Archive for October, 2012

NINC Report

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

I am back from the NINC conference and thinking about the people in the East affected by Hurricane Sandy. My roommate at the conference, Susan Lyons, was on one of the last flights to get out of the White Plains airport Sunday night.

The conference was very beneficial to attend. I have never attended a NINC conference before, and I liked the small size and getting to know the members of Novelists, Inc. aside from on the email loop. We were super busy! The sessions began at 8 a.m. and, if you attended the casual Night Owl sessions, could end as late at 10 p.m.

The first day featured a series of panels, and then, at the end of the day, NINC members asked questions of the panel members. I took notes, but it will be a while before I consult them. Too much on my plate this week to accomplish first.

The Thursday and Friday, there were traditional workshops, where the audience could either ask questions during the presentation or afterward. There were also NINCThink Round Tables, and I participated in two of those. The round tables featured industry guests (agents, editors, reps from Amazon and other digital media, cover designers, independent editors, etc.) and also NINC members. Some NINC members on the round tables were volunteers (like me) who felt they had something to contribute to the conversation while others were invited to sit on the round table as more of an “expert” in the subject area. For example, Bella Andre—who just sold a print-only deal to a major publisher while retaining all the e-rights that she’s managed to build into a hugely successful career—was invited to attend the Foreign and Subsidiary Rights round table. Elizabeth Jennings, who lives in Italy and knows a LOT about translations, what a good translation is and how much they might cost, also had a lot to contribute.

As a side note, apparently, we were told, print-only deals are not possible, but Bella Andre has proved that isn’t the case! Granted, she is definitely an outlier, but she is blazing a trail. Go, Bella!

Perhaps the most “entertaining” round table was the Changing Role of the Agent, where a handful of high-powered traditional agents discussed the rise of Indie publishing and how traditional partnerships might still advance an author’s career. Buttons were pushed, and a rousing discussion ensued.

Something I really enjoyed about the NINC conference is that the writers aren’t there to pitch to the editors and agents. So when you meet NYC editors who are on your panel, you’re meeting them as another round table guest, not someone to accost with a pitch or someone to feel nervous around. Private business meetings were still conducted, but we were there to learn from each other, instead of it being a one-way street. I think the format worked well, except that most of the NINC membership really wanted the ability to ask questions DURING the round tables, rather than finding someone afterward to ask a question. So if NINC uses the round table format again in the future, I’m sure there will be some adjustments. That said, I do feel the format worked well this year, because otherwise there can be a lot of questions from the audience and the specific questions for the round table participants might not get answered.

I hope if NINC does follow the round table format at a future conference, that more NINC members will volunteer to participate. Yes, I was nervous, but it helped that I haven’t had my eye laser surgery touch-up yet and so I couldn’t see the audience clearly anyway! I could see the fellow round table participants clearly and therefore “focused” (haha) on them.

It was a long trip back, but I am now unpacked and ready to begin uploading Catching Claire, the second romantic comedy short story in LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES. Claire was loaded to Apple iTunes while I was gone. I have MOBI and ePub files to check, cover sizes to adjust, etc. As soon as the story is up, I’ll announce it on my blog. Then the remainder of my week will be devoted to updating my website, preparing a new newsletter, and catching up on bookkeeping. If I can get that all done this week, next week I’ll begin updating and revising BORROWING ALEX for Sindie Pubbing.

What do you have on your plate this week?

Deceiving Derek Release!

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

I’m taking a break following lunch at the NINC Conference to pop over and announce that Deceiving Derek, Story 1 in LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES, is now available on Kindle, Kobo, Apple iTunes and Smashwords. Smashwords will eventually distribute to NOOK and Sony, but if you can’t wait you can pick up an ePub edition from Smashwords to read on your NOOK or Sony e-reader.

Because I’m away from my lovely desktop computer with all the power, I am unable to update my website Books pages, so I thought I’d share the cover, story blurb, and an excerpt here.

Blurb:

Lingerie designer Lacey DeMarco livens up her life by finagling an unsuspecting police detective into attending a funky bridal shower. She needs one last item to complete a scavenger hunt list, and handsome cop Derek McAllister is it. But a little trickery is at work. Both Lacey and Derek are being hoodwinked…in the name of love.

Cover by LFD Author Designs:

Excerpt! 

