Kelly Maher
Vacation from the internet

This past weekend as I was feverishly working to clean my apartment so my landlord could begin showing it, I realized I was getting stressed out. The process of moving, while a very good thing as I’m heading to a bigger place, is by itself stressful. When compounded with the double-edged sword of a dayjob coworker retiring (Yay for coworker achieving goal! Eeps for realizing increased workload!) and attempting to finish the first draft of Project Femur and edits on Project Parietal, something has got to give. What is giving is regular posting. I will try to pop onto Twitter (@kmmaher) periodically if only to assure you I’m still alive, but my longer form posts here on the blog and on Facebook are going on hiatus until April. Rest assured that if any news does come down the pike, an exception will be made πŸ˜‰

Character research – living spaces

Something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately is how I’d furnish an empty apartment. I’m hopefully moving to a new place next month, and right now, the only furniture I have is my bed and a few bookshelves. I know, I know. What else do I need? And that’s the question. What is it that a person values? Especially when it comes to filling, or not, a limited living space. I love my bed, but I’ve found I need a better sitting/lounging space. Having dealt with a number of colds this season, one especially long-lasting, I really want to get a couch that has built-in recliners. I also value my work, so I need a good desk and work chair. A huge part of my life is being able to show the people in my life that I care for them with food. I’ve made do with my current set up, but having adequate prep space is a huge thing for me.

I’m also trying to limit the amount of clutter in my life, so I’m going to do my best to pare down the number of objects I own. Shockingly, this also includes books. I want to be able to house the books that I comprise my truly core collection. This means considerable culling of what I currently own. This won’t happen until next year as it’s all in storage and I need time to weed it. Moving into a place that I can create and have it reflect my personality fills me with anticipation and excitement. Even better, it’s a feeling that I can recreate with every story I write πŸ™‚

So, if you’re writing, or even reading, how do the characters’ living spaces show what they value?

Snow Day!

I’ve lost track of how many snow days we’ve had this winter. At least with this one, we really got hit with some good snow. I spent part of this morning digging a path to the street from my apartment door as well as digging out my car for the day trip I have planned on Saturday. This afternoon, I’m going to get my daily words written on Project Femur and then settle in for the rest of the time with an advanced reader’s copy that alter ego got and some hot chocolate. How do you spend your snow days if you get them?

Release of Best Erotic Romance 2014!

Yay!! My latest story is now in the wild! In Best Erotic Romance 2014, you’ll find a foreword by Lauren Dane (SQUEEE!!!), stories by Nikki Magennis, Victoria Blisse, Lucy Felthouse, Kristina Wright, and me among others!

My story, “Closing the Deal” features Julia and Paul, two coworkers who have an unresolved encounter to work out. And they get to do it in the tropical setting of St. Thomas πŸ˜€

Cover for Best Erotic Romance 2014. Features a man and woman embracing. The man only has on white underwear and the woman is wearing a sheer black bra and panties.

If you’re looking for some sexy reading for Valentine’s Day, you won’t do better than this anthology! You can buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ARE, Kobo or your favorite independent bookstore!

Conference season is heating up!

Today I ended up dealing with conference registrations both as me and as alter ego. As me, I registered for the WRW Retreat which will be held the first weekend in April. I’m really looking forward to it. As soon as I get my tax refund, I’ll be finalizing my registration and travel plans for the RWA National Conference in San Antonio in July.

As alter ego, I got to deal with various red tape procedures that come with work sending me to a conference. The process of dealing with said red tape makes planning a bit interesting, but I’ve learned to go with the flow the last few years. If things do fall into place, the next few months will be very busy ones for me. In March, I’ll have one work conference mid-month, will hopefully be moving into a new place the weekend after that, and family visiting the week after *that. In April, I’ve got the aforementioned WRW Retreat at the beginning of the month and a family wedding in Alabama at the end of the month. May is RT mid-month, and possibly a second work conference at the end of the month. June is clear at this point, but there’s the possibility of my college BFF coming to town for a visit one long weekend. July is my birthday, possibly some family visits, and RWA toward the end of the month. I’m looking forward to all of this activity, but I know I’m going to enjoy August when it rolls around if only for the opportunity to sit back and catch my breath πŸ™‚ Do any of you have crazy conference seasons? How do you manage your schedule?

Winter weather dreaming

With the rollercoaster weather we’ve been experiencing in the DC area, all I can fantasize about these days is traveling to a tropical destination. It doesn’t quite help that I’ve been looking at my story in Best Erotic Romance to pick out various bits to excerpt. “Closing the Deal” is set in St. Thomas, and researching how it would appear in the story was pure pleasure. St. Thomas is definitely on my list of places to go to when I’ve got the travel funds. Where do you dream of going when it’s a dreary winter?

