Monday, September 30, 2013

In Which I Come Clean About Writing Goals

It’s nearly October. *hyperventilates into paper bag* Like tomorrow is October. September is winding gone and Q3 is staring at us from behind the tall grass, ready to pounce. That means we should be taking the last pulse check of our goals for the year.

There's not much time left but certainly there’s enough to move the needle. Here are my Writing goals for 2013:

1. Finish Draft 10 of WIP (Done, 1.27.13)

2. Query WIP beginning in April (Started and stopped...but definitely started in April)

3. Finish Nano Project between April - July (Done, first and SECOND draft finally finished. The project is currently in the editing phase)

4. Build twitter network to 300 followers (Done, you guys are awesome!! *waves*)

5. Join the LitReactor community (Done, 1.25.13)

6. Take a writing class (Done - signed up for Mandy Hubbard's class for Feb)

7. Join a professional writers group

8. Attend a conference?? Scary one (Booked RWA 2013!! Done and AWESOME!)

9. Enter 2 contests (a fun goal - Done)

10. Blog regularly - at least once a month (Done every month so far! )

I accomplished almost all of these before the summer. And you may recall that my job situation changed this summer. I was paroled…er, granted sabbatical from my corporate job. To celebrate, and to avoid the whole life-sliding-off-track thing, I set new short term goals:

1. Wake up at a decent time – no sleeping in (Done so far so good. I’ve overslept my alarm a few times but nothing major)

2. Work out regularly (it always sparks ideas). I’m thinking running, or Zumba, or something (this was a trick goal. I already work out two to three times a week with a personal trainer. Once upon a time, I also ran 6 miles a day. I haven’t been able to do both and I feel like my lack of running is the root of all evil. I might be wrong, but until you prove otherwise I’ll just keep believing it. – I haven’t started running or Zumba. I’m still 2-3 days a week with my personal trainer and maybe an extra day of trail running or other cardio. So I’ve completed this goal without quite achieving the spirit of the goal)

3. Write 5 days a week for 4 weeks (Done – this week I will finish a 4 week consecutive stretch of writing five days a week. I’ve done it before but now that I’m out of Corporate America on my sabbatical I wanted to make sure I keep my discipline. So far so good)

4. Spend time at the pool, because, you know, who doesn’t want to spend time at the pool? (Done – I only got 2 good pool days in this summer. Mostly due to traveling to SC each week. But 2 is better than none)

5. Post three blogs a week (Done, this month I have posted three blogs each week. It’s not the first time I’ve accomplished this goal, but again, being that I’m on sabbatical I wanted to make sure I maintained my discipline)

6. Clean one item (floors, counters, bathroom, etc) in the house every other day (Done)

7. Finish draft of WIP (Done)

8. Read, read, read (in progress)

9. Go to bed at a decent time each night – no staying up too late to finish goal 5, 7, or 8 (Done)

So out of the 19 writing goals I made this year all are done or underway except 1:

Join a Professional Writing Organization

A while ago I mentioned a session I took at RWA13 hosted by Cherry Adair. She spoke to writers about goal setting and finishing the damn book. She is the tough-love queen and basically kicked everyone in the arse.

I think if she were to review my goal list she would laugh. These are great goals but they are soft goals. They wouldn’t pass the Cherry Adair test.

Cherry insisted that we articulate our dreams in hard, undeniable language.

Want to publish with a big 6? Write it down.

What to make a million dollars a year? Write it down.

It doesn’t matter how far fetched the goals may seem. If you want it – write it down.

Essentially, she was talking about SMART goals. Goals that are measurable and time sensitive.

Since my goals above are NOT SMART goals, they are specific to individual projects and habits (not my overall career), I think I’m going to take another stab at it. Here are my writing career goals:

5 Year Writing Career Goals 2013-2015

1. Get a pub deal with a big 6 publisher
2. Get a pub deal with a reputable small press (why limit yourself to just one method of publication?)
3. Make writing my full time job (ie actually earn money)
4. Join RWA and the GA chapter by 11.1.13
5. Write 2 books in 2014
6. Attend regional writing conferences during even years
7. Attend one national conference during odd years
8. Enter 4 contests a year
9. Take at least 1 writing class a year
10. Review and adjust goals yearly in January

Since I’ve essentially met my goals for 2013 we can consider this round of goal setting a head start for 2014. I took the time to identify strategies that should help me achieve my new, meatier goals.

1. Write 800 words a day or 24k words a month
2. Finish the damn book, as Cherry Adair would say
3. Get an Agent
4. Set meaningful deadlines: 5 months or less to draft/revise/edit a WIP
5. read read read read

How are your goals progressing so far? Feeling behind? There’s still time.

