Category Archives: Author Branding

2027…

Because I have a scientific background, I’m a planner. That’s why I classify myself as a plotter for writing. But I digress….

I plan. For everything, Disasters, worst case scenarios, major illnesses, disease, pestilence, and plague. I have enough non-perishable food to last through the next zombie apocalypse, and if we get hit with a nucelar warhead, we’ll have clean water to drink..and douse ourselves in (!) So it’s no secret I’ve got a plan for the next ten years of my career.

Originally, when I started writing full time in 2015, I had a 5 year plan. I exceeded all the goals on that plan by 2017, so I broadened and increased it to 10 more years at the beginning of 2017.

Here are a few things on that new career plan:

Get an agent

Have at least 1 NYTimes and USA Bestseller, if not more.

Have a movie made out of one of my books – a good movie, at that, None of this wrecking the story by putting it on film crap!

Have at least 2 books per year, if not 3, published every year

Make enough money to hire a personal assistant who will do all my web media. ( since you all know how much I hatehatehate self marketing!)

Win a RITA ( or 2)

There are more things, but I didn’t feel I needed to share everything.

So…check back in 2027. Until then, I’ll be working on my plan.

Check out the other authors in this blog challenge and see where they see themselves in 10 years. This should be fun!’


12.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#RWA17, So, we come to the end….

It took me almost 2 weeks to tell you everything I wanted to about RWA 17, but there are still a few things I want to mention.

There was a new format this year for the Golden Hearts and the RITA awards ceremonies. In the past, both events have occurred on the last night before the end of the conference, and usually the only food you see are desserts. This year, the RWA Board decided to split the ceremonies into 2, with the Golden Hearts a luncheon and the RITA’S a…dessert. Yes, again. But I digress. It was actually great splitting the two for several reasons, not the least of which was that we didn’t need to sit in a noisy, crowded ball room for more than 2.5 hours while the awards and the speeches were done. The Golden Heart luncheon took about an hour, the lunch was great and the dessert wasn’t bad, either, although I was allergic to everything in it, so had to rely on the reactions of the others at my table to determine if it was good.

The RITA awards took place the same night, featured many desserts which again I was allergic to,

and a cry-induced speech by the amazeballs Beverly Jenkins, who was the Nora Roberts LIfeTime Achievement award winner this year. It’s no wonder this woman is such an amazing writer- she is a phenomenal speaker!

Now, many of you may know I was a Stiletto Finalist this year for my holiday novel A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

Stiletto Finalist 2017

I didn’t win…but there’s always next year, and in all honesty, it was fabulous to be a finalist in such a prestigious RWA chapter contest! Thank you CRW!

Now, I can’t forget my two favorite events: The Kensington Book signing and the Literacy book signing. For Kensington, I gave out my books along with my hand painted produce bags that I schlepped with me as a swag item. Let me tell you, people lovedlovedloved them!!!

Here’s me at the Literacy signing – which was packed to the hilt with readers!

So Sunday morning, after a very busy and HOT week, I got myself to the airport via Shuttle ( nightmare, again!!! But that’s for another blog post) made it through security because of TSA pre-check( Thank you, Jesus and the TSA!) and settled down to wait for my plane to leave while I listened to some of the workshops I missed via the flash drive.

I listened on the plane home, too!

Le Sigh…. Now I have to wait a whole year to go to RWA18 in Denver. I’d better start painting more bags….

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#RWA17…the reason I go every year

So, of course, the one thing I haven’t mentioned yet, are the Workshops I took at RWA 17. Between coloring, fangirling, attending the book giveaway signings, I did – actually – sit in on a f ew lectures and learn some things.

IF you have never had the opportunity to hear Damon Suede speak, I pity you. First, his voice is like a warm blanket thrown over your body on a cold day. Warm, rich, soothing. Second, he is a wealth of amazeballs information about character development, what makes people-characters tick, and what their motivations/conflicts/individual characteristics should be. Damon comes from a theater ( and life!) background and really helps you get into your character’s mind set, feelings, and persona just as if you were portraying them on a stage. I’ve already listened to his 2 hour workshop twice since I’ve been home because I purchased the flash drive of the conference classes. Each time I’ve heard something new and fresh I will be using in my next books!

Three uber talented and mega published romance authors, RaeAnne Thayne, Jill Shalvis, and Sarah Morgan gave a workshop on Contemporary romance in today’s marketplace.

