Yet Another @Kobo Sale!

Once again, Kobo is having another sale!  This one runs from October 17 – 19, and some of my books are available with *major* discounts!

CATCHING HELL — now 25% off!

FROM LEFT FIELD — now 35% off!

TRIPLE PLAY I (the first three volumes of the Diamond Brides Series) — now 50% off!

There are three different promo codes for this sale, and three lists to purchase from.  Start at the  front page of the sale, and order using the promo codes listed there.  It’s as easy as one, two, three!

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What a Way to Celebrate!

Well, I’m a year older now.

Okay, technically, I’m a day older than I was yesterday, and three days older than I was on October 12, my official birthday.  But you know what I mean.

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This year, we decided to take advantage of a relative’s kind offer, and we spent my birthday (and a long weekend!) at the beach — Duck, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks.  We typically go down there once or twice a year, usually in the heart of winter.  Duck is a wonderful place off season — nearly deserted, with most businesses closed up tight, with nearly no one on the beach, and with cold, bracing winds that can howl all night in classic nor’easters.

Not so much in mid-October this year!

The temps were in the 80s — I dramatically overpacked for cool weather and just got by with the T-shirts I brought (and I mourned my failure to bring shorts or sandalsl!)  On Saturday, the beach was actually *crowded*, and there were lots of folks on the sand every day.  All the businesses were open (even the Dairy Queen :-) ), and the roads were surprisingly busy.  In short, “our” Duck looked completely different from the Duck we normally encounter.

Of course, it was enjoyable, all the same.  We took walks on the sand (with surprisingly high tides and lots of waves!), and we indulged in meals at our favorite restaurants.  We got a lot of reading done, and we watched a lot of movies — binged the second half of HOMELAND, Season 3, and the BEYOND Linklater movies, and an odd, well-made little film called A SIMPLE PLAN.

All in all, a perfect birthday weekend, brightened by the Facebook posts of many, and emails from even more, and cards and phone calls and, and, and, and…  I feel well and truly spoiled!  (I also feel like I’m never going to eat anything other than salad and lean grilled meats, for the rest of my life :-) )

And that is why it’s time for me to get back to work :-)

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Urgent! Hurry! Act Now!

Tomorrow (October 14) is the last day EVER when you will be able to buy Playing for Passion, the USA Today bestselling boxed set of ***twelve*** sports-themed romances, all for just $0.99.

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The set includes the first volume of my Diamond Brides series, Perfect Pitch.  You know you want to read these books.  So get out there and buy your set today.  Because by Wednesday?  It’ll be too late!

Buy now:  Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

 

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Compare and Contrast (Book Releases, That Is)

Well, this is rather odd.  I have two books releasing today, and I don’t think it’s possible for any author to have two more different books hitting the market simultaneously.

Darkbeast Rebellion

First up:  DARKBEAST REBELLION, by Morgan Keyes (that’s, um, me.) This is the paperback version of my middle grade fantasy novel, second in the DARKBEAST series.  Here’s the back-of-the-book blurb:

Keara, her friend Goran, and the wily old actor, Taggart, are fleeing for their lives. They have all spared their darkbeasts, the creatures that take on their darker deeds and emotions and lift their spirits. But their actions defy the law, which dictates that all citizens must kill their darkbeasts on their twelfth birthdays.

There are rumors of safe havens, groups of people called Darkers who spared their darkbeasts and live outside the law. To find the Darkers, the trio must embark on a dangerous journey—and evade the Inquisitors who are searching for them everywhere. In the middle of winter, freezing and exhausted, Keara and her companions are taken to an underground encampment that seems the answer to all their hopes. But are these Darkers really what they appear to be?

DARKBEAST REBELLION is a steal, at $7.99 in paperback.  You probably won’t find this book in stores — Barnes & Noble declined to carry it in physical stores for unknown reasons.  (Rumor has it, they didn’t like the story of a girl who rebels against the religion of her parents.) But it’s widely available online:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

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And then there’s my second release for the day…  CENTER STAGE.  That one’s by Mindy Klasky, and it’s the eighth volume in the Diamond Brides Series.  The back of the book blurb tells you what it’s all about!