“Someone’s stealing my underwear! I need to find out who!”

Arching an eyebrow at the indignant female voice, Detective Derek McAllister raised his gaze from his computer screen. Hello. A slim blonde in a slinky red dress stood on the other side of his desk in Rosewood’s police station. Sparks radiated from the woman’s blue eyes as she dangled a scarlet G-string inches from his nose. Her hand jerked. The scrap of silk flipped off her fingertip, bonking his Mariners coffee mug and plopping onto his notebook.

Derek glanced at the front counter. Both Biggs, the balding desk sergeant, and Harding, a lanky patrol officer who shadowed Biggs like a starved-for-attention sidekick, looked back at Derek and chortled. Biggs twirled a finger near one cauliflower ear, mouthing, “Craaazy.”

Like Derek needed Biggs to tell him. Thanks a lot, boneheads. Sending me the kook, huh?

Both uniforms were working the night shift. Although Derek had reported a slow afternoon, there was still plenty to do before the bars closed and mid-July crap hit the fan. For instance, Harding. Instead of chuckling over the Funnies, the dope could be checking parks and alleys. And Biggs…rather than playing Sudoku and flirting with the female clerk, the guy could at least check email.

“Well?” The blonde at Derek’s desk stared him down. “Are you going to shuffle me off like they did—” she flicked a hand toward Biggs and Harding “—or take me seriously?” Her golden hair shimmered beneath the bright lights in feathery layers.

Hell, why not? Elbows on his desk, Derek hunched forward in his swivel chair. Taking initial theft reports wasn’t his responsibility. His job was to investigate. However, he sensed frazzled nerves beneath the woman’s righteous ire. And, considering the nature of her complaint…

He wanted to get a good sense of the problem and who she was so he wouldn’t need to do a second interview later. If kook-job poured off her in bucketfuls, he’d rather pacify her and escort her safely home than subject her to potential ridicule by directing her back to the guys up front. Sending her away to roam the Seattle suburb in her current state of agitation was out of the question.

Derek calmly eyed the G-string. He slipped a pen beneath a lacy strap and lifted the lingerie as carefully as if he were handling a piece of forensic evidence.

“Is this the underwear in question, ma’am?” he asked.

Her chin tipped up. “I’m a Miss. Miss DeMarco.” Her blue gaze darted away a moment. “No, that’s not the underwear I’m talking about. That underwear isn’t missing. Is it, Detective?”

That depends on whether you’re wearing any. Derek stifled the urge to lean across the desk and check the presence or absence of panty lines beneath her luscious red dress. “All right, then. What underwear of yours is missing?” A question he certainly hadn’t anticipated asking upon his return to the station. On a seedy street corner, maybe.

“My lingerie designs. The prototype samples.” The blonde snatched back the G-string. “This thong is a prototype, too, but thankfully the thief didn’t nab it.”

“Are you sure it was a thief?” Derek still had panty lines on the brain.

“Yes, Detective McAllister,” Miss DeMarco said with strained patience. “You are Detective Derek McAllister, right? That’s the name she—I mean, the men at the counter gave me.”

Derek arrowed a glance to the desk. Biggs, looking back again, rolled his eyes. Harding scratched his stomach and snickered.

“They would be right.” Derek tapped the cheap brass nameplate beside his computer. Miss DeMarco’s nervous gaze tracked the movement.

Her shoulders squared. “Well, Detective McAllister, usually when there’s a burglary, there’s a thief involved. Wouldn’t you say?”

“Yep. Usually, I would.” Unless she’d imagined the whole thing. Anxiety hopped off her slender curves like ants attacking a sugar bowl. Maybe she was paranoid. What a shame.

She hoisted a gigantic shopping bag off the floor. Derek’s lips tugged into a smile as she plunked the bag onto his desk, dug inside, and pulled out a skimpy lingerie top. She tossed the G-string—pardon him, thong—and pink lingerie onto the desk, then rummaged through the bag again.

“Damn it, I wanted to make sure he—I’m pretty sure the thief is a he—didn’t steal more samples, so I grabbed as many as possible before catching the bus over.” Out flew blue underwear and a yellow slip thing. “Trouble is, these prototypes take up so much room I’m having trouble finding my wallet.” The shopping bag coughed up a purple bra and some flimsy, pale green panties.

