writers, writers, an ungovernable bunch …

Megan McArdle has a column up about the meltdown at The New Republic.

It’s an interesting read in general for anyone in the writing or publishing business.

But in particular, I chuckled to myself when she began describing some of the reasons running media companies presents special challenges. “You’re not running a normal type of organization,” she writes. “You’re running a professional group.”

And so you encounter a number of problems:

… the difficulty of getting creative types to produce great stuff on demand; the astonishing amount of autonomy that journalists need, because it’s impossible to write hard guidelines, and too expensive to supervise long hours of reporting and typing; the fact that great writers are frequently terrible managers and editors, which screws up the normal management pyramid; the simultaneous need for speed and accuracy; the fact that media employment selects for a cluster of personality traits that resists closer management; the professional ethic that will stymie you when you decide to make a different set of trade-offs between competing priorities such as speed, accuracy, and the need to monetize your content; the fact that writers, especially in the digital age, frequently take their audience with them if they leave, making it even harder to impose discipline …

As someone who has earned a living as a professional writer for many, many years: yep. That pretty much sums us up :)

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Holiday Giveaway!

gift for blog postHi!

I love the holiday season!

And, to celebrate, I’m giving away a nice little prize: signed, first edition paperback copies of three of my books (Santa Hunk, Dark Chemistry, and Loose Dogs) PLUS a $20 Amazon gift card :)

Click here to enter the drawing and good luck!



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Santa Hunk: get ready for my holiday novella!

Santa Hunk paranormal romance by Kirsten Mortensen

Immortal. Gorgeous. And in love.

So if you’re one of my Facebook friends (and if you’re not — why not???) you know that I’ve been working on a paranormal romance novella … with a holiday theme :)

I’m sharing it now with my beta readers. But — assuming they like it — it will be available for Kindle around Thanksgiving.

Teaser copy below. What do you think???

I’m so excited! :)

First of all: forget everything you ever heard about him being a fat old guy who’s never seen a razor.

I mean, think about it. Santa’s an immortal. He’s immortal. A god, basically. And I’m telling you, he looks like a god.
The guy is gorgeous.

That stuff about the goofy red suit and the big jiggly belly? Most of it comes from a poem a guy wrote for his kids. “’Twas the night before Christmas.” You know the poem I mean. And it’s a nice poem. It’s a timeless classic.

But the guy who wrote that poem? He’d never seen Santa.

He made it all up.

Me? I have seen Santa.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I saw him—but I’m not the one who found him.

Clare found him.

She found him—then she nearly lost him again . . .

Posted in Novella, Paranormal romance, Romance Novels, Santa Hunk by Kirsten Mortensen, Writing | Comments Off on Santa Hunk: get ready for my holiday novella!

“Free Money” is FREE!

Free Money, my Elmore Leonard* tribute story, is free for Kindle today through October 12.

Free Money is a Noiry Crime/Suspense Story…

… set in Rochester, NY. If you know the area you may recognize one of the scenes, Devil’s Bathtub in Mendon Ponds Park.

The climax of "Free Money" is set here: in Devil's Bathtub, a kettle pond in Mendon Ponds Park south of Rochester. Only it's at night. Scaaaary!

The climax of “Free Money” is set here: in Devil’s Bathtub, a kettle hole in Mendon Ponds Park south of Rochester. Only it’s at night. Scaaaary!

Rochestarians probably also remember the armored truck heist of 1993 that a key element of the backstory.

But is it any good?

Glad you asked! And it just so happens that Free Money picked up a quick 5-star review when I first put it up on October 1:

Great fun! Kirsten Mortensen channels the spirit and style of Elmore Leonard in a short, sharp tale of crime and suspense. No one can match The Master, of course, but this is the next best thing.

Here’s the teaser.

Please enjoy and let me know what you think!

Jamie Licaro doesn’t want to go home to Rochester, New York.

And he’s got a good reason.

Twenty-plus years after a multi-million dollar armored truck heist, the money’s still missing — and Jamie’s the one person still around who might know where it is.

He knows better than to go back home.

But he’s fallen for a girl who smells like peaches.

And sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.


