MJ’s Musings: Tour of My Office

A friend asked me to do a tour of my office. She thought I’d have a lot of colorful, Boho-type décor. Sorry. The walls are dingy gray and in need of a paint job. And we’re also in the process of  rearranging some things upstairs, so I’m hoping to make some changes.

In the meantime, here is most of the space as it stands today:

My dry erase calendar (the monthly version) fell off the wall. My hats came down and need to be rehung. That’s my Erin Condren planner, which I love. The shelves below this contain music CDs.

 

 

 

I have an L-shaped el-cheapo desk. The chimney in my  house runs up the center. It creates some interesting nooks. I was able to find a “corner” shelving unit where I keep reference books.

Yes, those are glow-in-the-dark stars on my desk. I am obsessed with the sky.

My actual work space, with my laptop, more reference books, etc. Another bookcase next to the desk.  Wall space is at a premium.

 

 

 

Above my desk, I have some of my book covers framed and hung. I also have Boho-type décor hanging over me: a dream catcher, a wishing well wind chime (for refilling the well), a sea glass mobile a friend made for me when she saw me posting pictures of them on Facebook, and a chakra crystal charm.

I also have a salt lamp and to the left, several wine bottles: two different styles labels of Werewolf wine, The Novelist wine, and a Ravage wine bottle light.

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The bureau top contains my RWA Chapter mementos (Book in a Week, our annual Rose Ceremony, etc.). The bureau drawers contain office supplies. Below the bookcase, I have several pretty storage boxes of stationary, Tarot/Divination decks, candles, and other things. I hope to move these once we get one of my husband’s book cases out of my office.

There are three book cases behind me. Two are my husbands. Mine is the one in the middle. I have a dry-erase 12-month planning calendar hung over the book case. Except I can’t reach it.  Hopefully, the book case on the right (with the baseballs) will be moving to another room.

And that’s it. Almost. There are windows opposite the door. I have crystals hanging in them. My clothes closet is at the far end, and opposite that is the door to the attic.

Nothing fancy, as you can see. But it’s mostly functional.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Manuscript-WIP Excerpt

 

FROM: BEWARE OF THE MOON, tentatively scheduled for Oct 2019 publication

“So what do you do with yourself?” Dakota squirmed in the passenger seat, disrupting the sparse air, sending his pheromones in her direction again.

“I’m a chemist.” No, no, no. Do not engage with him. Sex only.

“You must be smart.”

Was he saying she was too smart for him? Was he going to try to take her down a peg? Been there, donated the t-shirt. “I’m as smart as I am. I could be smarter. Everyone could.”

“I wasn’t insulting you.”

Dakota’s calm manner infuriated her. The only time he hadn’t been placid was during sex. Amazing sex. Stupendous—

“You and Selena were working on herbal healing bath stuff for females,” Dakota continued.

“Are working on,” she corrected. She refused to believe Selena would abandon their hard work because her grandfather died.

His foot slammed against the floor as she took the corner onto Ash Street too fast.

“You’re not going to tell me I’m too pretty to be a chemist?”

“What does one have to do with the other?” He sounded perplexed, as if he meant the words.

“Never mind,” she muttered. She needed to concentrate on not hitting the group of men dressed in black trying to block the street. No matter what hour she arrived at Ethan and Selena’s house, a gang congregated on the corner—both corners—of the short block.

“Run ‘em over if they get in your way,” Dakota suggested, as if reading her mind. “They’ll move quickly enough. Although they might damage the undercarriage of your car.”

She was tempted. “Interesting theory. My favorite theory involves the questionable legality of mowing people down.”

“I won’t tell if you won’t.”

She couldn’t stop the grin stealing across her face. Not only was Dakota a fabulous bedmate, he was funny. Dangerous combination.

“If you drove a bigger vehicle, mashing a few vagrants wouldn’t be an issue.”

There. He’d said something to annoy her.

“What’s wrong with my little car?”

“Small cars aren’t safe.”

Oh crap. He was a man who believed a night in her bed meant he acquired rights.

She gritted her teeth and pressed her foot on the gas pedal. Her car hitched a moment before lurching forward, drunk on an influx of fuel.

Dakota was right. Once she aimed, the men in the street scurried to the side. Ethan ought to report the thugs to the authorities. They’d blocked the street, twenty-four seven, for weeks.

She parked at the curb, behind a massive black SUV. Gas hogs ought to be illegal. She couldn’t imagine any of Ethan’s acquaintances would drive such a monstrosity.

She stood on the sidewalk and waited while Dakota extracted himself from her car. The view, she had to admit, was nice. Very nice. For someone who allegedly drove a bus for a living, he was superbly put together. As he stood and stretched, something in her belly stirred. Okay. Maybe he wasn’t a one-and-done, but rather the exception proving the rule.

The opening notes of “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” bleated from her cross-body bag. She pulled out her phone to check the incoming text. And nearly dropped the phone to the sidewalk. Numbness depleted her strength, from the tips of her pedicured toes to her brain. Especially her brain.

