May 8, 2017 ~ Hi there, readers! This is quick update about what I’m working on at the moment.
At the beginning of last month I was working on an update to this page. I was in a hurry then, too, because we were in between severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches. I thought I posted the update before I shut things down but I guess I wasn’t successful.
Anyway, things have progressed at a steady clip since then so I’m giving it another go with the update.
Personally, I’m doing fine. I’m still battling frequent tension headaches and migraines, with some sinus pressure thrown in just to keep things interesting. My thyroid medications have been adjusted so I’m doing well in that regard, too. Hypothyroid brain fog is not a symptom that should be disregarded. I tried to tough it out for years but I’m making my well being a priority now.
Feeling better means I feel like working again. My writing routine is back to “normal” and I look forward to continuing this journey as an author.
In Divine, Texas…Jessica’s Divine Warriors is progressing. It looks like this book spans several seasons, which it should, since Jessica’s issues are not the kind of thing a heroine could overcome in the span of weeks or a month.
Jessica Bright was introduced in Divine Charity (Book 18 in the series) and she’s popped up in a few of the subsequent books, obviously reluctant to take many personal risks in relationships. And who could blame her? Her daughter Bella is a toddler/preschooler in the scope of this story, and full of spunk and giggles. The redheaded heroes, Tank and Troy, are helping Jessica stretch out of her comfort zone and reminding her that she’s more than just a mom, she’s also a woman with needs.
Here’s a brief taste from the story…
Tank turned to find Jessica standing in the doorway to the living room, watching them, wringing her hands together. Where Jessica and her nerves were concerned, to hesitate was to lose the moment.
“What were you talking about?” she asked.
Before Troy could say something about the weather, Tank blurted, “Keeping you warm when it’s cold.”
Her half smile disappeared and she wrapped her arms around herself. The way she turned to the doorframe and hunched her shoulders was the last straw for him. “Come here, Jessica.”
The Tangere Tales Trilogy…I know that title sounds odd coming from me, because up until now I’ve kept my work firmly in the contemporary world. I started this project last year. A trilogy of erotic ménage retellings of classic fairy tales with my own personal twist. I’m approaching these differently than I do my other works. I’ll complete all three tales and release them close together, since there is some synchronicity to the story lines.
All went well in the writing of the first story, Beasts In Winter (You guessed it! A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, my own personal favorite fairy tale).
Have a look at the scene where the heroine, Angel Hunter, finds a unique friend and meets two ferocious beasts…
The feline shimmied against her as if trying to keep her warm and then turned her shapely head and gazed off into the distance. Her purring grew loud enough to be audible over the gusting wind. A soft ringing sound drew Angel’s attention and she noticed a bauble made of glass or crystal hung from the cat’s collar. Within the clear material was suspended a blue flower, like a violet. The cat looked into her eyes, as it began a pumping motion with its paws, “making biscuits,” as her grandmother would’ve said. The cat’s eyes were the same brilliant blue as the flower within the bauble.
The cat looked to the horizon again and Angel understood why when she spotted the castle across a clearing, its roof peaks, chimneys, and architectural features piled with snow. Was she directing her there?
Wait, what? Directing me? I must be hallucinating.
Sunlight poured down on the palatial fortress and the ice crystals covering the structure glittered, dazzling her for a moment. “Whoa. Sorry, pretty girl, but I need to go back. This…this is crazy.”
“Put down the animal.” Chills rippled down her spine at the gritty, almost inhuman quality of the voice.
Don’t show fear. It’s not a bear or a monster. If they can speak they can be reasoned with. Just don’t…show…fear.
“Are you deaf or do you have a death wish? Put down the animal.”
Angel turned and nearly lost her footing. Her knees wobbled, as well as her grip on the cat, who just kept purring and making biscuits. What stood before her was something out of her wildest, darkest dreams—no, not dreams. Nightmares.
“Holy…” Did one cuss in front of a monster? “Shit. What-what are you?”
