The Ides of March

Well, it’s a wee bit past the Idea of March, but it’s never too late to celebrate women with knives.  . I’ve been recovering from the flu, which is a bitch and a half, even though I got Tamiflu before I was even symptomatic and had the flu vaccine. This sucker just holds on.

I’ve been throwing myself into the business side of writing. They had to drag me, kicking and screaming, but the I’ve finally dropped my resistance and am enjoying the whole thing. The main problem is that it keeps me from writing but I hope to find out the opposite. If I have a business thingy to do (like arrange for an editor or write cover copy, my task du jour) it reminds me of the stories I want to be writing, and it puts my ass in my writing chair. So I’m hoping that will make a difference. I’ve been too freaking sick to write for a couple of weeks and I feel it. But today I am determined to be better (I was determined to be better on the weekend but the flesh was weak). So, business and writing and then maybe some sewing for my new hero figure.

I’ve got him an Emma Watson girlfriend, though I find I keep pinning women with long red hair on my heroine board on Pinterest. Wonder what that’s all about? I like Emma’s sweetness and strength. I could have had Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johannsen and a number others, but Emma just felt like the right heroine. Now I get to make clothes and get them kitted up to look like my characters. Fun!

In the meantime I’m going to get back to something new I’m working on while I keep doing all the stuff for Heartless – Emma and Brandon’s story. I’m hoping for a release date of April 15th. Here’s what I have to do:
Arrange for a cover, which I have, and it’s gorgeous
Arrange for an edit (in process but it’s a long book)
Write cover copy
Get it formatted
Look into pre-orders
God, there must be other stuff I’m supposed to do. After I do some fresh writing (well, all my writing is pretty fresh) I’ll do some more reading up on indie publishing. I’ve got books from Audible so I can learn while I keep working on the Blob.

One problem is what to call the war Brandon was wounded in (in which Brandon was wounded, I know, I know). I called it The Afghan Wars, which is how history refers to it, but it was the first, and how would Brandon etc. know there’d be more than one? It was also called The First Anglo-Afghan War, the Disaster at … something, I forget. But they wouldn’t know there was going to be a second and the disaster was a battle, not a war (though that is how he got wounded). So Eliza and I have decided upon The Afghan War, despite what I may have called it in SHAMELESS. Tant pis.

And now, back to work!

Heroes Pt. I

There’s an old song from the Shangri-la’s (a girl group from the ’60s who did Leader of the Pack) called “Give Him a Great Big Kiss” that starts out with someone saying in a heavy Long Island accent, “when I say I’m in love you’d best believe I’m in love.”
Which brings me to my little friend. (As in “say hello to my little friend.”). Gorgeous isn’t he? A company called Hot Toy makes some incredibly accurate head casts of cult characters – actually they make the whole toy and they cost about $300. I’m not going to throw that kind of money at my latest inspiration (hero of Wildfire, Heartless, and probably something else) but on ebay you can buy the heads separately for about $30 and a body for just a little bit more. So my darling, long-suffering husband attached Tom’s head for me, and I managed his feet (his hands were already attached). I stripped an old GI Joe and dressed Hiddles up like Jonathon Pine and now he sits in my window and I smile at him.
My darling husband has had to live with this all our long, married life (43rd anniversary next Thursday), and he just rolls his eyes and rolls with it. He’s not a man who’s easily threatened, God bless him, and I always put my passions into books. Starting with … oh, Jesus, starting with Troy Donahue when I was in fifth grade (I’m ooooold) through Jerry Orbach in 8th grade. I even wrote a beginning with John Lithgow as a Scottish hero (the Laird of LinLithgow), when I was a freshman in high school and he was a senior and president of the student council. Sigh.
Richie survived androgynous Japanese rock stars, Don Johnson (I’m sorry, I’m sorry but Long Hot Summer was hot!). I imagine I’ll be in my nineties, we’ll be sitting in rocking chairs and I’ll be cackling about how lustworthy Hiddleston’s son is (no, his son hasn’t been born, don’t panic). I’m irredeemable. My cousin Helen, who’s 8 years older than me, chastised me a couple of years ago (I was lusting after an Irish actor in our local theater group who would have been a perfect person to play one of my heroes but then he turned out to hate children and shag every available female in the troupe so alas, he got ditched) – anyway, Helen said I was too old for such shenanigans. Never! I cried.
Not even in my 90s.
Anyone want to admit their secret lusts? Mine tend to be elegant and British, ones who could easily play a vampire, but I have a weakness for Vin Diesel and Russell Crowe as well, two exceptionally manly men. There are just so many luscious creatures out there.
And I won’t bring you down by telling you what I really think of men in general. Just that Richie broke the mold, and the rest of them ….
No, Krissie! Behave yourself. I love people on a one to one basis. People in groups or strata, not so much. And I’ve always been a mouthy, uppity woman. It’s likely a very good thing that I wasn’t pretty – I would have destroyed the world.
If anyone’s interested in seeing Tom in action, Wildfire and the two preceding books, Consumed by Fire (fabulous) and Driven by Fire (not so much) are on sale through the end of the month, with the audio versions ridiculously cheap. At Amazon, of course, since they published them, as well as the House of Russell historicals with three sisters going undercover in service to discover their father’s killer.
Montlake thinks my heroes are too dark. I think they’re yummy.
Ok, that’s the end of the advertisement. Tell me who you think is hot. I’ve got Adam Driver for the MIP, but I have an unending need for hero fodder.

