Tag Archives: Author

RWA – from a different viewpoint

Today, I’m over on the Contemporary Romance Writers blog talking about the upcoming RWA conference. I’ve include dthe text here if you don’t want to follow the link.

Here’s the text:

A few weeks ago, I blogged about what to do if you’re attending the Annual RWA conference for the very first time. Being a first-time attendee can be daunting and overwhelming. So many fabulous courses to choose from; the amazing publishing spotlights; the free books, oh Lord, the free books. That moment when you realize your favorite author of all time is in the same elevator as you.

It’s all heady stuff and those of us who are conference veterans know the feeling well. Which is why I want to concentrate on us old timers today and what I think our responsibilities should be when we attend the conference.

My very first RWA was in San Antonio in 2015. First timers are given an actual stick-on to place on their name badges stating they are first timer conference attendees. Like everyone else, I attached my badge banner after registration. I was standing by an escalator nervously trying not to look conspicuous and awkward in my solitariness the next day, when author Shirley Jump approached me and introduced herself. She stated she was an RWA Board Member and asked how I was liking my first conference. She asked what I wrote, was I published, what chapter did I belong to, all questions that engaged me in conversation and put me at ease. She was absolutely charming, lovely, and (if you’ve never seen her) gorgeous. She made me feel so special, I went about the rest of the day feeling less like a fish out of water.

Knowing that she took the time to reach out to me, a total stranger, to welcome me to RWA and to encourage me to take advantage of the parties, courses and workshops, gave me such a feeling of acceptance and belonging.

The next year, as a seasoned conference attendee now (LOL) I remembered that encounter and did the same thing Shirley did: I reached out to several people who had first timer banners on their badges. I introduced myself and then engaged them in conversation about their experience the same way Shirley had.

It felt marvelous to reach out that way. I met three women who were much the same age as me, who were at that point in their lives where they wanted to devote themselves to their writing more and were attending the conference to network, see what was happening in the industry, and take advantage of some of the fabulous workshops and courses. They even asked me advice on publishing. Imagine. Me!

Ego-boosting stuff to be sure.

Every year since then I’ve made it my business to connect like that with first timers. And every year I’ve made more writing friends because of it.

Every one of us who write has at one time or another felt that solitary, awkward, what-am-I-doing-here feeling. RWA is a supportive community of writers in all phases of their publishing careers and we should embrace one another on all those levels. A smile and a word of encouragement go a long way when someone is feeling out of place or overwhelmed. So, I’m challenging all of us RWA seasoned members to reach out this year to a first-time conference attendee and welcome them into the community we all love so much. You just may make a novice writer’s day. And conference.

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

The Declutter Challenge…

Recently on Facebook, I saw a post that was shared hundreds of times called THE DECLUTTER CHALLENGE,  a 30-day challenge to get rid of clutter and stuff in your life. A random sampling of the days’ tasks includes: purging 2 kitchen cabinets (day 7); cleaning out your wallet (day 9) and your purse ( day 10); cleaning out the freezer ( day 18); donating unused toys ( day 25). The challenge ends on day thirty with the simple task of CLEAN. I guess what you clean is up to you, but I took it to mean, clean your house.

This challenge, naturally, got me to thinking about how I could declutter my writing.  All writers have catch words or phrases they like to use, especially when writing dialogue. If we actually wrote how we spoke, the readers would be bored out of their gourds. For instance, would you seriously want to spend money on a book where every dialogue started like this:

#1. Hey, Bill. How are you?

#2. Fine, Jim. How are you?

#3. Can’t complain. How’s the family?

#4. Doing well. Yours?

#5. Same, same. So how, about those Red Sox?…

you get the idea. This is drivel. We may speak like this in real life, but in fiction, it’s a death knoll.

So that’s one way to declutter your work: check the dialogue. Can you get the idea across without all the folderol of “hi, how you doing’s?”

Another way I know I personally clutter up my writing is by using too many extraneous words to convey my thoughts. A quick search of my current work in progress yielded this:

the use of THAT – 89 times

the use of To her/to him/ for her/for him -56 times

the use of adverbs ( the bane of my writing existence) 91 times. EEK!

