Friday, December 30, 2011
Every year I make the same ones, eat less junk, exercise every day, keep my house a little cleaner etc and usually by mid February my resolutions (like a lot of peoples) have gone right out the window.
So this year I'm making promises to myself instead. Okay, so a resolution is kind of like a promise, but I've never felt all that guilty about not following through on a resolution. But if I break a promise to myself then I'm letting myself down, and down is the absolute last place I plan to be in 2012.
My 2012 Promises
1. To focus on my writing and only my writing, and not get sucked into every social media trap online. Unless someone knows how to get Facebook to write my book for me...
2. To support my loved ones through all their ups and downs, as they did mine.
3. To see as many different places in 2012 as I can manage.
4. To laugh until my stomach feels like it will split in two as often as possible.
5. To love as fiercely as I can and hold tight to every moment that brings joy to my life.
So what about you? What promises are you making to yourself this New Years?
Thursday, December 29, 2011
So I've been researching, like most writers love to do, and I learned quite a few tips about getting better engagement for all that hard promo work we do. In my next few posts, I'll share these tips with you!
Many of us spend way too much time on Facebook, which is fine and dandy...unless no one is listening to what you say. If you're updating your status without likes or comments, then you need to adjust what you're saying, how often you're saying it, etc.
So (drum roll please...) I present the five elements of the perfect Facebook post.
1. Update something of interest to your followers. Basic, I know...but many of us forget this! If we want people to respond--even if it's a promo post--find an angle that will attract the attention of your readers. Kelly Jamieson, for example, has some sexy hockey players as heroes. Who doesn't love those men! And when she talks about them on Twitter and FB, people respond.
2. When you're writing your post, tag relevant pages or people by using the @ sign, like on Twitter. When you hit the @ symbol and start typing the name of the page/person you want, a drop down box will show up. Select the page or person you're aiming to tag and voila! They'll show up on your post, without the @, highlighted in light blue. Why do this? It gets your post in front of more--and more relevant--eyeballs.
Back to Kelly for an example. If she wrote about, say, the Winnipeg Jets, and mentioned them in her post using the @Winnipeg Jets, her post would show up on THEIR Facebook page as well!
3. Include a "call to action." What do you want people to do after reading your post? Questions are a good "CTA", and so is "Like this post if you xyz...". If you're promoting a new release, a good CTA would be "Check out an excerpt here: [link]". Make sure your CTA is connected to the body of your post, at least loosely. So if Kelly (my Vanna White for the day) posted a news article about the Jets, and had an upcoming release featuring hockey, she would tag the Winnipeg Jets then in her CTA say something like "Love hockey? My next book has two hockey players hot enough to melt the ice! Read an excerpt here: [link]" Though the article she posted wasn't directly related to her book, she connected them through a theme.
4. Include a link. When you do this, Facebook will automatically pull in a photo from the page, which is good. But you want a bigger photo. So after you add your link, you'll click "Add photo/video" above the status update box and upload whatever photo you want! The link will still be in your post.
5. Properly add a picture. Not only do more people respond to pictures because of the way they stand out from the rest of their Facebook stream, but when you're posting a picture...you can EDIT your post instead of deleting it and redoing it! Here's how: Write your whole post, then, while in the same status update box, click "Add photo/video" above it. It's very important that you do STATUS, then LINK, then PHOTO. Then, hit POST!
Want to see it in action? Check out today's update: https://www.facebook.com/skylarkade
There you have it! Test this out on your Facebook page or profile, and let me know what kind of response you have! (See, here's MY call to action for this blog post!)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
As my husband recently reminded me, whenever Uranus moves to a new zodiac sign (just about every seven years) so do we. So I've been putting this particular move off for about nine months now. Um, that's not to say we only move every seven years--it would actually be kinda restful, if that was the case--but seven years does seem to be when the big moves occur. And even though I suspect this move will be an improvement (at least I sure hope that's the case!) I can't really say I'm looking forward to it.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I hope you are well this Christmas. I know this is a very busy time of year for you. How is Rudolph? And the elves? I'm sure you will all be ready for a vacation in Hawaii on December 26.
à trois. They got published and quite a few people seem to like them, so I don't know if that counts as being naughty or nice…?
