Anthology Retirement Announcement

January 20th, 2018

As most of you no doubt heard, author Miranda Neville passed away last year. Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Miranda, and I did three historical romance anthologies together.  They are all great collections of connected stories. While they can each be read individually, all four stories together bring together a heartwarming arc. Miranda’s untimely and forever mourned death means that for the foreseeable future, and certainly while Miranda’s family is dealing with her estate, the three anthologies with Miranda will be going off sale. The last day to get all four stories in one collection is January 31, 2018.

My stories in the anthologies are available individually, and I believe Shana’s are as well. I don’t know if Grace published hers individually. Miranda did not, and to the best of my knowledge, Miranda’s family is not currently planning to issue her stories individually. That means if you do not already have copies of the anthologies now, you have a limited window to get those stories.

It’s possible that at some point in the future, assuming we have an agreement with Miranda’s estate, the books will be reissued in some manner or other, but we have no current plans to do so.

Here are the links to the anthologies

Cover of Christmas in The Duke's Arms

Christmas in The Duke’s Arms

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Print

Cover of Dancing in the Duke's Arms, anthology. Cover is a dude in a brown coat and a pretty lady in a burgundy gown which is really pretty. They are dancing and falling in love. You want this book.

Dancing in The Duke’s Arms

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Print

Cover of Christmas in Duke Street, handsome couple against a snowy background with a building and a very small christmasy-tree in the backround

Christmas in Duke Street

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Trade Paper

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Making Friends With Freddie – Part 2

January 13th, 2018

My friendship with Freddie the Buffon’s Macaw continues. We have added additional perches in his cage that he is pretty excited about and uses. I bought him a wooden cube that you’re supposed to hide nuts in. It has little holes for him to see that there are nuts inside, and it fastens to the cage for him to spend hours working out how to get to the nuts. My sister put it in his cage, and when she went back a couple hours later it was in shreds on the bottom of the cage. Freddie is an advanced bird. (And, of course, this is why one does not want to be bitten by a macaw.) I think there’s a harder version and I may try buying that for him in case it lasts longer than an hour or two.

He enjoys the foraging toys I make for him, though. I have placed a couple of wrapped up nuts elsewhere in his cage, but he’s not yet used to looking for food other than in his dish. But he will at some point today want to chew on his enormous toy and then, heh heh, I expect him to find those nuts.

The Big News!

I do have big news, and that is that Freddie stepped up on my arm today! He’s not used to stepping up on someone’s hand, but when I offered my arm, he went right up and were we both happy. I walked him over to the top of his cage and he stepped down. This is huge. I have been a little fearful, but it was so obvious that he now trusts me enough to step up that I trusted him back. I will continue to work on this, but I am proud of myself for taking my time, and letting him decide the pace of our friendship.

 

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Making Friends with Freddie

January 6th, 2018

Years ago someone gave my sister a macaw named Freddie. She and the bird had bonded, and I think the original owner just wasn’t interested enough to make enough time for being the owner of a bird like him. I will be honest and tell you that Freddie always kind of frightened me because, damn, his beak is BIG, and he is fast, and it was quite easy to tell that he did not have warm feelings toward me the way he does for my sister. I will also confess that I had essentially zero clue about parrots. I just knew I didn’t want to get bitten.

Freddie is a Buffon’s Macaw, aka Great Green Macaw, often confused with the smaller Military Macaw, which is what we thought Freddie was. Once I decided (recently) that I needed/wanted to be friends with Freddie, my research revealed that Freddie is, in fact, a Buffon’s Macaw.  In the picture below, you can see the grey ring around his pupil that is one of the things that differentiates the Buffon’s from the Military. We have other pictures where it’s clear that ring is steel gray. His tail feathers also match the Buffon’s Macaw red and green, as well. Not that it matters, other than for making sure we get the correct information about the care of his species. They are native to South America (Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.)

The Buffon’s Macaw is now an endangered species, with only 1,000 or fewer birds left in the wild due to habitat destruction and poaching. According to his vet, he has none of the tattoos or bands that one finds on a bird brought into the United States legally. His vet believes Freddie was probably brought to the US some time in the 1970s. We have no information about him prior to my sister encountering Freddie and his previous owner. He is about 40 years old, and has a life span of 60-80 years.

Upper body of Freddie, A Buffon's Macaw showing his very very big beak. He is green, there is a red ruff above his beak, and his cheeks are reddish because he is interested in his photo being taken.

Freddie’s Beak is big

As you can see from the above picture, Freddie’s beak is indeed big. When my niece was 6 or 7 she put her finger into his cage and got bitten. Her finger was small, his beak is big. She had to go to the ER and has a scar to this day, more than ten years later. You can see that Freddie’s cheeks are reddish. That’s because he is very interested in this picture taking business. Normally, they’d be white. He is amusing himself on the side of a mostly decorative cage that on the deck. We put seed in it for wild birds.

In the picture below, you can see most of Freddie’s tail. The majority of it is in shadow, but you can see the red and blue side tail feathers. You can also see that he’s mostly a chartreuse/ bright green. And that he’s pretty big. He’s not the biggest of the macaws, but he’s not small.

