Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Reminder From My Pets

I have a homeless kitty that lives in my backyard.  A victim of the mortgage crisis and bad owners, he was left on the street in my neighborhood when his owners were evicted from their house.  He had a sister, who I rushed to the all night emergency room in Las Vegas one night when she was hit by a car in front of my house.  Now he is alone, and has taken up residency in my backyard.

He is a beautiful animal.  White and blue-gray, thick haired and well nourished.  I put food and water out for him and my neighbor has a nightly milk bowl.  But he won't let me near him.  He's afraid of humans, and I don't blame him, after being put out as a baby to fend for himself.

My princess DeeDee
The last thing I need is another pet.  I have a Shar-pei, my husband has a miniature Yorkie and we are all owned by Mr. Kitty, the baddest cat in the land.  They are very protective of their 'people' and their yard and aren't afraid to do their job.  Mr. Kitty once scared a coyote away.  That's one tough kitty.
But for some reason, they treat homeless kitty differently.  It's as if they have adopted him, invited him into their home, and welcomed him with open paws.  Why is that? 
I have seen pets do some amazing things, and I know everyone else has a story or two.  But I think that my animals are exhibiting a trait that many would call a 'human trait'.  Compassion.  I think in their animal world, they appreciate the loving home they have and are willing to share a small piece of it with another that has been cast out.
Following their example, I have decided to make homeless kitty my project for the summer.  It's going to get very hot soon, and I would rather him come inside during the day with the others.  I know once I name him, he becomes mine, so I'm sticking with homeless kitty for now.  Maybe my Elly Mae instincts will prevail and I can get him to trust humans again and can find him a good home.  I hope so.

This morning, I walked onto the back patio and saw homeless kitty snuggled up between my Shar-pei and the Yorkie, while Mr. Kitty patrolled the yard. 
I had to smile.  My pets have chosen to welcome a homeless animal into their world and in doing so, have reminded me to be a little more 'human' as I go through my day.

Helping another that is down on their luck is a beautiful thing, even if they are a little different than you.    

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meet My Editor Extraordinaire

In March, I wrote a guest post for Ciara Ballintyne's 'Somebody Has To Say It' blog about finding an editor.  It took me about six weeks and I finally found one that I was willing to trust my infant to.  As Ciara commented at the end of my guest post, 'Word of mouth is a powerful thing.'  So, it was risky of her to take me on, knowing I would be blogging to the world about her services, good or bad, but she did.   Being a good sport and taking that chance got her a few points right up front.
Now I shall eat a bit of humble pie and say that I did not follow my own advice exactly.  However, everything is a learning experience, so let me tell you how I made my decision.

1)Price-Yes, I am price conscious.  I am on a budget and I would rather pay a moderate amount than a higher amount. Sue me for being poor.  And I know that many of you will throw out the tired, old saying 'you get what you pay for'.  That is bull.  I've bought some pretty amazing things at discount stores---you just have to be willing to take your time and shop around. 

I'm not saying my new editor is low priced---not at all.  But, moderately priced, which I think is fair to both of us.
2) Experience- She is new to editing, which I don't have a problem with.  She does have four or five full manuscripts in different genres under her belt and quickly provided me with those customers names and email addresses to contact.  But she is a writer, and a good one.  Her website has several examples of her work, and after reading them, I was fairly confident that she could help me with my manuscript, And They Call Me Crazy.

3) Attitude- This is something that I didn't touch on in my original post, but I am going to now.  My editor was excited about my project, from reading the brief blurb through the entire process.  Her energy and enthusiasm made me feel like we were partners, I had someone I could discuss the manuscript with as she edited. Writing is a lonely sport, and it's nice to finally have a teammate.

4)Website- If you read my original post, you know that I have a 'thing' for wanting to see someone's website.  It tells me you are serious about the job, even if you are just starting out.  My new editor's website is professionally done and has no spelling or grammar errors!  You may find that a strange thing to be excited about, but after going over several, looking for my perfect match, you have no idea how many mistakes I found.  As I said in the original post, I can make those errors all by myself, I need an editor that can find them, not make them.

