Monday Mayhem – Back in the Saddle

I’m back in the saddle again!

Okay, maybe not actually IN the saddle. I’ve never ridden a horse. In truth, I’m a little afraid to get up close and personal with them, though I love them from afar. We have a number of miniature horses in the area and I check on them constantly…from my car. I love them and worry about them on days I don’t catch a glimpse.

Anyhoo, I digress. But that’s okay, because it’s November and in November digression is not only allowed, but encouraged. That’s right folks, it’s time for NaNoWriMo.

  • This is my 10th go at the 50,000 words in 30 days challenge.
  • I’ve managed to win bragging rights 9 times.
  • 8 of those manuscripts started during NaNoWriMo have been published.
  • 1 was shelved* even though I made it 67k words in. I couldn’t go on with that one because I just couldn’t get it to be what I wanted it to be. Maybe one day….

My NaNo projects have been:

  • Contentment – 2009
  • Commitment – 2010
  • Inamorata – 2011
  • Hot Nights in St. Blaise – 2012
  • Containment – 2013*
  • A Will and a Way – 2014
  • Love and Rockets – 2015
  • Easy Bake Lovin’ – 2016
  • Double Play – 2017

So you see why I need to round it out, right? 10 years, 10 wins.

Plus, I need the challenge. It’s been an okay writing year in terms of production, but not a great one. I’d like to finish strong.

I’m on track so far and will keep plugging away at it. Wish me luck!

Thank you to all who helped make the launch of DOUBLE PLAY such a success.

I appreciate your support and hope you are enjoying Avery and Dom’s story!

If you haven’t grabbed your copy, here are some handy-dandy links!

Amazon ~ Apple ~ Google PlayB&N ~ Kobo~ Audible

 

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Monday Mayhem – Sunny day!

Regardless of the slightly soggy weather around here, it’s going to be Sunny days for me this week because Karen Booth’s SECRETS OF A (SOMEWHAT) SUNNY GIRL is out tomorrow!

Check this out:

As sisters, they tell each other all their secrets…except one.

With divorce and infidelity hanging from nearly every branch of her family tree, Katherine Fuller sees no point in marriage. Boyfriends? Sure. Sex? Of course. Wedding vows? No, thanks. Still, when her younger sister Amy gets engaged, Katherine gathers all the enthusiasm she can. She won’t let Amy down. She’s done enough of that for a lifetime.

As the sisters embark on wedding plans, Katherine’s college love resurfaces. It nearly killed Katherine to part from sexy Irish musician Eamon more than a decade ago, but falling under his spell a second time forces her to confront everything she hid from him. The secrets surrounding her mother’s death are still fresh and raw in her mind, but one has haunted her more than the others. She can’t bear to tell anyone, especially not Amy. It could ruin far more than a wedding. It could destroy a sister’s love forever.

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Kobo

Now, it’s no secret that I love Karen Booth and all she does, but I’m super happy to be able to share this book with you. I got a sneak peek, and there’s so much to love about Katherine and Eamon’s story.

So many good books in October!

I hope you’ve all got your copy of STEEPED IN LOVE by Julie Evelyn Joyce.

LONG DISTANCE LOVE is FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow. Grab a copy today!

Next week, we’ll be talking with Natasha Moore, whose upcoming release will launch of the August line from Entangled Press featuring seasoned characters.

And we are only 10 days away from the release of DOUBLE PLAY – can you believe it?

Amazon ~ Apple ~ Google PlayB&N ~ Kobo ~ Audible

Oh! And I’m signing LOVE GAME at the Barnes & Noble in North Little Rock, Arkansas on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 12-3PM!

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Monday Mayhem – Ready to click that mouse?

Click! Click! Click!

October is a busy month in the book world. Therefore, I have exciting new releases to talk about EACH WEEK – including one from me at the very end! Is your finger limbered up and ready click?

First up:

STEEPED IN LOVE by Julie Evelyn Joyce

Yes! Jewels’ first full-length novel is about to be unleashed upon the reading world. I had the pleasure of browbeating encouraging her every step of the way.

