Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Welcome to the corner of Quirky and Kinky where you'll fall in love every time you open a book.

Psssst…Want a chance to win Amazon gift cards and 15 books by 15 authors?

Hey Everyone!

The end of the year is creeping closer. I can’t believe that December is almost half over already!

But we’ve got some news for you! I teamed up with 14 bestselling authors to give away a huge collection of sexy, scorching novels plus a total of $100 Amazon Gift Cards to three lucky winners!

You can win my novel, Rewritten, plus 14 other awesome books!  The contest ends December 23, 2017, so be sure to enter soon.

Good luck!

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Wordless Wednesday: Holidays at My House

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The holidays at my house look a lot like this…calm, serene…quiet. But if you look closer…

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Loki’s a little intense.

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Willow’s trying to get a good view of god knows what since there’s a curtain over that window.

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Kitsune’s just confused.

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Morrighan would like everyone to leave her the hell alone so she can take a nap in her happy place.

And me? I’d just like the tree to stay upright.

Be sure to check the other bloggers’ posts to see what the holidays look like at their house.

Jess  *  Paige  *  Gwen

Top 10: Gifts for Writers

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As usual, these are in no particular order, because why change now? Also, as a gift recipient, I think you’ll find I’m pretty easy to please.

10.) Books! Booooooooooooooooooooooooks!

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9.) Cool journals.

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8.) A new iPad with a keyboard case.

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7.) Washi tape! For important bullet journal needs.

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6.) A personal chef. Because I hate cooking. And it would leave me more time to watch Poldark write.

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5.) A self-cleaning house.

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4.) A head and neck massage. I really, really need one of these.

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3.) This bracelet from Etsy. I covet it. A lot.

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2.) Time. Glorious uninterrupted time.

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1.) Aidan Turner. I promise I’d take really good care of him. I’d feed him and make sure he got lots of exercise.

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Be sure to check the other bloggers’ posts to see what’s on their gift idea list.

Jess  *  Paige  *  Kris  * Gwen

 

Flash Fiction #71 – Place Setting

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Hayley fussed with the place settings for the the forty-seventh time.

“Oh my god, would you quit obsessing, already!”

She startled, and I tried to soften my words by wrapping my arms around her from behind and pressing a kiss to the back of her neck. She quit fussing with the  ribbon and lifted her hands to rest on my forearm where it rested across her chest.

“I’m sorry. I just want it to be perfect.”

I kissed her again. “There’s no such thing as perfect.”

She sighed. “I know. I guess I keep hoping that one of these days, they’ll realize I’m not the antiChrist.”

The only way that day would come is if she turned into a straight white male–preferably with a job in finance or real estate. No bisexual, mixed race social workers need apply.

I hugged her tighter,  and she snorted.

“What?”

She shook her head. I was just thinking that would take a Christmas miracle.”

Out in the driveway, car doors slammed followed by muffled yelling. Hayley and I both drifted to the window.

“He didn’t…” I muttered, watching my younger brother trying to corral an apparently drunk woman in a skirt shorter than I’ve ever seen.  As she slipped on the icy sidewalk and my brother caught her, she flashed her bare ass at my parents.

“He didn’t what?” Hayley asked. “And who the hell is that with Nate?”

The expression of horrified loathing on my mother’s face was too much, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Seriously, Vanessa, who is she?”

“Last time I talked to Nate, he said that his hot math tutor was a theatre major, and he was going to try to hire her to play the worst girlfriend in existence.”

Hayley’s mouth dropped open. “He did not.”

“Of course he, did. He adores you. I think he’s hoping this will help our parents will come around, too.”

I watched as the love of my life blinked back tears then pressed a kiss to my lips. “You and Nate and whoever that chick is are all the Christmas miracle I need.”

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other stories, too. 

Jess  *  Siobhan  *  Kris

A Genie Grants Me Three Wishes for My Writing Career–What Are They?