But those are all factors in choosing and editor.  The big question is, after editing And They Call Me Crazy, how do I feel about her?
I am thrilled! A writer and a good editor form a relationship, one built on honesty and respect.  It takes a team effort to produce an amazing piece of work.  You must have a partner that is willing to help you take it to the next level.  My editor, and yes, she will be my editor again and again, not only helped me improve my work, but helped me improve it more than I had anticipated.  She exceeded my expectations, which is difficult to do, because I've been told more than once that I'm a tough one to please.  But she did it.  All hail the Editor Extraordinaire. 
So who is this Wonder Woman of Words, this Energizer Bunny of Editing, this Goddess of Grammar?

Her name is Rebecca Mahoney and you can find her here:

And I hope you do check her out when you need an editor, because every writer needs one. No matter how good you think your work is, how engaging your neighbor found the plot or how interesting and complex your mother finds the protagonist, a second (or third, or fourth) set of eyes to go over it is necessary.... As a person who spends a lot of time editing for others, I would never claim that I don't need one myself.  I do.
But I've found my perfect match.

While you're clicking around, check out my books on my website.

And don't forget to read my original post about finding an editor, which also talks about a Victorian era, sex-starved, zombie dragon.  How can you resist that?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Interview with D.C. McMillen

One of my favorite people, author D.C.McMillen, stopped by to stare out the window with me.  She lives in Toronto, Canada and enjoys writing about dirty sex in questionable places, but has been known to write about other subjects, on special occasions. Her recent work has been popping up on websites and in ezines. She also writes a series of short, erotic humour ebook stories through New Line Press, called Nauti-Lust series,  and will soon be featured in a few erotic and not so erotic anthologies as well as theShort and Spicy ebook line up through MuseItUp Publishing.

Tell us about your most recently released novella, The Rusty Nail
The entire story takes place in a single day and revolves around the lives of a seemingly random group of people, whose only common link is that they are somehow acquainted with a dive bar on the wrong side of town. It features M/M, M/F, F/F and a couple of fun solo scenes so there is a little bit for everyone.
I love the cover...

What made you decide to write Erotica?

I’m a copy writer by day. I write about leg hair, insurance, real estate and other fun stuff.  After a particularly gruelling day, I decided to write something completely creative and “out there” before closing my laptop. I wrote a ridiculous flash fiction piece about an elderly couple who decided to introduce “toys” into their relationship to spice things up. I had fun writing it and I loved my mom’s reaction when she read it so I decided to continue writing fun, sexy stories. I have to say, my mood has considerably improved since I started writing erotica last year.
And anyone who reads D.C.'s blog knows what a rockstar her Mom is...

What are you working on now?

I’m working on an erotic novel about a goofy college student who accidentally ends up in the call girl business. After a fofillian edits, I thought I was ready to start sending it off to publishers. Then I decided to give it another once over. I’ve now scrapped the entire first chapter and about to rewrite. Sigh.
I also have a short story coming out soon called The Rental. It’s part of MuseItHot’s Short & Spicy line up and I promise the story is chocked full of likeable characters and super hot sex.

Tell me a bit about your publishing experience.

Oh gosh.  I have learned a lot in the past year about publishing and I hope to learn more. I have been lucky enough to receive acceptances from a few different publishers, and have noticed a huge difference in processes and quality. I’ve learned it’s important to do the research before sending off an MS; just because a publisher accepts your work does not necessarily mean they will make a good fit for you.  Also, I suck at catching the minute details so I need a publisher that offers a stellar editing team.

 Other than writing, what is your claim to fame?

Fame, huh? Well I once made a total ass out of myself at a televised speech competition. Does that count?
It most certainly does.  I'd kind of like to see that video...  

Risky question, I know, but what turns you on?

Lol, you’re asking an erotica writer what turns her on? My Hitachi Wand does a pretty good job. TMI? Okay, with the exception of the obvious, I love spontaneity, loyalty, a wicked sense of humour and shiny objects that I can wear on my person. I live for new experiences, especially the ones that have a tale attached to them, and I am at my peak when I feel like I am on an adventure of some sort.
I knew it was risky. Thanks for holding back. :) 

What is life with D.C. like right now?

