Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Finds!

Book Marketing Buzz has a huge list of Twitter apps and useful sites

Dear Author gives us 10 Author Online Promotional Don'ts

A new networking tool for romance writer's, via Renee Rocco of Lyrical Press

To brand or not to brand - from Tera Kleinfelter at Samhain's blog

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Evolution of a Novel

I'm guest blogging at Lyrical Press today!!

Come and read about the long and twisted process from friendly nudge to completed novel, and find out how Dino and Seth came to be.

LIKE COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS A Dino Martini Mystery by Elle Parker

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where was I all weekend?

I was at my dad's cabin, one of my favorite places in the world, and also one of my best places for writing. Our cabin has beautiful views out every window and a serene and peaceful atmosphere. It also has several great spots to set up and work on my latest novel...

This is my favorite:


This is the desk my dad built up in the loft of the cabin, and I have spent many happy and productive hours working at this desk. You have to kind of crawl into place in that chair, because most grown adults can't stand up straight in the loft, but once you're there, it's a very comfortable spot.

The weather was so nice this weekend, I actually did most of my work sitting out on the screen porch - but that's much less photogenic.

I dearly love to see other people's work spaces. Do you have a picture of your desk on-line? Post and link in the comments and let everyone see.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Finds!

Here's the links for this week. Just a couple since it was a busy busy week around here.

Excellent advice on using social media for authors, from Malle Vallik

From Linda Suzane via Twitter - very useful little site to help you get a handle on your Twitter followers

Coming up in the next week or so, I'll have lots of fun things going on. I'm taking part in the big 3-day M/M Chat at LiteraryNymphsChat, which should be a lot of fun. AND, I'm going to be guest blogging at the Lyrical Press Blog

Have a wonderful long weekend everyone! I plan to - I'm heading to the cabin!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Today you can find me answering Ten Silly Questions over at Rick Reed's Blog!

And congratulations to Hoskie, who won the copy of LIKE COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTSat the Lyrical Press blog yesterday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Giveaway Day!

Lyrical Press is giving away a book a day this month, in celebration of their first birthday - and today is MY day!!

If you would like a chance to win a free copy of my M/M erotic romance/mystery novel, then hop over to the Lyrical Press Blog and comment on the LIKE COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS giveaway page!

The winner will be announced tomorrow in the blog.

If you can't wait that long and you'd like to buy your own copy, you can go straight to the website: BUY YOUR COPY NOW


Monday, May 18, 2009

Like Coffee and Doughnuts - Available today!

My book is out! Available right now at Lyrical Press!!


Like Coffee and Doughnuts
By Elle Parker
Genre: Romance/M/M
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9824170-5-8
Length: Novel
Digital Publication Date: May 18, 2009
Cover Art by Renee Rocco



Dino Martini might accept his friend Seth as a lover--if they can stay alive.

Dino Martini is an old-school P.I. in a modern age. Sure, he may do most of his work on a computer, but he carries a gun, drives a convertible, and lives on the beach. Best friend and mechanic Seth Donnelly will back him in a fight, and there's not a lot more Dino could ask from life.

Until his world is turned upside down.

A dangerous case and a new apartment are just the start. His friendship with Seth has turned into a romance, only Dino has never had a boyfriend before. Can he handle this sudden twist? Just as he begins to believe it's possible, he loses Seth in more ways than one...


Chapter One

When I went into Ed's Garage looking to get backup from my friend Seth, I knew immediately my job was going to be harder than I'd thought. Seth and his latest "date," a blonde with short spiky hair and pretty legs, were tangled up on top of a red Ford Torino necking like the world was coming to an end. Neither one of them had a shirt on, but she wore a black and pink polka dot bra. She also wore a pale green skirt under which Seth's hand had disappeared. My timing wasn't good, but I was glad I hadn't come any later.

She saw me first and gave me a pretty smile, apparently not too disturbed by a stranger walking in on her fun. Seth was doing something to her neck that might have been kissing, but reminded me of the way he ate.

She prodded him and said, "Hey, we've got company."

When Seth raised his head, he looked surprised, but that quickly changed to irritation when he saw who it was. He didn't need to say a word for me to know exactly what he was thinking.

I smiled. "I thought you had to have the hood up to do a tune up."

"Not when we start with me first," he said. "Don't you have someplace better to be?"

"I'm sorry, I had no choice. Believe me, I did not want to do this, but duty calls."

"Tell duty to call back in about an hour, Dino." He went back to what he'd been doing.

