Showing posts from 2018

Conference Tips!

I just returned from the Georgia Romance Writer's Conference, Moonlight and Magnolias. I enjoyed basking in the glow of other writer's talent. It was an amazing experience. I thought I'd write some things I learned about going to a Conference. 1). Volunteer. Conferences take a lot of man (woman) power. I always sign up to volunteer to do something. It's a great way to get involved and to make friends. 2.) Be friendly and ask questions. I always assume that everyone there knows more than I do about writing, about publishing, about life. I want to soak up as much as I can. I like to ask questions and get to know people. And not just the writers and editors. I made friends with the lady in housekeeping and she bought my book. 3.) Networking. I picked this conference because I knew some of the other writers plus my editor would be at this conference. (That and I had tickets and a deadline!) 4.) Workshops. I've been struggling with a certain writing flaw and

The Opposite of Clean Is Not Dirty

Yesterday I saw a tweet on Twitter that saddened me. One author claimed that she didn't like the term "clean"to reference romances without intimacy, claiming it implied books with sex in them are dirty. I didn't respond because I flipped away for a second and it was lost. Twitter is a fast game. So I want to write my response here and I hope she'll see it and understand. The opposite of clean is not dirty. The opposite of clean is free from... Have you ever had a practice and said, "Whoah, that was a clean practice," meaning free from error? I have. Clean romance doesn't mean we think intimacy is dirty between two consenting adults. It means a book "free from intimacy." I write clean romance because I like to give my characters their own space. I am not judging anyone else for writing intimacy in your books. So, please, don't think we're prudish, or judging you. We're not. At least, I am not. It's just my personal

My Writing Process

I have a weird writing process. In the 'biz, there are two types of writers. "Pantsers" who write by the "seat of their pants" and "Plotters" who make extensive outlines and character sketches. While I think about my characters a great deal, I don't ever write an extensive outline and although I like to discovery write, I can't be completely open ended or I'd go crazy. Hence, the hybrid term: plantser.  I like the term because it sounds like I might be plantsing through the pansies or something. Anyway, usually I start with an idea, a premise, a character or even a title. And I plant it like a seed in fertile imagination watered with fiction and non-fiction alike. And I start my first draft. I call this a discovery draft and on bad days a crap draft. I write about 20,000 words, exploring the world, and characters. Then I show it to my husband to see if my idea shows promise. Thumbs up, I continue.  Thumbs down, I can it. For now. Afte

Balancing Life

Photo Cred: Monica Brown Balancing your family and work is tricky at best. As a writer, I am plotting one manuscript, writing another, and editing yet another all while promoting the most current book. How do I balance that with all the demands of a wife and mother? One word: Prioritize. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I ask myself is what time shall I take my nap. Just kidding. Mostly. Actually nearly every week for several years, I write a list of priorities for that week, sometimes by the day. Anything with a deadline has priority, and anything not done will be moved to the next week. (I've had some things that have moved from week to week for several weeks until the items just fall of my lists completely.) The one thing I prioritize is family time. This comes in the form of family scriptures and family prayer. Family meals get tricky with busy evenings, but we try for them. I also prioritize my personal time to refill and recharge. Every morning I spen

Top Ten Tips for Fighting Discouragement

I asked my most ardent fans (my daughter and my husband) what I should write about on my blog and my daughter said I should write about encouraging others to keep writing. I feel like I've learned a lot in writing for the past ten years, and I'd love to share. Writing, and almost any other creative endeavor is a long process. From the spiritual creation or idea of it until its execution and finished product can take months if not years. Keeping going during that time can become a challenge. Here are my tips to stay motivated. 1. Remember why you started in the first place. I am a storyteller. I always have been. I'm horrid at asking questions but learning. But I think of funny scenarios. I'm the dreamer. Someone tells me a detail and I create a story. I don't write for the royalty check. I don't write to be famous-- although that would be nice. I write because I believe fiction can heal. I write because I believe we all need to safely escape. I write becaus