Trust me, you’re going to love Addie and Ethan’s story. It’s quirky, funny, and heartfelt – the perfect antidote for these turbulent times!

Read more here:

Addie Mitchell is a pie-on-the-fly entrepreneur who’s finally ready to settle down in the big, empty house her late great-aunt Edna left to her. Frustrated with her lack of success in romance, Addie turns to another gift her great-aunt passed on to her—the art of reading tea leaves—to aid her in her search for the ideal mate. 

Novelist Ethan Holtz is having a hard time sinking his teeth into his next project, but he finds Addie fascinating. Mainly for her ability to make her dates disappear in fifteen minutes or less. He can’t help but eavesdrop on her dates in the local coffee shop, his writing haven, and soon finds himself taking pointers on what not to do from her failed suitors.

Though her methods seem nothing short of mad, he falls fast and hard for the pixie-haired pie-pusher. She thinks they’re all wrong for each other, but Ethan teams up with the tea leaves to prove they’re so right.

Click a link to pre-order now and have it delivered to you first thing Wednesday morning!
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Monday Mayhem – To Blog or Not to Blog

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question…

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer. Or to continue spewing random words onto the interwebz every Monday, braving the slings and arrows of SEO optimized posts…

I go through this debate every fall as I start goal setting for the next year. The fact is, there are about 4-6 of you who comment on these post regularly, and 20-30 who actually click the link to read. Occasionally, I have a Monday where I hit 50+ views, but those are rare.

And the numbers haven’t been growing. Actually, they are slipping. So I have to wonder…

Is there a better use of my time(and yours)?

And the answer is, probably not. In truth, this blog is the only way I have of communicating with a wide, unrestricted audience.  We all know that social media site throttle posts so they don’t reach a broader audience – even those who have opted in. Since I’ve removed Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from my phone, I find myself looking at them less and less. I also think this is a growing trend, so ditching my blog for social media doesn’t makes sense.

Newsletter mailings rely on opting in, which is great, because we can assume that the audience wishes to receive them. The problem is, we all suffer inbox overload. I myself can be rather capricious when it comes to  randomly unsubscribing depending on how my day is going. And if someone sent me newsletters weekly, they would be a goner. Which means the blog is the best way to stay out in front of potential audience.

So here I am. I’m optimized baby. My readability scores are high. I use eye-catching images like this one to pique the interest:

But if the audience isn’t clicking the link, does potential reach matter?

These are the questions that plague me every week when I sit down to write my post. But in writing this post, I’ve managed to answer the big question for myself. So, let me ask you, lucky person who clicked because of the cute but slightly confused hamster, the more important question:

What kind of posts do you want to see going forward?

 

 

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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 – Mumble mumble

I don’t have much to say this week, so I’m just gonna mumble.

A RING FOR ROSIE came out last week. Thanks to all who bought it, tweeted or shared posts, and generally helped shout (not mumble) it to the world. I’m not good at tooting my own horn, and I am eternally grateful to have you as my horn section.

Finger puppet couple

I’m over the pinkeye and mostly over the technicolor bruising from my slip and fall down the steps. Frankly, I’m over feeling puny in general. I’m hoping that this week I can return to what passed for normal prior to my trip to Denver.

I did watch the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie on Netflix and enjoyed it very much. No, it’s not as detailed as the book, but I think they did a nice  job with it. A couple of the scenes had me grinning at the screen like the hopeful romantic I am.

Revisions on SUPERSTAR are coming along slowly. I added a bunch of additions to my plate, then in doing so, realized it was overkill. Now I am free-writing those parts and will pare them down to round out the story.

DOUBLE PLAY is set for release on October 25, 2018 and it looks like we are a go for simultaneous digital and audio release. Yay! I’m working on making a mass market sized print-on-demand version available for anyone who wants to special order it, but I have to tell you, being my own publisher is proving to have a steep learning curve.

And so, here I am, mumbling through. How are things going 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 – 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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