Saturday, December 29, 2012

SM Johnson ~BDSM Bedtime Stories

I was invited me to submit an excerpt to be read as an audio clip for BDSM Bedtime Stories.

Mmm... I can't even tell you how hot, hot, HOT it is.

I'm happy to bring to you an audio excerpt of Above the Dungeon read by the absolutely amazing Sirly Eric.

Check it out! BDSM Bedtime Stories - Above the Dungeon

Leave a comment here, in comments beneath the audio/slide show, or in the discussion area **HERE** (you may need to be a group member) for a chance to win a Smashwords e-copy of the book.

Comments in all three places will count as three entries. I'll let my husband draw a winner, (or two or three) from his hat on January 15th.

I am just tickled. Go, have a listen. But if you're not alone, I suggest headphones, cuz it's not appropriate for the workplace or the kids.

Thanks bunches to La Crimson Femme and BDSM Bedtime Stories for this cool audio clip. And thanks to the band Leaether Strip for permission to use their lyrics in Above the Dungeon - the scene would not be nearly as intense without the lyrics. And thanks, always, to those who read and enjoy my books.

Want to hear the song? Strap Me Down by Leaether Strip

Like the music and want to learn more about Leather Strip? Leaether Strip on Facebook

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee~ Someone Knew

It was a fairly average Monday morning here in my house. I left the house early for a doctor appointment. My husband woke IzzyG and badgered her to get ready for school. I don't know if he sent her to the bus or dropped her off on his way to work, but yes... our child went to school today. This is our reality. And our reality tells us that our child's school is a safe place.

Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT had standard lock-down practices in place.

Our school doesn't.

And still we send our precious girl to school.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ New Story Excerpt

Good morning, Darlings, and welcome to Thursday Morning Coffee!

Alas, I have to work early, early this morning, so I can ditch early to watch my kid perform in the school program - ahh, the talent, the crowds, the parking five miles away - such bliss does the Holiday bring.

Have I mentioned that I hate Christmas? Perhaps I mentioned it last year. Yeppers, I am sorry to report that I have a very Grinch-like attitude about the season. I don'd sent cards. I haven't decorated or put the tree up. I HAVE made Spritz cookies and shopped, oh yes, indeedy - I don't mind that part so much. Don't panic - the tree will get put up, oh, sometime during the coming weekend, perhaps, provided I talk myself into vacuuming up the dog hair.

And then I will go to work. This is my lucky year - I'm scheduled to work day shift on December 20th, and the evening shift from December 21st right through to December 25th. So I won't even have the weekend to spend with my family. (I don't hate my family, by the way - I just hate the frenzy of the season and how it is impossible to spend enough time anywhere to make anyone happy).

December 26th the tree will come down and get packed away until the week before Christmas NEXT year.

And don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the tree - just... well, our house is what you might call "lived in" - and the addition of Christmas decorations just seems to turn "lived in" into "total chaos."

Anyway, enough of my Bah, Humbuggery...

I'm working on a new and exciting thing I call... (drum roll, please).... Het Porn.

Yes, my friends, I am writing an erotica book wherein one protagonist is male and the other is FEMALE. I know this is a stretch for me, but as a female married to a male for oh, about twenty years now, I think I can handle it.

So what inspired this, anyway? (As I'm sure you are asking).

Well, definitely not Fifty Shades of Grey. There are no antique books, no helicopter rides, no crazy rich millionaires. Oh, yeah, there aren't any virgins in the story, either. Or college students. It was a little bit inspired by something else that I read, although I couldn't tell you the title or the author for the life of me. I was intrigued by the "snowed in" concept.

So, without further ado, meet Piper Matthews and Ian Graff...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ What I read

Good morning, darlings!

My Kindle has about 100 books on it waiting to be read, and my Amazon wish list has about 100 more. So this morning I thought I would share with ya'all how I find all these books.

Other than the "Amazon recommends" lists, most of the books I buy or add to my wish list come from book review blogs. There's nothing cooler than finding reviewers who seem to like what I like in books. And I really love finding reviewers who DISLIKE the same things as I. They tell me what to avoid. But overall, book reviewers go a long way toward helping me decide what to read.

I'm not saying the review blogs I follow are the same ones everyone should follow - I mean, don't get me wrong, I'd love to drive traffic to these particular blogs, mainly because I enjoy each of them - but your taste often won't be my taste.

If you want help choosing your next read, I urge you to find some book blogs. The best way to do this, I think, is to look for positive reviews for a book you really liked, and see if any of those reviews were written by a book blogger. It's at least one way to find reviewer-bloggers with who share your taste in books. Then you can sit back and let them blaze the trail.

Let me tell you - these people amaze me. I love to read, and have been a bookworm all of my life, and I do make an effort to write reviews that I post on Amazon and Goodreads, but I've got nothing on these folks. Even when I love a book, I'm don't always have the ability to communicate what I loved about ir in a coherent way.

Oh, sure, I can WRITE a book - but writing about a book in a critical but positive (because I don't usually take the time to write reviews of books I hate) way leaves me finger-tied (versus tongue-tied). I find myself writing things like, "I really, really liked this book."

So here are the book bloggers that I follow, the people who are to blame for the 100 books waiting on my Kindle:  (I'll be adding icons, buttons, or banner URL's, pending permission from the individual bloggers).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ Stuff I would do

Good morning, and welcome to Thursday Morning Coffee!

Our house has been like the sick bay of an old Star Trek television episode. Actually, I barely remember what the sick bay looks like, so I don't know why I said that except it sounds somewhat more humorous than my actual feelings about the topic.

