Saturday Night Serenade–It’s a Big Week

Six years ago October 2, in a delightfully weird ceremony conducted by a dear friend who happens to be a dotty little Wiccan, my love and I exchanged vows and became Mr. and Mrs. R.  It was not the first rodeo for either of us, but it’s our last.  I often refer to him as my ‘happily-ever-after’.

I’m so excited, because tonight we have a late reservation at a chichi local restaurant.  We’re going to get all gussied up and go out to celebrate all that we have together.

The traditional gift for the sixth anniversary is iron.  That presented me with a dilemma.  Last year was easy–the fifth anniversary is wood.  Or, as I like to refer to it, the gift that keeps on giving.

I briefly considered a new cast-iron skillet.  After all, he’s the chef in our house.  It didn’t seem like a very good anniversary gift, though.  So again, I searched and searched.  Finally, Google came through for me.  I ordered a mermaid handcrafted of iron to sit on the shelf over his desk.  A Navy man from way back, Mr. R has a thing for mermaids.

I also ordered a bottle of good Kentucky bourbon, because, well, it’s a great gift.  But shhh!  Don’t tell him.  😉

Also happening this week, my eighth book launches on Tuesday, October 3.  This is the first new one since I started writing full-time, and I’m really excited about it.

The third book in the Dream Dominant series, it’s about red-haired submissive Jessi Crenshaw, whose husband Graham dies unexpectedly.

But it seems that he had in inkling that his health was in decline, and he tapped his friend and protege in the Lifestyle, Dominant firefighter Judd Farris, to look out for Jessi until she gets back on her feet.

A platonic Dom/sub relationship–it’s unconventional.  But Judd’s determined to keep his promise to his friend.  Could it be that Graham had more in mind that merely a temporary solution?

FOR SPARROW has been available for the pre-order sale price of 99¢ for the last month, and will continue to be through Oct. 3.  My purpose is to have it hit Amazon like a bomb on release day, and I’ve set a goal of 100 pre-orders.  If you’d consider placing a pre-order, I’d be forever grateful.  Here’s the link: books2read.com/ForSparrow

I’ve been pushing hard these last few weeks, but tonight, it’s all about the really important things.  I hope you’re spending the evening with those you love.  Hug them and let them know how much they mean to you.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Ready To Feel Good

It was a week.  I can’t complain, not really.  We had a Cat 5 hurricane barreling toward us, and ended up losing power for only about 15 hours.  No damage to the house, just a lot of tree branches and debris down in the yard.  Parts of the Keys are devastated.  I almost feel guilty for feeling relieved.

Local news was 24/7 hurricane coverage for a good five days, warning us of doom, gloom, and imminent disaster.  We had no idea what was going on in the rest of the world.

When the electricity and internet were back up, I was ready to go back to normal life.  Not so fast, though.  Not everyone around here has had their power restored.  We were apparently among the very fortunate.  And the county just lifted the curfews they’d enacted.  For quite a few days, there was no going anywhere from dusk to dawn.

View of the Jupiter Lighthouse from Square Grouper, after Hurricane Irma.

Cabin fever forced Mr. R. and I to go exploring on Wednesday.  On the most off chance, we cruised by one of our favorite watering holes, knowing that because it’s on the water, it would definitely be closed.

It wasn’t.  Precious few people knew, so it was blissfully uncrowded and we spend a nice hour decompressing toward normal.

I’m ready to feel good again.  So for tonight’s serenade, I’m bringing along Ed Sheeran with Castle on the Hill.  I love this song.  It makes me feel happy.

I hope you’re enjoying this September evening.  Is it cool where you are?  It’s still steamy hot here.  Hug those you love, and maybe consider donating to hurricane relief.  Between Texas and Florida, there are a lot of hurting folks out there.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Ode to Irma

Confession…
I’m writing this post on Thursday.  On Saturday, we’re supposed to be under tropical storm conditions, then Sunday (as of now), we’re supposed to have a Cat 4 hurricane pass right over our heads here in north central Palm Beach County.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this isn’t our first rodeo.  Coastal areas are going to be under encouraged, if not mandatory, evacuations.  We’re about 15 miles away from the coast, so we’re just going to batten the hatches and hunker down.

Roads, and I mean I-95 and the Florida Turnpike, are crowded with folks seeking higher ground.  But the storm is supposed to ride up the entire peninsula, so unless you’re planning on heading to Omaha (which we considered–our son and his wife live there), you might as well stay put.

I should be nervous.  I’m certainly taking the situation seriously.  We’re securing valuables, packing up some changes of clothes in case we need dry things, storing water, digging out the battery-operated and solar lights, etc.  It’s pretty much a given that we’ll lose power and wi-fi.  We have a well, so we’ll lose water until the electricity is restored.

But I’m feeling cheeky.  So tonight, we’re Riding the Storm Out.  And, as a two-fer, we’re going to Rock You Like a Hurricane.  We’ll keep you posted, and we’d appreciate your prayers, if you’re so inclined.

