Posts tagged with: Jeanne Adams

Cover Reveal

Hey everyone! Thought I’d pop in and share some news with y’all. But first, I have to ask you a question.

Do you know what happens when authors get together? Quite often the conversation turns to books and stories. Sometimes that leads to the “what if?” game. You’ve heard us address that in the Lair a few times over the years. What if…hero meets heroine, but she’s the one woman in the world he can’t have? What if…vampires met wolf shifters and they had to join forces to defeat evil succubi? What if…bad boy turned millionaire returns to his hometown and the girl he’s left behind only to find out he left three sons too?

Yep, that’s how some of those stories come out, usually accompanied by some wine. :)

Well, a while back Jeanne Adams and I got together and were talking about doing a Romantic Suspense anthology. We both like to write fast-paced, action romances. Somehow the conversation took a left turn and we got on the subject of the movie Viewpoint. If you haven’t seen it, there’s an icident in another country, and you get to see the same incident before, during and after from various characters’ viewpoints.

Of course this led to a spark of an idea. What if…all the stories in the RS anthology took place at the same time at the same event…with the same bad guys involved? Jeanne suggested an inaugural ball? The juices started turning. Then we approached two other authors we thought would get excited about this project. Next thing we knew, Bandita Nancy Northcott and National Best Selling author J.D. Tyler were on board.

While I’m not going to give  y’all intimate details…the book is in the editing phase and will be available late June, so look for a release party in the Lair…I can tell you one thing. The whole book, while written in four parts by four authors, is meant to be read from beginning to ending as one long book. :)

Yeah, I’m a tease like that.

So, for another tease, want to see the cover?

Capitol Danger final revised

“Country is Your Core Not Just Your Cowboy Boots” – A Thought From NBC’s The VOICE

the-voice-bientot-de-retour-sur-tf1So, I like competition shows.  Most specifically, I love NBC’s THE VOICE.

(Logo from Wikimedia Commons, via NBC, no copyright infringement intended)

I love to sing, I love to hear good music well sung, and *looks around, makes sure no one’s listening* I have a serious crush on Pharrell, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.  SERIOUS crush.  I don’t exactly have a girl crush on Christina Aguilera but I respect her, and I adored Shakira and Gwen Stefani when they were on the show.

Don’t even get me STARTED on Usher.  Mmmmmm-mmmmm.

Grins.

It’s down to the top 6 and I’ve been sad to see many of the artists’ go home.  The gal who led a prison choir was so inspirational.  The other gal who was a bluesy crooner and reminded me of Amy Winehouse was also a loss.

And that’s just this season!  Wow!  Through 8 or 9 seasons now, this show has brought out and introduced us to some outstanding talent.  Then, polished it just a bit so it shone.  Really wow.  (Christina Grimmie, Vedo, Tessann Chin, 2SteelGirls, CraigWayneBoyd, The Swon Brothers….)640px-TimGunnSmileAAFeb09_portrait_crop

I also love Top Chef and Project Runway.  “Make it WORK, people!” – Tim Gunn’s famous line – is a funny standard around my house.  And I have to admit that I love to watch Top Chef just to learn what the heck a ceviche is.  Grins.  And some of the ingredients?  OMGosh, who actually eats EEL???? (other than in sushi or shashimi?)

Some of the other shows that are about competition or are “reality TV” are, to me, just people behaving badly while other people look on and say, “Oooh, I knowed she was wrong!” (And I didn’t do nothing about it, neither!)  Sigh.  It’s the lowest common denominator.

I don’t much care for that.

But true competition?  Skill?  American Ninja Warrior, anyone?   That’s an ab-fest right there.  Grins.  Or Dancing with the Stars.  Really, seriously amazing.  I’m not a dancer, and I’ve never played one on TV, or anywhere else but a beach bar on a Saturday night.  I have HUGE respect for anyone who can, in a week or so, master a complex dance routine, with a generally unfamiliar partner and go out and perform it.  American_Ninja_WarriorYou GO, people!  And So You Think You Can Dance? – that show is every teenage courage movie in one, one-hour segment.  OMGosh, some of those people are so brave and talented.

(Logo from Wikimedia Commons via NBC who owns the copyright, no infringement intended)

But the one I keep coming back to is The Voice.  It’s a simple premise.  Blind auditions, so they don’t see the “package” a person is wrapped in, the Coaches just hear the voice itself, as it’s presented.  Then they turn and try to get the artist on their team.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.  Then each week, people sing and present themselves and hope they get better.  If they don’t, they go home.

So I tried to analyze one day why I like this show.

It’s honest in a way that other shows aren’t.  No bullshit about what someone looks like, the question is, can they SING?  The celebrity Coaches aren’t Diva-ish, even when they can actually be counted AS Divas, like Christina, Shakira and Gwen.  Or even CeeLo, with his cat and his wild outfits.  Grins.  They genuinely want people to succeed and they BlakeSheltongenuinely want to help those artists become the best they can be.

They  “Pay it Forward.”  And apologies to the most fabulous country singer evah, Miranda Lambert, but I adore her husband, Blake Shelton, not only for his wicked sense of humor, but for his constant approbation, approval and support to up and coming artists on The Voice, even artists who aren’t on his team.  I love the way he’ll say, “Sis, I don’t think you could have done ANY better job, you deserve to be here” or something of that nature.

(photo by bubbledevswalls from photobucket, no copyright infringement intended)

This last week, as the field is narrowed to six brilliant new artists, I was disappointed when one of my favorites went home.  This young man, Cory Kent White, is really a country star to his bootheels.  He had some things to learn (open your eyes and look at your audience, kiddo!), but learn he did, and grow, he did, every week.

Last week, former coaches Gwen Stefani, Usher and CeeLo Green came back to be mentor coaches.  CeeLo told Cory, as advice to keep him grounded, “Country is your core not just your Cowboy boots.”

