House Projects & WIPs

Estimated reading time: 6 – 9 minutes

Hello, everyone! I’ve been MIA much of this year, but working like a devil on all sorts of mental and physical projects. As far as the house goes, my husband Adam and I have a huge-for-us goal: finish all our influx house projects before our oldest son AC graduates from high school in May. (Wow. I still have a hard time believing our baby is only a couple of months away from his diploma.)

This goal list includes lots of painting of rooms already painted–which makes Adam all monkey-faced about it. He’s okay with touching up paint but repainting? All I’m saying is that we’ve lived with Fossil Butte in the living room for six years. It’s time to go to Informal Ivory. Great thing he likes the new color. 🙂

I usually write all throughout the day. Lately though I’ve been staying up until 3 or 4 am so that I can take care of house stuff during the daylight hours.

Here’s a sample of what’s been occupying me:

CHAIRS

Refinished Chair, Cushion, Pillow, & Pandora

 

Refinished Chair, Cushion, Pillow, & Jaguar

These chairs were passed onto us by my beloved Mother-in-Law. They were a project for her that she never got around to finishing, so that was a huge priority for me this year. I stained them, recovered the cushions, sewed the pillows, and then used some of her costume jewelry as accents.

I used a couple of pillows from a thrift store instead of buying pillow inserts which saved me a lot of money. Yay! The covers needed to be removable since I live in a house full of about a bazillion animals and since I haven’t learned how to sew button holes, I went with the flap method. (Which reminds me–I need to pin the cover on Jaguar’s chair better.)

PAINT

Informal Ivory & Painting Tape

This shot doesn’t do a good job at all of capturing how warm, lovely, and awesome my Informal Ivory shade is but it does a great job of showing the painter’s tape. It’s all over the living room, y’all! I have a quirk in that I don’t pull the tape down until the entire room is done. And since I ran out of tape yesterday…

Informal Ivory vs. Fossil Butte & Doll Faces

My husband & I stopped painting right about here. The chain you see here goes to a really cool vintage lamp that belonged to my MIL. I should’ve snapped a picture of it. It’s white and sky blue and just lovely and delicate. Just so pretty.

So as you can see, I still have walls to paint before I can cross this sucker off our list. (Along with crown molding, quarter-round, and a few other things to complete the living room. Okay, not a few. A lot.)

CURTAINS

Fabric & Drop-Cloth Project

In order to save money and be crafty, I’m going to sew drop-cloth into curtain panels decorated with this fabric and possibly another. I’m looking forward to doing it but I’m not going to do it until I finish painting that wall. Which I can’t do until I get more tape. So until then, this baby is going to sit here in my kitchen as a reminder to hurry up and get that tape!

Which brings up my little work surface…

Work Surface?

Yeah, it’s pretty messy. I do clear it off when I sew, but I think I’ve given up keeping it tidy while the living room is a WIP. Then it’ll be a huuuugggeee WIP in the kitchen when I start working on that. That brown beadboard is going to be painted white and go on our dresser-turned-into-a-kitchen island that Adam did for me back in November. Actually, it’s going to be a part II because we figured out a few things we’d like to change on it. (Like the top and side and color…okay, maybe it shouldn’t count as a part II but rather a project in its own right.)

The kitchen is going to try me but I just keep thinking about the finished product. Which doesn’t mean stuff like this doesn’t make me monkey-faced:

Kitchen wall is missing something...

We still need to touch this up with more drywall mud before we can paint over it. I’ll be so glad when this wall is done. So glad. I also need to reorganize my little hutch there. It’s got a mixture of my MIL’s dishes and dishes from her mother. I really want to honor her things, thus her memory, but making it all pretty. I know she’d like to see her things prettified that it does give me that extra push to keep going even when I get bored/antsy/tired while doing all this stuff.

I’ve got a bazillion things to do in my kitchen and I’ll be sure to have pics for it later. Seriously, you don’t want to see my dirty dishes right now. 😉

WORK SPACE

Needless to say, I’m writing virtually every day–even if it’s only a little bit. January saw me writing little bits, February saw my kids sick for a couple of weeks before getting me (I don’t usually get sick but boy did I get my butt handed to me!) so that month’s progress was tiny but still there. March has been the first month that I’ve really cranked up production–even though I’ve only released one thing this year so far.

I’ve been working on Devil’s Descent III, a Charlotte project, D. Cristiana project, and an Amelia project. (My sci-fi erotica name.)