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Okay, so…three writing career wishes…what would I wish for…

  1. To make enough off my writing to support myself and my family–some bestsellers would be great.
  2. To have time to write all of the stories I want to tell and to tell them to the very best of my ability.
  3. To have multiple annual writing retreats all over the world so I could hang with all of my friends and continue to grow as an author.

What three wishes would you want a genie to grant you?

And be sure to check out Jess and Gwen‘s wish list, too!

Monthly Goals Check-In: November 2017

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Okay, so this last month, I said, I’d…

  • Finish all of my scheduled blog posts. Yep
  • Write and practice my presentation on POV for the November GRRWG meeting. Yep
  • Finish the guest blog posts I agreed to. Yep
  • Finish my part of the holiday project. Nope
  • Finish the two very, very late Christmas presents. Nope
  • Finish sewing at least four holiday gifts. Nope
  • Continue the holiday shopping. Yep
  • Complete scheduled audio preps. Yep
  • Complete scheduled client edits. Yep
  • Finish building the last client website. Nope
  • Continue rewrites of re-release books. Yep
  • Read three more books. Yep
  • Sort the bedding and purge my clothes if I don’t finish that this month. Nope

This month I prepped 7 books and edited 2.  And I *gasp* took a last weekend off to go see my niece and nephew and their play. And I still have time to turn those nopes to yeps.

Okay, so for next month, I want to

  • Finish my part of the holiday project.
  • Finish scheduled audio preps
  • Finish scheduled client edits
  • Finish scheduled blog posts
  • Continue rewrites of re-release books
  • Progress on new WIP
  • Finish holiday shopping
  • Finish holiday sewing and knitting gifts
  • Finish client website
  • Sort the bedding and purge my clothes if I don’t finish that this month.

That’s it for me this month. Be sure to check out Gwen and Jess‘ goals, and good luck meeting all of yours!

I’m Thankful For…

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I’m thankful for a lot of things, so let’s get to it.

I’m thankful I don’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner (other than fancy green bean casserole). Because I really hate to cook (but green bean casserole is easy). And tasty. But I do get to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Which is great because I like to eat.

I’m thankful for my amazing family–both immediate and extended. These are the most amazing, hilarious, loving and supportive people on the planet.  And despite our wild differences, we’re incredibly close and I love them so much.

I’m thankful for my friends–my family of the heart. I’m so lucky to have these amazing people in my life. Without their love, encouragement, creativity, silliness, support, acceptance, understanding, honesty, strength, and therapy I wouldn’t be the mostly functioning person I’m attempting to be.

I’m especially thankful for my husband and kids. They’re the pieces of my heart that live outside my body. Sometimes, they’re lucky to continue living… *strangle strangle strangle* but I wouldn’t trade any of them – even when they drive me nuts.

I’m also thankful to have cats. They’re warm and cuddly little assholes. But I love them. And they make me laugh. Even if they do run away with my knitting needles.

And finally, I’m thankful to and for every person who reads this blog whether it’s the super rando flash fic, the stock photo rants, or the personal milestones and fuckery of life–whatever you’re here for, I’m thankful for you. And I’m thankful to all of you who read my books, too. I appreciate that more than I can adequately express. It’s a gift to be able to do what I love best, and I’m so incredibly grateful.

I’m sending you all love and hugs and wishes for contentment and happiness. Be sure to check out Jess and Gwen’s blogs and see what they’re thankful for.

Flash Fiction #70: Flaws

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Today’s flash fic song is Flaws by Bastille. Here are the lyrics and the song.

Despite the cold, damp weather, the minister at the graveside service droned on and on. It was almost as if he were part of her grandfather’s habit of making his descendents as uncomfortable as possible. Clutching a small stack of photos, Angela shifted from near-frozen foot to near-frozen foot, willing the feeling back into them. The wind shifted, and the sleet slashed sideways beneath the protective canopy, pelting her face to slide miserably down her neck.

