Tag Archives: #Writinglife

#MFRW author…My first love.

I know I say this every week, but this topic could definitely go in a couple of different directions. Let me throw a dart on the wall and choose the specific first love I want to write about today.

Hmmmmmm…….

Okay, first book boyfriend love. That’s a goodie.

You may be surprised to know it wasn’t Rhett Butler from Gone with The Wind,

   

or Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

even though those are the two romance books that set me on my chosen course. Nope. My first book dream lover was Brian Beldon

from the Trixie Beldon mystery series.

You all know I grew up in my local library from the time I was 8 years old. My librarian mamas were forever pointing me in the correct age group destination for books for me to read. I discovered Trixie Beldon and her family at the age of 9.

Brian Beldon, the oldest of the 4 Beldon kids, was 16 in the first book. He had movie theater good looks which were described as dark-eyed, dark-haired, and handsome, and he was the kid everyone looked to for guidance and advice. He was the one who always kept a cool head in the storm that was mischievous Trixie and her friends. He was the perfect older brother. I always imagined he would grow up to be a dashing doctor because he was forever giving first aid to his siblings and anyone else who was injured. I dreamed a little girl’s dream of someday growing up and marrying a doctor just like Brian.

To a nine-year-old myopic, overweight, and lonely girl, Brian Beldon was the epitome of innocent boyfriend first love. I was 26 when the series quit production in 1986. As happenstance would have it, in 1987 I married a dark eyed, dark haired… ( wait for it) Doctor.

Life imitating art? Or a really good wish? You decide, but whatever the reason, I have my very own Brian Beldon!

Want to find out who the first loves of some of the other authors in this blog hop are? Click on the links below and visit them.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Literary characters, love, Romance, Romance Books

#MFRWAuthors week 41…My Blogging Inspiration

Another week…another topic that could go a couple of ways. I’m going to take the easy route ( for me) and tell you what my blogging inspiration is.

Ready?

You. The Reader. The one who clicks on the link to my blog every day through WordPress or Google+ or Goodreads and actually READS it.

You, dear reader, are my inspiration.

Why, you ask? Well, I’m gonna tell ya.

You read what I write.

 

 

You make a thoughtful choice, everyday, to click on and see if I’ve uploaded a new blog with a new topic.

If it weren’t FOR you there would be no ME writing a BLOG.

Of course I could write it. But if it weren’t for YOU it wouldn’t be read and shared and retweeted and “Hearted” (I couldn’t find the heart emoji for Instagram!!!)

You inspire me to keep writing my blog everyday. Whenever I see the blog post shared, or liked, or whatever I know I am effecting someone’s life, either positively, negatively ( egads!), informationally, or spiritually.

 

 

So, based on this, I will continue to be inspired daily to write for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, that’s my take on this blog. I’m sure the other MFRW authors have different opinions, so why don’t you click on their links and see how they interpreted this little bit of blogging inspiration….

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Words to live by…..#MFRWauthors

There are sooooooooooooo many ways this blog title could go. I think the movers and shakers and powers that be at #MFRWauthors and MFRWorg. do that intentionally: give you a title that’s up to YOU — the writer — to interpret.

Do I tell you the words that I try to live each day by? Justice, fairness, romance, HEA?

Do I tell you my favorite combination of words that get me through the day? My inspirational, motivational quotes?

Do I offer you some of my favorite book titles and books that lend themselves to making my life better?
See? It’s hard to interpret just exactly what’s meant by this title.

So, I’m gonna throw a dart at the wall and tell you a couple of motivation, inspirational quotes that I try to live each day by, and that I hope will inspire and motivate others.

Ready?
#1 

— people say I’m a hardass. I think that quote proves it, no?

#2 

Always do better once you know how to. Always.

#3

Another way to put this one is: don’t be a lemming, be a leader.

#4 and this one is a shout out for everyone, not just me:

–and for all the doubters and haters out there, #5

It’s gonna be fun to see how the other authors participating in this blog hop field this title! Click on their links below and see.