Publisher's Giveaway

Want to win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards? Click here to go to The Wild Rose Press Instagram Hop where you can follow twenty authors in various genres of romance. Click here . For all rules see the posts. Good luck! htt

Top Ten Ways to Boost Your Creativity

It's the middle of the book. You have a smashing beginning. You have a dynamic and surprising ending. But somehow you got lost in the muddle in the middle.  Here are ten ways to boost your creativity. 10. Watch a movie in your genre. Movies can inspire you with twists and turns, characters. Even awful movies can inspire you to do something better. 9. Read a book. When the creative juices in your brain start to flow under the hand of another writers work, you'll start to image things for your book too. 8. Go back and reread the passages that excited you, the ones which inspired you to write it in the first place. 7. Go to a museum, a park, a restaurant and just observe people. Why do they do what they do? 6. Play with children. Kids are uninhibited in their play and ideas. 5. Exercise. I wrote many characters while I was walking. Moving the body moves the brain. 4. Draw. Drawing helps release the right side of the brain. 3. Listen to music. I've found char

How to Use Social Media to Reach a Wider Audience

In preparing for this blog post, I reread my notes from a webinar from Jane Freidman on promoting your book.  I think a lot of authors are baffled about how to reach beyond their own sphere of influence and reach untapped audiences. I'm going to list a few ways to use certain social media tools and build a platform. Now with anything, this takes time, it takes work and constant vigilance. I've seen some great progress as I've used some of these tools. This is what I do. Others may disagree. I will also rate their shelf life ie how long you can still get likes, views etc. Facebook Facebook is still my number one go-to for platform. I've had that account the longest. I have the biggest audience still. However, when it comes to book promo, blasting my book on my Facebook feed over and over again may not create sales and in fact, may lose me a few friends. Why? Because everyone who is my friend who wanted to buy my book has already bought my book and just harping

Being a Creator

Creating is more work than consuming  Ask anyone who creates. A movie can take months of filming with work on costumes, set design, script all before the camera rolls, then there's the editing and special effects, all for a flick that lasts less than two hours. Just watch an Lord of the Rings bonus features and you'll see the colossal effort of many people. Writing is a special kind of creation  While it takes little more than a computer and some ideas--a small investment comparatively speaking--writing does require a whole lot of time. And that's where people get stuck. My best years of writing were when my kids were little, our schedules were more free and no one had to go to school in the morning. I'd write late into the night and let my kids eat cold cereal for breakfast as I pried my eyes open in the wee hours of the morning--around nine a.m.. How to be a Creator Have a vision. Creative beings start with a vision, what they want to accomplish i

My Advice to Aspiring Writers

Why Write? Writing brings your dreams to life. Or your nightmares. Depending on what you are writing. When I first started dedicating time to writing ten years ago, I read scores of books, mostly from the library, about writing. So here's the short list of my advice for aspiring writers: 1. Write everyday You may say, every day? And I'll say, every day. If you start making excuses, it's easy to get out of the habit. Now, I didn't say you have to lay down a bazillion words that day. But you should write and keep in the habit of writing every day. On Sundays, I write letters to loved ones instead of working on my story. 2. Learn the craft I think too many people assume you either have writing talent or you don't. Writing can be learned. Check out books from the library. Read articles and blogposts on line. Do everything you can to improve your skills. I enter contests for feedback.  3. Don't try to publish too soon When you've worked so

Why I write comedy

Why I love to write funny books One dark January day after I had my third child, I was in the throes of Post-Partem Depression. Mix baby blues with the grays of January and you get a terrible color. Thankfully, we had a family tradition of going to the library on Saturdays. While there, I was browsing the Young Adult fiction and I came across a book, a third in a series. I had read the first book previously and wasn't impressed enough to pick up the second. However, I opened the third book and started reading and it was pure yumminess. It had a light-hearted love story, fun action-adventure and comedy. It was like eating after a fast or melting shaved ice on your tongue during a hot day. It was delicious to me. It hit the sweet spot in my brain. I was so rude to the people who came to dinner that night. I literally opened the door with the book in hand, waved them in and went back to reading. It was healing To me, laughter is healing. Fiction connects us with people, wi