As Becca, one of her cousins, stepped up near the casket to read a poem, Angela flipped through the small stack of photos she held. His voice whispered through her head with each image.

“You’re too old to run in the sprinkler.”

“Sure you need that second piece of cake?”

“I can’t believe your mother let you go out looking like that.”

“What did you expect wearing a skirt that short?”

“Why’d you cut your hair? You look like a boy.”

“What do you mean, girlfriend?”

Angela’s mom elbowed her then nodded toward the open grave where casket had just been lowered into the hole, and the rest of her cousins were gathering around the edge. Swallowing hard, Angela stepped forward to stand at Becca’s side, pictures clutched in her hand.

At the pastor’s nod, her cousins each scooped up a handful of dirt from the mounded pile, and one by one, threw it in the hole. The partially frozen earth hit the top of the coffin with a hollow-sounding thud. When it was Angela’s turn, she tossed in the photos, watching them flutter and land like dying butterflies.

Her flaws could be buried with his.

That’s it for me, today. Be sure to check out Kris and Siobhan’s stories, too.

 

WTF Stock Art Sites?!: An Open Letter to Stock Art Sites (and Photographers Who Sell Their Work There)

Dear Stock Art Sites and Photographers who Sell Their Work There,

What are you even thinking?

No, really. I mean that in all seriousness.

What the actual merciless fuck is the matter with you?

Have you seen some of the weird shit that ends up on royalty-free photo sites?

Look, I get it. Not everyone who uses your site is trying to find appropriate looking models or images for cover art and promo for books. I realize that a lot of pop psychology articles and/or think pieces feature a good many of your photos. As do myriad advice columns, and blog posts (including yours truly) but dudes, I’m mostly there for photos that my brilliant cover artist can turn into cover art for my books. Honestly, a lot of people are there for that reason. So, we need to talk. There are some things you guys need to cut the fuck back on.

Unless you’re new here, you won’t be surprised to learn that I have a list of things that annoy me we’d all like to see a lot less of. So, let’s begin, shall we?

Why are there so many photos of people taking selfies and/or using phones in inexplicably weird ways? Yes, I’m aware that many think pieces have been written about people’s selfie fixation. Then, there are the memes and bitchy, self-righteous facebook posts. The people making memes are usually using actual selfies, not stock art. And while I have no problem with people taking selfies, (Do it up! I wish I had that skill.) as far as the stock art goes, literally no one needs hundreds of pages of photos of people taking selfies. No. One.

Cheerful bearded young man showing thumbs up and taking selfie

So, this douche…

While we’re on the topic of phones, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the plethora of photos of people talking on their cell phone at weird and unlikely times.

Smiling woman talking on mobile phone in yoga studio

Yoga: You’re doing it wrong. 

If you really want to show people using their cellphones in their natural habitat, there would be page after page of people sitting on the toilet chatting or playing Words with Friends while waiting in a school parking lot for their kids.

While we’re on the topic of people doing inexplicably weird things whilst on the phone, we need to talk about the preponderance of Santa hat photos. No really. There are so many. Like…a terrifying amount. I mean, I like the holidays as much as the next person, but the sheer volume of models in Santa hats makes literally no sense. You guys, there are thousands.

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Are you showing him his gift? Do you have porn on your phone? Is porn his gift? What is even happening here? I NEED ANSWERS! 

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Dude. This NOT what your mother meant when she said “Put a hat on.”

Another common stock art standard is the thumbs up pose. I picked this one because Santa hat. (See? They’re everywhere.) Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to use the thumbs up pose sarcastically. Like when my husband asks me how the story’s coming.

But all the people on the stock art sites seems so damn earnest in their thumbs up giving. Why? Why are you people so earnest about it? Is the photographer blackmailing you? Is that what’s going on here? Are you signaling for help? (Oh, and the selfie douche? Scroll back up – he’s also giving the thumbs up. What the hell, man?)

