Monday, December 17, 2012

'Tis the Season

'Tis the season...
  • for shopping
  • for wrapping
  • for baking
  • (and eating!)
  • for family
  • for helping
  • for giving
  • for barely controlled chaos and fun!
I don't know how much I'll be visiting the bloggy-verse in the next few weeks, so I thought I'd take this time to wish you all the very best of the season - no matter what celebrations you enjoy.

I hope you're surrounded by love, hope and possibilities. Enjoy the moments & I'll see you in a few weeks!



Monday, December 10, 2012

Cheers to Alex!

There are so many good things about this bloggy-verse and Alex J Cavanaugh is one of them. I've backed off on joining in blogfests lately because life is more than a little chaotic, but I couldn't resist this one. :)

Most of you know Alex, so I won't go into lengthy explanations, but if you haven't met him, pop on over. Now (as per usual) I'm not planning on following the rules, but I will answer the first 3 questions :).

What does Alex look like?
Well, Alex is one of my favourite people, so he MUST look like one of my favourite characters, so he must look like Aragorn from LotR :)

Who could play Alex in a documentary?
Hmm, I don't think Aragorn plays the guitar... so, let's go with the guitarist from Rush - Alex Lifeson :)

Who does Alex remind me of?
Little bit of good ole Saint Nick - he's always spreading good will and cheer.

A big thank you to Alex for all the time he spends on his bloggy friends. You've got a wonderful heart, Alex. Enjoy your blogfest! :)

If you'd like to check out the other entries in the blogfest - check out this link to Stephen Tremp's site - he's one of the evil geniuses behind this! :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Survived

Yup - I survived NaNo again! Yay :)



I ended up with over 60k words for the month. I hadn't expected to be successful this year because my November was nuts, but it somehow all worked out. I think, for me, the joy of NaNo is that there are so many other nuts out there. It's also a competition, so that helps! I also get REALLY excited when I'm writing the first draft of a story, so I tend to do them fairly quickly.

I'm really enjoying the story and I'm nearing the end now. In fact I hope to wrap up the draft and put it to the side for a bit, let it marinate for a few weeks or more. In the meantime, I'm going to go over the draft I wrote for Camp NaNo in August. It's been a great year for first drafts for me!

I'm over at From The Write Angle today talking about some NaNo NoNos. I hope you'll pop over and add your thoughts to the discussion!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Highlander's Hope

Woohoo!!! My crit buddy Calista Taylor is heading out on a new adventure. Under that name she's published an incredible steampunk craft book, 2 steampunk romances (Virdis & Devil on a Sparrow's Wing) and 2 grim reaper romances (JACK & For One Last Kiss).

Now, she branching out into the world of contemporary romance under the name Cali MacKay. Her first novel is called The Highlander's Hope and it's up for FREE!

Here's the blurb:

When Dr. Catriona Ross discovers clues to a long lost highland treasure, her only hope of finding the jewels is to obtain the help of Scotland's most eligible bachelor and playboy, Iain MacCraigh.

Iain can't believe his luck when he finds out the jewels are hidden away somewhere on his land-- and it doesn't hurt that the historian looking for them has curves to go with her smarts. With his brother betting the family fortune, this is the life line he desperately needs.

The odds are against them, and with word getting out about the jewels, they're not the only ones on the hunt. Time's running out, but can they learn to trust each other, or will they lose the jewels and true love in the process?


Sounds great doesn't it? And I can totally vouch for it! A sexy highlander, a smart & courageous historian & an elusive treasure - all kinds of awesome!

Book 2 in this new series - A Highland Home - is also available - and only $2.99.

Rowan Campbell is desperate for answers. She’s lived her life without knowing a thing about her father, her mother refused to speak of him, even on her deathbed. With her cheating fiancĂ© gone and no one else in her life, Rowan moves to her mother’s hometown in Scotland, determined to find the father she’s never known.

