Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Apologies

Sometimes you just have to get back to yourself and stay true to what you want and how you want the world to see you.  In all the wanting to show the world I write about romance and sex, I totally got lost, because that isn't what I really write about - I write about strong women and men who believe in real love despite what they have seen so far, I write about believing in something better than what you've had, and never losing hope.  Yeah there is nekkedness and steam, but I hope my readers take more than that away from what I create.

I really think maybe that is why my writing has stalled, I've been creating stuff that isn't what I want to say.  And even if what I put out has sex scenes in it, there is so much more to get from the books.  I know for sure that one of my works in progress has a lot of nekkedness at the beginning, but if you read her story you will see it's about her journey to loving who she is and where she comes from and learning that she will never find what she needs by sleeping with random men (maybe a little autobiographical, but so true).

I don't know if I woke up on the right side of the bed or if I had an a-ha moment or just my inner voice saying to get it together....either way, today is a new day.  My focus is clearer and my heart is at peace with letting all the extra stuff go so that I can focus on telling the better parts of the story.

Life is a journey, with many twists and turns, we fall and we get up, I want to read books like that, books that reflect my journey and those of people I love.  I want to write those stories...not just what happens when the lights are off and the clothes are on the floor.  I foresee A LOT of editing of my works in progress...and I'm good with that.

I'll stop being long-winded now and get back to writing things that make me smile.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Setting the Scene

As important as the characters and their dynamic is to my stories, I also feel that the settings are just as important.  They help to better understand the characters backgrounds, upbringings, and every day life.

Balboa Park - San Diego
The entire reason I began to write FINDING HOME was that my 2nd (now ex-) husband and I were newlyweds and we'd honeymooned in San Diego.  I fell in love with the area during our week of sightseeing and sea air breathing.  Months later, back in the cold Michigan winter, I daydreamed often about the beach - the large expanse of blue dotted by boats in the distance and surfers near the shore.  I longed to walk in Balboa Park with it's lush gardens and beautiful buildings.  Since reality stopped me from doing as I wished, I wrote it into existence.
La Jolla, CA
When FINDING HOME was finished, I wasn't sure if it was even good, so I submitted it to several writing contests.  One of those contests was held by none other than the San Diego chapter of Romance Writers of America.  It took a lot of courage to send it to them.  I knew if I got one detail wrong on the landscape or locations that, of all people, THEY would be able to call me out!  Luckily for my photographic memory, they loved it and knew I'd been there to give such detail!
While that first book was making the rounds in contests and getting lost in translation of various publishing houses new formatting on submissions, another story began to take shape.  One song, All We'd Ever Need by Lady Antebellum, hit me with such force, made a loss feel so brand new that I also couldn't help 'getting it out'.  

My town - Blissfield, MI
Since the story was based on an actual relationship I'd been in, it was easy for me to write about the town I live in (Blissfield, Michigan).  I knew the locations and details, but making sure I properly described them for others became the challenge.  I wasn't exaggerating when I talked about the quaint tree lined streets, the annual River Raisin Festival, and even the women's only gym!  It really is a great little town.
quiet dock, perfect setting
Sharing that story wasn't just about the relationship, but also the places we went, the things we did, and the feelings that were shared.  Granted, at some point the characters took on their own life and so the story is half 'us' and half make-believe, but the town, the motorcycle ride to Toledo, and most especially the dock late at night were all real.  TAKING CHANCES wasn't just a love story about a couple, it was also a reflection of my love for my town, county, and the place where my roots run very, very deep.
I can tell you, I will be visiting both locations again in books - I've already been back to California (even if only in fiction) in PLAYING WITH FIRE.  And I will return to it once more, at least for part of the story, with the final -yet to be titled (YTBT) - story featuring Mitch and Molly.  Blissfield and Lenawee County will set the backdrop for DOWN FOR THE COUNT (featuring Ty and Lily) and another YTBT final in that trilogy with Sunni and Vince.

Stay tuned, because I also know that I'll also eventually show some love to the Great Smoky Mountains, Nashville, scenic Northern Michigan, and heating it up in Florida.  Not to mention hopping over to Ireland and England....I REALLY can't wait to actually go there and do some research! But for now that is a few years off.