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I immediately started jumping up and down - and then just as quickly stopped, because I wasn't sure how I'd explain it if any of my co-workers walked by. But the excitement stayed on throughout the day, despite my head cold, the fact that I had to work the week before Christmas while the rest of the family was off for winter break, and the sad truth that I wouldn't be home until the next day to actually open the package.
See, I knew what was inside. My author copies for Take A Chance On Me. And even though it's my fifth print title, I was still beyond excited.
For one thing, it never gets old. (And I really, really hope it never will.) Seeing my book, my name, in print - amazing.
For another, this is my very first single title book. The first time something I've written has been published as a stand-alone title. I've had stories and novellas in anthologies and collections, both by myself and with other authors, but it's the first time I've had a full-length novel published.
Excuse me, I'm getting a little verklempt.
So this package from Samhain, which I ripped into the minute I walked in the door from work tonight, was just about the best early Christmas present I could have gotten. It put a smile on my face and was a great reminder of just how much I love being an author.
And in the spirit of the season, I'd like to give away a copy of the book as well. Comment on this post by Christmas morning and you'll be entered to win!
(Print copy in the US; e-book copy outside the US.)
So what's the best gift you've ever gotten - or given?
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
Larry told us today that they lost that bracelet in the accident. The two thousand dollar reason for them being out that day in the first place is gone. Probably laying in that deep ditch on that back country road.
Now isn’t that nice? Seemed appropriate for the holiday and for romance lovers!
Tell someone you love how much they mean to you today everyone!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
I miss the sunshine and hot weather. The only thing worse than leaving behind 85 degree weather is coming home to 28 degree weather. I won't mention that we had our first snowstorm on the east coast only 24 hours after we were back.
I miss SeaWorld. Loved all the shows. Even loved being talked into the rollercoaster that flips you over onto your stomach. And I really loved sitting in the soak zone and watching Shamu splash the crowd, missing me while nailing the poor sap next to me. *cough Jeff cough*
I miss the hockey players. My first taste of an NHL game has only made me want to go to another and another and another...
I miss the beach but not the conch shell that tried to eat us. Have you ever provoked the little guys that live in those shells? *cough Jeff cough* I don't recommend it.
And I miss Discovery Cove. Having rarely ventured far from home, even swimming in a man-made reef was a fantastic experience. Watching giant rays glide by inches from your body is amazing.
Just don't swim into a school of oversized piranha-like fish without anticipating that completely irrational jolt of fear that makes you choke on your snorkel when they look at you at the exact same time. Every single one of them.
What place are you missing or would love to go back to if you had the chance?
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
'They’re really taking this politically correct thing too far.'
Stepping from the foyer into the living room, Callie spied a twinkling Christmas tree in the corner. On the mantel, a lit menorah burned, the candles flickering as the people nearby jostled for position as more and more guests crammed into the room. This was a boisterous crowd; already drinking like it was New Years. Advancing further into the room, she noticed the Kwanza decorations and rolled her eyes.
'Pick a holiday and go with it, people. You can’t please everyone.'
She sought out the host and hostess, old friends from her grad school days, and said hello, handing over the obligatory “Thanks for inviting me” bottle of wine. They chatted for a bit to catch up before she grabbed a cocktail and made her way toward the dining room in search of other former classmates and some food. The smells of the various delicacies wafted by, making her mouth water in anticipation. She had just gotten into town and was starving. Plopping a slice of Cheddar cheese onto a cracker, she stuffed it into her mouth and then looked up -- and everything inside her came to a screeching halt.
Jack was there.
With a beer hanging from his long, rough fingers, he leaned against the wall, casual as can be, while her world tilted on its axis. He looked so good-- still the same tall, well-muscled body, still the same olive skin, black hair, and full lips. His Italian ancestry lent him an air of exoticness, and she’d always been a sucker for that.
Her stomach roiled. The cracker caught in her throat, choking her. As she began to cough and sputter, he turned to see what the commotion was, and their gazes met. Callie watched as his eyes went dark with heat and recognition. A blush rushed up her chest through her neck and into her face. With suddenly cold fingers, she touched her burning skin.
