Tag Archives: #Writinglife

#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



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

If it’s #Tuesday, it’s #Menopause talk time…

I’m starting a new topic this month and thought I’d lead it off with an oldie, but a goodie from the blog to introduce my thought patterns to ya. Click her to view Moments from Menopause


Filed under #Mfrwauthors

Because I’m nosy…..

Week 4 of the #MFRWauthor 52 Week blog challenge brings us a topic that should be fairly easy to write about, because most of us didn’t spring from the womb with a pen in our hands and a publishing contract in our arms, but had other lives and occupations before being published. At least, I think we all did!! Maybe I should just speak for myself. Hee hee.


If I wasn’t devoting myself full time to writing, I imagine I’d still be employed as a Nurse, or a Contact Lens technician. But I’d like to take that thought a little bit further. If I couldn’t write AND I wasn’t a nurse/CLT/ what would I be doing? I think I’ve mentioned before how nosy I am. Several times, in fact. So nosy that I’ll talk to a rock. And the nice thing is that people never seem to mind my obvious inquisitiveness, especially when I preface a question with, “Now, I’m only asking because I’m nosy so don’t think you have to answer me if you don’t want to…”

Yup. They answer me. Every time!

So I think if I wasn’t a writer, I’d be a perfect Private Investigator.

I can see it now… Me, in a well-tailored black trench coat ( because Khaki washes me out!), thigh-high leather boots under the coat, and over them a large men’s white tailored shirt cinched in at the waist and that comes to mid-thigh. I can even see myself with a fedora atop my golden (Bottle blonde) hair, looking uber sexy and all mysterious as I grill bad guys and follow suspicious perps in cars with my own hot, fast, ride.

Everyone would, of course, talk to me. After all, I’m charmingly nosy. And sexy!


Jessica Fletcher’s got nothing on me.

Neither does Mrs. Peel.

I’d be the chick who discovers the identity of the master jewel thief, or where the hidden treasure is kept. I’d help the police solve the unsolvable cold case, or figure out who killed Major Barret in the solarium with a gun…oh, wait, that’s something else!

Hee hee.

I think I’d make a pretty cool P.I.

Now, I just have to find a trench coat on sale…..


Since this is a blog hop, hop on over to these other authors and see what they’d be doing if they weren’t writers. Wonder how many would be PIs

And when I’m not out being nosy, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me




Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, research

Am I getting too personal?

Week 3 of the 2018 #MFRWauthorBlogChallenge, and it’s another good topic: How much of myself is in my writing. In all honesty? A shitload!

Let me ‘esplain, Lucy.

That old adage write what you know only gets you so far in fiction. I could write tomes about Nursing, Parenting, the psychological ramifications of divorce on children. Truly. Tomes. But’s that’s non-fiction. In fiction, I’d only get about 2 books out of all that first-hand knowledge and personal angst. So writing what I know for fiction isn’t going to cut it.


I’ve written characters who were lawyers, doctors, artists, Olympic athletes, chefs, and government agents. I’m not now, nor have I ever been, any of those things. Research into their professions, plus knowing a few people who are those things have helped. When to gets down to the meat and potatoes of the characters, especially my heroines though, well a lot of me, my habits and quirks, and beliefs are woven into their psychological makeup.

For instance. People who know me know I lovelovelove Diet Mountain Dew. Unhealthily so. It’s my drug of choice ( heehee). In A SHOT AT LOVE, I made my heroine Gemma Laine a DMD addict as the way in which she gets her caffeine hit. Just like me.

In THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, my heroine Moira Cleary is known as the quiet, calm twin. When she gets really, really angry, though, her voice and manner become deathly quiet. She doesn’t rant and rave like her mother and twin brother. Her verbal missiles obliterate and all the while her voice is as quiet as an empty church. I’m the same way. When my voice lowers, look out.

Another way there’s a great deal of ME in my writing is in the moral makeup of my heroines. They are all strong-willed women. Loyal, smart, and spiritual. They will fight to the death if someone they love is being hurt and when they take a stand on a topic, it takes a bulldozer to ever get them to change their minds.

Yeah. Kinda sounds like me.

I will never write a doormat heroine.

Or one who sees herself as a victim.

Being a victim is quite different than seeing yourself as one.

I will never write a heroine who does something morally repugnant and unforgivable. I wouldn’t know how to make her sympathetic with those qualities.

