Friday, December 19, 2014

To tsū or not to tsū...


It's a new social media website, sort of like Facebook with mint green borders. And right there you want to stop me, don't you? You want to ask, "Oh Liv, why would I want to join another social media site?"

Why would you?

Honestly, I didn't want to. I would love it if I could just hang out on Facebook and Twitter and get to know readers and other writers and talk about my dog or my kids and sometimes tell them about my writing projects. I probably still will, but Facebook is threatening to change the rules (again), which may limit what I can say.


I joined about a week ago, and have so far connected with people I knew from FB and twitter, but also with people that I didn't know, that I'm getting to know, which is cool. So far my stream has skewed heavily toward book promotions, but I'm hoping that'll even out some, and allow for more actual communication. So far, I'm having fun, and I've earned $0.21 for my trouble.

I mean, who doesn't want to get paid for using social media? That's one of the main differences between tsū and Facebook. The ads on tsū are blatant, taking up the right sidebar, and don't appear to be slanted at all to my interests. Which is kind of a relief. Sometimes FB can feel a little stalkerish, the way ads for shoes show up ten minutes after you looked at a pair of shoes in a different browser. But the way tsū works - and I might be a little Pollyanna here - is they earn revenue from advertisers, then give some of it back to the users who are providing and interacting with the website's content. 

As an interface, I've found it more intuitive than Google+ and a helluva lot easier to use than Ello (which, jeebus, I'll never be that hip). It's similar to twitter, in that you can organize your content by hashtags, but less abstract because you can write in complete sentences, since you're not limited to 140 characters. There are no minions behind the scenes, organizing your stream by what they think you want to see (ahem, Facebook), so if you miss someone's post, you have to go to their page to find it. Also, tsū doesn't have the ability to form groups, though there's a push among members to get the developers to add that feature.


So far, so good. There may be some deep, nefarious plot to steal my personal data or otherwise ruin things, but I like what I've seen. If you're, interested, here's a link to a how-to post by someone who has clearly drunk the cool-aide. (And I mean that in the nicest possible way.) Or if you want to join, let me know and I'll send you a code.  I don't see it replacing Facebook, but I'm hopeful I'll be able to do things on tsū that Facebook won't allow.

Have fun at your holiday parties this weekend...because I know you have holiday parties this weekend. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Merry Nooky Hook! (#MFRWHooks)

For my second Book Hooks post, I'm going back to The Santa Drag, my holiday short story available from Amazon.

In this story, Mackenzie's an out-of-work actress who takes a job as a shopping mall Santa to pay the rent. She fools everyone with her Santa drag, until the day Joe McBride walks into the mall. Joseph Timothy McBride - the real-life, got a soap opera gig and you saw him in Scream II actor. The only guy she ever really loved. Can Mack stay in character, or is it time to strip off the red coat and peel off the beard for good?

Here are a couple of lines, giving you a sneak peek at a key moment...

The streetlight across from our house had been out for a week, so there were a lot of shadows between me and the front door. I didn’t notice the man standing by the two big rhododendrons that grew in front of our house. When he spoke, I almost had a heart attack.
“Nice work today.” The familiar voice came out of the darkness.
I froze. My feet were planted on the snow-crusted cement pavers that made a path from the driveway to the front door. I wished I could sink through them.
“I didn’t think you recognized me,” I said.

Mack could be in trouble now! If you'd like to read the rest of the story, it's available for $0.99 from Amazon. Make sure you follow the linky below to check out some other hooks!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Two on Tuesday

A few years ago, I attended the Write on the Sound writers' conference. The day before the conference officially started, I participated in a pre-conference fiction workshop. It was great fun, and I got to know some pretty amazing people. Some of us kept in touch, and in the last week, two writers from that workshop published short stories. I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek at both these stories and thoroughly enjoyed them. Amanda and Diane don't know I'm doing this, but I decided to put together a quick post, showing off on their behalf.

It's a rare day that Amanda K. Byrne and I don't connect. Between email, facebook, and twitter, we give each other support, honest feedback, or a ration of shit, depending on the situation. She published Rehab last week. It's a 7000 word erotic short story, and a fantastic example of her ability to write really good naughty stuff. It's a free download... check out the links below...

An accident forces Lila into physical therapy - and onto Dean's massage table. Under his talented hands, her injuries start to heal, and sparks a desire that neither one can ignore.