Because I'm a dunderhead, I stare at IzzyG in groggy-eyed bewilderment in the middle of one sleepless night after another wondering how long this can go on.

The answer is, apparently, FOREVER. Or at least until I remember she has asthma and procure for her a "red zone" inhaler. Duh.

And of course, I get sick, too.

So after 11 (child) and 7 (me) days being sick, we finally visit the Urgent Care center - where she gets a new inhaler - that it turns out she's allergic to - and I get diagnosed with Pink Eye.

Oh, life is grand, isn't it?

At this moment, I am not feeling too bad, except that my ribs are aching and I have a pulled muscle in my shoulder blade region from all my excruciating hours of hacking my lungs out last night. Ugh. It is a dry, very useless, wracking cough that makes me wet myself attractively and nearly pass out from lack of oxygen. Yes, darlings, I will admit to living the life of high glamour.

Despite living in the sick house of near-death-by-upper-respiratory-infection for the past two weeks, I actually managed to hit my NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words - yesterday. Whew. I'm not sure I've ever finished early before.

I will say - it wasn't stressful at all. It was mostly a matter of using my writing time productively - i.e. I only got lost on YouTube once, and I only stalked Anne Rice's FB page once (I'm not even going to tell you what I stumbled upon that involves frozen balloons and male body parts - and you should be grateful).

So I have captured my writer-bug again, and for that, I am grateful.

But on the days that I was quivering at death's door, I had an opportunity to do things that I assume non-writers do on a regular basis: Watch movies and read books.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ Thanksgiving!

Happy Thursday - and happy Thanksgiving. I hope ya'all eat good food and please don't forget to take a moment to be thankful for the good things in your life.

If you can spare a few dollars, this is a great time of year to donate to a charity close to your heart. This fall I have donated to NaNoWriMo, and the Lake Superior Zoo, which is my local zoo, that suffered devastating losses from the crazy flooding we had in June. Still on my list this season is to donate some dollars to, to help a village in an impoverished country obtain a clean, accessible water source.

I can't afford to donate big dollar amounts, but I decided I CAN donate a few of the dollars I consider disposable income - dollars I spend on books or music or toys that I buy for IzzyG for no reason other than she's my only daughter and I can afford it. See what I mean? I'm not taking these dollars out of the household budget - although maybe I cook an extra meal at home that week instead of eating out, or visit my library instead of loading my Kindle.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

SM Johnson ~ naughty excerpt from NaNoWriMo

How about an excerpt from Dungeon 3? Still need a title. Hmm... Three in the Dungeon... ?

I titled these books a bit awkwardly, didn't I? Guess that one's all on me. Drat.

Ahem. Anyway. I said naughty excerpt, right?

The following is a rough, raw draft. So forgive me in advance. Rated ADULT. Contains sexual situations involving men.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ Happy NaNo

Happy NaNoWriMo!

Busy, busy around here. We're in the middle of my mom's move - pretty stressful, but hopefully the really tough stuff is almost over.

As for NaNo - I cleared the 10,000 word mark yesterday, and maybe even discovered a couple of interesting plot points.

It's fun to play with Roman, Jeff, Jason, and Vanessa again. Dare and Zach will be making an appearance in this book, as well. I know I'm looking forward to it, hope you guys are, too!

This baby is warming up already. TWO erotic scenes in the first 10,000 words. Yay! Gotta love the hot stuff.

I don't have a title yet, though - so it's sitting around as Dungeon 3, Untitled.

Blah. That's pretty boring.

The first book is Above the Dungeon, which is the name of the Roman's club that was physically above Roman's dungeon. Yeah, that's me, extra creative.

The second is Out of the Dungeon - because there was a lot of Real Life interference in that book, and most of the scenes occurred somewhere away from the actual dungeon.

In book 3, Roman, Jeff and Vanessa are in Gigi's house in Minnesota, and working out their relationships and figuring out what their lives will be like after all the trauma of the 2nd book. I'm having trouble figuring out a title. Midwest Dungeon - meh. Not great. Minnesota Munch - argh. Too kitschy. And besides, I want the word "dungeon" in the title, for continuity. Guess I'll keep thinking about it, but hey, if ya'll have any suggestions, feel free to toss them my way.

Other book news... I've corrected an embarrassing bunch of typos in Out of the Dungeon, Amazon edition, and re-uploaded the file. Amazon notified me that there's a few more, though - sigh. So I'll be fixing those, soonest! Haven't got the fixes to Smashwords yet, but it's on my urgent to-do list.

Sheesh, that's about all I've got to chatter about today.

Have a great weekend, darlings. And if any of you are attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days for NaNoWriMo - hey, you're not crazy. Well, maybe you are. But you're in good company with a bunch of other crazy people, so good luck and have fun!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ at the salon

Good afternoon, darlings! I had coffee at the salon this morning, while getting my "winter do".

Oh, yeah, and it's November 1st!

I took the plunge, ordered my t-shirt, and started writing the 3rd book of the Dungeon series. 50,000 words by November 30th. I'm not 100% confident that I can do it this year, but I'm sure going to try. If nothing else, my writing habits will be forced back on track - and just that can be considered a win.
NaNo Tee (neither of these people is me)
I had just under 200 sales between Above the Dungeon and Out of the Dungeon in October! OMG, readers are blowing me away! I consider the month a success if I sell the equivalent of one book per day.

