Beneath the Surface Out TOMORROW

Here's an excerpt, just for you.

He didn’t speak right away, leaned on the railing of the boat, looking out over the waves before he turned to her. “Why are you here?”

She’d planned what to say. “I needed to finish this.” This time. She wanted to say more, but he gave her that smile, that one that started in his eyes, creased his face, flashed those white teeth, infusing his being with joy. The rest of her words stuck in her throat.

“I hoped you would,” he murmured.

“Not for you.” She had to make sure he knew that. She didn’t have the safety of the barriers between them anymore, not unless she could hold her own with him.

He nodded, not expressing any surprise, masking whatever he was feeling. He’d always been good at that, though she thought she knew him well enough to read him. Not today.

“Not for this, either.” She gestured toward the ocean. “For me.” Leaving Jonathan had been hard, but being alone hadn’t been as hard as she expected. That had been the most empowering revelation yet. She reached into her pack for the envelope there. “I took out my savings. And since I cancelled my wedding, I

got my deposits back. I want you to use this to help with whatever you need, hire more divers, get more equipment, whatever.”

He took the envelope, his eyes not leaving hers. “Mallory.”

“This is important. It’s important,” she repeated, and inclined her head toward the envelope.

He drew out the check, and his eyes bugged. “No hillside wedding, this.”


He held the envelope out, his lips thinned, no trace of joy remaining on his face. “Mallory, I can’t take it.”

“I want you to have it.”

He hesitated. Clearly he needed the money but was unwilling to accept it on her terms. “I’ll keep it on one condition.”

She tensed at his tone. “What?”

“That you stay.” He folded the envelope, creasing it between his thumb and forefinger. “That you help with the dive.”

She drew her lower lip between her teeth, saw his eyes follow the movement. “I don’t know.”

He took a step toward her. “What have you got to go back to?”

She moved away and studied the deck beneath her. “Adrian, staying here, with you, is not a good idea.” She hated admitting that weakness.

“And yet you want to.” The burr deepened.

She lifted her chin. “If I stay, this”—she flipped her finger between the two of them—“can’t happen. I learned my lesson the hard way, Adrian. If I stay, it’s professional behavior only. Deal?”

He cocked his head just the slightest bit, almost a challenge. He tucked the envelope in his back pocket and reached out to her. “Deal.”


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I was thinking, oh, not bad week, only.....


I’m going to be promoting like crazy.

  1. Blog at Nobody Writes It Better (written), Samhain (written), Tawny Weber’s blog (written), Leah Braemel’s blog (written), Texas Authors of Romantic Fiction (written) and Jaunty Quills (not written)
  2. Post excerpts to email loops (need to format) and reply.
  3. Find out which email loops I can post to, and on what days.
  4. Send out newsletter (written)
  5. Update website
  6. Faculty meeting
  7. Attempt work on bodyguard story
  8. Attempt a housekeeping/exercise schedule
  9. Finish blue dress and cut out purse

I actually considered taking a half day this week to keep up with it all. Hope I don’t have to.


How the Internet Sees Me

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I saw this on a blog and thought it was really cool.

Here's me as Mary:


Here's me as MJ:


I thought there'd be a lot more TV/entertainment stuff there. Also, the "illegal" bit has me concerned. Um, what?

Make your own here.


A Theory

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Last night the dh and I watched an original Battlestar Galactica episode on Hulu. I didn't remember the particular episode, but I did remember my mad crush on Apollo and the love story between him and Serena, the reporter who died and left him to care for her son.

And I sort of remember writing a story about them.

Okay, first of all, I kind of horde things. I mean, you should see my DVD collection--it's huge. I get the DVDs of shows and movies so I can watch them any time I want. When we got a VCR when I was in HS, I recorded tons of shows to keep, and did the same thing when I was married.

But we didn't have VCRs when I was a kid, and the only way I had to capture the feelings certain shows gave me was to write about them, or at least write a story with those characters. That way I could revisit that story again and again, in my head and on the page.

So that's my theory about why I started writing. What do you think?

The Mad Mad Mad Beneath the Surface blog tour has begun. I was at Wet Noodle Posse yesterday, Supernatural Sisters and The Samhellion today.


Insanity in 5...4...3...2...

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So I'm juggling 2 careers, spent all of last evening on promo for Surface (at least I did something productive), and yesterday I got an email about a grant for a master's degree in library science. It's free tuition, free books, a laptop and an e-reader. The classes look fun, though, dang, it's been a long time since I wrote a paper. There are only 40 slots and I need to know if there's a commute or if it's online, but it sounds too intriguing to pass up. Classes would start in Spring 2010, and I'd have to slow down/stop writing for a bit, but that's something to worry about if I get the grant.