My tagline for my books is that I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. You will always know the makeup of my heroines based on that line. Always.

And because of that, you will always know a little about me, too.

Let’s hop on over to some of the other authors in this challenge and see how much of themselves they put in their writing.



Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Author Branding, branding, Contemporary Romance, Strong Women

I’m a #Badass…who knew?

A few weeks ago I started reading this book: You are a Badass ( How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life). I’ll admit this freely: the reason I bought the book when I saw it in Target is because I liked the cover. Something about the color and the graphics screamed  “Buy me!” at me.


The book is good. Really good. There are so many personal takeaways from each chapter that I could–literally–write a book about them! One of them I want to focus on today that spoke recently to me is the reason for this blog post.

Chapter 6 is titled Love the One You Is, and it centers around loving who and what you are and not comparing yourself to others. As a writer, I struggle with this concept daily. I am always obsessing that I am less than every single other writer. Less of a writer than Nora Roberts. Or Jill Shalvis. Or Sandra Brown. I will never write as well as, or as poignantly, or as humorously, as they do. I just won’t. One of Sincero’s tenants in Chapter 6 is, “Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life.”

Stop the presses! Forget about spoke to me, that line screamed from a mountaintop and echoed all the way to the moon and back.

I’ve always encouraged other writers to write the book of their heart. To write the best book, tell the story they want to tell,  their way and not be worried about what editors or beta readers will think. Be true to yourself as a writer and someone will want to read your work because it will resonate with them. Why, then, have I never believed my own advice? Why, then, have I gotten bogged down in the notion that what I write is never as good as what other writers write? Why, then, have I allowed my insecurities to mount, all the while pushing others to do their best work?

After reading this chapter in Badass and this quote in particular, it was like the heavens opened up after a torrential downpour and I finally saw the sun in all its glory.

A little cliche, yes, I’ll admit that. But it’s the truth. From the moment I read those words and allowed them to sink in deep to my soul, I stopped comparing myself to other writers. I am the best writer I can be at this moment in time. Me. I may not be as funny as Jill Shalvis, or be able to weave an intricate plot like Sandra Brown. And I certainly don’t have Nora Roberts’ unending supply of plots and characters. But I am the best me, the writer,  I can be right now.

And you know what? It’s a freeing notion. By not comparing my work to those I admire best, I have freed myself – some would say my muse – to write the way I want, what I want, and not worry about whether or not it will be liked. I like it! That’s what really matters. All the rest is cupcake frosting. And delicious though that may be ( I mean, come on! It’s frosting!!!) it’s not the reason I write. I write, first, last and always, for me.

yeah…I’m a Badass!

When I’m not being a Badass, you can find me here, still trying to be a Badass! Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me




Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Strong Women

It all begins with #MorningMotivation

SO, about 6 weeks ago I started using my Instagram account to post daily pictures and quotes about 3 concepts I strive for on a daily basis: self-motivation, believing in myself, and personal growth. Since I started that, my account has doubled in people who follow me. I didn’t start doing this, though, to garner new followers–although that’s a wonderful side benefit–but to keep me focused on those three concepts. Posting my daily motivational quote is the first thing I do in the morning, social media-wise, and it sets the tone for my day.

First, I find motivational quote. Pinterest is great for this.

I swear Pinterest was invented by a writer! Self-motivation has never been one of my strong points. Since I’ve been such a people pleaser throughout my life, I’ve tended to put myself second, or even third, when it came to encouraging myself and pushing myself toward a goal. I’m a great cheerleader – ask any of my friends – and I will push anyone towards the finish line of their choice. Myself? Not so much. Recognizing that, I started the daily motivations to help me focus on myself and what I want, for once. Some may see this as selfish, perhaps, but it really isn’t.

What did we ever do before the thought to use a hashtag for promotional reasons became a thing? After the motivational quote is uploaded to my account, I then promote it in an attempt to help others. The hashtag #PersonalGrowth is a great one for this.

I truly try to grow every single day: as a writer, as a wife and mother, as a human being trying to navigate through the quagmire our society has become. Uplifting my thoughts is a good way for me to start my day and do this.

You can’t expect to accomplish anything if you don’t accept and aspire to my third daily tenant, #BelieveInYourSelf.

No one is going to magically make you a success in life. You have to work for it and you have to believe that you can succeed. And you really need to believe it. Just saying the words mean nothing. Deep down in your very soul, you must feel as if you can do anything you set your mind to. Anything. Believing you can do something is the most important tool you have for achieving personal success.

