Posts in romance
Between the Covers: Wrong Prince, Right Lover

WRONG PRINCE, RIGHT LOVER is a story I developed to be part of a boxset featuring Royal & Reckless heroes and heroines. I’d toyed with creating a fictional kingdom before, but I never went through with it due to other publishing demands. Now I had a chance to revisit the idea and I’m so glad I did!

First, I dusted off a star gazing and astronomy guide to come up with unique names for my hero and heroine’s countries: Menkara and Valdoria. Menkara is Ilsa van Winnsen’s home and once possessed the now free country that Santiago de la Fuente must rule now that his older brother has suddenly died in a freak accident. I set these former warring nations’ countries in a Mediterranean Sea climate and voila. I had two kingdoms and a my characters must come together prevent another war from breaking out.

Ilsa has been engaged to Santiago’s older brother, Javier, her entire life as part of a peace negotiation. She’s eager to go through with the marriage, but Javier’s sudden death puts everything in peril. Enter the sexy younger brother Santiago who wants her to go through with the bargain. She agrees, but after overhearing Javier tell Santiago he isn’t attracted to her and is merely doing his duty, she’s deeply hurt. She’d hoped for more. And no way will she let another de la Fuente man break her heart again.

 Ilsa might be able to protect her heart from Santiago, but she’s not going to be able to resist this sexy prince who is now Valdoria’s King.

Ilsa might be able to protect her heart from Santiago, but she’s not going to be able to resist this sexy prince who is now Valdoria’s King.

But Santiago has a secret. He’s always wanted Ilsa. Now he’s got her and he’s going to find a way to make her fall in love with him. Unfortunately, the reasons for his brother’s death are mired in a conspiracy. One that could cost him his kingdom and the woman he loves.

So, out of one nugget: a fantasy kingdom added to a marriage of convenience trope, I have a story that becomes more interesting with twists and turns and intrigue. Plus, these characters have a real chance at love and happiness because unlike his older brother, Santiago is thrilled to be her husband. Even better, he’s willing to abide by this virginal bride’s wish to take it slow with sexy lessons in the bedroom until she’s ready to consummate their marriage.

Trust me. The lessons are super sexy and Ilsa’s no prude, much to Santiago’s surprise. When these lessons culminate in a passionate, sexy honeymoon on the beach, they’re more than physically drawn together, real love blooms.

 A gorgeous, fictional kingdom set in a Mediterranean paradise. Welcome to Valdoria!

A gorgeous, fictional kingdom set in a Mediterranean paradise. Welcome to Valdoria!

Why? Because Santiago is a man of honor who knows the best way to gain Ilsa’s heart is to earn her respect and trust. Ilsa’s drawn to the man who is taking his country into the modern age with her by his side as an equal partner. Together, they’ll change the course of their future and their children’s futures by changing the archaic agreements forged in the past. By joining forces, they’re stronger and that is what leads to their connection on all levels—physical, mental and emotional.

Romances can be sweet or spicy, but no amount of sugar or hot sauce will make the love between the two characters realistic and believable if they don’t earn it on a deep, emotional level.

These are the kinds of stories I love to read and these are the kinds of stories I like to write regardless of where they fit in the romance sub genres.

Here’s a peek inside right after their first sexy lessons:

She stood, walked over to him and placed her hand on his shoulder. “But in the meantime, we’re fighting an uphill battle against the traditional holdouts. I doubt they’ll budge on the progressive direction you want to take Valdoria if we don’t answer the questions surrounding Javier’s death.” 

And would he ever be rid of his brother’s ghost? Still, her voice was soft, steady. Reassuring him. His muscles relaxed and the knot in his belly loosened, but Santiago had no doubt he’d have to fight, to claw his way out from under his brother’s shadow. “There’s nothing I can do to accelerate the investigation,” he said. “But we can’t wait for the coroner’s results to close the deal. I won’t lose this opportunity—I’m going to the council now. Convince them to vote for this change even if it takes me all day.” He might drag the entire council and country into this century without their full respect, but he didn’t need their approval. Hell. He’d lived without it so long, he’d learned to move on with only his own approval. 

Until Ilsa.

She’d been a stunning partner in the bedroom. And she’d become a welcome support in an otherwise hostile environment. Time would take care of making her a true lover, partner and wife in the future.

