Category Archives: RWA

The best kind of surprise….

So. I’ve been on radio silence for the past week because I’ve been vacationing with family in Iceland. More on that experience to come in the next few days.

But…

While I was on the never ending customs  line at JFK yesterday after touching back down on home turf, I checked my Twitter and Facebook feeds and found out from two friends that I’m a finalist in the romantic suspense category of the 2018 Stiletto Contest for my book A SHOT AT LOVE.

When my week-long email file finally uploaded, I found the official letter telling me this!!  I”m so excited. I was a finalist last year, too, for  my novella A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights.

It’s such an honor to be nominated. The winners in each category will be announced at this year’s Stiletto Awards ceremony in Denver, CO during RWA 2018.

I’ll keep you updated!

In the mean time, I have a ton of laundry to do, groceries to get because there are literally crumbs in my cabinets, bills to pay and a 1,000 email box to declutter. See ya in a couple of days ( if I’m lucky!)

In the mean time, find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Romance, Romance Books, romantic suspense, RWA

#Research…a necessary evil or funfunfun to do?

I love trivia. The more arcane or weird an item of info is, the better for me. When TRIVIAL PURSUIT first burst onto the world stage in the 1980’s no one wanted to play against me. Le sigh…..

Because I like knowing weird trivia facts, I lovelovelove research. My characters are all over the map with regards to their careers and knowledge bases. I’ve had doctors, veterinarians, tv producers, writers, lawyers, and artists, just to name a few. And for every book and different career choice, I’ve had to do a little research to ensure I was staying true to not only the character, but how their career fit in with the plot line.

Some of my favorite pieces of info that I learned from researching my books are:

  1. a cow has 4 stomachs
  2. the gestation period for a horse is 11-12 months
  3. a Coroner doesn’t have to be a medical doctor.
  4. the first digital camera was invented and used in 1975
  5. milk chocolate tempers between 87 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. White chocolate is really a chocolate derivative made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids
  7. the basic cake recipe for almost every baker is simple to easy.

Writers need to get things right in their work. In the past, publishers had fact checkers to make sure when an author added a piece of info into their story it was correct. Not so much anymore. But now, with the information needed at our fingertips, anyone can and should be a fact checker simply by using Google.

There are two reasons I am so anal about research. One is from a writing viewpoint, the other as a reader. A few years ago I read a book by a very well known and well paid romance writer who said that the hero was wearing Bausch and Lomb Blue colored contact lenses. At the time, I was a contact lens technician and KNEW B&L made no such lens. As a reader I was disappointed in the writer and the publisher for not fact checking that. (FYI, B&L now does make a blue colored lens in their disposable brand of lenses. Back when this book was written, they did not and would not for several years.)

The personal reason I am such a devout researcher has to do with my first book. It was about an ice skater who’d won  2 Olympic gold medals. When I was describing her winning routine, I spelled the move she made as A-X-L-E. Now, I skated for decades myself, but never knew the word when used in this skating context was spelled A-X-E-L. An agent I’d sent the manuscript to also happened to be an ice skater on the side. When she saw how I’d misspelled the word, she wrote me back that she never read the rest of the book because that mistake questioned my credibility as a writer of the subject to her. Lesson learned. The hard way.

So, research. Fun or tiresome? You already know my answer.

Since this is a blog hop, lets see what the other authors have learned from their book research:

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, MFRWauthor, Newsletter, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

#Writinggroups: My happy place!

When I started my journey to publication in 2014 I realized pretty quickly I didn’t have a support group around me. Oh, I had – and still have – plenty of friends who thought it was great that I was going to try and get a book published. They cheered me on, boosted me up a bit. But I had no one – no single person – I could talk one-on-one to about the process of writing. I had plenty of people who wanted to read what I wrote but no one close to me who would be able to give me a professional, capable, knowing critique. And I certainly didn’t have anyone in my realm who knew about the business end of writing, publishing, and what needed to be done to get the word out their about your work.

Since I’m a plotter by nature, and that means I really really really think things through, thoroughly, before I implement them, the one way I could see to solve this dilemma for myself was to find a writing group. None existed in my town for romance writers, but I found one with a plethora of writing tastes so I decided to visit one of their meetings.

Best thing I ever did because it taught me exactly what I DIDN’T want in the way of a writing group. I won’t go into detail because it’s a little emotionally and ego-deflatingly painful to even remember that night, but I learned a great lesson: Like needs Like. If I was going to write romance, I needed to be around other writers who had the same passion and desire to read and write the genre as I had. This little group I’d just visited looked down their snotty and pious noses at me for even considering to write something as plebian ( one member’s word choice) and morally corrupt  (another’s!)  as romance.

See why I never went back?

Next step, find a group of romance writers. Easy peasy. I googled RWA, found out about the local chapter in my state, emailed the membership person listed and was invited straightaway to the next meeting. Which I went to. And I’ve never looked back.

These writers were my sistahs. My tribe! At that very first meeting, I learned sosososo much about the publishing industry  I had never known before that my head was spinning by the time the meeting was over.

And they were NICE! SO nice. And welcoming. And knowledgeable. And wicked smart, snarky, and funny.

Like I said: MY SISTAHS.

Four years on and I still think of them that way. We celebrate each other’s publishing victories and share chocolate and wine when rejections come in. We talk about life, and love, and kids, and romance, and sex. But most of all we talk about writing. How we write, what we write, what we want to write. How to make what we’ve written better, what to leave in a manuscript and what to send to the shredder.

