking in my shoes any more. In fact, I'm kind of excited about it. Gee, did someone put something into my water? Because that's just not LIKE me! But I should have some pictures next week (if my husband takes any good ones, that is!).

I'm hoping to finish up with the edit/revision of BITE ME, I'M YOURS this week. Yes, THIS WEEK! I only have about ten pages left. I should be able to do it. I should, I tell you. Well… I hope, then. This is what happens when I want the ending to be perfect. I'm S-L-O-W!

Hope your Monday isn't Monday-like! Cheers!



Friday, February 8, 2013

I Have a Request for You

In case you didn't see the update I made to my last post, that editor liked what I sent and asked for the full ms. Maybe I finally found a home for MY SUNNY VAMPIRE (and my other vampire stories). That would be nice. But even if it doesn't work out, my book will be published. I'd just prefer not to do all the work.

I'm still slugging away at BITE ME, I'M YOURS. Those last twenty pages are a struggle for some strange reason. I've come to realize that I had failed to have my characters react appropriately to what was happening to them, or I had way too much stuff going on when it should have been happening fast so they don't have any time to think!

Changing the ending isn't making the job any easier, either. But I'm certain once I'm finished, this book will be a thousand times better than it was before I started this revision project. Practice and classes really do help!

Anyway, that's where my request comes in. I need readers for BITE ME, I'M YOURS. You don't have to be a writer, but you should enjoy reading paranormal romance (if you want to know more about the book, see the tab, above).

I can't send a paper copy (too expensive), so if you don't mind reading on your computer and you WANT to read it, I would appreciate the help. I only ask that you don't take forever (no more than 2 weeks), you answer a few questions regarding the story, and that you delete the story when finished.

This request is only for my followers (since I kind of, sort of know you) or anyone I physically know (but is not necessarily following my blog) and I'm only looking for a few readers. I don't want to have to worry about someone I don't know, you know?

Anyway, if you are interested, please e-mail me at semckitrick(at)aol(dot)com. Put BETA READER in the subject line.

Since I'm not finished revising my story yet, you have time to think about it. I thought about going to one of my many writer groups and asking, but let's face it – writers are busy writing. So I thought I would ask here. Not that you're not a writer (I know many of you are), but non-writers are important, too. Seriously, I'll take anyone who loves to read. I need feedback – good or bad. And that's what I'm looking for.

The great thing about this request is that you don't have to feel bad if you don't want to do it. So if you're even hesitating, then don't do it. But if you enjoy reading something new, or want to be part of a writing project, well, here's your chance.

Of course, all this will be moot if a miracle happens and I sell MY SUNNY VAMPIRE and they also want BITE ME, I'M YOURS (before I'm even finished). Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Here's to a fun weekend! And if you're caught in the blizzard of the year (or whatever they're calling that storm), I feel for you. Hunker down, bundle up, and drink plenty of hot chocolate (spiked or not). J I'm sure someone will dig you out eventually!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I Read This Past Week

Yesterday there was a pitch session for Lyrical Press on a blog I follow, so I jumped in and pitched MY SUNNY VAMPIRE. The editor requested a partial and synopsis. Yay! I hope I sent her enough for her to yell "Send me more!" I can dream, right? Anyway, this is what I read in the past week:

Jan 31: "Love Me to Death" by Allison Brennan. This book is labeled "A Novel of Suspense" so I wondered if there was going to be any romance, because – hello! – she writes romance. Well, I shouldn't have worried. It does. Blurb on back: Six years ago, Lucy Kincaid was attacked and nearly killed by an online predator. She survived. Her attacker did not. Now Lucy's goal is to join the FBI and fight cyber-crime, but in the meantime, she's volunteering with a victim's rights group, surfing the Web undercover to lure sex offenders into the hands of the law. But when the predators she hunts start turning up as murder victims, the FBI takes a whole new interest in Lucy. With her future and possibly even her freedom suddenly in jeopardy, Lucy discovers she's a pawn in someone's twisted plot to mete out vigilante justice. She joins forces with security expert and daredevil Sean Rogan, and together they track their elusive quarry from anonymous online chat rooms on the mean streets of Washington, D.C. But someone else is shadowing them: A merciless stalker has his savage eye on Lucy. The only way for her to escape his brutality may be another fight to the death. I really loved this book. It has just the kind of romance I like, too. I got lucky and had a huge block of time to read it (waiting for my husband to finish teaching his class so we could take that adventurous trip to KY), so it only took me two days. Even without that time, I probably would have finished it quick. I just didn't want to put it down. I look forward to reading more of Lucy and Sean and I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.