I almost fell over when I looked at my Amazon numbers earlier this week. And not just paid sales, either - the short story, My Fifteen Minutes, "sold" over 700 copies - IN ONE MONTH. Fan-fucking-tabulous!

So yeah, I'm heading into NaNoWriMo with awesome hair and a really great feeling about this book. Let's sex it up, shall we? Let's shall!

Sort of how we "vodka'd up" trick-or-treating last night. I'm so glad I finally figured out what those other happy parents have in their travel mugs.

All right, that's all the time I have - I've got a novel to write, darn it!

Have a great weekend, darlings!

Love, SM Johnson

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SM Johnson ~ Thursday Morning Coffee ~ End of Exile

Good morning, darlings!

Well, it's that time of year again - the grueling month of November, which thousands of writers around the world look forward to and dread at the same time.

Perhaps you've heard of NaNoWriMo?

Oh yes, indeed, National Novel Writer's Month is almost upon us, the month in which a whole bunch of crazy writers attempt to capture 50,000 words of one novel in one month. It's a wonderful and somewhat daunting task... and yet it's only 1,167 words per day.

I had two thoughts in mind about NaNoWriMo this year - the first to write down the two short stories that have been flitting in and out of my head, each running probably 25,000 words or less... or to skip the NaNo thing entirely and give myself the month off.

But, grrr, I've been in exile on hiatus for so very, very long already, and not writing is not healthy for me, for the following reasons:

1. I get depressed
2. I get lazy
3. Winter is coming (refer back to reason #1)
4. What the hell is clanking around inside my dryer?
4. My stress levels soar out of control, which leads to
        a) skin problems, specifically eczema
        b) physical problems, specifically ulcers and decreased immunity to colds and flu
        c) relationship problems, specifically I am bitchy and impatient
5. Little things like socks on the living room floor piss me off to an irrational degree
6. What is that godawful noise coming from the dryer?
6. Insomnia. Because I tend to fall asleep working on whatever scene I'm planning to write next
7. Compassion Fatigue

(Wikipedia) Compassion fatigue (also known as a secondary traumatic stress disorder) is a condition characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is common among trauma victims and individuals that work directly with trauma victims. It was first diagnosed in nurses in the 1950s.[1] Sufferers can exhibit several symptoms including hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, and a pervasive negative attitude. This can have detrimental effects on individuals, both professionally and personally, including a decrease in productivity, the inability to focus, and the development of new feelings of incompetency and self doubt.[2]

You see? Even though writing novels is a bitch as well as a total pain in the ass, I fool myself when I think I can live happily without this activity.

The fact is that I write because I can't not write. It's what I do. It's how I process, how I seek revenge, how I live alternate lives. Writing helps me to stop obsessing on the small irritations that are a part of daily life, the stuff that makes you crazy if you let it. And it helps me cope with some of the bigger stuff, too - like working on an inpatient locked psych unit, which is not always easy. Trust.

I have read a slew of awesome books during my hiatus (find reviews by SM Johnson on Goodreads and Amazon), but it's time to look forward to November and all that November will bring.

Like my mom moving into her new condo.

Like the first snow fall, which I can hardly stand to think about, but which comes on barely-noticed whisper-soft-slippered-feet so long as I'm deep into a NaNo novel.

Yeppers. Let's do that, k?

So all I have to figure out is what to write.

I have at least 50,000 words left to write on A Year of Sundays. If write it for NaNo, it's a slight breaking of the rules, which state one should write a brand new project. But I would write 50,000 new words, and I certainly wouldn't count the words prior to November in my NaNo word count. So I'd probably complete the first draft of the thing itself, which I could then feed to you, my readers, in weekly installments.

Or I could write a 3rd Dungeon book.

Above the Dungeon and Out of the Dungeon are both selling beyond my expectations, which, admittedly, are fairly low. I am thrilled beyond belief to sell one book per day, with a goal of selling 30 books per month. So far in October I have sold 120 books from Amazon alone, and 428 "sales" of the free short story My Fifteen Minutes.

This astounds me. I have been missing from the blogosphere and social networking for at least two months, and I'm still selling books.

So here's a huge THANK YOU to every reader who's purchased one or more of my books. I hope you loved them, and I'm sorry if you didn't, but you took a chance on me, and that is absolutely priceless.

And if you have an opinion about which book I should concentrate on in November -  Sundays (clean and sweet) or Dungeon (down and dirty) - go ahead and leave me a comment! It would thrill me to make a decision based on what readers want most.

Expect to see me blogging regularly again come November, and thanks for having coffee with me!

Have a great weekend, darlings.

PS - there were two pennies in the dryer. I know, just call me Sherlock.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Coffee, but not on Thursday ~ Hands

I wish I had beautiful hands.

Hands touch, soothe, excite, comfort. Hug and hold and type and jot thoughts down with a pen.

My husband's hands are rough and callused from all his hard work. Sometimes his fingerprints stand out in stark relief, marked with grease. They look strong and capable, and ever the more erotic against the smooth skin of my thigh or waist.

Ahh, but I digress.

A writer ought to have amazing hands, don't you think? Hands like this:

image from

image from

For most people hands just exist, down there at the end of their wrists, very convenient and helpful. I doubt they think about them all that much, until they get a sliver or a paper cut.

I have crone hands, and I am aware of them almost every minute of every day.

Not because they are ugly. If it were just ugliness, I could get a manicure and a sweet polish job like that glittery metallic purple.

I have eczema that currently manifests all stress into my hands, and so my hands hurt all the time.

My child grabs my hand to lead me somewhere, and I gasp in pain.