Wrong Prince, Right Lover is on preorder for only .99 until it goes live on January 22, 2019. If you love reading emotionally compelling, sexy and intriguing stories, now is a good time to grab your copy of this one with all the romance, passion and page turning suspense bundled into a short, fast read!

Available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple

Between the Covers: The Movie Star's Red Hot Holiday Fling

I wrote THE MOVIE STAR’S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING as a prequel to the first book I sold and debuted with Entangled Publishing. There were a lot of firsts with this story:

  1. I never wrote a novella length story before and my word count had to be no more more than 25,000. This was very short even for me. So I spent a great deal of time reading other novellas and analyzing them. I also utilized my HOW OPPOSITES ATTRACT: Plotting the Emotional Turning Points of a Romance Novel to frame my story. I wanted to make sure that the reader got a full, emotional experience despite the shorter length.

  2. I set the story six years earlier from the THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION which meant I could show the readers a peek at Kennedy and Zach’s first kiss. And I got to build on a character who I’d not even known truly existed until after I’d revised the Maverick. There were a lot of new avenues to explore, both overwhelming and exhilarating. I love a challenge. And this story presented me with a lot of challenges!

  3. I got to explore the dynamics of how a young woman, injured while overseas fighting for this country, overcame her grief, survivor’s guilt and found a way back to herself after losing her ability to serve. This meant doing lots of research, asking many of my military friends about their experiences.

 This is how my cover art people envisioned my hero, Blake Johnston AKA Big Screen Sex Machine and Action Hero Quinn Sawyer! I think he’s the perfect hero for my feisty Marine, Jessie Sullivan! And I loved the Cinderella feels in this story!

This is how my cover art people envisioned my hero, Blake Johnston AKA Big Screen Sex Machine and Action Hero Quinn Sawyer! I think he’s the perfect hero for my feisty Marine, Jessie Sullivan! And I loved the Cinderella feels in this story!

4. Blake Johnston is an Alpha hero, but he’s also an honorable man. He quit college to raise and support his younger sister after their parents died. Using his gorgeous looks and physique, he became a model and then a movie star. But Blake is so much more than a Big Screen Sex Machine, he’s a man with a huge heart who yearns to be respected for his work behind the camera. He takes on the challenge of helping Jessie Sullivan regain her confidence and inner joy after her mother asks him to help out. And he chooses to do so even though he was at Sweetbriar Springs Resort to give his younger sister a paparazzi free wedding of her dreams. And in the end, this big-hearted mega star gains so much more when he offers to give his mother’s childhood friend his support. You see, all Blake ever wanted was a family, a safe place to fall. And he discovers that with Jessie.

5. One of the themes I return to a lot when I’m writing is people aren’t always what and who they seem to others. Jessie has a huge chip on her shoulder, and who can blame her? She’s been injured, can’t return to her call to serve, and she’s lost some of her best friends due to an EOD detonation. But when she challenges Blake about his fake hero status, he shows her who he truly is on the inside. Blake’s revelation, his willingness to be vulnerable to her, is what draws her to him.

Here’s a peek Between the Covers from THE MOVIE STAR’S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING

“If you’d ever been called to real action, you’d know why I am.” She’d been born to serve. And damn it, she’d push herself to regain part of what she’d lost that day on the battlefield when everything that had given her life meaning had been demolished.

“Park your attitude,” Blake said.“Not every call to serve is about protecting our country.” He replaced his weights, giving her a most excellent view of his sexy, sculpted behind.

One she still wanted to kick.

Jessie took off her weight gloves and shoved them into her fleece jacket’s pockets. “You got a better definition?” She was itching to fight something, someone, somewhere. And Blake provided all three options in stellar proportions.

He turned his head to give her an even, heart-stopping gaze. “Try Parenting 101 without a manual. Better yet, try explaining to your kid sister that you’ll take care of her ’cause the doctors couldn’t save her parents. Try doing all that without anyone to help you figure out how the hell to explain it to yourself.”

Blake Johnston is an honest, honorable, amazing hero. And when Jessie finally lets down her guard with him, their passion is believable and real because they’re real to me. If you want to discover how these two people find their way to each other and get the Happily Ever After they deserve, grab your copy of THE MOVIE STAR’S RED HOT HOLIDAY FLING today!

