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October 30, 2013

"Different Strokes" Cover & Other Miscellany

Things have been really hectic around here because Nico-kitteh had surgery to remove a fast-growing tumor last week. (yikes) Yeah. (yikes) Thankfully, I received confirmation from the surgeon this week that the biopsy results reveal he removed all of it. So yay! I'm closely monitoring the incision site now and we have follow-ups, but otherwise the little boy is in good spirits.

The thing is, while I was busy focusing on the furbaby, the book page for Different Strokes went live on Less Than Three Press's website.  You can now find the story here and add it to Goodreads or BookLikes. Yay! So here's the beautiful and gorgeous cover that talented graphic designer Aisha Akeju created:

Available December 11th!
Isn't it fan-damn-tastic?? =D

I'll post more later when additional release information is available, but in the meanwhile, here's the blurb: 
When his regular masseuse is called away on a family emergency, Tomas does not expect Darren, her temporary replacement, to be such an attractive distraction. Tomas has always been a serious, no-nonsense type of swimmer; after all, elite competition leaves no room for unprofessional conduct. However, he finds it extremely difficult to stay on the right side of the professional line with Darren tending to his needs. 
The story is super-fluff, so get your sweet tooth ready. ;) Different Strokes comes out December 11th. (yay!)

Hugs and HEAs,

October 15, 2013

My Neighbor is a Billionaire, or "Are there really as many billionaires out there as popular romance would suggest?"

Just a quick post to fact check the proliferation of billionaires in romance. If you've been anywhere near a bookstore, Amazon, or other book or ebook retailer in the last ten years, you'll have noticed that the heroes in books, and the titles of Harlequin romances, are trending towards the ten figure income.

To which I say: whut.

Yes, yes, I am oh so eloquent.

According to Forbes, there are 1,426 billionaires in the world in 2013. According to the World Population Clock, there are 7.18 billion people in the world and counting.

What does that mean? Well, that means you have a 1 in 5,000,000 chance of running into a billionaire, let alone running into one, striking up a conversation, falling for his sparkling green eyes and dimpled smile, and having him sweep you off your feet. That's also not even taking into account that a fair number of those billionaires are either married, older than the average romance novel hero, and/or not possessing of the aforementioned sparkling green eyes and dimpled smile.

Sorry for being the bearer of bad news, but Forbes also tells us that there are only 29 billionaires in the world under the age of 40. To be honest, my middle school science class was larger than that.

It's at this point that I confess that I have a soft spot for those Harlequin romances. I cut my romance-reading teeth on them back in high school, after all. =) I'm not knocking them, and I actually enjoy them quite a bit still. I understand the value of a good ol' fashioned fairy tale-like romance just as much as the next romance novel reader.


What this post is really getting at is a sort of wishlist plea for more real guys in those romance novels. The trend towards everyone's-a-billionaire is getting out of hand, and we need more real guys who aren't bazillionaires with their own private jets and islands. More guys who are small business owners, veterinarians, chefs, paralegals, teachers, nannies, and computer programmers. Let's even throw in an electrician and a nurse or two.

I'm not saying that Romancelandia has to be filled with stories where every hero out there has to be a plumber, but hey...wouldn't it be cool if more of them were?

Lost in Romancelandia,

October 2, 2013

One Year Later (an introspective post)

Today is the one year anniversary of VU Day, also known as my (voluntary) unemployment. A year ago I left a very cushy job at a huge corporation to take some time off and do, well, whatever crossed my path and piqued my interest. After six years of long days and nights in the office as I busily climbed the corporate ladder, I wanted to take time to stop and smell the roses.

I explored New York. I did some things. I wrote some stuff. I went some places. All of which were completely and utterly awesome experiences.

And after seven years in NYC, I drove cross country and made my way back home to San Francisco.

Except what I found when I got here was that it didn't really feel much like home now. Outside of a summer spent back here in college and various trips home for holidays, I hadn't lived here since finishing high school, and man, things were different.

I didn't know people. I didn't know places. And let me tell you - it was hard.

It's still hard.

I think at the center of it was just not knowing my place in this new world. My family (whom I love) is here, but I had next to no friends in this area. So, for social purposes, it was like moving to a foreign country where I happened to speak the language.

And, now that I think about it, that's freaking scary.

I took this photo in Istanbul this past April on one of my trips. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it's actually part of a larger street art campaign by the artist Curtis Kulig. What drew me in was its simplicity and the honesty behind the message because, really, isn't that really what all of us want: to find someone to love us?

But I think first, before you can expect anyone else to love you (or, in my case, care about becoming friends and socializing), you have to love yourself. I'd been so used to my social circle in NYC - where I knew people; I had people - that not having those people around me or things to do really took me by surprise. To be completely frank, I felt pretty lost for quite some time.

So did I find my way?

After tackling a span of self-doubt (did I make the right choice to move back? why did I leave all of that behind?), I got back to doing things that I enjoyed without regard for who was doing it with me or why I wanted to do it. I regained self-confidence that I'm a pretty damn awesome person (and, even if I still felt crappy sometimes, fake it til you make it, right?). How? I stopped caring what would happen to me here in this new city...and sought out stuff I just enjoyed, period.

I've always been pretty comfortable alone, but coming to a new city and being truly, actually alone threw me for a loop. It made me question myself, and while self-exploration is usually a good thing in the end, it's a difficult thing when you're in the midst of it. So I basically relearned how to get comfortable with myself and spending time with me.

And it has helped. It really has. I enrolled at the junior college to explore some other areas of interest. I spruced up my resume and have been discussing possible career options with one of the instructors. I joined some Meetup groups for stuff I love doing *coughs* karaoke *coughs*. =) I reached out to some people and things are just...better now. After a couple of months of a word drought, I even started writing again, which is a bit of a relief.

Anyway, this post is pretty emo for me, but I wanted to explain my absence and show my appreciation for all of you guys who have stuck around during my marked dearth of posting in the last couple of months. I've been gathering my bearings, as you can see, and just trying to figure things out.

The takeaway, then?

Change is change. It's scary, even when you're the one to introduce it into your life. But have confidence in yourself and things will almost always pan out. And, until then, fake it til you make it because, chances are, nobody else can tell the difference...even, eventually, including you.