Two massive beasts loomed before her. Steam puffed from their mouths and their nostrils as they breathed the wintry air. Clothed in leather in an antiquated fashion, as if they were warriors of old, both also wore shaggy hooded cloaks that appeared to be made from the hides of bears.
She blinked and looked up at them towering over her from several feet away and then looked at the blue-eyed cat, who seemed pleased to keep rubbing on her and purring, as though two hairy, threatening beasts weren’t standing ready to tear her limb from limb. Feeling as though she was standing at the widening void between reality and a really fucked up fantasy, she realized she must be dreaming or losing it—and a hysterical giggle erupted from her throat. “Did I trip and hit my head in the cave? Jeez, and we tease Elaina about being the clumsy one. Am I hallucinating? This can’t be real.”
Her moment of levity was cut short by the bulkier and scarier of the two, who growled again. “Put. Down. The. Animal.”
Totally real. Really real. Really really real. I’m gonna die.
Such a wave of terror coursed through her at the ferocious voice, she froze and slammed her eyes shut. The cat hissed and growled at the beast, and over the pounding of her heart in her ears and the chattering of her teeth Angel thought she heard an amused snort.
“Fine,” the angry beast snarled, its voice as rough as a gravel truck driving on a bad road. “You’re not an animal. Woman, put down the feline and don’t move.”
Pulse roaring in her ears, Angel’s throat went dry as she darted her gaze around, looking at the snowy ground, anywhere but at the monsters. Looking for the cave. If she could reach it, it was her best chance for evasion. Her only chance. But the cave was nowhere in sight. Not hidden from view by the snowfall. There was no cave opening anywhere in sight, just a bare slope.
Normally the strategist among her friends, only one idea came to her mind as she looked at the snow caking her boots and the castle beyond the clearing. The snow wasn’t terribly deep and no way was she letting herself or the cat get eaten without at least trying to escape.
“Woman, do as I say. Put down the cat and do not think to run.” Another growl, angrier and more ferocious than the first, vibrated from his massive chest as she tucked the cat to her side and backed up a step. His eyes glowed silver as he advanced. The cat mewed plaintively to her, which she took for fear, and she exercised the only option her mind would consider.
In the midst of writing the second story, Midnight of the Fae (a retelling of Cinderella) I hit a wall creatively, personally, and online. I set the project aside, promising myself that I’d go back and figure out where I went wrong in telling that story.
The last couple of weeks I’ve been working on the trilogy, writing the second draft of Beasts In Winter, and then moving on to Midnight of the Fae. I’m happy to say that with a little help from my muse, inspiring music, and my awesome PA Lily Castle I found the problem. It’s fixed now. I can move forward and complete that story and move right into The Huntsmen and the Rose (retelling Snow White) as soon as I finish.
I know fantasy is not every reader’s cup of tea but I’m counting on a simple belief that I hope readers share with me. If I love an author’s style, I will read everything they write. I hope my readers will make this jump with me from contemporary. I’ll still be writing Divine Creek Ranch stories, don’t worry. I’m just stretching my creative wings. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to finally pinpoint the problem in that story. Nothing throws an author quite like not being able to figure out where they went wrong in a story.
If I can go back to Divine for a minute, (and yeah, I know this is no longer a short update, but when have I ever been able to say hello in less than 80,000 words? 😀 )
Readers have told me over the years how much they enjoy the appearances of past main characters in my Divine Creek Ranch stories, whether it’s a major role or just a simple cameo. If you’re one of those readers, you’re going to love Jessica’s Divine Warriors. Because of certain story elements, past characters are popping up all over the place. Grace is pregnant up to her eyeballs, Lydia is cooking up all kinds of mischief, Bunny is in trouble again, or still, and Hank’s fan girls find the map to Divine and finally come to town. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates about the series, and join my reader’s group, Divine Divas, for insider information about what I’m up to. There is also a Divine Creek Ranch Book Discussion group, where the stories are discussed regularly. I share excerpts from my works in progress from both groups as well as inspiration pictures, eye candy, music, and whatever else pertains to my writing the series.
