Tag Archives: Winter Oranges

Winter Oranges Now in Audio!

Winter Oranges is now available as an audio book, narrated by Nick J. Russo.

winteroranges_audiobookJason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of L.A., and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Find the audiobook here:

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Winter-Oranges-Audiobook/B01N1OZ3Z3/

 

Random Babbling

It seems like a good time for some random updates and babbling. I’ll be talking audio books, Twitter, idiotic Verizon commercials, and yummy chicken dinners. 🙂

Etsy

en_isell_1First of all, I’ve finally opened an Etsy shop. Some of you know I’ve had the bags and wallets I make on sale in my Selz bookstore, but the shipping options there are incredibly limited. Still, I’ve been hesitant to wade into Etsy, because I worry that my sewing just isn’t good enough, but after receiving encouragement from just about everybody I know, I decided to give it a shot. So, for those who are interested, you can find the bags and purses I make at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarieSextonBags.

audioAudio

Trailer Trash is now available in audio, narrated by John Solo. You can find that here:

Amazon

Audible

Winter Oranges will also be available in audio sometime in the next few weeks.

Social Media Boycott

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30-Day Blogging Challenge, Day 30: Recap, and Looking Forward

finishlineWell, I made it through all thirty posts without missing a day. This last post will be a bit of a hodgepodge, but if you’ve followed along this long, you know that’s not necessarily anything new.

Recap

So, was the blogging challenge a success? Yes and no. Given that my primary goal was simply to give myself something to do each day, the answer is yes. The blogging challenge game me a reason to sit down at my keyboard after sending my kid off to school.

At the same time, the challenge was a failure. I hoped that forcing myself to write a bit each day would help jump-start my creativity, but it didn’t quite work. What I’ve learned is that blogging uses an entirely different part of my brain than writing stories. So although I had fun, I won’t be continuing with the “one post per day” theme.

What’s Next?

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30-Day Blogging Challenge, Day 28: My Newer Contemporaries

Only a few days left in my blogging challenge, but I’ve run out of things to talk about. Yesterday, I decided I’d spend a couple of posts highlighting some of my books that aren’t as well known as my Coda books, but that I feel are some of my best work. I already talked a bit about my funky genre mash-ups (the Oestend series, and the Davlova books). But I know not everybody likes reading scifi/fantasy, so today, I thought I’d share examples from some of my more recent contemporaries.

These are all contemporaries, but I’m going to split them into two categories: “Light and Fluffy,” and “Somewhat Angsty,” with two books in each category.  

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30-Day Blogging Challenge, Day 25: Theme Songs for my Books

Today, I thought I’d talk about music. More specifically, I thought I’d talk about which songs helped inspire certain stories or characters.

Song of Oestend CoverNot all of my stories have musical inspiration. (Blind Space, for example, has no songs associated with it.) Some of them (like Shotgun) have full soundtracks. In a few rare case, a book might be based on a single line. Song of Oestend was written because of this line in “Doolin-Dalton/Desperado Reprise” by the Eagles: “Four men ride out and only three ride back.” (Although by the time I got to that scene in the book, it was two men riding out, and only one riding back. But I digress.)

Most often, I have one specific song that either inspired the entire tone of the book, or worked as the theme song for a specific character. So, without further ado, let’s get to it. (And cross your fingers with me that these embedded Spotify codes work.)

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Winter Oranges Blog Tour

WinterOranges_FacebookBanner-1

Winter Oranges comes out in just three days! I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this release. Remember, if you pre-order the book from Riptide, you get to download it two days early, which means you’ll have that book on your ereader right away. Sounds like a great way to finish off the holiday weekend, right? (And it’s for a good cause! 20% of the proceeds go to the GLBT National Help Center.)

Also, don’t miss the Winter Oranges Blog Tour. Here’s the schedule:

 

November 30, 2015  –  Love Bytes Reviews
November 30, 2015  –  The Jeep Diva
November 30, 2015  –  GGR-Review
November 30, 2015  –  Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
December 1, 2015  –  Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous
December 1, 2015  –  Sinfully Sexy Books
December 1, 2015  –  Cup o’ Porn
December 1, 2015  –  LeAnn’s Book Reviews
December 2, 2015  –  Delighted Reader
December 2, 2015  –  All I Want and More
December 2, 2015  –  Book Reviews and More by Kathy
December 2, 2015  –  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
December 3, 2015  –  MM Good Book Reviews
December 3, 2015  –  Boys in Our Books
December 3, 2015  –  Joyfully Jay
December 3, 2015  –  Under the Covers
December 3, 2015  –  The Day Before You Came
December 4, 2015  –  Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
December 4, 2015  –  QUEERcentric Books
December 4, 2015  –  Booklover Sue
December 4, 2015  –  My Fiction Nook

PromisesHCFS

 

Of course there will be excerpts and prizes and a few exclusive posts, so please follow along.

