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I’ve been AWOL from this blog for way too long. I don’t have an excuse really, unless you count breaking my foot two days after my birthday, working pretty steadily on editing Whistling Woman, setting up the blog for same, trying to contribute to the two other blogs I’m a member of, and okay, I’ll be honest, quite a healthy dose of laziness.

The thing is, everything else has fallen by the wayside and that includes writing. I know, I know, broken foot and weeks of not being able to move around without crutches should equal at least one book, right? Not for me. I have been trying but I just couldn’t seem to get into anything. I have 30,000 words written on Sun Shadows and I’ve hit the mid-book slump that I always seem to hit. But that doesn’t worry me, it will work itself out in time as it usually does–fingers crossed–but I haven’t been able to get into anything else.

Until today, I’ve been doing a little research on cutting, vampires, specifically Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, and this morning I actually got about 2500 words written on the next book in my Apprentice Angel series. What did it? What finally broke the block? Composing an email to one of my publishers asking them to please heed the certified letters I sent them last September telling them I did not want to renew the contract on the first book, Unwilling Angel. The contract expired in November of last year and after sending the certified letters, I sort of forgot about it and assumed the book would be taken down when the contract expired. Oh sure, I knew it might take them some time to get it down but we’re nearing a year later and it’s still up there so…I’m writing an email and hoping the publisher will respond.

While I waited, I read through the second book in the series, Unruly Angel, which I finished last year and it sparked an interest in the third book, tentatively titled Unworldly Angel. I’ve known for quite a while what that one’s going to be about so I got off my lazy duff and finally started researching. Reading through all the info I could find about Dark Shadows got me interested in writing again.

Whew! Thanks Barnabas, you’re still the only vampire I ever loved!

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It’s day two of my Author Spotlight on The Long and Short of It and I’m talking about my secret shame as an author.  Check it out and don’t forget to enter the contest for a free e-book copy of Unwilling Angel, the book where I indulged my secret shame!  You don’t even have to have the correct answer, just drop me a line and let me know your guess for the author who appeared to me in an “Elvis” sighting and inspired the book.

Here are a few hints:

He wrote under seven different pseudonyms and his real name was Salvatore Lombino.

He’s known for practically inventing the “Police Procedural.”

He has one series that ran an astounding 55 books and another that has thirteen—and that’s not counting all the books he wrote under his other pseudonyms.

One of his pseudonyms was the inspiration for my own and the name I gave my character in Unwilling Angel, Ted McNabb, is very similar to his most famous pseudonym.

Can you guess who this best-selling author was?  And is it strange that I loved his books so much that he appeared to me after his death?  Yeah,  probably, but I got a book out of it, not to mention, I really enjoyed spending time with him in his “Apprentice Angel” guise!  Which reminds me, I need to get busy on the edits for the second book about him, Unruly Angel!

Do you ever have one of those days when your mind can’t seem to settle on any one thing but is constantly jumping around like a jackrabbit on drugs?  Well, I’ve been going through a string of days like that.  Haven’t gotten any writing done to speak of and for the first time in years, I didn’t put up my Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving.  Just wasn’t in the mood.  What’s up with that?  Usually Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I count down the days for months, waiting for Thanksgiving when I can put up my tree and then dive headlong into the season.

Not happening this year and I’m not sure why, but I think perhaps it’s because I submitted my paranormal romance, Unwiling Angel, to another publisher even though I have no idea how things with the first publisher, Twilight Fantasies, are going to turn out.  I just don’t know if it was the right thing to do, but I was sick of biding my time while the owners of TFP decide what they’re going to do, so I submitted.  I didn’t try to hide anything from the new publisher and I have to tell you, I was blown away when they wrote back saying they’d like to offer me a contract.

That’s when the doubts started to set in.  I hesitated, worried that I was going to drag them into this mess with TFP and okay, I’ll admit it, also worried that my writing career would be hurt in some way if I signed the contract.  I talked to my lawyer and he advised me not to sign, but to wait a few more months until we know a little bit more about what Twilight’s going to do.  So, I wrote the new publisher and explained why I wouldn’t be signing the contract and…

the owner called me at home!  That one really knocked me for a loop.  I mean, it’s extremely flattering that they were willing to take a chance on the manuscript in the first place, but to call me at home and give me the reasons she thought it was okay for me to sign with her company?  That was, to say the least, over the top pleasing and gratifying!  It also warmed my heart because of all the books and stories I’ve written, this one is my favorite.  I really want to see it published.   Perhaps I was blinded by that, but this morning I followed my heart, signed the contract and sent it back to them.