Email me to be added to the Divine Divas, or you can search up the Divine Creek Ranch Book Discussion group on Facebook. You’ll find links for all on my Contact Heather page. Just click on the menu button.
I know many of you want one question answered. “When are these books coming out?” This year is my plan. I appreciate your patience, and count on the fact that when I have release dates I will publicize them here and online. I love making readers happy but I’ve come to terms with the fact I can’t rush the creative process. I’d rather take the time and make it worth your wait than apologize for hastily written stories. Just know that I’m at the keyboard on a daily basis now.
That’s it for now.
Seize the day, baby! ~H
December 21, 2016 ~ I can recall when my kids were little at Christmas, although some of the memories are hazy from lack of sleep.
I’d get focused on having the house perfect, the tree decorated just so, and don’t even get me started about the obsession with the perfect gifts for babies and toddlers.
Christmas morning came and it was over practically before I’d finished my first cup of coffee. I’ve wised up with the years though, and I hope you’re enjoying the build up to Christmas with a little bit of peace, fun with your friends, and taking time to enjoy the small moments of joy. And chocolate. Always chocolate.
Jessica’s book is still coming along, and I’m unbelievably happy with the story—it’s unusual for me to feel that way about a book at this stage of the drafting process.
I’ve slowed down lately because I’m doing something revolutionary—being kind to myself, not rushing books, and trying to not feel guilty about not giving readers four releases a year like I used to.
The market is currently flooded with e-books that (in too many cases) were rushed in the drafting stage, poorly edited, and cheaply priced to make a quick buck (or less).
I was writing fast in the beginning because my heart was overflowing with stories desperate for an outlet.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the only way I can measure success is in how many I release a year. That thinking leads to burn out—and to cookie cutter stories. I want to give readers books that come from my heart, and if that means they come slower so that I can take care of myself, and my family, then so be it.
I love Jessica’s story. Tank and Troy are treasures, total woobies, and so much fun to work with. Jessica has come along since the early days but she still needs a little nudge. Who can fault her after all she went through in Divine Charity. And Bella…for those of you who loved little Michael in Heavenly Angel, you’re going to adore Bella.
To recap, I have one manuscript finished, one in progress, and one in outline form. I know I promised it to readers this past summer, and that obviously didn’t happen. I think I zigged when I should’ve zagged while writing the second story. Until I can iron out where I went wrong, I’ve put it aside to work on something I can move forward.
The first book in the trilogy (all erotic retellings of traditional fairy tales) is Beasts in Winter, based on Beauty and the Beast. It’s a ménage—all three are—and the same attention has been paid to character development, relationships, and heat, like you’re accustomed to with the Divine stories.
The second book in the series, Midnight of the Fae, introduces a little monkey wrench into the traditional story of Cinderella. It was delightfully unexpected—for me at least.
The third book retells Snow White, and here again…Hello. Monkey wrench!
I’ll share updates about the rest of the trilogy as the stories move along.
I shared last time that I struggle with the effects of hypothyroidism, and that seems to have come under control—mostly. The migraines are better, though “regular” headaches are still a big issue. I hate taking meds but I’m willing if it means I can function well enough to write.
They say a non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. That might seem like overstating it but I think it’s true.
If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you may or may not have noticed that I went dark during November. My mother always said, “There’s a good reason we don’t discuss politics or religion. It divides people.”
As a member of the romance author community, my calling is to entertain you. Deep down in my core (*gigglesnort*) I believe that to weigh-in on the insanity fomenting on social media would’ve been counterproductive and beyond the scope of why I’m online.
Our country has a long history of divided opinions. The difference this time around is social media. The problem is that many users may know how to work a smartphone but they’re short on manners. Thoughts and opinions are shared instantaneously—and so is misinformation and false news. Inflammatory statements were made and shared from both sides of the issues and before we knew it we had enough knee-jerk reactions going that Facebook could audition for the Rockettes.
For a time, I wondered if the election had broken Facebook. I didn’t enjoy watching so many friends ranting and tearing each other apart. I enjoyed even less watching authors use their social media platforms to deliver tirades about their views, and in some cases turning readers off in a major way, all in the name of politics.
