Doesn't it feel great when you help out another human, or animal? Extending a hand to someone in need not only does good for them, it reflects back on the one performing the act. Help out a real life hero named Tia. Read her story here. And then, check out a $0.99 offer on a great romantic suspense book. Not only will you enjoy Survival Instinct by Janie Crouch, 100% of the release-week proceeds from Survival Instinct goes to Cystic Fibrosis research charities. Buy your copy for the special price of $0.99 — only until July 16. You’ll get a great book from an award-winning author while helping stomp out a terrible disease.
Here I am playing my doumbek drum in a drum circle. While it's not exactly charity work, when we get together and play, I know good vibes are going out and making the world a better place.
This last month I did a revision of Dangerous Liars. I loved this book and it was good, but someone whose opinion I value suggested it could be better. "What?" I said. "Come on. Are you serious? How?" She dug in, she edited, and she showed me how. Huh. Turns out she was right, and now the book is really good. I'll be consulting this Wonder Editor for future projects.
Here are three fun events I'm participating in and I'd love to have you join me:
The first is Books at the Beach Giveaway and Book Fair. The grand prize is a Kindle Fire HD 8 tablet loaded with over 80 romance ebooks, and there are two $25 Amazon gift cards up for grabs also. Super easy to enter, too. Just follow the participating authors on Book Bub, and you'll be notified when your favorite authors have new books coming out. This is a great way to get alerts and follow your favorite authors because, let's face it, sometimes we don't have time to read all those newsletters! Follow me on Book Bub at this one and then....
Head over here and follow me on Amazon, along with four other authors. You could win a $20 Amazon gift certificate!
Something weird happened to me at this next event. Like, the stars aligned oddly, and nothing I did went right. I sent two incorrect URLs to the person running the show. Aarrgh! Sooooo, the link for Dangerous Addictions could be wrong when you visit. If that happens, and if you'd like Dangerous Addiction for free until June 30th, go to the finally-correct link at InstaFreebie here: https://instafreebie.com/free/zVf5I
Isn't it great to start a book and know there are more in the series? Check out Binge on a new series with 40 + free books for you. Dangerous Addictions, the first book in the Messed-Up Heroes series, is up for grabs. Get your copy, and enjoy all the other first books from the participating authors.
Only a few days left on these events, so visit now, load up your e-reader, and enter to win!
We didn't stun-gun the rude dude, a Romance Writers Gone Wild event with a #contest, and a #freebook
My contest winner is Brenda R. Thanks so much to everyone for participating!
One of my biggest pet peeves is littering. This picture is from a park where I feed my feral cats. Look at that pile of garbage by the trash can. Trash can. Right. There. Grrrrr! My brother suggested a bear got into the can and tipped it over (the can pivots on the wood posts), but since we don't have bears in this part of Florida, I think not. Maybe the can did tip, but I believe a human was involved, and if so, they should have put the trash back in.
Another peeve, people who stand during a concert. I like to get on my feet when the band plays a rockin' song or two at the end, but standing for the whole show - bad manners. I just went to a concert where a man was standing, playing his air guitar, and annoying everyone around him for most of the show. I wanted to yell, "Hey dude. Sit down. You're not the only one here and you're blocking the view of the people behind you who don't want to, or can't stand the whole time. Like that lady in the wheelchair." My buddy suggested popping him with a stun gun. Since I'm a writer, I got a great visual image of how that would play out, and now I have to work that into a book. But you'll be happy to know, we did not zap the rude dude, and stayed out of jail for the evening.
Speaking of behaving (or misbehaving), join me and a bunch of other romance writers as we go wild. We won't stand and play the air guitar (some of us might, just for fun, but we won't block your view), we might make some noise, and we will definitely talk about romance books of all kinds, and give away prizes. http://bit.ly/2ryYbNq
My prize is an Amazon gift card. To enter my contest, just leave me a comment below and tell me one of your pet peeves. I'll pick a winner on June 10th using random.org. Also, Dangerous Addictions, book 1 in my Messed-Up Heroes series, is free at Instafreebie from June 5th through June 9th, so grab your copy now. www.instafreebie.com/free/rdMMI
Thanks, and happy reading to you!
Have you ever worked on a project and knew you needed help? The story is moving along, but you know you can do better. While writing the third book in my Messed-Up Heroes series, I hit that spot. I'm normally the kind of person who likes to do everything on her own, so asking for help is tough for me. But I want this book to be my best, and I know I need an outsider to take a look at my ideas, my writing skills, etc, and give me honest feedback.