That really struck me.

What a fabulous thing to say to someone.  Applicable to this artist, particularly, sure, but so profound in that what we are, what we love, what we MUST DO, even if we don’t get paid for it, is at the core of who we are.  It isn’t just the outer trappings.  Any yayhoo can put on a pair of Tony Lama’s, as Miranda sings about in her song, Little Red Wagon.  Anyone can don a plaid shirt or a fringed jacket.

TL7955-260x260But being a country artist, or a rocker, or a blues singer, or a writer or a chef or designer, is at your core.  Many people go to writers conferences just to hang out.  They say they write, but they don’t.  They like the idea of being a writer, but they don’t actually write.  You know the kind because they’re in every profession.  The hangers-on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing these folks, but it’s not the core of who they are.  They are not driven to write.  Or if they are, fear is so blocking them that they cannot be happy doing it, or doing without it.  Now there’s a terrible place to be.

But most writers I know can’t give it up.  Most singers are the same way, and most serious chefs.  Even if I never put out another word for publication, I’d be writing.  In my head, on scraps of paper in the car while in carpool, in secret on the computer, like I used to do before I actually admitted to anyone that I wanted, desperately, to write books.

But when I see these folks, either cooking in the kitchen at Top Chef, or putting themselves through the grueling workouts of Biggest Loser (another fav), or matching wits and muscle with the American Ninja courses (OMGosh have you SEEN those things??), I’m moved.

Really moved.  Why?  Because this thing – whatever it is, whatever desire burns within – is so powerful, so important, that it shines through them like a lighthouse beam.

It’s not just cowboy boots, big belt buckles and a hat.  It’s not just trappings.1

It’s substance.

It’s easy to forget that America (and really, every county) is made up of People of Substance.  People who work hard, raise families, build good, solid lives.  In these times when the media sensationalizes bad behavior – from Deflategate to the Clippers debacle to other more serious cases of people behaving badly – its really, really easy to forget that every country thrives on those who just do the work they love.

Its also easy to forget that people get up, head for work, only to stop and help someone who has a flat.  Or to not notice that there’s a couple of cops who helped War Vet get his broken down scooter home, by pushing it, and him, for more than a mile.  Then they walked back to their cruiser and went about the business of the law.  Or in Nepal, and Oklahoma, where people have stopped everything else to help their neighbors.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that country – and the values it represents – isn’t just what flag we drape around our shoulders in victory.  It’s the things we live day in and day out.  As CeeLo said, it’s the core, not the cowboy boots.

01tom-colicchioAs we head for Memorial Day, and BBQ (YAY!) and the “opening” of the Summer, remember what YOUR core is, and give it a little more time this summer.

If you’re a swimmer, go more often, enjoy it more often.  Love to cook?  You don’t need the chef judges to tell you you’re good.  The licked-clean plates are victory enough most days, but consider putting that prize pie in the Fair this year.  Learning to love running?  Making that first mile, or the first time you break 3, or 5, or 50, that’s the core.  The races and the t-shirts and any medals?  Those are just the cowboy boots.  The core is the love of the thing.

And if you’re a reader or writer at your core, then WOOHOOO!!!  This is the year to read more, write more and believe in yourself.

Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t be what you want to be.  If you have any doubts, Dr. Jeanne’s prescription is to watch The Voice, and/or go and binge watch all the Under Armour commercials.  Grins.  Watch Giselle Bundchen kick some ass.  :>  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-V7cOestUs  Or Misty Copeland’s story.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY0cdXr_1MA

And in the meantime….READ!

So what are your inspirations?

What’s your “core” – Gardening? Inventing?  Parenting? Modeling? Cooking? Laughing and making others laugh?

What’s your Summer Go-To reading list?  Banditas are on mine, of course, but so are Karen Robards, Mercedes Lackey, Nora Roberts, and Barbara Devlin.

And….what’s cooking for Memorial Day in the US?  (It’s gonna be riiiiiibs at my house!  Woot!)

 

All the Bandits are continuing to write wonderful books, and if you got our newsletter for May, you’ll see upcoming May.  June will have another slew of releases, so keep an eye out for your first Beach Reads of the Summer.  If you’re Down Under Bandita Buddies, or in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ve got great books coming up to snuggle in with!  In your case, stay warm and read some great books!  Grins.

Next month, I’ll be back on the 8th with the cover for DEAD RECKONING, and a publication date for it too!  WOOT!!

Tom Collichio from Wikimedia Commons by bebe1991
“TimGunnSmileAAFeb09 portrait crop” by TimGunnSmileAAFeb09.jpg: Chrisa Hickey at http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisahickey/derivative work: Beao – TimGunnSmileAAFeb09.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

CeeLo Green from photobucket by BubbleDevWalls2 – no infringement intended

Just Like Old Times….

sven_cropped-1Hey gals and guys!

It sure is quiet around here with all the Banditas busily writing away!  Sven is NOT happy with us, but the staff has taken several much needed vacations.  You know, we kept them hopping around here all the time.  No one’s had a vacay in what….nearly 8 years!  Grins.

So, anyway, I wanted to let you in on a little secret.  Remember how we used to have Author Invasions, back in the early days?  Some of you will remember us invading the Good Ship Revenge, RomanceNovelTV and many more!

Well there’s another invasion today.  A goodly number of the Bandits, along with some other wonderful NYTimes, USA Today (TAWNY! SQUEEEE!), and Amazon Bestselling authors are invading the www.BooksILoveALatte.wordpress.com blog.  Rae Latte has been gracious enough to host many of the Bandits, and today is no exception.