5.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance

On why I need a keeper…or at least a dresser.

True story.

Yesterday, hubman and I went to early Mass. Usually, we go to the 4 pm Mass Saturdays because we both like to relax on Sunday mornings, but this Saturday we were both busy so we missed the 4.

After Mass we’d planned on going to the gym together. When I typically go to the gym, I leave my house in my workout clothes because I don’t like to change in open changing rooms. Body issues come in all ages, folks, even in successful, intelligent, chubby menopausal women.

Anyway.

Since we were going to Mass first, I couldn’t wear my workout clothes. If you are Catholic you know why. If you are not Catholic just accept it as a fact that I couldn’t go in anything other than Church-clothes, and leave it at that.

I wore nice clothes to the Mass and then planned on changing – in the bathroom(!) when we got to the gym.

Here’s the part of this story that tells you the reason for the title.

When I went to take my blouse off in the bathroom at the gym ( body issues, remember?) I realized I had my blouse on backward. The back of it was in the front. How did I know this? The tag was sitting right under my chin line. All during Mass I felt like the shirt was tight, as if it had shrunken in the dryer or something. Nope. Fit is fine. Wearing it backward will make it seem like it’s tight, though, because there is more material in the front for….proturberances ( read, breasts!) and the back is flatter.

Yeah…I know. 57 years old and I can’t dress myself.

Seriously, I need a keeper or at least someone who can dress me appropriately for when I go out in public.

When I’m not making a fool of myself and wearing my clothes incorrectly, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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So…my weekend

There really should be something done about lousy internet in hotels and conferences! I was at a fabulous conference this weekend and couldn’t blog about it because it took FOREVER to get connected to WiFi. Oh well…better late than never.

Friday night I took a master class with marketing guru Jane Friedman. It quite literally changed the way I view all the social media stuff I have to do as a writer who wants to get her book in front of strangers. For two hours she spoke about all the ways a writer can engage readers and get them to — not only visit their websites — but purchase their work.

First things first. Your website. You’re reading this so obviously you stopped here! But how did you find out about the website? Did you see a Twitter mention of it? Catch it in a newsfeed roll on my Facebook Author page? Or do you Follow me on WordPress? Since I don’t have a newsletter ( a major faux pas in Jane’s opinion), I don’t have a one-on-one way to let people know about new content on my site. I’ve debated for several years about having one because it’s just one more thing I have to do, but she says the benefits are worth it.

Next. The website content, itself. I don’t update my website frequently except for the blogs. My banner, headers, widgets, etc., are all pretty stagnant. And that’s the kind of traffic you never want: stagnant. You want your website to be fluid, moving, and new. So, Saturday morning between the hours of 1 am and 4 am ( since I never sleep. Damn this menopause insomnia!) I updated my website. I added a new category, changed the banner and some of the graphics, and posted new info on the pages.

Last. Your work. Or in my case, my books. It’s inconceivable to me that I never thought of this, but nowhere on my website was there a page for a reader to purchase my books. Not even a direct link except if I was blogging about the book. So, ta-da- new page. MY BOOKS lists all my work from newest to oldest, the covers, and all the buy links across the e-book network and traditional publishers. Whew! That was a ton of work but I think it’ll be so worth it in the end, especially when I start to see an uptick in sales.

Jane spoke of several other ways to drive traffic to your work that I’ll be discussing tomorrow. Today I wanted to focus on the website itself.

When I’m not attending conferences of updating my website, 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, Author Branding, branding

#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

Writing is my Oxygen…

Easiest blog EVAH to pen.

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

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

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

 

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

The Happiness challenge…

 

I was conducting research the other day — okay, full disclosure: I was scrolling through Facebook– when I came across a shared message called the HAPPINESS CHALLENGE.

 

It’s a little difficult to read here, but some of the things to do on any given day are: Go for a drive with no destination; watch a funny movie; take a nap;  start a new book( my favorite one!)

Has it really come to this? do we need to challenge ourselves to be happy? To schedule something to do to try to smile? To find our joy again? To experience bliss?