“Are you okay?” Dakota’s sharp tone pierced the fog.

She couldn’t answer. All she could do was stare at the photo on her screen and try to not hyperventilate.

MJ’s Musings: The Importance of Research

Any author worth her royalty check knows the importance of research.  Many authors I know would rather research than write. They get caught up in learning something new. I’m the same way.

I’ve had a couple of  “run-ins” with others when it comes to research.

The first two were from my contest diva days. I entered a lot of writing contests sponsored by RWA chapters.

A contest judge told me I should rename the region in which my story was set, because Thousand Islands sounded too much like a salad dressing.  I live in upstate New York, about 90 miles from the US-Canadian border, which runs through the middle of the St. Lawrence River,  the stretch of which is known as The Thousand Islands. The salad dressing was created there. Much later, a couple of people I met produced a documentary on the origins of the salad dressing. The judge should have done her research.

Another contest judge marked me off for not doing my research when I referenced a laser ID number on a diamond. “Impossible,” she wrote. “Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth.” True, but they can be cut. And yes, the diamond industry does laser ID their stones. My former brother-in-law worked in Manhattan’s diamond district and confirmed this for me. I’d done my research. The judge had not.

At my very first book signing, a woman started haranguing me about romance authors not doing their research. I countered with very specific examples. She huffed and puffed and claimed, “Then romance authors need to let people know this.” I should have countered with, “Do you demand the same thing from Sci-Fi authors? Mystery authors?” Why should why romance authors be held to a different standard?

If not for Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Wolf and the Dove, I would have lost many games of Trivia Pursuit, because I might not have otherwise known the Battle of Hastings was fought in 1066.

Sometimes, though, even with the internet  authors don’t get the research right. One of my favorite authors in one of my favorite books, put the Mayo Clinic in upstate New York. Yes, the Mayo Clinic is in Rochester–but Minnesota.

Research matters.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Manuscript-BEWARE OF THE MOON

Book Two of my SERVICE FOR SANCTUARY series is coming along quite well. I’ve had a lot of fun with the heroine–she’s not the shy and retiring type.  Check her out:

Brittany Hauge sipped her drink and studied the patrons of the bar. The sour stench of a decade’s worth of spilled beer clung to the air. Loud music, nominal lighting, battered decor—Holsters was her usual hangout when she was in the mood for some action. Tonight, anyone who appeared remotely interesting was either occupied with someone else or had been tried before. She wouldn’t want to give some poor, weak-minded man the wrong idea by giving him a second chance. One and done.

Maybe she needed to find new hunting grounds. Even her usual hurricane tasted off, as if the bartender used powdered orange drink instead of real juice.

Her annoyance with her best friend for reneging on their business plans tainted everything. Britt came to Holsters to work off her irritation with an orgasm or two. No strings attached. Forget her frustration with Selena. Now that Selena had her famous musician husband—and gee, Britt wasn’t at all bitter for not being invited to her best friend’s wedding . . . hey, at least she didn’t have to buy a gift. Britt took another sip of the fruity concoction, searching for a buzz in the liquid.

“Wanna dance?” a potential one-and-done asked.

Why not? Nothing else happening.

She nodded but held on to her half-gone drink. She feared date rape drugs. As a chemist, she could cite their components and how they worked. Awareness didn’t make her immune. Being a Holsters regular didn’t guarantee her safety. She’d stopped being careless a long time ago.

That’s why Selena’s about-face on their business surprised her. If Britt trusted anyone on the planet, she would have placed her money on Selena Wolfe.

Enough energy wasted on the traitorous bitch. Time to dance. Maybe work up some enthusiasm for the pitiful specimen gyrating in front of her.

The liquid in Britt’s glass sloshed as she swayed her hips in time to the music. She closed her eyes, fantasizing she was having a good time. Didn’t work. She opened them again.

And saw him.

A stranger. In more ways than one.

He loomed over every other man in the room. Yet his size wasn’t what made him stand out. His eyes were the key to the strangeness flowing into every cell of her body. Dark. Fluid. He exuded darkness, not only from his eyes and the longish black hair framing his head . His very presence brought midnight into the already murky space. The time could have been high noon and the effect would be the same. The impression ran deeper than his black t-shirt, jeans, and denim jacket. There was a stillness about him, a watchfulness that might have unnerved her had she been completely sober. His stare. Brooding at her.

As tipsy as she was, he proved to be  her undoing.

BEWARE OF THE MOON is scheduled for an October 2019 release.

 

 

MJ’s Musing: Word Nerd

There used to be a board game called PROBE. Used versions on Amazon are shockingly expensive. When my parents cleared out their games a couple of years ago, I “called” PROBE, but one of my nieces ended up with it.

The purpose of the game is to come up with a word (using letter cards, face down on a rack) and other people guess the word, letter by letter. There are blank cards, too, a player can add to the beginning or the  end of the word.

To this day, I will see a word and think, “Oh, that would be a great word for PROBE.”

Some of my favorite words are: gypsy; rhythm, awkward, squirm, swarm.

I confess: I am a word nerd.