Hug those you love–I know I will.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #4: A 4th of July Two-fer

Happy July!  Here in the States, we’re celebrating the long Independence Day weekend.  It’s the ultimate summer holiday, with cookouts, picnics, trips to the beach, and fireworks.

There’s a lot that divides us Americans these days–politics, ideologies, and hateful, vile rhetoric, to name just a smattering.

But I’d rather focus on what unites us–good food, fun, pride as a nation, and good old rock ‘n roll.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous this weekend, rather than getting baited into some pointless social media debate, we put down our electronics, went outside, shared a hot dog and a cold beer with a neighbor, and enjoyed fireworks set to a soundtrack of great music?

Mr. R and I will be in lawn chairs on the driveway, watching all the neighborhood fireworks.  I hit the bargain bins, so we’ll be the dorks wearing the blinky jewelry.  Actually, I’ll be the dork wearing the blinky jewelry.  He’ll be sitting next to me, rolling his eyes.

But maybe that’s what it’s about.  Agreeing to disagree, embracing our differences, and appreciating that variety is, in fact, the spice of life.

I’m bringing you a two-fer for week #4 of Summer Songs.  I couldn’t pass up John (he’ll always be Cougar to me) Mellencamp, despite the fact that they’ve commercialized the crap out of this song lately.  And Phil Vassar’s American Child is a sentimental favorite.

Be careful out there.  No drinking and driving.  No holding a firework and blowing off your hand.  Haven’t you seen them do that on all the morning talk shows?

Enjoy your holiday, and hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

4 Stars Out of 5

I hate working out, y’all.  Not a fan of sweat.  But I’ve been doing it.

Back in the fall, I registered to attend the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention which is happening July 16.  I’ll tell you more about that later.   Right now, my point is that I realized that by July, I wanted to look more like a svelte, sexy romance writer, and less like Jabba the Hutt.

To that end, in January I started being careful about carbs, eating lots of salad and veggies, and walking away from bread and pasta.  And I’ve lost over 20 lbs so far.

Most days, Coach Kozak from HasFit on YouTube kicks my ass, but today I wanted to do something different.  A little investigation led me to a bunch of virtual treadmill videos.  They make it seem like you’re running someplace magical rather than in your living room.  And yes, I could just run outside in the neighborhood.  But it’s summer, y’all, and it’s HOT.

So today I took a run along the beach in Queensland, Australia.  It was beautiful, and I nearly forgot I was running.  The half hour passed quickly.  I would give the video 4 out of 5 stars.

Why did I dock it a star?  We passed a bar TWICE and the fucker refused to stop.

The Next Adventure

retirement1

I’ve been counting down the days and it’s finally here.  I am no longer employed by the School District of Palm Beach County.  I finished up my duties, cleaned out my room, brought WAY too much stuff home, and said goodbye to folks who’ve been my colleagues for the last thirteen years.  Okay, maybe not ‘goodbye’, we’ll be getting together over adult beverages on a regular basis for the foreseeable future.  But we won’t be working together.

Lots of people have asked the question, “What are you going to do now?”  Having left the District, I’m finally free to answer.

Two years ago, June 7, I (accidentally) published my first novel.  How I did that accidentally is a long story.  Suffice it to say, there has been a steep learning curve. And had I understood the depth of my ignorance about marketing, promotion, SEO, graphic design, formatting, etc., I would never have had the courage to try.  Ignorance can be a huge asset, it turns out.

Let me put in a plug for self publishing.  Indie publishing is a growing industry.  In the past, the large publishing houses have been the “gatekeepers,” determining what literature the reading public has access to.  That meant little variety–they’re only interested in a return on their investment.  But like iTunes and YouTube did for Indie music, and Sundance did for Indie films, Kindle Direct Publishing and Draft2Digital are allowing authors to get their work out in front of the reading public.  Buying an Indie book is the literary equivalent of ‘buying local.’

A few years ago, under the pen name Pandora Spocks, I started writing literary steamy romance just as a hobby, really, a creative outlet.  After a while, I began publishing chapters online, and I discovered that people liked what they read.  Eventually, I published the entire book, chapter by chapter, on a blog.  Along the way, I met other writers who independently publish their work and I began to wonder about doing it myself.

My books are spicy, y’all.  I promote them as ‘Smart, Sexy Romance’.  They’re heartfelt, deeply character-driven stories punctuated by the occasional steamy love scene.  Think of them as the thinking-girl’s romance.  Like Fifty Shades, but more literary.

Today, I have seven books available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and several other outlets you probably never heard of.  My goal by the end of August is to publish my next steamy novel, and to write a nonfiction book about classroom management, to be published under my own name.

I mentioned marketing.  I’m active on social media every day as Pandora.  You can find me in these places:

Website: PandoraSpocksAuthor.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2rwR5Lv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PandoraSpocksAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PandoraSpocksWP
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+PandoraSpocksAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14080322.Pandora_Spocks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pandora.spocks.author/

Steamy romance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  But if you enjoy a nice hot love story, I hope you’ll check it out.