Digging Out of Distraction: Rediscovering the Fun in Writing

Long ago, in The Land Before Publication, I blogged regularly about my writing life. The ups, downs, in-betweens... conquering the demons of Doubt & Despair despite ongoing rejections and a host of other roadblocks to selling my first novel. I wrote about craft, developing stories, my daily life. I also celebrated the writers who sold their first books in a regular feature. DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION kept me going, brought me friends from all over the world, and eventually, after I sold my first novel THE MAVERICK'S RED HOT REUNION to Entangled Publishing, I compiled many of those posts and self-published them in a book by the same title along with developing an interactive workshop that I've presented to local writing chapters, at regional conferences and at the Romance Writers of America's annual conference. You could say... "you've come a long way, Christine." BUT... I haven't. I still struggle with the same distractions, the same doubts and fears, and battle the ongoing noise in my post-publication world. 

 Photo by  Nick Morrison  on  Unsplash

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Fast forward from what we in writerly world like to say THE CALL. Or in my case, THE EMAIL from my future editor at Entangled Publishing. I sold! Woohoo! I freaked out about delivering my first ever novella after that but I did it! I wrote more words, but I wasn't gaining traction. THERE WAS SO MUCH TO LEARN about publishing after I published. Before I published was a lot like before I had the Career Girl. Exciting. A time to plan. Decorating a baby's room. Baby showers. Reading How To Books. Then along came my girl... and it was a whole new world and a lot of what I thought I knew about raising a child had to be revamped. Personally, I think she raised me... forced me to grow and change in so many ways. And I'm so glad! 

That's what selling and publishing a book is like to me. It hasn't been a Jackpot score at the casino experience. It's more like pulling the slot lever at a penny arcade and not getting too many lucky sevens in a row. The first two years out were tough. But I learned. I grew. I discovered marketing and how much I totally stink at it LOL. But I keep trying to learn how to do it. I self-published a few books, then decided to go all Indie to gain control over my time two years ago. 

I busted my tush. But you know... I started feeling like it wasn't fun. The constant chasing of the trends, the evaporating money (that's a blog for another day), and the loss of real connections with people I trusted in real time began to take a toll on my happy writer heart.

I wanted to have fun again! Writing was a chore, not a passion I pursued. Yes. I know... this is my career... really, it's a business without a real business model because who knows why some people have breakout hits while most of us keep plodding along? At first, I thought I'd missed the friends I'd made along the way. We're all busy, most of us are published which means we're working even harder now than before, and the opportunities to gather and meet have dwindled. But it wasn't just that... I missed the fun of crafting stories because I was too busy figuring out where they'd fit and who might actually spend money to read them.

Then I got invited into a cool Kindle World featuring bodyguards and suspense and everything changed thanks to Elle James and THE BROTHERHOOD PROTECTORS. I stepped out of my comfort zone. My critique partners, Pam Mantovani and Carmen Falcone, helped me get through the struggle of finessing a suspense plot into a romance.

I'd never done that kind of writing before. The challenge was daunting, scary... could I pull out a bodyguard story with a suspense hook all in under 30,000 words? And you know what happened as I finagled this story and wrestled with the problems I had crafting it? I rediscovered the fun in writing! 

I released my first romantic suspense FALLING FOR HER BODYGUARD January 11, 2018. It's my 10th book and a milestone for me. But more than that, it's a book that saved my writing soul. Truly saved it. What's my takeaway? Well, if you want to have fun writing in this crazy business, try something new and don't worry about marketing and all the other competitive, ugly noises out there. I'm definitely going to write more bodyguard stories. 

I'm also revamping DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION. This will primarily be for my writer peeps, but I know there are readers out there who might be curious about what goes on in a writer's head... well at least this writer's head.

XX 

Christine

The Healthy Writer: My Frenemies the Scale & the Measuring Tape

On March 3rd, I shared a blog about my journey back to health. You can read all about it here. One of the things I had to start doing in order to regain my health was to get back on my scale and weigh myself every day. 

