Feeling Restless

Writing-wise, I am feeling very restless lately. I started working on an erotica story (no romance, really, although the story features a husband fulfilling a couple of his wife’s fantasies and to me that’s romantic) a couple of weeks ago, but it stalled out because of some of the same factors that caused me to stop writing romance and erotic content in the first place. Now I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to finish it, because even though I think I’ve worked through those factors, I’ve kind of lost interest in the story.

Meanwhile, I keep getting flashes of inspiration for romances, which is cool. I haven’t had that in months. But… the flashes by themselves aren’t enough to create stories, and when I try to brainstorm something based on one of those flashes, I get stuck. Or lose interest.

I used to have a brainstorm buddy, but he isn’t in my life right now, unfortunately. I miss having someone to talk to who understands writing enough to talk with me about it, and cares enough about me and my writing career to *want* to talk about it. His brain was as twisted as mine, and between the two of us, we came up with some pretty cool things, plus he could talk me through the “what the heck am I doing, this story sucks” stages of writing and revising.

But I have to do those things for myself now, and it isn’t always easy. I do hope to bring out some new stories soon, because I miss the romance writing. I just have to get past this restlessness and make my brain cooperate.

Teaser Thursday- Hummus on Rye

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Someone knocked on the door. The same sharp rap as earlier, so I suspected it was the same person. “That’s probably them.”

“That would be my luck.” Tobias went to the door.

He barely had it open before Polly said, “Alpha, I asked your mate to have you come see me as soon as you were available. Didn’t he give you my message?”

“He did.” Tobias squared his shoulders, and I knew without even being able to see his face that he was giving her that alpha stare that always made me want to hide somewhere. She shrank back. “Didn’t it occur to you that just because I’d come back might not mean I was available?”

“I apologize if I’ve interrupted something, Alpha.” She said it so fast the words slurred together. “Did he tell you what we need to discuss?”

“He said that you’re upset about our new neighbors.” Tobias leaned against the doorway. Obviously he had as little intention of letting Polly into the apartment as I’d had. “We’ve always lived amongst humans, Polly. There is no other way. We’re in the biggest city in New England. Where would we go to be away from them?”

“They’ve never lived amongst us before,” she argued.

He tilted his head to the side. “Really? Have you forgotten how long Kyle lived here before Melia attacked him?”

“That was different.” She sounded like he’d taken some of the bluster out of her, and she was frowning. “He’s only one person. And you had an interest in him.”

“So if I was interested in Trey it would be different?” Tobias said. “Somehow, I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think your problem is humans in general. I think your problem is human children.”

“It isn’t safe for a child to be around here,” she said. “You know better than anyone what can happen to a child.”

“And that would be why the pack is under my order to allow no harm to come to this child,” Tobias said coldly. “Don’t talk about my past, Polly. You know nothing about it. As long as everyone obeys pack law, there’s no need to be afraid for the child living here.”

“They shouldn’t be here,” she said. “It’s annoying and unsafe, and they should leave.”

“I’m sure they’d be glad to know their neighbors are looking out for them.” Tobias’s sarcastic tone outdid mine. “Again, the pack is under law not to harm them or allow any harm to come to them. Bear that in mind. And no, I won’t be asking the Damones to leave. That isn’t my right. If you have a problem with them as neighbors, take it up with the landlord.”

“I’ll just go to them.”

Tobias straightened again, and compulsion surrounded us. “No, you won’t. You will not speak to Trey or Michael Damone. Do you understand me, Polly?”

“Yes, Alpha,” she said slowly.

Harriet looked at me. “Tobias did the same thing when you moved in, setting a law to protect you, but there wasn’t quite so much opposition.”

“I wonder what she has against kids,” I said.

“I don’t have anything against kids.” Of course Polly had heard us. She wasn’t standing that far away, and we hadn’t exactly made an effort to be quiet. “Just against kids being in our territory.”

“Polly, go home,” Tobias said, and again he added compulsion to his words. “You have your answer, and I have work to do before tomorrow’s hunt.”

“Thank you for listening to me, Alpha.” She spun on one heel and clomped back up the stairs to her apartment.

Tobias closed the door and sagged against it. “There has to be something behind this,” he said. “She’s never acted like this before. Right now, I’m not sure I care enough to figure it out. She’ll stay away from them. That’s the important thing.”