The thing is…my mind is still worried.  Why?  Well, I’ve narrowed it down to three things:

1)  I had been thinking of putting in some extra work on the manuscript; adding about thirty-five thousand words, taking it from novella to novel length; fleshing out the love story between the heroine and the hero; and while I was at it, spicing it up a little bit.

2)  This is another new e-publisher and I’ve been burned twice–well, actually I was only singed on the first one, but the second one was a full-out, writhing-in-agony, burning-at-the-stake conflagration–and I swore I’d never take that chance again.

3)  I know several authors who will, like my lawyer, think I’ve done the wrong thing.  I’m not looking forward to sharing this news with them.

Okay, I think I hit the nail on the head with that last one–selling a book should be a happy occasion.  Right?  Oh hell, it should be a screaming-from-the-rooftop, champagne-corks-popping, day-long-happy-dance!  That’s how I felt with every book and short story I’ve sold, and the fact that this publisher is interested enough to take a chance on my novella, knowing that if TFP files for bankruptcy, the rights could be held up for unknown amounts of time in a court case, should at least edge that celebration up to a week-long event…but I’m just not feeling it right now.

Hopefully, once I announce it, my friends and fellow authors will surprise me.  I’m pretty sure my lawyer won’t, but hey, he’s a lawyer.  What can you expect?  This was a decision made from the heart and everybody knows lawyers don’t have hearts–oops!  Sorry Paul, couldn’t resist that one! 

All kidding aside, I’m hoping some day I might be able to look back on this and know following my heart was the right thing to do.

Finally figured out how to add images–woo-hoo!  Inserted the cover art for Unwilling Angel on the corresponding page, but I’ll add it here too–just for practice of course!

Unwiling Angel Cover 

Isn’t that fabulous?  The cover artist is C. J. England and I think she did a fantastic job!  Don’t you?

Oh, in case you’re interested, the blurb and an excerpt can be found by clicking on the Unwilling Angel page on this site.  Then, if you think you might want to read it–and I hope you do!–click on Twilight Fantasies in my blogroll and you’ll see me right there on the front page–first place winner in the Zuzu’s Petals contest! 

No post yesterday, because Unwilling Angel was released and I was busy with all the hoopla that goes with having a book released.  I tell you, it’s an aweome thing when you submit a manuscript then hear from a publisher that they would like to offer you a contract, but when it finally hits the cyber-space bookshelf–after weeks, or even months, of edits, countless hours spent working with a cover artist to find just the right cover, and days of pre-promotions, it’s a relief.  You get–or I do–a feeling of whew, at last it’s done!  Now I can move on,

The thing is, what do I do next?

I have plenty of options to choose from–five, count ’em, five works-in-progress, seven completed books which need a home, more promotions for my new release, web site to be updated, etc., etc., etc.–none of which appeal to me at the moment.  You see, after yesterday’s whirlwind, I need a break and I can feel my Procrastination Slut persona coming to the fore.

I’ve written about her before in my LJ blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned her here, so I’ll give you a bit of explanation.  I have this tendency to shut down, especially when I have a lot of things I need to do.  It’s irritating, but there it is.  I’ve learned not to fight it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream of what it would be like if I banished her for good.

Hmmm…I’d have numerous books either out on the market or awaiting release, I’d finish off those WIPs and get them out to publishers in the blink of an eye, I’d compose query letters and synopses with little or no painful frustration, I’d be a computer-savvy wiz at promotions, and I’d know how to upload a picture to this blog–

 –and that’s another thing, why is it when you click on the “insert image” icon on WordPress, you don’t get a “browse” option like you do on almost every other site in the cyber-world?  Instead, you get seven fields which have to be filled out and most days, my brain is way too tired for that.  Maybe while the Procrastination Slut is ruling, I should present this to her as a puzzle to be solved.  She doesn’t like to work, but she has no objection to sitting on her butt and playing around with the computer.  So, maybe if I don’t classify it as work, but dress it up as an…enigma (she likes fancy words), I can fool her into figuring it out, because I know there’s a way to do it, I just haven’t found it yet!