"You're Dino?" the girl asked, lighting up. "I've heard about you."

"Dino Martini, at your service," I said. "Nice...bra."

"Thanks." She grabbed a fistful of Seth's hair and pulled him up to look at her. 'Don't be rude to your friend. He's obviously here for something important."

"He's here because whatever job he's got going this evening involves a high likelihood of him getting his ass kicked." He turned to look at me. "Am I wrong?"

I shrugged. "Hard to say with a case like this, but I don't like to take chances."

"What now?" Seth looked defeated already, which was good, because it meant this wouldn't be nearly as difficult as I'd thought.

"Cheating wife," I said. "You know how those can be."

"Yeah, yeah, all right."

Seth Donnelly is about five foot seven, has an unruly mop of carrot colored hair, and although he's thirty-three, he often acts like he's twelve. He's my mechanic, but he's also been a good friend for a lot of years, and there's no one I'd rather have next to me in a fight.

He slid off the hood of the car and told the girl, "I guess I'm gonna have to catch you some other time."

"That's okay," she said, climbing down and pulling her shirt on. "I have to get to work anyway. Can you look at my car tomorrow?"

"Sure, bring it by after three."

She gave him a quick kiss, got in the Ford and drove out, turning left, toward the beach. I was willing to bet she worked in one of the tourist bars down in John's Pass.

"Sorry about that," I said, turning to Seth.

"No sweat. Buy me dinner and we're square. She's cute enough, but her brother's the one I'd really like to nail."

I shook my head. "You bring a whole new meaning to the word 'sleaze', you know that?"

"Oh, come on, it's not like that. She knows. She's just in it for the fun and the free service on that wreck she drives. Did she look especially brokenhearted to you?"

"No," I admitted. "I can't say that she did."

"So tell me about the case," he said, grabbing his shirt off the workbench.

"Not that much to tell. This guy's had me following his wife for a while, and I finally caught her cheating on him with a long haul trucker. Turns out she's been meeting up with all kinds of them off a website called The Hot Trucker's Hookup."

"No shit, are you serious?"


"Sweet deal for the truckers, man. They can line up something everywhere they stop."

"That's pretty much the idea," I said. "They've got quite the little community on there."

I had followed Amy Ware all the way out to Florida's Interstate 75 and wound up spending an afternoon playing "Peeping Tom" through the ground floor window of a cheap hotel. On my fifth pass, I nearly swallowed my cigarette. She had her guy trussed up in a horse's harness and reins with the thing in the mouth and the whole nine yards, and she was ridin' him for all he was worth. I took easily fifty shots of that.

I'm kind of a mix between the old school P.I. and the modern "private investigator," which means I do my fair share of computer searches and background checks on top of the more traditional tailing of cheaters and mystery solving. But I drive a Mustang convertible, I carry a gun, and I live on the beach.

Well, close to the beach.

You are what you drive, they say, and I am a 1966 model of stylish sophistication with a sporty rakishness and a lot of muscle. Instead of Vintage Burgundy, though, I'm your average Italian color, and I have maybe a moderate amount of muscle. When I was a little younger, I had the classic Italian greaser look going on. Now I don't have quite enough hair on top to pull it off, but I'm told I still look pretty damn good.

I named the car Matilda because of her white ragtop, which makes her look like an old lady. She is, without a doubt, my most prized possession. I bought her eight years ago, after an especially lucrative case, and while she was in pretty good condition to begin with, Seth and I restored her to the level of perfection she exists in most of the time these days.

Outside, Seth dropped into the front seat next to me. He looked in the side view mirror and scrubbed his fingers through his hair. That's what passes for styling for him. He plucked his sunglasses out of the collar of his shirt and slid them on. It never fails to impress me how he can make slovenly look good.

"You goin' in carrying on this one?" he asked.

"I don't think so," I told him. "This guy is money. If he gives me trouble, it's going to be of the fist swinging variety, which is why I wanted you along."

"Are we gonna run it the usual way, then?"

"If you expect to be fed."

Certain people do not take bad news well, and if they can't lash out at the object of their anger, they'll often take it out on the closest thing available. I generally happen to be sitting across from them at that point, and I've learned to take precautions.


I'm so excited - seems like I've been waiting forever for this, and now it's real!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Like Coffee and Doughnuts - Cars style!

I've had a crazy busy week, and I can't quite think coherently - especially with the excitement of my book coming out tomorrow...