Want more on goal setting check out this post on Avoiding Neckbeards

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wish Me Tomorrow - Interview with Author Karen Rock

Today I'm thrilled to have the lovely Karen Rock stop by the blog. She's the author of the recently released, WISH ME TOMORROW, published by the romance lovers over at Harlequin.

Isn't the cover adorable? This is part of Harlequin's Heartwarming line which means you can trust the story will be sweet and warm and tug at your heartstrings. Check out the blurb:

Can they build a future on hope alone?

For years nurse and grief counselor Christie Bates has been teaching her patients to confront their fears, express themselves and trust in hope. But as her feelings for cancer survivor Eli Roberts and his two children grow, can she overcome her own fear and love a man who lives every day with the possibility of recurring illness?

Tackling cancer and single parenthood simultaneously has turned Eli into a devout realist. Which is why he finds Christie's perpetually upbeat attitude so aggravating. Still, despite himself, she's making a place in his heart. If only he could offer Christie more than an uncertain future.

To purchase WISH ME TOMORROW in paperback or ebook form, please visit:

Harlequin | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

Now, Karen has been kind enough to allow me to interview her. *Yippiee* But before we get into the nitty gritty of the interview *cracks knuckles* let's review what we already know about Karen through her bio:

Since Karen Rock’s grandmother passed her shopping bagfuls of Harlequin Presents as a teen, it’s been her dream to add her voice to the Romance genre. Now an author of Harlequin’s latest contemporary line, Heartwarming, Karen is thrilled to pen wholesome, tender, deeply romantic stories that all can relate to. Her first novel, WISH ME TOMORROW, is out in September 2013 and her next, HIS HOMETOWN GIRL, is out in spring 2013. Additionally, Karen is a young adult contemporary romance co-author with fellow Harlequin author, Joanne Rock for the CAMP BOYFRIEND series that debuted July 2013 with Spencer Hill Press.

When she’s not busy writing, Karen enjoys watching anything starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, cooking her Nona’s family Italian recipes, and occasionally rescuing local wildlife from neighborhood cats. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, her very appreciated beta-reader daughter and two King Charles Cavalier cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch,” though they’ve managed to teach her the trick! Hmmmm… wonder how that happened?! She loves to connect with other romance fans!
Please check out her website, her Facebook page, and follow her on twitter or Goodreads.

Alright, now it's time to get down to business. Interview business, that is. *waves* Hi Karen.

1. Wish Me Tomorrow is your first Adult Romance. You’ve previously published YA contemp. Was it hard to transition from YA to Adult?

KR: Hi Colleen :) Thank you so much for having me on Adventures in Word! It is still a transition to move between YA and Adult novels. I’m actually not sure if I’ll ever master it. My biggest issue is voice. My Harlequin editors have warned me about my ‘Voice Issue’ because I sound too young. In my latest Harlequin, I had to rewrite the first three chapters because my MC didn’t sound adult enough...*Sigh. I struggle the most when I’m moving back and forth between two books for different age levels. Note to self… check calendar before scheduling deadlines. Lol.

Yikes, I didn't even think about a voice issue. Maybe because I'm an adult who thinks like a kid. LOL But I can see how that would be a challenge.

2. You’ve been a huge fan of Harlequin since you were a kid. You are not alone. I also loved reading romance. I’d steal a few from my mom every now and again (Shhh, don’t tell my mom). What about Romance captivates you?

KR: What our mothers don’t know! I read lots of books with scantily clad cover models when I was too young for them too and hid them in my school books. My mother loved to brag about all the studying I did- lol. In fact, I was never much of a reader until my first friend at a new school invited me for a sleepover then handed me a Harlequin. So much for games, a movie and popcorn! But I made the best of it and before I left the next day, I’d finished one book and started another. I was hooked on romance because it gave me hope that one day, I’d find that person who’d make me feel less alone. A partner for life. Someone who might not be perfect, but would be perfect for me. I completely blame Harlequin for the fact that I never had a boyfriend in high school. I kept waiting for a guy from one of my romance novels to appear instead of the guy in study hall who used to snap my bra strap. Haha.

*swoons* I hear ya. Now, speaking of Romance:

3. I noticed in your bio that you love Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movies. You are not alone *offers secret handshake* I’m right there with you, sister. What is your favorite Tom Hanks – Meg Ryan movie?

KR: Offers secret handshake in return!* OMG- they are both amazing actors and when they are in a romance together… melt. I love their chemistry, even when they argue, you know that they are perfect for each other. My favorite is Sleepless in Seattle because of it’s message. Don’t give up. There is always someone out there for you. And how swoony was Tom Hanks as a struggling single dad with a big heart and sense of humor?!!

