Posts tagged romance author
Romancing the Vine: Storyteller 'Got Away' Cabernet Sauvignon

I write romances that are set all over the world. I particularly like writing about vineyards and countries that produce wine. Italy, France, Germany, the USA, Canada and more are places to explore and discover wonderful wines. I also like to find wines with unique labels or have a reference to my writing world in some way.

And I am not a rich person so I like my wine to be affordable and under $20 if at all possible. Heck, I like a wine to be under $10 if I’m drinking it every day! And I usually do have a few glasses every day.

After I sold my first book— THE MAVERICK’S RED HOT REUNION — to Entangled Publishing. I participated in a lot of reader functions where baskets were raffled and given away to lucky winners. I like wine. I write about wine. So I would often add a bottle to the baskets I made for these functions.

My celebration wine for the re-release of WRONG PRINCE, RIGHT LOVER. It’s going to get poured today!

My celebration wine for the re-release of WRONG PRINCE, RIGHT LOVER. It’s going to get poured today!

And that’s how I discovered STORYTELLER wines. They’ve got a Happily Ever After vibe on their labels and are reasonably priced. I currently have a bottle of Storyteller Got Away Cabernet Sauvignon which I purchased for $14.99. And it’s quite yummy!

Now I’m not a wine snob. I more like The Reverse Wine Snob so I’m not going to get into all the crazy with descriptive notes about this wine other than to give you the basics. It’s a California red and it’s rich in flavor. You can pair it with steaks, burgers, strong cheeses and more. Personally, I pair wine with whatever I have in the house. Today that’ll be pizza and grapes and maybe some smokey almonds.

Today’s bottle is being uncorked to celebrate my next release. WRONG PRINCE, RIGHT LOVER was part of the Royal & Reckless Boxset which hit the USA Today Bestselling list in September 2018. A thrilling day and one that definitely gave me a Happily Ever After moment! Now I’m thrilled to release it as a standalone book!

Let me know if you give this cabernet sauvignon a try and I’d love to get recommendations for wines that have cool labels and flavors for all my future releases!

:)

Digging Out of Distraction: The Chunk Schedule Solution

I’m a hybrid author who is transitioning to a full independent published career. I like the control I have over my time as well as ascertaining if my marketing efforts are generating results. However, the more I move into indie publishing, the more I have to do to get my books into people e-readers.

And there is a lot of competition for those readers. Reaching them takes time, money, and creative skills. So, in addition to writing, revising, and publishing my novels, I also have to create ads, connect with readers on social media, maintain a newsletter for my followers, and keep track of all the expenses, results, non-results… the list is endless. Plus, I am also a freelance content editor which means generating contracts, editing my clients’ work, coordinating payments to my co-editor and keep track of all the information and finances. Layer in two critique partners who need my eagle eye in exchange for their input and I’ve got a lot on my to-do list.

Too much. I’ve been attempting to find a way to schedule it all in all the time. End result? Didn’t work for me and my focus scattered. If I am marketing, concentrating on my writing goes to hell. Period. And if I’m editing someone’s work, my own work takes a hit. Some of this stuff has to happen when it occurs: client contacts us and we have to respond with a yes/no, here’s the contract, etc.

During the summer, I discovered something about my work style: I do better if I can focus on the task at hand 100%. Around the same time, New York Times Bestselling author, Skye Warren, shared her four hour day workday method. Four hours of dedicated time in the chair writing or marketing or whatever task you need to do for your business until you complete the task. You can read more about her methods by subscribing to her newsletter. I do and it’s a great resource.

Rather than work four hours in a row, I sometimes tell myself 4 hours in the chair and you’re done. I workout in the mornings, then I come home and put my time in for whatever I am focusing on. I also put the bulk of all my efforts into the project while devoting less time after I’ve completed my task to other activities such as checking emails, popping into my social media sites, or checking sales figures.

The writing does come first. Repeat after me: books sell more books. That’s the number one marketing tool I have in my arsenal. Everything else is next. So how does my Chunk Schedule work?

