Monday Mayhem – November Nuttiness

It’s November and I’m knee deep in NaNoWriMo. This year, I’m working on a novella about a young widow looking to cut loose, and the guy who’s just the man to help. 🙂

It’s also birthday month. That means I dragged Fodder out to the movies. Hard to make the man sit still for 2 hours, so I need to take advantage when I can. We saw St. Vincent. I can definitely recommend it.

I’m also doing Weight Watchers again. So far I’m down 5 pounds total, but I might have indulged a bit this weekend. I needed that chocolate chip cookie. I needed it bad.

This year, I will have the day after Thanksgiving off for the first time since 2002. I’m looking forward to the long weekend. I hope to finish the first draft of Bossy Pants by then and start in on the first book in a new series I’m calling Hooligans to finish out the 50k I need to complete the challenge.

Finally, the Diamond State Romance Authors will be hosting our annual public meeting next Saturday, November 15, 2014 at the Thompson Library in Little Rock. The program will be about Writing Short, and will start at 10am. Coffee, donuts, and good company – all for the low, low price of FREE! Here’s the blurb:

Diamond State Romance Authors Logo Pink(1)

There’s more to writing short than less story. Join the Diamond Sate Romance Authors for a glimpse into the beauty of brevity. Learn tight writing, secondary plots, characterization and backstory. We’ll discuss tips and techniques that will help you craft a better story of any length with fewer words.

This free public workshop will prove you with the tools you need to improve your pacing, tighten your plot, and make every sentence count.

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday Mayhem – Retreat to advance

What I’ve been working on: I don’t know what to say. My alter ego has taken over my life. She gets all the bragging rights.

What’s running around in the back of my mind: Shel and Josh from Containment are starting to whisper to me again (thank goodness). I’m trying to be cool and play it coy, but if they stick around I may work on them as my NaNoWriMo project.

What I’ve accomplished: The good news is I signed a contract to publish Jump Into Love with Harlequin-E! The other news (not necessarily bad) is that Maggie stole it from Margaret and made the darn thing all sexy and stuff. What can I say? Split personalities can be vicious.

What new goal I’m chasing: I’m trying to build momentum on my daily word counts in preparation for NaNoWriMo.

What I saw: Inspiration

lake

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Monday Mayhem – Big things, wow things

I’m on the road this week, but I wanted to share a little news. In case you missed my squeeing across multiple social media platforms….

Commitment has been chosen as a finalist in the Single Title category of the GDRWA Booksellers Best Awards!

Commitment_MD

2013BBAfinalist

The winners will be announced in July, but check out the fabulous company I’m keeping!
The Greater Detroit RWA would like to congratulate all the finalists for the 2013 Booksellers Best Award Contest.  Winners will be announced at a private reception in Atlanta at the RWA National Conference in July.
 
The finalists are listed below.    * denotes a Best First Book finalist
TRADITIONAL
Snowbound in the Earl’s Castle – Fiona Harper
Bet You’ll Marry Me – Darlene Panzera – *
The Nanny Who Saved Christmas – Michelle Douglas
Kincaid’s Hope – Grace Greene
The Rebel Rancher – Donna Alward
 
SHORT CONTEMPORARY
The Doctor’s Not So Little Secret – Cindy Kirk
Redemption of a Hollywood Starlet – Kimberly Lang
The Good, The Bad and the Wild – Heidi Rice
Enemies at the Altar – Melanie Milburne
Christmas Conspiracy – Robin Perini
 
LONG CONTEMPORARY
The Marriage Bargain – Jennifer Probst
The Long Way Home – Cathryn Parry
When Lightning Strikes – Brenda Novak
More Than A Kiss – Stacey Joy Netzel
Far From Perfect – Barbara Longley
 
SINGLE TITLE
The Reason Is You – Sharla Lovelace – *
Commitment – Margaret Ethridge
A Man of Honor – Loree Lough
Back To You: Bad Boys of Red Hook – Robin Kaye
Just Down The Road – Jodi Thomas
 
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Dancing With Danger – Laura Sheehan – *
Revenge – Dana Delamar – *
Death of a Beauty Queen – Mallory Kane
Deadly Dance – Dee Davis
Dangerous Affairs – Diana Miller – *
 
SHORT HISTORICAL
Lessons In Loving A Laird – Michelle Marcos
Lady of Shame – Ann Lethbridge
Too Tempting To Resist – Cara Elliott
The Homesteader’s Secret – Lacy Williams
Return of the Viscount – Gayle Callen
 
LONG HISTORICAL
Twas The Night After Christmas – Sabrina Jeffries
Sweet Deception – Heather Snow
The Promise – Kate Worth – *
Highland Surrender – Tracy Brogan
When You Give A Duke A Diamond – Shana Galen
 
INSPIRATIONAL
The Rose of Winslow Street – Elizabeth Camden
Short Straw Bride – Karen Witemeyer
Twin Peril – Laura Scott
Christmas Roses – Amanda Cabot
Devotion – Marianne Evans
 
PARANORMAL/TIME TRAVEL/FUTURISTIC
Love, Eternally – Morgan O’Neill – *
Vengeance Born – Kylie Griffin – *
Flirting with Fangs – Peg Pierson – *
A Soul For Chaos – Crista McHugh
Gather The Bones – Alison Stuart
 
EROTIC
Circle of Deception – Carla Swafford
Playing To Win – Jaci Burton
Circle of Danger – Carla Swafford
Hidden Paradise – Janet Mullany
A Little Wild – Kate St. James
 
NOVELLA
The Governess Affair – Courtney Milan
Be My Texas Valentine – Jodi Thomas
Rising Above – Stacey Joy Netzel
Once Upon A Frontier Christmas – Debra Cowan
Miracle in New Hope – Kaki Warner
 
YOUNG ADULT
Pushing the Limits – Katie McGarry – *
Riley’s Pond – Harley Brooks – *
The Mephisto Kiss – Trinity Faegan
Forgiven – Jana Oliver
Courtship and Curses – Marissa Doyle

Squeeeeee!

To celebrate, I’m going to give away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. Tell me, have you read any of the books selected? Any on the list you’d like to try? Comment and I’ll draw a winner next Sunday, May 26, 2013.

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Monday Mayhem – Hanging out

Hey! How was your weekend? Do anything fun?

Mine was busy but good. Same old, same old. Laundry, grocery shopping, hanging out with my DSRA pals and a internationally best selling author. You know, the usual.

Ha! I’m toally not that cool.

The Arkansas Literary Festival was held in Little Rock this weekend, and the ladies of the Diamond State Romance Authors were in the thick of it. What a fun, infomative, and inspirational weekend!

Friday night I dragged the hubby to the main library for a discussion on the evolution of erotic romance featuring editor/publisher Lori Perkins and the author of the best selling Crossfire series, Sylvia Day. Not only did the poor man survive, he actually learned some interesting things about publishing, romance, and the evolution of erotica and erotic romance in the publishing marketplace.

Then, Sylvia Day, who is also the current President of the Romance Writers of America, joined the Arkansas Diamonds for a luncheon to celebrate the chapter’s anniversary.

cake

Sylvia answered questions and shared her insights into the industry throughout the lunch. She put up with our clowning around quite nicely too.

Pals and partners in crime Megan Mitcham & Amy Fendley
Pals and partners in crime Megan Mitcham & Amy Fendley
Tina Medlock, Mandy Harbin, Parker Kincade, Brinda Berry, Voirey Linger
Tina Medlock, Mandy Harbin, Parker Kincade, Brinda Berry, Voirey Linger
I swear there was only Diet Coke in that glass.
I swear there was only Diet Coke in that glass.

And in the end, she graciously posed for pictures with us all.

group

SylDay

Yeah.. so how cool is that? Any Sylvia Day fans out there? Have you read the Crossfire series? Who did you hang out with this weekend?

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Monday Mayhem – I’m baaaaack!

I’m back! Were you good to Voirey and Sandi while I was gone? I hope so. I love introducing friends to friends.

Sooo…Did you miss me?

I missed you too. It’s been a while since we caught up, so I thought I’d give you a few bullet points.

You ready? Let’s do it!

  1. Just got back from back to back training weeks for the day job. Each day was jammed packed with information, but the training was very informative. I’ll be helping to train my fellow employees in Texas over the next few months. If they’re all as great at the group of trainers I’ve worked with these last few weeks, it’ll be great!
  2. I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. That means I am coming home and cranking out the words each night this month. I love NaNo. I love the challenge. I love being able to draw a deep breath in December and say, “Look. I did that.” But I’m not there yet! Everything is on track. I’m over the 30k mark so far and plan to go at it hard over the holiday weekend.
  3. The Diamond State Romance Authors hosted a public seminar on self-publishing this past Saturday. Tanya Smith from the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge came to speak to the group about the great work they’re doing in big cat rescue. After the seminars, we adjourned to Oceans at Arthur’s for a multi-author book signing. All proceeds from the sales of these collections go directly to TCWR. My story, Teens Gone Wild, is in Volume II– the Young Adult collection. Here are a few pics:
    Megan Mitcham, Lori Freeland, Brinda Berry and me!
    Lynda Frazier, Cynthia d’Alba and Elle James
    Wild At Heart Volumes I & II available in ebook and print at Amazon

    4. I got to meet one of my readers! Meet Joanna – she’s reading Spring Chickens. I’m the one grinning like a loon and trying not to tackle hug the poor woman.

    Joanna

    5. Tim bunny missed me. So did the man. Scored a free double Steakburger on my birthday. Got a stack of Amazon gift cards, so the Kindle is locked and loaded. Life is good.

How have you been? What have you been up to lately? Tell me every little thing in a comment below and I’ll give you a prize… How about your choice of either a digital copy of anything on my backlist or an advanced read copy of Maggie Wells’ smoking hot January release – Jumping Mr. January?

I’ll draw one winner on Sunday, November 25th.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

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Monday Mayhem – Run away! Run away!

I retreated this weekend. Grabbed my coconuts and took off as fast as I could. But, instead of running from the plot bunnies that had been chasing me, I took them with me to the Diamond State Romance Authors writing retreat.

I planned to take a lot of pictures, but, being me, I left my camera on the coffee table at home. Luckily, Brinda Berry – hostess with the mostest and retreat planner extraordinaire – posted some on her blog. Check this place out! Yes, it was every bit as fabulous as it looks.

I also thought I’d write a blog post about the experience, but my fellow loft dweller, Megan Mitcham, posted this write up on the DSRA blog this morning.

Whew! My work here is done!

What’s that? You want to know more? Okay, fine, I’ll do the work… Here’s how this went down:

On my way through Conway, I picked up my road trip buddy, Voirey Linger, and we took off for the hills. I didn’t scream (much) as we twisted and turned our way up into the Ozarks, and my feisty little car handled like a champ. We arrived in beautiful Ponca, Arkansas in time to horn in on the first of seven two-hour writing blocks scheduled.

I set up camp in an Adirondack chair on this fabulous second-story screened porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it grew too chilly and dark on the porch, I shared these comfy couches in the loft seating area with Brinda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday, I managed to clock a total of 3,809 words. By Saturday, we were well into the swing of things. I finished one short story and started another, hitting 7,263 words by the end of the final writing block. Woot! I was stoked. Been a long time since I was able to put up big numbers. It felt good.

Between blocks, we stretched our stiff joints by strolling along the deck or creek, and our stomachs by trolling the snacks in the kitchen. We counted helpless giggles as out weekend abs workout, and adopted a few select euphemisms as the key words of the weekend. I’d share them but…yeah. Look at this group of degenerates – do you really want to know?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, it was a fabulous experience in a gorgeous setting. What could be more exhilarating for a writer than setting the plot bunnies free in the woods?

It’s your turn to share now. How was your weekend?

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Monday Mayhem: Springing Eternal

Today is the day the Romance Writers of America announce the RITA/Golden Heart contest finalists. For those of you who don’t know, the RITAs are for published authors, and Golden Heart entries are unpublished. There are many prestigious and esteemed awards in the romance community, but these two would be the equivalent of the Oscar/Emmy/Tony awards.

Last fall, the staff at Turquoise Morning Press voted to put two of their 2011 titles up for consideration for RITA awards and they chose Grace Greene’s Beach Rental (Best Inspirational Romance & Best First Book categories) and my Contentment (Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category) as TMP’s official submissions.

I couldn’t believe they picked one of my books from all of the titles they published in 2011. I might have had a total Sally Field moment. Maybe. There’s no video, so there’s no proof. As you can imagine, RITA and GH submissions are huge. The chances of being chosen as a finalist are super-slim – particularly for a small press author. But even as I filled out the entry form, I will admit that I was picturing myself as that camel passing through the eye of a needle. Without the hump. And the overbite. And the spitting thing…

I’m realistic enough to know my phone will probably not ring this morning. I’m not just saying that to be self-deprecating. Those of me who know me well know I have a ginormous ego. Huge. At times, monstrous. But I will say it’s also pretty well grounded in reality.

I love my baby, but I’m not so blind that I can’t see its flaws. But still…Maybe….

And there it goes again – springing eternal and all that jazz. I can’t help myself. I came equipped with this tiny little flame, flickering and sputtering deep inside of me. Standard equipment on this model, I guess. It won’t ever be extinguished, not even after the name of the last of the 2012 RITA finalists is posted on the RWA website.

Being an author is all about having hope.

We hope the story idea rattling around in our head is as good as we think it might be.

We hope we’ve chosen the right words to paint a picture, tell the tale, and spin a web so sticky you’ll never want to put the book down.

We hope it touches someone somehow.

Hope is the key ingredient that makes each and every romance (real or fictional) a possibility. It spurs us to press ‘send’ on that agent or editor pitch. Hope keeps us clicking the refresh button multiple times a day. Each time I open a new document, I’m filled with hope, expectation, and the tiny trickle of trepidation that accompanies any risk worth taking.

And if that phone call never comes, that’s okay. There’s always next year, right?

Spoken like a true Cubs fan.

Happy Monday, my friends. What are your hopes for the day, week, month, or year?

ETA: Just wanted to thank you all for your support. Contentment wasn’t chosen as a finalist, but I will have three (!) 2012 releases to choose from when it comes time to submit again. Thanks so much. You all are the best!

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