Yay! I love Sleepless in Seattle for the Tom-Meg factor but also because of the Affair to Remember factor (another amazing movie). But my favorite Tom-Meg movie has to be You've Got Mail. It's adorable and about books~!

4. In WISH ME TOMORROW, a character is diagnosed with cancer. Understanding the emotional impact of such a major life event probably took research. What research, or personal interviews, did you do to better understand the impact of this disease?

KR: I actually experienced a similar loss which gave me a lot of insights. Additionally, I worked on a Code 99 Emergency Response team in a hospital, and got to know patients and families during incredibly stressful times. Since I lost someone I loved dearly to cancer, I understood the emotional impact it had on me, the caregivers, and even my ill relative. I tried to show all of those perspectives in the book because cancer is not an illness that exists in isolation. It touches everyone, even when we try to sweep it under the rug, as Eli does, during his remission.

Wow. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your experience and insight.

5. Where do you do the bulk of your writing? CafĂ©? Home Office? Bed? (send pic if you can – that would be fabulous) And why does that spot work for you?

KR: Before I became an author, I always had these glorified images of reclining on a settee, a lap desk rolled up to me, bon-bons within reach. Hah! I actually spend 99% of my time writing on my living room couch, surrounded by pets who love to get between me and my lap top. (If they could speak, they’d deny it, but the picture below is proof!) It’s close enough to the front door to let out my diabetic dog but, unfortunately, not far enough away from the refrigerator. *sigh. I need one of those treadmill desks!

Cute pic! I love your furry friends.

6. So many authors/publishers talk about how this business requires patience. How long have you been writing/revising this story?

KR: I’m actually a fast writer and a slower reviser. When I’m writing a first draft, it’s all about getting down the story. I can write 5,000 words a day so a 70,000 word book like WISH ME TOMORROW would take me about three weeks to pen and at least that much to revise. I started writing the novel at the end of August 2012, returned to my full-time teaching job in early September, and wrote it every night after school until my November 15th deadline… so approximately two months. Now I’m no longer teaching, but my time is full with my Young Adult series as well as my next Harlequin.

Wow, that is fast. *high fives Karen* That's fantastic. I'm a lot slower than that but am gaining speed. You mentioned revisions which brings me to my next question:

7. It seems every writer enjoys a different part of the process. Example: I hate writing the first draft (which might account for the slow issue). I’d rather be covered with leeches and walk across hot coals. But I love love love revising and rewriting. What part of the process is your favorite and why?

KR: I’m definitely not down with the leeches- lol- though some scenes do make me bleed. Phew- this is a chicken or egg question! I guess I prefer revising because that’s where I get play with the word choices, sentence fluency, voice and so on. It’s kind of like Sudoko for writers :)

OOo, I totally agree. I think that's why I like it so much. So, last but not least:

8. Now that your book has released what will you do to celebrate?

KR: My husband and daughter took me out to dinner, which I loved. It’s not as though we never go out. But this time was special because they kept congratulating me and it felt great that I’d made them proud. Unfortunately, the party didn’t last long as I had to get right back to work on my next Harlequin, HIS HOMETOWN GIRL. I think I’m still dancing inside though :) Thank you again for these wonderful questions, Colleen, and the chance to meet you and your fans!

Thank you Karen! Congrats on your book release and thanks for stopping by. I know it wasn't easy fitting us into your busy schedule. And thanks to the fine folks at Romance Addict Book Blog for hosting this tour.

See, that wasn't so bad? Or was it? Let's stick with not so bad *smiles* *pats self on back*.

Karen knows an author interview is incomplete without an amazing give away and she does not disappoint :) Here are the details on the super-terrific WISH ME TOMORROW Give Away:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Signed copies:
Unsigned copies:
Pamela Tracy's KATIE'S RESCUE
Harlequin tote bag
RWA 2013 water bottle
RWA water bottle holder

$10 Amazon Gift Card

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review: A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

Have you heard of A LITTLE TOO FAR? It's been flying around Twitter and the bloggosphere since it released just a week ago. I bought it and devoured it fast. I think I read it in less than 20 hours. Yum.

A LITTLE TOO FAR is a NA Contemp Romance and it's Lisa's first book for adults. She's famous for her YA Personal Demons series. She's pretty active on twitter so you should totally follower her here.

The cover sorta sucks. No. It actually totally blows. When I saw the cover on Amazon I was shocked to see something so basic and plain. I thought the book was going to be trashy lit-porn because the cover was so blah.

Luckily, the first few pages grabbed me tight and I couldn't put it down. The book is, in fact, not trashy lit-porn. It is, instead, a hot steamy love story that pushes A LOT of boundaries. Here's the blurb:

Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years … and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.