My husband holds my hand and brushes his thumb against my skin as a gesture of affection, and I hold my breath, wondering if I can pull my hand away from him without hurting his feelings.

I walk past a sink full of dishes two dozen times before I'll finally sigh and pull on heavy-duty purple rubber gloves to tackle the job. The gloves don't even help much - dry is good, but heat is still bad.

Shampoo - aargghh. Absolute torture, burning into my flesh like acid. I buy brands that aren't tested on animals, because the cruelty of animal testing is very real to me. I test it on myself every time. And it hurts.

I open and close doors with my elbows whenever possible.

The other night I tripped in my daughter's room and fell straight down onto my side, crashing to the floor like an old oak in the forest, the litter of toys on the floor causing bruises and abrasions to my right ankle, hip, flank, and shoulder. It didn't even occur to me to try to catch myself, because anything made of hard plastic with an edge would tear up my hands.

I wonder if a palm reader would get lost on an endless journey, following the lines of my palm?

I think I'm a little lost myself, today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

SM Johnson ~Total Meltdown~

I am taking an extended snooze.

It is impossible to be a anything but waitress/mother/daughter/worker-bee right now, and railing against it is going to just make me angry.

Thanks for visiting me now and again.

I'll be back, hopefully sooner than later.

And yes, I'm crabby as hell about everything.


It appears that chaos will reign until mid-November, so I am just going to let go and let life take over for a bit. Blog posting will be spotty. Part of the trouble is that whole days and weekends go by at the moment where I never get a chance to boot up the computer. Heck, I found my computer in IzzyG's room at midnight Saturday night! No one was aware that she had absconded with it. And the thing is - my computer is the one thing that I do not share well with others - it's MINE! But I digress...

I will continue writing A Year of Sundays, although I will not promise to post every Sunday, as I am going to work on it longhand, in a notebook, with a pen. While nice music is playing. Ahhh....

The best ways to check for updates will be to follow me on Twitter @SMJohnsonWrites, or if your twitter stream is really busy, check my Facebook fan page SM Johnson Writes - my status updates there are mostly what I'm reading and links to the blog posts here as they are posted, so it's not too cluttered.

I'll be back full-force once the home remodeling is done and my mom is settled in a new place. Until then, whisper the Serenity prayer in my ear once in a while.

All will be well. And hey, maybe I'll have come back with some fun new blog ideas. You never know.

PS - JC Andrijeski has released the Slave Girl Chronicles in paperback, and the Allie's War series is coming next - all with brand new shiny covers. I know because she sent me the proofs - and if you're not jealous, you should be. Because remember - I've read thousands upon thousands of books, and Allie's War is my favorite series of my whole life. Seriously. I received the books in the mail and got all fan-girly. Then I saw quotes from my reviews on the back cover and got fan-girly AGAIN. Holding and caressing Allie's War books is almost as hot to me as holding and caressing my own. So anyway. If you haven't read them - GO READ THEM!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning coffee ~

Good morning, darlings, and happy Thursday! I am STILL in a world of chaos, so coffee this morning will be short and sweet.

The kitchen floor looks absolutely fabulous, although we still need to get to the painting and the decorating. And the bathroom - oh, sigh. It is gutted. Which means a dash up the stairs when one needs to use the facilities.

We have picked out wall tile, though, and are coming up with a plan. The wall is mess where the old, odd-sized tub used to be. Ugh. I'm glad I'm not the one who has to figure out how to fix THAT.

Fixing walls, then paint, a new toilet, and re-install the vanity that's just a couple of years old. I'd like a new mirror/medicine cabinet, hubby has some reservations on that. Ah well, we will get there.

Meanwhile, the downstairs portion of our house is just a wreck of closet and bathroom stuff piled everywhere. Somewhere in the mess my Kindle is sleeping, which makes me sad because before I misplaced it, I'd downloaded a whole bunch of new books.

To compensate for the downstairs disaster, I have spent two full days upstairs organizing, recycling, and tossing stuff, because I just can't function with the whole house in chaos. The upstairs is looking pretty good. The art room is available for art. Yay! And by the end of the day today, the guest room might even be ready for a guest. Not that there's a guest on the horizon, but one never knows.

IzzyG has had karate almost every day for the last two weeks, trying to catch up on classes so she can test for her advanced orange belt. We were 8 classes short - that's never happened before. The end of the summer was busy, indeed.

But she will test - on Saturday! And then one week later, she'll be in her first Karate tournament. We shall find out what that is like. Other than that - it's all about getting back into the routine of getting to bed on time, getting up on time, bus or no bus (she HATES the bus), and getting homework done. Man, September is exhausting.

I have two short impossible romances taking up space in my head, so one of them might be my next project. I have not heard from my publisher about a release date for DeVante's Choice yet, so for the moment the final edit of that baby is on hold.

The other huge thing going on is that my mom put her house on the market, and has accepted an offer. OMG. Which means she needs to find a place to live ASAP. So I'm helping her out - mostly offering moral support more than anything.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about NaNoWriMo this year - I want to be available to help my mom move to wherever she ends up moving.

Then again - IzzyG goes to karate almost every day, so there's a full hour of writing time just sitting around available if I want to take it. Perhaps I won't shoot for 50,000 words - perhaps I'll try to get full drafts of one or both of the impossible romances written. That would be kind of cool.

Me and IzzyG and Samantha saw the most amazing rainbow last Friday night. It was just after 7 pm, and it hadn't even rained in the previous hour or two, but there it was. It was the brightest, most glow-y rainbow I have ever seen in my life. I had to pull the car over and take some pictures with my phone.