“Hopefully,” I said.


“You told her not to speak to them. You didn’t tell her to stay away from them.” I’d learned that compulsions had to be phrased exactly right in order to have the wolf do what was intended. Or not do, in this case.

I Know My Mind…

Over the past week, I’ve had a rather frustrating experience. Since it’s happened more than once, I decided to blog about it.

The thing is… I’m the one who lives in my brain. I’m the one who thinks and feels the things I think and feel. I’m the only person in existence who is actually me.

So I’m not quite sure why a few people this past week have decided they can tell me I’m wrong about what I’m thinking or feeling, and they can prove it because I said X or did Y.

My actions and words are not always my thoughts and feelings. There are times when I hide how I’m feeling, or I keep my thoughts to myself. Sometimes it’s because they aren’t things I want other people to know; other times, I know my depression or anxiety is getting to me and the things going around in my brain probably aren’t accurate. I don’t want to let those things out when I know they might be a result of depression and anxiety messing with me.

Other times, I do let something out, but in a different setting from the one where the situation is. (Confusing sentence…) For example, on a forum I belong to, I have a blog where I often post about problems I’m having involving the important people in my life, using nicknames so no one knows who I’m actually talking about. I post those things *there* so I don’t talk about the problems to the people involved until I’m sure there actually is a problem, or until I figure out how to bring it up. Blogging there helps me sort out whether the problem is real or just another depression/anxiety jumble, and it also helps me find a way to bring it up to the other person if necessary.

In that blog, I say numerous times that the things I post are generally *not* shared with the people I’m blogging about. And yet someone the other day told me what one of those other people was thinking because of what I’d said. When I pointed out that they didn’t *know* the other person and so had no clue what the other person might be thinking, that I hadn’t said anything to the other person about the situation, and that in fact I hadn’t even said in the blog what this someone claimed I’d said, and I indicated where I *hadn’t* said it, they told me I was wrong. Not only was I wrong about what the other person was thinking (about something he didn’t even know about)…I was wrong about what *I* was thinking and feeling.

As you might have noticed, I’m still a bit irked about that. (That was the most recent of the incidents from the past week.) Because here’s the thing. If you’re stating an opinion and I show you that your opinion is based on something untrue, does it make sense to tell me that my *facts* are wrong because they don’t agree with your *opinion*? And what in any corner of the universe gives someone the right to tell me I’m either wrong or lying about what’s going on in my own brain?

The danger of posting anything in any online venue is that you’re going to get responses, and you might not always like what you read. I get that. But there’s a difference between expressing an opinion against what someone has said, and telling someone that *you* know better than *they* do about their own thoughts and feelings.

Unless you’re a mind reader, maybe keep your opinions confined to things the other person has actually said, and not what you think is going on in their head? Just a suggestion.

Teaser Thursday- Veggie Burgers to Go

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Tobias scowled at the floor. “I should have known better.”

“Stop it.” He’d said that far too many times. If he kept it up, I might start to believe he honestly regretted my being with him here. Which would be a short jump to assuming he regretted being with me at all.

Of course, I knew he didn’t mean that. Saul’s diatribe had hit everyone hard. My gut hadn’t stopped aching yet. Suzannah had called the guy a homophobe, and he definitely wasn’t the first of that ilk I’d encountered. I just hadn’t expected the complete, black-holish hatred.

“I’m the only alpha in North America with a male mate,” Tobias muttered. “For all I know, I’m the only one in the world. Alphas are supposed to have mates. That doesn’t mean the rest of the shifter world is ready for a homosexual alpha.”

“Will you shut up?” Actually, I was glad for his rant. He wasn’t holding everything in the way he so often did. I didn’t really want him to stop talking, despite the pain that accompanied his words. What hurt him, hurt me, and I was already hurting enough from my own reaction to Saul’s bullshit. I only told him to shut up because I was afraid if he realized I wanted him to talk, he would stop. He was like that sometimes.

“I thought they’d be ready,” he went on. “Zane accepts us. So does Chal. When the Arkhon and one of the most powerful alphas in the region are accepting, is it that unreasonable to think the others might be?”

