Monday Mayhem – Excuses, excuses

Please excuse Margaret from the internet today. She has been ill this week and has been using every word she could muster to make this happen:

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She hopes to be done with this first draft and back in fighting form next week, when she will tell you all about her preparations for her New York adventure and the Romance Writers of America conference. In the meantime, please enjoy the (unedited) excerpt below with my compliments.

Signed,

Epstein’s Mother

Flip This Love – a work in progress

“That’s it. Suck, sugar.”

The husky timbre of his voice sent shivers down her spine. One warm hand slid from her shoulder to her back. The tips of his fingers dug into the valley of her spine. He could nearly span her waist. Her nipples puckered when he slipped his hand into her hair. Oh, how she wished she’d worn it up. She loved the feel of him skin on skin. She almost wept with relief when he wrapped his big, broad palm around her nape. Heat seeped into the taut muscles of her neck. A thin stream of hot moisture escaped the corner of her mouth and trickled down her chin.

“Oh yeah. Suck harder.”

It wasn’t the first time he’d said those words to her, and God help her, she knew it wouldn’t be the last. She was weak. A quivering mass of happy, hurt, and oh-please-touch-me-again.

The man was right. She needed to suck it up. And hard. If Harley Cade was back to stay, she had to be on her guard. The man was as insidious as the kudzu that crept into her mother’s flower garden.

Laney pulled the spent crawfish shell from her mouth and dropped it onto the butcher paper in front of her. Fingers tangled in her hair and tugged lightly, a tiny jolt that sent a lightning bolt of white-hot desire streaking straight through her. She looked up in time to see him flash old Mrs. Hillbury a dimpling smile and commandeer the folding chair beside her.

“Evenin’, Delaney.”

 

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Monday Mayhem – One Click Edition

Hi all!

I’m here! Still in a full-on writing sprint whilst attempting to have a life. Silly me.

The book is going well. I’m chipping away at it bit by bit and hope to have the rough first draft completed by 7/15/15.

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In the meantime, I am preparing for my jaunt to NYC later this month to attend the Romance Writers of America annual conference. I’m super excited. Not only do I get to room with the fabulous Karen Booth, but I get to meet a bunch of other publishing biz friends and associates live and in person. It’ll be four days jam-packed with signings, seminars, speakers and soirees.

The downside to all that means I’ve been forced to do some clothing shopping. Those of you who know me in the three dimensional world, know that I loathe shopping for clothes. Add this crazy-pants deadline to my natural aversion and you can understand why I’ve been doing as much of my acquiring as possible online.

Dress at RWA National ranges from pajama party to formal. I’m trying to be strategic in my packing. I’ve picked a basic color scheme of black, white, & re(a)d. [sorry, had to throw the Gilmore reference in] I’m adding in some silver and everything (including shoes and accessories) will work around that.

Of course, I’m a chronic over packer. God forbid I get stuck without at least three days worth of extra underwear and socks (genetic flaw), and I live in fear of forgetting the one essential item that I won’t be able to procure in the nation’s largest metropolis. So, of course, I ordered packing cubes as well. They claim I can squeeze an entire week of tops into one neat and wrinkle-free bundle. I can’t wait to see if it’s true.

So yeah, when I’m not tapping away at the manuscript, I’m clicking away on the shopping sites. So far, I’ve hit all the usual suspects – Kohl’s, Target, and Amazon. Had a fabulous customer service experience with Zappos. The shoes didn’t work out, but they were so awesome about the order, tracking & return that I’ll definitely be ordering from them again.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at this week. What about you? Are you an online shopper? What are some of your favorites?

 

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Monday Mayhem – carpel tunnel edition

I’m writing at a full-on sprint these days. The deal isn’t signed, sealed, and delivered yet, but there’s been  offer, acceptance, and a panic-inspiring deadline set. So, I’ve spent the last twelve days cranking out words. I need to have the first  draft done before I leave for the Romance Writers of America conference in late July.

I’m about halfway there.

As usual, the first run at it will be far too wordy. I can already see the threads I’m going to have to cut, and some I need to sew up. But I’m having a great time with these characters. They’re fun and snarky, and thankfully, they seem to like talking to me. Plus, you know I love a deadline. I love smashing them to pieces. Boo-yah!

So, if I’m a little quiet for the next few weeks, you’ll know why. When things are official, I’ll sing it from the rooftops. In the meantime, picture me doing a lot of these moves:

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Monday Mayhem – Bookmark this!

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m really the type who thrives on deadlines. Usually, I can just make one up and stick to it, but lately I’ve been torn in a number of directions on both the personal and professional fronts.