 

And finally, Promises is now officially available in hardcover. You can pick yours up here.

 

Happy Holidays!

When My Broncos Win, You Win! (Excerpt from Winter Oranges)

kansas-city-chiefs-vs-denver-broncos-by-Ron-Chenoy

The Broncos play the Chiefs twice each season (not counting the possibility of meeting in the postseason), and each time, I think about Matt and Jared. I always imagine them in their house, or maybe over at Zach and Angelo’s, practically giddy as kickoff approaches. And I always feel like there should be a way to share that excitement on Twitter. But how? Matt and Jared have a standing bet (you can read the details in Shotgun), but how does that translate to a game between me and the people on Twitter? If Jared wins, we get pictures of hot cops, and if Matt wins we get… pictures of hot math teachers?

18d8251c-bd6b-4dd5-b4a0-d0fbaaeb0b4e-620x474Pietro Boselli aside (and thanks to Carter for that info!), that doesn’t seem like a great plan.

Yesterday, a couple of hours before kickoff, I tossed out a comment that if the Broncos won, I’d post an excerpt from Winter Oranges, and if the Chiefs won… well, I wouldn’t. What followed was one of the most exciting games I’ve seen in years. I’ll spare you the replay (although you can see it here). The short version is, the Broncos were down by seven with less than three minutes on the clock. They then scored two touchdowns in the final minute of the game for the win! Jared and I were ecstatic. WinterOranges_400x600

Matt? Well, not so much. He’s a bit surly today, poor guy.

So without further ado, here’s an excerpt from my upcoming Christmas novel, Winter Oranges.

Oh. I guess I do have “further ado” after all. If you have suggestions for future Chiefs/Broncos games (preferably suggestions that do NOT involve me writing short stories), please share them in the comments.

Enjoy!

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State of the Author, and the Mighty Sarlacc

schoolbus_ic-bus-beIt’s September, and school has begun, and historically this seems to be the time when I post some kind of “State of the Author” update. Having a school-age child, my year ends and begins anew in late August, when my daughter climbs into the big yellow bus on that first morning of school, and the day opens up ahead of me like a big, empty room.

Last year at this time, I was doing great. I wrote this blog post talking about how far I’d come in my ongoing battle with depression. For the first time in ages, I was excited images-4about writing. I made it all the way through the school year feeling optimistic about my work — almost giddy — and I finished several stories that I felt really damn good about, including Lost Along the Way, Shotgun, and Winter Oranges. They were all set for release in 2015 (April, May, and November, respectively), so I felt like a seasonally confused squirrel, storing nuts away in the winter for use the following year.

And then summer arrived. I know from experience it’s nearly impossible to write when my daughter’s home, so I arranged to take the time off. Sure, I had to deal with edits and revisions on a couple of projects, but I specifically arranged it so I wouldn’t need to write, and I assumed that by fall, I’d be ready again.

Except this year, it didn’t happen. Maybe because I wasn’t doing Artist’s Way, like I did last year. Maybe because those first couple of 2015 releases didn’t give me the sense of accomplishment I’d hoped for. Maybe it’s simply because I can only sustain my optimism for so long before it all starts to fall apart.

Six years ago at about this time, I was finishing up my very first novel (while simultaneously working on my second one), wondering if I was really good enough to be published. I felt like a lot of aspiring authors do, somehow believing that a publishing contract would change my life. And it does change your life, but most authors will tell you that it doesn’t change in the ways you might expect. Yes, parts of images-6this career are wonderful, but parts of it are so much harder than I ever expected. And as always, I say this knowing somebody out there will roll their eyes. Somebody will say, “Puu-lease, Marie. Cry me a river.” I suppose that’s fair. After all, I work from home. I make my own hours. I take time off whenever I want. So yes, I have it good. But man, sometimes I’d give anything to go back in time and just NOT write that first book. I’m sorry, Matt and Jared, but sometimes I wish we’d never met.