Derek put down his pen. “Don’t worry about the wallet.” Did she think she had to pay him?

“I see it!” She continued emptying the bag until an explosion of frothy colors littered his desk, reminding him of his twin sister Janie’s rooftop garden after her ex-boyfriend broke her heart and she’d weed-whacked every blossom formerly planted in honor of their love.

It occurred to him Janie would like Miss DeMarco. He could visualize the two of them whacking blossoms together.

“Ah ha!” The blonde produced a slim wallet. A cell phone clattered out of the bag, bouncing across the lingerie and clunking his jar of pens. Amid the chaos, she opened the wallet, withdrew a business card, and handed it to him.

A flowery script on creamy stock announced: Lacey’s Little Underthings. Lacey DeMarco, President and Head Designer.

“Lacey?” Derek muttered. “Give me a break.” Yeah, she’s a wing-nut.

A blush stained her face. “That’s right, Lacey DeMarco. My mother, Cather—uh, Christina DeMarco, is the famous lingerie designer out of Milan. My sister is Silken and my brother is Teddy. My mother believes in theme names.”

“Does she now?” Placing aside the card, Derek pressed down another smile. He’d never heard of Christina DeMarco. Or Cather-uh DeMarco. “Look, I need to understand the situation. If someone’s stealing your underwear, what’s all this?” He sifted his fingers through the pile.

She gazed at the heap. “This is…what’s left. What I’ve rescued.”

“Mm-hm. From the culprit, you mean?”

“Yes.” Her voice rose. “This hasn’t been stolen. Yet.” She stuffed the cell phone and lingerie back into the bag.

Derek picked up the green panties and studied the inside label. Well, lookee here. The hand-stitched label read Lacey’s Little Underthings, like her business card. Maybe his sexy wing-nut was on the up-and-up.

“Okay.” He tossed her the panties, which she caught with surprising deftness. “Please sit.” He indicated the chair in front of his desk. On his computer, he saved the grid he’d drafted showing a week of vehicle thefts. “Tell me what happened,” he said as he logged out of the computer and reached for his notepad.

She remained standing. “I’d rather tell you on the way over.” She shoved the wadded panties into the bag.

“The way over where?”

“My place.”

Your place?”

“My design studio—it’s in my apartment. That’s where the theft occurred. Don’t you want to inspect the scene of the crime?”

“I’d rather take notes first.”

Her eyebrows high-jumped. “I don’t have time! I never know when he might strike again. He’s already plundered me twice!”

Derek chuckled. “The panty thief?”

“The corporate panty raider,” Lacey returned in an uppity tone he swore she employed to disguise her obvious jitters. Because, if her dress was anything to go by, she didn’t look the uppity type. “Lacey’s Little Underthings is a legitimate company, Detective McAllister. I’ve produced my business card. I demand your respect.”

Derek tapped the pad against his palm. Finishing the vehicle theft grid could wait. While he didn’t buy into Lacey’s business-card definition of respect, she deserved his attention and protection as much as any other Rosewood citizen. Even if he wasn’t technically on-duty.

“Just a minute,” he told her. He got up and strode to the counter. “Harding. I need a ride-along. You available?”

“Sorry.” The guy plunked on his hat. “Just got a call.”

Biggs backed away, hands raised. “I need to write a report.”

Derek nodded. Typical.

He glanced back at Lacey. She stood at his desk, clenching the shopping bag and nibbling her lip.

He drew in a breath. Okay, then. He’d poke around her design studio, call in the crime scene techs if necessary. Volunteer an hour of his time toward her peace of mind, tops.

He motioned her over. “Not to worry, Miss DeMarco. I’d be happy to take a look.”

Want it? Buy Links!

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Off to NINC!

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I’m heading off to the NINC conference in a few hours. If you’re going, I’ll see you there. If you’re not, I won’t!

I’m participating in two round tables—Indie Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing and another on Subsidiary Rights. I’ve never given any type of workshop before, so this will be a new experience for me. The round tables are comprised of industry professionals and NINC members (authors) like me. All the questions have been submitted beforehand, and the members of the round tables will discuss the questions/topics while the audience…sits quietly and takes notes.

