Monday Mayhem – Pantser life

Yo-ho! Yo-ho! The pantser life for me!

Hey, gang! I’m back again this week, with a new/old trick. I’m reverting to my old pantser ways.

Reader say, “Wha?”

You see, the writing world is generally comprised of two types – plotters and pantsers. Plotters work out every detail of the book before they even open page one. Pantsers have an idea and run with it.

In other words, a pantser writes a story by the seat of their pants.

Most writers naturally gravitate to one style or the other. I started out as a pantser and continued that way for a number of books. But as my career progressed, I started selling books to publishers on proposal. Therefore, I needed to submit a detailed synopsis of each book I intended to write.

This is how I evolved into sort of a plantser – someone with a pretty sketched out outline of the book, but still winging it on a chapter by chapter basis.

But I am not currently under contract. I have no series to complete. I am, at the moment, free as a bird.

So what did I do?

I started writing a book I hadn’t even thought about until I opened my mouth Tuesday morning and a story started coming out.

One that hadn’t been hopping around in the plot bunny file. One I haven’t plotted, or even barely thought about. An idea popped into my head Monday night, and Tuesday, I started writing it.

This should be fun, huh?

In other news

Double Play is coming in October! Digital pre-order is available at all e-book retailers. The audio production is in progress, and should be ready for October 25, 2018 release.

Paperbacks will be available, They look fabulous, but I have to tell you, they are a little pricier than the usual mass market paperback. I wanted to produce them in the 4×7″ size to match the other two books, but there’s limited production availability for that trim size in print on demand.

ANNNND – I have declared 2019 the year of the backlist. As part of the celebration, I’ll be resurrecting some out of print friends – like Tracy & Sean from Contentment, Maggie & Tom from Commitment, and Lynne & Bram from Spring Chickens!

Whew! That’s what I have going on. What’s new with you?

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – So, this happened…

So, this happened this week: 15 Best Romance Novels of 2018 (So far)

No, seriously. Click on the link. That really happened. Look at me…right smack dab between Ms. Beverly Jenkins and the fabulous Alyssa Cole! Okay, LOVE GAME is, but I wrote it and it was named one of the 15 best of the year so far by BookPage!

THRILLED!

And this is happening this coming week:

Yep. I’m hanging out with the cool kids these days. The best part is, I’ll get to hang out with this cool kid for most of the week:

So, yeah, things are happening. I’ll report back when something else happens. In the meantime…go read a book!

Oh! And only 3 weeks until A RING FOR ROSIE (Play Dates #3) releases!

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Monday Mayhem – Whatcha doin’?

Whatcha doin’?

I can tell you, I haven’t been doin’ much. I’ve been having an odd sort of summer. Still unemployed. Still not heartbroken over said unemployment. I’ve been enjoying my summer off. It’s the first summer off from work or school I’ve had since 1984, so I’m not feeling too guilty about it.

Okay, I am, but that’s only because I am a Catholic semi-workaholic whose identity is tied pretty closely to external indicators of success.

Yeah.

So, anyhoo, I’m trying to enjoy the time off. Lots of time with Fodder and Sally. I have been working out each day, and continuing my yoga and meditation practices.

But I have to admit, I haven’t been writing much.

Like, hardly at all. I have no excuse, because I certainly have the time. The only thing I can think is that my lack of productivity is tied to the identity issue mentioned above.

I have been spending a lot of time with #Rover, as those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know.

As a matter of fact, my little friend will be attending the Romance Writers of America conference with me, only in a 2D version. #FlatRover

I am working on edits and revisions for DOUBLE PLAY (Love Games #3) and have set a release date of November 1, 2018. I figure loosing Avery and Dom’s story on the world will be a good way to kick off my birthday month.

And, in my quest for a little inspiration, I’ve been toying with a chapter of Gilmore Girls fanfic. It’s been slow going, though. Hard to believe I used to crank out one of these every day or two.

So, that’s what I’ve been doin’. What about you? Whatcha doin’ this summer?