They each have very different writing styles and ways of telling a story, but they also know their market. Thier stories are character and situational driven, and they bring into each one a perfect little snapshot of the contemporary age, without isolating themselves to this moment in time. Case in point: you can read one of their books from five years ago and even though things have changed in the tech world and the world in general, the stories told are still relevant and topical to today. That was my takeaway from this talk. Write the here and now, since I write contemp/romance, but make it relevant for the future as well. It’s all in the characters and how they are motivated towards their HEA. Love these three authors!

 

Another workshop with a trio of amazeballs and prolific writers, was one titled Fifty Shade of Funny with writes Jennifer Probst, Lauren Layne and Rachel Van Dyken. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture while I was in this workshop because I was fangirling like a two year old over Jennifer and Lauren and forgot!!!! I di remember their takes on what constitutes “funny” in a romance novel was very insightful, though, so that’s something ( heehee).

My absolute favorite workshop was the last one of the conference: The Neuroscience of high-impact Love scenes, presented by the amazingly brilliant, funny, and speedy-talker, Emily Foster. I wasn’t able to hear her speak when I was at the NECRW conference earlier this year because she was presenting at the same time I was, so when I saw her name listed on the RWA17 conference sheet for presenters, I knew I just had to attend her lecture. And, yowza, am I glad I did.

  

As a nurse I figure I have a pretty good idea of how the human body and the mind work. Yeah…not so much in reality. Emily gave me a completely different spin – a neuroscientific one – about how the body responds to desire and arousal, and how the mind is the major player in the difference, not the body’s reactions. Blew. My. Mind!!! Again, I played this lecture back once so far – but plan on listening to it, again and again, to make sure I get the character’s reactions to all things sex, correct!

These weren’t the only lectures I attended, but they were the highlights. There was sososososo much to do, sear, and hear at the conference I had to pick and choose wisely. Another reason I am so glad I purchased the conference recordings. I missed a bunch of really fabulous workshops and presentations because I needed to be elsewhere at the same time. Best $$$$ I’ve spent in a while, too.

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

A day in my life….is not for sissies!!

I retired in 2015 when I got a book contract. I’d worked for about 150 years as a nurse in varying specialties, then as a contact lens technician. By the time I left the nursing profession I was dog tired, emotionally wrung out, and psychological drained. Having a full time job that could be at the same time uplifiting and soul-sucking was difficult. I figured retirement – and the oppportunity to write full time  – would be much more relaxing and enjoyable.

What’s that old saying? You make plans and God laughs?
yeah…story of my life.

I figured writing full time would be a cake walk. Hey, I didn’t have to get dressed in professional clothes everyday any more, do my makeup, hair, and coordinate my wardrobe. I could stay in my pj’s all day and not even put on deodorant if I didn’t want to. ( I do, just for full disclosure here!)

That easy, carefree life of a writer I imagined? yeah..not so much. A few months ago I did a blog piece about a simple question my husband asks me every day at dinner: “So, what did you do today.” My usual response? “Worked.”
One night I figured he really needed to hear what I actually do under the definition of “work,” so here’s what I told him.

4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.

405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 16 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.

530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day. Made bed.

630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank. Got gas and went to the dump.

930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.

1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 3 in new cooking series.

1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.

130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 3 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. )  Folded dried laundry and put it away. Ironed shirts.

5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.

545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.

630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.

7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 3

830-10 read Netgalley again

10pm-midnight. Slept

Midnight-2 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.

Now, mind you: I have no children at home who need to be tended to, ferried places, or shown love and attention. I don’t currently, have a pet. My friends all work at full-time jobs out side of the home, so ladies who lunch is not on my menu. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, or have spa days. The last time I went to a mall my daughter was in college and I had a panic attack from the crowds. I simply write all day long.

But there’s nothing simple about a day in my life.

So, how do you think the other authors in this blog challenge spend their days? Find out by clicking on the links below


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Bad Wifi makes for an unhappy blogger…..

So the last time I blogged I was waiting for my flight to leave, bound for Orlando, Fl, and RWA 2017. The wifi in the airport was primo. 

After a long, hot, sweaty, and annoying wait for my shuttle car to arrive at airport pickup, I finally arrived at the Walt Disney Resort- Dolphin Hotel. Answer honestly: does this look like a dolphin?

Doesn’t it kinda look like a nice pufferfish? You know – the ones that kill you by injecting tetrodotoxin into your bloodstream if you eat the wrong part of it??