Even the phone pictures are amazing, aren't they?

I am still being pretty well-behaved - wearing nicotine patches for approximately 12 (awake) hours per day, which cuts down on the smoking a lot. At least I can breathe when I wake up in the morning. I do notice my trigger times are in the morning while having coffee (no duh, right?), and while I'm talking on the phone. So I've been taking it off at bed time - although still having really vivid and wild dreams - and putting it on in the late morning after I'm done with coffee and phone stuff and am ready to get my day going.

It's not exactly quitting, but it's better than the more-than-pack-a-day that I've been smoking. Sigh.

That's all I've got today.

I'm off to hopefully look at some apartments and condos. Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2012

SM Johnson ~ Bloody Monday ~ Finder(s) keepers

Good morning, darlings. Hope your week is starting out well.

I had a goofy morning last week. Not exactly an "if anything can go wrong, it will" day, but more like if anything else delays me from leaving this house, I'm going to be late for work. But it's not like the coffee maker overflowed and dripped ground-filled water everywhere, or that the hot water was glitchy, or that my scrubs were still wet in the dryer - so basically, I'm saying it could have been a lot worse.

The cat sneaked out the door while I was fastening the dog to her chain. (And yes, "sneaked out" is grammatically correct, even though "snuck out" sounds much better).

And while I was sitting there pondering how I was going to coax him back inside, I realized the part of the dog chain that clips to the dog's collar was sitting on the ground by my feet. With no dog in sight.

So I was like, "Oh, shit! I've lost all of our animals at once. Nice job, mama."

I went inside and grabbed a cup of joe. Then I went back out and sat on the porch, and whistled for the dog (which never works, by the way).

Then I was ever so surprised. The CAT bounded out of the bushes and came right to me, twining around my calves and doing the meow-purr that he does, the one that makes him sound grateful and aggravated at the same time.

I think it's actually his "please give me more food" vocalization. Which, I guess, could surely contain elements of grateful aggravation.

But anyway, I was going to talk about Finder, not losing things.

Author Joseph Finder, to be more specific.

See, I found this discussion on Goodreads and it was a sort of "I love Lee Child and Jack Reacher, what else do you think I'd like?" kind of question.

And there was a whole slew of recommendations, many of them books and authors I haven't read. So I was pretty much... rubbing my hands together with glee and creating a list in Word to talk to my library, because I can't get enough of Jack Reacher. And since I believe Child still writes his own books (rather than going corporate and having a team do the writing), there is some waiting for the next Reacher installment to be released.

Damn it. I hate waiting.

The best thing a reader can do while waiting is... read. And it's nice to have a place to start.

I read a Bob Swagger (character) book by Stephen Hunter, and the story was good, but the dialogue was weird and stilted, and bothered me.

So next on my list was Joseph Finder. I read Power Play. Well... it blew me away. I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, because there was no way I was going to bed before finishing this book.

The main character was Jake Landry, and the author did a great job of giving Jake the past experiences and unusual skill-set that he needed to get through a really tough situation.

Finder also used an interesting flashback technique, that wove Jake's past experiences into the narrative. I won't say they were woven in seamlessly - you knew you were going into a flashback, there was no subtlety about that - and the flashbacks were non-linear, but they were interesting. They followed two different story lines - Jake's rocky childhood and adolescence, and his adult relationship with ex-girlfriend, Ali. And since Ali is a current character in the main story line, their history together raises the stakes in the current badness going on, and definitely gets the reader rooting for Jake.

Actually, I started rooting for Jake at the beginning of the book, when he gave a second chance to someone who deserved to be fired. That whole scene sets us up to like Jake, who's a down-to-earth guy who has a good sense of human nature, and even though he may be brilliant, he doesn't shove his brilliance in other people's faces.

I just started reading another Finder book, called Paranoia. Not altogether sure where it's headed, but I can hardly wait to find out.

So okay, I'll say it... fans of Lee Child will probably like Joseph Finder.

Have a great week, darlings!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

SM Johnson ~ A Year of Sundays ~ ch 15 pt 2

Chapter 15 – Sunday, August 7th
Part 2


We all stared at Liz, waiting for the rest of the story.

Eric was a high-level administrator at the big medical center in town. And by high-level, I mean pretty much the highest. Like CEO.

There was a reason Liz was able to devote forty hours a week to her church – her small salary was pocket change.

"You can't stop there," Sam said. "You gotta tell us the rest."

Liz closed her eyes, sighed, and slumped in her chair, shaking her head. "It's absolutely awful. I mean, I can hardly believe it."

"Come on, Liz," I said, "you have to tell us more."

She nodded, but it wasn't a strong nod. "We should clean up, first."

Cleaning up took all of nine minutes. I'd gone to town on paper products – plates, utensils, – so all we really had to do was toss everything in the trash, wash some milk glasses, and wipe the dining room table.

When we were done, we went into the living room, where Liz dropped right onto the floor, lying on her stomach with her face buried in her arms.

Her shoulders were shaking and I thought she was crying again.

But when she rolled over, her eyes were dry.

She sat up and scooted toward the couch, leaned her back against it and curled her legs to her chest, wrapping her arms around them.

It was the pose she'd always taken when confessing some big-girl secret to me and Melanie, when she was going to impart 'important, life-changing information' to her little sisters. Like when she was fourteen and Mel was eleven, and I was ten, and the topic was how parents really make babies.

"Spill it," I said, mostly because I knew she was going to.