He brought his beer to his lips and took a long pull, his tongue sneaking out to catch a stray drop from his top lip. Her gaze followed the movement. His own intense gaze never left her face. Even when his companion said something to him, he merely nodded and kept the whole of his attention on her. She took a fortifying sip of her vodka and cranberry juice, then another, longer gulp, trying to dislodge the cracker from her throat. And still he stared.
And she did the same damn thing she’d done three years ago when she’d gotten scared by his demands, his power -- she ran. Cursing herself for her cowardice, she nonetheless wove her way through the crowd, setting her drink down on the nearest available surface as she rushed past. But before she made it to the front door, she felt his hand, still chilled from holding the beer bottle, curl around her overheated arm. “Long time no see. Leaving so soon, Callie?”
He pulled her around to face him, he backed her up against the wall in the foyer. With him this close, with his touch and his smell and his sheer size surrounding her, her body betrayed her, just like it always had where he was concerned. Her nipples tightened, her pussy ached, and her breath quickened. “What are you doing here?” She sighed at her own stupidity for asking something so obvious.
“These are my friends. A better question to ask is -- what are you doing here?”
“I came back to town for the holidays, and I wanted to see some of my old grad school buddies. I guess I-I didn’t think about the possibility of you being here.”
“Is me being here a problem?”
“No,” she answered too quickly.
“I miss you.”
“I miss you too.”
'Dammit! What else am I going to admit to him?'
“I still want you. I want to touch you. I need to touch you. May I?” At her silent nod, he lightly rested his hand around her throat. Not hard enough to choke, but enough to establish his dominance over her.
'Like he needs to establish that. How could I possibly forget who and what he is?'
Callie shivered. God, she wanted him. She’d never been as scared or as excited or felt as alive as she had during the year and a half she had subbed for Jack. Seeing him again made her want to get down on her knees and give him anything he wanted. If she remembered correctly, that was everything. But could he give it back to her? Before, he’d been unable or unwilling to, and when she hadn’t been able to handle loving him without reciprocation anymore, she’d left.
Her lips were parched, and she darted her tongue out to wet them. His eyes turned black as they blazed back at her. “I want you too.” And it was the truth. She wanted him, and this time, she’d have him. If she ran away again, she knew she’d regret it for the rest of her life.
“Are you collared?”
She turned the question around. “Are you seeing anyone?” A strange look passed over his face, but Callie couldn’t interpret it before it was gone.
“No. Answer me, Callie -- are you seeing anyone?”
Letting out a soft growl, Jack cupped the back of her neck in his large hand and kissed her. There was nothing gentle in his kiss -- there never had been. This kiss was one of possession, of establishing even more control. He pressed in further, molding his body to hers while he continued to plunder her mouth. He didn’t force his tongue inside; he didn’t have to.
Surrendering, she relaxed and let him take her. He let out a grunt of satisfaction and changed the angle of her head so he could deepen the kiss. He slid a powerful thigh between hers as she moaned from the sensual onslaught.
After long moments he pulled away, grabbed her hand, and led her toward the back of the house. Callie gasped when he pushed her into a bedroom and kicked the door closed. She whirled around to face him but couldn’t bring herself to look him in the eye, reverting to the naturally submissive pose of staring at his feet, her hands behind her back. She hadn’t subbed for anyone in the three years she’d been gone and was amazed at how quickly the submissive veil slipped over her again. He chuckled.
“My pet, you’re still a delightful submissive, I see.” He took a gentle hold on her chin and pulled her face up to his. “I want you. I’ve always wanted you, since the moment you walked into my classroom. I know I’m a selfish bastard, but I’m going to ask for this most exquisite Christmas present anyway: will you submit to me again?”
Callie nodded, too overcome with emotion to speak.
“I want to hear the words -- I want you to be sure.”
“Yes, I’ll sub for you,” she managed to get out around the lump in her throat.
“Good. Then you’ll be available to me insofar as you’re able to, barring other commitments. Do you understand me?”
“Yes,” she answered, the word hardly loud enough to be considered a whisper. She licked her lips again.
“By the way, I’m clean. I was tested a few months ago. You?”
“Yes, Sir, same.”