I really need to work on decluttering these words, don’t I! Hee hee

Other things that writers should declutter are phrases like “seemed to,” “tried to,” “began to.” Writing is much stronger and moves quicker when sentences are declarations and use an active tense.

For example: Her natural, spicy scent seemed to surround her body.

Better example: Her natural, spicy scent of ginger and peach, surrounded her.

Other words that can probably be eliminated a fair amount of time and still allow the sentence to convey what it needs to are:

move, push, reach, bring, pull, went, brought, press and came( to denote going  or coming from somewhere)

It’s a good practice to utilize the SEARCH for options in your word processing program to nit pick and eliminate words you use excessively after your first draft is written. This will make the editing process more about the story line and capturing what you intended to say instead of needing to remove excess words.

Oh, about that 30-day Declutter challenge. yeah, I survived for three days. Then I was exhausted. Maybe I should develop a 12 month declutter challenge. You know…do one thing a month instead of 30 in 30 days? Thoughts? LOL

When I’m not decluttering my life and my writing, 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 Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Life challenges, Pet Peeves, Strong Women, Uncategorized

I’m so Excited! #newrelease, #coming soon to @KensingtonBooks

I’m so excited. In just a few more days ( April 4th) COOKING WITH KANDY releases.

This is the first of my new Kensington/Lyrical book series WILL COOK FOR LOVE about the lives, loves, and recipes of the Laine Family. Kandy Laine is the first, with her sister Gemma coming later in A SHOT AT LOVE

and then cousin Stacy makes an appearance in 2018 in CAN’T STAND THE HEAT? I’ve got two more books lined up after that, as well. More on them in the future.

But back to being SO EXCITED!! And yes, I feel like an honorary Pointer Sister. And if you don’t get that reference it means you were born after the 1980’s!

This will be my first book for Kensington/Lyrical and I am over the moon. I join a very well established stable of writers of all genres in the country’s oldest family owned book empire – and I don’t use that term loosely!

I am truly blessed at this point in my career to be writing for such a well-respected house.

Yippie!
So, if you see me in the next few days and I look a little dazed and unfocused, you’ll know why: the excitement is getting to me and I am just silly with it.

I’ll be hanging out at all my Social media sites, esp. on 4.4.17, so if you want to find me, look here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, female friends, Friends, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Laine Women

Thankful Authors

Since it’s the holiday season and it means so much more than just running around and trying to find the perfect gift, fellow author — and writing friend — Angela Hayes has invited me to post a blog to her ThankFul Authors website. Angela hosts a wide variety of authors each year who try to express just why they are thankful for all the blessings in their lives. Here’s the link to my post for today. It kind of explains why I write about the strong women I write about. And why I will continue to do so….hopeyou enjoy it.

here’s the link: THANKFUL AUTHORS 2016

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

NaNoWriMo…How to make it a habit

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Three days down, 27 to go. So, how are you doing?

In yesterday’s post, I shared with you that I thought the main impetus behind the NANOWRIMO culture was to get writers into the habit of writing every day. I believe that. I live that.  But that got me to thinking, what exactly does it take for something to become a habit? To become so ingrained within your psyche that you don’t even question why you’re doing it, you’re just doing it?

When I was in nursing school (a 175 years ago!!) I remember reading in one of my psychology courses that it takes 7 days to make something a habit and 21 days to break it. That always explained -to me at least- why it was easier to gain weight than to lose it!!  Think about it….

But I digress.

Since I read that first article, lo those many years ago, I’ve actually heard those numbers disputed. At the end of this post I’m going to list a few links you can peruse and decide for yourself what the actual number may be, but suffice it to say, habits don’t form OVERNIGHT. They take time, dedication, and concentration before they are so ingrained in your thought processes that you just do them. Without thinking about what you’re doing or saying, Or even singing.  Like when you hear a song on the radio over and over again ( do people still listen to the radio??? Heehee. I’m old) until you’ve got the words memorized. They become  a part of your unconscious thought processes.