But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt … and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon … only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way

Yep, that's right: it's a book about a woman who falls in love with her step brother AND a soon-to-be priest. What the?!

But it's not raunchy or weird. It's sweet and both love stories are believable.

I give A LITTLE TOO FAR four fluffy kitties. I really enjoyed this story.

Have you read A LITTLE TOO FAR? What did you think?

Have you read anything else by Lisa? Share your thoughts here:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I've been tagged! (I caught a Q&A session)

The sweet Le&ndra Wallace tagged me in her Liebster award post. Woot! And since I'm always up for a Q&A session I had to take her up on it.

For those of you who are't familiar with the Liebster award, it's for bloggers with less than two hundred followers. I certainly qualify.

There is some debate on the inteweb about what liebster means in German. Some say it means 'sweatheart' and some say it means 'dearest'. Either way, it's cute and I'm happy to answer the ten questions Le&ndra picked.

1. Who do you credit as being most inspirational in your life?

Geez, start off the bat with a hard one. It's incredibly hard to pick just one person as the MOST inspirational. I think I've been blessed to have a wealth of inspiring moments, people, and places in my life. If I had to pick just one person, though, it would be my hubby. He's my true love. My soul mate. Our love story inspires me to dream and reach for more.

2. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

Write! I get a lot of my word count in on the weekends. Aside from writing, I love running. It's hard and I sweat like a beast but I love it. I'm not fast. So I need the long, free hours of the weekend to ensure that I finish my chosen distance before it gets dark ;)

3. Top three authors?

This is easy: I love books. And I love their authors. I have a ton of favorites listed on the FAQ section of my blog. Here are three: Chuck Palahniuk, Douglas Coupland, Stephanie Perkins

4. Snow or no snow?

No snow - I live in the south and we rarely have snow. I love to visit it from time to time but don't think I'll live where it snows anytime soon.

5. If you could visit any city in the world, what one would it be?

I'm lucky in that I've been able to travel a lot. I've been to several of the most beautiful cities: London, York, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence, Pisa, Edinburgh, New York, Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Atlanta, Orlando (hello Disney), Seattle, etc. The list goes on and on.

There are a few places that I've always wanted to see: Prague, Venice, Madrid. I'd love to travel to any of those three.

6. What is your favorite restaurant?

It's hard to pick one. I'm currently doing a lot of cooking and less eating out *gasp* I know. I can't believe I said that. If I had to pick it would be a Mexican restaurant, I'm sure. I love Mexican food, the entire gamut from texmex to real mex. I love it.

7. Do you loan your books out?

Yes. I sure do. I love letting people borrow my books. There are a few exceptions. I don't loan Hunger Games or Jane Austen to anyone. I've read them so much that I have smudged the pages and made them my own. I can't part with them.

8. What's the one thing you're sick of seeing on book covers?

I am sick of seeing girls in wispy dresses on covers. It's extremely prominent in YA (at least it used to be). I get it, they are beautiful and ethereal and the dress captures that. I totally get it. But can't we find another image to capture that same feeling?

9. If you could travel back in time to any major historical moment, what would it be?

OMG yes!!! I love this idea. If I could travel back in time I would want to go back to just before America was discovered. I'd want to live with the Native Americans. I always picture myself rocking long, dark hair, riding horses, and soaking up the raw beauty of this place.

But my husband likes to point out I'd probably contract a disease and die young. As much as I want to romanticize that time, life was hard then.

Still, I'd totally visit. It's 2013. Why don't we have time travel vacations yet?

10. If you could pick a name for yourself, what would it be?

This is a great question because as authors we get to pick our names. A lot of my writer friends write under pen names. I always thought I'd choose Serena. I was a huge huge HUGE Sailor Moon fan and I loved her name. But when the time came to pick a name to write under all the names I thought I'd pick didn't really fit me. They seemed more like character names than my name, you know? In the end, think I'd keep my first name, Colleen, and go with a new last name. Something stately and cool like: Hamilton.

Thanks Le&ndra, for letting me be a part of this. If your a follower or a reader and would like to participate, consider yourself tagged! That's right. Go on, repost. You know you want to:

1. Who do you credit as being most inspirational in your life?
2. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
3. Top three authors?
4. Snow or no snow?
5. If you could visit any city in the world, what one would it be?
6. What is your favorite restaurant?
7. Do you loan your books out?
8. What's the one thing you're sick of seeing on book covers?
9. If you could travel back in time to any major historical moment, what would it be?
10. If you could pick a name for yourself, what would it be?

Have fun everyone!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Let's Talk About Book Burnout

Hey you over there. Yeah, you. Okay, come closer. I have a secret to share but I don’t want everyone to know. *waves you closer* So here it is: I’m not interested in reading right now.