Crazy, right?


Routine--I Need One!

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I don't think I have this much trouble getting back into my life every year! I've not written since Sunday, and that was just a teeny bit. I'm reworking the beginning of the bodyguard story and don't have a measurable goal, and that is hard. Also, even though I don't have anything out except the historical right now, I can't seem to push myself on this book.

I just need to do the hand work on my dress and I can't seem to do that, either. The dress is just folded there on the table by the couch.

Housekeeping? I cleaned the kitchen Sunday. Yesterday was my day to do the living room, which is easy because I can do it while watching TV, or while waiting for dinner to cook. Undone.

I have been making dinner every night because we got our first post-iPhone phone bill and :::GULP::: The dh is convinced it's wrong, so he's got to call them. It had BETTER be wrong because it's almost as much as our car payment.

The routine changes again today as the boy goes to college. ::::::SOB:::::::: He's going with my brother, so I think that will help, but ::::::SOB::::::::

What have I been doing? Watching a TON of Battlestar Galactica and playing a lot of solitaire. Sad, really.


Goals for the First Week with the Kids

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1) blog at WNP, Samhellion and SPN Sisters. I’ve got two written, need to do the third.
2) figure out the mess that is the WIP. Not even sure what my goal should be here.
3) Write new release newsletter
4) Work on patience, since I’m on my old computer again and she. is. slow.
5) actually do stuff when I come home from work—clean, write, exercise, sew



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VERY frustrating day. Another teacher and I went to sign up for insurance. We were to fill out health insurance online and it was going to take FIVE minutes. Only every employee in the district (10 elementaries, 3 middle and a high school, plus support) had to go through SIX people with laptops to finalize the paperwork.

Two. And a half. Hours. Standing, the whole time. When I finally got in front of one of the people with the laptop, I'm afraid I wasn't very nice. My back hurt and I was shaking. The worst thing was I didn't want to change anything. Everything was to be the same. And still two and a half hours???

The other teacher and I went to McD's instead of the fish place with the other teachers so we could go back and work in our rooms, which we hadn't done at all. So I call my beloved son to see if he'll come help me but he complains I left him too many chores (litter, laundry and unloading the dishwasher) so he couldn't do both. Well, an hour later he texts to say he's going to his girlfriend's. GRRRRRR.

And my computer is being a PITA again, last night's issue different from tonight's.

The good was that three of my ex students came by this afternoon to hug me and it was so good to talk to them. I dreamed about my new class last night. In my dream I'd forgotten to be tough and I was really paying for it.

I'm really blocked on my RS, too, because I've gone back to the suspense part and I'm not sure how to work it out. I've reached the reversal where they're actively investigating. I have my red herring, but I need them to take a step in the right direction before they get pulled away by the herring. Not sure what step to take there.



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Didn't get home until after 5, after taking money to the bank. Then once the boy got home, worked until 7 on paying his tuition and buying his books. Glad to be able to do that online. The ONLY things I accomplished yesterday were 3 new pages (which I'm going to have to cut, at least part), finished reading the first Sookie and finished Disc 5 of Season 3 of BSG.

I did get some detailed feedback from an agent on Something to Talk About, AKA The Book That I Love. Trish and I are going to work on some of the suggestions when she's off deadline.


What I'll Miss About Summer Vacation

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And here it is, the first day back to school after 10 weeks off. It didn’t seem to short this year, I got a LOT done, but switching gears from writer to teacher won’t be easy.

What I’ll miss about summer vacation:

Staying up late for whatever reason--reading, writing, watching TV
Sitting in my chair in the sun room with the sun rising over my shoulder
The way my house looks in the morning with the sun shining in
Going out for lunch
Mini road-trips
Having access to a fridge with drinks I like available
Writing all morning
Watching All My Children while eating lunch and sewing (I’m Tivoing it but it won’t be the same)
DVD marathons
Peace and quiet

Don’t forget, you can win a Sony eReader from Long and Short Reviews! Today’s my scavenger hunt day, so go, answer a question that can be answered in this post for a chance to win.


Goals for the First Week Back to School

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The wedding yesterday was, well, memorable. We got to the church, dressed in our finery (the first dress I’d worn since the funeral in June) and there was NO AIR CONDITIONING. The church was packed, and all they had were wimpy ceiling fans. Apparently the AC had gone out that day.