When Angus Macleod agrees to help a family friend move to Scotland from the States, the last thing he expects is to fall hard for the fiery redhead, who makes him rethink his bachelor ways. Looking for any excuse to spend time with Rowan, he’s more than happy to help her find her father, even if she’s skittish about committing to anything serious. But when Angus discovers Rowan’s mother left Scotland pregnant and terrified, he wonders how dangerous Rowan’s quest might be. Before long, Angus finds himself hindering rather than helping, despite knowing his actions could ruin any chance he has for happiness.

With Rowan closing in on her father’s identity, will Angus be able to keep her from harm? And will she ever forgive him for standing in her way?


So, pop off and try out Cali's latest stories - I hope you'll love them as much as I do!
Isn't it great when you get to celebrate a critique buddy's success? :) 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Things That Revolutionized my Writing by Jennifer St. George

Updated to announce the winner -- Natasha D!!
Congratulations. Please contact me or go to Jennifer's website to claim your prize!! :)

Please welcome Jennifer St. George to the blog today!

***
Five Things That Revolutionized my Writing

Recently I developed a workshop concept with my fellow Destiny Romance author Louise Reynolds for the 2013 RWA conference to be held in Fremantle, WA in 2013. It made me think about the key concepts or ah ha moments that changed my writing for the better.  These are my top five: 
Getting My Writing Style Right!

I’m a planner.  Always have been but my writing style was true ‘pantser’.  It didn’t feel right, but I didn’t know how to fix it.  First Draft in Thirty Days by Karen Wiesner gave me the keys to unlocking the natural planner in me.  I credit this craft book with enabling me to write much more efficiently. 
I Want to be Just Like Her!

I ventured into my first RWA conference in Brisbane a few years ago and didn’t know a soul.  At the Awards Dinner, I watched as unstoppable Kylie Griffin scooped award after award.  I thought, I want to be just like her.  During a break I asked her was there any one thing that had made a big difference to her writing.  Enter Margie Lawson’s the EDIT system.  This logical, practical edit system shows things in your writing you might otherwise never see.  It can be tricky to master but stick with it.
The simple GMC

Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, Conflict is a wonderful tool for writers and I use it before I begin a book. However, my lovely friend, Desire author Rachel Bailey gave me a shorthand version that I keep ‘front and centre’ whilst I write.  Why not this woman for this man and why not this man for this woman?  So simple, yet so useful.
Emotional Order is Important

The talented Nikki Logan calls it the natural order of things, that is, how a character reacts to stimuli.  It’s important to have the order right starting with the visceral leading to the subconscious and ending with the conscious.  This is how we react in every day life. For an author, it is important to capture this on the page, or the reader may feel something is not quite right.
Always Finish the Book

The very first craft workshop I attended was given by the phenomenal Melanie Milburne. She taught me so many things that I’ve used everyday in the years since in developing my writing skills. One piece of advice that really made an impression was, always finish the book.  Again, sounds so simple, but without that advice I probably would have begun many different books without actually finishing them.  As she said, how do you know how to write ‘the middle’ and ‘the end’ if you’ve never done it?
Combined, these five concepts progressed my writing to a higher level.  Perhaps some of these ideas will provide other aspiring writers with that wonderful ah ha moment!

Find Jennifer on the web:

Website                Facebook        Twitter          Author Page

Buy Her Book:

Destiny Romance              Amazon       iTunes

 The Convenient Bride

Sienna De Luca will do anything to save her family's hotel, and ruthless Italian businessman Antonio Moretti knows it. With problems of his own, he proposes a marriage of convenience and plans to use Sienna to secure his next business deal. But things don't go quite according to plan.