“No.” If telling him to stop talking about it didn’t work, maybe agreeing with him would.

He stood. “I have to go. I need to meet with Zane about this. He isn’t going to let Saul get away with attacking us in the meeting. I need to make sure the consequences fit the action.”

“You need to sit back down.” He was too upset to face anyone else. The tension in his body told me he was holding onto his temper by a thin thread. I was damned if I would let him just walk away.

Besides, according to our host this was our honeymoon. We’d been too tired the night before to take advantage of our accommodations. Now I was far from tired.

And Tobias could use the distraction.

If I managed to persuade him to stay in the room long enough to distract him. He walked toward the door as if he hadn’t even heard me tell him to sit. Knowing him, he hadn’t. One-track mind, that was my Tobias.

I jumped in front of him. “I said sit.”

“I’m not a dog,” he growled. “Move out of my way, Kyle.”

“You’re not a dog,” I agreed. “You’re one hell of a pissed-off wolf, and you’re going to stay here with your mate and forget about nimrodistic jackwads who think they’re better because they fuck a pussy instead of an ass.”

That didn’t even get a smile out of him, which told me just how pissed off he really was. “Move.”

I folded my arms and braced myself. If he wanted to move me physically, he’d be able to. If he kept trying to use compulsion on me the way he just had, he’d be out of luck. His anger fueled the compulsion enough that it actually tugged at me, but I was still abundantly able to ignore him. “I don’t think so.”

Meeting New People

With my usual lack of grace at thinking up blog post titles, I realize this one might be a bit ambiguous. So to clarify, I’m talking about the ways people might meet other people. I’m not giving advice; I’m definitely not qualified for that, seeing how difficult it is for me to meet people.

Actually, that’s kind of what this post is about. I realized over the weekend, as I settled in for two days of not seeing anyone besides my family, that I don’t actually know many people. I don’t have an outside-the-house job, so I have no coworkers to interact with. Hubby’s parents only live a couple of blocks away, but I don’t see them much. I’ve lived in this town for over six years, and still don’t know many people because…

I don’t know how to meet them. That’s my confession for the day. I have no clue how people meet other people and move from “Hi” to hanging out and having coffee and chatting on the phone.

I have less grace with social skills than with blog post titles.

I’ve never really had an easy time with meeting people and making friends. When I was growing up, it was easier because I was in school, so I had plenty of other people around. But even then, sometimes I would find a friend who after a week or two decided friendship wasn’t going to work out with me. Once I was out of college, I had jobs, but socializing with my coworkers didn’t happen. At my last teaching job, it was particularly painful; the other two women who worked in the classroom I worked in often made plans right in front of me, knowing I was listening. It was junior high and high school all over again.

Obviously I do meet people occasionally, but it’s rare and they don’t usually stick around in my life very long.

I know how whiny this post sounds, and I don’t mean it that way. I’m an introvert, I have social anxiety, and I seriously don’t have good social skills. Social stuff is like a foreign language to me. But at the same time, sitting at home all day knowing that even if I wanted to have coffee with a friend, I don’t have a friend to have coffee with… it’s kind of lonely. And the last time I tried asking a professional for solutions, her answer was, “Just meet people. It isn’t that hard.”

Um… maybe not for her…

So how do you meet people and make friends?

Teaser Thursday- Whipped Cream

This is the ORIGINAL whipped cream scene, written in response to editor Kris Jacen’s challenge on a Yahoo loop well before Salad on the Side was a thing. In fact, this scene is WHY Salad on the Side became a thing. The scene was tweaked for the book, and appears later in the story than I thought it would.

“Ripe strawberries, fresh from the garden.” Leaning over the bowl, Tobias inhaled deeply and sighed. “This is what you had planned the night Melia bit you, Kyle?”

“This and homemade spaghetti sauce.” I opened the fridge and took out the spray can of whipped topping. “You’ll have to wait on the spaghetti. For some reason, going all furry last night kind of killed my gourmet mood.”

“Hey, a man who feeds me is a man after my own heart.” He took the can from me and turned it to read the ingredient list. “Thought you were vegan.”

“Non-dairy.” I pointed to the words on the label. “That means it’s safe for vegan consumption. Would you like to put that on your strawberries, or are you just going to use it for reading material?”