Ten things you can do to help a writer friend

Ever wondered how authors get the word out about their books? The answer may shock you: it's you! Doing a few simple things for your author friend can help promote their book with little effort or time on your part. And since you are such a good friend, you'll want to help *wink*. Even if you haven't bought book, there is something you can do! I've made a list of small and simple things you can do today help authors in big ways. Little time, no money * Go to Amazon and mark all of their reviews as helpful.  This helps those who have reviewed to earn more "cred." * Do the same thing on Goodreads . If you don't have a Goodreads account, you should get one ;) Click here . Goodreads is a great place for readers to hang out and discuss and review books. * Add your friend's book on your Goodread's shelf or in a list, group . This helps get the word out about the book. Plus me posting it to Goodreads is self-promotion. If you do it, it'

How to handle rejection, bad reviews and bad news

Not everyone is going to love my books There are some really good highs as a writer. One of the best moments is when I received my first full request from an agent. I literally screamed when I saw it. Scream so much, my voice hurt. It was a sign that I was finally getting closer to my goal. The second best was receiving my contract for my first book. I was so pleased, I called my family and friends and let them know. Then when the reviews started coming in. Even people I didn't know loved my book. It's so gratifying to find other people loving the characters I've fallen in love with, too. But there are some lows. Not everyone is going to love what I write. I recently received a rejection from an agent who I queried with the book that was accepted for publication last year. I laughed of course but rejections are a lot easier to take when you already have a publication. I also received a less than stellar review this week. Hey, all reviews have merit, but man, it h

Meet the best friend

The best  friend excerpt from clean romantic suspense novel Baker's Dozen on sale for $2.99 until May 25. Buy here. Carla Vehemia is the daughter of a weal thly  manufacturing tycoon in St. Louis. She likes lower-class men and supports Andy in her vigilant-ing.  Sweat dripped down Andy’s brow as she tucked  into a corner of the dojo to undress from her Master’s  gi  at the end of class. “Thanks for a great session,” Carla said over the din of kids preparing to line up on the mats. “Going for dinner?” “I have something to tell you,” Andy said when she had finished tucking her pants into her bag. “You finally applied for the CIA?” Carla’s deep brown eyes lit up. Her dark skin contrasted with her white uniform. Only Carla could still be feminine in a  gi  built for a block. “No.” “How far did you get last time?” Carla asked, admiring her luminous black hair in the wall of mirrors behind a row of chairs surrounding the perimeter of the dojo. “I decided on careers I wa

Meet the Heroine

More excerpts from my clean romantic suspense novel Baker's Dozen Meet Andy Miller, an investigative journalist in my clean romantic suspense novel, on sale for $2.99 until May 25, 2018. Buy link here . Men lie. They lie about how many women they’ve been with, their alcohol tolerance, and the size of their, uh, paycheck. Which was exactly what Jack, sitting across from Andy Miller, was lying about. He tapped his coffee mug with the tip of his finger, stretching his lean body against the booth at Ronney Dell’s. “Ninety grand this year alone,” he claimed. Closer to fifty grand , according to his secretary. Though maybe he was taking into account all the vehicles he had sabotaged before fixing which weren’t on the books. But Andy didn’t contradict him. Instead, she demurely batted her lashes and smiled into her shoulder. “Ninety grand,” she cooed, snapping her gum. “I don’t believe it!” she said. And that  was  the truth. Andy brushed back the bleached wig of her “Mary