Actress Lindsey Ormond has always followed the rules – be nice, keep quiet, and never, ever get involved with a bad boy. But her good behavior has yielded lousy results – she was just left at the altar for the second time in two years.

Raleigh Rockets center fielder Ryan Green keeps life simple – play ball, have fun, and keep an eye on his recently widowed father. When Ryan attends Lindsey’s disaster of a wedding, another sizzling task hits his to-do list – help Lindsey learn how to break the rules.

Before long, Ryan is showing Lindsey just how much fun she’s been missing – in the bedroom and beyond. But Lindsey’s brother Zach (part of the Rockets’ management team) disapproves of their new relationship. And Zach just offered Ryan’s father the job of a lifetime.

When the conflict moves center stage, will Ryan choose Lindsey? Or will his obligations to the Rockets and his father send Lindsey back to her stifled life alone?

If you like stories about jilted brides, about guys who fall in love with the kid sister of their good friend, about good girls learning how to be just a little bad, then this one is for you!  You can read a sample here:  http://www.mindyklasky.com/index.php/books/passion/diamond-bride-series/bookspassiondiamond-bride-seriescenter-stage/

And you can buy CENTER STAGE here:  (Amazon Kindle | Amazon Print | Apple | Createspace Print | Kobo) (More links coming soon!)

So? What are you waiting for?  It’s time to get reading!

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Frozen (And I Don’t Mean the Disney Musical)…

Well, *that* was a weekend…
Surely by now, you know that we’re fans of the Nationals around here…  So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that my Friday afternoon was spent at the ballpark, cheering on my team.  The game started at 3:00, but that was fine, because the afternoon was cloudy, so the ferocious shadows of a sunny day didn’t have a chance to compromise the game.  Alas, the Nats lost.
Saturday found us back at the park for a 5:30 game.  Alas, Friday’s clouds had been caused by a cold front that swept through Friday night.  When we arrived at the park, the sun was *brilliant*, but the weather was cool, and there was a healthy breeze blowing in the upper decks (stronger than the lovely breath of fresh air that keeps us cool up there in Section 416 on those beastly hot summer days.)
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I’ll cut to the chase.  We left the park after 18 innings of baseball, after six hours of play, after the temperatures plummeted into the low 50s and the wind chill was somewhere much below there.  The Nats lost, 2-1, after three different would-be-massive-homeruns-for-Nats died on the warning track, blown back in by the wind, and after one Giants home run cleared the fence.
The restrooms (which were heated and, obviously, out of the wind) started to look like refugee centers by the end of the game — elderly women in wheelchairs, mothers holding sleeping babies, clutches of women leaning against each other as they huddled against the walls.  About half the crowd stayed until the bitter end; in some sections (but not in hours, thankfully!) people stood for the entire game.  Most of the concession stands shut down after 9 innings, but the hot chocolate stand stayed open until the bottom of the 18th.
There’s still at least one more game to be played (this is a best-of-five series) but things look quite grim for the Nats.  I’m more than a bit astonished at how personal this whole thing feels — even though I know they didn’t win for me during the regular season and they aren’t losing for me now.  I’ve only followed baseball for about twelve years, and this feels like the first time I’ve really gotten to “know” the players on my team — maybe a side effect of going to 20 regular season games, maybe a side effect of writing the Diamond Brides, maybe a side effect of these particular guys on this particular team.
Yesterday, I felt rather hung over. Tonight, I’ll sit in front of the TV and watch them play in San Francisco. And I’ll have a cat on my lap.  And a blanket.  And a cup of hot tea if I want it.
I’ll be able to feel my toes.  But I’ll settle for teeth-chattering shivering all over again on Thursday, if they could just win tonight’s (and tomorrow’s) game and bring the series back here to DC!
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What’s Next?

With most of my work done on the Diamond Brides Series (all the writing is done, and the last book–ALWAYS RIGHT–has gone out to its proofreader), I’m settling in to my next big project.  I considered lots of things–fun books and meaningful books and challenging books and important books and lots of things in between.  (In fact, I invested most of the time at my last writers retreat scribbling on a calendar, mapping out what could be completed by when, calculating how I could create as much as I want to create in the coming year.)