Path to get to the far rim of Devil's Bathtub pond in Mendon Pond's Park, the setting for Free Money: an Elmore Leonard tribute story by Kirsten Mortensen

This is the path that leads to the far side of Devil’s Bathtub. My dog, Tessa, is not in the story however :)

Stairway to Devil's Bathtub in Mendon Ponds Park, setting of climax of Free Money, and Elmore Leonard Tribute Story by Kirsten Mortensen

The main path down to Devil’s Bathtub has steps. But if you’re there in the middle of the night to try to dredge up old secrets, you can’t take the easy way…


*Elmore Leonard passed away a year ago last August. October 11 was his birthday. He would have been 89 this year.

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Dark Chemistry spotlight in Rochester D&C

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle featured Dark Chemistry in its author spotlight.

Here’s the article.

Thank you, D&C!

Posted in Dark Chemistry by Kirsten Mortensen, Rochester, New York | Comments Off on Dark Chemistry spotlight in Rochester D&C

Dark Chemistry on sale, 99 cents!

Makes you want to read the novel, doesn't it?

Racking up 5 star reviews!

It’s been an exciting past few weeks as I’ve picked up several really nice reviews for Dark Chemistry.

Here’s one:

Firstly, I love the original premise: controlling people via pheromones. This book covers everything from chemistry to economics to romance to murder. The protagonist, Haley, starts out as a spoilt brat but undergoes a gradual, and fulfilling, transformation. The plot is complex and engrossing and the characters are well-developed, interesting and individual. Overall, this is a very good book on every level, expertly written and worth checking out.

Here’s another:

Dark Chemistry has the essential ingredients of a page-turner – professional prose, a gripping plot, interesting and believable characters, and a love story that’s touching but never sappy. Every evening I looked forward to reentering the story, and I read late into the night to reach the ending.

It did not disappoint.

So, to celebrate, I’ve temporarily lowered the price of the novel’s e-version to only 99 cents.

This won’t last, so grab your copy now!

Click here for the Kindle version.

Click here for the Barnes & Noble version.

Posted in Dark Chemistry by Kirsten Mortensen, Writing | Comments Off on Dark Chemistry on sale, 99 cents!

Starting the next book, and it’s gonna be a paranormal

Those of you who know me, know that I always have multiple novels in process. (Kind of like my reading. I’m reading about 8 books right now. No joke. A little outta control tho…)

Now one of them has grabbed me and based on the surge of excitement I’m feeling, it’s the one I’ll be focusing on for this next lap of my being-a-novelist marathon.

No title yet.

But I can tell you a bit about it. It’s going to be a paranormal. It will have 2 sequels. And I know some of the elements. Communication with animals. Impending environmental apocalypse. What happens when the veil between the collective unconscious and the physical starts to thin.

It’s going to be set in rural Upstate New York; I’ll be drawing very much on the feel and spirit of the heavily forested, wild areas in the southeast part of the state where I grew up.

Hemlock grove, Chenango County, NY

Hemlock grove, Chenango County, NY

And I’m going to indulge in my lifelong fascination with Iroquois mythology. This is a bit of a false lead, so don’t take it too literally but here’s a cool what-if question: what if the Vikings–whose trading posts, we now suspect, penetrated deep within the Great Lakes region–had colonized North America successfully, to the point where culturally they merged with Native Americans? How would their mythologies have merged and cross-pollinated?

This won’t be an alt-history book, so like I said, that’s a bit of a false lead. But there will be elements of a kind of mythological bleed-through.

Oh, and I’m going to try to write faster. I think I can do that, because I’m starting to get the hang of how I do fiction, and what I need to do to push my productivity.

Stay tuned :)


Posted in Oxford, Writing | Comments Off on Starting the next book, and it’s gonna be a paranormal

In which I lose my mind possibly? and start fermenting vegetables :D

On the left: shredded beets with grated ginger and cayenne pepper. On the right: sliced sweet potato, celery, and chipotle pepper.

On the left: shredded beets with grated ginger and cayenne pepper. On the right: sliced sweet potato, celery, and chipotle pepper.

It started when I became interested in so-called “Resistant Starch” — a class of starches that are not digested in the small intestine, but instead pass through to the colon, where they become food for gut flora, including critters that are implicated in everything from weight loss/control to cooling inflammation.

I blogged about RS here. Also recommend Free the Animal, where Richard Nikoley has been rounding up info on RS and is writing a book on it with a couple other RS hero peeps. Details at his blog including his RS primer here.

From incorporating RS into my diet, I’ve now moved to two other refinements. First is adding other prebiotics, for example inulin, which I get by munching on things like raw sliced Jerusalem artichoke.