 In keeping with her part of the bargain, Sienna travels to Venice to be with Antonio, who introduces her to a life of great luxury and opulence. As befits the fiancĂ©e of the famous Antonio Moretti, Sienna is given a new wardrobe of designer gowns and outfits and instructed exactly how to behave when out in public. But after thinking he can manipulate her at his will, Antonio begins to realise he has seriously underestimated Sienna, her intelligence, her skills, her courage – and her beauty. Unexpectedly, Sienna gets too close and when she discovers his dark secret, Antonio's perfectly planned life begins to unravel.

 I will be giving a Kindle copy of The Convenient Bride to one lucky commenter here today!

 ***
I love this advice! It's amazing how a small comment can turn around your whole thinking!! What piece of advice has helped you most in your writing?
 
Good luck to everyone in the draw for the e-book!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Laura O'Connell: Don't Be Stuck on a Desert Island!

Please welcome Laura O'Connell to the blog today!

***
 At a book signing we all wish we could be J.K. Rowling with a line of readers, waiting to have their book signed, extending to around the block. Unfortunately, for most of us it feels like we’re stuck on a desert island waiting for someone to come and rescue us.

Unless you’re a well-known and long-established author, book signings can leave you feeling lonely, disillusioned and unappreciated, however, they’re a good way of getting your face and name out to the reading world. Here are a few tips you might like to try to engage with readers as they come into the store.

1.       Don’t stand behind the table. It puts a barrier between you and your reader. Standing at the front or to the side makes you more approachable. Draw them into conversation starting with something like, “Hello, I’m a visiting author today…”.

2.       Build a relationship. Some readers are shy. They avoid eye contact and will take a roundabout way to get to the shelves they want. When there’s no one waiting for me to sign a book at the table, I come alongside these shy people and start talking about some of the books on the shelves. I ask them what books they’ve read or which authors are their favourites. It’s not long before they say they saw me over at the table when they walked in and ask what I’m doing. That’s the moment I start talking about myself and within minutes others will come to see what we’re talking about.

3.       Understand the book stores’ customers. Some customers know exactly what they want and will not be side-tracked from their mission. They’ve been here before and know the layout. Let them complete their task. You won’t engage them in a conversation until they’ve made their purchase. Then they have the time to see what else is going on. Take time to approach them and engage them in conversation.

4.       As soon as they enter the store, some readers want to know authors. This type of reader will come up to the table and ask what you’re doing. Start the conversation by talking about them. They’ll be impressed you’re taking time to listen to them. Before long the conversation will switch to you and then you can talk about yourself and your book.

Don’t be shy during a book signing. Reach out to others and the majority will respond in a positive way. Being an author is all about building a relationship with your reader, a bookstore signing is an excellent way of meeting your readers face to face.
About Laura O’Connell
Laura enjoys writing stories about second chances in love and life. She calls the Gold Coast home, however, her curious nature leads her on adventures to locations that surprise and delight her. Laura has a passion for telling a good story set in places where she has lived and travelled. Her first book, African Hearts, was shortlisted in the 2011 Caleb Prize.

Laura around the web:
Website             Facebook              Twitter        Author Page

Book Blurb – Web of Lies
High school sweethearts, Stephanie and Lachlan are torn apart by circumstance, bad decisions and a web of lies, leaving an unknown future for their son, Ryan.
Eight years later they reconnect, but the time apart has changed them. The family had made decisions based on lies and deceit and now must find a way to either reveal the truth or find another option. On the surface, their arrangements seemed flawless, but dig deeper, and the people they thought they knew aren’t as they appear.
Lachlan and Stephanie are forced to confront the consequences of their actions and the entire family is compelled to reveal the truth, find forgiveness, and renew loving one another. But the hardest decision is still to come … where does Ryan live?

Buy Links:

Amazon                  Amazon UK


***
Thanks Laura! Good advice! Making the time to speak to the customers about their interests is very smart!!

How about you? Does the thought (or reality) of a booksigning terrify you? Or are you one of those calm and cool types? (If so, I'm jealous!! - any more tips?) :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Word Sprints

I'm over at From the Write Angle today with my final (probably) post on Twitter hashtags for writers. One of the tags I mention is #nano. As most of you know NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month where a bunch of crazy writers (like me!) attempt to write a 50k first draft in 30 days.