I hate that damn scale, but I am not like some people who cut back on donuts and pizza if their favorite skinny jeans don’t fit. I am the kind of person who says, “Spanx makes leggings & let’s buy some nice muumuu tops if my skinny jeans don’t fit.”

Let's be honest. My definition of skinny jeans has changed over time. LOL But they're mine and I am cool with wearing them.

So I started weighing every day. Not fun. I have one of those body mass digital scales that tells me my weight and my BMI. Blech. But I have to face it every day. That works for me. Unfortunately, the weight wasn't coming off fast and I was getting disillusioned. So my doctor suggested I measure myself too.

Ah, the measuring tape. Another frenemy of mine, but it does show different changes as you undergo lifestyle transformations. I'd used it once during the pre-oh-shit-I've-got-a-lot-lose moment in May 2017 because I needed to order some plus size dresses for the RWA National Conference. So I had those measurements written down for future purchases. Then I measured again in July after my doctor suggested I do so.

Drum Roll Please... I'm going to share the numbers with you... because I want anyone out there to see that even a former model, skinny kid from the North side of the 55th parallel has to face these demons too. And together we can conquer them!

 Photo by  Jennifer Burk  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

Measurements don't include my freakishly long torso which is the same length as my inseam. 

March/April 2017 Measurements (Weight Unknown)

Hips: 49 inches Waist: 40 inches  Bust: 45 inches 

July 13, 2017 Measurements (Weight 197 lbs)

Hips: 47 inches Waist: 38 inches Bust: 42 inches

I had lost a total of 5 inches!! That encouraged me to go on and keep fighting to regain my health and fitness. 

March 13, 2018 (about one year later-weight 175 lbs)

Hips: 42.5 inches Waist: 33 inches Bust: 39 inches

Y'all, I am pleased with those numbers. Sure the scale (my frenemy for life) is nowhere near the numbers I want it to show me (mean old scale), but the measuring tape is slowly becoming my best friend. I have lost 6.5 inches off my hips, 7 inches off my waist and 6 inches off my bust. This is a grand total of 19.5 inches off my body. Gone! I am thrilled with these results.

But I'm not stopping here. I decided I needed to add another layer of effort to my fitness and health regime so I hired a personal trainer at the local YMCA to teach me how to work out all over again. She's helping me regain my torso strength along with rebuilding my muscular strength in my legs and arms. I have had two half-hour sessions with her and she's fantastic.

I'm still on this journey. It's not easy to remain fit and healthy when you sit in a chair by yourself writing stories all day long. It's not easy for anyone who has a demanding career or busy family life or all of the above. Toss in pets and aging parents and general life happenings and things get really out of control.

So be mindful. Be aware that this is a journey with pitfalls, but you can make it! I'm committed to maintaining what I've already achieved and slowly taking it to the next level.

What are your fitness goals? What are your obstacles? Do you weigh every day or avoid the scale like the plague? Talk to me. Let's take this journey together! 

★•**•★FALLING FOR HER TEMPORARY BODYGUARD is LIVE!!★•**•★ #giveaways #romance #brotherhoodprotectors #kindleworld

FALLING FOR HER TEMPORARY BODYGUARD: A Brotherhood Protectors' Novella is LIVE!!!

Super excited to bring you the second book in my Lawson family Brotherhood Protectors' Kindle World series as part of Elle James' sexy new world. You can get your copy from Amazon Kindle TODAY!! It's only 1.99 or FREE from Kindle Unlimited. 

FALLING FOR HER TEMPORARY BODYGUARD

My sexy ginger bodyguard... Jacob Lawson meets his match in Eagle Rock, Montana in this action-filled, sexy story.

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Blurb: 

Navy SEAL Jacob Lawson returns to Montana to receive physical therapy for a bum shoulder that might permanently put him out of commission. When his sexy physical therapist is threatened by a dangerous criminal, he volunteers to guard her as a favor to the Brotherhood Protectors’ leader. Jacob’s attracted to her, but he won’t take advantage of the situation. He won’t touch her… though he wants to do that and so much more.