The FUN, FUN, FUN part, however, is that there’s a really sexy man involved.  He’s from Austrailia and his name is Dan Churchill.  DSC_1420www.DanielChurchill.com.au  He’s the #FoodDude  He believes that #RealMenCook

Well, ’round here, as you know, WE believe that #SexyHeroesCook.   So a bunch of us invaded Rae Latte’s blog and brought our Heroes (and Heroines!) over to prove that Dude Food is cool.  That’s the title of Dan’s Cookbook… Dude Food, A Guy’s Guide to Cookin Kick-Ass Food.

This cookbook is one I really like.  Not only do the recipes sound awesome, but the pictures are GREAT! (Snork!)  I’m buying it for Hubby for Father’s Day.   It’s so simple – but good – that any Dude could do the recipes.  Grins.

So if you’ve got a moment and you want a bit of a tantalizing taste of my next book, DEAD RECKONING, and Cassondra’s hero from HONEY BEND, and one of Tawny’s heroes, and Donna’s and Caren’s, heroes from Anna S’s NJ Ice Cats, one of Anna C’s heroes…you get the idea.

If you’re tantalized by #SexyHeroesCook then pop over to Rae’s blog beginning at 9 in the morning and going til 9 at night.

Other authors featured include some fab authors, some of whom have been our Lair guests – Natalie Damshroeder, Sandra Lake, Jade Lee, Barbara Devlin, and more.

You’ll be glad you checked it out…I’ll be on at 11 am Eastern!!

See you again, HERE, on the 8th May!!

Jeanne

 

 

A Lucky One/Dead Run Launch PARTY!!! WOOT!!

balloonsSome things you just have to share.  And what better thing to share than a Launch Party in the Lair?  Seriously, who does launches and parties better than the Romance Bandits?

So Lair favorite, and Bestselling author, Barbara Devlin is joining me today for a Launch Party for HER book, THE LUCKY ONE – the 6th in her amaaaaaaazing Brethren of the Coast series!  WOOT!  I have loved this series since it’s inception.  I got to read almost every one of these books in draft and OMGosh, I LOVE them!!!!  I’m not even the biggest historical fan in the universe and I confess, I just jones for the next Brethren book.  Barbara never disappoints, and THE LUCKY ONE is no exception.

TheLuckyonefinal

Those of you who’ve been around the Lair have met Barb, but if you’re new ’round here, you are in for a treat!  For a great example of her writing, and a taste treat of THE LUCKY ONE, check out the excerpt at the end of today’s post.

So that’s the 19th Century part of this Launch Party…The Cabana Boys, Paolo, and the ever popular Sven, the Lair Chef and Chief Masseuse have been hard at work replicating some serious Regency party food and drink, so make sure you partake.

On the 20th and 21st Century end of the spectrum, I have two books launching, both of them re-releases.  Some of our long term Bandita Buddies would remember and might have bought DEAD RUN in its original incarnation (Dark and Dangerous), but I’ve updated it for today’s market, and re-set it to start a series as it was originally intended.

DeadRunfinalAs I mentioned last month, DEAD RUN is the first in the Faithful Defenders series and hopefully will please you just as much in this new incarnation.  The second book in the series, DEAD RECKONING will be here before summer.  Hopefully, I can do the cover reveal on that on the 8th of NEXT month!

In DEAD RUN, Dana Markham is up against her worst enemy, and a man who knows her all too well – her mobster ex-husband Donovan Walker.  He wants their son in his hands, not in Dana’s.    And he wants Dana very, very, dead.   He’s also willing to go to almost any length to make sure of it.  Caine Bradley is an undercover FBI agent working inside Donovan Walker’s organization.  When he’s sent to kill her, Caine must make the desperate choice to reveal himself, and save her.  Dana’s no slouch at saving herself, though.  Between her own wits, her faithful defender, a German Shepherd AJewelinTimefinalnamed Shadow, and a full arsenal of weapons, she turns the tables on Donovan Walker at every turn.  Can she and Caine work together to defeat Donovan Walker one last time?

And if German Shepherds weren’t enough….Grins…Let’s go back to Germany in the 20th Century!

The second book I’m launching today, is my World War II novella, BEHIND ENEMY LINES, originally published with the above mentioned Barbara Devlin!!  Hopefully you remember that Barb and wonderful debut author, Caitlenn Ainnsley, and I launched the anthology A JEWEL IN TIME back in December.  Barb’s story, LOVING LIEUTENANT DOUGLAS started the show, then my WWII story, then Caitlenn’s sexy Contemporary THE BRIT, THE BROOCH, AND THE BLIZZARD.

If you want all three, go for A JEWEL IN TIME as an anthology.  If you just love historicals – especially if you love the Brethren Series! – just buy Loving
91WDgDbBjmL._SL1500_ Lieutenant Douglas as a single.  If you love WWII stories, the single of BEHIND ENEMY LINES is what I’m launching today!

BEHIND ENEMY LINES is set in 1939, right as the world began to realize that Germany, under Hitler, was a threat to freedom around the globe.  These first stirrings of war were so dangerous, so dark, that my lady spy, Grace Corvedale, misses her chance to get out before the Nazi’s invade.  Can handsome American spy, Lt. Robert “Dix” Dixon, save her – and himself! – from Hitler, and from the SS Officers who are hunting Grace?

Just so you know…I dedicated BEHIND ENEMY LINES to my father and all the wonderful men in my family who served.  Y’all who’ve been with the JamesH.PickeringWWIIBandits for a while know some of my stories about Daddy.  This is the picture I put up one Veteran’s Day.  Grins.

So, as I said…it’s time to PARTY!!!!!  WOOHOOO!!!

Snitzel, Schnapps, and all sorts of slurpy good pastries are on the party menu as well.  SVEN!!!  Bring on the beverages!!

So what is YOUR party preference?  Scnapps or a lovely wine?

What’s your era of preference?  19th Century historical, WWII Historical, or present day contemporary?

If you could walk back in time for just a day, what day would you choose?  What era?

