Friday, April 26, 2019

Build character, overcome fear

I've had this philosophy lately to give up my fear. It first started in my twenties when I served as a missionary in Switzerland and France, talking to people about their deepest fears, their hopes and dreams for the future. The President of my mission said to me, "Get rid of your stress, worry, anxiety and fear; those will keep you back." Up to that point I'd always seen stress or worry as a form of mental energy progressing me to a solution, but in reality, it was exhausting me and paralyzing me.

Ten years ago, I decided to put away my fears. My fears of never becoming a writer, my fear that I would never be good enough to publish, my fear of not getting out all these wonderful stories I had tucked inside my heart. My husband told me to sit down and write something.

So I did. I had this scene in my head about a girl who got poison ivy because I had just been through a rash of it. And she was a young girl, and I found out that beer can help offset the affects of the oil because of the alcohol. I imagined this funny scene where she's out with some friends and she gets poison ivy and her friend dumps beer all over her and she comes home reeking of Corona. Her mom of course grounds her. Anyway, you get the idea. My husband thought it was good and encouraged me to keep going.

Writing is scary. It's creating something from nothing but the ideas floating around in your brain. Every day I face a blank page.

But writing isn't the only scary thing I do. This idea of facing fears has bled over to our family vacations. Seven years ago, I went SCUBA diving for the first time. I was so nervous, I almost couldn't go under. A few years ago, we went on a rope course over a huge canyon. I went skiing for the first time in my life earlier this year.

If you really want to live, do something scary. You will overcome a fear, build character and create something.

What fears have you overcome?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pinterest for Authors

Pinterest is a great social media tool for introverts. It's less social than many other platforms.

What I love about Pinterest:

Any post can be seen by all users
In other social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook etc, only your followers can see your posts. Pinterest is unique because it's basically a huge search engine for pulling information. (More about "push" and "pull" later.)

Posts have a long shelf life
I started Pinterest years ago and people still "repin" my posts. Shelf life of Twitter is a few seconds, IG and Facebook are a little bit longer, but the staying power of Pinterest is unbeatable.

Everything can (must be!) be categorized and stored for Pinterest to work. That's good news for those creating pins. They last and are easy to find.

You can use all sorts of different media: movies gifs, jpegs, images, recipes etc. in your pins

Use to discover and save new ideas and link back to URL
 Each pin can link back to its URL. Your description can be #keyword rich.

Pull v. Push method of advertising
People come to Pinterest to find something. You don't have to push your advertising on them. If you add value (more on that later) they will come to you.

It's free
Pinterest is free to use. It costs nothing to create pins.

Now that you're sold on the idea of marketing on Pinterest, you need to know how to get started.

Step one: Create a business profile. It's free.
If you have not done so change your profile to business. Click here for directions.

Step two: Create a pin.
I use Canva. If you are interested in me doing a quick video tutorial, let me know in the comments and I can get one up on how to create pins using free software. There's also picMonkey and other sites, but I use Canva. 

Step two-point-five: Create value.
This is the creative part. Create a pin that not only displays your lovely book cover, but also give them something of value so that your pin will not just be admired, but it will be cherished, valued and most importantly, repinned.

What is value? I started making pins that have my book cover on them in addition to other useful things: a funny/ fitting quote, a recipe or tips. In order for people to come to you for information, you must give them something to "pull" some bit of expertise, something people will want to save. Otherwise, you are just "pushing" like every other social media platform out there.

Ask yourself: what am I an expert in? What tips can I share? What useful piece of information will help my readers, be of interest to my readers? Then slap your book cover, your website and a keyword rich description on it and send it out into the world. (See my example I created on the fly here) complete with graphic!

Has this been helpful? Would you like me to go into more depth?
What tips would you like to share?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

5 30-Second exercises to improve your mood

As a writer, I often sit for long periods of time. Every once in a while, I need to stop and take a break. I do these five quick exercises and only spend about 30 seconds a piece. Even this quick little pick-me-up after sitting over the computer dreaming up sweet romances and clean romantic suspense plots. Exercise doesn't have to be lengthy to be effective, every bit of exercise is good. As with any exercise, be sure to consult your doctor to make sure it's okay for you do to any of these exercises. And make sure you follow a few tips:

Lunges: keep your knees at 45 degree angles and don't let your knees go over your toes. Don't do if you have knee or hip problems.

Squats: keep knees over ankles and drop your bottom. Even shallow squats will be beneficial. Don't do if you have knee problems.

Arm circles: stick out your arm parallel to the floor and rotate your wrists back to rotate your arms back. Then rotate wrists forward to move arms forward. Don't try if you have any neck or shoulder issues.

Cross punches: you want to punch across your midsection to work your abs as well as your arms. Keep your arms up to avoid strain in your neck and shoulder.

Knee raises: lift knees to chest while keeping a straight back. You can also crunch diagonally across your midsection as you raise your knee for added benefit. Do not attempt if you have balance issues.

Happy exercising!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Sweet Romance and Switzerland

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the day I received my mission call and assignment to serve in Switzerland. I was so excited. I had wanted to go to Switzerland and speak French since I was nine years old. But you don't get to pick where you go, so I felt real blessed. You are probably wondering what living in Switzerland and a sweet romance have to do with each other.

While I was in Switzerland I had many choice experiences. I met so many wonderful faithful people. And I had some crazy adventures that come with living in a foreign country. It was hard to leave my friends, family and everything familiar to me, to live in a country with differing cultures, language and customs. But I learned and grew a lot and I learned to love the people, not just a country.

From this love sprang this novel about Lainey Peterson who overcomes adversity and fear, perseveres through some tough situations and also manages to fall in love with a great guy. But Lainey wants to get into the Chocolate department, and she doesn't have time for a distraction or a forbidden romance.

Yves Claremont is ambitious and hardworking. He wants to honor his late father by becoming a Vice president at Alpine Foods. However, once he hires Lainey in his Pet Care department, he starts to admire her. But inner-office relationships are forbidden. So he must not allow himself to have feelings for her.

When a co-worker, jealous of Yves' success, tries to sabotage his career, he tries to take down both Lainey and Yves.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Spring Break Bookaplaooza book feature

Need a book to read this spring? Are you having a book slump? Need to find a new author to enjoy? Looking for sassy heroines, alpha males, tissue romances, or a feel-good, funny read? Well, I have just the thing for you! Enter the Spring Break Bookapalooza. Be sure to click on this link to check it out. My romantic suspense book Baker's Dozen is being featured today! I talk about my dream spring break (hint: it's in France) and what I love about spring. And while you are there, check out many of the other authors featured on the site. You may find something that catches your eye. Leave a comment to interact with the authors and let them know what you think about their cover, their except or their dream spring break. Many of these authors are also published under my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

PLUS you can enter to win one of many Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift cards with this link to the rafflecopter contest. You can earn bonus entries by following participating authors on social media!

It's a great way to find new authors, enter a contest, and read about spring break.

What's your favorite thing to do in spring?

Third Place from Book Buyer's Best Contest

A sweet romance wins third place Sweet romances can compete and win! I'm super excited for this honor.  I want to tell you, please keep ...