As part of NaNo, there are word sprints to help you maintain the pace. If you follow @NaNoWordSprints, you'll see there's almost always a word sprint going on. Word sprints are timed 'races' where you try to get as many words time during the time limit - anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour from what I've seen. There are no prizes in this race - well, except a boost to your word count.

I don't always announce that I'm joining a sprint on twitter, but I often race along with the other writers. It's fun to see how the word counts match up.

Those in charge of the sprint will often throw in a dare or a challenge - things to add into your scene. Lost sock. Karaoke. Someone is killed on or by roller skates. Or maybe the dare will be to add in a challenge word - like alien or debris.

I rarely take up the dares because they don't usually work for my story, but they often make me smile. Last year one of the challenges was to add in a wild animal. My character was driving through the mountains and that dare added in a great scene about a run in with a moose. So, sometimes they do work out well. Regardless of the dare, the sprints are fun!

Have you ever tried word sprints? Do they work for you too?

(If you have time, I'd love to have you join the discussion over at From the Write Angle!)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Helen Lacey with a Giveaway!

Updated to announce the winner! Congratulations to Jess over at The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow!! I'm email you with the info!

Today I'd like to welcome Helen Lacey to the blog!

***
How To Handle Deadlines : Writing Under Pressure
I have to admit I actually enjoy deadlines. It’s a buzz getting things in on time. If I make a commitment to get something to my editor on a certain date I will always endeavour to meet that obligation. Of course, it’s not always easy or smooth sailing. Things often crop up – family and other work etc. can easily derail plans and corrode much needed concentration. One trick, I’ve discovered, in all aspects of writing, whether it’s at the start of a project or pushing to finish revisions or edits, is to maintain a solid work/life balance.
 
Prior to working as a full time author I had a career as a retail manager for a department store and I lived and breathed deadlines. Although I didn’t realize it at the time this job put me in a good position to handle the deadlines I get now. I’ve known other writers who work a day job and meet commitments and deadlines without a hitch, but when it comes to the writing work, things often fall apart. Many years ago a prominent Mills & Boon author gave me an important piece of advice – protect the work. This is particularly significant when handling deadlines and the pressure that comes with it.
 
If it’s a revision deadline then I will take a day or so to go through the notes from my editor, take into account anything extraneous that’s happening – like a book release, a blog tour, or anything in my personal life (family weddings or holidays as an example) and then create a workable plan of action in a diary/notebook. If I have thirty days until deadline then I take out the number of days I need for the ‘other’ things I need to do and then allocate the revision time accordingly. So my thirty day deadline might in fact look more like twenty days once the time I need for other parts of my work and life are taken into account. Then I will work out a schedule of how many hours a day I need to meet that commitment. When I worked my old day job I would often say to my staff, ‘plan your work, then work your plan’ – and that’s how I approach writing deadlines. This is my way of protecting the work – keeping the balance and ensuring that commitments are met, both personal and professional. And the good thing about having an action plan – it can be changed if things around you change.
To celebrate the release of my second Harlequin Special Edition, Marriage Under The Mistletoe, I have a signed copy to give away to one commenter.

Helen around the web:
Web            Facebook         Twitter              Author Page

 MARRIAGE UNDER THE MISTLETOE

Strong. Sensible. Dependable. That was Evie Dunn's type. Certainly not young, fearless gorgeous firefighter Scott Jones. She knew the wisest course was to keep her distance, but she couldn't resist the allure of a holiday fling. Now the widowed single mom found herself with an unexpected post-Christmas gift—she was having Scott's baby!