Who would you want to dance with?  Prinny?  Lt. Douglas?  HRH King George?  Winston Churchill?  (I’m going to claim Richard Armitage as John Thornton from North and South !!!)

And now, that Excerpt of THE LUCKY ONE!

 

The Descendants
Portsea Island, England
March, 1814

The diminutive, hooded thief, bearing a rucksack over his shoulder, skulked along the waist, hesitated for a scarce second, and then scampered below decks and into the cargo hold. Following in the scoundrel’s wake, Dalton Randolph hugged the shadows and grinned, as the unknown gadling lifted the lid on a barrel and retrieved several potatoes.

After a French ship had landed one too many direct hits to the Siren’s boards, Dalton had anchored off Portsea Island for an emergency field refitting. Once the leaks had been sealed, he had permitted the greater portion of his crew to indulge in a bit of local entertainment, while he remained aboard ship.
As a Nautionnier Knight of the Brethren of the Coast, a daring band of experienced sea captains descended of the Templars, the warriors of the Crusades, he savored the quiet hours, with nothing but the wind thrumming in the rat lines and the waves lapping at the hull. And even at the age of one and thirty, stargazing reigned supreme as a particular favored hobby, so he often doused the stern lanterns and studied the night sky, which is why the three bandits had not noted his presence, or the first mate, when they scampered over the larboard rail.

Given the interloper’s small frame, Dalton guessed the criminal could not have been more than a lad. As the Siren’s stores contained plenty of supplies, and hunger persisted during times of war, he abided the bit of mischief, in the spirit of generosity.

The plunderer bent to pilfer a tin of tea, and his breeches stretched taut over his backside. To Dalton’s amazement, he realized the villain was a woman, as he would know the telltale shapely, feminine derriere from a distance of fifty paces. Judging from the silhouette, the mystery lady had been blessed with a prime figure, which he ached to know on a more intimate level.

“You know, there are easier ways to earn a bit of coin and food, my dear.” He emerged from his hiding place. “Take off your hood, and let me gaze upon the rest of you. If I like what I see, we may broker a deal.”

The infinitely interesting prey shrieked and cringed. Then she edged toward the companion ladder, but he beat her to it.
“Come now, dove. There is no need to fear me, as we might strike a bargain, which benefits us, both.” Now he noted her ample bosom, as his soon-to-be bunkmate faced him. Fascinated, he longed to assess her complexion, as he splayed wide his arms. “And if you apply yourself, in earnest, and please me, I shall bestow upon you a handsome reward, and you need never burgle passing ships, again, as it is dangerous business.”
When he moved in her direction, she emitted the softest whimper and retreated. Clutching the bag to her chest, she skittered to the left and sheltered behind a few crates of vegetables. His quarry was fast, but Dalton was faster. As he closed the distance between them, she leaped atop a heap of sacks containing rice and dried beans.

The thrill of the chase burned in his loins and piqued the pirate in his pants, which had suffered serious neglect, in recent months. Given the importuning antics of his latest paramour, the well-used Lady Moreton, whose harbor had seen more action than Deptford, he sported for a new conquest, and it appeared she had found him, to his credit.

In the soft lamplight, he discovered the purest blue eyes he had ever glimpsed, peeking from the mask, and a lush mouth with lips as red as a pomegranate, and he had to have her. But the captivating swindler remained mute and refused to cooperate, as she evaded his spontaneous lunge. While his grand maneuver granted him nothing more than a close inspection of the wood grain on the deck, she availed herself of the opportunity to sprint to the companion ladder, and he shot to his feet and pursued what he vowed would be his future courtesan.

At the waist, she collided with one of her cohorts, just as shouts of alarm signaled the first mate and the cook, who wielded a large frying pan, chased the third conspirator.

“Come back here, you rascal.” Mr. Shaw bounded onto the deck, with a pistol aimed at the tallest of the boarders. “You there, hold hard.”
“As you were, Mr. Shaw.” Dalton stayed the first mate. “There is no need for violence, given the lady and I have just entered negotiations. What say you, pretty britches? I shall let your friends go free, if you agree to spend the night with me.”

For a few seconds, the odd trio shuffled their feet and exchanged wary glances. Then the two heartier thieves drew the woman to the rear and shook their heads.
“More’s the pity.” Dalton chuckled. “As you leave me no option but to summon the watch and have you arrested.”
The female flinched, and he could smell her fear. Together, the clumsy band of vagabonds inched closer to the rail. When the woman peered over the side, he guessed her intent.

“Steady, love. Do not attempt something you might later regret, as we are all friends, here.” With palms upraised in implied surrender, Dalton glanced at the first mate. “Mr. Shaw, lower the weapon.”

The first mate vented a snort of disgust. “But, sir—”

“Lower the bloody weapon. That is an order.” Dalton took two tentative steps forward. “Easy, love. Remain calm, as I will not hurt you.”
Just then, one of the bandits untied and kicked over an empty rain barrel, which had been lashed to the side, and sent it tumbling in Dalton’s direction. In a panic, the first mate discharged the pistol, and the female screamed.

“Stand down, Mr. Shaw.” Dalton cursed under his breath, as two of the thieves jumped the railing. After unleashing a second barrel, the last of the criminals escaped.

“Hell and the Reaper.” The cook blanched and scratched his chin. “I presumed you were joking, but they had a woman in their midst.”

“Sorry, Cap’n.” The first mate tucked the firearm in his waistband. “Had I known of the lady, I would not have fired.”

“No worries, as their theft consisted of nothing more than food from our stores, and I do not believe you hit anyone.” Standing a-larboard, Dalton smiled, as the brazen crooks eluded capture via a small rowboat. Then a scrap of red caught his attention. The velvet pouch, which he bent to retrieve, had protected a valuable artifact, but now it sat empty. “Did our uninvited guests invade my cabin?”