Every single time I leave one of my meetings I am energized to go home and write for hours on end – and I usually do. While I’m driving home plot lines and story arcs fill my head or character traits I need to incorporate into my current heroine sprout up. Once, I plotted an entire novel during the 90-minute drive home from a meeting. The fact that I didn’t crash and die because I was so preoccupied just verifies in my mind the fact that I have Guardian Angels watching out for me.

If you’re like me and you need knowledgeable people to discuss with, bounce ideas off of, or pick the industry minds of, then joining a writing group geared to what you write is – in my mind – the best way to do all those things. One of my favorite days of each month is the day scheduled for my local RWA meeting.

This is an actual picture of me when I’m gearing up for a meeting!!!

When I’m not at a romance writing group meeting, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Another word about speaking in public…

The other day I wrote about how miserable a public speaker I’ve become. In truth, it’s because I don’t get the chance to do it as often as I used to so I’m kinda out of practice. Hand in hand with being terrified to speak in public is my fear of reading my own words out loud when there are more people than just me in a room.

Case in point: last year at NECRW2017 I was part of a group of authors who did a live reading of their current books. I thought it would be a good way to get my written work out there and hopefully garner some new readers. No brainer, right?

Yeah, no.

Up until the moment I was called upon to read I still hadn’t chosen the excerpt I wanted to share. The book was my newest one for Lyrical, COOKING WITH  KANDY, which had come out a few weeks earlier, and I wanted to read something that would spark ( hopefully) a listener enough to want to buy the book. Right up to the second moderator and host Damon Suede called my name, I was still undecided.

Then, my name was called and up to the microphone I went. I took a breath – three in fact – so deep it looked like I might be having the beginning of an asthma attack to those who knew what to look for(!) and read a simple passage loaded with emotions between the two main characters.

495 words.

8 minutes to complete.

I kinda left my body for the experience, because I really don’t remember much. When I sat back down, Damon said, “Am I right that was your very first public reading?”

My heart stopped beating when he said that. Christ! Had it been that bad? That obvious? That horrible a reading?

I nodded, unable to form coherent words in response.

Damon grinned and said something like, “So, yay! You’re not a reading virgin anymore! We popped your cherry!”

Everyone – including me – laughed. I know I turned sixteen shades of boiled tomato red, but still, his comment broke the tension that had coiled deep in me. Bless the man!

Next time ( and I can hear you now asking She’s gonna do it again???!!), yes, NEXT time, I’ll be less nervous, better prepared, and practice what I want to read before I get up and do so.

And BTW, Damon Suede has a great article in this month’s RWA magazine –  for those of you who subscribe –  about authors and public reading of their work. It’s well worth the read!

When I’m not obsessing about speaking in public you can usually find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, female friends, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women

The day that changed my life

Another week, another interpretation of this blog title. Personal? Professional? Neither? Both?

Okay, throwing that virtual dart on the wall again I’m gonna go with professional.

The day I pick is the day I learned I was going to have my first romance novel published BY A REAL PUBLISHER!!!!

I was at the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio – my very first RWA conference.

I’d already gotten the email from Rhonda Penders, publisher of The Wild Rose Press, that she wanted to see my entire manuscript after I’d come in first place in a contest she’d judged for unpublished writers. I’d sent it along about a month previously to an editor, who coincidentally, told me she would be attending the conference and thought it might be nice to put a face to my “email voice.” We decided on a date and time to meet.

At the appointed hour I made my way to the registration desk and met with the person whom I’d been corresponding for the past month. She was absolutely lovely. We discussed many things – the conference, the weather in San Antonio – but we skirted around the topic of the book she was reading for me. I thought that was a telling sign: she hated it!

Finally, I had to get to another course so I shook her hand and thanked her for being so kind and gracious in meeting me. Before she let me go she said when I got home I would be receiving an email that might make me happy. In a word, WRP had decided they wanted my book for their list. It took me a second to realize she meant they wanted to publish it. A loooooooooong-ass second. I was so silent, standing there, still holding her hand, I fear she thought I was having a stroke or some kind of medical emergency.

The moment dragged on and I swear I couldn’t form a sentence right then if I’d been jolted by lightning.

Suddenly, a group of women walked by, all laughing, and that noise jarred me out of my paralysis. I smiled – or I think I did – squeezed her hand, and thanked her. Again. Like, five times! She laughed, told me I was welcome and encouraged me to  get  along to my course.

I don’t think I did. If memory serves, I went back to my room and cried. For an hour. I cried so much I had to redo all my makeup before that evening’s event.

I honestly don’t remember much more about that day because all I did was replay what she’d said about publishing my book on a virtual and continual loop in my head.

That was 2014 and I was a naive addition to the publishing community. Three years later and I know a little more about what to expect after signing that contract.

But even today, every time an editor tells me they want my book for their list, I still feel like that naive little publishing-virgin and have my Sally Field moment.

 

It’ll be fun to see what the other writers in this blog hop have decided is their best day. Click on their links to read what they’d written for today.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Week 2 of the #BookTour wrap-up

Just in case you missed any of the tour stops for week 2, here’s a listing with links. Be sure to drop by, leave some love, and be entered for a chance to win an Amazon GC at the end of the tour.

Monday, October 2 Danita Minnis

Tuesday, October 3 Up ’til Dawn Book Blog

Wednesday, October 4 Hearts and Scribbles and Nickie’s Reviews and Interviews

Thursday, October 5 Nancy Fraser

Friday, October 6  Fabulous, and Brunette   and Two Ends of the Pen

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women

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

#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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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books, RWA