The second is more probiotics. Continue reading

Posted in Food, Health | Comments Off on In which I lose my mind possibly? and start fermenting vegetables :D

A DIY Artist Taboret for $150 (or less!)

This gallery contains 19 photos.

This post is a long time coming, but since I didn’t make any promises out loud, who cares, right? :) The story starts late last year, when I was brainstorming on ideas for Christmas presents for the resident teen. Those … Continue reading

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The big moment: Dark Chemistry is now for sale :)

Makes you want to read the novel, doesn't it?

Makes you want to read the novel, doesn’t it?

Dark Chemistry is officially on sale!



Click here to purchase Amazon Kindle version.

Click here to purchase Barnes & Noble Nook version.

Click here to purchase Apple e-reader version.

Print version also available from Amazon ($14.20) or Createspace.

Full description below if you’re interested, but otherwise: happy reading and please drop me a note to tell me how you like it!


Is it Love? Or is it … Dark Chemistry?

Haley’s father is dead.

And if she wants to inherit his fortune, she has to leave sunny Southern California for a backwater little town near Syracuse, New York. She has to run RMB, the multimillion dollar chemical company her father founded. And she has to run it well. Keep RMB on track, and she’ll be rich. Grow it, and she’ll be even richer. But mess it up, and her inheritance will shrink away before she gets a chance to spend a dime.

All Haley Dubose has ever known is beaches and malls, clubs and cocktail dresses.

But her mother’s boy toy is burning through the cash, and worse yet (ew!) the two are talking marriage. If Haley wants to keep living her California dreams, she needs money of her own. And that means she has to transform into a successful business executive – fast.

Donavon Todde is her true love. But is it too late?

He’s RMB’s head of sales – and the more Donavon sees of Haley, the more he’s smitten.

Sure, she comes across at first as naïve and superficial. But Donavon knew Haley’s father. He can see the man’s better qualities stirring to life in her eyes. And Donavon senses something else: Haley’s father left her a legacy more important than money. He left her the chance to discover her true self.

Donavon has demons of his own. He’s reeling from a heartbreak that’s taking far too long to heal. But he’s captivated by this blond Californian, and not only because of her beauty.
It’s chemistry. They’re right for each other.

But has Donavon waited too long to woo this woman of his dreams? Because to his horror, his beautiful Haley falls under another spell.

Gerad’s spell.

A web of evil.

Gerad Picket was second-in-command at RMB when Haley’s father was alive. And with Haley on the scene, he’s in charge of her training. But there are things about RMB that Gerad doesn’t want Haley to know.

RMB’s odd but brilliant head chemist has invented a line of synthetic pheromones.
These mysterious chemicals have no scent. They bypass conscious awareness. They are completely undetectable.
But make no mistake: they can exert powerful effects – and Gerad knows it. He’s been using pheromones to attract and seduce women. To drive his enemies insane. And possibly even to kill.

And Gerad knows something else: RMB’s secret pheromone compounds are worth millions. Perhaps billions.

Gerad’s been waiting his whole life to hit the jackpot, and he’s almost there. An international conglomerate wants to use RMB pheromones to hook customers on their products. And a mysterious agent from the U.S. government wants access to RMB pheromones as well.

More sinister than the NSA spying scandal: a government plot to drug an unsuspecting public.

It’s enough to make even Gerad uneasy – especially when he suspects he’s under surveillance. But who cares? He’s going to be rich, rich, rich. Only Gerad has a problem. He has to keep Haley Dubose under control.And what better way to control a silly young woman than by seducing her?

Every woman’s worst nightmare.

A man who poses as a connoisseur of European tastes and worldly experience. Who takes her out to dinner. Plies her with fine wine, expensive cognac. And then drugs her with something that makes her think she’s falling in love.

Romantic Suspense for your Kindle, Nook, IPad*

  • Will Haley realize that her feelings are not her TRUE feelings?
  • Does Donavon have the strength left to fight for the woman he loves?
  • Will the two of them uncover Gerad’s plot to use RMB pheromones to enslave the world?
  • And even if they do – can they stop it?

Click here to Look Inside and sample Dark Chemistry today!

*Also available in print version!

Posted in Dark Chemistry by Kirsten Mortensen, Writing | Comments Off on The big moment: Dark Chemistry is now for sale :)