Claire Murray once put a madman away with her testimony against him. Now he’s free and she’s terrified he’ll follow through on his threats against her. The Brotherhood Protectors are a man short, so her muscular, powerful patient offers to fill in. She accepts his help only if he’ll let her treat him for free. Soon spending her days and nights with this hot protector ignites tantalizing fantasies she craves for him to fulfill. 

Unfortunately, Jacob’s keeping his hands to himself… that is until she realizes the attraction is mutual during a sizzling after-hours physical therapy session. And though she usually doesn’t make the first move, Claire dares her gorgeous temporary bodyguard to act on their desire. 

When he does, they unleash their sexual chemistry, but when the danger escalates, Claire insists on luring her stalker out of hiding so she can stop him. Now Jacob must put the woman he’s grown to love in the line of fire to save her life…

Available from AMAZON

BROTHERHOOD PROTECTORS' FACEBOOK LAUNCH PARTY!!
Today: 1:30-10PM CST
Join the fun and enter for chances to win prizes from 17 Brotherhood Protector Authors as we celebrate our releases!

Become a member of the Reader Group here. We're partying all afternoon!
BROTHERHOOD PROTECTORS' READER GROUP

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!

I'm so stoked about the launch of these 17 books that I'm giving away 4 Brotherhood Protectors' e-books by any author of your choice in this month's launch. Here's the lineup authors and links to their books too! Enter for a chance to win a free book by commenting on this blog with the title you want to read! Easy!!

Paige Yancey, Hot Colorado Nights - https://amzn.to/2Ekt9hE
Delilah Devlin, Reaper’s Ride - https://amzn.to/2HbIPqu
Regan Black, Lost Signal - https://amzn.to/2Elciem
Heather Long, Wrangling Wanda - https://amzn.to/2GxdqBP
Ilsa J Ilsa J. Bick, Soldier’s Heart Part 3 - https://amzn.to/2uQaSt0
Jen Talty, Rough Justice - https://amzn.to/2GCSK7z
Jesse Jacobson - Author, Rainhorse - https://amzn.to/2GUPjfu
Silver James, Montana Moon - https://amzn.to/2JmpJym
Kris Norris, Carved In Ice - https://amzn.to/2uSnakI
Margaret Madigan, Broken SEAL - https://amzn.to/2GyZ8Rf
Beth Colleen Beth Williamson, Sawyer - https://amzn.to/2uSngc4
Desiree Holt, Hidden Danger - https://amzn.to/2GzdRLI
Kat Mizera, Catching Lana - https://amzn.to/2JiYzbM
Aliyah Burke, Spring Rain - https://amzn.to/2H9V9rc
Mary Caelsto-Lenker/Mary Winter, Roped and Rescued - https://amzn.to/2H9epoD
Layla Chase, Ranger Loyalty - https://amzn.to/2H9Kgpt

Notes from the Writer's Chair

So much excitement this week!! I love new releases. Once this busy day is over, I'll be working on my fun new modern fairy tale romance set in a lush fantasy kingdom located in the Mediterranean Sea. This Marriage of Convenience love story is sexy, edgy and has a hint of suspense! But today? I'm partying!!! Join us and say hello!

XX

Christine

Indulge in Sensual Romance: THE MAVERICK'S RED HOT REUNION #sale #newlook #Entangled #Indulgence #99cents

Exciting News!! Entangled Publishing has revamped all the INDULGENCE line's covers and the books are ON SALE for only 99 cents!!! Check out my fabulous new cover for THE MAVERICK'S RED HOT REUNION!! I LOVE IT and I LOVE this story because it's the first book I sold!

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Isn't he dreamy???? 

Here's more about the story...

Corporate Maverick Zach Tanner returns to North Carolina to rebuild his dying friend's resort. He's got the money, the power, and the will to transform Sweetbriar Springs into a premier spa for the glamorous, but he doesn't count on the woman he once loved…and lost…to handle the construction contract. Zach thought he'd buried his desire for Kennedy five years ago. He was wrong, and now he’s determined to satisfy his craving... 