Busy, busy, busy.

Where I get busy!

All the things I need: laptop, Blistex, my iPod, soda, and view of the TV. (Which I really don’t use since I always listen to music, but I like to have options.)

So this is where I’ve been this year. Busy, tired, and full of stuff to do. 🙂 I’ll probably release some sneak peeks soon, so please be on the lookout.

Sharon Cramer Interview & “The Execution” Giveaway

Estimated reading time: 10 – 17 minutes

Hello, Sharon Cramer

Credit: kgreggain@sxc.hu

Hey, Everyone! So glad you could make it to Sharon Cramer’s awesome interview and fantastic giveaway!  She’s here today to talk about her book “The Execution” and to give one paperback copy to one lucky winner and one ebook copy to a second lucky winner! Giveaway details will follow after the interview so let’s get to it! 🙂

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What was your goal in writing “The Execution” and do you feel you’ve met it?

In the deepest way, I want the reader to feel something, more than anything else. I want them to experience bitter hatred and scaldingly raw love. If I have done this, I think I have met my goal. It is meant to entertain, painfully and beautifully. I believe I have done this.

Was there any one event or feeling that led you in writing this story?

I believed I could capture the experience of love and lost love. I felt challenged to do this. I never realized how challenged I ultimately would be. I toyed with the idea of this beautiful story for a long time, but a tragic event finally plunged me into it.

What has challenged you the most about “The Execution”?

What most people don’t know is that I am an identical twin. This story deals with identical twin brothers and the differences in their lives that shape them, simply because they grew up under very different circumstances.

I lost my twin, at the age of 38 yrs. She died of unknown causes in her sleep. She knew this story–I’d told it to her, but I hadn’t penned it at the time of her death. It was, therefore, imperative that I represent the characters faithfully, to do justice to her memory of it. She very much believed in the flawed loves that are represented in the book, and it was sometime painful to remain true to this. In the end, I’m happy that I did.

Initially looking over “The Execution” it would seem that it is a male audience-oriented tale. What would readers who actively look for dark romance/erotica find most addicting about your book?

An initial glance might give this impression, but look closer… While there is an abundance of action, there is not a single scene that is not intimately tied with the emotions of love, hate, or sorrow. True, the main characters are both male, but the women they fall in love with are so very critical. As a matter of fact, Nicolette is probably my favorite character in the entire story, and she is not introduced until the last third of the book. I tried to have the reader lose the concept of gender, to be able, even as a female, to step into the shoes of the male characters. I think it is unusual to have the primary character of a love story male, however.

Most addicting about the book? I believe you will be drawn in so deeply, you will feel you are there–right there, in the dungeon, in the 14th century, in the arms of 14th century love and on the gallows of 14th century death. You will taste, breathe, live, and struggle with what your characters do. That is the most common response I get to the book, and I love that!…next to complaints that my readers stayed up much too late finishing it.

Do you believe perfect love exists?

Mortally? No. I believe that love is fatally flawed. I guess I believe that love can be as perfect as you are willing to make it. And that is a never-ending journey. I am amazed at the mistakes I have made, in my own past loves, and pull a great deal from those mistakes to try to avoid them now. However, I must be clear–I believe that in all its imperfection, NOTHING is as perfect as love is. Therefore, humanity will always seek it and mourn it beyond all else when they lose it.

Who would be the ideal audience for “The Execution” and why?

This is not a weekend read. It is a very literary novel, and because it is really two stories, told in flashbacks, it has been described as an intellectual read. It takes about three chapters to set the story in place, and then avalanches upon the reader for 37 more chapters. I think it is well beyond YA, meant for a more mature audience who is not afraid to feel pain. Not to be entered into lightly, but if you do, will break your heart in a most exquisite way.

What is your favorite moment and/or scene in the book?

Oh wow…you would ask that. Uhm…there are so many beautiful and tragic moments in this book. The reader will closely identify with at least one, in their own lives. So, not wanting to spoil anything, I think I am most drawn to the scene on the river. You will know it when you read it. Oh, and Nicolette’s wedding night. I reread it even now and it blows me away!

Given the dark subject matter, how did you get into the zone to write this book?

I live in Washington state. This is a beautiful state to live in when you are an author of dark subject matter. “Why?” you ask… It is because we have crappy weather. The best dark authors come from climates with bad weather. Look at the Swedes! They rip your heart out in a most exquisite way!

