Friday, June 21, 2013

Red Slushie tragedies and a giveaway winner!

The Barnacle and Bubba, taking their
anonymous name-drawing duties
very seriously.

It's June 21, which means that we've finally made it to the official start of summer! Here in the U.S. Midwest, we're off to a warm start with a brutally sunny 90 degree Fahrenheit (that's 32 degrees Celsius for you Continentals...) day for the summer solstice.

It also means that today I'm giving away a copy of my summer pool read, Diving In. I had a great time reading through the entries and seeing what exciting (or not-so-exciting) plans everyone has for the summer. True to form, I've already had a popsicle dropped on me today. (Well, a red Slushie dropped on my you know how hard that sticky shit is to get out from in between your toes? Or how hard it is to console a child who is distraught at the loss of her treat while you have sticky, cold red Slushie between your freaking toes?

Once we got the Slushie cleaned up (and my foot and flip-flop washed), the kids were happy to be my lovely assistants and help draw a winner for the Diving In giveaway. Yes, that's a big plastic bear that was the former home to animal crackers. What can I say, we're high tech here.

Congrats to winner Inosha_w. Hopefully this perks up your rainy summer! Inosha_w, if you're reading this, please check your email.

To every one else, thanks for entering! Don't be too bummed you didn't win, because Dreamspinner Press is running a big sale this weekend. You can get Diving In and all other in-stock titles for 30% off now through Sunday!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Diving In giveaway

Reviews are starting to come in for my latest novelette, Diving In, and I'm ecstatic that the consensus is that Max and Everett are adorable--and that Everett's friend Nikki steals the show with her snarky wit.

Sunscreen? Check. Sunglasses? Check.
Comfy spot? Check. Steamy book? Check.
Haven't had a chance to pick up Diving In yet? Then here's an opportunity to get a free copy from me! Just leave a comment here with a note about how you're spending your summer for a chance to win my steamy pool book.

(If I could enter, this would be my comment: "I have a six year old and a three year old, so my summer will be spent pushing swings, drawing with sidewalk chalk and being perpetually sticky from opening popsicles.")

I'll choose a winner at random at 12 p.m. EDT Friday, June 21, to celebrate the solstice and the official start of summer with a bang (or a splash, which would be more appropriate for Diving In). Anyone who Tweets this link (and tags me, @bru_baker) will also receive an entry into the giveaway contest, so that's a chance to get your name in there twice!

Please do not enter if you're under 18. The book contains explicit sexual themes. I'll announce the winner on my blog and the winner will have 24 hours to claim it or I will draw another name at random and award it to that person. Leave your Twitter username (or email) with your comment if you like so I have another way to reach out.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Musical inspiration: 'We're not Young' and '32'

Proof for my editors that despite what it seems like,
I *do* actually own a Chicago Manual of Style...
I almost always write to music, and that music usually flavors the tone of whatever I'm working on. I try to match up my character's mindset with what I listen to, which sometimes drives Hubs crazy. (When I wrote Island House, I listened to a few sad Weepies songs on repeat for months because Niall, the main character, is in a bad headspace. Hubs still flinches every time they come up on the radio.)

My latest project is a short novella about a couple in their early thirties who have fallen into the rut that a lot of long-term relationships fall into--they're too comfortable with each other and their (lacklustre) love life has taken a back seat to their careers. I usually write about characters that are just falling into a relationship, so it was a fun challenge to take a look at a couple whose love life was getting stale and help them get it back on track. (I've been with my husband for almost 16 years, married for 11 of those, so I know stale and the fight to beat it! *g*)

While they weren't what I listened to as I wrote, I definitely took some tongue-in-cheek inspiration from two great parody songs that poke fun at life as a thirty-something.

The first is the Yahoo! SketchY "We're Not Young," a parody of F.U.N.'s "We Are Young" and the second is Fuse's "32," a parody of Taylor Swift's "22." Enjoy!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Soggy soccer games and steamy summer fiction!

This has been a busy week here in the Baker household. The Barnacle's preschool let out last week so it was the start of her summer vacation, and the Bub's last day of kindergarten was Tuesday. It's been stormy and gross here, which means I've been stuck inside with grumpy kiddos who had gleefully been awaiting the arrival of summer for weeks (there were charts and a video count-down diary involved...the Bub is very thorough).

All kindergartners read apocalyptic classics, right?
Luckily, the Bub is a bookworm like me, so he's been amusing himself by getting a start on his summer reading. I bought him the abridged version of War of the Worlds thinking it would get him through the summer as a reading project. It's 150 pages (and he's 6 with the attention span of a gnat) so I'd planned to spend the next two months cajoling him into sitting long enough to read a page or two at a time. He plowed through it in two days. He even snuck it into bed with him so he could finish, as I found out when he started yelling "It was the germs!" at 11:30 p.m., hours after I thought he was asleep. Hubs and I had to promise him we'd have a book club discussion about the end of the book over breakfast the next morning just to get him to shut up.

It was still pouring this morning when I dutifully marched over to the soccer fields to watch the Barnacle and the Bub play and Hubs coach. Seriously, they play in the rain. It's not like they're in a feeder system for the Premier League...this is U6 rec soccer! Let's be honest: They're primarily in it for the snacks afterward.

Maybe the smile was just on the inside...
Anyway, despite being soggy and frozen, I had a smile on my face because Diving In released today! It's part of the Dreamspinner Press Make a Play Anthology, which is filled with a lot of steamy sports action to start your summer on the right foot.

I loved writing this piece, and not just because it meant I got to watch YouTube videos of water polo matches. (Hubs wandered in during one session, looked at the laptop, shook his head, and walked back out of the room. What? It was research!)

Diving In has Speedos, hot sex, and a hint of angst and pining--everything you could ask for in a pool or beach read. (Or the in a I-wish-I-was-at-the-pool-or-beach read for those of us who are land-locked and/or stuck in the eternal misery that is a Midwestern spring.)

If you pick it up, I'd love to know what you thought of Diving In. You can find me here, on Twitter, or on Goodreads. *g*

Diving In

Being the pool boy makes it easy for Max Jansen to ogle his long-time crush, water polo player Everett Caldwell. Never mind the fact that Max owns the company and is extremely overqualified for the task of monitoring chlorine and cleaning skimmers. He's just happy to watch his unattainable dream play—until one day Everett invites him over and suddenly Max is his platonic plus-one for everything from movie nights to racy industry parties. Then Max learns the one-time Olympian isn't as straight as everyone assumes, and he isn't sure how long he can hold out before his crush grows much deeper.

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