This is the sister hotel, the Swan.

Yeah. Aptly named, I think.

Anyway, I digress….

I arrived safe – sweaty – but sound, checked in and went to dinner with some of my chapter mates from NHRWA. To bed early and then a big day to start the conference off with a bang. Right away Wednesday a.m. I registered to make myself official.

This is me, all official:  Sorry that my eyes look crossed. I never know where to look when I take a selfie! Hee hee.

 

After checking in I happen to spot one of my writing besties, Marianne Rice and the amazeballs RaeAnne Thayne, so of course we had to have a picture!

A few workshops that first afternoon and then an evening to network. The Swan/Dolphin resorts are linked to what’s called The Disney Boardwalk, so a few of my chapter mates and I again went to eat. Lots of walking and eating at this conference! I got in my 10,000 steps a day, PLUS. It’s Dinsey, so of course, we paid through the teeth for a simple Italian themed dinner, but, oh well. Like I said, it’s DISNEY!

I’m going to do individual blogs for the next week or so to let you know some of the highlights of the trip. Here’s some hints: the blogs include using your creative brain – and not for writing, and total fan girl moments that changed my life!! Hee Hee. Hope you’re intrigued.

Off, now, to do six loads of laundry then grocery shop for the week because, you know….life.

You can find me here now that I’m home:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Foodie, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

I hate my voice, but……

Recently, I was interviewed on the national radio program, THE AUTHORS SHOW. The interviewer, Linda Thompson, has a voice made for radio. It’s rich, engaging, accent-less, and just sounds warm and welcoming. My voice? Yeah, not so much. But I’m always up for book promotion, so I did the interview and I hope the crackle and rasp emanating from my voice box doesn’t put too many people off!

The interview is 10 minutes long – not too long, but long enough that I got to answer some really terrific questions. If you have a few minutes to spare, give it a listen and let me know what you think ( about the book, NOT my voice! I already know what people think about that!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOL)


Yeah, NOT!!!!

When I’m not doing radio interviews you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Writing is my Oxygen…

Easiest blog EVAH to pen.

Why do I write? I could wax prolific for 500 words here, but there is no need to. As the title of my website tells you, writing is my oxygen.  Writing breaths life into my existence. A day without writing for me is a day without breathing. If you don’t breath, you die. Simple enough.

Now excuse me, please, because I need to go…..breathe!

You might want to stop by the other authors in this blog hop to see why writing is so important to them.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, Romance, Strong Women

Some Girls Like It Hot Facebook Hop

Welcome to the Some Girls Like It Hot Mega Gift Card FB Hop, where you can enter to win a gift card at every stop. With over 100 authors participating, that’s 100+ chances for you to win.

In the event of a broken link in the hop, you can always find the complete list of authors and links to their FB pages here: http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/the-hop_29.html

For this hop, I’m giving away AN E-COPY OF COOKING WITH KANDY. Please read and follow the instructions below very carefully. I don’t want to have to disqualify anyone!

  1. Like my FB page and this post.
  2. Follow me on TWITTER
  3. Comment below this post: I Love Hot Guys!

Winners will be chosen at random when the giveaway closes at 12 pm EDT (9 am PST) on June 12.

Kristina Knight is the next stop on the hop. Visit her/his Facebook page for a chance to win another gift card here: Kristina Knight FB page

BONUS GIVEAWAY! If you visit every page on the hop and enter all 100+ giveaways, you are eligible to enter to win an Amazon Echo Dot or Kindle Fire. Here’s the Rafflecopter:

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/bonus-giveaway-for-facebook-hop-visitors.html

*******Have you entered our two grand prize giveaways? That’s right, we’re running two big giveaways at the same time. Enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire HD 10” tablet ($299), plus additional kindles and Amazon gift cards.

Giveaway #1

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/the-hop.html

Giveaway #2

http://somegirlslikeithot.blogspot.com/p/june-9-12-giveaway.html

Good luck and have fun on the hop!

Facebook giveaways are in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this giveaway, participants release and indemnify Facebook from all liability. Information collected is not collected by Facebook.