Having a positive outlook in and on life can go a great way in making your days better. There’s a mindset that believes what you speak out into the universe is what you’ll get sent back to you. Negative thoughts, morose mindsets, and critical thinking, if put out there, will become a major factor in what is given back to you from other people and the world in general. Having a positive outlook, not believing everything you do is going to wind up bad or not to your liking, goes a great way in making your days happy and productive ones.

Everyone knows my favorite book of all time is The Little Engine who Could. I truly believe this is the best book about self-motivation and self-actualization ever written, and it’s a children’s book! But, adults can get the takeaway message — he thought he could, so he did — as a mantra for their lives. That little engine let nothing stand in his way to prevent him from getting up and over that hill. Again, this book was written for children to help them accept, see, and know that they can do anything they set their minds to. Why, as adults, do we forget that?

SO, that’s how I start my day. Every morning of every day. Thinking positively, believing in myself, and recognizing I must grow to survive. It all beings with #MorningMotivation

Other places you can find me being positive are: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me



Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges

How to really celebrate the Spirit of Christmas


Every year I make a list of the things that I want to do during the holiday season. Christmas isn’t just about getting presents for me — it never was. My childhood wasn’t filled with things like most American kids have nowadays. I was lucky if I got new underwear or pajamas from Santa some years. The Christmas season was more about experiences. Visiting the Rockefeller Tree. Attending the Natale festival in Little Italy.  Midnight Mass. These are my memories of Christmas. As an adult, I expanded my list of experiences and I want to share them today, because I think everyone should remember what the real spirit of Christmas means. It’s not about getting a new iPad or the latest must-have toy. It’s about experiencing the joy, hope, and love the season embodies and helping others feel the same way.

Here are a few things on my list to do this year:

  1. Volunteer. Those Salvation Army bell ringers don’t grow on trees! It takes a well-coordinated volunteer army to man those kettles you see around stores, in the mall, and on street corners. Give the gift of your time. Usually, shifts are 2 hours. Surely, you’ve got 2 hours you can donate to a worthy cause. 
  2. Attend a local holiday concert. Every year my town has a holiday concert put on by the local Pops Choir. They’re usually a fundraiser, so admission goes toward funding a local charity such as the food bank or a women’s shelter. Kicking back in an auditorium filled with like-minded people who want to enjoy some holiday music sung by people who should – in my opinion – be on American Idol(!) is a great way to spend a wintry, cold afternoon. Sit back, listen and enjoy, and know you are making a difference in someone’s life with the cost of your admission.
  3. Support Toys for Tots. I know I said Christmas isn’t about the presents, but kids, especially kids in foster care, those who have to spend Christmas in the hospital, those whose mothers or fathers are serving in the military thousands of miles away, THOSE kids deserve to get toys and presents. My daughter is an adult and I haven’t bought her a toy in quite some time. But I still toy shop during the holidays so I can hopefully make another child’s day a happy one.


         4. Volunteer at the local food kitchen or deliver food to shut-ins. This one is so self-explanatory I don’t need to define it, but I will, with this thought: Think of the meal you have with your family, friends, loved ones every Christmas. I’m sure your table is packed with more food than you all could possibly eat in one sitting. The house is decorated and warm. Everyone is relaxed, happy and glad to be alive. Now think about that family where the dad just lost his job, or the single mom who left an abusive relationship and took her kids with her. They live in a shelter. They worry if they’ll even get a meal a day, much less a holiday one.These are the people food kitchens were made for. Why don’t you take an hour out of your time and volunteer to serve these people.  Spend time with others who don’t have what you do, probably through no circumstances of their own making, and help them see that people really are kind and giving and the world isn’t a terrible, lonely place.

            5.Attend a holiday craft fair. I lovelovelove receiving home-made gifts. This is a great way to support local crafters AND do some holiday gift shopping

           6.Give blood. This may be the last thing you think of doing during the holidays, but believe me, it’s needed. This is the one selfless act that truly means giving because you’re literally giving the gift of life to another human being.

I’m sure you can think of many more worthwhile ways to make your Christmas a happier, more soul-fulfilling experience. I wish you all the most joyous of seasons, and my hope is that after reading this blog today, you’ll go out and make someone else’s life as happy as yours is.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance

Why my Christmas Tree ornaments mean so much….