She sighed. "The story sort of ends with me bailing Eric out of jail, so I'm just trying to figure out where it starts. Maybe with Eric's son getting sick. He didn't even tell me any of that part until this morning, but his middle son, Jacob, has always struggled with depression, and every few years he tries to commit suicide."

Huh. That was news to me. Eric, apparently, has all kinds of secrets. But while I was feeling insulted about being kept in the dark, Elizabeth was still talking. "So last week Jacob took a month's worth of his meds, got real lethargic, and ended up in the emergency room, drinking charcoal until he started puking and shitting himself, and eventually getting transferred to inpatient psych."

"Like my inpatient psych?" Melanie asked.

Liz nodded. "Yeah. But not the easy unit you were on."

Melanie rolled her eyes. "Yeah, like I started out on the easy unit. Come on, you know better."

"My story, right?" Liz said.

"Yeah, okay." Melanie agreed.

"I don't know all the details," Liz went on. "But I guess we can assume Eric was under a fair amount of stress." She raised her eyebrows and shrugged, and I almost laughed.

"He went to visit his son and have a family meeting. You know, like we had with Joe. And he didn't do it the way we do when we visit Mel, either. He let himself onto the unit with his security badge."

"So he basically snuck onto the unit?" I said.

"Well…" her mouth twisted into a wry smile. "He does have security access, you know, so maybe he didn't think on it too hard. I don't know. Whether it was appropriate or not, that's what happened. Jacob turned on him during the family meeting, blamed all his failures on Eric, said he wasn't present even when he was home, always obsessed with work, reading reports, researching processes at other hospitals, and, especially after the divorce, the only time Eric showed Jacob that he gave a shit was after Jacob tried to commit suicide. So Jacob told Eric to get the fuck out and just forget about him, since that's pretty much what Eric did most of the time anyway."

"Ouch," Josie said. "Can you imagine? I mean, there were so many of us, but we never had to do anything extreme to get attention."

"Eric stormed out of the meeting, let himself off the unit, and was going to go back to his office. But then he thought of something important he wanted to say to Jacob, which, hysterically, he can't remember now, so he turned around and went back."

"Obviously that was a bad idea." Sam, being a smart-ass.

Liz frowned at him. "Who's telling this story, anyway?"

I was distracted for a minute, remembering… something mom journaled, about Eric seeming nice and fine and upstanding, but that she always thought he was evasive, maybe even shady, but she couldn't put her finger on it. Just the fact that he never talked all that much. I couldn't remember exactly.

Liz was still relaying the minutia of Eric's thought process, using his badge to let himself back into the locked unit, storming down the hall (okay, so whatever he'd planned to say to Jacob couldn't have been all that nice), and barging into Jacob's room.

Where he found Jacob's roommate having sex with someone. 

He backed out of the room, letting the door swing shut again, and stood in the hallway in shock.

I imagined the scene, and almost started laughing. All I could picture was Eric's round owl eyes even rounder behind his glasses, steam on the lenses even, hair standing on end, and Eric speechless the way Liz had been when Silas announced he was gay.

But that's not what happened, according to Liz.

What happened was that mild-mannered, administrative big-wig Eric Peoples flipped right the fuck out.

Now, understandably, he'd been under a "fair amount of strain," or whatever, as Liz had so delicately phrased it.

But an assault charge? Liz didn't explain how that came about.

She didn't get a chance.

Because Silas showed up. And he knew more about it than she did.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ Breathe

Good morning, darlings, and happy Thursday!

It is a really happy Thursday, because it's my weekend off.

Once in a while when I'm in an on-line writers forum, or a group, or on Facebook... somebody asks kind of randomly, "What's your favorite word?"

I used to have to stop and really think about it, because I love a lot of words, and I especially love the way words fit together to create a phrase that resonates with my heart or my intellect.

But I time or two ago, I did pick a favorite word: Breathe.

I realized that quite a few of my favorite songs are centered around the words breathe or breathing.

The first song I discovered by Lifehouse is about love (or obsession). I want nothing more than to sit outside your door and listen to you breathing... Oh, yeah, it's also about breathing.

Another song that I think is phenomenal (and is about the all important function of breathing) is Breathe In, Breathe Out by Mat Kearnwy. Dude has an AMAZING voice. Gray's Anatomy fans might have heard this one, as I believe it was the title song for a season or two. Here's the video. It's the "official video" - so please bear with the annoying commercial at the beginning.

I'm always obsessing with the way my characters are breathing - whether it's Master Roman controlling the breathing of a submissive, or the vampire DeVante  making a point to breathe "out loud," so to speak.

I have other favorite words, but this one has some significance this morning as I woke up this morning beyond 40 and unable to breathe.

Seriously? How can I smoke this much and cough this much and not be flirting with lung cancer and shortening my life, and fucking with my ability to breathe? It's absolutely ridiculous. I've been a smoker for a long, long time. I love it. I love the social part, I love how a break at work really feels like a break, I love the way you can use cigarettes to measure time - or to kill time when you're waiting. I like to smoke in transition - like in between doing the dishes and vacuuming the floor.

When I do quit, I suffer obsessive thinking about cigarettes, I get so cranky and bitchy that I'm hard to live with. And, of course, there's always the excuse that I gain weight... but guess what? I'm gaining weight anyway right now. Probably because I can't breathe well enough to exercise.

Good god, this breathing thing feels awfully important.

I've quit before - a few weeks here and there, and even, long ago, a stint of four years.