“Aye, sir.” Mr. Shaw nodded. “That is when I roused the villains.”

In that instant, Dalton frowned. “Then the nameless scoundrels are not harmless, and their cause is not so noble, as I had thought, given they have taken something invaluable to my family, so we shall meet again.”

“But how will we find them, sir?” The cook hugged his cast-iron skillet. “As they have disappeared around the bend.”

“Fret not, old friend.” Dalton lowered his chin and flipped his familiar coin, which landed, however apropos, on tails. “They don’t call me the lucky one, for nothing.”

Coming Attractions….April!

Hey Everyone!

DeadRunfinalKeep your eyes on the 8th of April – Bestselling author Barbara Devlin will be here with Bandita Jeanne chatting about her fabulous new book The Lucky One.  This is the 6th book in her Brethren of the Coast series.  It’s up on Amazon for a great low price right now and I must say, it’s FABULOUS!!  Chalk up another winner for Barb!

Also, you’ll get a Launch Party for my re-release of my first book, as I mentioned last month.  So come hang out on the 8th and win a copy of DEAD RUN as well!

11001894_10204486677381567_7092697888401229058_nAlso, don’t forget, the fabulous TINY TREATS 2 is up on Amazon!  It’s a St. Patrick’s themed anthology and is currently sitting at #21 on the anthology list!

 

killLarry2dSpeaking of anthologies, be sure to pre-order the new Red Door Reads anthology 50 WAYS TO KILL YOUR LARRY. All new shorts by 10 fantastic Red Door Reads authors for only $0.99! Includes work by our own Caren Crane and Lair favorites Claudia Dain, Dee Davis, Lori Handeland, Deb Marlowe, Susan Gee Heino, Ava Stone, Jane Charles, Michelle Marcos and Jerrica Knight-Catania. Available everywhere for pre-order (click the cover for the Amazon link). Release date is April 15 and it is only available for a few weeks. Get it now!!

Spring Books, Springboks, Reeboks and Heading into Bloooom Time!

snowWe got 10″ of snow in the DC area on Thursday.  The kids were off Friday too, thanks to that 10″ snowfall.  We’d already had a snow day on Monday, and two days off the previous week.  So, with that, we’ve had only two weeks since January 1 where the kids have been in school for a full 5-day week.

Now, for the kids, this has been fun.  For those of us who are parents, trying to actually do jobs for which we get paid?  Its a nightmare.  As a writer who works from home, it’s already hard enough to get everything done.  For those of you who’ve never tried it, working from home is a challenge.

It SEEMS like it would be great – do some work, sneak in an extra load of laundry, a little more work, do a little billpaying or whatever – then get back to more work, right?

Nope.

Those home-things are the things you HAVE to turn off.  You have to put the hours in at the desk, doing the work.  If you start doing the other “home chores,” its too easy to get caught up in them.  As anyone knows, there’s a never-ending supply of house stuff to do at any given time. When you work in an office, one where you get up and drive every day to a building that isn’t your house, there’s a definite pressure to actually Do the Job, right?  Sure, everyone makes the occasional personal call – sets up a doctor appointment, takes a call from Mom – or steals a few minutes to write a few bills so they can be mailed.  But those are stolen moments, and peer pressure makes you get back to the WORK of work.HPIM1396

When you’re home, working, no one gives you the “Get back to work!” stink eye when your mom/sister/brother/friend calls.  No one cares if you take a two-hour lunch.  There’s no one to disapprove if you do the entire week’s laundry when you should be working, or pop up to school for an hour to see the Halloween parade.

Just you and the dog or cat or the simple silence.  So you, the worker, the writer, the owner of your business, YOU have to be the one who cares.

And that’s hard.

booksstackedBut I’ll tell you a scary secret….shhhhhh….lean in close…..Here’s the deal: If you don’t value your work time, your writing time, your creative time, or even you “me time,”  and protect it with jealous fury, then no one else will value or respect it either.

You’ll be barraged with “Oh, since you work from home, can you pick up all the kids?  I’ve got an important meeting…”  And, “Oh, you work from home?  Great!  You’ll be perfect for PTA President next year, you have LOTS of time!”

Why is it that people assume working from home means extra time?  I just can’t figure this out.  It’s WORKING from home.  Not Slacking From Home.  Not Pretending to Work From Home.

This, however, is not how books get written.BehindEnemyLinesfinalforBarnesandNoble

Books get written by assigning working time, making SURE its undisturbed even if you have to put up a privacy screen, and putting ye
olde butte in ye comfortable chaire and yon hands on yon keyboarde.

I’m hoping to get out a number of books this year, so I am jealously guarding that writing time.

One book, which is forthcoming this month, is a single story form of the novella that was in the Christmas Anthology, A Jewel in Time.  That story, BEHIND ENEMY LINES, is set in WWII.  Its my first historical and I hope to revisit the time period next year in another series.

But for now, I’m working on getting back to my roots, sharpening my Suspense and Mystery prowess and delivering a whole lot of rollicking good reading as we head into Spring, and Bloom Time.

(By the way, don’t you just love that cover?  Once again, the fabulous Lyndsey Lewellen delivers!!)

Saut_de_gazelle_SpringbokSo for those of you who’ve been with the Romance Bandits from the beginning, you’ll appreciate that I’m actually going back to “The Beginning.”

Coming soon, I’ll be reissuing the very first book I every published with Kensington/Zebra.  Originally titled Dark and Dangerous, the book will be updated, have a new title and some new scenes.

It will now start a series, as was originally intended when Kate Duffy and I started together.  The idea was that Dark and Dangerous would come out.  Dark and Deadly would follow it.  Then there would be a follow up book to Dark and Dangerous, then a new two-book series, and then the final book in the Dark and Dangerous trilogy.  Then more new stuff, then a follow-up to Dark and Deadly….you get the picture.