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Digging Out of Distraction: The Climb to the Top

Many years ago, before I sold my first book and released it into the world, I wrote about the journey toward publication. DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION had motivational pieces, craft ideas, shared my ups and downs as I struggled to find a publishing home for my stories. After I sold to Entangled in 2013, I compiled the blog posts into a volume and published it on Amazon. I also have a nice motivational workshop/presentation with the same title that has, I hope, inspired and encouraged other dreamers to keep on trying no matter what.

 My first non-fiction collection of motivational essays for writers. The contents still apply today!

My first non-fiction collection of motivational essays for writers. The contents still apply today!

But… attaining this dream didn’t change the realities facing me prior to publishing.

Quite frankly, the romance publishing industry has changed tremendously since my debut novel THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION released in June 2014 with Entangled Publishing. And the challenges facing romance writers and authors are manifold. I’ve learned that there a lot of authors out there who want their stories to get discovered. Certainly, I do, but I’ll be honest. Getting discovered is hard on a shoestring budget and in the face of all the competition.

There have been moments of discouragement and I’ve struggled to maintain my motivation at times when sales have lagged or contracts dried up. But I pushed through and decided I had an opportunity to continue publishing as an Indie author who controlled her own world. If the money ever followed, great. If not? I still need to write about as much as I need to breathe to live. So the writing will always be a part of who I am.

But how do I keep my motivation and my butt in the chair writing stories along with performing all the other jobs in my empire?

I go back to my roots. To the beginning. When everything was possible. And I refresh my memory about how everyone’s publishing & writing journey is unique. We’re all climbing the same mountain, but there’s no one right way to get to the top. While it’s daunting to see those authors who are ahead of me… how could I even compete with these powerhouses… I know there are also people climbing behind me.

 After you reach the mountain top, check out the scenery and you’ll discover there’s always another mountain to climb!

After you reach the mountain top, check out the scenery and you’ll discover there’s always another mountain to climb!

And we all have different ways of approaching the summit along with different resources to do so. Some people are steadfast, eye on the prize, only write… publish… market… repeat… and they keep going even on bad days. Others need to take breaks, look at the view, set up base camp with their friends and relax while enjoying each other’s company. Some take side paths, going in different directions for a while. They want to explore different facets of the mountain, then they resume climbing.

At the end of the day, my personal climb up the mountain has been a combination of all the above. I’ve stayed head down and super focused without having a break, then I’ve come up for air and realized… hey… I want to hang out with the other people at this point of the journey. And I want to look at the view for a while, take in the vistas and rest before I continue climbing.

Ultimately, reaching the summit only leads to another discovery… there are always other mountains to climb, valleys to traverse and if we don’t learn how to be at peace with where we are in our own journey, we’ll never enjoy the fruits of our writing successes.

So focus forward, aim high and remember not to compare your ascent up the mountain to anyone else’s climb. Embrace your journey and you’ll have a lot more fun while you’re climbing to the top of this mountain. And then… when another mountain comes into view… you’ll be eager to climb again!



Digging Out of Distraction: When Life Happens

My writing slowed down during the summer for a few reasons. One: I had surgery. Nothing major—I thought. Unfortunately, I ended up having a post-op complication which meant staying in the hospital for a few nights. I’m better now, but it did put a major dent in my writing schedule. Frankly, I was exhausted and emotionally drained. The ER experience was a NIGHTMARE—more about that in a Healthy Writer Blog—and I just lost some of my mojo.

Then we went on a trip to Europe. And I deliberately used that time to rest, rejuvenate my spirits, and enjoy a laid back life. I had fun. I saw my friends. I laughed so hard I cried. And I healed emotionally from the trauma.

My body slowly knitted together too, but it’s hard to get back in the writing chair and focus after a long break. Plus, I had another life happening with the Career Girl. She needed my help and still does so I had to reevaluate my schedule and my high expectations before I sat down to write again.

And every moment spent away from the story means I have to fight harder to get my brain back in the game. Writing novels is a lot like Shonda Rhimes says in her book THE YEAR OF YES: laying down railroad track. The first five miles are tough, but once you get rolling it’s awesome and flows. Do not, repeat, do NOT interrupt a writer when she is the writing groove and laying down tons of track. If you do, prepare for her to yell or snap because she’s got to start laying the first five miles all over again.