Here’s something that’s fun to do with friends. Don’t even stop to think – just respond the moment you read what I’m about to write. Ready?
Trix are for ????

ChooChoo Charlie was an ?????

It’s fingerlickin’ ???

Between love and madness lies  ????

?????. There is no substitute.

Takes a licking and keeps on ????

How many did you get correct? If you said all, you need to know you’re probably in the majority and not just super smart. Sorry! But the reason you got them all (or most of them!) correct is because you’ve heard these slogans over and over and over and….you get the idea….again. The first rule of advertising is to make sure people remember what you’re selling. How do advertisers accomplish that? By repeating, reminding, and reinforcing the product name or slogan so many times over a course of time that your brain automatically shifts to it the moment you begin to hear the slogan or jingle. The slogan becomes, for lack of a better word, a memory habit. You know what’s going to be said as soon as you hear the first word or so.

Well, the NaNoWriMo challenge is a bit like that. You write every single day, no matter what, no matter where, until you’ve become so used to pushing words out everyday, you continue doing it even after the challenge ends.

Does that make sense to anyone other than me?? I hope so.

So…onward. Keep writing EVERY SINGLE DAY. No matter what, no matter where, no matter what time it is. You’ve got this. 3 days down already. Just keep pushing and moving through.

Here are some articles on making something a habit I found interesting. What I find really interesting is that a few of them dispute one another, but that’s just me!

http://jamesclear.com/new-habit

http://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/18-tricks-to-make-new-habits-stick.html

And just because some people may not know all the answers to the above slogans/jingles, here they are:

Trix are for kids. (Breakfast cereal)

ChooChoo Charlie was an engineer. (GoodNPlenty candy song)

It’s finger lickin’ good. ( Kentucky fried chicken slogan)

Between love and madness lies  OBSESSION ( really lousy smelling perfume. My opinion. Don’t hate me.)

PORSCHE.  There is no substitute. (Ridiculously expensive male-menopause car)

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. ( Timex watch slogan)

And here’s a little eye candy motivation to keep you going strong on the challenge….nanosuperhearos

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NaNoWriMo, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

NaNoWriMo2016 – day 3

nano

Another day….another thousand words.

So, how are you feeling this morning? Are your fingers still flying across the laptop? Are the words forming in your head faster than you can get them on the page ( or the screen!)? Are your characters pushing you, speaking to you, compelling you to get their story out to the word?

The beginning of every NaNo challenge is heady. You’ve got all this internal….STUFF… begging to come out, and you allow it to, thankfully. But think about the real reason you’re doing the challenge this year. It isn’t just to get you to finish a manuscript, or help you make a deadline. Those things are great, but NANOWRIMO is much more than that…so, hear me out.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is not simply to get you to write  50,000 words in a month. That’s a big part of it, sure. But the real underlying challenge is to instill in you the HABIT of writing every day. Of making a commitment to yourself to sit down and log in some scheduled, uninterrupted time for you to write.  We are all busy, have challenging lives, kids, dogs, life issues, you fill in the words that make it hard for you to do what you love.

But…NaNo wants you to understand the necessity of making writing every single day the norm, the routine, the matter of practice of your life.

What defines a habit? Webster’s Dictionary states it like this: a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially something that is hard to give up. See those words, regular  and practice? And the ones that follow them – something that is hard to give up? This is what writing should be to you  – something you can’t give up on or let slide, no matter what.  When you take the time every single day to devote a few minutes or an hour, or several hours, to doing something you love – namely, writing – soon it will become so ingrained in you to do so, that NOT writing isn’t even an option or a thought in your head anymore.

My website tag is WRITING IS MY OXYGEN. And this is the truth. To me, writing every day is as essential and necessary to me as is breathing. If I couldn’t breathe every day, I would surely die. Well, if I don’t write every day, I feel as if I can’t breathe – emotionally, spiritually, and yes, even physically.