The illustrious dragon of the editing world, Kate Duffy, was a long-term planner.  She built careers, not one-book-wonders.  (Her words, not mine)  Gotta tell you, I still miss her.  She and I got as far as that two-book series….(Deadly Little Secrets and Deadly Little Lies respectively), but she died before we could execute (so to speak, bwahahahah!) the rest of the plan.

Now, with independent publishing, I’m going to be able to finish.

I LOVE the finish line.  LOVE.  IT.  Fall Winter 2014 009

I run.  Not well, not fast, but I run.  (Usually NOT in Reeboks, and definitely NOT like a springbok, tho I had fun playing with the names for the title of the blog!)  When I enter races, I love the finish line.  I love having run.  Don’t always love DOING it, but love finishing it.

Same thing with writing.  I don’t always love the process.  I don’t always love the editing.  I don’t always love the sheer amount of space writing occupies in my cranium.

But I love, love, love having written.  LOVE.  IT.  I love creating stories.  I love giving towns and people and love stories new life.  I love showing that love can always find a way.

HPIM0929So, those characters that originated in Dark and Dangerous will now be the genesis – The Spring Bloom! – of a new series.  Dana, Caine, Xavier and all the villains who chase them will leap forth to new, vibrant life.  (How’s that for flowery prose?)

The first book (formerly Dark and Dangerous) is retitled DEAD RUN.  Next month on April 8th, as we head into Bloom Time I’ll be back to Launch it.

Hope you’ll come back and see THAT new cover which Lyndsey Lewellen also designed.  And in subsequent months, I’ll introduce you to the characters from Dead Run who have thier own stories in which to shine.  You’ll find them in DEAD RECKONING, and DEAD WRONG.  These three books are the start of the #FaithfulDefenders series, all of which feature highly trained guard dogs, guide dogs, working and retired military dogs, therapy dogs, or Search and Rescue dogs.  (Those four dogs up on the right are my highly skilled BED dogs. They’re fearfully well trained at…nothing!  Grins.)

So, Banditas and Buddies, have you ever seen a police or bomb dog working?  

Have you ever seen a Guide Dog or Therapy Dog working or known someone who has one?

Did you watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show a couple of weeks ago?  (Or have you ever seen Crufts???  Going to Crufts is on my Bucket List!)

Do you think working dogs are interesting?Fall Winter 2014 018

What’s your favorite Spring flower?  I know Aus and everything in the Southern Hemisphere is heading into Fall, so what’s your favorite Fall Flower?

For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, are you as ready for Spring as I am?  

What books are you looking forward to???

Let’s chat!  (That’s my guard dog over there…guarding the bed, and the clean sheets….)

(All photos belong to the Author except the SpringBok which is from Wikimedia Commons)

March Coming Attractions

Finally March!  Can spring be far behind?  I sure hope not!

Welcome to the first month of the new, laid-back Lair.  As you can see, we’ll be around from time to time, and we’ll also have guests on occasion.

BehindEnemyLinesfinalforBarnesandNoble

 

 

Bandita Jeanne Adams will be in the Lair on March 8th to talk about Spring Books, Springboks, Reeboks and Heading Into Bloom Time (just kidding about the Springboks.  Wanted to see if you were paying attention!)  She’ll also be giving away a copy of her WWII Novella, Behind Enemy Lines.

 

11001894_10204486677381567_7092697888401229058_n

 

 

On March 17, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the Lair.  We’ll have Sven’s special canapés along with other yummy treats and, of course, the traditional green beer.  Rumor has it that the cabana boys will all join in the wearin’ o’ the green.

We’re also celebrating the launch of a new anthology, Tiny Treats 2: A St. Patrick’s Day Collection, which features micro-stories that are great for the occasion. Some of the authors will be dropping in. So come join the party!

 

 

Dangerous SecretsCaroline Warfield will be back in the lair on March 24th to talk about sex (Heavens!) and her new release.

As Donna MacMeans will be on the road on March 23rd (at least she’s headed someplace warm and sunny) she’ll be blogging on March 25th instead.

Nancy Northcott will be in the Lair on March 26 to chat about books under the bed and other unfinished projects.

 

 

 

SALE NEWS!!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00004]Caren Crane is taking part in a special IDES OF MARCH sale by some of the Red Door Reads authors! To get you in the spirit (or spirits?) of the Ides Of March, the authors at Red Door Reads have put titles on sale for only 99 cents! Caren’s TIARA WARS is part of this sale. Check out a list of all the sale titles at www.CarenCrane.com. (And while you are there, please sign up for my newsletter! :-o )

 

If you want a reminder when we’re here and chatting, remember that you can sign up for the RSS feed.  If you have any problem with that, email romance bandits AT gmail DOT come (no spaces) and let us know.

What’s your favorite thing about the month of March?

SNOW DAY!!!

2009 Snow day! 016Well, January is starting off with a wet, white promise of the kids having LOTS of snow days again this year.

Already, we’ve had one snow day off, plus a second day with a 2 hour start-time delay.  Today (Monday) promises to be another snow day.  Which means Tuesday will probably be another 2 hour delay day.   The streets still aren’t fully cleared from last week’s snow “event” and now we’re getting an icy snowy mix on top of it.

ARRRGH!!  It’s only January 12th!!

So, for those of you who aren’t parents, a school snow delay, or full snow day isn’t just a day off for everyone.  Oh, if it only were that easy! It means is that the work plan you had for today is now screwed.  Anything you expected to get done before noon – or worse, HAD to get done for work – is now pushed into the afternoon if you’re lucky.  If you’re not, and schools close for the whole day, you’re stuck trying to do your regular work from home, while you deal with your hyped up, wow-its-a-snow-day, kids.  EEEK!!!