The round table format is a new undertaking for NINC. There will also be traditional workshops at the conference. If I get a chance, I’ll report in. But I don’t know if

Head Over Heels at Cents-ible eReads

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Cents-ible eReadsHead Over Heels is featured at Cents-ible eReads today. Scroll down to the green arrow of the Vocaroo recording—that’s me reading a scene from the book. Yes, I sound like a nitwit. That’s half the fun.

Nitwit with me. Check it out!

Deceiving Derek Is At Smashwords!

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Deceiving Derek, Story 1 in LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES is now available in multiple ebook formats at Smashwords! Seeing as I’m leaving for the Novelists, Inc. conference in a week, I’ve decided to go ahead and hire a formatter to create the Kindle and Kobo/Apple (ePub) editions. I know, I know, I said I would learn formatting on this short story, but learning to format for Smashwords was enough for this puppy. I still need to finish editing Catching Claire, the second story in the series, and hopefully get it off to the formatter before I leave for NINC, as well. The less time I spend on formatting Deceiving Derek, the more time I can spend on polishing Catching Claire before I leave. So, you see, it’s not laziness but time-management that spurred this decision!

Because of attending the NINC conference, I’ll probably be a little late updating my Books pages. So I’m including the Deceiving Derek cover and story blurb here. Never fear, I shall update my book pages with all the buy links as they come in after I return from the conference.

I just love this cover! It’s so cute!

Story blurb:

Lingerie designer Lacey DeMarco livens up her life by finagling an unsuspecting police detective into attending a funky bridal shower. She needs one last item to complete a scavenger hunt list, and handsome cop Derek McAllister is it. But a little trickery is at work. Both Lacey and Derek are being hoodwinked…in the name of love.

To read an excerpt, for now please visit the Deceiving Derek page at Smashwords and download a sample in the format of your choice. Or buy a copy in the format of your choice! (Insert Subliminal Message: Buy a copy, Buy a copy, Buy a copy!) Smashwords sells .mobi formats for reading on Kindle, ePub formats for reading on NOOK, Kobo, Sony and the iPad, plus HTML formats and more. So if you can’t wait for the 3 weeks or so time it takes for Smashword to distribute to NOOK and Sony, you can buy Deceiving Derek from Smashwords now.

I’ll upload to Kindle, Kobo, All Romance Ebooks, and iTunes as soon as I have the specific files in hand. But, for now, Smashwords is it! Shout it loud and wide! Mama needs a new case of Kraft Dinner.

Galapagos, Day 15, Morning: South Plaza Island

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Ecuador Trip: Day 15

Galapagos Cruise: Day 10

Enough dallying about on slice-of-life and writing stuff. It’s time for another Galapagos travel post. I know, you’ve missed them. I can tell by the cheers that pour from my computer speakers whenever a new post goes up.

So, okay, on Day 10 of our cruise, we made a morning stop at South Plaza Island, which is located off the east coast of Santa Cruz (one of the populated islands).

South Plaza is an island best told through pictures, without someone nattering in your ear about every single one. For example, you get to see…

Iguanas in trees! Honestly, a sight I never imagined I’d see. What’s next? Dinosaurs in trees? And before you’re thinking there’s ONE earthically challenged iguana in one tree, you’re quickly realizing there a LOT of iguanas in a lot of trees! This is a close-up.

Lava lizard. Just hanging out. At the Lava Lizard Lounge. “Watch your step! Don’t step on the Lava Lizards!” That Harry. Always so helpful.

South Plaza Island has steep cliffs that were formed by rising lava (I know because the Cormorant Itinerary says so, and would it lie?). South Plaza Island is now covered with “Opuntia cacti.” Translation: a cool tree-like natural growth.

The island is also pretty rocky. If you’re hankering to play Fred Flintstone, South Plaza Island is a good place to hang out.

South Plaza has abundant bird life. I practiced my photography skills until the cows came home (that is, on my dinner plate later that night).

“Grace Defined.” Also known as “Not Cindy.”

it’s gonna be a watery landing! I love how his little legs hang down, and for some reason his butt reminds me of Donald Duck. Yes, before I left, this fellow was sporting a sailor jacket. I just whipped one up using the cacti pointy-jabby things for a needle and someone’s stolen daypack for fabric (not admitting whose daypack).