There are times when the publishing world moves as quick as a mouse click. Then there’s the other 99.9% of the time. Sometimes it feels like snails on Valium are lapping me. There’s a lot going on with the writing behind the scenes, hopefully all of it will come to fruition.

*crosses everything*

But at the moment, I’m kind of in limbo. I have a work in progress, but it’s a project with no deadline. It’s just the story I’m writing as I wait to hear about the fates of four, possibly 6, other stories. Some written, some yet to have a word on the page.

The thing is, if even one of these possibilities comes to be, I’m going to have to start busting some major words. You’d think that would inspire me to wrap up the one I have going, right?

Wrong.

It’s all I can do to make myself work on this story with no deadline, even though the first draft is over 60% complete. Part of it is middle of the story syndrome. The other part is that I am not a girl who limbos well. You see, I’m not very bendy.

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So, today is June 1. I have approximately 20k more words (or 4-5 chapters) to put in on this draft. I’ve got a little vacation scheduled in there, so I’m giving myself a deadline of June 30 to complete the draft.

There. Deadline set.

I expect you to hold me to that.

Oh! Before I forget, I got these nifty new bookmarks! (Horrible lighting in my house. They are much prettier than this pic shows.) Want one or five? Email me at mkethridge1@gmail.com and give me your mailing address and I will drop an envelope in the mail.

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So, how about you? Anything you’re hoping to accomplish this month, or are you just ready to kick back and enjoy the summer? If you’re looking for some reading, Jumping Mr. January and February’s Fling are still FREE. You may still be able to snag Three Little Words, if they don’t get the sale prices switched back today.

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Monday Mayhem – Manuscript edition

This weekend, I gave the newly revised and expanded version of Full Court Press a complete run-through. When I started, it looked like this:

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When I finished, it looked more like this:

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The best part? 95,564 words later, I can honestly say I still love this story. I just hope my agent likes the changes and additions I’ve made. I’m about to send it back to her. Cross your fingers!

xoxo

Mags

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Monday Mayhem – Big news! Wow news!

Just in case you haven’t seen me crowing on Facebook, Twitter, and random street corners…

I HAVE AN AGENT!

Last Monday I accepted an offer of representation form my dream agent, Sara Megibow of KT Literary! I queried her in March with a pitch for Full Court Press, and within a month I had an offer! For those of you who don’t know, that is unspeakably fast for the publishing world.

So, yay! I’m beyond excited to be working with Sara and thrilled by her enthusiasm and ambition.  There could be big things happening! Wow things!

What? You still want more good news? Well, nothing is set in stone yet, but it looks like you may be seeing a sequel to Three Little Words! I submitted A Will and a Way (formerly Bossy Pants) to my editor, and they liked it! I’m just waiting for the details to be worked out.

That’s not enough excitement, you say? How about I tell you that Kensington has put Three Little Words on sale for the low, low price of…FREE!

Three Little Words_Maggie Wells

AmazonAppleB&NGoogle ~  Kensington Kobo

That’s right. Tell all your friends to grab their copy now, because Greg and Josie and their sexytime romps are up for grabs!

And finally: The winner of the signed ‘collector’s edition’ copies of Paramour and Inamorata is:

Arlene Hittle

Congratulations, Arlene, and thanks for commenting!

Wish you’d won them for yourself? Watch this Wednesday’s Whatcha Reading? post for another chance to win a set!

That’s all I have for now, dear friends. Well, that and this picture of a really cute boy who made me chase him all around the backyard, then graciously allowed me to feed him chips and sugar cookies for lunch (Hey, I can do that, I’m the grandma.).

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How was your weekend? Munch on anything yummy?

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – I’ll try anything edition

Yesterday, I ate bee pollen.

That’s a sentence I never thought I’d type. Those of you who know me are aware that I’m insanely picky eater. Add in the fact that I’m petrified of bees, and you might get an inkling of why it was so weird for me. But, bee pollen is supposed to be some kind of all-natural super-food. Fodder had a friend who was a long-distance runner who swore by it. We’ve both been trying to be better about exercising lately, and you know I’m a sucker for anything with the word ‘super’ in front of it. The truth is, I’ve been battling seasonal allergies for the past two weeks and am willing to do just about anything to feel better at this point, so yeah…we bought a jar of locally collected bee pollen. I’ve started sprinkling a 1/4 teaspoon full into my morning yogurt.

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I apologize in advance if I inadvertently start buzzing.

In other news Jamie Fraser and Don Draper are back in my life. I couldn’t be happier. Not that Fodder isn’t enough for me, but… you know. *wink-wink*

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Of course, their return takes place in a month when I am already overbooked. I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month, and have set a goal to write 30k words by month’s end. In truth, I hope to find the energy to exceed that. I’d love to complete the first draft of Play Dates within the month. It’s totally do-able. I’m a little over 1/3 in already.