Feb 5: "Swamp Magic" by Bobbi Romans. This book is a paranormal romance (with lots of sex). Blurb: Deep in the muggy swamps where there is but one rule, kill or be killed, a new species has emerged – born not from nature but spawned from evil. Octavia wasn't stupid. Those unfortunate souls who have crossed paths with her didn't just become swamp creatures, they became the least deadly of them. She hadn't counted on the strong spirits of those she'd cursed. From those murky swamp depths, a hero emerged. The type from which legends are born. Moss, whose sensual iridescent tattoos are in fact thanks to his reptilian side, still struggles to come to terms with his fate and wants nothing more than to be left alone. Beth's life becomes upturned when she reluctantly agrees to accompany her idiotic brother on a hunt for the Bog Man. When she becomes separated from the others she comes face to face with the legend himself…only no one ever mentioned how damn sexy he was. The swamp's dark history tests the duo on their survival skills as well as luring them deeper into the magic of the swamp. I wasn't happy stuff is left unresolved so the next book could be written, but that's my issue with some series, not particularly this book. I would have liked to connect with the characters more, though. I gave this three stars on Goodreads.

Feb 5: "Love is Murder" by Allison Brennan. This is labeled a "Novella of Suspense," but it's more like a murder mystery (and no romance at all, since it's before "Love Me To Death" (see above), so Lucy hadn't hooked up with Sean yet J). Blurb: After a tough breakup with her boyfriend, Lucy Kincaid needs a different kind of break. So she heads west to join her brother, an ex-cop, for a long weekend of skiing in the mountains. At a picturesque lodge tucked high in the Sierra Nevada, Lucy finds just what she’s looking for: a peaceful retreat undisturbed by Internet, television, and cell phone distractions. She also finds an unexpected group of newlyweds seeking their own idyllic getaway. But finding one of her fellow guests dead wasn’t in the brochure. And neither was the overnight snowstorm that leaves the lodge cut off from the outside world. When Lucy’s brother suspects the honeymooner’s death was foul play, he’s mysteriously stricken ill. Now, to keep him and herself alive, it’s up to aspiring FBI agent Lucy Kincaid to figure out which of the lovebirds trapped in the lodge is really a bird of prey. I really liked the story (although it was short – only 78 pages), and I got to know her brother Patrick, who is mentioned a lot in the first book but never seen. Allison Brennan actually gave me this novella when I had lunch with her at RWA 2011 (I won that chance), which was a real treat (maybe someone will feel that way about me someday!). I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads.

I'm ready to read the next book in the series and I've already ordered the third. I'll be sticking with the Lucy Kincaid books until there aren't any more to read.

Updated at 6:55pm: That editor asked for the full! I guess I did send her enough for her to ask for more. Can you see me doing the happy dance? 'Cause I am!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tripping Out

As you probably noticed (and I kind of hope you did, because that means you like me), I didn't post anything on Friday. I had something written and had planned on posting it Thursday night after my husband and I arrived in Kentucky.

Yep, I took another trip with him. We were supposed to go there the Thursday before, but forecast called for significant snow, so he cancelled the trip and rescheduled for the following Thursday. And it was a good thing he had. Schools were closed. The plant was closed. It was pretty miserable out there.

Since that weekend, the weather had gotten warm. Sixty-degree warm (yeah, I was loving that). My husband checked the weather for Thursday – several times, mind you (because let's face it – it's winter and anything can happen). Forecast called for flurries. Okay, he could deal with that. He asked if I still wanted to go. I did. So he picked me up on the way to his class (he still had to teach and it was on the way). It was snowing.

Okay, no biggie. We kind of expected as much.

At 7:45 pm he was ready to leave. It was still snowing in Dayton, but nothing in Mt. Sterling. Figured, once he got on the freeway, it would be better. It wasn't. What happened to the flurries? I-675 was practically a disaster (couldn't even see the divider lines). I-75 wasn't much better.

He couldn't cancel his trip. The plant had been begging him to come down (and with his teaching, he can only make it there on Fridays). So we continued onward (thank goodness I didn't have to drive).

We passed many accidents on the north bound side of the freeway, but managed to avoid them on our side (traffic stopped once, but figured someone – a truck – had trouble making it up the hill since we never saw any vehicles on the side of the road and the same thing happened on the north bound side as we were going down the hill).

The thing that really got us, though, was the traffic. This was a Thursday night. After 10 pm. In the snow. I don't usually see that much traffic on the weekend in summer. What the heck were they doing out? And the trucks! You'd think they'd slow down (one jack-knifed under an over-pass and blocked all lanes of traffic – thank goodness it seemed he was alone and hadn't hit anyone; thank goodness it was on the other side of the freeway). I'm surprised we made it in one piece.

Of course, we didn't arrive in Mt. Sterling until after 1:00 am (over 2 hours later than we planned). And we brought the snow with us – I don't think it stopped once during the whole trip. Needless to say, I didn't have a chance to post my blog, or check my mail, because we were back on the road by 6:30 am for another 90-minute drive (via two-lane, snow-covered mountain roads – flurries my a$$) to West Liberty, where the plant there doesn't have guest internet access.

And no, I DO NOT want to hear I wouldn't have that problem if I had a smart phone. DO NOT, I tell you! J

It sure was pretty down there, though. Cold (single digits anyone?), but pretty.

So, anything exciting happen in your neck of the woods?

And before I leave, I want to wish my son a HAPPY BIRTHDAY tomorrow (not that he reads this, but just in case…).

Have a good day!