Now remember. I’m in Texas. It’s August. We’ve had record heat this summer.

It was a Catholic wedding.

I felt even more sorry for the wedding party, though. Can you imagine, the tuxes and fitted dresses? Ugh.

The reception made up for it, though--freezing!!! I didn’t complain ;) And I even got dh to dance with me.

I’m glad we had the wedding just before going back--it was fun seeing everyone again!

So this week:

Get classroom ready/get back into school mindset (talking to people every day will be the first hurdle.)
blog at SPN Sisters
7000 words on RS
Get Dad’s present. His bday is Tuesday and he lives in MN. Yeah, gonna be late. He’s tough to buy for, though!
Grocery store
work on blue dress
Exercise/keep up house

Just remembered a dream I had, that Nora Roberts was at my school while we were having a book fair. I gushed to her about how much I enjoyed Black Hills, and she asked me about the books I had at the bookfair. One was In the Hunt, the collection of Supernatural essays, and another was a thin little kids' book with short stories about Supernatural. So I was trying to convince her she'd love the show.

Weird I dreamed about SPN, when I've watched a season and a half of Battlestar Galactica in 4 days.


To Sleep Or Write, That Is the Question

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6:30 phone call from dh's co-worker woke me from good dreams---grrr. Now I should be working on the synopsis for that blasted paranormal, but I want to work on my bodyguard story. I'm also thinking about going back to bed, since I went to sleep after 2 and Cindi will be here at 1:30 to pick me up for the wedding.

So while I mull this momentous decision, here are the three songs I bought from iTunes yesterday. Enjoy! (Warning--you may see a theme ;) )

Last Friday of Vacation

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I watched an embarrassing amount of Helo--er, Battlestar Galactica this week. All of season 2 in 2 days. Is it me, or did the birth/death of Helo and Athena's baby seem anticlimactic?

I met my word goal yesterday, but have to cut. Surprise. It's the saggiest middle I've written in awhile.

It took me an hour to cut out a dress yesterday. 20 minutes for the pattern, then I laid it out wrong because I thought there was more fabric, then the fabric is seemingly impervious to pins. Yeowch. Good news, it's a simple pattern. I may be able to get most of it done today (while I watch more BSG. I know Helo wasn't in the last season a bunch, but I hope he's in season 3 a bunch. He's very inspirational.)

I have over 160 unread blogs in my Google Reader. That's as bad as it is during the school year. Eek. Would like to get caught up this weekend.

I'm on page 80 of Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse book. So far, very like the series. It's due Tuesday, so I need to get cracking, because I can't renew it. I also have Borderline, the new Nevada Barr set in Big Bend waiting.

I have to color my hair today, too, and not just the roots, because apparently I'm not very good at that, I noticed when I was getting my hair cut.

AND I need to do laundry (third time this week!) and think of what to make for supper (ds's gf is coming over and I'm running out of recipes) AND write a guest blog for my wild blog tour AND clean the bathrooms (still haven't gotten there) AND clean the guest room (shouldn't take me long there.)

So a scrambling day trying to get everything done. Wish me luck.


Books I've Read This Summer

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I haven’t read as much as I would have liked this summer, and I got more books from the library than I should, considering I have 300 paperbacks waiting to be read. I have resisted buying more ebooks until I get through some more that I already own, though.

Here’s what I read this summer.


8 days-Vision in White by Nora Roberts: I loved the concept, 4 women running their own wedding venue. That just appeals to me. But the heroine was too--something, I don’t know, and the hero was too beta. None of the women stood out to me, except the one whose house they’ve converted to this venue, and she’s wound so tight I don’t know if I’ll enjoy her story. But of course I’ll read it.


11 days-Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Ridiculous, and funny at first, then just dense. Tiny print, too.


1 day-Renegade by Natalie Damschroder: LOVED it. Mystery, psychic abilities, two hunky heroes, strong heroine. DUDE. And not just saying that because she’s my friend.


3 days-Wild Heat by Bella Andre: About Hot Shots, so hello, I’m there. She’s an arson investigator, he’s a Hot Shot. Lots of good action, but I didn’t connect with the characters.


8 days-Critical Care by Candace Calvert: I don’t read a lot of inspirational because I don’t like to be preached to. But this book was not in the least preachy, and had terrific characters, secondary as well as main. Even the cat was great. Looking forward to the next in the series.