I also started doing a 30-day yoga challenge that I found online.  Suckered my friend Lulu into doing it too, so we’re keeping each other on track.

I’m pleased to report that we have yet to drape any article of clothing on the elliptical machine. This is particularly good news, because we parked that bad boy in the living room. I’ve been slowly but surely building up my endurance. I can now go the entire length of a Gilmore Girls episode (@44 mins) without keeling over. Yay, me!

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So what’s new with you? Eat anything weird lately? Doing any challenges? Is your exercise equipment wearing your clothes?

 

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Monday Mayhem – Special Guest Star…Jennifer Anderson!

Today, I’m excited to have my pal, Jennifer Anderson back on my blog! She’s always a hoot to have around. 🙂 I sent her a list of random questions. Just wait until you read some of her answers!!!

Heeeeeere’s Jenny! (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

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I have to start out by telling you lovely folks how the Faboulous Ms. Mags and I met. Before I attended #RAGT and received my first TMP contract, a blogger friend suggested a book by Maggie Wells (Seducing Steve) and I was so bummed she wasn’t there that year. Over the course of the year, we fell in love over email, Twitter and FaceBook and the following year, when I was knocked-up with kidlet #3, we met and it was like the Fourth of July! I love this woman and continue to be thankful for her friendship and continued support. **She really means it about the support. I was the one holding the preggo steady while she was standing on a chair for a group photo. She’s a nutjob, but she’s my nutjob and I like her just fine. 🙂

*smacks hands* Alright, let’s get this show on the road…

Describe yourself in three words.  Impatient, motherly, clever

Any nicknames?  Mom, You, Jen, and by my close friends, Bitch

What was your favourite Christmas present?  I do recall be overly joyed when I received my first Cabbage Patch Kid, but more recently, my husband had made for me a necklace with my birthstone, my daughter’s and my grandmother’s, who passed away that same year.

What’s your dirtiest secret?  I pee in the shower! *dies* But I think it started when I was pregnant and having to go all the time and unable to move very quickly. I promise, I only do it alone (boring) and never in the bath!

In your opinion, what’s the most important part of the sandwich? The bread. I mean, yes, I love meat and cheese, but if the bread sucks, why bother. #GoTeamJimmyJohns

As authors we tend to have to research many bizarre and unusual topics. What’s the strangest thing you’ve Googled research-wise? I recently finished writing a New Adult about a girl off to college and she sells sex toys. While I’m familiar with the industry and even attended one of those house parties, I still needed more information. But I have to say, it was one of my favorite research assignments!

What was your favourite childhood toy?  My purple bike with a flowered banana seat and white basket. I don’t recall where I got it and it was used but man, I loved that bike! That was back in the day when you’d leave first thing in the morning and not return until you were called. And by called, I don’t mean on the phone!

Share your favourite word or phrase with us. Right now, my 3-year old says “Sure thing”. Not sure where she got it (I blame TV) but I find myself using it all the time. I’m also a fan of awesomepants!

Do you believe in love at first sight?  Absolutely! But I think it’s more of a physical attraction but that can certainly bloom into the type of love you read about! I mean, I think you have to be physically attracted to the one you love.

What writing accomplishment are you most proud of and why? I haven’t won any awards and that’s okay, because I’m good, smart enough and gosh darn it, people like me! But seriously, for me, it’s goal of getting published and to make it sweeter, my husband reading my book and then telling me how surprised he was by how good it was. There was also the time my beta reader told me she got teary when she read Ice Princess. Sick, maybe, but nice to hear!

If you had the opportunity to live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose? The year my grandmother passed. I would be more aware of her and how she was feeling. Because she knew she wasn’t well and hid it from her family and if I could have lengthened her life for 6 more months, or even a year, I would have been happy. I know this seems selfish, considering she knew she was sick and I should respect her wishes, but she was such a big influence on me that having her gone leaves me a little empty at times. She was my best friend.

 What’s the funniest/weirdest/dirtiest status message you’ve posted on a social networking site? Friends don’t let friends drink and show their muffs.

 

Quick and dirty:

Cake or pie? A sliver of both

Jocks or nerds? a sliver of both

Coke or Pepsi? COKE

Boxers or briefs? A sliver of both

Poolside or beach?  poolside

Pancakes or waffles? pancakes

Baked or fried?  Baked but my alter ego insists on fried!

 

Aaaaaand, last but not least, tell us about your new book!

 Finding You - Jennifer Anderson

Finding You, a New Adult novel

Jessica Crispin sets out to find her mom but discovers more than she planned.