He also doesn’t fly (doesn’t, not can’t) and the vet no longer feels his wings should be clipped. They haven’t been for some years.

 

Freddie the Buffon's Macaw on the side of a cage that is not his. You can't see his entire tail, sorry, but you can see the blue and red tail feathers.

Freddie.

Making Friends With Freddie

Anyway, I decided for lots of reasons that Freddie and I needed to be friends. First, because I like him, and he’s pretty, and we have a responsibility toward the animals in our care. But also because more than one person needs to be able to handle him. This is a bird that could, potentially, outlive me and my sister.

So. I began by watching loads of YouTube videos about Macaws. Freddie was aggressive toward me, but from those videos I learned how to make him comfortable around me.

My lightbulb moment came with me learning how to safely offer treats to a macaw. (Once you and the bird are in a comfortable, relaxed mood, you hold the treat just far enough away that the bird must stretch for the treat. That way, they can’t bite you.)

It was like magic. I can now give Freddie treats without asking him to stretch. I am, of course, learning to read his moods, which is also critical.

Parrots are foragers, so they are both entertained and interested in food they must work to get at. Today, for example, I made several DIY “toys” that required him to work to get the nut inside. This was super simple in that I wrapped a nut inside a clean sheet paper that he had to chew to get to the nut. This was also like magic. He was thrilled and engaged.

Then I took half a cardboard paper towel roll and showed him exactly how I was hiding a nut inside. I used paper to block one end, showed him that I was dropping a nut inside, then put paper in the other end, and plugged up that too. He was beside himself. There’s a happy cooing sort of noise that he makes when he’s happy and excited that that’s what he was doing.

I am also now able to give him head rubs. He shows me when he wants his head scratched and voila!

There’s a lot more friend-making we need to do, and I will be working toward learning how to get him to step up on my hand. This requires that I know what I need to do so keep him feeling safe and appropriately rewarded.

I’ll keep you posted!

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Greetings from 2018

January 1st, 2018

Wishing everyone the happiest of New Years.

 

A Dahlia that is just barely opening.

To The Future

 

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What to Do?

December 30th, 2017

So…Long story short, I have more books to give away (Lord Ruin) and am looking for opinions about which way to go.

First a little set up so you understand my situation. Amazon has this feature called Giveaways where someone can give away an item and people signup for the giveaway in the hopes of being one of the randomly selected winners. They allow eBook giveaways.

Giveaway Sort of Gone Wrong?

I finally decided to try an Amazon Giveaway. Because I just released Surrender to Ruin, I chose book 1 in the series (Lord Ruin) as the book to give away. I chose to give away 50 copies — the cost to me was $250. That represents the cost of 50 books at $4.99, within a few cents.

As I was setting up the giveaway, the Amazon page glitched. I have no idea if it was my internet, which is not the greatest and has been particularly sucky of late, or Amazon or what. All I know is that my giveaway set up page vanished. I refreshed and there was still nothing. So I started over and succeeded. At no time did Amazon say anything like “You already have a giveaway for this item. Do you really want two?”

Anyway, there was my giveaway. I put out the word and then a little later I checked my giveaway page and there were TWO giveaways. One had entries (the second one that I had told people about) and the other had none. So I cancelled the one with no entries.

Then I asked asked Amazon for a refund for the giveaway I cancelled because it was a duplicate that was the result of whatever happened when I was setting up the first giveaway. Unfortunately for me, eBook giveaways are not refundable. Thinking about this, it makes a certain sense for Amazon to have this. (For reasons having to do with eBook sales numbers, and ranking, I imagine.)

Let me add that I am pleased with the Giveaway that I did not cancel. There were over 300 entries within just a day or two, and now that the Giveaway has ended, all but two of the books were claimed. Meaning, there are 48 presumably new readers who now have a copy of Lord Ruin free to them. Yay! Fingers crossed that they go on to read Books 2 and 3!

The Dilemma

You see my dilemma. I have been charged for 2 giveaways and one of them is in a cancelled state with no entries and no books given away. My options are limited. I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole of insisting that the first giveaway be backed out because worst case scenario, that does something horrible to the rank of Lord Ruin. There is no good time for a book to vanish from Amazon product pages. (I have a terrible, depressing story about what happens when a book’s rank disappears.)

My choices are this:

  1. Un-cancel the giveaway and run a second one.
  2. Ask for giveaway codes that I can personally give to readers.

Do I do another Amazon giveaway or ask for the codes and do some other promotion so that 52 people can get a code for a free copy of Lord Ruin? (52, because two of the books in the Giveaway I ran have not been claimed and I can get codes for them, too.) But I may let those sit because it’s only been 2 weeks since the end of the Giveaway and people may not have seen the email . . .

As a reader, do you have any preference? Another giveaway or something where I have codes to provide?

Because, quite literally, if I do not giveaway those books through another Giveaway or via codes, that’s $250 spent for nothing.

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Happy Holidays

December 24th, 2017

Happiest of Holidays!

 

Three bright orange persimmons

Orange. Really Orange

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Contest Winner!

