Posted in Writing

So What’s Next?

If you’ve been wondering about what I’ve been up to and what you should expect next from me, here’s a little information. Presently, I finished a book I’ve been working on and off for a handful of years. Book one in my Southern Crime Family series. It will be first of three I hope to publish a month apart at the end of next year.

I’m also working on another book written in first person about a bounty hunter. Hopefully, it will be something everyone will love.

If you’re interested in excerpts and announcements about my books, you can sign up for my newsletter.  If you just want to know when another book will come out, you can sign up to follow me on BookBub and/or Amazon. Or do all three.

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Of course, you can follow this blog too. Look on the right near the top.

Posted in Brothers of Mayhem series, Hidden Heat, Special Price, Writing

On Sale!

Hidden Heat is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time. Sexy undercover cop infiltrates a motorcycle gang and meets former MC president’s daughter with a smart-mouth. Hot sex and danger. Be sure to check it out and buy!

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Posted in Writing

First Line Short Story

Yesterday, I went to a workshop my writers group sponsored, and it was so much fun. The presenter mainly talked about motivation. As in how a writer can use encouragement or habits to put their butt in a chair and write every day. Otherwise, you will never get that book, short story, or article you’ve been dreaming about done.

One exercise I enjoyed the most. In any book a person reads, the first line in the first chapter is important. It should be able to draw a person in to read more. The presenter gave us a choice of several first liners. One was “It’s so huge!” You can imagine that was a favorite. Anyway, I picked the one you’ll see below. Hope you like the itty-bitty short story.

**be aware that I use naughty words**

Sliding down the stripper pole isn’t as easy as you might think. When I took the bet from my friends. I was already down six beers, and really should know better than to take their dare. The asshats.

Everyone claps and hoots, trying to encourage my rhythm as I dance around the pole. Playing the part, I yank off my shirt and twirl it above my head. The servers and dancers laugh and shout their advice.

Kid Rock’s Cowboy blasts through the speakers. Grabbing the steel pole, I jump up and try my best to hold on with my jean-clad legs, but I slide inch by inch down the slippery bastard. And who knew the fucking thing rotates by itself? I tighten my grip and lean back. Lifting my arm as if I won the lottery.

More shouting reminds me I need to move with the beat. So I thrust my hips and swing around the pole. The colors and sounds swirl by and my head feels light. A little cross-eyed, I fall to the stage, and the pounding of the music vibrates through my body. Not letting my friends get the better of me, I jump up, sway, regain my feet, and begin a bump and grind. Dollars rain around my feet.

Fuck the pole. I’ll just dance around and make a few bucks. Then I can buy another beer when the song stops. I do every dance I can remember from what Mom taught me. Two stepping, I trip and my buddies catch me, helping me to stand as the song ends.

“You win, Luke. I never thought you would do it.” Rich hands me the fiver he had promised if I show the girls I could do it too.

****

I always love a twist and not just on a stripper pole.  HA!

Posted in Circle of Desire, My Books, The Circle series, Writing

Same Tale, Different Story

Some years ago, I had an interviewer to ask me, how does it feel to compete with Businessman Wearing Capeestablished writers?  I thought you might like to see my answer.

Wow! That’s really a good question. I guess I’ve never really thought of my becoming published as a competition with other authors. Maybe because I’m aware of the vast opportunities to take one story and turn it into a hundred directions. Over the years, I’ve heard we basically have a certain number of plots to write. Seven to ten are the most common quantities given. A good link to go to that explains this is HERE.

With those basic plots, we have an indefinite number of stories to tell. Since everyone has their own way of speaking, in this case, writing a story, we can have thousands, even millions of authors and never hear the same story, especially word for word.  Plus each reader has their own special need inside that drives them to purchase certain type of stories. I personally love forced marriage plots, contemporary or historical, along with CircleofDesire mm canything involving spies and assassins. The last two are why I wrote CIRCLE OF DESIRE, my debut book. Most authors do write what they want to read. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Readers want their need fulfilled more than once a year. Some have a monthly, weekly, and for those fast readers, a daily addiction. My addiction can be seen in the stack of novels waiting in my shelves to be read and the same number downloaded on my iPad

What I’m getting at is there’s room for many authors. Some who will be an instantaneous best-selling author (al la Stephenie Myer) and others who’ll take a few years to reach that same point of success (the fabulously talented Sherrilyn Kenyon). Of course, the publishing world has room for all of us in between authors.

Posted in Recommendations, Writing

What the heck…

Young Couple Sharing Special Moment and PresentLately, I’ve been struggling with my writing time. So much going on in my life. Nothing bad, just a lot of things and several changes. One is that we’re moving this summer out of our home of twenty-four years. Plus the summers are crazy at the day-job. Lots of overtime. And I need to learn to say no with volunteer work, but I love helping people.

I’m not sure when I’ll finish the book I’m working on. Only ten chapters left before I write the two most beautiful words in an author’s work: THE END. Luckily (oddly), no editor is waiting for it, but my agent wants to see it.

Funny, but I rarely talk about my current manuscripts, not because of superstition. It’s because I don’t want to hear someone say, “Oh, that’s like so-and-so’s book.” That always pisses me off. No one writes a book like I write. Yes. I do understand what they’re saying. The book is similar in a key point of the plot, character(s), or location of the other author’s. I can tell you most authors don’t want to hear that. We all think our books are unique. In one way particularly. Our voice. That is, our word choices and rhythm.