List of Participating Authors and Links to Their Facebook Pages

Cheryl Matthynssens* https://www.facebook.com/dragonsgeas
Melissa McClone* https://www.facebook.com/MelissaMcCloneBooks/
Hunks to the Rescue* https://www.facebook.com/HunkstotheRescue/
Olivia Wildenstein* https://www.facebook.com/owauthor/
Nancy Segovia* https://www.facebook.com/segovia.nancy/
Tamara Ferguson* https://www.facebook.com/Tammysdragonfy/
Emily Leigh* https://www.facebook.com/emilyleighbooks
Constance Phillips* https://www.facebook.com/ConstancePhillipsRomanceAuthor/
Cynthia A. Clement* https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaAClement/
Cailin Briste* https://www.facebook.com/cailinbriste/
Enigmatic Books** https://www.facebook.com/enigmaticbooks/
Elizabeth Rose* https://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth-Rose-Author-515495781845391/
Gayle Parness* https://www.facebook.com/GayleParnessAuthor/
Marie Booth* https://www.facebook.com/marieboothbooks
Alyson Hale* https://www.facebook.com/AlyHaleAuthor
Victoria Pinder* https://www.facebook.com/victoriapinder1/
Jody A. Kessler https://www.facebook.com/Jody-A-Kessler-USA-TODAY-Bestselling-Author-230863640353761/
Astrid Arditi* https://www.facebook.com/Astridarditiauthor/
Amy Knupp* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyKnupp/
Jennifer Allis Provost* https://www.facebook.com/copperraven/
Stephanie Queen** https://www.facebook.com/StephanieQueenAuthor/
Stella Marie Alden* https://www.facebook.com/stellaMarieAlden
Jenna Barwin* https://www.facebook.com/jennabarwin/
Joanne Dannon https://www.facebook.com/joannedannonwrites/
Siera London* https://www.facebook.com/authorsieralondon/
Felicia Beasley* https://www.facebook.com/feliciabeasleyauthor/
Venom and Vampires* https://www.facebook.com/VenomAndVampires/
Sidney Valentine https://www.facebook.com/sidneyvalentineauthor/
Mia Ford* https://www.facebook.com/authormiaford/
Michelle Jo Quinn https://www.facebook.com/MichelleJoQuinnAuthor
Romance Author Quinn https://www.facebook.com/RomanceAuthorQuinn
Saint Brothers Series https://www.facebook.com/SaintBrothersSeries/
Soraya Naomi https://www.facebook.com/sorayanaomi.author
Sarah Williams* https://www.facebook.com/SarahWilliamsWriter/
Katie O’Sullivan https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKatieOSullivan
Josie Litton** https://www.facebook.com/josielittonauthor
Debbie White https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWhiteBooks/
Christa Paige** https://www.facebook.com/ChristaPaigeAuthor/
Stacy Gold** https://www.facebook.com/AuthorStacyGold/
Kris Michaels* https://www.facebook.com/Kris-Michaels-746901612054241/
Margo Bond Collins https://www.facebook.com/MargoBondCollins/
Peggy Jaeger** https://www.facebook.com/PeggyJaeger.Author/
Kristina Knight* https://www.facebook.com/KristinaKnightRomanceAuthor/
Elizabeth SaFleur* https://www.facebook.com/elizabethsafleurauthor
Lynda Haviland* https://www.facebook.com/lyndahaviland/
Jeanne St. James* https://www.facebook.com/JeanneStJamesAuthor/
Sophia Knightly* https://www.facebook.com/sophiaknightly/
Eden Rose* https://www.facebook.com/EdenRoseSmooches/
Sydney Aaliyah Michelle* https://www.facebook.com/SydneyAaliyahMichelle/
Laura Marie Altom* https://www.facebook.com/LauraMarieAltom/
SorchiaD* https://www.facebook.com/SorchiaD
Stephanie Julian* https://www.facebook.com/author.StephanieJulian/