December 16th, 2017

The winner of the purple teardrop necklace, selected at random from among the qualified comments (via the “And the Winner is” plugin) is:

Margaret

I have sent you an email so make sure you reply to that email with your full mailing address.

I loved reading everyone’s comments about kindnesses. Thank you to everyone who entered.

(Facebook entrants: this is the contest over at my website. Heading to FB now to select that winner)

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Writing Retreat – Ocean Pictures

December 10th, 2017

Last weekend, I was at a writing retreat in Oceanside, California (near San Diego). A group of us rented a house directly on the beach. If we walked onto the patio, there was the beach, right there. In fact, at high tide, the beach was completely under water. It was a hugely inspiring weekend because of the people who attended and the amazing view. I did not bring my fancy camera since I was traveling and there for writing. I had my iPhone X, and here are some of the pictures I took.

Waves cresting at the beach. The feeling is expansive, as if you could open your arms wide and take in the entire ocean.

Pacific Ocean

Often, in addition to surfers, there were dolphins in the surf. In the above photo, you can see a portion of the balcony where I was standing. Directly below is the patio and the rock stairs to the beach. Here it is high tide so there is almost no beach. The view and the sound of the ocean was a wonderful backdrop to a weekend spent with other writers talking about writing and the business of writing.

A rectangular rock weighed down a feathery bit of kelp that is now covered in a layer of sand so that you see only the shape of the feathery fronds. It is remarkably detailed.

Sand Covered Kelp

I took the picture above on a walk along the beach in the afternoon. It was just so pretty and delicate looking, even though it’s kelp covered with a layer of sand.

The sky is cloudy, but for a small area just above the right side at the horizon. That space is orange and is reflecting onto water that looks like steel. The feeling is stern and stark.

Sunset over the Pacific

The sky looks like it’s on fire almost, and the ocean is steely gray. It’s an oddly peaceful picture. At sunset, we’d take a break from our discussions and presentations to watch the sun set over the ocean.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The water and sky are deep, rich, pinks, purples, oranges, and blues . The light is reflecting off the water which looks smooth and almost soft. There are waves in the foreground.

Sunset, Oceanside, California

For me, these last two pictures are surreal. I’ve never seen the ocean and sky look like cotton candy backlit with orange.  It’s graceful and solemn, and awe-inspiring.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean, picture 2. The water and sky are deep, rich, pinks, purples, oranges, and blues . The feeling is peaceful and full of grace. The light is reflecting off the water which looks soft and velvety. There are waves cresting to the front of the picture.

Sunset over the Pacific

This is the other picture of this sunset where the colors are surreal. Here, you can see a portion of the beach and the waves.

It’s calming and inspiring just to see the pictures again.

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Celebrating the Release of Surrender to Ruin With a Contest

December 8th, 2017

To celebrate the release of Surrender to Ruin and because I’m in the giving mood, I am giving away two necklaces, one here, and one on my Facebook Author page. Here are pictures of the one I’m giving away here. I don’t have the right lighting, but I did the best I could. Both necklaces are Swarovski crystal. I bought them from a woman who had to move her jewelry business to her husband’s frame shop here in my town because they lost their house in the Northern California fires. They are both commuting from San Francisco. So these necklaces have some history already.

The rules to enter are below the pictures.

A teardrop shaped purple crystal set in a silver-colored backing.

Purple crystal necklace from further away

A closer view of a purple teardrop shaped pendant on a silver-colored chain

Closer view of purple crystal necklace

 

The Rules

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Must be 18 to enter. International OK. If the winner does not respond with a valid mailing address within 5 days of notification, I will select an alternate winner. Winner chosen at random via the plug in “And The Winner Is.” Contest closes Midnight Pacific on Friday December 15, 2017.  To enter, please leave a comment on this blog in which you answer this question: “What’s a nice thing someone did for you, or that you did for someone else.”

Feel free to also enter the other contest at my facebook author page. You have to also comment on that post.

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Surrender to Ruin – Available Now!

December 5th, 2017

Out Today! I hope you love this book as much as I do. It’s here!!!!

iBooks | Amazon | cJewel Books | Google Play B&N | Kobo | Print

An unbelievably hot Regency man sitting on the arm of a chaise looking very smug

Cover, Photography by Jenn LeBlanc. Cover Design by Damonza

iBooks | Amazon | cJewel Books | Google Play B&N | Kobo | Print

Her beauty is divine. His heart yearns for another. Will attempted revenge result in true love?

Emily is the last unmarried Sinclair sister. For all her spellbinding beauty, she’s never been able to clear a certain man from her head and her heart. He’s made it clear there’s no hope, and now he’s about to marry her best friend.

The Earl of Bracebridge knows how to hold a grudge. The former prizefighter turned disreputable nobleman hoped to marry Emily’s sister until she was forced to wed another. After his hopes for a suitable marriage are dashed once again, he seizes the chance to settle the score with Thomas Sinclair—by eloping with Emily and consigning them both to a union without love.

Emily knows Bracebridge loves another, but every time they’re alone, sparks fly. Can the Earl get past his heartbreak to realize the perfect woman didn’t get away —she’s already his wife?

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