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 – That whirring noise you hear…

Is me winding down from a fabulous weekend in the Chicago area.

I attended the 2018 Chicago North RWA Spring Fling. I am home now. Exhausted and exhilarated. There’s nothing like spending time with other writers to recharge the creative juices.

The big advantage to attending a conference in Chicago is the fact that I can combine it with family and friends time.

I got to visit with my niece and her boys, where I met my new (ish) great-nephew, I had time to hang out with my sister one-on-one, and had pizza with my brother and his family (where I had my butt kicked playing Sequence for Kids).

I also got to spend an evening with some of my sorority sisters – some of whom I hadn’t seen in mumblemumblemumble years. 

The best part, as always, was having the chance to catch up with my life-long besties. From cooing over prom dresses and repeatedly apologizing to Jen’s daughter for being…us…to sweet, gorgeous young Mike, who had no idea what he was getting served when the hostess seated this party of four.

I’m home now. The laundry had to be piled up whilst Sally and I got reacquainted with an epic nap, but there’s always tomorrow.

Oh! And I finished the first draft on my latest work in progress before I left, so if you are looking for me, I’ll be in the revision cave for the next couple of months.

Thanks to all of my hardworking members of the CNRWA chapter for putting on such a great conference. See you in 2020!

And go, Cubs, go!

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Monday Mayhem – An Open Window

Thanks so much for all the positive feedback and social media support for my new release, PLAY FOR KEEPS!

And, if you have already reviewed, THANK YOU! If you have not, please consider posting a review on Amazon.com when you are done reading. Not only do reviews help other readers decide if they want to give a book a shot, but they help authors gain visibility within the Amazon algorithms.

I admit was a little nervous about this book, because I knew Millie might be a bit much for some people. She doesn’t fit the traditional romance heroine mold, but I love her, and I’m glad readers are connecting with her.

So…this week I stepped off into a new adventure. My position at the day job was downsized, and Friday was my last day in the office.

As many of you know, I thrive on structure, so adjusting to this new phase may be a challenge for me, but I think I am up for it.

I have drawn up a schedule.

In Excel.

There may be wrapped text, merged cells, mixed borders, and color coding.

My resume is spiffed up and I am sending it out into the world. In the meantime, I am going to focus on wrapping up my WIP, a sort of Nashville-meets-A Star is Born story, and outlining a new series for proposal.

I’ve started exercising again, and I’m still meditating. All in all, I’m trying to take things slow and let what is meant to happen…happen.

I’m also preparing for the Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling. There will be a multi-author book signing at the Double Tree hotel in Oak Brook, IL, Saturday, April 21. Join us!

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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 – Muddling through

I haven’t been feeling well this week. The throat crud came back with a vengeance, and really kind of knocked me off my feet. Then, I got some news that kicked me when I was down. But I’m back up today-still a bit snotty and ego firmly in check. Time to focus on what’s on hand and let go of things I can’t control.

EASY BAKE LOVIN’ is out tomorrow! It’s funny and naughty and irreverent, and I had a blast writing it.

Here’s a taste:

She slid her hands along the case, drew back, and did a pirouette to encompass the array of goods on display. “Anything catch your eye?”

He caught a flash of leg as her apron flew in a circle around her. Despite the approaching winter, she wore nothing but some skimpy shorts under her apron. Well, a tank top and shorts, as well as some knee-high socks striped like the Wicked Witch of the West’s, but his brain shorted out when he got an eyeful of toned thigh, so the rest hardly counted.

She also wore boots. Thick-soled combat-style boots like the soldiers wore to march for miles over rugged terrain. Boots that made a man want to test exactly how kickass the wearer might be.

Mike shook himself out of his daze. “Oh, uh, no. I mean, yes.” He shook his head harder. “I mean, everything looks, um, great.”

“People come from miles around to get their hands on my Boston Cream Bosoms.”

Mike expelled a short laugh. She didn’t need to convince him; he was a believer. “I bet they do.”

She tipped her head to the side. “This is one of those moments when, as a feminist, I don’t know whether to be offended or flattered, but I bring the confusion on myself, so…” She shrugged and wrinkled her nose. The tiny diamond winked at him.

“This is one of those moments when, as both a feminist and a card-carrying member of the man club, I don’t know whether to…” He trailed off, letting the thought dangle.

“Make a break for it?”

“Exactly.”

She laughed again, and this time, a pulse of pleasure reverberated in his body. This woman was…infectious. And he didn’t have time to come down with a bad case of lust.

“Don’t feel bad. A lot of guys feel the same way when they first come in.”

“Don’t you think some of this is just the least bit…degrading to women?”

She nodded gravely. “And to men.” 

“It’s a little obscene.” The words came ou with more heat than he intended. Almost immediately, he regretted them. She was a potential client, after all. Who was he to judge?

“I think the human body is beautiful in any form,” she replied, seemingly unfazed.

“It’s objectifying the human body.”

“We objectify the human body every day in a million ways.” She leaned in a fraction of an inch. “I’m pretty sure you were objectifying mine when I walked out here.”

She was right. He had ogled her. But she’d ogled him back, damn it.

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

I’m preparing promo material for PLAY FOR KEEPS now, and last week I revealed the absolutely perfect cover for A RING FOR ROSIE.

I have DOUBLE PLAY to revise, and I’ve hit the halfway point in my work in progress, SUPERSTAR.

So…onward!

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A cover reveal!

We are just one week away from book #2 in the Play Dates series, Easy Bake Lovin’, and  now I get to share the fabulous cover for book #3 – A Ring for Rosie!

Play Dates Series:

Play Dates (book #1 – Available now for only 99¢!)

Easy Bake Lovin’ (book #2 – March 6, 2018)

A Ring for Rosie (book #3 – August 7, 2018

For single parents, life is often more diapers and daycare dilemmas than dating. But for three dads going solo, a little flirting can lead to a whole lot more than a fling . . .

A Ring for Rosie

Once burned, this father of twins is twice shy until he realizes the right woman is the
charm . . .
 
James Harper is a great dad, but a lousy judge of women—as evidenced by his twin boys’ flighty mother, who walked out when the babies were just six weeks old. He’s got fatherhood down, but dating is another story—especially when the twins’ mom shows up any time she needs something. His office manager, Rosie Herrera, is the one woman he can count on, actually talk to, flirt with, and . . . come to think of it, has he been overlooking the perfect woman all this time?

Rosie’s been in love with James since her first day on the job, but she’s certain he only sees her as a reliable employee—until one heated kiss changes everything. And then James’s ex shows up, and walks right into his life again. Determined to move on, Rosie tries to forget everything she feels about James—by doing her best to fall for someone else. But James isn’t about to make the same mistake twice. To woo Rosie this time, he needs to prove they’re made for
each other . . . forever.

Are you ready to meet Rosie and James?

Available for preorder now at:

 Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kobo

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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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Monday Mayhem – The calm

It’s the calm before the storm. At least, I’m trying to remain calm. The next three months are going to be a doozy.

I’ve been so focused on LOVE GAME, it’s easy to forget that EASY BAKE LOVIN’ (March 6) and PLAY FOR KEEPS (April 3) are following close behind.

How can you help?

#1 Buy the book. I know that sounds trite, but it’s true. Publishing is a business, and if these books don’t sell, my publishers have no reason to publish additional titles from me. Even if you don’t read romance, consider buying a copy for a friend, or to donate.

#2 Tell people! Talk about it. Suggest a title to your book club. No amount of paid advertising can match the power of word of mouth.  That’s a fact.

#3 Be a ripple: We are so inundated with images these days, it takes a minimum of seven visual impressions. If you see one of my books mentioned on social media or one of my posts somewhere, please share it with your friends (if you feel comfortable doing so). That’s a ripple.

#4 Review. Customer reviews on Amazon, B&N, and GoodReads are vital for an author. I’m not talking ego gratification. Many authors don’t even look at their reviews because, good or bad, they can impact writing productivity. Why do we ask for them? Because other readers look at them. So do book promotion sites. Some sites won’t allow an author to buy advertising unless they have a minimum number of positive reviews. So, even if it’s just “Hey, I really liked this book.” please  review.

#5 Tell the author. Not just me, but any author whose work you enjoy.  A letter, and email, a facebook post, a tweet – doesn’t matter if you tie note to a carrier pigeon (though I would probably make Fodder remove it from the bird’s leg). Writing is hard. This business can be brutal, and no one is immune. With each book an author places a little piece of their soul on the page. If you like something you read, tell the author. Even the biggest names have bad days. Make someone’s day.

I’m asking for your help. I need your help. Please and thank you.

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Monday Mayhem – Because you’ve gotta have friendssssss

I believe it’s important for every woman to have a close female friends. Wether it’s one, or a dozen, makes no difference. The strength and resilience of female friendships is something I try to incorporate into every story I write.

The friends you can text with random questions concerning bodily functions. Those who will hold you through the worst times and cheer you through the best. I have a few I lose contact with for months or years, but when we do get together, it’s like no time has passed at all. I have some I talk to every day.

I’m lucky enough to have two groups of friends who are integral to my life:

The first is simply known as The Cabinet.

These are my closest advisors. The ones who knew me in those halcyon days before everything we did went digital. We’ve been friends since we were teenagers and will be in each other’s pockets when we go to our graves. They pre-date the husbands and kids, and have outlasted the parents in some cases. Fodder knows better than to even think about contradicting the word of the cabinet.

Smart nieces and nephews know that inviting and/or allowing Aunt Moogie’s rowdy friends to come to the festivities results in more fun and quadruple the presents! Here we all are at my nephew’s wedding + my mother the photo bomber. <3

The other group you’ve heard me mention a number of times, because without them, I would not be a writer. Period. End of story.

They are my Super Cool Party People.

This is an ever expanding group of women drawn together by a common love, and bound together by unwavering support. We are scattered all over the globe and came to each other later in life (for some of us), but that doesn’t make our bond any weaker. My life would truly suck without them.

Love Game is the start of a new series that features three women: Kate Snyder, basketball superstar and all-around champion at life;  Millie Jenkins, the PR spin master who’s better at sorting out other people’s problems that thinking too hard about her own; and Avery Preston, Feminist Literature and Women’s Studies professor who harbors a secret desire.

I hope you’ll get a chance to meet them all. LOVE GAME goes on sale in just two weeks! And, in case you missed my gushing, you can read a couple of great pre-release reviews here and here!

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google Play ~ Kobo  ~ Powell’s ~ Books-A-Million ~ The Ripped Bodice

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