Dear god, the sacrilege of saying those words out loud. My husband tells me he thinks I’m happier now than I was before I started writing, and I find that mind-boggling. This so rarely feels like happiness these days. It feels like…

I don’t even know.

“Terror” is the closest I can come.

I guess what I’ve realized is that emotionally, my old day job was sort of a steady drone. It could be boring and frustrating, true, but it was consistent. It was like a nice flat line across the chart of my life. And this job? It’s a series of dizzying peaks and stomach-churning valleys. The highs may be greater than anything I’ve ever experience professionally, but they lose a little altitude every year, and the lows just about kill me (and they seem to come more frequently, too).

sarlacc-pitAnd now fall is here, and I can see one of those lows coming. I can feel that pit of depression opening up in front of me like that big sand thing in Return of the Jedi, its wriggly tentacles slithering up to wrap around my leg as my toes tip over the edge. I see the empty days stretching out in front of me, one after the other like this, and I feel that heaviness deep in my chest. I know it’ll grow until it’s scratching at the back of my throat and it hurts even to breathe.

The only bright side in all of this is that I recognize the signs, and I know I’m not alone. I’ve talked to enough other authors. I’ve seen their posts about their own struggles with depression. Just today somebody pointed me to this blog post by Josh Lanyon and L.B. Gregg, who mention a well-attended panel on depression at RWA.

“Hand in hand with talk of depression, there was much talk of burn out—more than I’d ever really heard before. Conference wide. I’m not sure if that’s because I wasn’t really listening before, or because burn out is more widespread now that everyone is trying to keep to this impossible pace.” (L.B. Gregg)

But this burnout is real, folks, and it’s brutal.  I average 3-4 books per year, and that makes me one of the slower authors in the genre. And the fact of the matter is, writing doesn’t get easier after ten or twenty or thirty books. Not for me, at least. It gets harder because there are that many things I can’t do again. There are that many stories I’ve already told. I find myself saying, “I can’t do that. I did it in Strawberries.” “I can’t do that. I did it in Oestend.” And on top of that, there’s more editing taking up my day, more promotion, more Excel spreadsheets, more blogging. More, more, more. The only thing there isn’t more of is optimism.

Fuck optimism. Optimism is a lie.

Where am I going with this? I don’t even know, to be honest. But it’s fall, and it’s time to lay it on the line again, I guess. It’s time to start storing those nuts up for next year, even though they’re harder to find than ever and I know they aren’t enough to sustain me for long. I’ll never be one of those authors who writes six or eight or ten books in a year, and maybe it’s ridiculous to feel like a failure for that, but I do. If three or four books a year is failing, then why do I try?

Sometimes I honestly can’t answer that question.

WinterOranges_400x600Except that I keep writing. I keep hoping. I keep banking on the future. I call it quits about three times a year, but I always come back. There always seems to be one more story to tell. Return came out yesterday, and Winter Oranges comes out in three months, and always, I look forward and think, “It’ll be better then.” Except I just spent a year straight telling myself it’d be better by now, and it isn’t.

It’s okay. It really is. In a couple of hours, I’ll have talked myself out of my funk. Or I’ll have laid it all at the feet of one of my long-suffering writing friends (again!), and they’ll have talked me off the ledge (again!). Eventually I’ll open another blank document and I’ll start typing, and I’ll tell myself, “Once this one is done, it’ll be better.” But at some point, there won’t be enough momentum left to keep me moving. At some point, I just have to throw in the towel and admit that the lows so drastically outnumber the highs that it just isn’t worth it to keep trudging forward.

Will it be this time?

No, I guess not, because I have deadlines to meet and obligations to fulfill, and I am nothing if not punctual and dependable. So I’ll walk that tightrope over that Sarlacc one more time and I’ll tell myself (even if I don’t quite believe), “Eventually, it’ll be better.”

Winter Oranges!

Please join me Thursday, August 20 on Heroes and Heartbreakers for the official cover reveal!

WinterOranges_TeaserJason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

PREORDER WINTER ORANGES HERE

LovefortheHolidays_600x900_0This title is part of the Love for the Holidays: A Charity Bundle Benefiting the GLBT National Help Center collection. 

SEE THE COLLECTION HERE

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/

 

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