Unfortunately, I think we do.

So many people trudge through their days just existing. Work issues and stress, getting the kids to school on time – or any of their overscheduled events, trying to live a healthy lifestyle in a fast-paced world, family issues, the destruction of our economy…our environment…our way of life.

It’s enough to cause any happiness we can garner to take a seat in the wayback of the car. Remember the wayback? Not the second seat, or the third seat in minivans, but the one in the station wagon that faced the opposite way from where you were going? The one that, as a kid, you loved to ride in?

The very first item on this list is a NO SOCIAL MEDIA DAY. I’m all for that one. My question, though, is can it be done? ( remember – I found this challenge on face book!) Psychiatrists are actually espousing now that there is such a thing as social media and device addiction. If this is true, it’s a pandemic in teens and kids, for sure.

Item number two is CALL A FRIEND ( not a text). Does anyone remember that our phones are – first and foremost- PHONES? What do you do with a phone, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you: YOU CALL PEOPLE. You actually speak to them. It’s a sad commentary on our humanity that we can’t devote any time to looking at one another and engaging with each other face to face instead of device to device.

A really sad commentary!

 

Down the list is another of my favorites ( in addition to START A NEW BOOK!): NO COMPLAINING ALL DAY. Think about that one….yeah. I know. Can you do it? What would happen if you suddenly let every little piddly – and all the big puddly – things that stress you out and piss you off – just ….go? Not engage in the negativity of complaining about them? Keep your cool? I think you’d find inner happiness pretty fast because your soul would appreciate the quiet!

If you think you need to be challenged to get your happy back, click on the link above and read the article about the happiness challenge. If this resonates with you, then, a. I feel bad for you, but b. here’s a way to fix it.

This is the way I think we should all be going about life every day. Every. Day. Every friggin’ day!:

I’m usually pretty happy in  any of these places:

 

 

 

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Food lover, Foodie, Friends

Book Pet Peeves…I’ve got a million!


Dialogue that doesn’t ring true to the characters. Misplaced modifiers. Sex just for sex sake. Hunky guys who don’t know they are. The alpha whose entire personality and being is changed overnight by the love of a good woman.

The list could go on and on and…you get the picture. I’ll pick one just for space saving sake ( that way this blog won’t be 50,000 words long!)

The one that really gets me is the last one. You’ve got an alpha male who basically is a walking, talking, take-no-prisoners-be-the-leader kinda guy. He rarely smiles. He’s built like a combat tank. He vows never, ever, EVAH to get close enough to anyone that he’d feel any kind of emotion for them. Your basic misanthropic hunkadoodle. I have a writing friend who calls these types of guys ALPHAHOLES. Perfect description.

Enter the heroine. In 250+ pages she does one thing  – it could be anything from biting her bottom lip to punching the hero – that miraculously changes everything that has gone into this man’s internal makeup for 30+ years. Overnight. One thing.

And he’s a changed human for the rest of his natural days. He’ll never again be the silent, sacrificing all for the mission, defender of the world at the sake of his own happiness kind of guy. His entire demeanor changes. His way of thinking evolves. Overnight.

Overnight.

I’m just not feeling it, peeps.

I read a lot. A LOT! And I’m a wicked fast reader. I’m a Netgalley reader/reviewer, plus my Kindle has more books loaded onto it than I think it was constructed for. I can read a book a day – and not the Harlequin 200 paged ones, either. I just finished the hardback version of COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts in a day and that baby topped out at 468 pages.

So, I read a lot and I’m a widespread reader. I’ve seen an awful lot of these silent but deadly alphas written lately by traditionally published and self-published writers. Some of the story arcs make sense and give a reason the male transitions his entire makeup when he realizes his love for the heroine – many do not. Actually, A LOT do not.  There’s no justifiable reason this guy turns from hating mankind to kissing babies in the street and adopting orphan kittens. And that just burns me because people don’t change over night. People, basically, if truth be told, don’t change. I understand this is fiction and we have a great deal of literary license when it comes to characters/people. I get that and believe me, when it’s written correctly, this situation can happen in romantic fiction.