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And now I have decided.  (Drumroll please…)

Next up:  The Rational Writer.

This collection of non-fiction essays and writing exercises will be broken down into three parts–Business, Craft, and Career.  Each part will be released as a separate work, or people can buy all three together.  They’ll be published over the first quarter of 2015.

I’m excited about this new direction.  The Rational Writer is forcing me to think about some of the things I do by reflex, about many of the choices that I make without contemplation.  And that has to be a good thing, right?  With so many new projects clamoring for attention, just around the corner?

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So, This Happened

It’s been a crazy week or so. I completed edits on ALWAYS RIGHT (the last volume of the Diamond Brides Series), only a couple of days later than I planned back in February. I drove up to Baltimore and participated on two panels at the Baltimore Book Festival with the Maryland Romance Writers. I attended the Crafty Bastards craft show and bought more yarn than any human being should buy (also enjoying a great lunch with a close friend I never have enough time to see.) I enjoyed lunch with my cousin, catching up on all sorts of family stories.

And, oh yeah.  I BECAME A USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR!!!

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Ahem.  I hit the list with PLAYING FOR PASSION, the limited time collection of twelve sports-themed romances that includes PERFECT PITCH (the first volume of the Diamond Brides Series.)

I am over-the-moon thrilled with this recognition.  PLAYING FOR PASSION is a great set, and eight of us authors had never been on any national bestselling list in the past.  You can buy the collection until October 14.  After that, it disappears forever!  (Amazon | Apple | B&N | Kobo)

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A Vacation By Any Other Name

Oh.  Wait.  I *was* on vacation.  That *was* its name :-)

I spent last week in Ashland, Oregon, attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival with my husband, my college roommate, and her family.  We saw seven plays in four days — a matinee and evening show every day but one (when we just had an evening performance).  The plays are all performed in repertory, so we got to see many of the actors multiple times.  (We also saw two understudies who did amazing jobs!)  It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’ll try to sort the shows:

  1. THE GREAT SOCIETY:  This was the best play — a sequel to ALL THE WAY, which we were lucky enough to see in New York, with Brian Cranston *channeling* LBJ.  SOCIETY picks up immediately after the events in ALL THE WAY.  The actor who played LBJ, Jack Willis, was very different from Cranston — he wasn’t as tall (Cranston wore lifts), and he was heavier; he didn’t have the same physicality, and he didn’t present a caricature of the president.  Rather, he delivered his lines with emotion and skill, *acting* to resemble the former president.  The script was wonderful as well — over and over again, I was struck by how similar to a Shakespearean tragedy it was — LBJ could have been any king in the histories, seeking counsel from his advisors, receiving some good advice, some bad.
  2. INTO THE WOODS:  This was the best musical (see what I’m doing here?) — great performances with some difficult music, staged well with minimal sets and lots and lots of doubling of actors.  Many of the musicians were students, playing with the professionals; they sounded perfect to my ears.
  3. RICHARD III:  A very close second to best play.  Dan Donahue’s Richard was utterly unredeemed evil (per the script); he brought the audience in as co-conspirators, sharing his plans with us with wicked, conniving joy.  He was the most disabled RIII I’ve ever seen — he needed to use a leather strap around his neck to hold his contorted left hand, whenever he needed those fingers.  I didn’t remember the women’s roles being as prominent as they were.
  4. A WRINKLE IN TIME:  This was a world premiere adaptation, and it was an earnest attempt to make one of my favorite children’s books come alive.  Alas, it wasn’t entirely successful — mostly because the book is so *vivid* in my mind, with such wonderful otherworldly settings…  I was always aware that I was watching a play, instead of getting involved in the characters.
  5. THE TEMPEST:  I’ve never liked this play — it has a lot going for it (magic! books! enchanted isle!) but it never really manages to deliver, and the clown scenes go on for *way* too long.  That said, this production had some good things going for it — an otherworldly set, cool fairies that assisted Ariel and Prospero.  The best thing about the production, though, was the romance between Miranda and Ferdinand.  The actors who played those roles played the title roles in the best ROMEO AND JULIET I’ve ever seen, a couple of years ago — they have amazing chemistry, and they truly sold their scenes.  (Another high point — the music and dance number in the second act was kept short — sometimes, it turns into its own endless spectacle!)
  6. TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA:  This all-female production was confusing at first — it wasn’t clear whether the performers were supposed to be women playing women or women playing men.  (They were women playing men, it turned out.)  There was some odd doubling, with a very distinctive actor playing Launce (a clown) and Sylvia’s father.  The dog, Crabbe, was played by a wonderful Great Pyrenees who was very fun to watch :-)
  7. COMEDY OF ERRORS:  Another play that isn’t one of my favorites.  This highly edited performance (1.5 hours, no intermission) was set in Harlem in the 1920s.  The actors who doubled the leads did a good job of bouncing back and forth through their many fast costume changes, but the play itself is silly (and there’s no good way to stage the ending, when other actors need to come on to perform the final confrontation scene.)  Some of our group thought that this was one of the best plays, so it was obviously a matter of taste!