Giveaway to celebrate Best Erotic Romance 2014!

I’m doing a giveaway to celebrate Best Erotic Romance 2014! I can’t help it with the exclamation points πŸ˜€ First, I’m really proud of my story which was selected for inclusion, “Closing the Deal”. Also, Lauren Dane wrote the foreword to the anthology!! You could win one of five copies of Duty and Desire which was the last anthology edited by Kristina that one of my stories was included in. The giveaway is open internationally and closes to entries on February 11th, which is the official release date for BER 2014. Enter today!

Halfway there

Yesterday, I crossed the 50% threshold on Project Femur. I’m really pleased with my progress on it. Admittedly, since it’s more of a mystery than anything else, it’s helpful that I can frequently toss bodies into the mix πŸ˜€ I should be able to finish the first draft of it by the end of next month. After that, it’s going to sit for a bit while I dig into some of the finished projects from last year, namely Parietal and Occipital, for various rounds of edits. I know conference season will be on me before I know it, so it will be good to have a number of projects in various stages of completion ready in case anyone asks. In fact, I think I may dip my toe into PP this weekend since I have a rare plan-free weekend. What are your weekend plans?

Where to find me in 2014

I thought I did a post about this, but I see that was only in my imagination. I did remember to create an appearance list over on the sidebar, so you can check back there for updates to this schedule.

What I have scheduled to date:

April 6, 2014
Carroll County PL – Westminster Branch
Westminster, MD
Moderating WRW panel
Notes: This is WRW’s post-retreat event. The final line-up of authors participating has not be decided, but I am the organizer and will be the one asking them questions πŸ™‚

May 13-18, 2014
RT Booklovers Convention
New Orleans, LA
Booksigning
Notes: I should be signing copies of Duty and Desire and Best Erotic Romance 2014. I know other authors from each of the anthologies will be there, so you should be able to get their signatures as well!

July 23-26, 2014
RWA National Conference
San Antonio, TX
Booksigning & panel
Notes: I’ll be doing a workshop with Jennifer Lohmann about juggling two careers. I still have to register and fill out the booksigning form, but I expect I’ll be signing copies of Best Erotic Romance 2014.

When your plan is knocked askew

So, in my last post, I discussed my daily routine a bit in terms of my daily word count goal. What I don’t think I have discussed is the technical aspects to my writing setup. I primarily use Google Docs because I want to have the ability to write across devices any time, any where–that I have internet access. That is the huge drawback for using a system like this. For the most part, I do have reliable internet access, but Comcast did something funky with my landlord’s account and cut off access Thursday morning. This was complicated by the fact that I’d forgotten to download a backup copy from Google Docs like I try to do every day. Well, I had only instituted that little procedure on Monday, so it hadn’t sunk in yet.

I discovered the internet outage after I had confirmed my shower was still not working. Apparently the shower issue was the easier one to fix. That was one human error on my part and I found there’s a lever which controls water pressure πŸ™‚ However, the internet issue wasn’t fully resolved until this morning. When I realized that my writing time was shot on Thursday, I decided to head into the office early. I had hoped that the internet issue would be resolved by the time I got home, so even though I thought about bringing my netbook into the day job to download a copy of the file I’d been working on, I chose not to. Dumb move. As I had also ended up working an extra hour at the day job, I decided not to bother attempt writing on my phone. That’s hard enough to do when I’m perfectly in mind to do it. Friday morning when I woke up and discovered the internet was still out, I packed up the netbook and headed into the day job early. I got on our guest network and downloaded a copy of the file from Google Docs. Sadly, I was not pleasantly surprised when I got home as the internet was still out. But because I had the backup file, I could work offline. I know there’s an offline option for Google Drive (which houses Docs), but I’ve yet to make that work correctly for me.

In addition to being at a total goal deficit from when I decided not to work on Thursday, I was still about an additional 1000 words down from when I’d been sick at the beginning of the month. This is one of the reasons why I like to schedule my weekends as non-writing times. If I get behind due to various circumstances beyond my control like I did this week, I can cut into those weekends and not feel overwhelmed. Today I was able to completely eliminate the deficit and add an additional 100 words or so to Project Femur. Even better is that I was able to do it in an hour and forty-five minutes. I now feel good that my day wasn’t spent obsessing over getting the words done, and I don’t have them hanging over my head tomorrow when I will not be home. Instead, alter ego can head up to Philadelphia for the ALA Midwinter Meeting and play with her librarian friends πŸ™‚

To sum up: when your plan is knocked askew, treat each new day or week as a fresh slate. Don’t let what you’ve “lost” hang over your head. You will make it up in whatever way works best for you! What tips do you have for correcting your course when things don’t go as planned?