The front of my shirt was suddenly covered with spurts of white topping. “Oops, sorry.” Tobias’s eyes widened in mock innocence. “I didn’t mean to do that.”

“You jerk. This is my best crappy shirt!” I scooped some of the “cream” onto one finger and held it up in front of his face. “Look what you did.”

He took my hand and guided it to his mouth, where he slowly licked my finger clean. My cock twitched and swelled in my jeans. Holy shit. All my fantasies about him flooded into my mind, and I closed my eyes to fight off the urge to crush my mouth against his.

“Tastes pretty good,” he murmured, releasing my hand. “Look at me, Kyle.”

If the eyes were really the windows to the soul, the way the old cliché claimed, the moment I looked at him he’d know how much I wanted him. But his voice didn’t leave room for disobedience. He was the Alpha, and that meant I did what he said, even in human form. Even if I really, really didn’t want to.

I followed his command and opened my eyes. With a face-splitting grin, he pulled the neck of my shirt open and sprayed a stream of whipped topping down over my skin. “There, is that better?”

“Asshole!” I couldn’t help laughing. I yanked off my shirt and surveyed the damage. Topping streaked my chest, dotting my nipples. “You’d better clean this off, Tobias.”

“Yeah? And how would you like me to do that, Kyle?” He turned my name into a low growl. In his eyes, I saw something wild. Not wolf. Something more primal than that.

Before I could squelch the impulse, I replied, “Lick it off.”

He ran his tongue over his lips. Orange flame kindled in his gaze, and he bent and licked a line across my chest from one nipple to the other. I shuddered and clutched the counter behind me to keep from being knocked over by the rush of arousal that coursed through me. My dick hardened to the point of pain, and I let out a low moan.

“Does that feel as good as you taste?” He sucked my nipple between his lips and clamped down lightly with his teeth.

“Fuck, yeah,” I gasped. “Tobias—” I stopped, not knowing whether to beg him to stop or to keep going, to bring us both past the point where anything mattered other than the physical. The point where we could forget about being neighbors, about him being my Alpha now, and just rip off our clothes and fuck.

I was pretty much already there.

“You’re not clean yet.” He swirled his tongue over my skin. “I think I like this even better than fresh strawberries.”

“Tobias!” I closed my eyes and let my body take over. The point of contact between his tongue and my chest grew to a bonfire that spread through me. My cock strained against the front of my jeans, wanting release in every sense of the word.

And he didn’t stop. Making soft sounds of pleasure, low grunts that bordered on growls, he licked every spot of topping from me. I tensed and thought frantically of baseball and my former next-door neighbor’s hugely ugly housedresses to keep the explosion of my climax at bay.

Finally, he looked up with a satisfied smirk. “All clean.”

“Fuck.” I leaned against the counter, breathing heavily. “Tobias, what the hell are we doing? Because I have to tell you, I’m now horny as hell, and if you aren’t going to do anything about it, please leave so I can, er, relieve myself.”

He laughed, a rich sound that rolled over me like warm water. Without answering my question, he unfastened his button-fly jeans and shoved them to the floor. His long cock sprang against his abdomen, a droplet at its tip.

He picked up the spray can and squirted a ring around his dick. “Banana split?”

I cracked up. “You are a dork, you know that?”

“Yeah.” His tone turned serious. “Your dork, if you want me. You think I didn’t know how you feel about me, Kyle? I held back because of the whole wolf thing, not because I didn’t want you. But now…” He gestured at himself. “I’m here, and I’m naked. What are you going to do about it?”

I dropped to my knees. Every single fantasy I’d had since moving in was about to come true, and I damn sure wasn’t going to hesitate to take the offer. “I’m going to lick you clean,” I said hoarsely.

“Good.” His fingers twined through my hair. “And then?”

“And then.” I licked up his shaft from the base to the tip, and enjoyed the power surge from hearing his soft moan. “And then, we’ll fuck.”

Accurate Info About Publishers

Recently, it seems as though a number of e-publishers are struggling. Sometimes the struggles are very public, such as with a certain company that has filed a lawsuit against a certain review site. Other times, the struggles are more subtle and are known only to the authors who are with that publisher, such as problems with advance review copies, or slow payment of royalties.

Because it can be relatively easy to start an e-publishing company, some people are setting off to do exactly that without fully understanding the business aspect and without knowing how to effectively market and promote their books and authors. When they realize they’re in over their heads, it can be a very negative situation for them and their authors. But even companies that are well-established, run by people who fully understand publishing as a business and an industry, with highly visible marketing can start to fail, and companies that are new and started by people who have never worked in publishing before can sometimes become quite successful.

As with the company that filed the lawsuit, oftentimes authors are aware of problems, or notice red flags, before things get really bad. But authors might be afraid to speak up about what they’re seeing. They don’t want to be seen as a troublemaker, or be blacklisted in the industry. Their books bring in money, and they worry about losing that income if they say something negative about their publisher.

Some authors don’t consider it their responsibility to caution others about problems with a publisher. They figure if someone doesn’t do their research about a given company, they get what they get.

But part of researching a publisher is finding out what that publisher’s authors are saying. If authors aren’t saying anything at all even when they know things are getting bad, new authors will sign contracts and get caught in the same mess. Authors who are already with that company and aren’t noticing the problems will stay, and then might be taken off guard when the publisher suddenly folds.

I wouldn’t tell anyone to risk their income and their career, but writing isn’t a competition. In a sense, in my opinion, authors are colleagues, even if they aren’t with the same publishers or even writing in the same genre. If you were working in an office and knew the company was going bankrupt, wouldn’t you want to let your coworkers know? And if someone else knew there was a big problem looming, wouldn’t you want them to tell you? If an author has information about a publisher that might affect other authors, I think they should try to make others aware. Your career and income aren’t the only one at stake.

Just my opinion.

Teaser Thursday- Reflected Love


Listrial sat up when she entered the room. Ralie ignored him for the moment. She hadn’t worked at her job long enough to risk ticking off her employer. Her phone was still where she remembered leaving it, fortunately. She dialed and asked to speak to her boss when the receptionist answered, then gave her supervisor a halfway thought-out excuse about food poisoning, the only thing she could think of off the top of her head that would make her sick enough to need to stay home. He expressed his hope that she would feel better soon, and she hung up.

“You talk to people through that?” Listrial asked.

“Yeah.” Ralie handed the phone to him, and he turned it over in his hands, looking confused. “Please don’t ask me to explain how it works. I’m not completely sure, and I haven’t had enough coffee to try to explain anything.”

“Coffee?” He licked his lips. “That, at least, is something with which I’m familiar. At least if it has anything in common with the drink we have at home.”

Given how little their worlds seemed to have in common, Ralie doubted her coffee would be anything like what Listrial drank. Especially since all she had was instant. “I’ll make you some,” she offered. “Then we really need to talk.”

“I agree.” He stood. “May I help you with anything?”

“Thanks, but I know where everything is and you don’t.” She would eventually have to show him where she kept things. For the moment, she didn’t want to take the time.

She went over to her cupboards and took out the jar of instant coffee and the only two mugs she owned. She filled her kettle with water and set it on the burner, then went back to Listrial, who hadn’t moved from his spot. “The water will take a while to boil,” Ralie explained, sitting beside him.

“In that jar, those brown things?” he asked.

“That’s coffee. Instant.” She looked down at her hands. “That probably doesn’t mean anything to you. How much should I explain to you, Listrial? How much do you really want to know about this place?”

“I’m unsure,” he admitted. He rested his hand on her knee. “I thank you for the place to sleep and for your care last night. I may have seemed ungrateful. Truly your assistance meant a great deal.”

“You didn’t seem ungrateful.” She hesitated. “Are you going to stay or try to find your way back through the mirror?”

“If I return home, I will return to the Unseelie ruling my world,” he said slowly. “At least ruling the lands once held by my Queen. If they truly killed her as they said, the Unseelie Queen has right to my Queen’s holdings now. As a Seelie soldier, I would likely not be allowed to live.”

“This isn’t an easy world to get used to,” she said quietly. “Even for those of us who’ve always lived here.” She didn’t know whether she would be able to handle the responsibility of helping him acclimate to her world. When she’d seen him through the mirror, she had wanted desperately to be with him. Now that she had him in her home, she wondered if she really wanted him there.