Scott came to Crystal Point to see his sister tie the knot, not fall for the alluring owner of the town's oceanfront B and B. He knew he was all wrong for Evie, but he would do anything to win her heart and build the family he'd always wanted. All he had to do was persuade Evie to take the biggest risk of her life…on love.
Read an Excerpt


Buy Links:

Harlequin             Amazon       Amazon UK        B&N      Book Depository
***

Now, THAT's an organized approach! I'll have to keep that in mind for when I actually have deadlines! :) How, about you, do you like writing for a deadline? :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm a Nut

A NaNo nut that is. (Well, I could qualify in a few nutty categories, but let's not go there).


NaNo is the National Novel Write Month event where tons of crazy folks attempt to write a 50k first draft in the 30 days of November. FUN!

I've done NaNo for a few years now. This year I participated in Camp NaNo thinking I would do that instead of the traditional NaNo. November is always crazy busy. It's report card time for me and these take hours and hours of work. Thankfully I've been working on them for the past few days, because I've jumped right back into the NaNo pool.

Why? Because I LOVE first draft writing. I love the little graphic on the site where you can see your word count grow. I love knowing I'm in the company of so many other writers. I love the word sprints. I love the silly questions on the Reference Desk forums. And I have a Shiny New Idea banging away at my skull.

So, if I'm not around, I'll be pounding away on the keyboard.

Send chocolate!

Any other NaNo nuts out there?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maria McKenzie on the Rejection Blues

Please welcome Maria McKenzie today!

***
How Do You Handle Rejection Blues?
by Maria McKenzie 

As writers, we must accept rejection.  If we're not prepared for it, we don't need to be writing.  However, it's important not to take rejection personally. It's your work that's being rejected, not you as a person. Agents, editors and publishers are concerned about the bottom line. They want to make money, and they want you to make money, too. If you're not a right fit for them, it's a lose/lose situation. 

Author turned agent Jennifer Lawler says, "My problem isn't how much bad writing crosses my desk.  The problem is how much good writing I see.  I have to figure out which of these good projects is most likely to sell."

I asked writers from a couple of online writing groups how they handle rejection, and I received a variety of responses.  But before I detail those comments, I'd like to mention a gentle reminder.  Respect is the most important element of any business transaction.  Respect equals the Golden Rule: treat others as you would have them treat you.

Sending a nasty email in response to a rejection letter won't do anything to endear you to that agent/editor/publisher or their agent/editor/publisher friends.  And detailed blogging about your rejections and expletive filled opinions about those who rejected you won't get you far.  You'll establish a reputation, but not exactly the one you want.

Here are a few other points to keep in mind.  Regardless of how many rejections you get, keep persevering!  Bestselling author Bob Mayer says he got published because he submitted to everybody!  But do your homework.  Make sure that whoever you're submitting to takes the type of project you're offering.

There's someone out there who will love your story just as much as you do.  You wouldn't want someone representing you who felt only so-so about your work.  Just like you wouldn't want to marry someone who only felt so-so about you!

Sometimes, as author Holly Jacobs says about one of her books rejected more than once, "...it was a matter of finding the right desk on the right day for the right line."  This particular book, Everything But a Groom, became one of Booklist's Top 10 Romances in 2008.

If someone is kind enough to offer constructive criticism in a rejection letter, by all means heed the advice!  Suggested changes usually apply to mechanics, rather than story elements. 


Agents are hesitant to explain why they reject something regarding your story.  Jennifer Lawler explains, "This business is subjective; what I think is wrong with your novel may be what the next agent thinks is right with it."  Here’s one last tip:  Do not email an agent and ask why you were rejected.  As busy as they are, they don’t have time to answer you!

Here's some encouraging insight from other writers on rejection.  I promised anonymity to all respondents so I took the liberty of creating new identities for them.  Which identity do you best relate to?