Memories can be captured several ways. I tend to like the physical way of remembering things – getting a program at a concert (despite the fact they are a gazillion dollars now!); keeping the seat stubs from a Broadway play. One way I love more than any other is the acquiring of Christmas tree ornaments. (BTW – that tree above is not one of mine!!!)

I routinely have 4 Christmas trees on display in my home each year.

Yeah…I know. But when you grow up poor, stuff takes on a new meaning when you have spending money!

Anyway….about those trees. Or more directly, the ornaments.

Since I’ve been married I’ve been acquiring ornaments of memories. I have one tree that is loaded with ornaments purchased from all the places around the world we have visited. I have another tree with all cooking and baking related ornaments because for several years I hosted an annual cookie swap with dozens of friends. As a thank you for them coming to my swap, they not only got cookies, but an ornament cooking/baking related for their own trees. I kept one for me each year.

My husband is not the lover of ornaments that I am…not even close! But there is one ornament that he insists get put up on our tree every year and it is the one he looks for when I’m done decorating. This is it:

Yes, that it a Goodwill box, and yes there is a tree sticking out of it. I want to tell you story behind this favored ornament.

Hubby moved to Wisconsin to start a new job six months before we got married. I stayed behind to plan the wedding and to finish up my Master’s degree. With just one course left, I didn’t want to leave until it was completed. Hubby was due to come back to NYC for our wedding which would take place the day after Christmas ( Boxing Day for you UK-ers). He had a small apartment that I would move into with him until we found our perfect house. As I’ve mentioned, Hubby is not the Christmas decorator in our family so the apartment was bare of all holiday accoutrement.

One day, on his way to work, he spotted a Goodwill box in the parking lot of the building he worked in. Sticking out of it was a fully tinseled Christmas tree, complete with the star at the top. Obviously, someone was going away for the holidays but didn’t want to just toss their tree into the garbage, electing to put it in the Goodwill box in the hopes some needy family would see it and have their own tree.

Hubby is a fast-on-his-feet thinker. He pulled the tree from the box- it still smelled fresh and evergreen-y – and drove it back to the apartment . The stand was attached ( smart donators!) so he filled it with water and went back to work. And that’s the way it stood in the apartment. No other decorations, just the tinsel and the star. He came home to NYC for a few days, we got married, and immediately flew back to Wisconsin because he didn’t have enough earned time for a honeymoon. Needless to say, when I saw the tree I was thrilled. And touched.

And then he told me the story of how he’d acquired the tree.

And I laughed because this is my hubby in a nutshell!

Of course, he had to share what he’d done with his co-workers before he left to get married. When he went back to work on Monday there was a wrapped gift from one of the people in his office. It was the above ornament, handcrafted by the husband of an officemate who is a woodworker. Every year now for the past 30 years that ornament sits in a place of honor on our Christmas tree and Hubby looks for it to make sure it’s there.

I love the thought of ornaments as platforms for memories. If I keep making more memories, though, I’m going to need a bigger house for all the trees!

I’ve got a Christmas book out that I hope makes memories for the people who read it. If you’re interested, here’s the link: A Kiss

And if you need to find me in cyberland, I’m usually here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me



Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you

Thanksgiving means different things to different people. To me, it means being thankful and grateful I live in a country where I can try and make someone else’s life better. I wrote about this recently on Angela Haye’s THANKFUL AUTHORS blog. Pay it forward, in life and in Gratitude.

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Filed under Author, branding, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, love, Romance, Romance Books

The work never ends…..

While in the middle of NaNoWriMo2017  I received my proofs for my upcoming April 2018 release CAN’T STAND THE HEAT, book 3 in the WIll Cook For Love Series. Thanksgiving is this week. Christmas is but a calendar-page-turning away. Busy, much?

What’s that expression? When it rains, it pours??

Yesterday I sat – literally SAT – at my desk for 11 hours. 2 Bathroom breaks and one 10  minute stop to have lunch.

Not complaining — never complaining!– about too much writing/editing work. This is what I want my life to be, what I’ve dreamed of. What I wished it could be.

So, yeah. No complaints from this chickita.

(But a little sleep wouldn’t kill me! heehee)

If you need me, I can be found here when I come up from editing and writing for air:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me


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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, A Match Made in Heaven, Author, Contemporary Romance, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, NaNoWriMo, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women