Meet the Hero

Here are excerpts from my clean Romanic Suspense novel Baker's Dozen on sale $2.99 until May 25th.  Buy here . Hugh Donaldson is an undercover agent. But for who, that is the question. The tattooed man slapped his hand on the counter and leaned toward her, pointing to a sticker on the bag of chips. “The price tag says two forty-nine, not three forty-nine. Are you stupid or something?” he said.  The young clerk’s face flushed red as she realized her mistake. “I’m sorry. I’m not sure how the mix-up happened. Let me void the transaction.”  She fumbled through the keys at the computer. The man sighed and set his foot down heavily.  “I’m sorry,” the cashier said again. She squinted at the screen, fully absorbed, her fingers unsure, as she typed on the keyboard.  While the clerk was distracted, the man lifted a pack of gum from below the counter and slid it into his pocket. “This is taking too long. Just forget it,” he said. “I don’t need the chips.”  “I got it,” she

How to write a review

I'll be honest. I wrote my first review for a book last year. I had no idea how important they are to authors. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my friends who have written reviews! You are rockstars! Why do authors need reviews? New or unknown authors need reviews because no one has heard of them. While they may be your friend, not many people will know about their book unless you tell them about it. Also distributers like Amazon give more weight to items that have more reviews. What is a review? A review is where you read a book and write your honest feedback. How do I do that? It's really not hard to write a review. Someone had to teach me and I was scared the first time. If you have an Amazon account, log in and click on a book you like (or dislike) then click on the reviews. There's a gray button on the side that says "Write a Review." Click on it. The star rating will come up. Choose the star power you want! Next, it will bring up a line

Why write clean Romantic Suspense?

A few years ago I went to a Romance Writer's Conference. During a pre-pitch session, we had to distill our 90k word novels into a few catchy phrases that would attract the attention of an editor or agent. Most of us were newbies, doing this for the first time (pitching face to face with industry professionals--no pressure!) and there were mentors who had been around the block. As we went around the table, we explained our genre so they could get a feel of what our pitch should sound like. I said something like this, I write clean romantic suspense. A woman across from me sneered at my suggestion and was asked me who would buy my book. I gave my opinion that women wanted sex-free books that were well-written and fun to read. It was probably the first time in my adult life that another adult mocked me for my beliefs. I was a little shocked, but stood my ground. And I still stand by it. There is a market for clean reads. It's a growing market. Lots of people may want to read some

Top Ten Things To Do in Paris

Top Ten Things to do in Paris Louvre Eiffel Tower lunch Versailles Cooking class with French Chef Sacre Coeur Notre Dame Catacombs Musee d’armée Saint Sulpice Arch de Triumph Things we did but wouldn’t do again Riverboat ride along the Seine Places to Eat Nicolas Flammels (of Harry Potter fame) Breizh cafe (Best Crêpes in town) Angelina’s (Cute little café)

Three chances to win Baker's Dozen Book Giveaway

UPDATED: Here's a new link for an Amazon giveaway. Ends May 18 at midnight PDT. Have you been wanting to read Baker's Dozen and what reviewers have called "a great weekend read," "a page-turner," and "light and fun read with suspense and romance" for free ? Here are three ways to win!! 1. Enter my paperback giveaway ! Like my Amazon author page and... Voilà. You only have from now until March 19th to enter so hurry fast! ***Only US residents 18 years or older can apply. 2. Also my friend Amy Martinsen posted a great review and giveaway on her blog: Also running until 3-19. 3. And the last is this giveaway on the romance review s.

Romance Reviews Giveaway!!

A bunch of romance authors are doing a giveaway March 1-31st. If you'd like to participate, click on banner and create a log in for over 70 giveaways!! Over 70 romance writers. Something for everybody. Participating authors ME! (of course)  Joanne Guidoccio Donna Hatch Peggy Chambers Pam Bazemore And many, many more!