Auntie Mame’s Banquet

One of my role models, Auntie Mame, famously said “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death. Live!” Which corresponds to my word for the year, Celebrate, as is celebrate all the fabulous things in life, big and small. We’ll start with the very fat squirrel outside my window – I think we’ve been dumping too many stale crackers into the snow. We’re firm believers that squirrels need love just as much as birds do, so we have lots of both flocking around. 
And then there’s this: I get to spend my working days thinking of young women for Tom Hiddleston to sleep with – as if he needs any help. Does the that make me a pimp? Naaah. And I share the wealth – I’ve created women for Alan Rickman, Adam Driver, Rafe Fiennes, Howl (from Howl’s Moving Castle, Daniel Day-Lewis, and a so many others. It’s just Tom is the hero-avatar du jour. I hope he appreciates my efforts.

So let’s see – we have nature, we have pretty men. What other treats do we need? Oh, food! I’m on my 401st day straight of studying Danish (checking out my roots) and in the course of things I learned to make æbleskiver.  Recipe upon request, and you don’t need the special pan – apparently you can just use a muffin pan. I was going to have something incredibly beautiful but we already have Hiddles, then I thought about puppy-cute but we already have Hiddles. Reminds me of a Dennis Leary ad for MTV. Let me see if I can find it. But substitute Tom Hiddleston for Cindy Crawford. Yum.
And last but certainly not least – the song for the day.

Life is a banquet. Go out there and live!

Oddly enough, the videos are showing up on one part of my computer but not in the preview.  So in case you can’t find any of the videos, get the to Youtube and search for Hiddleston Ice Bucket, Aloe Blacc Wake me up and Denis Leary/Cindy Crawford, and I’ll learn how to embed by next week.


For those of you who might not recognize that phrase, it’s from a light-hearted Beatles song that goes “o-bla-dee, o-bla-da, life goes on.” For good or bad, it goes on.

If I talk about the latest school shooting I’ll go on an insane rant against the NRA, politicians, the mental health system, the way lost boys are treated, and then I’ll cry. So I won’t go there. At this point it’s too upsetting.

So life goes on. Something’s up with this computer and I seem unable to post pictures – I was going to upload a bunch of daily treats for y’all (Tom Hiddleston and the ice bucket challenge, etc) but it’s not working, alas. Hmm, let me see if there’s something older I can upload. This is a test.
. That worked. That’s the new cover of my very first book, written the winter of 1971 (trust me, I was a baby). It’s clunky but original, and it’s on sale through the rest of the month if you want to see where I started. Most people don’t sell their first book (I didn’t sell my second). But #2 and my first historical are the only ones that never saw the light of day, which says something about me. And that sucker was written on a manual typewriter, God help me.
Also, the Russell books (Never kiss etc.) are on sale for the month, as well as the sinfully delicious Fire books (Consumed by Fire, Wildfire, etc.).

And with the latter, you can usually get the audio for a pittance, and the audios are excellent (except Susan Ericksen does say Gross-ven-or Square in the first Never one, but she’s corrected that later. I forgive her.). But I will figure out how to upload new photos, etc., so I can pass along the treats.
My word for 2018 is Celebrate. Not the “hoo-haw, everything’s great” kind of celebration, more a gratitude type where I pass along the small, glorious things in the world (like Tom Hiddleston’s ice bucket challenge). Even small scraps of pleasure, humor, beauty, help in hard times.

But instead you have to settle for what amounts to an advertisement today, which I hate. Look at it as a money-saving tip, not a sales tactic. That’ll make me feel better

Groundhog Day

Well, I suppose I could do the same paragraph over and over again in honor of Bill Murray’s movie, but I’ll resist the temptation. But man, I love Bill Murray!

So someone came up with the idea of doing a piece of art every day in February on Instagram. Unfortunately I don’t remember who it was, but the suggestion was mostly for visual art, drawings etc. Of course I’ll take it one step further – it gives me a way to explore Instagram and connect with more people.. I’m relearning how to play the guitar, and last night I worked out “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” Key of C, which is a pain because F-chords have always been a pain, but it’s good key to sing in. I think I’m going to have to accept F chords if that’s my new key.

Upate on everything – I’ve started the process of getting HEARTLESS edited – I never need heavy editing so it shouldn’t be much, and then we go forward with covers, etc. (unless some traditional publisher swoops in with an offer I can’t refuse). So HEARTLESS, Brandon and Emma’s story, is getting closer to the light of day.

The Harlequin Reprints are momentarily on hiatus while I rework them – I have interesting ideas about things to do with them.

Ice/Heat is on hold for its turn in the line-up. I want to do Remy’s story in New Orleans, then enough time has passed for Peter and Bastien’s children to grow up. I’ve got so many books in my head that I’ve forgotten who has who, but I know Bastien has a daughter and Swede, and Peter has a daughter and Mahmoud (wasn’t that his name?) plus Dylan from On Thin Ice. Anyway, I love the idea of Mahmoud and Dylan both wanting the same young woman, who loves them both (normally I don’t like triangles but this might be a quadrangle or an incredible tangle of emotions while the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and I’m going to love playing with them.

In the meantime I’m playing with a new idea that I’ve wanted to write for probably 25 years – I remember Harlequin shied away from it and that was looooong ago.

So masses of things to do and not enough time to do it.

I do have a question, but there’s no need to answer if you don’t have an opinion. I’m wrestling with POV and tense on the new MIP (Mess In Progress). It’s almost definitely going to be alternating first person hero and heroine, but for some reason I started out in present tense. It seemed to demand it. Now I’m rethinking the whole thing.

Some people find present tense incredibly annoying. For me it’s basically invisible if the book is good.

Does anyone out there have a strong opinion for or against present tense? (You know the Dracula comes into the room instead of Dracula came into the room).