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It Rubs the Lotion On Its Skin... Despacito

We writers love to talk about the soundtracks we listen to as we write. Romance writers listen to love songs. Writers of fantasy or real medieval times listen to ancientfm.com. (Try it, it's awesome.) While I wrote The Grove of Thorismud, I listened to that, plus a whole lot of Rammstein mixed with Dead Can Dance, Anonymous 4's 1000: A Mass for the End of Time, and The Tea Party (a gamer-dork Canadian rock band that plays Led Zeppelin riffs on Middle Eastern instruments and has refused to sell the teaparty.com domain name to the American political movement, even for a cool million--rock on, old dudes).

For my new work in progress, Matka Danu Miklagarth, I mostly listen to nothing but early-morning nature sounds from the open window next to my writing desk. (Ahh, so nice.) When I do put on music to drown out construction noise or whatever, I use things like the Vikings TV show soundtrack or something else that nods to the different ethnic backgrounds of the characters I'm w…
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Corny Musings on Work/Life Balance

All writers have to learn the art of life balance, especially writers who are not ready to quit their day jobs, and especially-especially writers with young families. Let me tell you how it is, as the mom who finished a book when my daughter went to kindergarten (just like I always said I would) and who gardens with decorative vegetables (having given up on my home design Pinterest board and also my goals of growing organic produce that can actually feed my family).

Pictured below is our decorative corn plant. A local farmer has explained to us that it cannot grow actual corn due to its lack of fertilization partners, but it is reaching for the stars nevertheless. Cornspiration!

Also pictured: my beloved electric car, which can go no more than 70 miles round-trip on the best of days; a street sign that symbolizes how sometimes you have to slow down or stop and wait--so deep, man; my recycling and garbage bins with a utility company that uses the garbage stink gas to create electricity…

No One Barfed: Two Successful Author Events

Members of the Capital City Writers nailed two successful events last week, a romance author panel at a local bookstore and the second annual Summertime Scrawl. These events inspired both readers and writers, and not a single person barfed from stress or nerves. Hooray!

The panel of five Capital City romance authors included Lyssa Kay Adams, Alyssa Alexander, Elizabeth Heiter, Alixandria Sure, and debut author Meika Usher (left to right, below).


All seats filled up by start time, and it was standing room only, with an audience that spilled well out of the staging area. There was laughter, a lively Q&A session, and a friendly book signing. My critique group partner Meika Usher gave a sparkling and hilarious introduction to her debut novel, Something So Sweet, which is available as an ebook and also a beautifully designed, adorable paperback. She sold out of every hard copy that she had lugged to the store.


Just a few days later, my critique group partners and I joined forces to hos…

Acknowledged in a Lesbian Regency Romance

Welp, checked that off the bucket list!



Daring and Decorum by Lawrence Hogue will be released by Supposed Crimes on August 1 and is available for pre-order.

It is already on my own bookshelf (wedged in there by Jane Austen, fourth from the left) because the author personally handed me a copy when I saw him at an event at a local independent bookstore. There, he showed me that he had put my name in the acknowledgements in the back.

THAT'S MEEEEE near the lower right corner!

What fun! I did a beta read of an early draft, and now I am reading the finished work in a handsome hardcover edition.

And I have information from a credible source that a sequel is well underway.

So if historical romance of the queerish kind is your thing, you may want to get in on this series and also check out works by the authors that inspired it: Ellen Kushner, Michelle Martin, Emma Donoghue, Nicola Griffith, Heather Rose Jones, Jane Austen, Alfred Noyes, and songwriter Loreena McKennitt.

And of course, chec…

The Romance of Bricks and Mortar and Paper and Ink

There's no place like a bookstore to fall in love with a story. I want books that I can touch and hold, that have weight in my hands and textured covers and pages that smell like reading. There is something romantic about good, old-fashioned print books and also about finding them at a bricks-and-mortar store.

I love all kinds of bookstores--gigantic chain stores with escalators and cafes and abundant armchairs and cozy nooks as well as tiny shops with jingly doors and narrowly spaced, well-curated shelves.

Amazon Prime Day has come and gone, and I bought absolutely nothing. Other people certainly did. My husband has had to clock in to work at 3:45 a.m. every day since the 4th to accommodate literally tons and tons of extra UPS air deliveries.

I like to think that a lot of those packages contain fun beach reads. Getting books in the mail is fun. I can't say I don't enjoy it.

But there's nothing like the experience of browsing a bookstore. If you aren't sure what yo…

Living in a Playhouse

It's easy to think of the American Dream as something you could display on a Pinterest board, but I've found that mine is better represented by a certain Wells Fargo TV commercial. (Yes, really.)



I mean, to hell with Wells Fargo. You can get a better deal on a home loan from your local credit union. (That's what I did.) But mad props to the writer of this commercial, a gem within its genre of emotionally impactful, concise storytelling.

Thanks to moments like this sappy ad, I realize how invaluable it is to hold the keys to That House. Of course, it is a privilege to own the neighborhood "safe space" for children. Staying home and "doing nothing" has transformed into a meaningful service to my community.

And it's also wonderful for me that my daughter (still) loves staying home with Mama, where I know she is safe--and not tearing up someone else's house. It's convenient for me to not have to worry.

But let's be real. There is a reason t…

Something So Sweet

Meika Usher's debut novel is here! Something So Sweet offers the first taste of Meika's unique blend of sweet suitors, steamy love scenes, and raunchy humor.

This is the first in a decadent series full of nice guys, naughty girls, roller-coaster emotions, and lusty thrills.

I'm so proud of my "Pen Pal" (member of my novel critique circle, The Pigasus Pen) for the work she's put into her first publication--multiple rounds of beta reading, professional editing, rewrites, and pro cover design.

I've only read this book in a raw, incomplete early stage, so I'm excited to get my hands on the finished copy--on sale starting July 1 and available for pre-order now.

If you like your romance with humor and healthy appetites, get your fix on Amazon!