In between going to plays, we ate massive amounts of very good food.  We also spent a lot of time talking, reading, generally relaxing…  And I couldn’t pass up the yarn at Webspinners — I came home with two new projects.  (That yarn shop has the most different (textures, types, etc) yarn I’ve ever seen collected in one place!  I ended up with several small skeins of mercerized cotton for one shawl and some beautiful hand-dyed silk-and-camel for another shawl…)

And now I’m home, a bit shocked to realize that none of my to-do list got done while I was gone :-)

 

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Twelve Books for Less Than a Buck!

One of the amazing things about the so-called ebook revolution is how readers have access to more amazing books for less money than they ever have before.  Case in point:  PLAYING FOR PASSION.

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This limited edition collection (available for only one month!) gives you ***twelve*** sports-themed romances by New York Times Bestselling authors, USA Today bestselling authors, and some of the leaders in the sports romance field — including, um, me.  For $0.99, you can read books that range from sensual to erotic, following characters who play baseball, football, soccer, or hockey.  PERFECT PITCH, the first volume of the Diamond Brides series, is included in the set.

Come on.  It’s less than a buck.  At that price you can buy a copy for yourself and four friends and still not spend more than you would on that extra-large pumpkin spice latte.  And PLAYING FOR PASSION will keep you warm a whole lot longer than that cup of coffee!

Buy the book!  Spread the word!  And revel in the power of ebooks!

 

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A Call to Retreat

I just spent the weekend at a writers retreat, and it was sheer, unadulterated heaven.

Once upon a time, I used to sandwich writing time in between all the other aspects of my professional life.  I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to write before going into the law office.  I sat at ergonomically torturous hotel desks late at night after long days on the road as a librarian.  I hoarded my vacation time, and I used those “free” days to write, write, write.

Now, writing is my day job.  I write all day every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (and I do career support activities all day Tuesday and Thursday.)  So why would I ever bother to go on a writing retreat now?

Part of it is the socializing, of course — the chance to chat with “co-workers” about the trials and tribulations of our “office”.  (And, yeah, to chat about movies and books and families and all those other things you gossip about with co-workers.)

An even larger part of it is the chance to learn more about my job.  This weekend, I picked up some formatting tips from one colleague.  I learned about new online tools to help with newsletters.  I heard about some great how-to-write guides that sound like they might help with some specific problems I’m working on.  In short, there were lots of ideas being tossed around, all weekend long, and a lot of them were pertinent to my work.

But the largest part of why I go on writing retreats is because they make me productive.  Yes, I have large chunks of uninterrupted writing time at home.  But when I go on retreat, there’s a certain level of friendly competition — everyone else is working, so I’d best keep my butt in my chair and my hands on my keyboard so that I can be as productive as they are.  Also, I need to make the time away from my husband and our home (and our very needy cats) worthwhile — I need to accomplish a *lot* to justify (to myself — my husband is always very supportive) the time away.

This weekend, I accomplished three major tasks.  One of them would typically have taken me an entire work day to do.  One of them would typically have taken me two to three days to do.  And one of them would have taken at least three days, maybe more, because it was boring and full of fiddly bits that I most likely would have procrastinated about for far too long.

So, yeah.  Retreats are still worthwhile.  And now my to-do list is so long that my eyes are bugging out of my head.  Small price to pay!

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