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Well, I feel like I’ve been laying down the first five miles for about a month now. Not getting enough track going before I get interrupted by LIFE. However, those pesky interruptions aren’t going away. Not soon. I have a trip to Austin this month that wasn’t expected, but my Career Girl needs me so off I go to Texas.

So here’s the deal: the family and my health ALWAYS come first. They have to because my family is a gift and I love my people. They support me and love me too. We are a team. Team Glover. And writing can’t give me hugs or tell me I love you or comfort me when I have a scary post-op complication. So I treat my peeps like gold.

And my health is a priority. I just overcame a major health issue and that enabled me to lose 40 pounds. I also am working out and taking care of myself physically. I need to be healthy to write my words. So working out comes before the writing.

Frankly. My LIFE has to come first. I need my people time and I need to be part of the world by exploring it and interacting with new people too. Without these experiences, I won’t have anything of value to put on the page. I need a full heart to write characters who jump off the page and connect with the readers at a deep emotional level.

So I decided not to stress out about the tracks I have to lay down. I gave myself a low key schedule until the first of the year. I workout in the mornings, come home and write until noon, then I stop to regroup and do the other part of my life as a writer: marketing, promo, critiquing, and editing.

This career. This writing gig. It’s part of me, but it’s not the only thing that defines me as a person. Ultimately, I think taking the time to look after myself and my people will make me a better writer. Which means y’all will get better stories to read because they will reflect a full, rich life.

So don’t expect me to crank out a crazy bunch of books per year. But do expect me to publish stories with heart, soul and characters that’ll make you want to meet them in real life.


Between the Covers: The Maverick's Red Hot Reunion

The Maverick’s Red Hot Reunion is the first book I sold. Entangled Publishing bought the story in 2013 and the story debuted June 2014. That was a wonderful day! More importantly, I was able to bring awareness out about a serious illness ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the Yankees baseball player who died of it in 1941. 

You see, my stories all have happily ever after endings, but they are about real people with real problems who have to face those challenges, meet them and then, for the romance leads, they end up with the best victory of all—love and a future together.

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Zach Tanner and Kennedy Gibson first became a couple years earlier. They were young. Impulsive. Made mistakes. And even had planned to marry until a terrible loss occurred. One that Kennedy couldn’t bear or ask Zach to go through again. So she keeps the reasons why she pushed him away a secret until many years later, she and their mutual best friend, Michael Sullivan, decide to renovate the resort where she first met Zach.

Michael introduced these two lovebirds. And he’s the reason they reunite and fake another engagement. Why? Michael, a former Olympic swimming Gold Medalist, is diagnosed with ALS. He’s got to get treatment and find a way to deal with this devastating diagnosis. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, Michael uses this disease to bring his best friends back together.

If something good can come out of something this terrible, then he’s going to make it happen. Zach and Kennedy have a lot to work through before they can truly move on as a couple, but they’ll do anything for their friend because they love Michael.

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Michael is a secondary character, but he’s an important part of THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION because he represents how I coped with a dear woman’s ALS diagnosis—a woman who was like a mother to me—and with my grief over another friend’s diagnosis with a glioblastoma.

Writing this story was cathartic for me. I poured my emotions onto the pages. But not just sad emotions… not just grief… No. I also added humor and happiness and hope.

Because we all need a little hope in our world.

Here’s an excerpt from THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION. Not something between the couple that sexy (though there are plenty of sexy times in the story), but something that showcases Michael Sullivan.

Excerpt

Kennedy’s vision blurred when Michael rolled toward the podium in his motorized, custom-built wheelchair. They all turned their attention to the stage. The spotlight focused on her friend. Zach reached for her hand and laced his fingers through hers. Blinking back the threat of waterworks, she held onto him and listened to her dear friend’s slow, careful enunciation.

After he thanked the audience for attending his fundraiser, Michael said, “When I was first diagnosed with ALS I felt completely alone. But in the days that have followed, I’ve realized how deeply supported I am by my family, my friends, and my community. Yes, it sucks to know that one day I will completely lose my ability to walk and talk. And I won’t lie. I miss doing simple things like tying my shoes or going for a long swim in Sweetbriar Lake. But know this: ALS will never define me. Who I am and what I make of the time I have left will define me.”

Her friend, once so strong and capable, may have been stricken by a horrible illness, but nothing could rob him of his spirit.