Anyway, the Procrastination Slut is back–hey, do you think that’s what’s wrong with the Red Sox, they’re putting off till tomorrow what should be done today, or more correctly, what should have been done weeks ago?  I’ve been trying not to think about this, but I have to say it, Boston is through for the season, they may as well pack up their equipment and slink off the field with their tails between their legs.  And I do mean slink.  They have no reason to hold their heads up and I have no desire to give them a standing O.  Come to think of it, they’d better keep their heads down, ’cause I’m sure there are a lot of fans in closer proximity than I am, who’d love nothing more than to toss a few balls and bats at them.  A word of advice, boys; keep your batting helmets handy this winter, it may save you from a hospital visit.  Oh, and during the post-season when you’re not playing, in between watching the New York Yankees win the AL and probably go on to win the World Series, maybe you should hit the Patriots up for some shoulder pads and a lesson or two on how to band together when times are tough–you obviously don’t have a clue.  To put it in lingo you’ll understand…you suck wicked bad!

Okay, that helped a little bit.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled program…the Procrastination Slut reigns supreme in my world and there’s no telling how long she’ll hang around.  So, while she’s reclining on her chaise lounge (her version of a throne), popping bite-size Heath bars in her mouth (her version of chocolate truffles), and being entertained by her sister’s latest romantic thriller (her version of a court jester), I’m going to present her with a conundrum (I think she’ll like that word):  How many cyber-space imbeciles does it take to post an image on WordPress?

Her answer (I’d bet money on this one):  Ask me later, I’m too busy wasting time right now.

There are a couple of things you should know about me before we go any further (farther?  I always have trouble with those two words).  First, I’m a diehard Boston Red Sox fan and second, I have a devious mind.

Every morning, the first thing I do is tune into Sports Center on ESPN then as I’m watching, I log onto the Internet and head over to AOL’s MLB FanHouse so I can read what the bloggers/commenters there are saying about what’s going on around the league.  Yesterday, Matt Watson, one of the bloggers, posted this, “Note to Roger Clemens:  Call Joe Torre.”  Being a Red Sox fan, that one caught my eye, and after I read the post, it made my heart–and my sinister mind–leap.  My heart because I don’t like Roger Clemens or the fact that New York bent over backwards to sign him and he, at least in my opinion, forced them into it.  My mind because I find that as I get older, one of my biggest thrills in life is writing about murdering someone–I told you I wasn’t a ‘people person’ and while I would never literally take another person’s life, I find it oddly satisfying to write about it.  

Okay, back to Mr. Watson’s post, it seems Roger Clemens is missing in action and Joe Torre, NY’s general manager, is trying to get in touch with him.  Mr. Torre, not being able to find him in the clubhouse or reach him by phone, had to send an email to his star pitcher.  As of the time of the posting, Torre hadn’t received a reply.  Now, I don’t know how true this is, especially given the fact that part of the Clemens deal was he wouldn’t be expected to show up on the days he wasn’t pitching, but I immediately started thinking:  what if a Red Sox player put out a contract on Roger Clemens?  Just, you know, to make him go away.  Permanently.

There are a few Red Sox players who I can seeing doing this.  No, I’m not going to name names, but if you’re a Boston fan, you know it’s true.  We have some, er, strange players on our team.  And God knows some of the fans cross over the line of insanity at times.  So, could it happen and if it did, who would the investigating detectives look at?  I have to say, their list of suspects would be a long one–and I, quite possibly, have just added my name to that list.  Uh-oh!

If I hadn’t just finished a novella, Irreverent Angel, the second book in my Apprentice Angel series (my apologies for the shameless plug!), which deals with a fictional Red Sox pitcher who is thinking about taking steroids to get his arm back, I might actually write the story.  I think it would be great fun!  Alas, for now, I need to concentrate on polishing this manuscript, and writing the dreaded synopsis and query letter.  A fate, well, maybe not worse than death, but one that ranks right up there on my list.

Plotting someone’s death–just one of the many joys of writing for me.

Update:  As I read through this after posting, I realized I probably should give you the URL for Matt Watson’s highly entertaining (at least for me) post.  Or is that copyright infringement?  Arrgh!  Don’t have a clue, but I’m going to risk it. 

http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/09/10/note-to-roger-clemens-call-joe-torre/  

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams

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