So, at this very moment, it is storming outside, I am in my second floor studio, and rain is smattering my window. Trees are swaying darkly in front of me even though it is only 4:30 in the late afternoon. All I would need to do now is Pandora a favorite “dark”  radio station (epic movies like Last of the Mohicans is a good one) and, voila! Perfect writing conditions! Oh…and if it’s going well, leave the coffee on cause it’s gonna be a marathon until I bleed dry! (Kahlua optional and highly suggested for those difficult chapters).

Being someone who appreciates the darker side of love, who is the most unconventional romantic couple you adore? (This can come from a book, movie, TV show, song, etc.)

Unconventional romantic couple? I would have to say they come from the movie Castaway on the Moon. It is unlikely you have seen this movie–it is Korean, but simply stunning. A young man’s failed suicided attempt strands him on an island on the Han River, right under a freeway. He cannot swim to the city, so close but so far away. An agoraphobic girl with a long range telescope is the only one to see him. Nothing can really prepare you for what you will feel when you watch this movie. It is true love, and yet they have never met. And, it, they, are so beautifully flawed.

What is the dark romance you hold closest to your heart? (This can be a book, movie, TV show, song, etc.)

I would have to say The Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice, is very close to my heart. I was sixteen when I read the first release of it in 1976, and it reshaped my beliefs and ideas on eroticism quite a bit. Considered to be goth or horror, I think it is really a transgendered love story. I KNOW it defies the swill that is the current interpretation of a vampire love story.

What set you on the path of dark romance?

I don’t think it was a choice, really. Nothing set me this direction, it more or less drew me. I love the idea of imperfection. I don’t like my characters, even my heroes, to be perfect, and I don’t like my story to be tidy. Give me flaws and wounds and broken hearts any day! You’d laugh at me because I’m very happily married.

In your opinion, what makes a dark romance?

There are certain elements that must be present. Not all of these have to be there, but consider…

Forbidden love is a wonderful twist for a dark romance.

Set it in a clandestine environment. This is very sexy.

Pull the reader into the story in graphic detail. Make the sex real. Please don’t make your women swoon or your men have stern visages. That’s just lame. And don’t make your sex into a porn movie either. It’s not real and will only insult.

Allow your character’s hearts to be made of glass. And then break them. It doesn’t mean the love isn’t still there, it is just beautifully shattered. ALL readers will identify with this.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Ha Ha! I’m doing it right now! I have a quiet home to myself and I’m writing. I also consider reading a guilty pleasure. I don’t get to read near as much as you might think I do. This is because I’m very affected by what I read. Then, when I write, I have three chapters by Stephen King instead of me and it pisses me off. I have to have serious down time to be able to enjoy reading, and that is rare for me. I envy my friends who read all the time. But, ah well…I cannot not write. It is not only a guilty pleasure, it is a divine curse!

What are the top three books one could read to get a glimpse into Sharon Cramer?

The Modern Prometheus (Frankenstein)- Marry Shelley

Black Beauty- Anna Sewell

The Phantom of the Opera (Gaston Leroux)

What would you like the audience to know that has not already been asked in this interview?

I get asked if there is a sequel to The Execution. Yes there is, and I will start that in January of 2013. Probably release it on Valentine’s day of 2014.

The second question I get asked is, “What are you writing now?” I have just finished the first of a six book series. It is called The Cerulean Star. Beautiful tale about childhood love…

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Thank you so much, Sharon, for the interview and sponsoring the following giveaway. So are you all ready for a chance to win? Here’s the details:

The Execution

A young, tormented priest must see those to be executed. It is a thankless job, one D’ata dreads. Nevertheless, he does it kindly, giving them a chance at eternal life, listening to their confessions and offering absolution before they go to the gallows. But tonight, nothing can prepare him for what he finds when he goes to the dungeons to see the last one, the mercenary—the murderer. On this night, he is forced to recount the design of his own torment and fate. His own redemption is at stake and the sins he’d tried so desperately to forget are laid naked before his grief-stricken eyes. When morning breaks, he has a decision to make…

Set in fourteenth century France, it is an epic, two-sided tale, woven amidst the cataclysms of that magnificent and wretched time. Cramer is superb at taking your heart into her hands. Gripping and poignant, this story will surprise you, making you remember what perfect love and absolute hate truly feel like, for what is the cost of true freedom?