I still get teary when I read this passage. And I still get choked up when I think about the two special women in my life who gave me so much love and encouragement. They were taken from me far too soon. But I know in my heart that their spirits live on. Here. In the pages of my books and in the small whispers I still hear today.



☆*´¨`*:☆ROYAL & RECKLESS BOXSET: Spotlight on Author Sylvie Stewart☆*´¨`*:☆

I'm so excited to host one of the Royal & Reckless Boxset Authors on my blog. Sylvie Stewart graciously sent me a lot of information about her journey to publication and more. And best of all, y'all get a sneak peek at her fun cover and her story BETWEEN A ROCK AND A ROYAL for the fabulous boxset today! Even better, you can PREORDER ROYAL AND RECKLESS now!! 

Excerpt

Mister Awkward had officially left the building and Prince Charm-Your-Panties-Off was back and getting down to business.

I’d been going back and forth in my mind about how far I wanted to take things with Leo, but I eventually decided to go with the horny part of my brain that rationalized he’d already been all up in my lady bits, so I may as well check out the other ways Leo Baxter could rock my world.

He was off to a killer start. His warm, demanding lips collided with mine and I didn’t hesitate to wrap both arms around him and pull him in. He was back to the white t-shirt and jeans and his feet were bare, a small detail that I found both adorable and sexy. I never really thought I had a type, apart from my misguided foray into bad-boy land, but Leo’s whole sexy-nerd thing was doing it for me big time.

 

FIND SYLVIE!!

http://sylviestewartauthor.com

http://facebook.com/SylvieStewartAuthor

http://instagram.com/sylvie.stewart.romance

 

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Can you share a little about your journey to publication?

I must have started writing a dozen books by the time I was in college (which are so painful to read now – LOL). Then life moved on and I didn’t think about it much until I hit my forties and my kids started school. I’d just put down the fifth book in a row that I couldn’t bring myself to finish reading. I was frustrated that I wasn’t finding any satisfying reads (I just happened to be in a rut at the time—I know the world is filled with tons of fabulous books. Unfortunately, none of them were on my Kindle at that moment). I sat down at my computer and figured I’d take a crack at writing a book I’d love to read. Everything took off from there and it’s been better than I ever expected!

What authors do you like to read?

I have a special love for Kristen Ashley. I want to have her babies. She writes in so many different sub-genres that there is always a book of hers that fits my mood. I also love how she does her own thing, regardless of what anyone might say.

Do you have a favourite genre in books (to read and/or to write)?

Romantic Comedy all the way!

Is there a genre you’d like to try writing and haven’t yet?

I’m toying with the idea of Romantic Suspense and Westerns, but they’d all have to be funny too.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I want so badly to be a plotter, but the pantser in me keeps getting in the way!

Do you have a favorite character in your books?

That’s so hard. It’s usually whoever I’m writing at the moment, but Fiona from my Carolina Connections series holds a special place in my heart. And she’s the most fun to write—that’s why she keeps cropping up in all the other books, I guess.

What makes a great romance hero?

I love the guys who show some vulnerability. The whole cocky alpha thing can be really hot, but I love it when a hero opens himself up.

What makes a great romance heroine?

I love a woman who gives as good as she gets!

What is the nicest thing a reviewer has ever said about one of your books?

This one is hard too! But this review is a definite favorite: “Fun, fulfilling and fast-paced, Sylvie Stewart’s latest book, The Spark, is also a masterclass in how to write a strong, sexy heroine with a hint of vulnerability that a reformed playboy hero simply can’t resist.” – After the Rain Comes Sunshine Blog

How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?

In a word, terribly. LOL

What do you like best about being a writer?

Getting to do what I love and sharing it with all the readers out there. It’s like a little club—I love it!

What do you like the least about being a writer?

I never feel like I’m “off.” My brain is always working on a new story or thinking about the ten-mile-long to do list waiting for me.

If you had one piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would it be?

Get involved in the author community first so you can get your ducks in a row. Then start thinking about publishing. I did it in the wrong order and have regretted it since.

Steamy romance, erotic romance or erotica – what is the difference in your view?