I like to call this shot “Talk to the Back.” Or “Back Talk.” Depending how snippy I am at the time. Yellow land iguana just sitting around waiting for humans to admire him and all his brethren. When was the last time you were just sitting around with your brethren and 16 people stopped and admired YOU? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Isn’t that a cute bit of molting skin?

“Show me your hand, poker face. No? I’ll show you mine. Impressed yet?” Why, yes, I am.

I wouldn’t want to feel those claws wrapped around my throat on a cold, clammy night. Of course, I’d have to have a pretty skinny throat.

Mama feeding her baby. “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!”

That’s it. Told ya, short and sweet. No needless nattering. Not a lot. Just enough or you’d think it wasn’t me writing this post.

There’s the rub. Is it? Is it REALLY me?

Catching Claire Cover

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

I’m working on copy edits for Deceiving Derek, Story 1 in LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES. The story should be available this month! In the meantime, I’ve received the cover for Catching Claire, Story 2 in the series. Yes, Catching Claire features a laundry-room scene. So this cover is perfect. Another winner from LFD Designs for Authors!

You want a blurb, you say? Sorry, I haven’t written it yet! I am working on the blurb for Deceiving Derek, though. So have no fear, when I update my Books pages, the blurbs will magically appear.

Post-Laser Eye Surgery Report: 9 Months

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

“Seeing” (get it?) as some of you have been following my progress (or lack thereof) following SBK laser eye surgery in December 2011, I thought I’d offer yet another follow-up. I went to see the clinic again last week.

The good news is, they think a touch-up can help me. The bad news is I’m not confident how much it can help me. My left eye remains bionic—it’s wonderful at reading close (which is what it was designed to do) and it’s not too shabby in the near-to-mid-distance department. I am in love with my left eye.

My right eye is the one that requires a touch-up. I had measurements taken last week and compared to the measurements taken 6 or 8 weeks previous. The measurements haven’t changed all that much, and that’s good. There’s always going to be some fluctuations. The eye guy can’t see anything on the surface of my right eye that might be hampering my vision. That’s good, too. However…and this is where my disappointment comes in…At this nine-month point, I simply could not stand going without glasses for driving any longer. I know from this whole experience that you’re allowed to have pretty crappy vision and be considered legal to drive. Honestly, I’m amazed how bad your vision can be and you’re “legal.” It’s ridiculous.

I no longer care if I’m “legal” or not, I like clear vision when I’m driving. And, I’m attending the Novelists Inc. conference in a couple of weeks. Which means I’m going to be in a few airports and in a hotel (and catching some Broadway—it’s only a minor addiction), and I need to be able to see to enjoy a successful conference. Just in case a plane is late, I can’t be squinting up at monitors. I need to glance and go.

So…I decided that even though I should be getting my laser surgery touch-up before the end of the year, I wanted driving glasses now and glasses to take to the conference.

Luckily, I never gave away my old frames, so this meant getting one lens replaced that I would eventually need for night driving anyway (the left eye—the reading eye) and getting the right lens temporarily replaced until after I have my touch-up. I decided I could live with that extra expense. So I had the laser clinic write me up a prescription.

It never occurred to me that I would not be able to see distance clearly with a glasses prescription! Yet that is what’s happened.

My left eye, the bionic eye, can see fantastic distance with the glasses while driving. But my right eye, even with glasses, I STILL can’t see distance clearly. And I could see distance clearly with glasses before laser eye surgery, thank you very much.

I am hoping this is a temporary condition. One of the reasons the clinic didn’t schedule me for touch-up surgery now is that my right eye wasn’t seeing clearly in the office, with the aid of the doctor’s fancy machines. At the last check-up, I could see clearly when he passed this little monocle thing in front of my eye. Last week, I couldn’t. Somehow I thought I would be able to see clearly with the glasses, but nope.

So something is going on with my right eye. The eye doc has prescribed a steroid eye drop to take in my right eye three times a day. It’s supposed to help with irritation and/or inflammation. My next appointment is mid-November, after I return from White Plains, NY. Cross your eyelashes that I can see clearly at that point (I mean with the aid of lenses) because then we can schedule the touch-up.

In the end, I might have to accept that I will never again see distance clearly out of my right eye, even with a touch-up and even, after that, wearing glasses. I might have to be content with better mid-distance vision and then letting my left do all the work when I’m driving.