I pulled back because I don’t believe anyone who has friended me on Facebook or Twitter did so because they were interested in my political leanings.
Readers follow me because they want to be entertained.
And when I’m not being entertaining, I damn sure don’t want to piss off readers with my unsolicited opinions. Like the article directed at entertainers in the early post-election days (which I very much agreed with) said, my opinion wasn’t needed.
Entertainers who used their celebrity status and social media followings to further their personal agenda have possibly done more harm to their reputations than actually change the outcome of anything.
Watching the election process roll out was like watching a car accident in slow motion. It’s in the past now, though. And believe it or not, I have a feeling of hope. Not because one candidate won or lost, but because I’m reminded that ultimately, I have personal responsibility for what I do with my time, my energy, and my thought life. I’m an artist, and now is the time for artists to create…to make things better in some way, even if it’s only a temporary escape from reality.
On to happier topics on the Rainier Ranch home front…
Considering it was our first honey harvest, our bees came through in a major way, producing upward of 120-130 pounds of honey. I have no way of knowing if that’s average or slightly above. All I know is Mr. Rainier is super happy about it and he has enough honey for his coffee. We’ve sown native Texas wildflower seed to encourage our bee colonies for the next couple of years. If those make a difference in production, then I’ll get to enjoy more wildflowers, more honey, and a happy husband.
My family and I wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a happy and prosperous 2017!
July 27, 2016 ~ While discussing the website with Mr. R the other day, I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update here. I apologize for that , but summer, hey… 🙂
Works in progress are coming along at a rate I can handle right now. When you have hypothyroidism and suffer from migraines to boot, pressure just makes everything harder.
The second book in the fantasy trilogy I am writing is coming along slowly, but it’s coming. I’m adding a new, erotic twist on the traditional Cinderella fairy tale for this one. the trilogy is set in the same world, in three neighboring kingdoms, and all three stories will tie together in the ending.
The funny thing about taking the pressure off of writing for Divine, Texas has been that my muse started giving me more glimpses of possible scenes for Jessica’s story.
For a while it was like having night-blindness, the more I tried to focus on that dark spot in the center (aka the creative part of me) the harder it was to see. I took my mind off of it, and whoa! Suddenly I knew exactly what her story needed.
Her introduction into Divine came at such a heavy time, and what had happened to her was going to take time to get over, but I’m just not ready to write another heavy book. I want to deliver to readers a story for Jessica that would make them smile and giggle, rather than reach for the box of tissues. That’s not to say there won’t be any tears, of course.
Her story “feels” like it’s also going to include lots of check-ins from favorite characters, as well as some that readers may not have heard from in a while.
If you’re a member of the Divine Divas Reader’s Group on Facebook, then you’ve been enjoying some recent excerpts from both of these works in progress. Not a member? It’s a private group and you have to be added by an admin, so e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my PA at email@example.com and ask to be added to the group. Make sure to send me a friend request if you haven’t already.
In Rainier Ranch news, we’re enjoying several days of much needed rain after a dry spell. Of course the rain came just as Mr. R was finding time in his schedule to work on the road and the property.
Our first season with honey bees was declared a big success! We started out with five hives. Total honey production for four of those hives was about 35-40 pounds of honey per hive for a total of 140-160 pounds of honey. The fifth hive, for unknown reasons didn’t make it. It’s possible the queen died or she split, and the bees left. But even so, that total amount of honey blew away any expectations I had for the efforts expended. And it’s been a learning experience for us both. We believe you must never stop learning something new.
In a few weeks, I will officially be the mom of two high-schoolers. Juliet will be a junior and Brattley will be a freshman (not their real names, btw 😀 ) Being a bookworm, she’s very involved the school library, and he will be a varsity football player. Other than those activities, they stay pretty busy here at home, but you can imagine where I’ll be on any given Friday night this fall.