Available for free from AmazonKobo, and Barnes n' Noble

I remember so clearly reading Diane Geurts' Mrs. Robinson after the WOTS workshop. The story has stayed with me because Diane's language is so clean and strong and insightful. I remember feeling panicked as I read it, as if I was on the brink of a disaster that never quite happened, and I better shut up now or I'll start giving things away. It'd be better if you checked it out for yourself...

Camilla Robinson is a formerly high-powered executive, emphasis on formerly. Now, she spends the hot summer days next to her pool, with her young daughter and Andy, one of the teenagers who lives in the neighborhood. She knows, even as she sips martinis and serves them to Andy, that her life is spiraling somewhere just out of her reach. She just can't bring herself to care, especially around the wealthy, Martha Stewart-like women who are mothers to her daughter's friends. She flirts with Andy. She puts Baileys in her morning coffee. She ruins play dates. This "long" short story is a humorous and poignant look at one woman's journey to find her way back to who she really is.
Available from Amazon

Even though I called this post Two for Tuesday, I'm going to throw in a third option for you. This is a really cool bundle from Rayne Hall. She's put together all ten of her Ten Tales anthologies (normally $0.99 each) for $2.99. I've got short stories in five of her anthologies, and they all provide a diverse look at different subgenres of paranormal fiction. Jump HERE to see her listing on Amazon. There's Ten Tales of Ghosts, and Ten Tales of Steampunk, and Ten Tales of Seers, and Ten tales of Vampires, and...

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's all about the B....

B is for Balance

That's right. It's all about the balance. See, this time of year is always crazy, and I'll tell you right now, I don't have any kind of magic formula for getting through. 

So why the blog post, then? 

Misery loves company, I guess.

There's kid stuff and family stuff and parties and shopping and decorating and why am I telling you this because you know it already. And this year, in addition to the annual holiday kerfufle, I'm desperately trying to finish edits on Aqua Follies, my semi-historic m/m romance. 

I call it semi-historic, because it's set in 1955, so not quite old enough to be a historic, but not exactly contemporary either. It's about the assistant coach of a water ballet team who comes to Seattle for the Aqua Follies, a swimming-diving-music-dance extravaganza that was a summer institution during the 1950s. The night of their first rehearsal, the trumpet player takes a solo, and our swim coach's life will never be the same. It's been lots of fun pulling from old Seattle Times headlines to build the plot, and my beta readers have good things to say about it, so that's been pretty exciting.

If only I could finish the damned thing.

I'd hoped to send Aqua Follies off to my agent by Thanksgiving. Didn't happen. Then I wanted to wrap it up by, well, last Monday.

Yeah, that didn't happen either.

Now I'm hoping it'll be out of my hands by Christmas -- and if we're lucky, into your hands sometime next year. In the meantime, I keep putting off any serious holiday preparation. Like, if I keep myself dug down deep enough in my writing cave, the rest of the world will just chill out.

Don't expect any Christmas cards from Chez Rancourt.

Getting the Christmas tree up was a huge step in a holiday direction. The image at the beginning of the post shows our actual tree. It started life as a sheet of aluminum. My husband cut the spiral with a jigsaw and tacked an LED light rope to it with zipties. He also punched holes along the edge for ornaments. My usual approach to tree decoration is the more the merrier, but with this "tree" I applied some self-discipline, limiting myself to gold and sparkly. It's not quite monochrome, but as close as I'm capable of getting.

Next think you know, I might even buy some presents.

The holiday season - with it's parties and presents and food (oh yeah, the food!) - will happen whether I'm along for the ride or not. In the interest of self-preservation, I remind myself of something Albert Einstein once said...

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Happy peddling!

BTW, what's your secret? How do you maintain your equilibrium during the holidays?

Oh, and if you've got a minute, jump HERE to my friend Elizabeth's blog, where I'm talking about why I write romance. Cheers!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hot for Friday: First Kiss

For this week's Hot for Friday post, devised by the Book Boyfriends Cafe, the task was to post a snippet from the first time the hero & heroine brushed lips. I kind of loved that idea, especially since I'll be taking part in the No Kiss Blogfest come January 2nd. It's nice to get a little kissing in ahead of time, you know?

For the purposes of this post, I decided to go with Ryan & Danielle from my contemporary romance King Stud, a  novel that's out on submission and will hopefully find a home soon. Danielle's in her early 30s, with an old house to remodel, and Ryan's a carpenter, who also happens to be her best friend's younger brother.