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has been on my mind ever since hurricane Maria hit the island last year. Rob and I went for his birthday of 2014 and we loved every minute of it! Recommendations for travel. Walk if you can. If you are constantly in a car, you'll miss wonderful moments. Like this bike tied to a palm tree we saw on our walk. Top Ten list for Puerto Rico Saint Cristóbal El Morro (bring a kite to fly on the green) Walk around downtown San Juan Fajardo (Where we had the fish pictured above) Horse back riding in Fajardo among the sugar cane El Yunque National forest (the only rain forest in our National system) Beach in San Juan Condado Shopping in downtown San Juan Eat fried plantains in downtown San Juan Stop off the side of the road to see a waterfall

Top 20 LDS Romance Authors

Just in time for Valentine's Day! Find your romance match! Whether you like historical romance or modern day romance, there's something here for everyone! Clink on the author's name for their website and the title for the Amazon link. (Note: Some fell into more than one category, so I placed them where I thought best!) Historicals 1.  Collection of authors Regency House party 2. Author: J ennifer Lunt Moore Title: Miss Leslie's Secret 3. Author: Julie Daines Title: Havencross  4. Author: Donna Hatch Title: Unmasking the Duke 5. Author: Marsha Ward Title: Mended by Moonlight 6. Author: Shaela Kay Title: A Heart Made of Indigo 7. Author: Jen Geigle Johnson Title: The Nobleman’s Daughter LDS Romance 8. Author: Laura Walker Title: When the Clouds Lift  9. Author: Renee Savage Clark  Title: Love, Jane 10. Author: Teya Peck Title: See Me For Me 11. Author: Nichole M. White Title: Unspoken Words Sweet Adult Romance 12.Author:

Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe

Looking for something to make for dinner? It's national Pizza day, so I thought I'd share my homemade crust recipe with you! 4 c. flour (Sometimes I substitute one cup of white flour for wheat flour.) 1 tsp. salt 1 Tbs. oil 2 Tbs. sugar (one for the water and yeast) 1 1/2 c. of warm water 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp.) yeast Measure three cups of flour into a bowl, add, salt, oil and one tablespoon of sugar. Add one tablespoon of sugar to warm water and yeast mixture. When yeast has bubbled and fermented, add to flour mixture. Knead in remaining cup of flour. Let rest for ten minutes to an hour. Spread on greased pizza pans, add sauce and cheese.  I bake mine at 475 for ten minutes! Enjoy! PS This is a picture of my daughter's first attempt at pizza. She did pretty well, I think! Let her know how well she did in the comments or comment with your own pizza crust recipe!

Top Ten Fun facts about Switzerland

Switzerland is mostly known for mountains, cheese and chocolate. But there is so much more! The country abbreviation is CH for Canton Helvetic The currency is the Swiss Franc or abbreviated CHF They have four national languages German, French, Italian and Romansh There are 26 cantons or states that make up the confederation of Switzerland Swiss flag is a square not rectangular It's a neutral country although they send out paid soldiers called mercenaries They have a direct democracy 8 million people live in Switzerland Neither Napoleon nor Hitler invaded Switzerland in their European takeover They are not part of the EU

Top Ten Thing to Do in (French-speaking) Switzerland

Gruyères Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to go to Switzerland. I was lucky enough to live there for a few months during my twenties. Recently, my husband and I returned and compiled our top ten list of things to do in mostly French speaking Switzerland. One of course thinks of mountains, chocolate and cheese when they think of Switzerland. And beautiful Heidi-like pastoral mountain sides. but there is so much more! Here's a link to my top ten fun facts about the neutral country in the heart of Europe. Without further ado, here's my top ten list. Callier chocolate factory Dents du Midi Cheese Einstein's house in Bern Bern: (German speaking) 1. Einstein's house Fresh chocolate Bern 2. Shopping in historic Bern for fresh chocolate Fribourg: 3. Trudge up 365 steps of the Tour of St. Nicholas to the tower Tower of St. Nicolas Fribourg 4. Cross La Sarine's medieval bridge in Bas Ville La Sarine