Construction company owner Kennedy Gibson is eager to restore Sweetbriar Springs, but when she realizes Zach is her new boss she's terrified he'll learn the truth about their breakup so long ago. She vowed never to hurt him again, but she can't deny the passion he reignites in her. She wants to believe she has a chance for a different future with him, but will her secret threaten to destroy their red-hot reunion?

NOW is the perfect time to get your hands on my debut novel from one of these fine ebook retailers for ONLY .99!! 

AMAZON B&N KOBO APPLE GOOGLE

★•**•★Dazzling Debut Romantic Suspense: EVERY DEEP DESIRE★•**•★

I'm thrilled to announce the arrival of a brand new romantic suspense novel written by one of my dearest friends in the romance writing world. Sharon Wray's debut book EVERY DEEP DESIRE, a sexy, action-packed retelling of Romeo and Juliet, is about an ex-Green Beret determined to regain his honor, his freedom, and his wife and it's available TODAY!!! 

AMAZON  B&N

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He’s taking it all back
His honor, his freedom, and the woman he loves

Rafe Montfort was a decorated Green Beret, the best of the best, until a disastrous mission and an unforgivable betrayal destroyed his life. Now, this deadly soldier has returned to the sultry Georgia swamps to reunite with his brothers, and take back all he lost. But his wife Juliet must never know the truth behind what he’s done…or the dangerous secret that threatens to take him from her forever.

It took Juliet Capel eight long years to put her life back together after her husband was taken from her. Now Rafe is back, determined to protect her at any cost, and it’s not just her heart that’s in danger. The swamps hold a secret long buried and far deadlier than either of them could have imagined…

Sharon and I go back a LONG time. She was one of my very first critique partners and my daughter babysat her twins! She's a wonderful person and an extremely talented author. She's certainly helped me become a better writer and she's always been super encouraging of my career. So in honor of her debut romance novel EVERY DEEP DESIRE, I am giving away one E COPY of this amazing romantic suspense to a commenter on this blog. All you have to do is leave a comment to enter for your chance to win your E Book Copy of EVERY DEEP DESIRE. I'll announce the winner on Friday, March 9th. 

I know you'll want to connect with Sharon Wray and read the rest of the books in this incredible new series. Here's where you can find her:

www.sharonwray.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Goodreads

Bookbub

Amazon Author Page

The Healthy Writer: Journey Back to Fitness

I've always prided myself on taking care of my body and maintaining a decent weight for my height and age. However, in November 2015, everything changed. Not overnight, but over a period of many months. 

The change began with a new asthma medication I started using, which I didn't realize would deplete my body of calcium and potassium. Two very important minerals to maintain your health and fitness levels. In addition to the new medication slowly leaching these vital nutrients from my body, I had added several intense workouts to my regime in the hope to work off the last remaining and extremely pesky 5 pounds I wanted to lose.

Add to this mix the fact that I was under deadlines, sitting for hours at a stretch in my writing chair, and slouching over my keyboard. 

Fast forward. My cramps don't go away. My muscular strength is fading. I land in an ER in February 2016 after suffering a torso cramp so intense I could not stand.

No objections here. At this point, I thought I might have something seriously wrong. Something that could kill me. After HOURS at the ER during which I was poked, probed, given a CT full body scan and also offered morphine when I suffered another torso cramp, they found NOTHING wrong. 

OK. Not dying. Good thing because I had a book to finish, an anthology to wrangle with other authors and I was their uploader. Probably wouldn't have been good if I had died. 

Then what the heck was wrong with me? I knew it was muscular, but what caused the horrible cramps? 

At this time, I was still taking the asthma medicine inhaler daily. I knew my problem wasn't internal so I turned to GOOGLE and began researching this problem. I discovered multiple boards detailing the same debilitating cramps. The culprit? My asthma medication. 

I stopped taking it immediately. Now I rely on my rescue inhaler. Period. 

But the damage wasn't reversed. And working out only ascerbated the problem. So I backed off and suddenly the weight started to pile on because I need to workout to maintain. My metabolism slowed to the point where it only responded to intense, high energy workouts. As the weight piled on, my level of frustration grew. And, in addition to the cramps, I had terrible lower back pain. Every time I sat down to work for any length of time, I felt like an old woman who couldn't straighten up from her hunched position. I am not that old... but I felt very old...

That's when I stopped weighing myself. Why depress myself every day? I took all my cute clothes that I used to wear to the thrift shop, then lived in leggings and big tops. I continued to gain until finally, in May 2017, I faced the scale. 

That was not a good day. That was an ugly cry day. That was a "how in the hell am I ever going to get back to where I was when I thought I needed to lose just 5 measly pounds? I weighed over 200 pounds. And I was MISERABLE. 

 This me in April 2017 during a Spring Fling. I weighed over 200 pounds in this picture, but at the time I was in denial. 

This me in April 2017 during a Spring Fling. I weighed over 200 pounds in this picture, but at the time I was in denial. 

I'd already started to work out again but the cramps continued to plague me. Once I had one that was so severe while at the local YMCA, I had to fight off the tears as all the macho men and the superpower women worked out around me. 

I cried all the way home. When I got there, I marked the places where the cramps occurred with a sharpie pen in a big BLACK X. I had a new doctor to see the following week and I was determined to figure out what the hell was going on. 

THIS WAS WAR.

My new doctor examined me. He was (and is) a compassionate and kind General Practictioner. The first thing he said was this was muscular and I needed to see a physical therapist. He listened. He cared. He didn't jump to conclusions or judge me for how far I had fallen.

He sent me to a physical therapy clinic where the fabulous therapist went through all the paperwork I'd filled out, told me she wasn't sure about the torso cramps, but she could help me overcome the excruciating lower back pain. I felt a measure of hope.

 This is me after losing 30 pounds. I feel great!

This is me after losing 30 pounds. I feel great!

She got me on the treatment table and began to assess my body. And then she said... you're textbook and called her staff over to look at what was textbook about my body. I had a misaligned hip. My body was literally trying to straighten itself out for over 2 years after the initial muscle cramp. Or maybe the hip happened first. I'll never know.

But what I do know is that this discovery led to my FULL recovery from the pain. Yes. I had to go through many PT sessions until I graduated and I've noticed that if I sit for long periods of time or push too hard, twinges occur. BUT I KNOW WHAT I NEED TO DO TO WARD OFF THE PAIN.

I had to learn how to work out all over again. I couldn't do extreme fitness classes or major torso work at all. I had help from a dear friend who set me up on some machines that stabilized my core. I backed down from pushing for over an hour of cardio, slowly rebuilding my strength with 30-40 minute treadmill walks or elliptical runs. I followed all this up with my physical therapy exercises and stretches.

I also went on a "lifestyle change" which helped. So since May 2017 when I had the meeting with the scale and the ugliest cry ever I have lost 30 pounds. I'm proud of myself. I am a bit below where I was before the first serious torso cramp occurred, and I'm giving myself permission to coast at this current weight for a bit until pressing to lose that last 5-10 pounds. 

My journey back to a healthier me wasn't easy. But I've learned a lot about myself and how to live now because of this journey. In the future, I will be posting Healthy Writer articles to share with you because I want to connect with you regardless of where you are in your fitness levels. 

This is a no judgment zone. Everyone has to start somewhere. We all backslide. We all have setbacks, and we all have triumphant moments! 

XX

Christine

★•**•★Naughty Zone Shenanigans★•**•★ #Giveaways #Prizes #Books #Romances

  PARTY IN THE NAUGHTY ZONE!!!

PARTY IN THE NAUGHTY ZONE!!!

I'm partying on Facebook with Tina Donahue and other romance authors to celebrate Tina's WICKED release TODAY!! Join us for a fabulous night where the only rules are to have fun, comment for chances to win fabulous prizes and swag!!