Let’s take a look at my recent month of writing and work. I had a first draft to wrap up and send to my critique partners, Carmen Falcone and Pam Mantovani. My four hour day was devoted to completing that task. Period. Once I sent the manuscript to my CPs, I used my four hour day to develop AMS ads and experiment with them to see if I could reach readers. I spent about two or three days handling that only, then I devoted all my four hour days to revising another story which I sent off last week.

Now my four hour day is dedicated to catching up on all my marketing, social media, and composing my blogs. Once those tasks are completed, I will begin pre-planning the second novel in my brand new series. This includes character development, story/plot points mapped out, writing back cover copy and setting up my beat sheet. All of these tasks are very portable as I have the resources online and ebook versions of my print craft books on my reading apps. This will begin while I’m traveling to see my daughter.

By telling myself it’s okay to put all my energy into blogging now, I am liberating myself from twin monsters: guilt and pressure. That’s a win-win for me!

I’ve liberated myself from the twin monsters guilt and pressure by scheduling my work and writing life in manageable chunks.

I’ve liberated myself from the twin monsters guilt and pressure by scheduling my work and writing life in manageable chunks.

I keep a calendar at home along with an Erin Condren vertical planner that doesn’t have stickers, but is filled with my project deadlines and more. This is my traveling schedule. I use it for everything. Seeing on paper is more immediate and keeps me on task. This doesn’t mean things don’t slide to the following week, but I tend to accomplish most of what I intend to do.

I really like this way of working and writing. You can adjust this type of schedule easily based on whether you have a dreaded day job or little ones to take care of or BOTH.

Plus, in all of this is a thing called having a life. All work and writing and stressing about marketing makes for an extremely dull life. I have a full one with friends, family, travel, dining out, reading, going to movies, binge watching Hallmark Channel movies and more. I don’t want to live in a box. How can I write about people who are real and 3 dimensional if I don’t get out and play? I need social interactions, quality ones, and time to regenerate my creative soul.

I finally feel like I have a handle on how to organize my schedule in a manageable and realistic way. If you’re feeling stressed out by trying to do it all, maybe my chunk schedule solution is something that’ll liberate you too.

Happy Writing and keep Digging Out of Distraction!

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.



Digging Out of Distraction: Perseverence Pays Off

I haven’t had a lot of time to blog lately—despite the best of intentions. Life sort of happened in a big way. I’ll share what happened to me in a Healthy Writer Blog post. But today isn’t about when bad stuff happens… it’s about when GOOD STUFF HAPPENS!! And boy did something really good happen to me in Romancelandia!

Wait for it… wait for it… drum roll please… the ROYAL & RECKLESS boxset that I was a part of as an author with 22 other authors HIT the USA Today Bestseller list THIS WEEK!!! I’m over the moon. I am officially…

A USA TODAY Bestselling author!

Yes! It’s official. But I honestly didn’t believe it until I saw this in today’s USA Today website:

This is the screenshot of where the ROYAL AND RECKLESS Boxset landed on the list yesterday! I’m still in shock… it’s surreal… and it’s AWESOME!

This is the screenshot of where the ROYAL AND RECKLESS Boxset landed on the list yesterday! I’m still in shock… it’s surreal… and it’s AWESOME!

Yes. I hit a list with 22 other authors in an anthology. I’m very proud of all of us because we worked really hard to make this happen. We wrote kick butt stories, had a Royal & Reckless Party room with guest author takeovers, ran ads, did newsletter swaps, ran more ads, grew our followings on BookBub and Amazon, ran more ads, hosted more takeovers, supported each other and kept plugging along for over four months to get to this point. At times the work was overwhelming and took precedence over all other writing projects.

BUT ALL THE HARD WORK PAID OFF AND IT WAS WORTH IT!!

Does this mean I’m any different today than I was yesterday? In some ways, yes. Writing is a lonely art and the romance industry has seen many ups and downs. Sometimes it’s enough to make this romance author want to run to the hills with a jug of wine and stay there indefinitely. This isn’t an easy industry, but I keep slogging away at this thing called “crafting a romance” because I love writing the stories. But there are days… days when I feel like maybe it isn’t worth all the time and energy I’m putting into this gig.

But then something magical happens when I need it the most. Something like becoming a USA Today Bestselling Author and then I am motivated to try again even if I don’t know when the next magical thing will happen.