"I run to my writer friends for comfort, advice and 'been-there-toos.'"  The Seeker

"I framed my first non-form rejection letter. Now I just file the others away."  The Sentimentalist

"I used to get really depressed when I got rejected. Now I just shrug and look for someplace else to send the story."  The Realist

"I've worked in competitive environments all my life: air personality/operations manager/account manager/radio talk show host, TV sports anchor, etc. Slumps are part of those businesses, and so too are rejections from agents and publishers. You can't dwell on them, you have to learn from them. 'No' is just a word, losing is not a lifestyle."  The Coach

"I found that in the process of becoming a serious writer, the rejections didn't mean so much after a while.  It became a part of the process. Now when I get a rejection, I send that piece out to the next publisher on the list."  The Perseverer

"I tend to over think things.  There's no way I can know the reason for the rejection. So I just ignore it and move on. Getting better at the craft is a personal experience.  The process of getting published has absolutely nothing to do with the journey of becoming a better writer."  The Philosopher

I hope you’ve been encouraged by these words of wisdom and advice from fellow writers on confronting the “Dreaded R!” And remember, there’s always the option of going independent—that’s what I did!


Now it’s your turn, how do you handle rejection?

Maria McKenzie writes historical fiction with romantic elements.  She is the author of Amazon bestseller The Governor’s Sons and Escape: Book One of the Unchained Trilogy.  She is currently at work on part two, Masquerade.  Maria is a member of RWA and Ohio Valley RWA.  Visit her at www.mariamckenziewrites.com, and follow her on Twitter:  @maria_mckenzie.

***
Thanks for the great post, Maria! Rejection is TOUGH to handle. I'm working on being more like the Realist. How about you?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Twitter Hashtags Part 2

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking more about Twitter Hashtags that are useful for writers.

I remember joining twitter and signing up for a blog one afternoon a couple of summers ago. I had NO idea what I was doing on either front. Fun times! Eventually I made sense of blogging - tweeting took me a little longer. TweetDeck & TweetChat helped me enormously. Do you use either of those applications? How do you make sense of tweeting?


I'm thinking there will be one more post in November in the series. Any tags you think would be useful to share? Hope you'll pop on over and visit!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to Lenny!

I hope you all know the wonderful Lenny Lee. If not, I'm about to give you a bunch of reasons you really have to meet him. To know Lenny really is to love him!

  • Lenny loves animals (especially raccoons) and is interested in their care.
  • Lenny loves writing and is willing to take the risk of putting his thoughts on paper and having people read them. To me this = brave!
  • Lenny is always willing to listen and learn. He often posts lessons of what he's learned and these lessons are very helpful!
  • Lenny is full of joy and if you read his posts, you'll always find yourself smiling.
  • Lenny always uses interesting fonts and colours in his posts and reminds me to take more care with my own!
  • Lenny is a fighter. He never gives up. When I told him our family had been hit by one of life's random curve balls, he told me the trick was to keep swinging. He's so right.
  • Lenny IS pure sunshine!

Thank you Lenny for being you and always making me smile! I hope you having the happiest of birthdays ever! Welcome to the world of teenagers - have fun!!!

(royalty free/public domain clip art from Clker.com)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays: Nerd Camp

Shannon Whitney Messenger created Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays to bring attention to some fabulous books. I'm playing along this week! :)



Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman

What a fun story!! You're going to love Gabe. He's a very bright kid who is super excited to be going to sleepaway camp - at the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. The twist comes when he meets his soon-to-be-step-brother Zack - who is cool - and who doesn't even like to read and thinks nerds are 'weird' ... 'You can't be on a math team and be cool!'

Gabe starts to wonder if he is 'just' a nerd - if that's all he is. He also wants to hide his true self from Zack. The camp is 6 weeks long and Gabe meets some great new friends and has all kinds of fun and adventures. He keeps track of his acitvities in a chart - trying to discover if he is 'a nerd who only has nerdy adventures'. His wry comments and insights will crack you up!

Another thing I really liked with this story was the relationship between the kids and their adults - positive relationships all around. Awesome! :)

You're going to love going on this journey of discovery and fun with Gabe - he's a great kid!