An Internet search turned up several writing coaches, and the one I chose was Lori DeBoer. We set up a time, and since I couldn't figure out Skype, (curse you, newfangled technology!) we decided a phone call would work fine. Lori got right down to business, and though some of her suggestions were slightly painful (what do you mean I'm not perfect?), they were are incredibly helpful. All these light bulbs kept going off over my head. As we read through a writing sample I'd sent, she made suggestions and pointed out issues. I have to confess, I had a few "man, I suck; I should step away from the keyboard forever" moments. But Lori assured me it wasn't true. She gave me encouragement to keep going, noted my strengths, and suggested tips to improve on my weaknesses.
Lori was tough, but kind. She gave me a few titles of books to read, some on craft, and some for story structure. I ordered them, and will dig in with delight. I left the call with renewed enthusiasm and plans. Big plans. Once I get my WIP to a certain point, I'll work with Lori again.
Visit Lori's website if you need a little help to bring out the best in your writing.
Holy Shmoly, I'm late with this announcement. My winner from the Name the School for Gifted Children contest is Christina H. chosen by random.org. Thanks for all the great school names. I still haven't picked one, there are so many delightful choices! I'll let you know when book three comes out and you can see which name was chosen.
Names are important. Would you send your child to a school called Lazy Days Learning? Shortcuts to Success? Mad Skillz Academy? Nope, I thought not. No one wants to do business with a company if the name sounds strange, and parents wouldn't send their child to a school that didn't inspire trust.
In book three of my Messed-Up Heroes series, my heroine works at a school for gifted children. Well, she did work there until an unfortunate incident gets her fired. Help me name this school with something creative and fun. Visit the Survey Monkey for more details. This contest will end May 8th and the winner will be chosen by Random.org.
After you share your idea, go to your favorite e-book retailer and buy book one in the series, Dangerous Addictions, on sale at .99 for a limited time. Thank you!
Barnes and Noble
and your favorite e-book retailer
A topiary at Disney. What if the creators of this fairy named her Skeeter Wings? Not quite as charming as Tinkerbell, is it? :-)
Join me while I pat myself on the back and put on my Planning Princess crown, simultaneously. Messed-Up Heroes book two is coming out, and I decided to to do the marketing differently this time. My day job is hopping, I have limited funds to use, so I have to make the most of my time and money. Here's my plan.
1. I'm going to embrace the joy of putting out a new book. Instead of viewing promotion as something I have to do, and feeling like I'm bothering people by asking them to buy my books, I'm adjusting my mindset. I get to tell people about my books. Readers are waiting for them and excited that I wrote them, and they're happy to purchase one.
2. No rushing with the publication date. My day job is super-busy right now, and I'm not going to spend every free second I have doing marketing. I want to plant tomatoes, clean my messy house, enjoy a movie with my honey, and have an Irish whiskey with my friend on St. Patrick's day. I'm giving myself enough time to do everything I want with the marketing, and still live my life.
3. I'll explore different options and exercise creativity. I'm a Planning Princess (who else packs their suitcase for a trip a week ahead?), and here's the perfect chance to use those skills, come up with great ideas, and have fun. I don't have a gazillion dollars to spend, so I've found promotional opportunities that will keep me in my budget.
4. I'm not going to worry. The beauty of being a Planning Princess is that things get taken care of ahead of time. I have a Plan of Action, so I won't wake up at two o'clock in the morning thinking of something I should do, or sit frantically at my computer spilling chili from my dinner on the keyboard, as I take care of last-minute details. Once an action item is on my Plan sheet, it will be done, so I don't need to stress out. I'm prepared!
The less stress in my life, the happier I am. The happier I am, the more smoothly life goes, and the faster the next book gets written. Yay!
The winner of my March contest was Janet M. Thanks to all who entered!
I love to eavesdrop when men are talking, and since I began writing, I have a great excuse. I mean reason. A great reason to be nosy. I mean observant. I'm observant. I have to pay attention to how the males of our species talk to each other, and it's better when they don't know anyone is listening to them. And more fun.
Men and women don't talk the same way. Vive la difference! Men use more abrupt, choppy language and curse more, or at least the men in my books do. Something else I've noticed, men tend to sound angry, and often, we think they're mad at us, but that's not true. They're mad at themselves, a situation, or using mad to cover another emotion, like fear or sorrow. When I write as a guy, I can explore that anger, and let readers know the underlying emotion sparking it. I can also show what the hero's thinking and feeling about a woman in the book and describe her in more detail, something hard to do if writing from the female POV only. Writing as a man makes me step into his shoes and sometimes, I'm surprised what I find. A good thing, right?