I love travel, but never get to do it!  At least for now I can live vicariously through my characters and stamp up my passport book!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sharing my Passion

This has been an amazingly invigorating week!  With the anniversary of FINDING HOME, it has breathed some more life into my motivation.

At my 'day job' we have this council that announces special events in people's lives - weddings, babies, new homes, etc. - and I reached out that 'hey it may not count for this, but it's pretty awesome to me' on the anniversary of the book....the support was amazing.

An email blast was sent out to the work site (150 strong) and all day people send emails or stopped by my desk to give congrats and ask me about my latest books. They have been with me on this journey as most were here 4 years ago when I sent out the first email saying I had just self-published.  When the paperbacks had arrived I sold 50 in the office alone!!

All these good vibes helped me remember 2 things:
  1. I have an amazing support system of friends, family, co-workers that truly believe in me as a writer...let along the fans that love my books! Just asking how my next book is coming along means the world to me - it means you care!!!
  2. I LOVE talking about writing and romance and romance writing (among anything else - I really just love to talk - do NOT get me started on my love of country music either)!!
That passion for writing is always in me, like a pilot light always ready to burst into a full fledged inferno.  Talking about story ideas and inspirations and my characters keeps the fire burning.  It also kind of ticks me off that as much as I love writing I seem to not make the time I should for it.  Kind of like loving to do yoga but never doing it (which I'm also guilty of).

I realize how important it is for me to get that feedback for you - the fans. Every day over at my facebook and now on twitter, I post links and photos and share tidbits of my writing journey.  I read all the messages from you, I love the LIKES, comments, and shares.  Keep it up!!

Whether your passion is writing or yoga or country music or star wars or saving the plants or whatever - just follow that passion.  Revel in it, immerse yourself in all it's good-feeling yumminess, and never forget why you love it in the first place.

Click the links below to follow me!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Getting my Tweet on!

Today is seriously rocking!!!  I'm back on Twitter! Follow me there by clicking the logo above!!!

Happy Birthday FINDING HOME!!!


FINDING HOME turns 4 years old today....she grew and formed in me for nearly 2 1/2 years before she finally was released!

SOOOOO......  In honor of Finding Home turning 4 years old this week, I'm giving kindle books away for free through Saturday over on!!!!

Today PLAYING WITH FIRE and TAKING CHANCES are both FREE!!! Tomorrow through Saturday you can get FINDING HOME for FREE!!!!

I think I may need to get a cupcake and candle to celebrate this day....4 years since I went from "aspiring writer" to "published romance author"!!!!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Never Forget

Like so many others, this date 14 years ago is engraved into my heart and soul.  I remember where I was, what I was wearing, what I was thinking/feeling.  I remember driving home and sitting on the couch, numb and unable to wrap my head around "WHY".

Today I can't write about writing or romance or anything else I could have said.  All I can do is pray and remember and honor those that lost lives and loved ones.  Our nation and our world forever changed on that day. My prayer is that some day this country can remember we are all one, at least for today we remember that.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Why I Write Series...

I've been asked before if my books are stand-alone reads or if there is an entire series?  First, yes - they can all be read on their own without having to read any of the least, so far they are.  I do have a series later in the pipeline that will need to be read in the series to get to the finale.  There is a fine line to balance on making the wait worth it and dragging things out too long - something I never hope to do.

Granted, I could write a bunch of single books and not worry about finishing a series before I start something new, but that isn't how it seems to happen for me.  Even if one single idea comes to mind, before it is all over, there will undoubtedly be more stories to come from it.  One strong thought quickly turns into sprinkles, eventually the thunder rolls and lightning flashes as another thought joins in, until the clouds open up and it's a torrential rainstorm in my brain.  No matter how I try to stop it or bring out the buckets to catch it, the rain doesn't give way until every last drop has fallen from my mind, streamed down my arms and fingers, and pooled onto the paper or keys of the laptop.  

And why try to stop it anyway...I've never thought about even attempting that.  For me, everyone in a book has their own story, my job as a writer is to make their voices heard.  I've never written a character that was just 'filler', I can tell you the restaurant owner that was mentioned in Finding Home will one day get his own book as part of an entirely different series - Fuego.  And the friendly staff member at Myra's gym in Taking Chances, will kick off my Kentucky Rain series when the time is right.

Characters in books are very much like people we pass on the street - we all have stories we can tell, lessons to share, and dreams to inspire.  

Here is what you missed!