Yep. I said it. I’m burned out...or is it burnt out. Burnt out. I’m still writing and reading blogs but I just can’t bring myself to pick up a book.

When burnout happens in other areas of my life I try to keep things fresh a number of ways. When burn out happened in my running I scaled back the miles, changed the style of racing, and incorporated cross training. When burn out happens, do something else, as this jpg so brilliantly illustrates.

Although, I do not support the hunting of snowboarders. Just an FYI.

If I apply the same method to my reading I think it would look something like this: read outside my genre (maybe more contemp instead of so much SF/F), read outside my category (adult and middle grade vs YA and NA), and maybe even read less. Spend more time outside, doing new things (hello, Geo Caching). Maybe even write more. More blog posts, new topics, new chapters, and even new WIP's.

Have you been through reading burn out? What did you do to push through the burn out haze?

Want more ideas on how to beat book burn out? Check out this blog post

And if your book burn out is actually writer burn out (as in I can't write another book) check out this post by the lovelies at Writer Unboxed

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: WAIT FOR YOU by J Lynn

I grabbed a copy of WAIT FOR YOU by J Lynn while at RWA13. I couldn’t wait to read it. I’d heard a lot about J Lynn, i fact, she was one of the authors on the forefront of the NA wave (J Lynn is Jennifer Armentrout’s NA pen name) and I wanted to know if she lived up to the hype.

WAIT FOR YOU is a NA Contemp Romance.

In WAIT FOR YOU, I expected a lot of sexual tension (hello, the name says it all) and there was a lot of it. If you're worried that the book will be all waiting and no climaxing, based on the title, you'll be pleasantly surprised. The heroine, Avery, runs across the country to go to school far away from her dark past. She runs right into a tall, dark, hottie with a dimple she’s forced to open up or miss out on a steamy romance. I loved the push and pull between the hero and heroine. The romance built slowly, believably, and was supercharged with sexual tension.

WAIT FOR YOU may have been the first J Lynn novel I’ve read but it wont be the last.

I give this hot romance 4 out of 5 screaming kitties.

Have you read WAIT FOR YOU or any other books by J Lynn? What did you think?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fave Bad Boys of YA

When you read a lot of romance you begin to see a trend. Sure some plots are over done and sure some character archetypes are overused but when it comes to a good story – I don’t care.

I love a delicious bad boy in fiction. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that my very own love interest was something of a bad boy in his youth. But who doesn’t love the story of a guy, rough on the outside who is kind and generous on the inside?

In homage to my love of bad boys I’ve put together this list: My 4 Fave Bad Boys of YA

1. Sean Kendrick from Maggie Stiefvater’s Scorpio Races:

Why Sean? Because Sean is rough enough to hang with man eating horses from the sea but still sweet. He’s wild enough to disregard the status quo and support my, errr, Puck's crazy, kick-butt dreams. Who doesn’t love a sensitive, supportive man on a horse? Come on?

2. Four from Veronica Roth’s beloved Divergent series:

Why Four? Because Four is the kind of guy that doesn’t see you as a girl first. He sees you as potential first, and a girl second. He’s willing to do what it takes to help you...I mean Tris, achieve and will never, ever, make excuse for her. There’s something incredibly freeing in that. Something that I think every person hopes to find. Lucky for us, Veronica Roth has bottled it up and made it available for purchase.

3. Asher, the dark angle, from Jocelyn Davies’ Beautiful Dark series. Here is some adorable fan art, I just couldn’t pass up:

Why Asher? Because he is dripping with arrogance and sexual prowess but doesn’t behave like you would expect for someone so devastatingly good looking. When the girls are throwing themselves at him he has eyes for Skye. And when Skye needs someone Asher is there, even though it could mean big trouble for him. Asher may appear self absorbed but he is really selfless in the best way. *swoon*

4. Kaidan Rowe from Wendy Higgin’s steamy Sweet series:

Why Kaidan? Because he is temptation incarnate. It’s his job to turn ladies on. But when he falls for someone pure and innocent his internal struggle to overcome his nature makes him vulnerable and endearing. Oh, and did I mention he plays the drums? Yeah, hot.

Do you have a fave bad boy from YA? If so, share here

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Attitude: you gotta have a good one

Life is a biotch, sometimes. None of this 'life can be a biotch' or 'is occasionally a biotch'. It is a biotch, sometimes. Sometimes there's no cake.

Or worse, sometimes you get stuck with a big, clunky cliche when we want fresh, original words. Pretty much everything in life is outside of our control, with one, little exception: you.

You can control you. In fact, it’s the only thing you can control. So that means the only thing standing between you and the life you want to lead is you.