But, here I am writing a blog post, and telling you about a book I listened to. Another time suck, but one I love to do it. Side note: this isn’t a review site, but I love books. That’s why I love to read (or listen) and write them. So I figured when I especially enjoy one, I would pass on a little recommendation.

CAKE by J. Bengtsson   (Audio)

For the blurb, click on the link above. As many current contemporary romance books, the hero and heroine are 23 years old. The girl is sweet and pretty level-headed.  No diva attitude or oversexed heroine. Considering my heroines are very demanding sexually, 51jggA8BjOL._SL300_that’s saying something about the author’s writing. HA! For it held my attention. And if you’re wondering, the hero wasn’t a horn dog. They were very likable. Great sense of humors for both.

Overall, I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys a soft “rock star” book (pun intended). No drug use by main characters, no drinking, or too crazy groupies. Light on the sex. It played with how to have a relationship with a celebrity. How people have certain expectations from those who are famous, including expecting they do not deserve privacy.

A thread in the story included that the hero had a horrible trauma when he was a young, and it comes up throughout the story, but not in a heavy angst-y way.  In fact, I thought the author handled very well.

Only negatives were, their families were near to perfect. If you read any of my books, you know my heroes’ and/or heroines’ families were more like real ones. Neurotic, self-centered, demanding, in general, big pains in the butt. Or is it only my family? Hmm.

By the way, it does not end in a cliff hanger though you will think so at first.  Good twist. I don’t consider that a spoiler. For I freaking hate cliff hangers. I was getting mad, and so I searched on the review site to see if someone talked about it. There wasn’t one, so I continued on and was very happy with the ending.

I checked out the second book in the Cake series. It’s the middle brother (though the blurb mentioned he’s a younger brother).  Looks interesting, but I think I want a hot book next. I can take all the sweetness between the two and their families only so much.  Maybe I’m jealous of the couple.

Almost forgot, the narrators did a great job.  Once again, I was so happy to come across a male narrator who didn’t make a woman sound whiny.

Posted in Odd Observation, Research, Writing

Researching Mundane Words

photo meThe things you learn when you double check something you’ve never really thought about such as the difference between button-down and button-up shirts. I’ve always called a dress shirt (besides dress shirt) a button-up shirt. Well, it turns out that’s wrong. A button-down shirt includes the button on each collar to hold it in place (that’s the button-down part). The button-up does not. AND a dress shirt will always have the buttons on the collar. Thus always a button-down shirt. The things authors have to know.

By the way, my mom would always correct me as a kid when I referred to my top as a shirt. She said boys wore shirts, girls wore blouses. I can see that except when it’s a t-shirt. (Of course, the spelling of t-shirt is another argument. ) HA!

Posted in Odd Observation, Writing

Enough is Enough

1pic for blog[Reprint of post from Romance Magicians’ blog May 29, 2011]

This still applies and maybe will help others to understand the need to continue and be dedicated in becoming published with a traditional publisher or in finishing a novel and becoming self-published.  

When is enough enough? I’ve thought about this a lot the last couple years. My first submission was sent out in 1992 and I didn’t send anything else out for ten years. Partly because I had no self-confidence and partly because life got in the way. In 2002, I decided I wasn’t getting any younger and if I really wanted this, I had to find out what I was doing wrong. Nothing has been as important to me to accomplish since I wanted a second child. She was born eight years and 12 hours of labor after the first one. This delivery was a hell of lot longer.

I worked on improving my grammar, bringing out my voice and learning how to pitch to editors and agents. I practiced writing query letters, talking to an editor and agent at conferences, and being the best I could be as a writer. For the next nine years, I drank, ate and slept writing. Am I perfect? Oh, goodness, no! But I have ten books to prove my perseverance. Being at my RWA chapter meetings helped and encouraged me to keep trying.

One evening at a conference, I had the pleasure to relax with Sherrilyn Kenyon in her hotel room, and we were talking about what it takes to be a published author. Sherrilyn’s road to publication and staying published was a hard one. If you ever get a chance to hear her talk about that road, do so. It’s scary but also an uplifting story. Anyway, she mentioned how sad it was that a friend of hers had given up on writing. She’d read her work and hadn’t understood why an editor hadn’t snatched it up. She encouraged me to keep trying.

Since I couldn’t quit my day job, I gave up watching television, having floors I could eat off of, and reading one book after another. All my spare time was dedicated to what I wanted most. To be published. But my rejections continued to come in.

So the question is still how to know when enough is enough?

I believe it is when you can say, I quit it all. When you no longer have a story nagging at the back of your mind, or you read a book and say I can write better than that or I wish I can write a good story like that. When you don’t imagine dogs and dragons in the clouds or hear words of mystery and intrigue whispered in your ears by the wind. When you can close your eyes at night and don’t feel the presence of someone looking over you (good or bad). When you can ignore the wide-eyed pleads of your children or nieces and nephews to repeat the stories of your childhood or the made-up scary ones. Then that’s enough.

I came close, but thanks to the Good Lord, I wanted more.

This post was written just after I had gotten my first call from HarperCollins. Now it has been three books with HC and two books with Random House (Loveswept). So see, hard work pays off. Keep trying and decide what you want and be willing to change.  Goodness knows, the publishing world changes often, and as an author you need to be willing to do that too.