My brother, also a die-hard smoker, is doing great with nicotine patches and e-cigarettes.

Even my husband has used the e-cigarette to cut his smoking down from 2 packs a day to 1. Seems like everybody's making progress here but me.


I hate quitting.

But I like breathing.

So I got a couple of e-cigarettes for my birthday, and I guess I'm going to buy some patches today and see if I can't make some progress, too.

But don't hold your breath or anything.

Have a great weekend, darlings!

Monday, September 3, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ House of Night

For quite some time now - like three years - my friend Cassidy (also known as my granddaughter's mother) has been telling me I should read a YA vampire series called House of Night by author P.C. Cast and her daughter, Kristin Cast.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays ~Ch 15 pt 1

Chapter 15 – August 7th
Part 1


Well, other than the really big things like our parents dying and Melanie getting kidnapped, abused, hospitalized and stalked, last week might have been the most eventful week in the history of our family.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee~ Chaos in my Kitchen

So yes, I have been a lightweight blogger this week. Yikes! Again I must put it all into perspective that sometimes life gets in the way, and that's that. The more you rail against it, the more crazy you'll get. So it's much better to just submit.

So I thought I would share some pictures of the craziness around here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ True Blood?

Image from eonline
So, in the interest of my life being crazy, I thought I'd pose the question...

Do you watch True Blood?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee~ Show me!

Good morning, darlings, and Happy Thursday!

We are about to endure total chaos as all the appliances shall be moved out of the kitchen to install ceramic tile. Oy. The fridge shall now live in the dining room. The back door shall be barred, and the front door utilized. The stove shall be consigned to the garage, which basically means EATING OUT EVERY NIGHT! (I have zero complaints about that - haha).

Monday, August 20, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ Traditional vs Independent

All right, folks, I can't help myself. I commented on the subject of [mostly independently published] authors behaving badly, and now there are some feathers ruffled because a couple of successful traditionally published authors have spoken out against self-publishing.

Oh, the horror.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays~ ch 14 pt 2

Chapter 14 – Sunday July 31st
Part 2


"Is this a private party, or can anyone come over to play?"

The tension melted away the moment we saw Alex in the doorway. She was holding a paper bag in the crook of one arm, and a bag of ice dangled in the fingers of her other hand.

Monday, August 13, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ Cable Culture

Wow, I almost forgot to give Monday some love. I think because yesterday felt like Monday, with the hubby running off to work right away in the morning.

Today is my mom's 70th birthday - go mom! Hard to believe considering she doesn't look a day over 61.

Since I have read absolutely nothing good lately, I thought I'd talk about cable culture, and what we've been watching, and minimally, what I think of them.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays~ ch 14 pt 1

Chapter 14 – Sunday July 31st
Part 1


Well, things were a little more normal, in the sense that we didn't have to trek to the hospital to bring Sundays to Melanie because was staying at Mom's house with Josie and Jeremy.

Josie was sick enough that she couldn’t hide it from Melanie, now that they were living in the same house.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ Inspiration and change

Good Morning, darlings, and happy Thursday!

The bike trip with the husband was quite lovely. I am loving the comfort of the new bike, and Dave is quite enamored of the ability to listen to music on the bike.We dug out some CDs, had a little iTunes burning party, and ended up with quite an interesting playlist.

Monday, August 6, 2012

SM Johnson ~ Bloody Monday ~ Dreaming

Good morning, and welcome to Bloody Monday.

I am on vacation. Hopefully I'm not sitting on the back of a bike soaking wet while you're reading this. If the formatting is goofy, highlighted in white (which seems to be a problem I'm having), forgive me. I'll fix it when I get home, I promise. I am much too Virgo to ignore weird formatting.

I just don't have much to talk about in the way of fiction at the moment - been too busy packing Sprite for camp and myself for our little bike trip.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays~ ch 13, pt 3

(I apologize for the shortness of this week's installment. So much to do, so little time!)

Chapter 13 – July 24th
Part 3


We attempted to confront Melanie, but she turned on us with a fire and fury that was completely out of character. White-hot anger that left her shaking, shouts that frightened her roommate out of bed and brought the nurses running. The panic in her eyes was real, the desperation that twisted her mouth and made her clench her fists completely genuine.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ Bikes and General Busy-ness

Good morning, darlings, and happy, happy Thursday!

It's a two-happy day because I survived Sprite's birthday party, broke out the hammock, and am officially on vacation - yay! (here's a picture of Sprite's birthday bike - finally, a bike that fits her "style." Because 9 year old girls must have style. Ah, this child. She shall change the world.

Monday, July 30, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ Bullet by Laurell K. Hamilton

Good Monday morning, darlings!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Mine was busy, busy, busy. Work, and Sprite's Hawaiian luau birthday party (can you say "bacon wrapped chicken kabobs? Of course you can!"), and a lovely ride with hubby on the new Harley closing out our Sunday afternoon.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays~ ch 13, pt 2

Chapter 13 – July 24th
Part 2


It was the oddest thing in the world for Craig to show up here, ringing the doorbell like a stranger. He said hello to everybody and we, the clan, enfolded him and urged him to the dining room table.

"Come in," Liz said. "Sit down. We were just talking about going to see Melanie."

There'd been an odd tension to this whole gathering, and the room itself seemed to let out a collective sigh, as every person in it embraced Craig and silently thanked him for showing up with a side dish of distraction.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee ~ Oozing wounds...

...and other things that offend sensibilities.

There are some things that annoy me to no end.