 

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Too much time on my hands

Okay, I admit it, I am not good at living a life without structure. Given too much time on my hands, I tend to do…nothing.

Shocking, I know.

It seems counter-intuitive. I always thought that if only I didn’t have to work that full-time job, I could crank out a book a week. Okay, maybe not a book a week, but you know what I mean. I thought I didn’t have enough time to work on my writing because that pesky job kept getting in the way.

Turns out, I had all time I needed.

I’ve had exactly the right amount of time (for me) all along. I have a limit to how much creativity my brain can export in a day. It’s about a 2-3 hours. Huh. Who knew? Yes, I can spend additional hours doing writing-related tasks such as editing, creating promo materials, etc., but actual words on the page? Yeah, I’ve only got a couple hours in me.

I know I can (and have done) more than that on occasion, but I’m talking about writing as a daily habit.  Lesson learned.

I started a part-time consulting gig this week. Not only am I making a little money, but it turns out, it’s been a boon to my productivity as a writer. I’ve produced more words this week than in the previous five weeks. It also allows me flexible scheduling, and a late start, so I can maintain my morning workout/wellness program. Bonus!

With this new focus in place, I’ve managed to complete the first round of revisions (with the help of my fab crit partner, Julie Evelyn Joyce) on DOUBLE PLAY (Love Games #3), and have submitted the complete manuscript to my editor, Gilly, for review. I’ve also have some preliminary cover art. Want a peek?

Double Play Cover

LOVE GAME is still on sale at Amazon, so be sure to tell all of your friends!

I’m off to work now…after Sally and I have a little snuggle, that is. Happy Monday, my friends!

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Monday Mayhem – Family

My family

I spent a bit of time with the family this weekend, which means 9 hours up on Friday, and 9 hours back home on Sunday.

Time spent getting to spend family time?

Je ne regrette rien.

 

We’ve added two more generations to this brood. The excuse reason for the trip was a celebration of my nephew’s recent marriage. Therefore, we spent the weekend eating, drinking, and dancing like and with toddlers.

My great nieces and nephews are super impressed with Aunt Moogie’s moves.  I even got to meet a great-nephew and great-niece I had not seen yet. 🙂

In addition to busting a move on the dance floor, the first round of revisions on DOUBLE PLAY is nearly complete.  Next, it will be on to my editor for a rigorous scouring. We’re aiming for an October release date on Avery’s story.

Did you know LOVE GAME is on sale? Have you told your friends? The eBook is only two bucks and paperback copies are available for nearly 1/2 price!

And did you see the trailer for the new A STAR IS BORN movie? I squeed when I watched it because I like to say the book I’m revising now (SUPERSTAR) is a sort of Nashville meets A Star is Born family saga. I have high hopes for it!

Also, I am getting very excited for the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Denver next month. I’ll be participating in a romance panel and signing at Boulder Books on July 18th, and the RWA Literacy Signing on Saturday, July 21st. If you live in the Denver area, be sure to mark your calendar!

Whew! Busy week/weekend. Hence, I have to go appease a needy Labrador now.  Anyone have any extra Milk Bones?

Sally stare

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Monday Mayhem – Audiobook binge

I’ve been on an audiobook binge this summer – thank you Central Arkansas Library System and Overdrive.

Margaret’s Summer Reading (Listening) List

1) Britt-Marie Was Here – Another delightful character study by Fredrik Backman. The humor is off-kilter, but the heart is spot-on.

Britt-Marie was Here

2) The Room on the Rue Amelie – Kristin Harmel’s story of the ordinary people who did extraordinary work in French resistance during WWII.

Rue Amelie

3) Far From the Tree – Robin Benway wove a wonderful tale of three teenagers with nothing more in common than a mother who gave them for for adoption.

Far from the Tree

4) Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan’s over-the-top Southeast Asian soap opera had me riveted. Reminded me of those fabulous Jackie Collins books of the 1980s-90s. I picked this up because I was enthralled by the trailer for the movie coming this August.