He stepped forward and shoved her to her knees. She went willingly. Callie wanted this -- she wanted to show him she could handle him this time. Keeping her eyes trained on the floor, she waited for his next move. He let her stew for a minute and then pulled her to him, undoing his pants with his other hand. He guided his already-erect cock into her mouth, and she took it, letting his essence wash over her tongue, relearning the contours of the head, the smoothness of the shaft, as he sawed in and out of her mouth with brutal strokes. He’d never been easy on her, and tonight was no exception.
He pulled his still-hard cock out of her mouth, resting just the very tip on her bottom lip. “How long are you in town for?”
Callie drew back enough to answer, “Through the first of the year.”
She looked up in time to see him smile. “Excellent. We have a few weeks, then.” He thrust all the way to the back of her throat, and she struggled not to gag. He held the back of her head with both hands, forcing her to take his dick all the way to the root, and held it there for several seconds. “Where are you staying?” He pulled out again. He had always liked carrying on conversations as Callie sucked him -- reinforcing his dominance by repeatedly pulling out and then shoving back into her mouth as he saw fit.
“With Lora,” she answered, naming her oldest friend.
“Ah, not far from me. I still live on Tremont. Is she going to let you play?”
“I think I’m really going to enjoy the holidays for the first time in a long while.” He went up on tiptoe and pushed back into her mouth, tilting her head until it was at the angle he wanted, and then began ruthlessly plundering her depths. “It’s been a long time since you’ve tasted my cum, my sweet. You’re going to swallow it -- every drop, like the gift it is.”
She sat down on the bed, touching the tips of her fingers to her lips. Undoubtedly he thought he’d scored a great coup, bringing her back into his fold. Little did he realize, though. Sometimes the hunter becomes the hunted.
Copyright 2011, Cassandra Carr
Caught is available from Loose Id. Here's the entire first chapter! More information can be found at http://www.loose-id.com/caught.aspx or on my website at http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com.
Monday, December 12, 2011
I've also packed my suitcase, set the alarm for way too early, and double-checked the schedule for the week.
I won't be home until Thursday.
Last month, I started a new job, which I love. What I don't love, however, is the 90-miles-each-way commute. We're in the process of selling the house and moving, but until that happens, I'm spending most of the week in the new city, and weekends at home, while the DH holds down the fort.
Regardless of how much planning went into this transition time, there are a few things I didn't anticipate.
1. Being out of the loop. For eleven years, I held down the fort at home, working part time (from home, and with flexible hours) while doing the mom job as well. It's odd to be the last one to know about school events, homework issues, and who got to see someone puke on the carpet during reading class. (Okay, I don't mind missing out on that one.)
2. Drive-time boredom. And I mean BOREDOM. It's too early to call anyone on the way to work (bluetooth only, I promise!), and the morning radio shows can only entertain me so far. I've started downloading audiobooks from the library, and that helps, but I'm not tolerating the commute well.
3. What am I going to wear? As I said before, until recently I was a part-time, work from home employee. Jeans and sweaters were my "dress-up" wardrobe. Now, I'm in administration, around grown ups all day, and have to dress accordingly. What's worse, I have to decide what I'm going to wear DAYS IN ADVANCE. When I'm staying up there overnight, I don't have the luxury of pawing through my wardrobe in the morning, muttering to myself until something jumps out at me. I have to PLAN. What I'm going to WEAR. This is highly traumatic and requires regular doses of chocolate.
But I'm managing. We all are. And in the long run, it will all be worth it.
Now, where did I put my contact lens solution again?
Friday, December 9, 2011
There I am, sitting on my couch—on the edge of my couch—staring at the television with wide eyes, hands gripping the coffee table, heart pounding, mouth open. “Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” No I am not watching porn. I’m watching hockey.
As I've recently been pulled into the excitement of having a national hockey league team back in my city, I was reflecting on why this has been so important to me, and to my entire community. I love the game of hockey. I've watched it since I was a kid, on Saturday nights Hockey Night in Canada. As a teenager, my first boyfriend took me to hockey games and patiently answered my dumb questions about why that was a penalty and what offside means. After we broke up, I had season tickets with a girlfriend and we went to every game. When I moved to the "big city" I was excited to go to NHL games when I could afford tickets and cheer for them on TV when I couldn't afford to go. Then we lost our team, and I lost interest in hockey. I still watched the playoffs, usually near the finals, arbitrarily picking a team to cheer for to make it more exciting, but it wasn't the same.