Anyway, you know when you read the fine print about how you might never be able to achieve your “best personal vision”? I think that’s what’s happening. The eye guy is hoping the steroid drops (not as strong as the drops I used when recovering last winter) will do the trick. And so am “eye.” 🙂

Galapagos, Day 14: Up to My Neck in Lava

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Ecuador Trip: Day 14

Galapagos Cruise: Day 9

Ever seen this picture? It’s probably one of the more photographed Galapagos Islands settings:

And for good reason. It’s a breathtaking view!

This shot is from the top of Bartholomew Island. That little white dot in the ocean to the right is a yacht or catamaran. The pointy rock it seems to be heading toward is Pinnacle Rock. To see this view in a magazine or on a postcard is breathtaking. To see it in person…well, there’s a reason our guide kept saying the Galapagos Islands were “paradise.”

To get to that amazing view on Day 9 of our cruise, we set out bright and early only to be faced with this hike:

Well, “hike” is a bit of an exaggeration. It was a steep walk up to the top of Bartholomew Island, but it’s not like hiking up a volcano. Well, actually it IS like hiking up a volcano, because Bartholomew Island is a volcano. But it’s not like hiking up a volcano on Isabela Island when it’s wet and sloppy and you don’t have nice wooden steps. All right, depending on your usual activities, it’s either a “hike” or a “steep walk” up a volcano with zero chance of precipitation and sliding onto your elbow a la Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone (as was my experience on Isabela Island). So I’ll go with calling Bartholomew Island a “steep walk.”

You can see a little windmill at the top. Okay, it’s probably not a windmill. It’s probably a marker of some kind. I can’t be expected to remember everything! Sheesh.

So the marker was a long ways away, and it was a warm morning. But on the way up, you get to look at stuff like this, so who’s complaining?

That’s the jetty where the pangas landed. We steep-walked up to the point in the previous photo, which was where I took THIS photo. Then we steep-walked up to the marker at the top.

At least we had a boardwalk of sorts.  You get a boardwalk, you’re steep-walking. Don’t be a wimp.

I know, I know, I’m one to talk, considering I visited the Galapagos relatively “early” in my life. If I can offer a Travel Tip! of any sort, visit the Galapagos in your personal best physical condition. Unless you’re a high-endurance athlete. Then you can visit the G.I. whenever. If you’re a granny from Sweden, probably 89 is a good age to visit. Swedish grannies could skip to the top and poke fun at the North Americans (like me) huffing and puffing our way along.

The problem (as I see it) is that, unless you’re super wealthy, you’re probably not visiting the Galapagos until mid-life somewhere. Or, you’re visiting the G.I. in your early twenties, but on a boat that sea lions wouldn’t venture onto. But you’re young. What do you care? You can handle it!

Me, I waited for mid-life. I wasn’t second-to-last-picked in gym class for nuttin’.

There’s a view of a spatter cone as we hiked up the 375 wooden steps. I know there were 375, because I just looked it up on my Cormorant Itinerary (although, Frommer’s Ecuador says there are only 372—who built the other three?). Apparently, the “walk” (they don’t even call it a “steep walk” on the itinerary) is 114 meters. A meter is roughly a yard. So it’s 114 yards. How many feet is that? About 342 feet. Or 4104 inches. So if you feel the need to take a breather, iz okay. Plenty of other travelers are taking a breather, otherwise known as “taking pictures.”

Never forget at least one bottle of water per person when you’re visiting Bartholomew. If your itinerary calls for you to visit Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island in the afternoon of that same day, stock up on TWO bottles of water. And take extra sunscreen. Because, at Sullivan Bay, man, you’re sweating it allllllllll off. You’re sweating off the backs of your knees. You’re sweating on your eyelashes. You’re sweating on—never mind.

We last saw Santiago Island on Day 6 of the Galapagos when we went snorkeling at Espumilla Beach and got mega-rained on. So, three days ago. On Day 9 of our cruise, there was not a drop of moisture in the air! Sullivan Bay, where the pangas dropped us off and we hiked all over lava, reminded me a lot of our hike on Moreno Point on Isabela Island, during Week 1. You need to be pretty able-footed for these “walks.” Your guide will always caution you to take a walking stick, which are plentiful on the Cormorant. Depending on your agility, take one. However, sometimes balancing the cameras with the walking sticks just becomes a PITA. On Moreno Point, I learned to rely more on my developing sense of balance and less on the stick.