Rules

1. The contest is open to U.S. and International readers. Woo-hoo! 🙂

2. Contest runs from October 24, 2012 to October 31, 2012.

3. One randomly picked first prize winner will receive a paperback copy of “The Execution” via mail from Sharon. I will contact the winner via e-mail for mailing information. If a reply is not received within 5 days, another winner will be picked at random again.

4. One randomly picked second prize winner will receive an ebook of “The Execution” via e-mail from Sharon. I will pass the winner’s e-mail to Sharon. She will then take over the delivery of the ebook.

How to Win

Please comment below (make sure I can reach you by e-mail!) and tell me how dark do you like your alpha men in fiction: light, medium, or ultra-dark?

***Giveaway closed. Congrats to Carolyn for winning the paperback prize. Congrats to Jay for winning the ebook prize.***

Paperback prize results.

“Vampire Fiction Connection” Facebook Page

Estimated reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Hey Everyone! I want to share this Facebook fan page created by the generous Nickie Asher. It’s called “Vampire Fiction Connection” and only promotes vampire fiction. How awesome is that? 🙂

I’m still not on Facebook but these awesome fan pages are seriously causing me to reconsider. Hmm…

I hope you all find some great, new vampire fiction. By the way, you can also add your recommendations if there’s some fangalicious fic you feel is missing. You’ll soon see something familiar since Nickie soon plans on posting “Devil’s Descent I: purgatory” for me. How nice is that? 🙂 So please go on over and visit “Vampire Fiction Connection” and “like” the page if you do!

50 Shades of Pleasure Giveaway!

Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Fifty Shades of Pleasure by Marisa Bennett

Hello Everyone!

Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. has been so very gracious to provide the following for a giveaway: Fifty Shades of Pleasure: A Bedside Companion: Sex Secrets That Hurt So Good.

An entry level guide to the joys of naughty pain and pleasure.

Surrender to Your Desire for Naughty Bedroom Pleasures…

If hot erotic romance novels have had you fantasizing about certain naughty pleasures, or if you just want to add a little spice to your sexy love sessions, this kinky how-to will bring your fantasies to life. Explore the pleasure of a little pain, flex muscles you didn’t know you had through hot sex positions, and learn how to make or break the rules in your playtime romp.

With a light, playful tone, this book eases you into the stingingly sweet side of sex. Each section features excerpts from the Kama Sutra or classic erotica, extra tips like “Dirty Talk Dos and Dont’s,” and offers further resources to continue your naughty education. Gather your ben wa balls and feather ticklers while this handbook gives you the rundown on all the hot moves you’ve been wanting to try, from beginner bondage techniques and starter spanking to hot wax and flogging—no dungeon required!

A sample of the chapter titles:

Table of Contents

Saucy, saucy!

And the typography!

50 Shades of Gorgeous Typography

And the back cover:

Loving the cuff detail...

So how do we go about giving a lucky winner a fabulous copy? Please read below.

Rules

1. Contest is open to U.S. residents only.

2. Contest runs from August 6, 2012 to August 20, 2012.

3. One randomly picked winner will receive a hardcover copy of Marisa Bennett’s Fifty Shades of Pleasure: A Bedside Companion: Sex Secrets That Hurt So Good via mail. I will contact the winner via e-mail. If a reply is not received within 72 hours, another winner will be picked at random again.

How to Win

Please comment below (make sure I can reach you by e-mail) and tell me would you rather be spanked, tied, or both?

Good luck!

August 21, 2012: Congrats to Diana for winning! Thanks to everyone who entered. 🙂

What to Read after “50 Shades…”

Estimated reading time: 6 – 9 minutes

***If you’re a U.S. resident don’t miss out on the August 6, 2012 – August 20, 2012: Fifty Shades of Pleasure Giveway!***

Hey Everyone! I’m popping really quick to share this FB fan page created by Summer Daniels. It’s called “What to read after Fifty (50) Shades of Gray.” I’m sure many of you are already on FaceBook (I’m still not *gasp*) so please check it out and like it if you do.

I also hope you’ll find some cool, new books to read that maybe you haven’t come across yet. You’ll also see something familiar there since Summer was kind enough to post “Yes, Mr. Collins” for me. Yay Summer! :)

So please visit and find new books!

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Yes, Mr. Collins

“Take off your clothes Natasha.”