I only did one week of overnight camp - & I hated pretty much every minute. My friend got sick and couldn't go. No fun being the lonely shy kid! How about you? Did you like overnight camps?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Barbara DeLeo & First Loves

Today I'd like to welcome a new visitor! Barbara DeLeo is here to promote her debut release Contract for Marriage published by Entangled Publishing. Take it away Barbara!

***
Hi Jemi,

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today. It’s lovely to be here.

Hands up who has a bad first love story.....

Oh, I see there are a few of us. {:o)

First loves have a bad rep really, don’t they? We all know that absolutely insane feeling of falling in love for the first time, the racing heart, the weak knees.... and the gut wrenching pain when it’s all over. You think it’s going to last forever and...it doesn’t.

I fell for my first real love in my first year of college (funnily enough it wasn’t curly headed Hamish who gave me a really thick silver bracelet with HAMISH written on it when I was 13....then asked for it back after he decided he liked someone better...).

My college man was everything I’d imagined in a first serious boyfriend. He was tall (well, taller than me), he was dark, and he was very handsome. It wasn’t a quick romance, we were together seven years and it did, indeed, end in tears. We’d grown up together, had our first jobs together, moved to a different town together and had become a part of each others’ families. When we broke up it was like a whole part of me was missing.

I guess in lots of ways we were like Ruby and Christo in Contract for Marriage. We met as teenagers, had some incredibly intense times and then went our separate ways.

Christo and Ruby knew each other for many years by the time they got together in their late teens. Maybe it was the fact that they had known each other so well that led to such an intense relationship, and then such a fiery breakup. When they meet again, ten years later, the intensity of that early relationship hasn’t diminished at all, in spite of the different choices they’ve made in their lives, and it sends them reeling.

 So what do we do with those intense feelings when we meet an old flame again? Ignore them? Put them down to nostalgia? When Ruby and Christo are faced with the desire that still burns, there’s one major problem—despite knowing the capacity they have for destroying each other, they can’t walk away this time. They’re both trapped by circumstance and it could tear both them, and the lives of those around them, apart.

I’d love to hear a first love story about you or someone you know. I have an e-copy of Contract for Marriage to give away to one commenter!

P.S. Oh, and the very handsome college boyfriend I was with for seven years and then apart from for two? We celebrate our fourteenth wedding anniversary next year.....{:o)

 
Contract for Marriage

Buy from Barnes and Noble or Amazon or Kobo

 You can find Barbara at:



Barbara’s Bio

Barbara DeLeo’s first book, co-written with her best friend, was a story about beauty queens in space. She was eleven, and the sole, handwritten copy was lost years ago, much to everyone’s relief. It’s some small miracle that she kept the faith and is now living her dream of writing sparkling contemporary romance with unforgettable characters.

After completing degrees in Psychology and English then travelling the world, Barbara married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins. She still loves telling stories about finding love in all the wrong places, with not a beauty queen or spaceship in sight.

***

Love that story, Barbara!! Can't wait to read the book either - sounds great!

So, who's willing to share their first love stories?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Jayden's Story

Natalie Bahm is here today. As you're about to see, Natalie is one of the sweetest people I know!

***
A Book to Help a Baby

A few years ago, I wrote a middle grade adventure called The Secret Underground. It’s about a group of kids who dig a tunnel to an abandoned steel mill.  There’s danger and fun and friendship and a few scary bank robbers (think Goonies).  It’s always been really special to me because it was the first book I finished that I was really proud of.

A little over a week ago, The Secret Underground was finally released. All of the profits will go to a sick baby named Jayden and his family.

Jayden is a sweet two-year-old with major health problems. He's the same age as my youngest child, but he’s only half his size.  Jayden struggles to put on weight and is constantly in the hospital because he has no reserves when he gets sick.  He’s been near death more than once, but has shown that he’ll fight to hang on.