A view from Santiago Island looking out toward Pinnacle Rock, which is on Bartholomew. Unless we were anchored in port, this was pretty much our busiest site. There are just so many areas to discover. So, even though there are a lot of boats anchored, while we were at Sullivan Bay, we were quite alone. Our 16-person group with guide, that is. The guides and boats do a wonderful job of not piling too many people on one “landing site” at one time.

You can also see, in the picture above, how rocky the lava was!

Below…looks like a moonscape!

We came across this hole in the lava. Harry looked at me and said, “Get in.” I wondered what he was on! “No,” I said. He said again, “Go on. Get in.”

“No way on earth I’m getting in that hole,” I said. See, I thought he was teasing. I didn’t realize it was SAFE to get in the hole. I didn’t realize he was providing a photo opp. The photo opp. would have been more clear if he’d said, “It’s all right. It’s a photo opp. You’ll look very brave if you’re the first to get in the hole. If you’re the second, you’ll just look like a follower.”

But he didn’t say any of that, so I refused to get in the hole. Instead, the youngest member of our group (by which I mean she was in her late twenties or early thirties, I can’t remember which) got in. THEN I realized it was quite safe. However, by now wasn’t the brave one! She was! Frog on a stick!

Not brave, but cute nonetheless. “Get in,” my eye!

So then we happened along another area of lava where Harry said to my husband, “Go ahead, lie down. It’s a human barbecue.”

Of course, by now we all knew it was PERFECTLY SAFE TO LIE DOWN (if a trifle hot). So Steve got to look all impressive by lying down and making a snow angel on the lava, like a slab of meat on a barbecue (except they don’t generally move):

I have a little video of Steve making the lava angel, but it’s on my Facebook page. Sooner or later, I’ll post all the videos to a YouTube account. However, “later” is more likely to occur than “sooner.” To see the lava angel video now, visit my Facebook page, click on Photos, then click on Videos.

Ever wonder what encroaching lava looks like? Imagine running from this baby if it were molten hot!

After visiting Sullivan Bay, you develop a whole new admiration for the survivors of Pompeii…

Until next time…Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!!

Deceiving Derek Cover Reveal

Monday, October 1st, 2012

This month I’m Indie-publishing the first of two romantic comedy short stories in a five-part series called LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES. The series follows a group of friends in a fictional Seattle suburb called Rosewood. The series starts with the bachelorette party in Deceiving Derek and will end with the wedding of one of the secondary characters from the first story.

Deceiving Derek has been previously published (whereas the remaining four stories in the series will be Indie originals), and so I’ve taken the opportunity to update it technology-wise and also revise it both to reflect changes in my writing style and also because the hero, Derek McAllister, is a police detective and I wanted to make sure I nailed his character to the best of my ability. I had a great research resource in the form of a writer I’ve critiqued with over the years, but because geography can make a difference I also took the opportunity to pick the brains of a resource in Lynwood (near Seattle) and most especially a very helpful detective with the Edmonds Police Department, also near Seattle. All three resources were invaluable, and of course any errors or, ahem, fictional liberties are my own.

Deceiving Derek first appeared on the website of the first publisher of HEAD OVER HEELS. Later, before epublishing took off, I sold the story to another small epublisher, who sold maybe 11 copies from their website over a period of seven months. The Kindle was getting introduced just when that small epublisher went under. I began to wonder if this story was cursed.

Then I was offered another contract to publish the story—from a traditional epublisher that is still around and has published a lot of books. I decided not to accept that offer, because I wanted to retain audio rights to the story and the publisher, while they did not have plans to release the story in audio at the time, wanted to contract those rights for the possible future. And so I declined, and the story sat on my hard drive.

Will it ever release in audio? What inspired me to take this story and develop it into a series? You’ll have to stay tuned to this blog!

For now, Deceiving Derek will see life again as an ebook, and once I’m finished writing the series, perhaps also in a print anthology (depending on the eventual length of the series). I’m very excited to get it out there again, especially in its new incarnation. But I need to learn formatting first, so the release date is still a couple of weeks off.

In the meantime…drum roll…I love this cover designed by the talented Dara England of LFD Designs for Authors. It totally captures the romantic comedy mood with some winky-winky flair.

What do you think?