Before I had kids, when I was working for the city, if we had a snow day or an “adjusted telework day” – I’d put on my snuggly sweater, jeans and wooly socks, settle into a big comfy chair with a quilt and get a ton of work done in the peaceful quiet of my house.  Ahhhh.  No phones ringing.  No one popping into your office “just to chat.”  No meetings.  Just pure productivity.

I used to love those fabulous, productive, snuggly snow days.  I love, love, love snow and cold as you all know, and the quiet and the warmth of a fire and a 2009 Snow day! 049blanket?  Oh. Yeah.   Mmmm, snuggly!  I couldn’t understand why some people in the office (the parents) didn’t like those extra days where we got to work from home.  Ha!

When I was little, I used to plan for what I would do if we were lucky enough to GET a snow day.  Where I lived, in the mountains of North Carolina, there was snow plowing equipment and they got the plows moving and plowing at the first flake-fall.  If they could clear by 6 am, we went to school no matter how high the snow total might be.  If it was too high, or the snow was still falling hard at 6 am and they didn’t think they could clear it?  SNOW DAY!  But they were few and far between.

For my kids, it’s amazing how many they’ve gotten in recent years.  Not so much when my Eldest was young, but since 2010 and Snowmaggedon, snow days have been a lot more frequent.

My kids, just as I did, plan this out.  I heard them doing it tonight.

“If it’s just a delay, we can’t do anything.  No sledding.”

“But we can sleep in!”

“Yeah.”

“But if its the whole day, we could go sledding.”

2009 snow 002“Better find your snow pants now.”

There was a whole lot more, but you get the gist.  My Eldest figured out how to make snow creme a couple of years ago, on a snowy three-or-four-day-off school session.  Now it’s de rigeur when it snows.  I’ve got to get more condensed milk.  Better go put it on the grocery list!

Last year was a record for snow days for us.  We had to get special dispensation from the board of education not to extend school all the way till July.  Yes, July.  That’s how many snow days we had last year.  In fact, as I was doing my 2015 planning, I was trying to figure out why I’d been SO unproductive in the first quarter.

Then I realized that there was only ONE WEEK in the first ten weeks of 2014 where my kids were in school for 5 full days at a stretch.  One week.  We kept having these snowstorms that would come in on a Sunday.  The kids would be out for 2 days, then back to school, then the following Sunday, here would come another snow “event.”  Ugh.

The kids loved it, but let me tell you, for the parents, it got old.

However, that said, the kids could use a sleep in tomorrow.   They had a busy weekend and didn’t get to sleep in or laze around.  If we have a two-hour delay, well, then the boys will sleep in.  I might even indulge in that myself, at least for a little bit longer than my usual 7 am.

Did you have snow days where you lived when you were a kid?  I know our Aus pals probably didn’t, but what about the rest of you Bandits and Buddies?

What did you do on snow days when you were little?

If you have them now, as an adult, do you work?  Do you play? Or do you get frustrated?Snow Feb 2013 008

If you got snowed in and absolutley HAD to take a snow-day-off, what would you do?  Bake?  Plan? Knit?

Would you build a fire in the fireplace and read all day or go out and play in the snow?

Have you ever built a snowman?  What about a snow fort for snow ball fights?

If you’re a snow lover, do you prefer a sled, a saucer, or a toboggan?

And for when you come in from the cold…soup, hot chocolate, tea, coffee or chili?  I’ll tell Sven to have some ready….

I Love My FitBit!

e0f76c0be3ca1bb1_gym_equipment_C.previewSeriously, does EVERYONE want to lose weight in January?  I know I do.   Here it is another year’s beginning and my gym is jammed to the rafters with new members.  I went all through December and the place was steady, but not packed.  Some days it was downright empty.

OMGosh.  I tried to go today and it was chock-a-block with people sweatin’ on the machines.  Yikers!

I think that’s great, even as I know most won’t keep it up past February 1.  They’ll make it through January, then a snow will hit (like today – worst commute EVER!).  That sort of thing sidelines everyone’s routine.  They’ll come back…or not…and then….quiet in the gym once more.  Ahhhh!

But some?  Some will stay.  They’ll get into the joy of moving again, and making those not-quite-so-flexible muscles do what they were meant to do once more.  How wonderful is that?

I’ve come to really enjoy the gym.  I didn’t start out there, though.  No gym for me.  I started getting back in shape with a little device called a FitBit.0089862800226_150X150

I’d read about it in an article in Good Housekeeping.  This is five or six years ago, maybe more like ten, now.  It was a cool new gadget on the market, and I like gadgets.  It sync-ed to your computer and let you track not only your steps, but your sleep.  It told you how many calories you’d burned in those steps you took, and if you went online and entered what you’d eaten that day, you could see if you were over or under your target ratio of calories burned (steps taken) to food consumed.  Pretty cool.

Several of the Bandits have them, and like me, are still aficionados after a number of years.

photoI got one for my husband within a year of getting one for myself.  Being a numbers guy, he took to this like a duck to water.  He’s on his second FitBit now.  I’m on my third.  I’d still have my original, and it’s replacement, but the clip broke, and, since I started carrying it in my pocket, I inadvertently washed it.  Eeek!

(I wish I could show you his first FitBit.  He used it until it was just done in.  Had to be held together with a rubber band.  Never let it be said that the man didn’t get value for his money!)

The original FitBit tracker has a clip and numbers and all sorts of things it shows on its face as you can see in the two examples above.  The new, sleek version, just shows dots for progress and you have to go online to see your actual number of steps, etc.  After living with the new sleek one for two years, as you can see on my wrist below, I’ve decided I like the old one.  Ha!  I like the readout rather than the dots.jpa fitbit

However, I’m not ready to replace it.  When it dies, I’ll go back to the original or maybe to the wonderful NEW FitBit Surge once the price comes down a bit.  That one does everything but make you lunch and order groceries.