His family has been through so much.  Along with the stress and anxiety of dealing with Jayden's condition, they're also struggling financially, due to the massive burden of caring for a chronically ill child.

Jayden’s grandmother is my critique partner.  When she told me about the trials that Jayden and his family were facing, I knew I needed to do something to help. I called up agent, Sara Megibow, and asked if we could do a book for him.  She thought it was wonderful idea, so with the support of Nelson Literary Agency, we published The Secret Underground. 

You can read more about the project and Jayden here. The paperback version of The Secret Underground is available on Amazon.  The eBook can be purchased just about anywhere eBooks are sold.  The audiobook is available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.  The paperback will be in more online bookstores soon.

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See! Told you Natalie was a sweetie!! Hope you're inspired to pick up a copy of the book! :)


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Writing Seasons

September has been an absolutely chaotic month for me. I had an incredibly productive summer for first drafts. I finished one first draft - added between 25 & 30k, then joined camp NaNo and wrote another 60k. I finished off that draft in the first week or so of September.

Now I`m in revision mode. I`m back to the story I finished in the early part of the summer. I'm doing a read through right now, doing minor revisions and seeing what needs to be done. While I'm moving at a decent pace, I feel like I'm back to snail mode.

Is it the difference between first draft writing and revising? Or is it the day job taking back a huge portion of my day and energy? Or is it all in perception?

My favourite part of the process is first draft writing. I LOVE this stage and could probably do it forever. I have so many ideas calling to me all the time.

But I've learned to enjoy the revision stage too - and during the school year, it's much easier to do revisions than first drafts. So, I'll try to enjoy the less frantic pace of revisions while I hope for more time in the coming months.

How about you? Do you have certain times of year when you prefer to work on different stages of the whole process?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Release Day for Uncontrollable

Yay! Uncontrollable is out today!

Uncontrollable is the second book in "The Nature of Grace" series by S.R. JohannesUntraceable, the first book in the series, has won and been nominated for several awards including Winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award (YA), 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (YA Nominee), and a finalist in The Kindle Book Review's "Best Indie Book of 2012 (YA)".

Kirkus reviewed Untraceable as "A thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."

If you like a page turner, you will love this series!

Head over to Mundie Moms for a Big Uncontrollable Launch Party with tons of prizes and then over to SR Johannes blog for even more.

To continue on with the blog tour, check out the line up! Where SR talks about anything from marketing to writing to her books to personal interviews and giveaways.

Book Summary

As 16-year-old Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new "Red Wolf Reintroduction Program". 

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants. 

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues. 

Little does she know, she is being hunted too. 

On Sale Now! 

Uncontrollable is on sale in paperback and ebook at all major
booksellers including Amazon, iBooks/Apple (coming soon),
 Smashwords, and B&N.
 
If you haven't read Untraceable, you can get it in paperback and ebook
at all major booksellers including AmazonAppleSmashwords,
and B&N.

Author Bio

S.R. Johannes is the author of award-winning and Amazon bestselling Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and new tween paranormal, On The Bright Side. She has also published short novelettes as well as a teen romance anthology with 16 other authors titled, In His Eyes.  Uncontrollable, the sequel to Untraceable, is scheduled for September 2012.

S.R. Johannes is a winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards (Young Adult) and was also recently nominated for 2012 Georgia Author of the Year (Young Adult). Untraceable was also recently named a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review's Indie Book of the Year (YA)

After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. 

Connect!

Follow S.R. online on her websiteTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest

You can also sign up for her newsletter to keep up on author or book news.
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I'm thrilled to be able to help Shelli launch her latest book! I love this series - Grace is such a terrific character. I love the setting of the story too - both in a small town and in the surrounding forests. And of course, the story is packed with exciting twists and turns. I know it's a little early, but the series would make a fabulous Christmas present for any lovers of YA!