It’s a hard pill to swallow. And this pill isn’t a one-and-done sort of thing. You have to swallow this giant, horse-pill-of-truth Every. Single. Day. Sometimes twice a day. Sometimes more. Sucks.

Or does it?

I think Liz Lemon would agree that the only thing within our control is our attitude, actions, and reactions. Get a rejection? Get back to work. Get laid off? Make the most of it. Get promoted? Be thankful. Work with jerks and A-holes? Find a new job.

You may remember a recent post where I mentioned the need for elephant-thick skin in life, and especially in writing. I think this goes hand in hand with attitude.

I was recently reminded of this when I was laid off from the Day Job. It’s easy to fall into a self-deprecating shame spiral when bad things happen. Get laid off, shame spiral. Get a rejection, shame spiral. Gain a few pounds, shame spiral. Just a normal week in the life of this girl. I certainly felt pretty crappy for several days after getting paroled form Corporate America (see my post here in which I wear my sad-girl, Goose Sweatshirt).

It's okay to indulge for a little while. Heck, even Liz has her night cheese.

But feeling bad for yourself doesn’t change anything. Wearing my Goose shirt wasn’t going to get me another job. It certainly wasn’t going to help me finish my WIP. Or my edits. And it certainly wasn’t going to clean the house.

The challenge in writing, as in life at large, is to see the opportunity in each difficult situation. Or as this quote eloquently states:

“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.”
― J. Sidlow Baxter

How can I make the best of this? Notice I said ‘How can I make the best of this’. Not, how can they make this better for me. Not, how can he/she make me feel better. Not, they owe me.

What can I do to improve? Because that’s all there is. I. Me. Alone in this quest toward publication. I have teammates supporting me along the way but I have to do the work. And believe me when I tell, this sumbitch takes a lot of work and I’m happy to do it.

I’m excited to hit new milestones. I’m excited to learn and grow – even though growth hurts. In difficulty, there is opportunity. And I’m wearing my big girl panties and matching bra. I’m ready for it. *pulls on shit kicking boots* Bring it on.

Need more on how our Day Jobs can make us better writers?

Check out this post about taking criticism.

Or this post on Stability and Creativity.

Or this post on Discipline - you gotta have it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: FAKING IT by Cora Cormack

With all the wedding fun, aka madness, I've been in the mood for Romance. I recently finished two Romance novels that I found delightful. And when that happens I know I must share it with all of you. The first was FAKING IT, by Cora Cormack.


This is a NA Contemp, a category Cora helped invent with her famous debut LOSING IT (she's credited with ushering in NA on Wikipedia - how cool is that?!?!). I met her at RWA13 but didn't have it together enough to get a good pic. Here's a cute shot of her from the folks at RT Book Reviews.

In FAKING IT, a love sick boy-scout begins faking a relationship with a punk rocker rebel-chick. It’s a classic enemies-to-lovers story that comes to life with Cora’s vibrant, authentic style. Cora’s strength is in her characters. They always seem to jump off the page. And she is good at writing a steamy, but sweet, love scene.

Buy it here: Amazon|B&N

I couldn’t put this book down. I read it in 24 hrs. I thought it was delightful and deem it worthy of 4 out of 5 kitty's. Meow.

Have you read FAKINNG IT? What did you think?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Can Haz Productivity: August 2013 Month In Review

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, each month it gets harder to meet my writing goals. May looked insane until June happened. And I thought June was cray cray until July snuck up and punched me in the face. Ouch. *rubs jaw* And as ruthless as July was, nothing can compare to August. August was just...mean.

I had travel for my day job, getting sick (which I hate), wedding related duties, a visit from my parents, an online writers conference, and my LITTLE SISTER’S WEDDING. *sigh* It’s tiring just to recount it all.

The highlight of August was obviously my sister's wedding. It was wonderful, and in true St. Louis fashion, incredibly hot. I have a little post about it here. Luckily, we wore short dresses.

My sister, the bride, she had it rough: 1 big dress with 3 petticoats underneath. I'm surprised she didn't melt.

WriteOnCon was pretty neat. I certainly recommend it to anyone seeking feedback. But it’s not the same as an in-person writer’s conference. It doesn’t compare to RWA ATL. Attending a writer’s conference IRL is so much better because there are people, people everywhere. Writing is such a solitary endeavor. We are alone in our heads. We are alone at our desks. WriteOnCon was nice but it certainly didn’t provide the connections that I experienced at RWA. If you are interested in attending a regional or national writers conference I say do it. In my experience, it was totally worth every cent and sacrifice.

So all of this should have stressed me out. All of this should have taken me away from my writing and prevented me from hitting my daily word count…right?