That’s not really the point, though, having it do stuff.  The thing about the FitBit is that it’s really a simple weight-loss concept that can be summed up in two words:

Be Mindful.

How much are you moving?  What are you eating?  How much are you eating?  Are you moving enough to call it a draw between moving and calories consumed?  If so, you’re staying where you are.  If you move MORE calories, burn them, then take in less calories in food, you’ll start losing weight.

Simple.  Mindful.  Easy.

afbc7375ba89d64c70af1751125f8a7aOkay, so nothing about taking off the pounds is EASY.  Especially when you sit to work all day as writers do.

This – using the FitBit – is just easier than most.  Why do I say that?  Well, if I realize at 5 pm that I’ve taken in a whole lot more in calories than I’ve burned on a given day, I lace up my shoes and go take a walk.  I go to the gym and get on the treadmill.  I take a book and get on a bike or do some time on the elliptical.

Better yet, I take the dog out and go for a jog.

If the FitBit isn’t your thing, there’s an iFit and a Nike and a cool one called VivoFit from Garmin.  That one actually has a signal on it to remind you to move after two hours in one position!  Love that!!

Of course, like most any kind of new program, all you have to do is set a goal and go for it.

“I’m going to do 5,000 steps every day this week.  I’m taking the stairs, and parking further from the building.  Then next week, I’m going to up that to 7,000 steps a day.”  It’s both hard and easy.  My motto has always been “Start with One”  – one pushup, properly done.  One lunge.  One 10 minute session on the treadmill.  One turn around the block.  Next time, do two.  Then three.

Don’t workout till you hurt or you won’t go back to it.  The whole “no pain, no gain” is for gym rats and masochist.  Grins.lifespan-treadmill-desk-100025352-orig

But that mindfulness thing is step one for all of it.  Over the last two or three years, I’ve lost about 25 pounds.  I’m taking them off the same way I put them on – one pound at a time.  I fluctuate, yes, but one step at a time, one pound at a time, I’m going down to the right weight, the healthy weight.  The weight where my clothes fit and I feel good.

I’m always looking for new ways to challenge myself and/or make it fun.  Maybe I should get one of these workout desks.  What do you think?  Think it would work?  Anybody have one??

I frankly don’t give a damn (channeling Rhett) about the actual NUMBER I weigh.  All those charts and things the insurance companies have that say you’re obese at 156 or underweight at 185, or whatever?  Mine says I should weigh 136- 146 lbs.  That’s a size six and that is flat out Nonsense.  My BONES aren’t a size six, nor will they ever be.  If I weigh 136 – that target weight for someone 5’7″ with my small wrists – I look like a concentration camp victim.  I’ve BEEN 136.  I look terrrrrrrible.  I have a friend who’s petite.  The weight to height thing for her is equally ridiculous going the other way.  Another friend, who’s tall, should be well over 200 lbs, according to the charts.  Again, stuff and nonsense.

What I care about is feeling good and being able to move and groove and play the way I want to play.  I want to feel good when I run down the block after the kids.  I want to feel good when I shoot some hoops with my son, or chase the dog around the yard.  I don’t want to need two days rest and 1/2 a bottle of Advil if I go dancing with my hubby.  And I don’t want to have to resort to the SalonPas or ThermaCare patches and more Advil just to get my garden in shape this spring.

bellsThis year, with my gym, and my running shoes, and my FitBit, I’m going to lose the last ten.  Then we’ll see.  If I need to lose more, so be it, but with 10 more pounds down, I’m going to evaluate how I feel.  From there, as I said, we’ll see!
Really, isn’t it ALL about how you feel, good or bad?

So what about you Bandits and Buddies?

Do you have weight loss goals for 2015?

Do you have a new exercise plan?

Do you have  a dog to walk, or a walking buddy?  If a dog, what kind and how far do you walk?

Do you do something else for fitness?

And last but not least, do you too, have a FitBit or a gadget?

(Photos are mine, or Yahoo Photos.  No copyright infringement is intended in any way)

Romance Bandits Backlogged Booty!!

1BanditBootyHey everyone!  Here’s some backlogged Booty from Jeanne And Cassondra!

Oct 23 – The Winner of DEMON STORM from Dianna Love is..

Suzette Henderson!

– You’ve won a copy of  DEMON STORM from Dianna Love.   Suzette, if you’re in the Continental US, you’ll receive a print copy of DEMON STORM. If you’re international, you’ll get an e-book from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Dec 3 – From Jeanne’s December 3 Blog about cookies – The winner is…

BethInIL!

Beth, you win a copy of the Christmas Anthology, A Jewel in Time, featuring Jeanne Adams, Barbara Devlin and Caitlenn T Ainnsley; a copy of Barbara Devlin’s Enter the Brethren, and a copy of Jeanne’s Deadly Delivery!

Dec 12 – From the blog featuring Debut Author Louisa Cornell, the Winner is…

HEATHER CM2001 

December 17 – The first day of the epic Donut Food Fight – the winner of the DC Mug and $10 Starbucks card from Jeanne “Cake Donuts Rule” Adams is…

MIKE MILLER!

 and the Two Grab Bag Books and Conference Swag from Cassondra “Glazed Yeast Donuts Are ALL!” Murray is..

AMY CONLEY!

December 18 – The second day of the epic Donut Food Fight – the winner of the Two Grab Bag Books and Conference Swag from Cassondra “I Love Peppermint” Murray is…

TERESA HUGHES!

and the winnner of the Starbucks DC Mug and $10 Starbucks card from Jeanne “No Additives” Adams, is…

LOIS M!!

Y’all contact us at jpagryphon AT aol.com or Cassondrawrites AT gmail.com with your snail mail addy so we can ship your loot!

 

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