So I bring you a photo representation of my novel done with Matchbook cars! The burgundy Mustang is Dino (he drives a '66 Mustang convertible named Matilda), and the Chevelle is a redhead, like Seth. The sand in the bottle is actually from Madeira Beach.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Finds!

Here's the latest round of things I found interesting, useful, or worthy of passing on this week:

Phaze call for submissions

Phaze Raven - Halloween/Horror
Deadline: June 1, 2009

Good advice on submitting for anthologies from Samhain

A look at story length from Obsidian Bookshelf – are novellas the new black?

Here’s some story fodder for you: Babies switched at birth found out 56 years later

How to avoid the pitfalls of first person narrative – by Julie Ann Dawson

Via Lisa J Jackson on Twitter – a PDF to editable text converter

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Show me your gadgets!

Well, I did have to resort to the complete hard drive reformat, but that went well, and I now have a fresh clean desktop to work with. I've gotten Windows all updated, and I'm downloading all the newest versions of my favorite programs.

The thrill of being able to do all my work on one computer again, and getting all my applications set up just the way I want them, reminded me of the thrill of discovering a cool new app or tool for the first time.

Last fall, I learned about Google Reader and it revolutionized my life. I'm serious - it made the chore of following blogs into something fun and easy and now I see new posts right away. I would link to Google Reader, but the link goes to my own account rather than a website. If you Google it, it's the first thing you see - well worth a try if you haven't used it.

Another of my very favorite discoveries was shown to me by a good friend, about five years ago. It's called Maxthon, and it's the best browser I have EVER used (including Firefox). Maxthon is tabbed browsing at its best, with drag-n-drop links, split screens and many other nifty tools.

Now that I'm learning how to use Twitter, and getting something of a following, I'm starting to look around at some of the applications for Twitter, and I've strongly been eyeing up Tweetdeck. Supposedly, it lets you group followers into columns and makes it easier to follow what's going on - something I could use.

What I would REALLY like to find is a program that lets me read and manage two or more FREE Yahoo email accounts at one time. Sadly, the only way you seem to be able to link accounts is if you upgrade to their paid service. At $20 a year, it's not too bad, but I still prefer free.

What are YOUR favorite tools, gadgets, programs or websites? I'm always looking for more spiffy toys!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Ode to Editing

This post was sparked by a comment Alexis Grant made a few days ago, in which she said that she, too, loved editing.

I don't hear that from too many people.

In fact, what I hear most of the time is how much people HATE editing. But I don't, I adore it. There are times when I think I like it better than the actual writing.

The truth is, I'm really more of a words person than I am an ideas person, so getting the story down on paper in the first place can sometimes be a pretty big struggle for me. But give me pages and pages of prose that need to be polished up (and cleaned of unnecessary alliteration), and I get all excited. It's like sculpting to me. I can take this mass of verbiage that has "potential" and reshape into something that's actually fun to read.

I enjoy tinkering with words and experimenting with turns of phrase. I love to take a clunky scene, figure out what's wrong with it, and turn it into a valuable part of the story.

On a grander scale, I have learned that I really do have the power to completely rework a novel if I have to. When I was writing my last novel, I got to a point where I realized the beginning was much to slow and I needed to bring the actual mystery forward more. To make such drastic revisions, I printed out the pages and cut apart all the sections so I could try them in various configurations. When I found the one that worked, I taped all the sections back together and used that as a template while I reworked the MS file.

It was a blast - when I was done, I felt like I was on top of the world.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday - can't live with it, can't shoot it.

It's really not THAT bad a Monday. It's not as bad as several of my days last week. But someone's got to be the scapegoat, and who better than Monday, right?

I've had a chronic computer issue for several weeks now, in that I can't get on-line with my main laptop. This is frustrating the hell out of me, because I am used to being able to do all my work, promo, networking, etc. from one computer - that one. I have all my photos and files, my excerpts on there.

I've been making do by working from my desktop computer at work, and from my husband's computer at home, but really....this is driving me nuts! I want everything back in one central location again. (And I want it NOW! *stamps foot*)

We're going to put in a call to an old employee of ours who was always very good at this stuff, and see if some beer and maybe a dinner won't entice him to take a look at my baby.

Wish me luck?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I take my assignments seriously!

Part of the Blog Book Tours class that I'm taking involves creating a Twitter account and learning how to effectively network and promote in that format. So, I've been spending quite a lot of time playing with and thinking about Twitter in the last few days.

Last night? I dreamed about it.