I was never worried about my daily word count. I never thought “How on Earth will I ever fit in 300 words a day with all this going on?” I didn’t think it because I know I can fit 300 little words a day into most days. It all comes down to priorities. I know this is true because I’ve done it for the last few months. I’m my own living proof.

August writing action shot

When I wasn’t freaking out about wedding stuff (is there such a thing a Maid-of-Honor-Zilla? No? Good!) I was writing which felt great. I was able to finish a major rewrite of one WIP and start revisions of another WIP. I got my work out to a handful of awesome writers to see what they think, which is always exciting. I can’t wait to read the feedback. As tough as it can be to let yourself be vulnerable it’s absolutely vital to growth. A story can’t grow without feedback just like skills won’t grow without feedback. I talk a little about this in a previous post. Check it out here.

So what did my new found confidence yield? The resulting productivity is as follows:

5 blog posts
0 novels read (more on this later)
2 days of WriteOnCon
3 amazing days of family fun at my sisters wedding
And a boatload of words *does happy dance *

For a grand total of 22,092 words. That’s just approximately 5k words below my best month ever and look how busy I was. It just reinforces what I know to be true – you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to.

This brings my total ‘tracked’ word count for the year to 81,282! *blinks* I can’t believe it. That’s a lotta words. Check out how I did in July, and June, and May.

The fact that I’m writing my August word count recap means it’s already SEPTEMBER, WTH? I can’t believe how fast this year is flying by. Approaching the final quarter of the year means I need to take a serious look at my goals.

Last month I mentioned trying to build my goals around an ‘end product’. Do I want to write one book a year? Is it two? And from there reverse engineer the necessary daily word count goals. I wasn’t able to fit that into my August so stay tuned.

How are your writing goals coming along? How do you determine you daily word goals?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cover Reveal: Kendra Highley's SIDELINED and Freestuff

Today I'm so excited to share Kendra
Highley's and Entangled Teen Ember's cover reveal for SIDELINED. Coming out this September!

And you guys know me, I don't like to waste time so let's cut to the chase:

On to the reveal!

Isn't it pretty? The cover image really captures a sexual tension vibe without being over the top. Like that.

Here's the Blurb:
being pushed to excel her entire life, high school basketball star Genna Pierce
is finally where she wants to be. University scouts are taking notice, her team
is on its way to the state tourney, and Jake Butler, the hot boy she's
daydreamed about since ninth grade, is showing somedefinite interest.
When he asks her out and their relationship takes off, Genna believes things
can't get better.

Then, it's over.

A freak accident ends her career before it's even begun. Her parents are
fighting more than ever, her friends don't understand what she's going through,
and she's not sure who she is without basketball. And while he tries to be
there for her, Genna doesn't understand how Jake could ever want the broken
version of the girl he fell for.

Her life in a tailspin, Genna turns to the only solace that eases her pain:

Are you familiar with the author, Kendra? She rocks. Here's some deet's about Kendra: 

C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also
serves as staff to two self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to
the cats, is her most critical job. She believes in everyday magic,
extraordinary love stories and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.


1 eBook
of SIDELINED International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wedding Mischief Managed

My little sister is married!! It’s both wonderful and a little sad. Now, before you go thinking I’m a weirdo for being a little sad, let me explain.

I love my new Brother-in-Law (or BIL as we jokingly called him throughout their engagement). He’s another little brother I can pick on and rely on. He’s awesome to her and to our family. In fact, we’ve long considered him to be one of our best friends. So no sadness there. Here's a cute pic of the happy couple.

Where the sadness comes in is totally selfish. I’m sad that I have to share my awesome sister with another family. For my entire life she has been my sister first, and friend/cousin/roommate/girlfriend/etc second. Sister card trumps all others (except for maybe the mother card. *waves* Hi Mom).

But now the sister card is second to the wife card. She’ll be a wife first, and my sister second. And although my heart is full of joy for her there is a little echo of sadness too. I never expected this.

I wonder if Lizzy Bennett felt this way about her sister after the thrill of her own wedding quieted. Or maybe it never quieted for Elizabeth, because, um, Mr. Darcy?! Yum.

Since I know how everyone loves a good wedding, here are a few shots from the amazing day. Walking down the aisle with Dad. *tears up*

We were in downtown St. Louis. Love the Arch. It’s my favorite monument. This pic was taken from the top of a rotating restaurant where the rehearsal dinner was held.

And here is a shot of the bride getting ready. She’s beautiful.

And here is a shot of the wedding itself. The entire thing was so picturesque, I can’t wait to see what the real photog’s got.

As Matron of Honor I had many duties throughout the event, the most nerve-wracking of which was the toast. Of course I couldn’t just write one toast. I wrote four. LOL.

But I only managed to recite two of them. The first was during the Bachelorette Party. Here is my toast that started the evening.