So on days when you’re feeling like tossing in the proverbial towel and running to the hills with a jug of wine for an indefinite period of time, don’t… hang on and keep writing… magic is waiting just around the corner!

XX

The Healthy Writer: Muzzle Your Inner Critic

Before I went on my life transformation journey, I was on another path. I had always considered myself a motivating and encouraging force, even for myself. However, during the course of about two year span, I found myself fighting to remain positive. Many factors played into the inner critic taking over my spirit and soul. My body was hurting and I didn't know why. My only child and daughter moved fourteen and half hours away to begin her new career after she graduated from university. Professionally, I'd been grappling with low sales and an ongoing pervasive attitude amongst many of my peers which promoted self-serving attitudes and an "information is power" mantra. Some withheld ideas and ways to help others reach readers. To be honest, all I seemed to hear was we need money money money... not we need to write a kick butt book that readers will fall in love with and want to read over and over again. 

Negative speak entered my brain... the inner critic started to call me fat and lazy. The inner critic punched my usually happy self hard in the gut and told me I wasn't trying hard enough in every area of my life. The inner critic got fed more negative speak by other people in my world, by the loneliness that comes with being a writer in a room by herself day in and day out. 

The inner critic shriveled my spirit while my body continued to bloat with unnecessary calories eaten out of frustration and anger and a sense of constantly fighting for what I had worked so hard for as a writer and as a woman.

Women eat their mad emotions. And I ate a lot. That's why I weighed over 200 pounds a little over a year ago. 

Then someone who loved me, who'd been my best friend since I was eleven years old, got a hold of my inner critic and said STOP TALKING LIKE THIS TO MY BEST FRIEND. YOU ARE HURTING MY HEART. 

My inner critic retreated to be replaced by an outside voice who reached for my shriveled spirit to remind her that I do matter. That what I have accomplished matters. That what I have given others throughout the years matters. That I MATTER. 

Slowly, I regained my equilibrium. It didn't happen overnight. And you can read all about that journey to health and fitness here. AS I regained my health and fitness physically, my spirit renewed and demanded I refuel her too. I started reading books and articles that encouraged me. I began to weed out the negative speakers in my life bit by bit. I only allowed myself to say nice things to myself about everything I am doing. And I learned that it's okay to fail on occasion or have a setback as long as the people who are in my world support and encourage me too. 

Now I am making a real commitment to focus on positive, generous, optimistic attitudes. I'm embracing those who exude those same qualities. 

Quality over Quantity is my motto now. 

I'm only allowing quality experiences be part of my life. I'm choosing to deliver quality in how I interact with others and how I approach my writing and editing careers. Quality in equals quality out. 

If I can impart any wisdom at all today it is to surround yourself with people who build you up and please be kind to yourself no matter where you are in your journey toward health, fitness and spiritual well-being. 

 

☆*´¨`*:☆ROYAL & RECKLESS BOXSET: Spotlight on Author Maggie Carpenter☆*´¨`*:☆

I'm so excited to host one of the Royal & Reckless Boxset Authors on my blog. Here's a neak peek at Maggie Carpenter's fun cover and her story SINS, SECRETS & SPIES for the fabulous boxset today! Even better, you can PREORDER ROYAL AND RECKLESS now!! 

Here's the Blurb!!

She’s searching for love. He’s hunted by a deadly assassin. Can one stormy night save her heart and his life...?

Lady Verity James is famous for her beauty, and infamous for her scandalous behavior, but no man has brought her the unique passion she shared with her late husband. Does the rain-soaked foreign stranger at her door have what Verity has been seeking?

Dantae Fellini, a swarthy Italian with dark mesmerizing eyes, has just escaped an assassination attempt. Struggling through a ferocious storm he has stumbled upon the elegant manor house. He hopes for safety, but when he sees the winsome widow with sad eyes, he wonders if the house might offer more than shelter.

Dantae is bringing danger to her home, and though she senses shes inviting trouble, she finds herself inviting him to stay.

Mystery, secret passages, surprising spies and tall, dashing, handsome heroes fill the pages of this suspenseful romance. If you like sizzling chemistry and heart-stopping romance, you’ll love this stormy love story.

NOTE: This book was previously published under the title, The Wanton Widow.

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