Jennifer Wilck https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Wilck-201342863240160/
Sheila Seabrook* https://www.facebook.com/SheilaSeabrookAuthor/
Lana Campbell https://www.facebook.com/foreverandanight.lanacampbell
Erica Lynn* https://www.facebook.com/Erica-Lynn-Erotic-Romance-Author-1671551313094553/
Whitley Cox* https://www.facebook.com/CoxWhitley/
Amy L. Gale* https://www.facebook.com/Amy-L-Gale-540928695977160/
PG Forte* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPGForte/
Lila Felix* https://m.facebook.com/AuthorLilaFelix
Melissa Belle* https://www.facebook.com/authormelissabelle
Laura Greenwood https://www.facebook.com/authorlauragreenwood/
Lumi Daoi* https://www.facebook.com/LumiDaoiAuthor/
Nikki Lynn Barrett https://www.facebook.com/NikkiLynnBarrettauthor/
Josie Riviera https://www.facebook.com/Josie.Riviera
Amanda Uhl* https://www.facebook.com/amandauhlauthor
Jacquie Rogers* https://www.facebook.com/JacquieRogersAuthor
Victoria De La O* https://www.facebook.com/victoriadelao1/
Lane McFarland* https://www.facebook.com/LaneMcFarlandAuthor/
Lauren Wood https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurenWood/
Calinda B* https://www.facebook.com/CalindaBauthor/
Ashlyn Chase* https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshlynChase/
Deb Marlowe* https://www.facebook.com/DebMarloweAuthorPage/
Elisabeth Barrett* https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethBarrettAuthor/
Angelica Kate* https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009904514836
Bailey James* https://www.facebook.com/authorbaileyjames/
Holly Cortelyou** https://www.facebook.com/HollyCortelyouAuthor/
Ashlee Price* https://www.facebook.com/AshleePriceRomanceAuthor/
Author Mia Kayla https://www.facebook.com/authormiakayla
Allyson R Abbott* https://www.facebook.com/AllysonRAbbott/
Emory Gayle https://www.facebook.com/emorygayle/
Shelique Lize https://www.facebook.com/Author.SheliqueLize/
Helen Scott* https://www.facebook.com/helenscottauthor/
JC Andrijeski* https://www.facebook.com/JCAndrijeski/
Catherine Banks* https://www.facebook.com/catherinebanksauthor
Isabella Thorne** https://www.facebook.com/isabellathorneauthor/
Fanny West* https://www.facebook.com/fannywestauthor/
Arwilda Allshouse* https://www.facebook.com/Arwilda.Allshouse.Author/
Shaniel Watson https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShanielWatson/
N.D. Jones** https://www.facebook.com/ndjonesparanormalromanceauthor/
Ani Gonzalez* https://www.facebook.com/AniGonzalezAuthor/
C.A. King* https://www.facebook.com/ThePortalProphecies/
Connie Dave** https://www.facebook.com/authorconniedave/
Tena Stetler* https://www.facebook.com/TenaStetlerAuthor/
Katherine Lowry Logan** https://www.facebook.com/KatherineLowryLogan/
Tamra Lassiter* https://www.facebook.com/tamralassiterauthor/
Veronica Blake* https://www.facebook.com/Veronica-Blake-Writer-266206860220484/
K.N. Lee* https://www.facebook.com/KNycoleLee/
Bree Dahlia* https://www.facebook.com/BreeDahliaWriter/
Vella Day* https://www.facebook.com/Velladayauthor/
Bianca DArc** https://www.facebook.com/BiancaDArcAuthor/
Hope Worthington* https://www.facebook.com/hope.worthington.127
Shelley Munro* https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyMunroAuthor
Lisa London* https://www.facebook.com/lisalondonauthorpreneur/
Karen Michelle Nutt* https://www.facebook.com/authorkarenmichellenutt/
Aileen Harkwood* https://www.facebook.com/AileenHarkwoodAuthor/

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Author Branding, branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Why #writers need to #recharge.

I’ve been going at 120 miles per hour the past 3 months – ever since the New Year. I’ve got two books in final edits and galleys, I’ve got three more I’m working on for release at the end of this year and hopefully the beginning of 2018. I’ve committed to blogging more and am going to the gym 5-6 times per week. I’m doing a presentation at a conference next week, in addition to traveling 4 major times this year  ( airplanes, people!) to other conferences. I’ve got a brand new book out  TODAY and am doing promo for it as well.

This is all in addition to my normal life stuff. You know: cooking, cleaning wife-ing

Oh, and I’ve got Dancing With The Stars in 15 friggin’ days, so practice, practice, practice!

It’s only the beginning of April, but I feel like I’m burnt out already. Or I did, that is, until this past Saturday. Saturday night I did something I haven’t done in a long, looooooooooong time: I went out with friends.

Thank God and all that’s Holy for friends.

These friends don’t write.

These friends are all my age ( give or take a few months).

These friends all have children the same age as I do.

I have a history with these friends that doesn’t include plot lines, story arcs, or Capezio dance shoes!

And these friends keep me grounded while at the same time recharging my soul.

It was so wonderful to spend a few hours just talking about nothing and everything. I didn’t think once about how terrified I am of giving my presentation to a (hopefully, fingers crossed) large audience next weekend. I didn’t for one second agonize over a line of dialogue that I just couldn’t get right. I didn’t think about my feet, sore, and huddled in Merrel’s because they were so swollen from dance practice.

I didn’t do anything other than simply be, have fun, and laugh.

My hermetic existence is a given. I accept that I need to spend long stretches of time alone just so I can get my stories on the page.  I know I let world changing events float by me without so much as even a comment or a consideration just so I can finish a chapter. I get that sometimes I’m grouchy and pale and my eyes look like they’re bleeding because I spend countless hours staring at a computer screen. I accept all this and I go with it.

But it felt so blessed GOOD to not think about anything other than the conversation drifting around me.

God gave the world so many wonderful things. Free-will; faith; chocolate; wine. But the best thing he gave us was each other. People. Friends.

If you haven’t talked to or seen a friend in a while, call them TODAY! Not email, not a text, Actually put your mouth to the phone and speak to them. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

When I’m not wallowing you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

And as an added reminder, TODAY is the day COOKING WITH KANDY is released. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet ( and that begs the question “why not?”) here are the links:

Amazon //B&N // Kensington // Kobo // Apple // Google 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dancing with the Stars, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, New Hampshire, Project Graduation, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

The art of #naming your characters

I love names. Especially names where you can actually see the origin. Like SIOBHAN ( Irish!) NICOLLETTE (French) ANTONIO (Italian.)

Naming characters has always been a little bit of an obsession for me because I like to find names that actually mean something inherent in the person. For instance, my name, Margaret, means PEARL. If I was going to write a story with that name as my heroine’s ( and I never will because I hate my name!!!)  I would most likely give her attributes associated with pearls – strong outer shells, they take a lifetime to evolve, they are rare. You get the idea.

When I start a new book I always start with my characters first and the naming process usually takes me a few days to get right, especially with my hero and heroine. I want their names to connect, to go together, to be individualistic, but nonetheless when you hear the names mentioned you think “couple.” Like Oprah and Stedman, Goldie and Kurt, Elizabeth and Darcy. See? They go together ( why does that song from GREASE keep playing in my mind??)

Some writers spend more time naming their fictional characters than normal, non-writing people do naming their children. I feel both are crucial. You don’t want to name your alpha hero Marmeduke and please don’t name your child Zippity Doo Cogwheel or FeMale Jones. Don’t laugh…I have a doctor friend who told me a story of her OB/GYN internship days and a couple named their daughter after the name tag the hospital gave her: Female. But they thought it was pronounced  Fe-mal-ay. People are weird. Names shouldn’t be.

There are as many books and websites detailing names as there are, well, names. Baby Naming books get new editions yearly, as the popular and trendy names for kids change with the culture. Old Bibles are great places to get names especially if you are writing an historical novel. Writers who cater to fantasy or science fiction have a great deal of leeway in naming their characters because they can call them whatever they want ( like Zippity Doo Cogwheel) since they are inventing their own world with their own rules.

You don’t even need a baby naming book – although they are a fast, easy reference tool. You’re on your computer, so just get to your search engine. If you click Google images and type in name-meaning ( and then the name you want, like Margaret) you will get an unlimited array of images with the meaning of the name. That’s how I got the Margaret sign above.

Naming your characters and then giving them attributes associated with the name is a fabulous way of actually bringing your characters to life and having them be memorable to readers. Would Scarlett O’Hara have been such an icon if Gone With The Wind was published with the original name Margaret Mitchell gave her of Pansy? “Frankly, Pansy, I don’t give a damn!” doesn’t have the weight of “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn!”  Pansy means “thought”, Scarlett means “Sent from Heaven.” Now we all know Scarlett O’Hara never gave a “thought” to anything but herself and Tara, and as seen through the eyes of the men in her realm, sent from Heaven seems appropriate, no?

So, when you decide to name your characters ( or your children!) please please please give it careful, complete, thought. Don’t just pick a name out of the air or call them fruit ( anyone remember Apple Martin?) or weigh them down with a moniker they’ll never live down like Dweezle or Moon Unit. Give them normal, easily pronounced, meaningful names. After all, you want your readers to discuss your book with their friends and remember the characters names don’t you? You seriously don’t want them to struggle to remember what you called your hero and heroine. And if you’re really good – and very lucky – those character names will stand the test of literary time, like Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane and Rochester, Scarlett and Rhett all have.

When I’m not naming characters, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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