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A long-lost grandfather dies, leaving Jessica Crispin a sizable inheritance. The only catch? She has to find her mom, whom she hasn’t seen since she was two, and she only has thirty days to do it.

Enlisting her best friend Violet, Jessica sets out on a road trip determined to solve a mystery fed by deceit and misinformation from people she thought she could trust.

On the way, she meets Jackson, whose kindness and sexy pale blue eyes make her wish he would come along for the ride.

Clues from her mother lead her far from home and to a secret Jessica never imagined. And as the deadline looms, Jessica must make peace with the ghosts of her past and risk dreaming of a future pursuing her secret passion with Jackson by her side.

AMAZON  /  BARNES&NOBLE  /  iBOOKS  /  KOBO

Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter

About Jennifer:

Ref, chauffer, master chef and booboo kisser. When I’m not wielding my super mom powers, I like to weave sentences together and offer a little escape to my readers. You can usually find me sitting in the dark in front of my computer, falling in love with my characters. Send chocolate!

Additional Books by Jennifer Anderson:

Ice Princess

Prince Charming

Queen Mean

King of the Lake

Spider

My Brother’s Wedding

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Monday Mayhem – Kicking names and taking…

I have to tell you, I had a killer awesome weekend writing-wise. I started a new project called Play Dates. Yes, I know, you wanted Hooligans next, but trust me when I tell you that there’s a whole bunch of convoluted reasoning behind the switch in schedule. Anyhoo, I started Play Dates this week, but didn’t have a lot of time to get words in. So, I scheduled some play dates of my own.

First, I hooked up with my pal, Parker Kincaid, for pastries and pantsing at Panera. No, that doesn’t mean we pulled each other’s drawers off. It mean we both write by the seat of our pants. Fueled by bagels, danish, and toffee-nut cookies, we managed to put up some respectable numbers in the old word count column.

But then on Sunday, I took part in this:

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As I type this, we are in the dinner/break portion of the day, and I am proud to report that I have over 4k for the day!

Between sessions, I did a little stint on the elliptical (part of the Body by Gilmore Girls program-I’m on ep 3), threw together some crock pot salsa chicken with black beans, ran to the store, and frolicked outside with the puppies.

I hope to get at least another 1000-1500 words this evening, and round out chapter 2. Jewels has totally kicked butt too. We’ve decided that we like having more defined writing times. Eyes on the prize and all that.

How was your weekend? Hit any goals? Take any naps? Share! I like to live vicariously. 😉

Oh! And starting this week, I’ll have a new feature on my blog – Teaser Tuesdays. These will give me a chance to introduce you to some of my writer friends and their latest projects.

That means this joint is jumping at least 5 days a week. Remember to stop by for all the fun:

Sunday – 8 sentence challenge

Mondays are Mayhem

Teaser Tuesday

Whatcha Reading? Wednesday

Fangirl Fridays!

Oh! Oh! Don’t forget to add your email address to my newsletter list. I have combined Margaret and Maggie’s previous lists and will start moving most of my future contests, excerpts and giveaways to the newsletter mailings thanks to Facebook and other social media outlets restricting the fun stuff, so be sure to hit then newsletter sign up on the sidebar if you aren’t already on there. 🙂

Happy Monday!

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Monday Mayhem – Written in the Stars

This weekend, Fodder and I packed a suitcase and a snack bag and hit the road. I decided at the eleventh hour to attend the North Louisiana Storytellers and Authors of Romance (NOLA Stars) Written in the Stars conference, and I’m sure glad I did.

Friday evening, I arrived in time to hook up with my DSRA pal, Nena Clements, and say hi to fellow Arkansan, Keri Ford. I was also in time for the food and fun of the meet and greet reception. 🙂

Saturday was jam-packed with great workshops, a chance to meet some writers I’ve only chatted with online, and (dun-dun-dun) my first-ever, live pitch to an agent or editor. That’s right. I have 8 novels, 16 novellas and over a dozen short stories published without ever having to sell a story with just the words coming out of my mouth.

You know what I learned?

I’m no good at it. The second I got past the introduction, my thoughts went haywire and all semblance of cool went flying out the door. I…am a babbler. Thankfully, the agent and editor that I spoke to were both very kind and patient. They’re also at least partially fluent in babble, because they both asked to see what I was offering.

So…yay! I did it! And now I know what I need to work on before zipping out to NYC for RWA nationals. Well, that and the stories I want to write before I go. So this week, I will once again be preparing submission packages for Full Court Press.

*claps and bounces* I’m just so relieved that people seem interested. I’m also relieved that I don’t have to do that again until July.

How about you? Are you a savvy salesperson? Can you talk your way through anything? Or, are you one of those people who purposefully chose a major that involved mainly essay tests and blue books?

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