Crazy Rich Asians

5) China Rich Girlfriend – The follow up to Crazy Rich Asians. Listening now and just as enthralled.

China Rich Girlfriend

I’ve become a big fan of audiobooks. I started out just listening to them in the car. Now, I listen all over the place. I particularly like them for re-reads. I thoroughly enjoyed all of Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter series. Davinia Porter not only rocks all the Outlander books, but she reads Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. I’ve listened to all of Susan Elizabeth’s Phillips backlist as well as Herman Wouk’s timeless Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

How about you? Do you listen to audiobooks? Hear anything good lately? Don’t forget that the entire Love Games series will be available in audiobook. LOVE GAME and PLAY FOR KEEPS are available now, and DOUBLE PLAY will be coming this fall!

 

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Monday Mayhem – Goals! Almost…Maybe… Okay, not even close.

I didn’t make my goals for the week. Not almost. Not maybe. I didn’t even come close.

The sad part is, I have no excuses. I had the time, just not the motivation. But I resolve to keep trying to pull my feet from the muck. So, here is my update.

Last Week’s Goals:

1)  First of all, I will finish first pass edits on chapters 7-18 of DOUBLE PLAY so they are ready for Jewels. This also includes actually writing scenes for the spots where I wrote {Big fight scene here} because I was feeling non-confrontational that day.

2) Add at least 7500 more words to THE FIX UP (current WIP). This is going to be a fun series. Sort of a Fixer Upper meets It’s Complicated thing. I hope it plays out well.

3) Read through and take notes on major revision points on SUPERSTAR. This one is more of a Nashville meets A Star is Born thing with a juicy family dynamic and intergenerational storylines.

Results:

1)  I edited chapters 7 – 12. Like most writers, I tend to seriously underestimate the time it takes to edit and polish words already written. But still, this goal was doable. The remaining chapters (with additions) will go on this week. I swear! *Shakes fist at Amazon Prime Video*

2) Fell short here, too. But as I am typing this, I realize I didn’t count any net words added to the Double Play chapters edited. Who knew there’d be so much math involved in being a novelist?

3) Yeah, this is the not even close one.

Fail Stamp

What did I do, you ask? Well, with the help of my ever-diligent critter, I did pull the proposal for the Love Renovation series (Fixer Upper meets It’s Complicated) and send it off to my agent. So check that off the list…for now.

I also watched about 3 seasons of Sex And the City. I’m finally up to the Baryshnikov episodes.

This week’s Goals:

1) Finish editing Double Play chapters so they are ready for critique. Priority one.

2) Superstar read-through. I have ideas for revision, and notes must be inserted before I lose the thread.

3) Create new words. I won’t even put a number on them because the math is so intimidating.

In other news:

Tonight, I’m recording my first podcast guest spot tonight for Write With Love with Sarah Williams, and I found out the Skype chat will also be video recorded for YouTube. Hence, I’ll have to dig out some makeup. Eep!

I’m getting psyched to attend RWA national conference in Denver this July. Jewels convinced me to sign up to a murder mystery thing. Rumor has it there’s a dessert bar. If you’re in the Denver area, I’m signing LOVE GAME and PLAY FOR KEEPS at the big Literacy Signing on July 21st!

So, yeah…I’m trying again this week. Because writers are nothing if not resilient. Therefore, I’m shaking off this week’s fail and starting fresh.

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Monday Mayhem – Millie Time!

PLAY FOR KEEPS releases tomorrow and I am super-excited!

I have to admit, I love the heroine in this book. Millie talks tough, but she has a lot of heart. She knows who she is, and accepts and loves herself, but she struggles to let others in. Ty Ransom is a steady, determined man, and it’s a darn good thing. He’s going to have to put on a full court press to convince Millie that he’s playing for keeps.

And I have some BIG NEWS regarding this release!

Amazon editors have chosen PLAY FOR KEEPS as one of the best books of  April! This is a huge honor, and I’m keeping some pret-ty swanky company on that list. Check it out here.