 

Give me a redeemed criminal who’s rehabilitation is believable, that there’s a legitimate reason he went straight( JD Robb’s Roarke, for instance ) and I’m hooked. Show me how a wounded soldier who thinks he has nothing to live for works through that emotion -logically – with the heroine and I’m hooked( Marianne Rice’s WOUNDED LOVE for instance).

Don’t just give me an alphahole and have him change overnight because the heroine is spunky or cute or a ballbreaker! That just doesn’t ring true, folks. Not in romance, and not in life. Not in my experience, any way. IF you like these types of heroes and stories, then YAY. Have fun reading them. I don’t and when I realize I won’t get that hour or two I invested in reading an implausible character back, well, I’m not a happy camper.

‘Nuff said….

Because this is blog hop there are a bunch of other writers who have their own peeves. Stop by and visit them.

 

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Netgalley Reviewer, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Elvis and Me

I try not to think too much about my childhood because it was…intense. And disturbing. And very lonely.

But, in the spirit of this challenge, I’m going to pluck a good memory out of the old storage banks of my aging mind.

For my twelfth birthday, my mother wanted to do something special. I had no friends, so a party wasn’t feasible. I don’t think at that time in my life she was talking to any of our relatives, so again, no family get-together was going to happen to celebrate my big day. She decided – and I don’t know how or why – to get tickets for me, she, and my step-father to see Elvis Presley perform at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

The King was on his comeback tour and my mother had been a fan in her teens. Strangely, I was too! I was a fan of his movies, his lively music, even his bless-from-God good looks. They didn’t call him “KING” for nothing!

We were on an exceedingly tight budget as I remember from those days, and my mother had to save for 6 months to pay for the tickets. 6 months. The tickets she was able to afford were the least expensive ones, at $12.50 each.  6 months to save a few cents or a dollar a week from her grocery shopping, using coupons to wiggle every penny she could to pay the $37.50 for the tickets. That should tell you how financially strapped we were. This was 1972.

Anyway…

She scrimped and saved and the big day finally came. We hopped the ferry from Staten Island, which was .25 cents per person each way ( so another $1.50 added to the budget) then took the subway uptown to 34th street. Believe it or not, I can’t remember how much a subway token was back then. It was a Saturday night show, so the Garden was packed. We were in the second to the last row in the last section of rows in the entire building. I could almost touch the Garden’s ceiling!  I couldn’t even see the stage. It looked like a minuscule postage stamp from our seats. There was no jumbotron so people like us could see Elvis projected in full form – it hadn’t been invented yet, can you imagine? You can’t go to any kind of venue now where they don’t have a jumbotron or two…or four.

Anyway…

We walked to our seats ( and it was a helluva walk!) settled down and waited for the show to start. No leftover funds for things like popcorn or souvenirs, but I didn’t care. I was at my very first concert and it was the King of Rock-n-Roll! My 12-year-old self was super jazzed. The lights dimmed, the crowd started to clap, and the music started.

It’s impossible to tell you how excited I was. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him. Perfectly. Up to the day he died,  the man had a voice the Gods of music gifted to him. Deep and rich and perfect. At 12 I was too young to think of it as a sexy, purely masculine voice. At 57, I’m remembering it as just that. A hot blast of smoke and heat, raw and primal. God, I loved that man!

For over two hours Elvis sang, flirted with the audience, played a few instruments and generally made this the happiest birthday I’d ever had – and the happiest I’d have for the next decade and a half. Intense childhood, remember? (Teen years were worse.)

 

Anyway…

That’s about the happiest memory I have from my childhood and it was a doozy! Five years later the King would be dead. Generations of fans to come could only know him through the memories of his music, films, a few videos.  But I’ll always be able to say I saw him live. I saw the King of Rock-n-Roll. I experienced a little bit of musical history at a time when music and books where the only good things in my life.

Since this is part of blog hop, stop by some of the other author blogs below and read about their happy childhood memories.

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Strong Women