I once heard famed and uber-amazeballs author NORA ROBERTS liken writing every day to a muscle. She said (paraphrasing, here) “Writing is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, work it, use it frequently, you loose tone and substance. The muscle isn’t as strong, so you’re not as strong. You don’t function as well as you should or can.” That statement resonated with me on such a high level. And really, Nora Roberts should know about being a strong writer – the chick has over 400 books in print! She walks the walk and talks the talk like no other writer out there. It’s obvious she exercises her writing muscles daily.

So, today when you sit down to write, remember how you feel as you put your fingers to the keys. That sense of happiness, of fulfillment, of simple joy you get as you create those words on the page. Remember that feeling of elation. You’ll want to feel it again, and again, and again, and…. every day.

nano3

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, NaNoWriMo, New Hampshire, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

NANOWRIMO 2016… Day 1

November has rolled back again – just as it does every year around this time! – and in addition to Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and snowstorms, November brings with it NANOWRIMO, or for those of you who don’t know what the initials represent, National Novel Writing Month.

nanowrimo

NANOWRIMO is a challenge  for writers across the globe  to compose a 50,000 word novel  ( or greater than 50,000 words, if you are so inclined) from 11/1- until 11/30. You catalog your daily word count on the NaNo site and  once the end of the month comes, your total is tallied and, if you reach the 50,000 words, you “Win” the challenge.

This will be my fourth year participating in the challenge and this year is somewhat special for me for a few reasons.

One, I am my RWA New Hampshire chapters’ leader in the NANOWRIMO RWA WORD WARS challenge for this year. Last year, the NHRWA chapter won word wars and I intend to keep our streak going this year for my chapter. I may not have been a cheerleader in school ( too fat, too shy) but I am a totally enthusiastic and encouraging sort and I will do my utmost best to make sure my chapter-mates feel my support!

Two, the past three years I have participated, the novels I wrote for NANO went on to be published. I know! The novel I’m writing this year has already been contracted for Kensington/Lyrical and is due out sometime in 2017/18 so I have plenty of time for edits. HaHa. This challenge is getting my writing butt in gear.

The last reason this year is so special to me is a purely selfish one. People who know me know I love an individual challenge. I’m not into team sports, don’t like to compete with others for anything. I would be one of those who would be voted off the island first! But when the challenge is just between me and myself, well, then I say, “bring it on!”

In preparation this year in my capacity as Chapter Word War Leader, I made a PINTEREST board especially for NaNoWriMo, listing motivations for writers, articles on how to proceed, writing tips and little sayings to keep us all – myself included – up for the challenge. Click on the link and see if any of the boards speak to you.

So, here’s to day 1……..

Do you NaNo? Let’s discuss…

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Filed under #RWA16, Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, NaNoWriMo, New Hampshire, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

One event down…

Last weekend I was thrilled to be included in this event:

womensweekendad2016-copy

I thought I’d give you a little overview of what it’s like for someone like me – basically, a total introvert/hermit – to attend an event like this as a vendor, hawking my books, and as a presenter, giving two diverse classes.

The Friday night meet-n-greet included a few hours where volunteer vendors could meet the women attending the weekend and sell their wares. After an hour of setup here’s what my table looked like:

woemnswekkendsales

Yes, that’s a banner with my smiling mug on it that you see. I used one of Stephanie’s pictures from my recent photo shoot and sent it to Vistaprint, where, for about $20.00, I had this banner made. It has my name, tagline, and website address on it. Conceited, much??!!

Anyway…

Those are all the print books I have out right now on the table, along with a promo-card for my holiday release of A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS which is in galley edits right now and which I should have a release day for any minute ( I HOPE)

akissucl_850-1

There is also a big basket of favors on that table, complete with individually wrapped portions of M&Ms, PepperMintPatties, and Hersey’s Kisses attached to one of my bookmarks. I use this as promo too, because, really, who doesn’t like free chocolate and a bookmark??

SO, for a few hours I stood, talked, smiled, schmoozed with the other vendors and tried to engage and entice people over to my table ( free chocolate, remember?), and sold books.