LOVE GAME is still available in stores, so if you haven’t started the series, grab both books and get in the game! And keep the Spotted in the Wild pictures coming! I love seeing them!

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Monday Mayhem – Maggie’s a bad girl

I’m loving all the LOVE GAME sightings you’ve been sharing to my Facebook page. Thanks so much, and keep them coming!

This week, I’m shifting gears slightly to talk about my upcoming release EASY BAKE LOVIN’.

This book is the second in the Play Dates series, featuring hot single dads. In case you missed it, book #1, PLAY DATES, is on sale right now for 99¢, so grab a copy now!

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kensington ~ Kobo

EASY BAKE LOVIN’ was one of those books that was just a joy to write. I could see each character so clearly, hear their voices in my head, and best of all…I got to indulge my adolescent love of naughty word play in making up the names of all the treats Georgie sells in her adults-only bakery.

I can’t list the menu here, because I try to keep this blog PG-13 rated, but I giggled. Jewels giggled when critiquing it. Marci giggled through each round of edits. I hope you’ll giggle too.

After all, reading is a pleasure, and not one anyone needs to feel guilty about indulging. Pre-order now, or make a date to pick up Georgie and Mike’s story on March 6, 2018!

A straight-laced single dad just may discover he has a sweet tooth…
 
Mike Simmons had it all—until his perfect wife turned his perfectly ordered life upside down by leaving him and their two children. Now Mike’s struggling with the chaos of juggling his career as a security consultant with being a divorced single dad. It’s no surprise he’s not entirely comfortable with the anatomically correct treats their new client, Getta Piece Bakery, offers. And he doesn’t mind letting the client know it.

Free-spirited and spunky, baker extraordinaire Georgie Walters is about as far from a soccer mom type as you can get. She owes a lot of her success to the bachelorettes who have a special appreciation for her creations. But as Mike stands in her tiny shop nervous, but clearly intrigued, Georgie has to admit the guy is beautiful when he’s wound up tight. In fact, she finds she can’t resist getting a rise out of him. When she hires him to take care of her security needs—she gets so much more in the bargain. Now, her challenge is to teach him to look beyond the candy coating to all the warmth she has inside . . .

Preorder at: Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kensington ~ Kobo

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Monday Mayhem – Overwhelmed, Overjoyed, Over the Moon

Is it possible that anyone missed this?

It’s been a fairly surreal week.

LOVE GAME was my 35th release, but my first to be available in brick and mortar stores. It was also the first time I took a release day off work. I spent the morning, spamming you all online, registering to attend RWA in Denver, and generally making sure my links and such were working. Then Fodder and I went out for lunch and to hunt it down in the wild.

I admit I got a little misty when I saw it. I still get a little keyed up thinking about it. Don’t tell him I told you, but Fodder did too.

 

The release was accompanied by some of the most AMAZING reviews. I have to admit that in recent years I have become one of those authors…the ones who beg for reviews (because we need them to sell books), but try not to read them. Because while the bad ones are indubitably soul-crushing, even the best review can get into an author’s head.

 

I have to admit, I’ve been reading those I come across on LOVE GAME, and I am thrilled to know that it’s connecting with readers.

I’ll post some links here because these are a thrill for me.

Publishers Weekly (Starred)

Dear Author (Recommended Read)

Romantically Inclined (A modern read…)

Guilty Pleasures (Purest Delight!)

That’s What I’m Talking About (A – Loved it!)

So, yeah, it’s been a great week.

It’s also been an awful week.

The second week of February always is for me. Friday, February 9, 2018 was the 20th anniversary of my dad’s passing. Sunday, February 11th was the 2nd anniversary of mom’s.

So yeah, there’s been some Kleenex expenditure, but despite the racier aspects of my writing, I think my parents (inveterate bookworms themselves) would have been proud to see a book I produced on the shelf.

But THANK YOU. I hope I’ve made you proud, too. I appreciate your support, your enthusiasm, and the steadfast encouragement.

Without you, I’d just be tossing words out there into the void. With you, I am seeing my dreams come true one by one.

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