Cheerful young woman in santa claus hat showing thumbs up

Awkward. 

In keeping with the technology theme, I’d like to address headphones. You find a model that you’d really like on a book cover (not this guy) and bam! giant headphones  lousing up your cover art vibe.

Man in living room watching television and wearing headphones

Everything in my house is white because I make poor life choices. 

Look, I like being outside. I even like working outside. However, you can’t sit in direct sunlight and expect to be able to see anything on your screen. Also, what the fuck is with this guy. Have you even computered before, dude?

Man working with notebook in the park.

Now, how do I get to the Facebook, again?

There are also an alarming amount of pictures of women posing “seductively” with their blowdryers. I am…not sure what’s happening here. Or why. But I do know that I’m profoundly uncomfortable.

Pretty woman blowing on hairdryer

Anthropomorphizing has gone too far.

Also, please stop with the stupid hats that ruin otherwise cute-ish photos that could work for cover and promo art. Just lose the damn hats. They’re ruining everything.

 

See? This kid knows the pain of a bad hat.

Happy Girl Having Great Fun And Wearing A Multicolored Hat

I feel you, kid. I feel you. 

We need to talk about all the hearts. They’re everywhere on stock art sites. Paper hearts. Puffy hearts. Dough hearts. Rock hearts. Balloon hearts. They’re like a flea infestation in a dairy barn. Weirdly, the majority of the hearts are hiding people’s faces. What does that mean? And why are so many people hiding behind hearts? I need someone to explain the psychology of this to me.

 

Please just stop already with the hearts.

Apropos of nothing, what is with nearly every couple having a Jack and Rose pose on stock art sites?! That shit needs to stop.

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There’s only room for one of you on that hunk of wood. 

While we’re talking “romantic” images, what the hell is it with one partner looking really into it, but the other one looks…

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…regretful of her life choices and possibly nauseated.

 

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…like he thinks he’s entirely too cool for this trendy European street scene.

Beautiful sexy couple portrait. Model man with girlfriend posing

…about to fly into a murderous rage, but not before ascending to the throne in Hell.

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…bored, now.

Speaking of couples, are these two about to get it on in their kid’s preschool classroom?! What the actual merciless fuck are we supposed to get from this photo besides a deep sense of discomfort and shame?

Flirtatious couple enjoying breakfast

Look, I don’t want to kink shame, but…

Speaking of kink…

I guess…

I would very much like someone to explain the absolutely baffling fuckery of this photograph.

Tiny apartment sized ironing board? Check.

Itty bitty travel iron? Check.

Portrait of judgmental cat? Check.

Late 80s bridal lingerie? Check.

Dude with sardonically arched eyebrow and buttchin? Check and check.

WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE????

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Ironing out the kinks in their relationship…?

Then…there’s this. I have zero words for this super low-budget ren faire photo, and that’s coming from someone who actually enjoys ren faires.

Folk musicians and woman dancer.

The Minstrels of Misrule, slaying their cover of “Mr. Brownstone” while Lady Eowyn performs her interpretive dance piece. 

I could go on for pages about stock art.

And probably days.

No, I could definitely go on for days. There are just so many inexplicable photos there. Which stock art photos baffle you the most?

Musical Musings: Last Song Heard, 1st Song Alphabetically on Device, Last Song Alphabetically on Device

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Yay for an easy blog post! I’ve been running around like mad trying to get everything done. It’s that time of year where I frantically try to make all of the presents. *sigh*

Someday, I’ll learn. This, however, is not the year.

So, without further ado, here’s  the song list.

The last song I heard was: Flaws (the live version) by Bastille.

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Alphabetically, the first song on my phone is: Albatross by Susan Mckeown and Chanting House.

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Alphabetically, the last song on my phone is: You Belong to Me covered by Kate Rusby.

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I think Paige is the only other blogger blogging this week, so be sure to check out her post, too.

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