8 days-Everything to Lose by Katie Reus: a reunion story, a forced proximity story, all stuff I love. But 8 days for a novella? I was reading it the same time as Critical Care, and before I got the iPhone, but still.


7 days-Bitsy’s Bait and BBQ by Pam Morsi: Not quite as romantic as I’d hoped, but a real sense of place. Terrific characters, and I cried like a baby at the end.


10 days-Black Hills by Nora Roberts: I enjoyed this one quite a bit. The villain’s motivation was meh, but the setting, the conservation angle, and the secondary characters made it a win. Also, LOVED the hero.


9 days-Wild Fires by Lisa Dawn MacDonald: Also a Hot Shot story, a woman trying to find her way in a man’s world. But the firefighters were NOT heroic, and there wasn’t all that much firefighting.


5 days-Burn by Linda Howard: Really enjoyed this. Another forced proximity story, on a cruise ship. Lots of action, very hot hero and I loved the heroine. LOVED.


Still reading-Hot Pursuit by Suzanne Brockmann: Still reading. I’d heard questionable reviews but I’m actually really enjoying it, though Sam and Alyssa are not my favorites. I do get a bit annoyed with the use of “And, okay,” to start the sentences. And sometimes there are thoughts in there that I don’t think Sam and Alyssa would actually think, but still like the storyline.

Have you read any of these? What did you read this summer?


What I Did Over Summer Vacation

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I looked up my goals for the summer to see how I did.

1) Paint bedroom--no
2) Do Fly Lady style declutter--not as much as I'd like
3) Work on landscaping--yes

1) sew up fabric I have--no, instead bought more. But I did sew something new every week--7 new skirts and a dress
2) find a small cross stitch project--found but didn't open

1) Two short stories--yup
2) Revise ghost hunters, Vampire Hunters and Texas--revised ghost hunters, HALF of VH, Texas, and BD
3) Write rough draft of RS--should be 4/5 of the way there by the time school starts
4) Promote!!!--not as much as I should have

1) exercise every day--at least 3 days a week
2) read 10 books--yup
3) hang out with Mom/bro once a week--yup
4) play a game once a week with the boy--played a few times
5) TV only when dark/rainy/super-hot--Did pretty well here
6) nap as much as possible ;)--Pretty well here, too

It was busy and I didn't really unwind much. But I enjoyed writing and sewing and shopping.


Goals for Last Week of Vacation

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birthday party for stepdad
get prezzie for Dad
blog at TRS
wean myself off of naps (nooooo!!!)
finish paranormal revisions
10000 words on RS (want to be at 40000 words by the time school starts)
read cp’s Wayback story
sew brown dress and skirt, cut out blue dress
haircut and eyebrow wax
do nails/change purse
wedding gift for boss
go to wedding
breakfast with Mom and BB
exercise/keep up house



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Mom, BB and I hit 2 fabric stores and a craft store yesterday. Yes, I bought more fabric---I had a coupon. Isn't it pretty? I'm going to make it into a skirt with a yoke.


Mom bought this one, which she's also making into a skirt. So cool.


I LOVED this one, but I have a particular need for it and I'd already spent WAY too much money, so I left it there. But I love.


I'd bought some fabric last summer and don't like the pattern I bought to go with. I also couldn't find any patterns I like in any of the major pattern companies. So I got out my old patterns and found this, which I've never made. It's from the 90s, but doesn't look it, does it?


So this week, my last week of vacation, I'd like to make a dress and skirt and cut out another dress. We'll see.

I hit the halfway point on the bodyguard story yesterday---woot!


Tools and Promo

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One of the only things I lost, besides my iTunes, when my computer crashed, was my bookmarks. I'd made a ton over the summer--agents I planned to query, publishers, Supernatural stuff, etc. All lost when the dh had to reformat my hard drive.

Then I was using his laptop and making bookmarks. Well, duh. So I found out GOOGLE has bookmarks. You can store your bookmarks there and access them from any computer. Win!!!

Also, I have an Amazon Author Page now. Just need to figure out what my RSS feed is so my blog will post there.

Now, here's where I need your help. Surface comes out in less than a month and I need to really promote this baby. I really REALLY want to make PAN with this book. Also, son going to college, you know. But I'm not sure what to do. I have 4-5 blog stops scheduled. I have postcards and bookmarks. But I'm not sure what works. I have some swag to give away with that gorgeous book cover, so I thought maybe a contest, but what kind? What kind of contests do you enter? And do contests really help people buy the book, or do they just wait to win?




M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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