Oozing wounds on childish knees being the primary annoyance in my life today. The knees of my Sprite.

Yikes. And... might I have mentioned in the past that Sprite has a bit of a penchant for the dramatic?

Monday, July 23, 2012

SM Johnson ~ Bloody Monday ~ Dark Fiction

Ahh, it feels so lovely to take time to read. Now that I'm working hard to tap out more words per day, I do my reading in bits and pieces, but this week I've gone the more devour-and-I'm-not-stopping-until-this-book-is-done route. Partly because I've been getting up early to work on my new book, which almost feels like giving myself permission to screw off the rest of the day.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Year of Sundays, ch 13 pt 1

Chapter 13 – July 24th
Part 1


Everywhere Silas turned, things were an absolute mess. First, and most obvious since he had to work on it every day - he was having trouble getting an important building permit. Yes, he'd put on his Armani suit, and yes, he'd stood before the zoning board and with the sketches of the proposed finished project, which presented as a very high-end, upscale residence.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee~ Here comes Beauty!

Good Morning, Darlings!

Have you heard the news? Oh, oh, oh! I can hardly wait to tell you!

Two of the three books of Anne Rice's erotic trilogy Sleeping Beauty have been re-released - at Target, of all places! And the third shall be released next week.

Monday, July 16, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ My short list

Delilah's blog

I had hoped to be posting a review (of sorts) of Wicked as they Come by Delilah S. Dawson for this week's Bloody Monday, because as I suggested last Monday, it promises to be somewhat dark and wonderfully strange. Unfortunately, although I received the paperback in my mailbox on Saturday, the rest of the weekend kicked my reading time to the curb. But I am about 50 pages in, and so far it's damn good.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays~ ch 12 pt 6

Chapter 12 - Sunday, July 17th
Part 6


"Well then," he said, still gazing at the hillside of this big town but small city. "I suppose I should tell you about Crystal."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee~ Bad Author!

Oh, here we are again, more authors behaving badly because their widdle feewings are ouchie from a negative or critical reviews... I'm not going to name names or call anyone out, or post links to the threads that ATE UP MY DAY yesterday - which was my own drama-loving fault, mind you.

Nope. Not gonna do it. I discussed authors behaving badly fairly recently in a 3-part series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Monday, July 9, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ Something Wicked...

Read reviews on Amazon coming to my mailbox, and I can hardly wait!

I have been pining to read this baby for quite a long time, but the Kindle price has continued to scare me off.

So I made some decisions that will be changing the way that I buy books.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays ~ ch 12 pt 5

Chapter 12 – Sunday, July 17th
Part 5


I want your cell phone number.
 I want to finish what we started.
I want what you took away from me when you started screaming.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee~ Men in fiction

Afternoon coffee today.

Summer is weird and screws up my schedule. Or maybe it's just holidays are weird and that's what screws up my schedule. Either way - here I am, writing about morning coffee at noon. But that's okay - I have a fresh pot brewing.

Monday, July 2, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ Magic Mike

Image from

We're going with pop culture today, rather than dark fiction.

The darkest thing about the film, Magic Mike, is the strip club when the lights are out.

The circles I run in (virtually and in the real world) are all talking about Magic Mike. The gay boys, the m/m erotica writers, the consumers of "mommy porn."
Kind of interesting how women enjoying their sexuality is suddenly okay.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays~ ch 12 pt 4

Chapter 12, Sunday July 17

Part 4

It was Sunday, and Liz and I were standing in the back parking lot near the mental health entrance, waiting for Silas and Josie so we could all go in together. Mellie actually had a doctor's order for all of us to visit at the same time, so Liz wouldn't have to bully the nurses every week. I was beginning to think that maybe Dr. B could be all right – some of the time.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee~

This is what I've heard: Amazon is removing reviews by artists (in our case, this would be writers), publishers, manufacturers, etc. that they feel are in direct competition with the product being reviewed. Apparently that covers any writer reviewing other writers' works. But hey, it's still okay to get your 200 online friends to give your shitty book a 5-star review. Even if they haven't purchased it. Or read it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Year of Sundays hiatus

A Year of Sundays will not update this week due to my complete and utter inability to snare even one uninterrupted hour to write the next installment.

I do apologize. Life just gets in the way sometimes. I'll try to have something long and juicy ready for next Sunday.


Monday, June 18, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ Dark YA

I stumbled onto a list on Goodreads that had me browsing and thinking and adding more and more titles to my wish list.

The list is called Best Teen Books About Real Problems.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

SM Johnson ~A Year of Sundays~ ch 12, pt 3

Sunday, July 17th

Chapter 12
Part 3

Craig's voice was gentle, his tone calm and sincere. "Of course he is. He's downstairs watching a movie with my dad. Do you want to talk to him?"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

SM Johnson ~Thursday Morning Coffee~

Good morning, darlings!

I had a topic all picked out for Coffee and sitting right there in my brain when it was time for Bloody Monday. And then I started a huge push to completely finish the first draft of DeVante's Choice so I could shoot it out to my early readers, and somewhere in there I forgot what that topic was going to be.

Monday, June 11, 2012

SM Johnson ~Bloody Monday~ Too scary to read

click here to make your own sign
Good morning, happy Bloody Monday to you, my darlings.

So just for shits and giggles, and as a salute to dark fiction, I am going to tell you about the most recent book I could not read. Actually, assuming I write this fast, I will tell you about a couple of books I could not read, and a couple of authors who scared the bejeezus out of me so badly that I stopped attempting to read them altogether.