Her much younger brother.

That's only one of the reasons they shouldn't get together, yet here they are in Ryan's kitchen after accidentally bumping into each other in the Home Depot...

He took a long pull on the bottle and closed the laptop.  “I’m off work tomorrow. I could come by your grandmother’s house in the daylight and take a better look.”
The intensity in his eyes had her swallowing hard. “That’d be great.”
“Do you want to watch a movie or something? TV’s downstairs.”
“Sure.” But only if he picked something G-rated. Watching on-screen romance might just send her leaping into his lap.
“Throw Barnabas on the floor, babe. You look like you’re going to fall off that chair.”
The cat picked that moment to plant a paw on the small of Danielle’s back. One claw went through her sweater and dug into her skin. She jumped to her feet, hands flying. “What the hell?”
Ryan jumped up too, and swatted at Barnabas. “Git, cat.”
Barnabas jumped, squalled, and sprinted across the room.
Danielle and Ryan ended up facing each other about arm’s length apart.
“The cat…” she said.
“My roommate’s.” His gaze intent, focused, he touched her sleeve.
The room heated up, or possibly her blood was boiling from the friction between them. Her field of vision narrowed to the late-day scruff framing his mouth, and the full curve of his lower lip.
He lowered his hand to hers, interlacing their fingers.
She didn’t stop him. She curled her hand around his and her eyes slid half closed.
“C’mere.” Ryan tugged, and instead of backing away, she rocked forward, drawn to him by physics or hormones or old-fashioned need.
“Damned cat hates me,” she said, relishing his musky scent.
His free hand reached up strong and sure to cup her jaw. “Well, I like you,” he whispered.
His kiss was gentle, testing the water, giving her space to push away. He tasted malty and masculine, a flavor that could very well become an addiction. He moved closer, and then both his hands wrapped around her waist and she stretched full against him.
All of her reasons for stopping ran through her head on a continuous loop: Maeve and age and L.A. and Cherry, Maeve and age and L.A. and Cherry. He drew back so their lips were barely touching, and the scent of him and the warmth of his breath and the melting heat at the core of her body scattered those reasons like a flock of startled birds.

Jump HERE to see the list of all the bloggers playing the Hot for Friday game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hi! Me Again!

So, um, hi! I'm back on my old Blogger blog, after several years of blogging at Liv Rancourt. At some point, I'm hoping I'll be able to munge the two together, but for now, I'm here and happy about it.

See, I love the look of my website (, but don't feel like it really fits the direction my writing has gone. When I worked with Laird to design it, I was hot and heavy into drafting Hell...The Story, the first in a proposed urban fantasy series. The website absolutely fits the vibe I wanted for Hell, and while I had the tremendous thrill of seeing the book make the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards last spring, it's still out there looking for a contract. In the meantime, I've written a contemporary romance (also on submission, also the start of a series) and have been working on an m/m romance set in 1955 Seattle.

Not many sugar skulls in either of those novels.

I made the decision to resuscitate my blogger blog because it gives me more flexibility. I can change the look whenever I want, and it's easier for me to tweak the layout and what's happening in the sidebars. I can't promise that I'll turn into a blogging maniac, but I swear part of the reason I've been so irregular is I didn't feel like the look of the other blog matched what was going on in my head.

I'm going to stick to what I like about blogging: weekly memes with snippets & excerpts, funny family stories, blog hops, and general goofing around. I might throw in some ideas about craft every so often, and I'm hoping to have at least a couple interview guests every month. I'll also keep blogging with the Spellbound Scribes, and do an occasional post for Femina Aequalitas. I'm also very excited to be involved with a new blogging project, Relentless Writers. This is a blog that grew out of group of writers who'd teamed up to survive NaNoWriMo last month, and while the first post is still to come, there are some strong, diverse voices involved, and I look for good things from them.

Funny, I didn't expect to have so much to say. There's more going on that I'd thought, and I hope you'll hang in there with me. I so appreciate those of you who have read my stuff & written reviews & shared my links & tweets. Thank you so much! You've made the last few years a ton of fun, and I'm looking forward to this new stage in my journey.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Thanks For Visiting...

I'm very glad you came!
However, a while ago I changed formats, and my blog is now at:
Please make the jump and join me there.