A few weeks ago, Brattley shot his first feral pig. I told him (prior) that if he shot anything, he was responsible for gutting, cleaning, and handling what to do with the meat. He was with his uncle at the time, and he did in fact field dress the pig and did the heavy lifting necessary to get it to the processor. I found all this out later and was proud of him, and moderately hopeful that his efforts would be eatable.
We got the meat back from the processor and my deep freeze is now about a quarter full of porch chops, pork roasts, pan sausage, link sausage, and other porkly delights. Mr. R cooked some of the sausage over the weekend, and OMG! I told Brattley he could go feral pig hunting any time he wanted. And the bonus is that it’s one less pig tearing up yards, fences, trees, crops, and wallowing, making a nuisance of itself. We had pulled pork over rice for supper last night and it was just as good as the sausage.
We told Brattley that he should be proud of himself. His efforts, and willingness to handle the gross side of hunting (really not a problem for him 😀 ) actually put food on the table and in the freezer. That’s a big deal
No vacation this summer. The heat never agrees with me, so I’m hoping for a getaway in the late-late fall, after it cools off.
That’s about it for now. Mr. R is taking good care of me and the family. For the first time, ever, I’m working on more than one manuscript at a time, because both stories are talking to me at once. I think that has to be a good thing. I hope your summer has been a good, productive, and fun one.
Seize the day, baby!
June 3, 2016 ~ Hi everyone! I just typed “The End” on the first book in the fantasy trilogy I’m writing. It’s entitled Beasts In Winter, and it’s an erotic retelling of the fairy tale classic, Beauty and the Beast. And yes, I put my ménage spin on the story. 😀
Now I move on to writing the second and third book in the trilogy. They’ll be submitted together and will likely release just a few weeks apart. Writing in a fantasy world has been such a wonderful experience, creating a new world, different storylines, but still all that hot sex, has been very refreshing. And no worries, I’ll get back to Divine as soon as I’m done with these. 😀
In Rainier Ranch news, we’ve been getting soaked here in Texas but the upside is that everything is still green, and there are LOTS of wildflowers. More beehives have arrived and are being put to use and we’re very pleased with the results so far. We’ve decided rather than plowing and planting our cleared areas as we’d originally planned, we’re going to wild-scape the areas reserved for cultivation and plant pecan trees and peach trees. I’m thrilled with this change because it’ll be less labor intensive for Mr. R and will promote a more natural beauty to the area which really appeals to me and is more environmentally friendly.
How Cassie Got Her Grind Back should be out on Amazon any time now. I blogged about it yesterday and will be updating my website with the links the moment I have them. I hope that those who have already read the book, or will, might take a few minutes a write a review at whichever site you bought the book. Reviews really do help an author with search-ability and visibility on the retail websites.
I did a substantial update to my website last month, changing the theme, adding a new background image and header, and have also added a fantastic book manager plug-in which gives the site a much sharper, more professional look. Links are provided on every book page for BookStrand, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, for e-book as well as for paperback, and there’s also a handy link for adding titles to your Goodreads To-Be-Read lists, and of course excerpts, playlists and other cool stuff. I hope you like the new look. 😀
Be looking for updates from me on Facebook, Twitter, and here and y’all have a great week!
Seize the day, baby!
May 12, 2016 ~ All right, all right, all right! Things went well with the triple release last week. Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy from BookStrand. Thanks also for the kind words you’ve been sharing with me on Facebook and Twitter, as well as in reviews on BookStrand’s review site, My Earnest Reviews.
How Cassie Got Her Grind Back will probably show up on Amazon around the end of May, and B&N and other retailers shortly thereafter.
Bunny and the Beast and Lumberjack Weekend are both available in paperback from Amazon and B&N now. If you like paperbacks, just follow the links on their respective book pages from here directly to those sellers. I’ve set up separate links for paperbacks to both sites for every book.