Here are the details!
Friday, February 23 at 12 PM - 11:59 PM EST

TINA DONAHUE'S ROMANCE AUTHOR LOVE-IN

SCHEDULE in EST:

  1. Noon - 1 PM Tina Donahue
  2. 1 PM - 2 PM Magan Vernon-Author 
  3. 2 PM - 3 PM Cailin Briste
  4. 3 PM - 4 PM Morticia Knight
  5. 4 PM - 5 PM L.J. Garland
  6. 5 PM - 6 PM Serena Akeroyd
  7. 6 PM - 7 PM Christine Glover
  8. 7 PM - 8 PM Jeanne St. James
  9. 8 PM - 9 PM Erica Lynn
  10. 9 PM - 10PM Nancy Fraser
  11. Wrap Up by - Tina Donahue

THIS PARTY IS FOR ADULTS ONLY!

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There's still time to enter to for chances to win 35 prizes from 35 authors!! Don't delay! This opportunity ends February 26!!

ROMANCE AUTHOR LOVE-IN SWEEPSTAKES!

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One more chance to enter to win lots of books!! Enter for your chance to win TODAY!!

BOOK FAIR & BIG PAPERBACK BOOK GIVEAWAY

Notes from the Writer's Chair

Wow!! I just finished my second book for the Brotherhood Protectors' Kindle World and sent it to my editors. Super excited about Claire and Jacob's story FALLING FOR HER TEMPORARY BODYGUARD which will release April 5, 2018.

Hope y'all are doing great!! Thanks for being part of my reading crew and enjoy all the fabulous parties, giveaways and more!

You can check out all my current releases on the following sites:

Amazon  iBooks Kobo Nook Google

★•**•★Tina Donahue's Romance Author Love-In #Swag #Books #Prizes★•**•★

I'm part of a fabulous contest featuring 35 Bestselling Romance Authors - 35 Winners - Tina Donahue's Romance Author Love-In Contest - Gift Packs, Signed Books, GCs, Swag, and More! #Contest #GCs #GiftPacks

Do you love romance?

Do you like contests?

Wanna win a Gift Pack, a Signed Book, Swag, a GC, or other prizes?

Then enter for your chance to win TODAY!! 

TINA DONAHUE'S LOVE-IN!! 

 

 

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★•**•★Celebrating Tina Donahue's New Release: WICKED TIMES TWO: (A Wicked Brand Novel – Book 3)★•**•★

So excited to share Tina Donahue's super sexy erotic romance with y'all! Warning--the contents are HOT HOT HOT... 

Series Blurb:

South Florida just got a helluva lot steamier… During the day, the staff at Wicked Brand makes ink dreams a reality for their appreciative clients. After hours, this naughty crew engages in sensual delights as wild as the designs they’re selling. Their motto? Nothing forbidden. Nothing held back. 

Wicked Times Two Blurb:

She’s through with love and just wants to have some wicked fun...

Burned by her cheating boyfriend, Jasmina is finished with the idea of forever after with any guy. That fairy tale doesn’t exist—at least not for her. From now on, protecting her heart and letting pleasure rule is her motto.

Lucky for her, she has the perfect men in mind. Noah and Kyle, two of the hottest cops in West Palm Beach. She hasn’t been able to get them out of her head since they handled an altercation at Wicked Brand, the tattoo parlor she manages. When they come back to get inked, sparks fly.

Noah’s ready to play, and Kyle’s on board. All they want is her—submission, bondage, spanking…no strings or regrets. Seductive days roll into steamy nights, igniting feelings the guys hadn’t expected and Jasmina can’t deny.

What began as a sensual adventure could turn into so much more…if Jasmina can risk a different kind of love.

GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY!! 

FACEBOOK PARTY – January 26 – guest authors, contests, prizes, eye candy – join the fun! https://www.facebook.com/events/143737393002036/

Enjoy your sexy new book TODAY!

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