I am going to admit freely that this is the hardest, most difficult thing I do as a writer.

I am not a natural salesperson. My thought is browsing is king and if you need to ask a question, find a store clerk. I hate being accosted by salespeople when I shop, so I don’t like to accost people when I am the one doing the “selling.” In all honesty, in this day and age, this is not a good way for a writer to be, I KNOW this. So I tried to accost without, you know, accosting and being obvious about it. It must have worked because I had a lot of people at my table.

In my next blog I’ll tell you how the classes I taught ( and I use that word very very very loosely) went.

When I’m not hawking my books, you can find me here:

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

 

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Friends, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Public speaking isn’t for sissies…

So, this weekend I’ll be here:

womensweekendad2016-copy

I’m part of the Vendor’s event on Friday night,  hawking my books and pressing the flesh ( why that always sounds so dirty to me, I can’t tell ya, but it does! )

Saturday I’m giving two “talks” or classes, as the camp is calling them. One is titled DREAM BIG the other, WRITING A BOOK, two concepts I know a great deal about.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk. I’ll talk to practically anyone, anywhere any time. My grandmother used to say I’d talk to a rock if it would listen. She’s wasn’t wrong.

But speaking to another person one-on-one or in a small group of your friends is totally different from getting up in front of a bunch of strangers and commanding a topic.

publiscpeaking2

publicspeaking

I tend to babble when I’m nervous. I tend to go off on tangents if something strikes me as funny. I tend to avoid eye contact because I’m so nervous. None of these little idiosyncrasies warms a listener’s heart when they have paid cash-money to hear you speak about a topic you are supposed to be proficient in and an expert on.

There are a million tactics to dealing with this nervous anxiety. Picturing your audience naked is one of the oldest and most quoted pieces of advice. But folks, seriously? I’m a romance writer. I write about naked people all the time! If I started envisioning my audience naked I’d most likely start to think up stories to put couples in the crowd together! Not a good tactic at all.

publicspeaking1

Someone else offered me the advice of speaking to the crowd as if they were all a bunch of my friends and we were just chatting. Again- do you know me??? I have more “friends” on facebook than I do in real life. I’m never around more than 4 people at a time. EVAH!!!

One thing I did do for these two talks was write out all the bullet points I wanted to speak about and then transferred them to index cards. At least this way I can stick to topic and not go off on one of my numerous side trips and a non-sensical conversations.

pulbicspeaking4

Arghghgh, as Charlie Brown so correctly says.

What have I gotten myself into? It’s so hard being a 50-ish, chubby, nervous, introvert in today’s youth obsessed, anorexic, let-everything-hang-out-there world.

I think I’ll go back to writing now to calm myself.

When I’m not having anxiety attacks about public speaking you can find me here:

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

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Serendipity? You betcha!

Take a look at these 2 photos:

mywall          wall2

The one on the left is hanging on my bedroom wall. I bought it right before I got married 175 years(!)  ago in a little shop in NYC.  I loved the whole Victoria/Regency aspect of it. I believe it’s called Signing the Registry. The one on the right I took as a screenshot when I was recently on the treadmill – you can see my slow progress in the numbers above the photo. This picture I grabbed out of a scene from LOVE BENEATH THE COVERS a  documentary about the Romance Publishing business. It was shown at the #RWA16 conference last week in San Diego, but I couldn’t attend due to a prior engagement, so I rented it on i-Tunes for my daily treadmill tortur…um…exercise. You will notice they are one and the same picture of an 18th century marriage license signing ceremony.

Why is this significant, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

Every now and again my Guardian angels/karma/the universe ( call it what you like) deems it proper to remind me that I made the appropriate choice to retire early and devote myself to full time writing. Seeing this picture which I have always loved and always will, displayed not only in my home, but in a film about the romance writing industry, proves to me I’ve made the correct choices for my career path these past 2 years.

So…serendipity, much? You betcha!!

My most recent book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS.

Blurb:

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under #RWA16, Author, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor