Monday Mayhem – Stuck in the muck

I’m stuck. Ish. Not really stuck, but in a weird headspace these days. Too much time on my hands. And crap…Now I have Styx stuck in there too.

I’m not used to this much freedom, and frankly, my procrastination skills have reached almost Aussie proportions. I am trying to keep to a schedule in my day-to-day routines, but sit seems like somewhere around noon I get distract….

Hey, did you meet my new T-Rex, Rover?

Rover
Rover

Yep. Too much time on my hands. And a bit of a pity party going on. But the problem with pity parties is that only one guest ever sticks around. The pitiful one.

But this week will be different. This week, I’m getting un-stuck!

This week, I am buckling down. I’m going to spew ALL THE WORDS, edit ALL THE WORDS, make ALL THE WORDS flee in terror when they see this Writersaurus Wrecks coming!

How am I going to get unstuck? I’m going to plow through procrastination!

Therefore, I need goals. I need goals, and I need you to hold me accountable. So here they are. Ready?

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.

So, I’m counting on you guys to hold my feet to the fire next week. I’m going to meet these goals. I’m not even going to give an ‘If I don’t…’ scenario.

While I’m working on that, what do you hope to achieve this week? Ready? Set? Goal!

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Monday Mayhem – It’s May! The month of yes you may!

We are finally hitting our stride with Spring. It seems like it took a long time coming – even here in the Natural State. Late freezes and a shocking April sleet storm stunted some of the spring growth, but we have finally leafed out here and it is stunning.

I always marvel at the wide array of Pantone greens Mother Nature provides each spring.

Last weekend, Fodder and I spent a gorgeous cloudless Sunday on the Buffalo National River. Never visited this beautifully preserved national park set in the heart of the Ozark Mountains? Here’s a taste:

Sadly, it’s one of those things that is so close to home for us that we rarely do it. Last weekend, we vowed to change that.

Like many authors, I used to think being a writer meant having my butt in the chair writing every possible moment I had. I’ve let that fallacy go. Now, I know that letting my mind wander as Fodder paddles me along in a canoe is just as important as putting words on a page.

I came home exhausted, wind swept, gritty eyed, and sun toasted.

I also came home relaxed and ready to dive into a new series.

So, spend a day in the hammock with a good book, or go for a walk along a river trail. We bought a new frisbee to toss in the back yard. Doesn’t matter what you do, just go out and play a little bit each day.

And stop and smell the roses. Admire the fifty-billion shades of green. Pet a puppy or kitty cat. You’ll feel better for it. I promise.

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Monday Mayhem – Back at it! What is she up to now?

I’m hard at work again. Next up, revisions on DOUBLE PLAY (book #3 in the Love Games series). It’s Avery’s turn at bat, and boy does she clobber poor Dominic Mann with a grand slam!

After that, there’s another rough, rough draft that will need to be polished. It’s a sort of an ode to those glitzy 1980s-90s romances I loved so much

I am also working on a new project I hope to shop on submission. It’s pretty rough around the edges, but I’ll fix ’em up and get them going sometime this week.

People are still reading and loving the LOVE GAMES series.  Have you left a review on Amazon? If not, please consider doing so. My algorithms need you!

The hunt for a new day job continues. Had an interview last week for one I think I’d really like. Cross things for me, will you?

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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 – 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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Monday Mayhem – Alllllllmost….

So, tomorrow is the big day for LOVE GAME. Remember to look for it at your favorite book store or superstore. If you don’t see it on the shelf, do me a favor and ask for it, okay? Thanks!

In celebration of the big release, I wanted to share an excerpt with you and the inspiration for that particular scene. Are you ready for this?

****

Kate yanked open her front door and almost dropped her beloved Tea-Rex mug as she stared bleary-eyed at the surprise addition to her front porch. An oversized shoe box sat on her “Come back after basketball season” doormat.

She toed the mystery box, then glanced from left to right, making sure no one lurked in the shrubs waiting to snap a picture of her bending over in stretched-loose gym shorts and a faded T-shirt. The warm mug curled close to her chest, she squatted and flipped the lid off the box with one finger. Breath caught in her lungs, and she blinked in surprise.

The shoes nestled in the folds of tissue paper were a swirl of outlandishly obnoxious neon colors. So bright, mere humans would need a pinhole projector to view them properly. She fell in love on sight.

“Come to me, my pretties,” she whispered, setting her tea aside to draw the box closer. The tissue crinkled as she pushed it back. “Where did you come from, huh? Shoe fairies?” She touched one neon-orange lace and sighed. “Are you looking for a good home?” She peeked at the label on the box. “Look at that. Just my size.”

Caffeine and nowhere-to-be-seen newspaper forgotten, she lowered the lid, gathered the box in her arms, and carried the precious foundlings inside.

Perched on the edge of the sofa, she stared at the prize in her lap. Her heart thrummed against her breastbone, and a giddy, bubbly rush of anticipation simmered in her veins. She couldn’t remember the last time someone had given her a present, much less one this heart-trippingly perfect. She bit down on the tip of her tongue as she tossed the lid aside. A girly laugh of delight rushed past her lips the second she caught a glimpse of the shoes in the light.

Hooking her fingers under the laces, she plucked them from their tissue nest. The box fell to the floor unheeded as she gave the shoes an impetuous little hug. She knew it was silly but didn’t really care. Let other women swoon over toothpick-heeled Jimmy Choos. She was a pushover for leather and mesh uppers with gel-filled insoles.

Setting one shoe aside, she gathered the tips of the laces to line them up. Her greedy gaze cataloged the number of eyelets and mapped the exact route she’d take through the tongue flap. It wasn’t until she reached for the second shoe that she noticed the words inked inside the box lid. The thick, bold slashes of black magic marker seemed harsh and sharply incongruous with the colorful gift.

Dinner? D

She stared at the message, the pricey shoe dangling from her fingertips and her heart lodged in her throat.

Danny.

She shook her head hard. No. It couldn’t be.

Or could it?

****

Some women collect ceramic figurines, others handbags…Kate Snyder collects shoes. Athletic shoes, to be precise. This particular character quirk was inspired by the quirkiest character I know, Julie Doner.

In celebration of the release of LOVE GAME, Julie agreed to a photoshoot. Here’s a glimpse at this author’s inspiration:

Pick up a copy of LOVE GAME tomorrow and get the whole story on Kate’s seduction by shoe. If you want to order online, here are some handy-dandy links!

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

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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 – The Gift of Giving Up

This time of year, I’m always focused on what I want to accomplish next year. The list is always fairly lengthy. I won’t get to everything, but I will complete some things. As I get older, I find that accomplishing some things is more than enough. The things I don’t get done will shift to the following year’s list, and life will go on.

Opened personal organizer with a to do list.

Patience is one of life’s great lessons. I haven’t mastered it, but I am learning to embrace it. I’m also learning how to let things go. This year, I plan to carry over my list of anti-resolutions. Remember these?

Stop showing and telling everything to everyone.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Stop worrying about what others think of you.

Stop waiting.

Stop doubting.

Stop being a stranger.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Stop standing in your own way.

Stop feeling guilty.

Stop thinking money creates value.

Stop feeling obligated.

Stop saying yes all the time

Stop thinking everything is a competition.

Stop trying to be like everyone else.

Stop thinking you have to get it right on the first try.

I’ve discovered that the list of things I plan to stop doing is the very definition of a work in progress. Some days I’m better at them than others.

In 2018, I’m giving myself a different kind of gift: permission to give up.

Not writing, or my day job, or anything important. But the time has come for me to put some conscious effort into quitting things that do not make me feel good.

Almost seven years ago, I quit smoking. Now, just because I list that here, don’t think for one minute I didn’t love smoking. I did. I just didn’t like the way smoking made me feel. So, I screwed up my determination and quit.

This year, I plan to give up some other things that don’t make me feel good. The first I plan to attack will be my social media habit.

No, I won’t be disappearing entirely, but I will be limiting the time I spend absorbing other people’s thoughts and opinions.

I will be around to post pictures and chat about life in general, but I’m going to start sticking to topics of polite conversation: the weather, health, and…books.

How about you? Do you plan to be a quitter in 2018? What baggage will you be ditching?

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Monday Mayhem – Attitude of Gratitude

An attitude of gratitude. I hope you all know how very grateful I am for your support and encouragement. Lord knows, I probably don’t say it often enough, but I am. Writers write the stories they want to tell, but when we connect with at least one other person…that’s golden.

So, in case I haven’t said it lately, THANK YOU.

I appreciate you more than words can say. And I have a lot of words at my disposal. 🙂

This holiday season, I am taking part in the Attitude of Gratitude giveaway sponsored by my beloved Brinda Berry.

Brinda has gathered nearly fifty authors and we are GIVING AWAY books as a way of showing our gratitude for our readers. This is a great way to discover new-to-you authors, so don’t miss out!

<3 Mags

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