Natasha Reynolds has worked well under her brilliant yet demanding boss, Mr. Collins, for over a year. One night he accuses her of making a mistake and their dynamics take a dark but erotic turn. When Mr. Collins confesses to seeing Natasha as his prey she is forced to admit her submissive side can no longer be completely confined to their working relationship. Just how well will this bunny survive being a wolf’s carnal plaything?

***This novella contains spanking and light bondage, along with dominance and submission themes. It is meant for adults who enjoy reading about unconventional relationships.***

EXCERPT

 

Amazon: Buy now!

Barnes & Noble: Buy now!

Smashw0rds: Buy now! (Great for international readers. There’s no surcharge added to the price.)

All Romance eBooks: Buy now!

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Cry for Me

Ava is emotionally complicated. Sevastian is emotionally repressed. To ease the burdens of their high-stress lives, they like to play violent dominance and submission games. However, one night things go too far. How will Ava and Sevastian come to terms with the dark knowledge that it’s not all just fun and games but a new way of life?

***This novella contains violent sex, spanking, light bondage, along with dominance and submission themes. It is meant for adults who enjoy reading about unconventional relationships.***

EXCERPT

 

Amazon: Buy now!

Barnes & Noble: Buy now!

Smashwords: Buy now! (Great for international readers. There’s no surcharge added to the price.)

All Romance eBooks: Buy now!

 

February Photo-A-Day Project 2012

Estimated reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

Writing takes up almost all of my free time. Lately, when I’m not writing I like to look at decorating blogs. (I guess I can’t be dark and dreary and dreadful all of the time. 😉 ) I love seeing what budget-conscious chicks are able to do with their homes. I wind down by clicking away at all the projects, photos, and recipes. All too often I’m left drooling and inspired. It’s my guilty pleasure, I guess? Hmm…

Anyways, I came across this post “February photo a day kicks off tomorrow” by FatMumSlim via The House of Smiths. I think it’s a super-fun way of breaking up my routine of writing, cleaning, and writing some more. I’m going to tweet my pic everyday under the hashtag of #FEBPHOTOADAY and sticky this post until the end of the month. If any of you lovely readers are/end up participating, please let me know in the comments so I can link to you. 🙂

So without further ado and a day late:

FEBRUARY 1, 2012

My View Today

 February 2, 2012

Words

 February 3, 2012

Hands

February 4, 2012

A Stranger

February 5, 2012

10:00 am

February 6, 2012

Dinner

February 7, 2012

Button

Devil’s Descent Reviews by AsianCocoa

Estimated reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I’m crazy, crazy late on this but I wanted to share these two awesome reviews by the gracious AsianCocoa.

Here’s a snippet of what she thought of Devil’s Descent I: purgatory:

Julian and Lily have a love hate relationship with each other. As a reader I had those same feelings for these two characters. I wished both of them would just finish each other off. But at the same time I was completely captivated by their perverse obsession with one another. Oh and the sex scenes were jaw-dropping, twisted goodness.

Here’s a little bit on what she thought of Devil’s Descent II: impure:

I was fascinated and sickened by the way Julian treated Lily. At times I felt sorry for her but then at other times I didn’t want to care. They both torture each other with their murderous threats against one another. Julian is a total sociopath and treats Lily with a cold, evil, detached manner that sent chills through me. Despite their twisted mind games with one another, I still hoped that there really was just a little bit of real love between them. I mean they really were perfect for each other.

Please visit her site to read the Devil’s Descent I: purgatory review and the Devil’s Descent II: impure review.

Devil’s Descent I purgatory review by Book of Secrets

Estimated reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I’m a little late on this but I wanted to share this awesome review of Devil’s Descent I: purgatory by Book of Secrets. Here’s a little snippet:

We get to see first hand Julian’s sociopathic behavior as he tries to claim his living doll for his own once again.  And Lily is as twisted as he is, because she craves the pain he gives her. I enjoy angst-filled characters who take me on an emotional roller coaster, and Julian and Lily fit the bill perfectly. I hated them and loved them as the same time.

Mission accomplished, y’all! Please visit Book of Secrets to read the rest.

Save My Soul Trailer

Estimated reading time: < 1 minute


I just have to share this, folks. Zoe Winters, one of my indie Yodas, has just released the trailer for her upcoming book “Save My Soul.” It is so incredibly lovely and absolutely makes me want to read SMS ASAP! I think you all will enjoy it as well:

Book Trailer: Save My Soul by: Zoe Winters from Zoe Winters on Vimeo.