At least, her mind wondered. Her heart had no question. She loved Listrial, and looking at him, she knew that what the mirror had said was true. They belonged together. He belonged there. And she did want him.

Backlist Books and Self-Publishing

As most people reading this probably know, over the past year or so I’ve regained rights to a number of my published books. So many, in fact, that I think I now only have half the titles available that I did in spring 2014.

Some of those books are definitely better off collecting cyber dust on my hard drive. I’ve learned a lot about writing since I started out, and when I read some of my earliest published stuff, I admit I kind of cringe.

But others are good, or at least good enough that I can revamp and revise them and give them a second shot at life. One of my books, previously published under the Jo Ramsey pen name, is already on my Coming Soon page on here; I’m planning to self-publish that in January. I always believed it should have been a Karenna Colcroft book anyway, and now it will be.

I have several others that I’m considering re-releasing, as well as one or two that I’ve pitched to one of my existing publishers for potential republication. I haven’t totally made up my mind yet, though. I know a number of authors who’ve had great success in self-publishing previously-published titles, but I also know some who haven’t. And I know how much work is involved in self-publishing and am not entirely confident in my abilities.

On the other hand, some of my previously-published books deserve another chance, in my opinion. So I’m carefully considering, making lists, checking twice, etc. (Wait… it’s nowhere near close enough to Christmas for that song to get stuck in my head!)

Are there any books of mine that are out of print that you think should be re-released?

Teaser Thursday- Bishie Sparkles


The fictional character thing that meant he had to have lost his mind. Characters from books didn’t just come to life with full-blown boners, begging for a fuck. Not that Teruo was begging, at least not yet. If his personality as depicted in the manga was accurate, that would happen soon enough if Grant kept turning him down.

Making Teruo beg did have its appeal. Grant had always found it a turn-on to have his partner want him so badly they pleaded to be fucked.

“No.” He shook his head. He couldn’t believe he was even thinking that way. “You don’t exist. You do realize that, right?”

“I’m here and I’m horny.” Teruo said it as matter-of-factly as if he were stating the color of his hair. “That feels like existing to me. Why do you keep saying no? You wanted me badly enough to jerk off thinking about me last night. You dreamed about me all night long. Do I have to throw myself at you?” He rose to his feet on the bed. “Because I can do that, as long as you promise to catch me.”

“Just stop it!” Grant stumbled backward against his nightstand. He banged his ass against the corner of the stand, and the pain coupled with the ridiculousness of the situation killed his hard-on almost instantly.

Teruo frowned and sank to his knees. “You don’t want me?”

“If you were real, I’d want you.” Great. He’d hurt the guy’s feelings. A couple of tiny frowny-faces appeared in midair behind Teruo’s shoulders, which made Grant feel even more guilty. “Teruo, you’re a character in a book,” he said. “I just woke up, and here you are. You can’t honestly expect me to accept this. Especially not before I’ve had coffee.”

Teruo’s expression brightened, and the frowny-faces disappeared. “I can brew you some coffee while you shower. I mean, I know you showered last night, but you might want to consider it again.” He wrinkled his nose, which Grant found excruciatingly cute, much to his annoyance.

“Yeah, I’m going to shower.” Grant opened the miniscule closet and picked out a shirt and slacks he hadn’t worn to work yet that week. “And then I’m going to work, and on the way, I’ll buy myself a cup of coffee.”

He stopped. He was going to work. He would be gone all day, nine hours minimum counting the commute on either end of the day, and that would leave Teruo alone. Teruo as depicted in the manga was a bit mischievous and impulsive, and he became bored easily. Grant wasn’t sure it would be such a good idea to leave someone like that alone in his apartment.

He sure as hell couldn’t take Teruo to work with him. Those sparkles and chibi eyes would be too damn hard to explain.

Sighing, Grant glanced at his clock radio. He had to be at work in half an hour. Somehow he had overslept, and that, combined with having to deal with a yaoi character in his bed, would make him late for work if he did go. Maybe it would be better to call in sick. His boss would have a field day trampling Grant’s ass for daring to call in, but he could handle that. It wasn’t as if he missed work often. The boss could deal with his absence better than Grant would be able to deal with worrying about what his new friend was up to while he was gone.

Taking the day off would also give Grant more time to figure out how to send Teruo back into yaoi-land.