Join me and over thirty other romantic suspense authors in a giganto book giveaway contest right here: https://authorsxp.com/giveaway
The winner of my name-the-drummer-doorbell contest was Lori R. and the song I chose for the doorbell is the theme to Hawaii Five-O. If you've never heard it, visit YouTube, fire it up, and shake your booty. You'll warm up ten degrees, guaranteed!
Who loves to rock out to a good drum solo? Me! Me! Nothing gets the blood pumping like jumping up and down and shimmying those hips around. And whenever I do, all the other shoppers let me go first in line. Ha-ha! No really, I only shake it down in the privacy of my home. Or car. Or after much wine, and as long as others are dancing along too.
There's a house in my work-in-progress book, and the original owner was a rock drummer. He had his door chime set up with a drum solo, of course. What song has a great drum introduction? Enter my contest here for a chance to win an Amazon or your favorite bookseller gift card. Winner will be drawn on December 20th using random.org.
I can't wait to hear your answers, and good luck!
There's no way I can write 50,000 words in thirty days, but I love and embrace the spirit of National Novel Writing Month. Go writers! I'm thrilled to report that in three months, I've written 60,000 words. For me, that's awesome-balls and I have to tell you, I shed a few proud tears today. But many days, I look at what I've done and compare myself to others. The tears on those days aren't so proud. Aaargh! I'm never going to hit a best-seller list, or make those millions, or have thousands of fans at this pace. I write too slow. I should just hang it up.
But I haven't. I have a goal and once that's met, I might adjust my direction, but I won't stop. I'll plan another goal, and keep tapping on my keyboard. Because there's always hope. We only fail if we quit. And a big reason why I write is because I love books. They've been my salvation during this craptastic year. I know at the end of every day, I can crawl into a story and lose myself for a while. Bless you, authors, for helping me keep my sanity, and I hope my books help others keep theirs.
Very soon I'll be starting on what I call the third layer of my next book. That's the really fun part. I have the story-line down and logistics covered. Everyone is doing what they're supposed to do and hanging out where they're supposed to be. Now, I get to coax out all the personality quirks from my characters, and add the details that make the story shine. I'll keep at it, because the thrill of having a finished book outweighs the sad parts.
If you're in Florida, I'll be at a multi-author book signing this Saturday. Come by for goodies, giveaways and of course, books! facebook.com/events/352208378451020/
For my birthday, I bought myself a Florida Writers Association conference registration. Pretty nice gift, yes? I've never attended a large writing conference and since this one is sort of local and wouldn't involve airline travel (airport = hell), and the hotel and registration prices were reasonable, I dug out my credit card and splurged. I ended up going alone, which turned out to be a smart decision. Here's why.
1. I didn't have to check in with anyone. Ever. Most of us report to others throughout the day and are supposed to be in certain places at certain times. Not having anyone expect me to show up allowed me to make spur of the moment decisions and change my mind whenever I wanted, without disappointing a friend.
2. I met new, fabulous people. Most everyone at this event was extremely friendly and since we're all interested in the same subject, it was easy to start conversations. The men and women I chatted with all had a story to tell, and exchanging ideas and experiences tweaked my brain synapses. Talking to authors who write outside my genre was a breath of fresh air and gave me lots to think about.
3. When you're by yourself, you have to step out of your comfort zone. A lot. I had to walk into a room and sit at at table with strangers for meals and workshops. You know what? The more you do that, the easier it gets. I was having a downright fun time by the end of the weekend. I also had to take absolute responsibility for my own decisions, since I didn't have a buddy to discuss plans with. Yoiks! Talk about being a total grownup. But it made me think hard about which workshops to attend and how to spend my time.
4. Not having my honey along meant I could focus entirely on learning and not be distracted by whether or not he was doing okay. The honey and I do well when we travel together, but we each have to think about the needs of the other one. This time, it was all about me. Which also meant I could take a chill-out break when I needed. Surrounded by so many people, I required a lot of those breaks. Quiet ones. The television did not get turned on once. Perfect!
It was nice to come home and snuggle with my cat on my feet and my man next to me, but I enjoyed my time away. Being alone doesn't have to be lonely. There were times when it would have been fun to have a friend or my sweetie with me, but mostly, I rocked being alone. And I'll do it again.
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