I had the strangest dream last night in which I was walking around town and noticed that Twitter ID names were standing around, leaned up against street lights or trees, coummunity bicycle style. They were there for anyone to use who needed to send a Twitter message and wasn't at home to do it. It was so bizzare - the words were actually about the SIZE of a bicycle, and just leaning there, kind of like Sesame Street.

Since I brought it up anyway, I should introduce my Twitter and invite anyone who would like to, to follow me!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hello muse!

Life is good! My wayward muse came back to me last night, and I finally managed to move forward from the point I've been stuck at for weeks.

Now, I'll admit I haven't been giving the WIP my utmost attention lately, what with organizing promo, doing homework for the Blog Book Tours class, and trying to promote the May Birthday Celebration for Lyrical Press. Not to mention the kids and the day job...

But in the back of my mind, every time I thought about opening that file and getting back to work - I'd freeze up. I was convinced it stunk and there was no rescue and no point in bothering. Finally, finally, I sat down last night and started to peck at the keyboard, putting down any old words until things started to flow again.

And they DID! I mean, it still stinks, but that's okay - I'm allowed to write shitty first drafts, that's my mantra. I can fix it in editing, and I like editing. We're not talking pages and pages of prose, either. I wrote about 1200 words, but that feels like SO MUCH when you've been stuck.

The really nice part is that I know where the scene is going and when I sit down to write this morning, I think things are going to go pretty well.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Notable links of the week

I have a routine of reading various blogs and groups throughout the week, and I learn all kinds of valuable things that I'm so grateful someone posted. So, I like to gather them up and pass them along for others who might might have missed this information.

Happy Friday!

By way of NA Sharpe’s blog, I have news of the 4th annual Muse Online Writers Conference: October 12 - 18, 2009. It’s free and it’s on-line! Registration ends August 1st.

Great discussion of ebook piracy here on Jessiewave’s Review blog

A good article about Twitter for authors in Publisher’s Weekly, via BlogBookTours in…Twitter! What else?

Both Loose Id and Torquere Press have been putting out calls for submissions in their short story and anthology lines

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What makes you take a chance?

So, what is it that will make you take a chance on an author you've never heard of before?

It's no secret that my first novel is coming out in a couple of weeks, and I have a lot of promo and advertising ahead of me. I've been out there in the groups and loops, offering opinions in Yahoo, taking part in chats, and schmoozing on blogs. I've been making an effort to get my name known out there.

Soon, however, is the real deal. On May 18th I have an actual book to promote and I'll be out there showing my baby off to the world....

I have some printed cards, I have a slew of interesting blog posts relating to the book, I have some giveaways and contests planned. I even already have a handful of blog tour stops set up.

People will often buy books from authors whose work they're already familiar with, but what is it really that makes you take a chance on a brand new one?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sometimes you just have to phone it in...

Sometimes it's just one of those days.

Sometimes there is family drama, and your publisher is calling in help, and work is crazy busy. Every time you answer the phone, you're landed with another short deadline, another problem, another project. The bills are past due, the paperwork is piling up, and something else needs to be redone.

Sometimes you just have to retreat to a bar, get a beer, and send in your blog challenge with your iPod....

What is your escape when you have one of those days?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A little summer dreaming...

This is one of my favorite views in Madeira Beach, FL - Dino Martini's stomping grounds. That's taken from the gazebo of a little restaurant called Waltz.

Now all I need is a glass of sangria!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Free ebooks all month long!

This month marks the first full year for Lyrical Press, Inc. and to celebrate they have lots of fun things in the works.

For starters, they are giving away an ebook a day at the LPI Blog. All you have to do each day is comment and you have a chance to win a free ebook - winners are announced the following day.

That's 31 chances to win free ebooks!

Including my own LIKE COFFEE AND DOUGHNUTS later this month.

At the end of the month, they'll be giving away a gift basket filled with all kinds of goodies donated by Lyrical Press authors (including something fun from me).

So stop by the Lyrical Press blog this month and check out the party!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I'd like to take a moment to welcome everyone from the Blog Book Tours group!

This is a fantastic learning experience and it looks to be a lot of fun. You can expect to be hearing more from me now that I'm taking part, AND I can finally say those magic words:

My book is coming out this month!

Like Coffee and Doughnuts will be released from Lyrical Press on May 18, so you can look forward to announcements, interviews, guest blogging, and even a few contests!

On top of that, this month is Lyrical Press's first birthday and I'll be taking part in several events to promote that as well.

It's going to be a fun month!