Steamy romance, to me, is when it’s story-driven but there’s hot sex in it. Erotic romance is when there’s an interesting story to follow, but more than half the book is sex scenes with very detailed descriptions and sexual adventures outside the “mainstream.” I classify a book as erotica if removing the sex scenes leaves no real story. Just my opinion.

Tell us more about your upcoming title in the Royal and Reckless Collection.

My book for the Royal and Reckless boxed set is called Between a Rock and a Royal. It’s really fun, steamy, and sweet all a once. Ruby is a North Carolina girl who likes wearing heels and working on cars, and she’s unfailingly loyal to her family—which gets her in a jam. Leo is a prince visiting the U.S. with his brother, and the two of them end up on an adventure that puts them in Ruby’s path. Sparks fly between Ruby and Leo, but they’re both keeping secrets. I love the chemistry between those two!

Can you please share the blurb?

Two foreign princes, one local girl in a serious jam, and a ’65 Mustang headed for Georgia. What could go wrong?

LEO: My brother likes to think he’s the clever one, and I usually let him. He’s the crown prince, after all. But he’s cocked things up royally this time, pardon the pun. It will take some quick thinking and a heavy dose of luck, but I’ll pull us out of it. Even if it means putting my trust in a stranger … a tempting stranger who carries a wrench and an attitude.

RUBY: I knew before I even agreed that this would be a bad idea. But given my circumstances, I had little choice but to take these two rich country-club rejects up on their offer. A ride in exchange for the money my uncle and I owe. How bad could it be? I’m sure I’ll survive and hopefully fix my problems in the process, but my heart might not be so lucky.

 What appeals to you about writing a story featuring a royal?

I actually never planned on it. Most of my books are about “regular folk.” But it’s been a fun departure—so much so that another book featuring Leo’s brother is in the works!

Why do you think readers love stories featuring royals?

Let’s face it—most people who read romance have seen Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding more than once. And the fact that they got divorced hardly even matters! It’s the fantasy. If we actually knew any royals, we probably wouldn’t be interested in reading romances about them - LOL

The Healthy Writer: Catching ZZZZs

The Physicist and I are on a life makeover journey together. First, I lost 30 pounds and he needed to find something that would work for him too. He started a program called Naturally Slim. Every week for 30 weeks, he receives a set of videos covering wellness from a holistic viewpoint. This isn't a diet. There's no counting carbs, points or calories. 

This video series is about transforming the way people live, eat and more. Week by week, we are transforming not only our bodies, but our minds and spirits and overall health. We've been watching the videos for 12 weeks now. The Physicist has lost 10 pounds without trying! And I've lost another 5 which brings me down a total of 35 pounds gone! Woot!

One of the videos discussed vital needs. We all have them. Things that make us feel happy and fulfilled and good about ourselves. Some of our vital needs matched like spending quality one on one time with quality people. And others were very different. I like order and closure and completing projects. 

I also need SLEEP. I suffer from insomnia and if I get up at 3-4AM, I have learned to roll with that wake up time. I get a lot done between 5 and 10 or 11AM. But it's hard to stay awake for everything else. I used to try to push through the day.

Not anymore. I work from home as a freelance author/editor. Instead of pushing through the tiredness in my brain and body, I've discovered the absolute awesomeness of taking a nap. Yep. I stop what I'm doing around 1-2PM, head for my bedroom with my nice snuggly blanket and set u a napping nest. Sometimes I don't sleep, but I just lay there and breathe with my eyes closed and if the sleep happens, great, but even if all I do is daydream I get up about 45 minutes to an hour later and feel refreshed, ready to start back to work and spend time with the Physicist when he gets home. 

It revitalizes me. Gives me more energy to do my writing and all the other stuff I have to do too. And best of all, every time I go in for a lie down, I get up with new ideas and thoughts about my current works in progress and new stories I'm developing. 

So if you are able and you're tired around midday and you can take one, I highly recommend napping. It's good for the body, good for the soul, and good for generating more energy to do the things you love!

Digging Out of Distraction: Quality Over Quantity

The Physicist & I have been participating in a program called Naturally Slim. Frankly, this is the first time I've been completely happy with a lifestyle change because it's not about counting points, carbs, or calories. It's about learning how to eat like a True Thin and how to live a fit and full life. This has been revolutionizing the way we think about ourselves and our future. We're not just losing weight, we're gaining valuable insights about ourselves. 

In addition to the Naturally Slim program, I've been involved in a new Life Makeover Journey. Many years ago, I and a few close friends decided to go on the journey together. That journey led to my writing my first novel and now, all these years later, I'm published and continuing to write books, edit, and present workshops to other writers about how to stay focused and in the chair. I figured I had the program locked in place, but a new friend propelled me to revisit the Life Makeover with her. I'm so glad I did. I'd forgotten some of the valuable lessons within the program and I needed a mental and emotional reboot. 

Both programs, along with really good articles I've read in the Romance Writers of America's monthly magazine RWR by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, have reinforced my desire to live a quality life over chasing a life filled with quantity. 

My desire to have a quality life has given me a brand new perspective on the choices I make as an author, a wife, a friend, a mother, and for me. I believe that as I lost the weight I gained and as I rebuilt my fitness, I also discovered my spirit needed a little help. I'd smothered her in a pile of fat and frustration. I'd allowed negative words to creep back into my vocabulary. I started to believe I might be a failure because I didn't excel at marketing my books and I wasn't taking on enough projects and I didn't get everything completed on my to-do lists.

But my best friend gave me a wake-up call in January 2017 that began my transformation physically, emotionally and spiritually. I needed this wake-up call. Then the hard work began both physically and mentally. First, I identified what my spirit didn't need.

Just as my body doesn't need to stuff itself with food to bury her negative emotions, my spirit doesn't have time for pettiness, mean words, or people using her confidences as weapons against her. My spirit doesn't want to be attacked when she can't or won't say yes to other people. My spirit doesn't want negativity in her life. 

My spirit doesn't chase dollars or write twenty books in a year in an effort to remain relevant. My spirit doesn't need to eat food that isn't delicious and special. My spirit craves physical activity. My spirit yearns for quality one  on one time with quality people who edify her and make her stronger. 

In searching for the things that fill my spirit, I've actively been gathering strong and supportive people in my life. I've focused on building the relationships that matter to me. Some I've had for decades, others are new and special too. And in focusing on the positive, I've been given a fabulous new treasure trove of stories to write in my time and in my way and with the support of people who believe in my ability to do so. This brings me so much joy! Now my spirit is full, happy and determined to live a centered, quality life.

Doing something I love in the time I want while nurturing special relationships and bringing others support and encouragement is my passion. My sincere wish is for all the people in my corner of the world to find their passion too.

 

Royal & Reckless: Spotlight on Author Laura Greenwood

Super excited to introduce one of the kick-butt authors in the Royal & Reckless Boxset!! Please say a big hello to Laura Greenwood!! 

Check out her awesome story coming to you in September, but you can pre-order the entire boxset of stories TODAY from Kobo, Nook, and Apple Books!! 

KNEEL FOR ME is a royal contemporary standalone reverse harem. Includes one almost Queen, four royal suitors and a whole lot of mischief. Ooh... I'm intrigued!!

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Biography

Laura really needs to get around to writing a better biography. She's great at doing them for her friends, but not so much for herself. Until then...she's a USA Today Bestselling Author of Paranormal, Reverse Harem & Fantasy Romance...the romance being the important bit! From kelpies to dragons, and princesses to bakers, there's a wide range of heroines, with one thing in common: they know how to look after themselves. (But the romance is fun too!) 

When she's not writing, you can find Laura reading, cooking, baking or binge watching one of three TV shows. Or Pitch Perfect. She's been known to watch that a couple of times in a day. 

You can check out Laura's Website here: 
www.authorlauragreenwood.co.uk

Or join her Facebook Group: 
www.facebook.com/groups/theparanormalcouncil  

 

Stalking Links

Facebook Group: http://facebook.com/groups/theparanormalcouncil 

Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/authorlauragreenwood

Bookbub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/laura-greenwood

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorlauragreenwood

Website: www.authorlauragreenwood.co.uk 

Mailing List: www.authorlauragreenwood.co.uk/p/mailing-list-sign-up.html

You can get your hands on all the Royal & Reckless stories by pre-ordering from Kobo, Nook and Apple Books TODAY!

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Digging Out of Distraction: Learning to Pivot in Author World

Romancelandia has been very noisy during the last several weeks. Many negative things have happened which have made sitting down to write words difficult. Romance authors have taken a lot of hits, myself included, and I bet most of us are questioning why we're even doing this anymore. I know I have questioned sitting down for hours alone in a room to write stories which, quite frankly, are part of an ocean of romances that are underpriced and many of us are struggling to sell a book for less than a high priced mocha latte. 

The biggest hit to my career was Amazon's sudden announcement that they were closing down Kindle Worlds in July 2018. This came out of nowhere (I had just blogged about how much I loved writing romantic suspense in this world less than a month ago) and the World Author owners along with the many writers who contributed to these worlds are still trying to figure out what to do. I was ready to start working on my third story for Elle James' Brotherhood Protectors' Kindle World, but decided to park until my wonderful leader, Elle, made some decisions about what to do next. We all love the world. We all adore Elle. There is good news on the horizon, but that's a blog post for another day.

I had to pivot away from my stories that I'd planned and refocus my energy in a new direction. What would I work on after I finished my current boxset novella for the Royal & Reckless Boxset? And where did I want to put my energy for the next several years to come if Romancelandia continues to become more difficult to navigate? 

The first thing I did was reevaluate my strengths and what I loved doing the most. I love writing, editing, and encouraging/motivating people. Deep content editing as a Drill Sargeant at Bootcamp Edits along with story coaching gives me the opportunity to encourage and motivate romance novelists to improve their craft and stories. Writing my romances fulfills me and I love creating new worlds with new people. Exploring how two people grow to be the perfect people for each other despite their flaws and developing their journey toward their happily ever afters is something I enjoy despite how much work goes into the process.

Because these stories aren't easy to write. They're hard work. Every book presents a different challenge. The same process goes into developing a well-crafted long romance as into a short romance. The only difference is the number of words required to complete the story. Add to that I have become 100% independently published. I'm all Indie all the way. This means getting my own work to editors, hiring cover artists, formatting, and uploading every book I write myself along with marketing the books prior to and after publishing. I wear a LOT of hats. I say NO to a lot of things because I wear a lot of hats. 

Every cut into my income stream impacts how and when and what I can do for my stories. I also want to deliver quality love stories to my readers. To be honest, I'd love some help with marketing these books because it's not really in my wheelhouse to check algorithms and make perfect Facebook Ads (I don't even try anymore where that's concerned) and doing the marketing stuff kills my creative brain as quick as a person stepping on a bug.

 I'm pivoting and dancing along the writing road to my own beat with my own rules. 

I'm pivoting and dancing along the writing road to my own beat with my own rules. 

But I am trying some new things, out of the box things, that might reach readers in a different way. Hopefully, these methods will translate into more sales and more reach via using a strength that is in my wheelhouse: connecting one-on-one with people in real life and via other media outlets. 

However, for now, I have to get back to where do I need to focus my energy today so I can sustain a lifelong career as an author? First, I gave myself a little Royal Wedding Break, then gave myself permission to take a break from writing romances during the month of July. I've got a non-fiction project I want to work on instead. My dad's memoir about his life which includes being interred in a Japanese Concentration camp during most of his adolescence. So that's what I'm going to do and I'm thrilled to dig into this project. And, fun fact, I alluded to this memoir in TEMPTING THE HEARTBREAKER: Hollywood Heartbreakers Book 1.

Then, as I waited to hear about what would happen regarding my Kindle World books' future, I continued working on my fun, sexy Reckless & Royal story and made plans to revise another story for an October/November release this year. I also dusted off a story I'd written last year that was going to be part of a small town series I had in mind for future publication. 

A funny thing happened along the Brainstorming Trail. An older idea I had for the small town series began bubbling to the surface and wouldn't stop pinging me. I let the idea continue to germinate and opened my mind to ALL the possibilities. Voila! A new, different, fun, exciting series is being discovered. This is GOLD! Platinum. The best part is I don't have to rush it. Because I've decided to pivot in another way which is the polar opposite of what I'm "supposed" to do in Indie Romancelandia.

I'm taking my time. I'm not rushing this series. I'm thinking long term. I'm still writing some standalone romance novels and going to participate in other cool romance writing projects, but this series is going to carry me through a lot of years if I remain focused on the end game. Best of all, I'm very excited to work on this ongoing project/series.

I'm not pivoting to chase the next "this is what's hot in romance now" stories. I'm pivoting to create a series that'll sustain my creativity and my writing soul while actively pursuing other projects and enjoying my personal life too.