Pretty damn hectic, really. I am working hard on writing smutty stories, keeping up the e-rotica blog, running a business that just opened a second office and still managing to find time for walking my dog and travelling, which is a major passion of mine.


Despite the dim lighting in his rundown bar, Randall sees the seemingly random lives of his customers intersect in the most unusual ways. Why, in just a single day, he eavesdrops on a gay man flirting with his straight boyfriend, spies a Stepford style wife slip into the shadows of a cracked leather booth to join an Italian bombshell wearing a trench coat, stilettos and not much else, and demands a lunatic in search of chocolate milk to vacate his establishment, all the while hoping his slick and skuzzy landlord doesn’t show up to collect back rent.

What Randall doesn’t realize is that, other than their questionable taste in watering holes, these patrons all have something in common. Each one of them will experience a unique sexual encounter that will awaken, enlighten, or perhaps even devastate their lives.

D.C. is obsessed with Twitter and invites you to look her up at @mcmillendc, or on Facebook, where she goes sometimes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I Am Strong

Recently, while talking about Ragtown with two friends, Jenifer Badamo and Cristy Minton, the subject of strong women came up.  Although my historical novel is set during the building of the Hoover Dam, I really tried to capture the experiences of the families involved in the project, not just the men who worked in the diversion tunnels.  Yes, my guys are, for the most part, tough guys, but my women are strong, too, each in their own way.  Since this is the beginning of what is known in my family as 'Kelly Week' (I'll explain that later), I thought it would be fun to tell you about a few of my strong Ragtown women.
Betsy Carter arrived in the desert eight months pregnant and gave birth to her youngest of three children on a hot desert night on the bank of the Colorado River.  Although Betsy is the motherly influence, underneath that Mother Hubbard is one tough gal.  She is a crack shot with a pistol, and not afraid to use it to protect her family.
As young girls, Mae and Sally had dreams of one day marrying and living happily ever after.  However, when both of their parents died, Mae, a teenager, was forced to do whatever was necessary to take care of her younger sister.  It was the 1930's and what few jobs were available were reserved for men. Mae and Sally work as prostitutes in the small cribs behind the Railroad Pass Casino.
Helen Carter is a sixteen year old firecracker.  Small and redheaded, she has a mind of her own.  While the other residents of Ragtown are withering under the desert heat, Helen seems to take her strength from it.  She is part of the desert and finds beauty in what others consider ugly.  If there is a rock of the novel, it is Helen.
So as 'Kelly Week' begins, my conversation with Jen and Cristy comes back around, because during the conversation, Cristy made the following comment, which really hit home: 

I think we are ALL strong, just most of us don't see that in ourselves...

I have friends that have overcome breast cancer, have undergone chemotherapy for Hepatitis, have lost husbands and children.  I know women who are raising kids with Autism and other disabilities, who are taking care of their parents and grandparents, and who are raising families on their own.  I have writer friends who have dug deep into their souls to share painful past experiences, others who are working on advanced degrees to improve their lives, and still others that have become successful businesswomen in a world that is still dominated by men.   These are the women I consider strong.  I certainly don't always think of myself as strong, but I am a Nurse, and a mother and I have made it to 29 (whatever).  So, in my own way, I am strong, too.  As Cristy said, 'most of us don't see that in ourselves'.  Well, it's time we do.

Now to 'Kelly Week'.  National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.  My birthday is on May 7, and I will be 29 (or something with a '9' in it).  And of course, Mothers Day is May 13, and of all of the hats I wear, that's the one I cherish most. 
But I'm changing 'Kelly Week' to 'Strong Women Week' (since it is a made-up week of celebration, I can do that).  Thank the Nurses you know for all they do, show your Mother how much she means to you, and by all means, raise a glass to my 29-ish years.  But also, take the time to say thank you to ALL of the women in your life for just being the amazing people they are.  And women, take a minute to see the strength in yourself.  Then say it loud: