Category Archives: Author

Did you know I’m crafty….#MFRWauthors

 

and that I bake? A lot? More about those things in a bit….

Today’s topic is what I do to recharge. By definition, recharge means: to regain one’s strength and energy by resting and relaxing for a time; or return to a normal state of mind or strength after a period of physical or mental exertion.

By virtue of those definitions, something must be done for a person to need to break away from to rest and regain their momentum.

yeah…not me. I’ve said this multiple, ad nauseum times: Writing is my oxygen. Without doing it, like without breathing, I would die. So I really have never come to a place in my life where I felt the need or desire to walk away from it for a while to reenergize my brain.

What I do, in essence, though, is take breaks during the day for the other things that I love to do: cooking is one. Making things is another.  Let me ‘splain.

I love to bake. Thankfully, my husband likes to eat the things I bake. Most days, items like this sit under domed glass on my kitchen counter, waiting for him to snack on: 

Those are my banana walnut muffins. The picture doesn’t do them justice about how big they are. Trust me: for the normal person they would not be a snack but a meal. For hubby though, who likes to graze, they are a snack. When I get stuck on dialogue or a plot point isn’t moving along the way I want it to, I go from my office to the kitchen and bake for an hour or so. Usually, that time away from the laptop, consciously writing, commands my unconscious brain to deal with the problem. Problem gets solved and I’ve got baked goods as the outcome.

Win-Win!

The other things I do are along the crafty spectrum. I love to decoupage and restore old “things.” The things I love to restore the most are old trunks and steamer trunks. Here’s a project I did last year:

If you look super close you will see the cover of my first book SKATER’s WALTZ on there! Yeah, I”m not too conceited! ( sarcasm added). I also have my second and third book covers  There’s No Place like Home,  First Impressions )on the other side of the trunk!  Yeah… I know.

I also paint. I’m not great at it, but it is very relaxing. One of the newest things I’ve been painting are those canvass produce bags you are now required to bring to most supermarkets to cut down on the throwaway plastic bags filling our landfills for the next 10,000 years. Since I’ve been writing a new food series — WILL COOK FOR LOVE — it seemed appropriate to give these away at book signings to people who want the books. Clever marketing tool meets relaxing hobby.

Win-Win, again!

Now, I realize that my way of de-stressing isn’t exactly what other authors do. Let’s be honest, what I do sounds more like work to some people!!! Visit some of these authors to find out what they do to re-charge, energize, and how they cope with the stressors of life when they aren’t writing.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

A visit with #author K.K.Weil

I lovelovelove when I get to find out a little more about my Wild Rose Press author sistahs! Today, author  K.K. Weil pays me a visit and she’s talking about herself ( yay!) and her new release Some Whisper, Some Shout, from WRP. Sit back and learn a little about this talented author

K.K.,  The Writer

What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? So far, I’ve written contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I didn’t set out to write in these genres. I just wrote whatever stories were in my head, and they happened to fall within those parameters. But I’d love to write a dystopian novel, too. I’ve got one looming in my head and have started fooling around with it, so maybe one of these days.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I used to write every day, but this year I went back to teaching, so I’m juggling both. It definitely takes more time, but I love doing both, so it’s worth it.

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? I write in my family room, sitting on the same spot on the couch every time. Eventually, there will be a big dent in the cushion, but it’s not there yet.

Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? I like certain background music when I write. I actually have a playlist with songs from about 6 albums that I shuffle every time I write. They’re all somewhat mellow – jazz, blues, Nora Jones, Alicia Keys.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? I love writing about important topics. For this book, I knew I wanted to write about the homeless. There are so many organizations doing wonderful things to help the homeless, I wanted to incorporate that in my book. Jolie’s creperie offers a buy one-donate one program, where people can help feed the hungry if they want to.

Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? It depends. For Some Whisper, Some Shout, the plot came first because I knew I wanted to write about this topic. But for my book Shatterproof, I fell in love with one of the characters from my previous book, At This Stage, and I just had to create a story around him so for that one, character came first.

What 3 words describe you, the writer? Pantser, creative, grateful (that I get to do this thing I love so much) (Peggy here: I lovelovelove those 3 descriptions!!)

 

K.K., The Person

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I always eat my pizza crust first, because I like it the least, but I leave a tiny piece in the middle to use as a handle while I eat the rest of the slice. Now my daughter does the same thing. I think I corrupted her.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? Kirk Cameron from Growing Pains. I had his name scribbled all over my binder in junior high.
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. The day my son was born. My daughter came 3 years before, but there were complications and she was in put in the NICU (which obviously put a damper on the day). She ended up fine, thank goodness, but the day my son was born went seamlessly, and I compared it to my experience with my daughter, so I was just ecstatic for days. I wish everyone could have an experience like that.
  4. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? Mascara. I love long lashes. Maybe one day I’ll give in and experiment with falsies.
  5. What three words describe you, the person? Serious, creative, principled
  6. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? Oh God, no one would want to hear that. But if I had the opportunity, I’d sing The Devil Went Down to Georgia. I love songs with stories. Besides, we could each be/play a character.

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

 

  1. Favorite sound – Ocean waves crashing
  2. Least favorite sound – Whining
  3. Best song ever written Nights in White Satin, Moody Blues
  4. Worst song ever written So many, but maybe Baby by Justin Beiber
  5. Favorite actor and actress So hard to choose. Maybe Colin Firth. Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Any author with complex novels, because I’d love to be able to see their thought process, like Ayn Rand, Tolstoy or J. K .Rowling
  7. What turns you on? Dry humor
  8. What turns you off? Selfish behavior and bragging
  9. What’s your version of a perfect day? Being in a foreign country with my husband, exploring the places the locals go all day and night and having a delicious dinner with a couple glasses of wine.

Peggy here: It’s been fun getting to know K.K. a little better. And now for some more fun stuff. Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from her recent novel Some Whisper, Some Shout.

Blurb:  Some Whisper, Some Shout

Devices. Jolie’s got tons of them. Coping mechanisms that ensure she’s not falling victim to the mental illness that’s taken hold of both her brother and father. Helping the homeless gives Jolie much needed consistency. But when a stranger struts into her Jersey Shore creperie, writing cryptic songs on napkins and then disappearing, her world becomes anything but routine.

Reed can play the soul out of his saxophone, but he’s hiding something. Why else would he reveal so little about himself, or plan one secluded, albeit eccentric, date after another? And what’s in that backpack he carries everywhere? Then again, with her distressed brother missing, an estranged mother returning home, and a feisty grandmother acting weirder than usual, Jolie can’t decipher whether her suspicions are valid or dangerous delusions.

When inexplicable slashings of the homeless occur in her otherwise safe town, Jolie’s devices begin to fail.

Excerpt:

Reed’s bag sat on the floor next to me. I wasn’t in the habit of snooping. I’d never wanted to pry into the life of a guy I was dating before. Then again, I’d always gone in with my eyes open and my information gathered.

And no one else had been so intentionally evasive.

I scooted a few inches on the couch toward the bag. It was zipped shut so I couldn’t even sneak a peek. I’d have to very intentionally open it. I leaned over, a centimeter at a time, as if someone was recording me and I was trying to be sly. In my own home. How silly. My hand fell to my side, closer to the bag. My nail scratched at the couch, creeping its way toward the zipper. My stomach knotted into itself and my palms got clammy. I wiped one against the couch. This was very unlike me. Besides, I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for or if I wanted to know the answer.

Before my hand could make its descent from the couch to the backpack, the bathroom door opened. My hand flew into my hair and I sat up straight. Rigid even.

“Forgot my stuff.” Reed strutted toward me, in all his shirtless glory, with his shorts undone and hanging. He leaned over, scooped the backpack, and withdrew to the bathroom. He didn’t notice the plank of wood rammed down my back or the word guilty scribbled across my forehead.

I should have been disappointed. My snooping opportunity had passed. Instead, a cool ocean breeze seemed to blow through the room. I guess I didn’t want to know as much as I thought.

Buy Links:  Amazon // WildRose Press // B&N 

A little more about K.K. 

K.K. Weil grew up in Queens, but eventually moved to New York City, the inspiration for many of her stories. Weil, who attended SUNY Albany as an undergrad and NYU as a graduate student, is also a teacher. She enjoys writing her own dramas and lives near the beach in New Jersey, where she is at work on her next novel.

You can connect with K.K. here:

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Blog // Instagram // Goodreads 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A new experience…

Every year for our birthdays, my daughter and I elect to give each other a memorable experience in lieu of a standard gift. (Full disclosure here: I still get her a gift!!) For her 25th birthday, we took a cooking class together, as an example. When my birthday rolled around this year, she asked what I wanted to do that we hadn’t done before and she gave me a few options. One of them was going to trapeze school.

I can hear you saying now, “Excuse me, WHAT?”
Yes, you heard ( or read!) correctly. I wanted to learn how to fly on a trapeze. On a bar. 30 feet above the ground. And yes, with a net under me. I’m not totally a moron or have a death wish.

Anyway….

Over this past weekend, my daughter and I went to trapeze school.

It was as terrifying as I thought it would be, but it was so much more.

My daughter gave me the option of going first. I took it. As I climbed the 25 foot ladder up to the jumping off stand, I started to run in my mind the last time I paid my life insurance policy, was it up-t0-date? Who was my beneficiary? When I got to the stand, shaking and feeling as if I was going to throw up the oatmeal I had for breakfast ( more on that later) I must have telegraphed my absolute terror to the man who was going to strap me in and basically shove me off the stand because he said, “first time?”

Jeeze. What gave me away? The fact the ladder was clanging from my shaking hands? The pallor of my face? The fact my pupils were constricted with fear?

Anyway…he was lovely, reassuring, and very strong, thankfully. I did as I was instructed: one arm out to catch the bar, one hand behind me holding onto another bar, bend my knees, breathe. ON his count, he made me switch to both hands on the bar, put ten toes over the ledge and don’t look down, just focus on the distance. Now, of course, you know when someone tells you not to look down the first thing you do is….look down!! And sweet, baby Jesus, was I high up. Like third story building high up. On the count of three, he said, “go.” And I…went.

You never know how much you value your life as when it flashes before your eyes.

From below, the main instructor was calling out instructions, the most important one? “Focus on my voice!!” I did. I straightened my legs, lifted them when told, swung them around the bar so that now I was holding on and my knees were clutching the bar. When he said, “Let go and drop backward,” another flash flew past me and I…let go and leaned backward. I think at this time I screamed “Holy, Shit!”  but since neither my daughter nor my husband was videoing me, I can’t remember for sure. I do remember thinking “I’m actually doing this and not dying!!  Then I thought, “yet!”

Next instruction? Lift back up, drop your legs and let go.

Now, upside down hanging from the backs of my thighs is a position I never in 1,000,000 years thoughts I’d ever be in. But, I was. Looking at the world from 30 feet up and upside down is…interesting. And, I will admit, a total rush. And a little nauseating…damn that oatmeal.

Okay, so after a few seconds of this experience the instructor yelled, “Put your hands back up on the bar, drop your legs, and let go.”

Okay, what? Let go? I guess  I thought they would somehow lower me back down. The thought I had to DROP never crossed my mind. He said it again. “Let go.” So, I did.

The fact that I’m here, writing this, proves I didn’t die!!!

Now, no one took video of me doing this, so when it was my daughter’s turn, of course, I had that camera all set to record. Here is her much more stylish swing through:  

And, yes, it goes just that fast!!

So after the first time, when I was letter friggin’ perfect, you’d probably think it was a piece of cake after that and that the next time I’d be even better. Yeah…not so much. You never realize how much you weigh or what terrible shape your arm muscles are in until you are trying to hang with all your weight dropping straight down and someone yells “lift you legs over the bar.” So, I was a one hit wonder with the trapeze bar. Got a perfect 10 on my first try. I should have stopped there, but you know…competition! I tried 2 more times and then that damn oatmeal got the better of me and I got really sick and we had to call it a morning.

But for a few quick hours I flew like a bird. An overweight, middle aged, not very strong bird….but one, nonetheless.

And it was friggin’ fabulous!

One of my favorite human beings is Eleanor Roosevelt. She once said, “you must do the things that terrify you.” And I did!

So, next year’s birthday experience? Sky diving sounds good, no?

When I’m not doing birthday or bucket list things, you can find me here::Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Presenting…Gemma Snow

A little something different from me today…I’m introducing you to a new author to me ( although I’ve known her personally for a while!) Gemma Snow. Gemma writers erotic and contemporary romance as well as historical romance and fiction. She’s got a new book out and I’m giving you a little taste of what to expect from her at the end of the interview. Gemma and I are part of the #MFRW authors 52 week blog challenge that’s been going on since January of this year, and this year at #RWA17 I was able to hang out with her for a while and just chat during our busy week. She’s an absolute delight – not to mention wicked funny and charming. So, sit back and find out a little bit more about this darlin’.

Gemma Snow, The Writer Questions

  1. What drives you to write?

I guess I don’t really see it as a choice. Stories, and characters and interactions and events build up and I just need to get them down on paper. I love the idea of being able to create something from virtually nothing, building characters and worlds that never existed before. Sometimes it gets hard, really hard, but I couldn’t possibly imagine a life without it.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

I write across several genres, and that’s mostly because every time I think I should get it together and focus my attention, another story pops up like a demanding kitten. So far, I write in historical and contemporary, with raunchy and raunchier book.I love writing historical, because characters are already thrust into a tense situation, and it’s always a lot of fun playing with subtext and innuendo. I write erotic romance because I feel that a pretty fundamental part of feminism is reevaluating the role female sexuality plays in society, and acknowledging the very wide variety of what that means. Erotic romance is fun, and it makes for good cocktail party conversation, but I really do consider it important.

3. Do you write everyday? I write every day, but it isn’t always a book. I run three blogs, updated weekly, and I’m the News Editor for my startup company, which means I also have to keep up with the articles for that site as well. There’s also the way less sexy marketing and social media and newsletter element of things. That kind of writing isn’t nearly as much fun, but in a lot of ways, it’s just as important.. My schedule is nuts. I work part time, freelance, support my start up and write under two names, as well as managing all their accompany social media requirements. A good day for me is a healthy balance of writing and marketing.

4. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

My office is my bedroom. Sometimes it’s kind of a problem. The last thing us writer types is another reason to spend too much time alone in our own worlds. The room is actually great, though. I have my desk set up, two bulletin boards for storyboarding, and pens and paper within reach. My boyfriend and I are living with my parents right now, and I really do wish I had an office without a futon and piles of clothes in it, but I’m so grateful for the chance to make this author-as-a-career thing work, that I can’t complain. Plus, the light is amazing.

5. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, in fact, just leave the room, would ya? It might be because I’m nosy, but whatever the reason, I can’t deal with conversations, noise or music. The dog barking at the foot of the stairs takes me right out of my work and I sit there steaming instead of writing. I also tend to write down what I hear, so if the television is on or someone’s on the phone, forget it. My boyfriend’s great though, if he wants to come hang out in the room, he just plugs in his headphones and leaves me too it.

6. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? It’s kind of a funny story, actually. So Seduction en Pointe came about through a book I had published with a now defunct indie press, called Six is Company. That story was actually a novella, and included three couples that I wanted to bring to life. At first, Isabelle’s name was Taylor, so that shows you just how far away I’ve come from the original plot, which would need serious revising to go into reprint. Anyway, the press went down, but I kept my amazing editor and we started developing Seduction. At first it was going to be a novella, and I had to reorganize everything when I hit about 30k and realized the story was a world away from what I expected it to be. I can honestly say that I rewrote, like serious, construction equipment rewrote, this book at least four times. At one point, I had the whole thing broken down on a whiteboard in our foyer for like three months. My mom was patient, but I definitely pushed the limits. It’s been a really tough book to write, but I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

7. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Usually character. I tend to write series, even when I don’t really mean to. A lot of that comes from my need to put supportive female characters into my books, so a lot of spin-offs are sisters or friends that started as secondary characters. But usually by the time I get done with book one, I know everyone in the book universe, so to speak. Seduction en Pointe is part of the Full Swing series, and I have those characters mapped out and pinned down. Same with The Lovin’ is Easy and the next three books in the Triple Diamond series.

8. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Curious, passionate, determined – I hope!

Gemma, The Person:

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I work as an automotive journalist and I’ve been a car nut since before I could walk. Amazingly, I’m only just coming around to writing a car romance.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? I was sixteen and he was a twenty-one year old British lifeguard. Pretty much ruined my life, ya know?
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…  This is hard! It has to be the day I found out Robbie, my boyfriend, got a job in New York. We had been doing long distance from Boston to New Jersey for over a year and it was just really hard. I was on my bus ride back to New York when I got the call that he was moving down to live with me in less than a week, and I burst into tears. Either that, or the day I graduated college.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxer briefs, baby! I love me a good butt.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?Hair pins! Or hair cream. Or tweezers… I have a hair problem.
  6. What three words describe you, the person? I think curious still stands, creative, loving.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? I am not legally allowed to sing in the state of New Jersey, and I imagine that extends to New York too… Straight up tone deaf, this girl.
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? This is so hard! I mean, there are some characters I love, but definitely wouldn’t want to spend time with – Dracula, for instance. It’s probably cliché to say Hermione Granger, but those books came out as I was growing up, and I can’t overstate how important they were to my development as writer, feminist and over all person. Or Claire and Jamie Fraser! Or anyone from any book Juliette Marillier has ever written! I’m not following the rules…

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – Rain on a day you don’t have to get out of bed
  2. Least favorite sound – the freaking fire alarm going off at the college down the street ever freaking day this summer.
  3. Best song ever written – I don’t know if I can pick one, but Bob Dylan’s lyrics have always had a huge influence on me.
  4. Worst song ever written – When you work at a sleep away summer camp, you hear more teeny bopper music than anyone ever needs in a lifetime. Any of it. Pick one.
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Huge Emma Watson fan. (Shocker, I know). Chris Pratt reminds me of my Robbie, but I’m really upset about this whole break up with Anna Farris.
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)

I have a background in art history and spent several months working on a historical fiction book about Da Vinci, and I would love the chance to just slip into his mind for a day and get a real sense of the man himself. Or any of the bad ass female pirates, Anne Bonny, Grace O’Malley, Ching Shih, Mary Read, any of them.

  1. What turns you on?

Intellectual conversation and humor. I love laughing kisses. And also, back muscles.

  1. What turns you off?

Misogyny, the idea that women shouldn’t like sex as much as men. Usually, it’s not stated out loud, but you can just tell.

  1. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)

“I can’t cook pasta.” (Okay, it’s four…) He was 26, and that didn’t even scratch the surface of that disaster.

  1. What’s your version of a perfect day?

Robbie and I have seasonal picnics in the park, and I’d love to spend the morning writing and then go apple picking and take some fruit and fresh bread on a picnic. I’m turning him into a museum person too, so maybe throw one of those in. Followed by a play or book reading and a quiet dinner at a good Italian restaurant. Last week we went to Harry Potter World though, and that pretty much made my entire life.

 

And now for a little taste of SEDUCTION en Point

Blurb: When successful TV star of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Nicco Castillo, finds his boyfriend in bed with another man, he goes full-on Hollywood trainwreck that lands him in ER. Next thing he knows, the producers are shipping him off to Paris to shape up and learn to dance for the next season’s story arc. But his incredibly tempting Parisian ballet instructor, Isabelle La Croix, makes that all too difficult, especially when he learns about her decadent desires–desires Nicco is all too pleased to indulge in. Against the ballet barre, the balcon railing, and wherever and for however long Isabelle is willing to have him.

Author Bio: 

Gemma Snow is the author of several works of erotic and romantic fiction in both the contemporary and historical genres, and enjoys pushing the limits of freedom, feminism, and fun in her stories.  She has been an avid writer for many years, and recently moved back to her home state of New Jersey from Boston, after completing her education in journalism and creative writing.
 
In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent a semester abroad living in a 14th century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars, and talking to strangers. 
 
Find Gemma on: 

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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!’


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#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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#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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#RWA17, Fan girling….it’s a thing

At 57 years old, you’d think I’d be beyond hyperventilating when I see a “celebrity.” Yeah…not so much.

My very first RWA in 2014 I actually burst into tears when I met and spoke with Nora Roberts. Not one of my finest, adult moments, but there was truly so much emotion stored up in me concerning her that when I actually got the chance to speak to her, I lost it. Like a two year old. She was gracious, lovely, and held my hand. I don’t think I washed it for 2 whole days!!!, but that might not be true because I blacked out after meeting her! and have no memory of the rest of the day!!

You can just make out the tears still wet on my cheeks in this picture her lovely assistant, Laura, took.

Anyway.

Fan girling. Yeah, it’s a thing.  A real thing. Even though I’ve been to 4 RWA conferences and 1 RT, I still get a little queasy butterfly feeling in my tummy when I see my writing idols casually walking around a hotel as if they were, well, normal people, not romance icons. Here are just a few of my absolute meet-favorites from this year. And I’ll tell you honestly, I really struggled not to cry when I met each of them.

First, one of my newest favs, Lauren Layne.

 

If you haven’t read any of her Wedding Belles series, or any of the Stiletto books, get yourself over to Amazon and get a bunch. You will not be disappointed.

 

Next, the amazeballs, uber-talented Jennifer Probst. I actually carted her book WRITE NAKED with me to Orlando because I knew she was going to be there and I simply had to meet her to autograph it.

I sat in on one of her workshops as well, but don’t ask me what she said. I was too busy pinching myself because I was sitting in the same room with her!

And look what she wrote to me!!!!!!

 

Okay, this next picture makes me giggle every time I see it! The incredible, sweet, absolutely lovely and funny Jill Shalvis was sososososos gracious when I basically interrupted her from eating at the Rita’s and begged – yes begged – for a picture.

 Can you see how giddy I am??!!!

And at the Literacy signing I bothered, er, spoke, to her again when she was with another of my favs, and Jill’s BFF, RaeAnne Thayne. Honestly, these two women are graciousness incarnate!!

 

last but certainly not least, I was able to “hang” with another of my favorite authors, Marianne Rice, who was attending her first RWA. We were having a good natured contest between us to see how many “big names” we could get to take selfies with us. Marianne WON, hands down!!! She got the fabulous Rachel Gibson!!!!  And Susan Elizabeth Phillips!!! Le sigh….maybe next year.

So, don’t ever be upset or embarrassed if you’re a fan girl, because we’ve all been there!! Some of us still are, despite our —ahem--senior ages!

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A #Giveaway and a promise…

Hey all! There’s currently a Goodreads giveaway running for my October release of A SHOT AT LOVE, book 2 in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE series.  Just click on GOODREADS in the previous sentence to enter.

If I get 300 entrants, I’m going to post a special scene that didn’t make it into the final copy of the book here on my website, so please, pass this link on to anyone who enjoys romance!

I’f I get 500 entrants, I’ll choose a name for a special chance to win a signed first edition copy from me!

And Holy Smokes, if I get more than 500, well, I’ll think of something special to give away from me, never fear!!!

thanks, oodles!

 

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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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