Before we begin the festivities I wanted to share a story with all of you about something that happened while we were dress shopping. We had just found the dress. My sister looked amazing in it. She cried. We cried. The saleswoman cried. And some shopper nearby cried. We knew it was The Dress.

We went to check out and order all the stuff that goes along with the wedding dress. We were near the front door when a little girl, maybe 5 years old, started pushing on the glass, trying to open the door and leave. A slightly older girl, maybe 8 years old, ran to her side, grabbed her hand and said “No, I’m the big sister, you’re the little sister, hold my hand and never let go.” The older girl took her sisters’ hand and the two pushed open the door.

I think every woman in the store was holding their breath.

So, my little sister, I want to say to you today is that I’m the big sister and you are the little sister. Hold my hand and never let go. Luckily for us, I think god gave us two hands for a reason, one, to hold and support our sisters and the other, to celebrate. Let’s raise our glasses to my sister. *cheers*

I would share some pictures from the party but those have all been censored to protect the innocent but here is an idea of what the party was like.

Now, my second toast was at the wedding reception. I had a lot to say but was too emotional to say it all.

I managed to tell her how proud I was of her. How beautiful she looked. And how happy I was that she found her soul mate.

I looked down at my sister, saw her tearing up, and lost it.

I had a great bit about rollercoasters and enjoying the ride (she loves rollercoasters, btw). But I couldn’t get the words out. So I sat down.

All in all, my sisters wedding was fabulous. I was honored and thrilled to be a part of it. And as time goes on, the echo of sadness at losing the superiority of the sister card is softened by the excitement at having a truly epic family. *loves*

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cover Reveal: ALLURE by Lea Nolan

Today, I'm happy to be celebrating the cover reveal of Allure, the sequel to Lea Nolan's Conjure, coming October 1st from Entangled Teen!

Worst. Summer. Ever.

Emma Guthrie races to learn the hoodoo magic needed to break The Beaumont Curse before her marked boyfriend Cooper's sixteenth birthday. But deep in the South Carolina Lowcountry, dark, mysterious forces encroach, conspiring to separate Emma and Cooper forever. When Cooper starts to change, turning cold and indifferent, Emma discovers that both his heart and body are marked for possession by competing but equally powerful adversaries.

Desperate to save him, Emma and her twin brother, Jack, risk their lives to uncover the source of the black magic that has allured Cooper and holds him in its grip. Face with the horror of a soul-eating boohag, Emma and Jack must fight to resist its fiendish power to free Cooper long enough to join their strengths and face it together, before it destroys them all.

I love this premise because I've been to South Carolina low country...I know just how amazing it can be. I can't wait to check this installment of Emma's story out.

Praise for Conjure

"Richly filled with exquisite imagery, a compelling story, and a strong, smart heroine, Conjure will keep you up way past your bedtime." ~ Trinity Faegen, author of The Mephisto Covenant series

"A true adventure, complete with pirates, romance, a flesh-eating curse, and ancient magic. I couldn't put it down!" ~ Inara Scott, author of The Talents (Delcroix Academy) series

"Ifthere is one book teens and adults should have on their must read list, Conjure is it! Fans of young love and adventure will hurry to the end of each chapter, in anticipation of what will happen next. Unfolding at an easy pace, this tale is magical and spellbinding. Nolan is one to watch!" ~ RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ Stars Top Pick

"Conjure is a sweet, adventure-packed romp for young teen readers... There are pirates, lost treasure, curses, and ancient curses, chases, narrow escapes, and secret letters galore." ~ New York Journal of Books

"This is an unexpected read: exciting, dangerous, adventurous - everything we want from a good book. Yet Nolan puts that creative twist on all the elements, making Conjure something special. Conjure is recommended, 4 out of 5 stars." ~ Teen Librarian's Toolbox

About the Author

Lea Nolan couldn’t read until the third grade. After a lot of hard work she finally got the hang of it and quickly learned the best way to get out of doing chores was to tell her parents she was reading. Soon she was hooked, devouring books by Roald Dahl, E.B. White, Judy Blume, C.S. Lewis, and anything with a shiny Newberry Award sticker on the cover. Books provided a portal to enchanted lands where anything was possible and characters relied on their wits to wiggle out of sticky situations. Today, even though she’s all grown up, Lea writes the kinds of stories she sought as a teen--smart paranormals with bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She holds degrees in history and women’s studies concentrating in public policy and spent fifteen years as a health policy analyst and researcher. She lives in Maryland with her heroically supportive husband and three clever children, who’ve figured out how to get out of doing their chores.


Enter the giveaway below to win one of the first five electronic ARCs of Allure from Entangled Teen!

Direct Link:

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