I’m in that place now where I’m just checking in online, answering questions, and trying to settle in to the quiet of the writing cave. I’ll be finished the first book in the fantasy trilogy (entitled Beasts In Winter) soon, and plan to move through the trilogy relatively quickly now that I don’t have to stop for promo and stuff. Of course, my kids are in the middle of the end-of-school stuff, so…yeah. :O
The chat in the Divine Creek Ranch book discussion group I mentioned in my last update went well. A little chaotic but I think we all had fun. I also picked a winner for a signed paperback copy of Brokenhearted Beauty. You can join that group any time on Facebook and catch up on what we discussed. Just click here to go to that page.
In Rainier Ranch news, the hummingbirds are back and every morning we have a field full of cardinals, scissor tails, mockingbirds, and I’ve even seen a few roadrunners. The deer have also been visiting the back pasture at a distance during the afternoons and evenings. We have several beehives now and the honey bees are busy doing their thing, too.
Y’all have a great week.
Seize the day, baby!
May 7, 2016 ~ I’ve been working behind the scenes on my website, installing the series into a book manager plug-in that’s new to me. I hope visitors like the changes and that they find the site a little easier to navigate.
How Cassie Got Her Grind Back took the #1 spot on BookStrand’s Overall Bestseller list this morning, and the boxed set is also on the list as well. I’m excited to get to know readers who may be new to the series through this boxed set.
We’re planning a special time this coming Monday evening in the Divine Creek Ranch Book Discussion Group for discussion about the latest release, so stop by the group on Facebook, and join if you haven’t already. Scroll down for more specific info about the group. I check in to that group regularly so you’re welcome to post questions or comments. BTW, I have zero tolerance for trolls, sock puppets, or rude people, so being an ass will get you booted and banned. I know my readers appreciate that policy. <3
I’m getting closer and closer to completing the first book in the new fantasy trilogy I told you about last time. It’s been an amazing journey, and very freeing to write in a shorter form for this trilogy. Lots of heat, lots of action, and lots of fun.
Seize the day, baby! <3
April 29, 2016 ~ This week I’ve been going back and forth between final edits for How Cassie Got Her Grind Back, and the Insider’s Guide to the Divine Creek Ranch Collection, both being released by Siren-BookStrand on May 6th.
In between dealing with editing and promo activities, I’ve been working on a new project set in a different world. It will be a trilogy of erotic retellings of classic fairy tales, with a little ménage spin from yours truly. I love writing stories set in Divine but recently I’ve felt the need to stretch my wings creatively.
Writing in a world where the contemporary restraints are thrown off has been a blast and I’ve fallen in love with all the characters and believe readers will as well. The books will be shorter than you’re used to from me but the upside is that I’m submitting them together and they’ll be released in quick succession.
Even if fantasy fairy tales aren’t really your thing, I hope you’ll give mine a try. The writing, the character development, the heat, and the heart will all still be in the stories, and there are NO CLIFFHANGERS. As of today, I’m at the 3/4 mark for writing the first story in the trilogy, and as I move along into the second and third, I’ll begin sharing more details about the stories.
For those who want more Divine stories, the line up below still stands. I’m not nearly done writing stories set in the Texas Hill Country.
Do you like book discussion groups? Consider joining the Divine Creek Ranch Collection Discussion Group on Facebook to discuss the series. It’s a moderated, closed group so posts are private, and you won’t get fussed at for sharing spoilers, either. Just follow the link and click to join.
Jessica, the sweet optometrist and brand new mother readers met in Divine Charity, will be the next story told in the Divine Creek Ranch Collection, after How Cassie Got Her Grind Back.
Luka and Matthias Martinez
A book for Luka and Matthias is also on the horizon. I allowed them time to grow up but they’ve only gotten wilder, sowing their oats and getting into trouble. Readers saw this firsthand in Divine Charity. No, Teresa is still not speaking to them, although she feels guilty about that because Michael and Eleazar keep asking about them. We’ll see what happens with them and more importantly, how the two of them can ever manage to attract a decent woman into their lives.
True and Noble Strong
Readers have been asking if True and Noble Strong will get a book. The answer is YES! When I know where they fit in the book lineup I’ll update the website with that information. And yes, True stole my heart, too. Noble? Well…he’s gonna have to change his attitude if he wants any nookie. 😉