Happy New Year!

Hard to believe another year is gone. 2017 was a wild ride–and ended like a five-star theme park attraction. I’m seriously hoping for a much calmer 2018. I loved the full moon tonight (though my cell phone doesn’t take the best night photos).

My New Year’s traditions are tame. My husband’s work schedule often had him working either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, and usually had to go to bed early. As the mother of two, my “New Year’s Eve celebrations often consisted of trying desperately to stay up until midnight long enough to say “Happy New Year!” to myself, followed by desperately trying to keep my kids from attempting to stay up until midnight; to appreciating them trying to stay up with me. I’ve never really done the wild party scene. Some folks in my neighborhood set off fireworks throughout the day/night; it’s more annoying than celebratory–and sets off the dogs. The kids are now teenagers, and will be looking for their own celebrations far too soon. I tell myself some day I will throw my own party–not this year; maybe next.

I gave up on lists of Resolutions a while back–never found them useful or successful. What I do instead is a New Year’s Letter to Myself. It’s a great exercise for writers. Instead of listing all the things you want to change about yourself, or positive traits you want to develop, you handwrite a letter dated a year in the future–so this year, it’d be January 1, 2019. Treat it like one of those letters you get in holiday cards about all the interesting stuff that happened that year. So, if your Resolution list would be things like:

  • Lose weight
  • Organize the kitchen
  • Read more
  • Join  a writers group
  • Finish my novel

your New Year’s Letter would read something like:

Happy 2019!

Wow, I cannot believe what a fabulous year 2018 turned out to be. Who would have imagined?! It started off successfully when I cleaned out all the plasticware that had been taking up space, and found most of the missing lids as well–that let me donate the entire batch to charity. That opened up enough space that I rearranged everything and it is so much more efficient, I’ve started cooking again.

That has an unexpected side effect–I’m down two sizes! Not only am I eating more healthily, I’ve got the energy to start using the stationary bike. I’m listening to books on tape while I exercise, which is giving me plenty of inspiration for my writing.

I couldn’t believe how nice the people in my local RWA chapter are–I not only joined, I’m volunteering. And I’ve taken a couple of amazing workshops that helped me get my book finished. Now I’m interviewing editors and hope to have it out shortly! This year has been amazing!

It’s positive, upbeat, and shows SUCCESS. Note I said HAND WRITE. As in long-hand. Pen and paper. Not just typing it on the computer. This is one of those psychological tricks you’re playing on your brain. If you’ve read any Jack Canfield or Notes from The Universe, you’ll get the idea. What you’re doing is telling your brain all this good stuff has already happened. Yet, your brain “knows” that it hasn’t. So, the subconscious solution is to start finding tons of ways to make all this great stuff happen. Because clearly, it already has. It’s odd, but I find that I’m more successful with this technique than with intimidating lists.

It can be as long or as short as you want, and as wild and imaginative as you want. Use some caution–if it all does come true, you don’t want it to be totally outrageous. : ) Enjoy, and let me know if it works for you! (And no, you never have to share any of these sorts of exercises with ANYBODY. Keep it to yourself.)

And for New Year’s Day, I have previously provided the recipe for a blackeyed pea dip. https://wp.me/p2jJ14-2y I think it’s a Southern tradition that says if you eat blackeyed peas on New Year’s Day, you’ll have luck all year. As I kid, I always used to mutter, “Maybe it’s just if you eat it on the first day, nothing worse can happen to you the rest of the year.” I was NOT a fan of blackeyed peas in any format. I also don’t like spicy stuff. This recipe is both. And I LOVE it. A former boss brought it in after the Christmas/New Year’s break one year, and I was a total convert. Easy to make–you can cut it in half if you don’t have a big crowd. I haven’t tried doubling it–it makes a good amount. Enjoy!!

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Coming soon! PERFECT STRANGER Book 2 of The Foresters

Perfect Stranger CoverI’m excited to announce that Perfect Stranger, Book 2 of The Foresters series, will be available shortly.

You met Whip Forester and got a glimpse of Esme Burke in Past Imperfect. When their lives intersect, things get even more bizarre for the Forester Pack. The Pack had been tracking a killer—but now they’re wondering if they are facing more than one enemy.

Esme Burke’s carefully organized life turns upside down when she becomes the latest victim of a brutal serial killer. Staked out on a mountaintop with no family or friends to even realize she’s missing, Esme is convinced she’s about to die—until a gorgeous stranger appears out of nowhere.

The growing number of bodies on the mountaintop has the local shapeshifter Pack on edge. It doesn’t help that the evidence keeps pointing the police back to their den. Determined to stop the killer, Whip Forester finds himself saving the latest victim—and now they’re both being hunted.

Whip and Esme take refuge in each other’s arms, but when they become entangled in a magical spell, a mad doctor’s plot to clear his family’s name, and the vicious web of a murderer with a grudge, they’ll need more than just true love to survive—especially when they discover their mutual attraction isn’t exactly natural.

There’s magic and murder in the air, and time is running out for the Foresters and their allies.

Announcing My Debut Novel!

PastImperfect-AmazonI’m delighted to announce the publication of my debut novel, Past Imperfect! It is now available on major retailer sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. It should be available soon through the iTunes store in iBook format, and the paperback version will be available shortly.

AMAZON
IBOOKS
KOBO
NOOK
CREATESPACE (Trade paperback 6″x9″, 442 pp.)

As an injured stray, the idea of recuperating in hot chef Natalie Richards’ apartment suits “Fella” just fine—because he knows this whole four-legs-and-a-tail thing isn’t quite right.

Unfortunately, a sketchy memory and blinding headaches aren’t his biggest problems. Fella can’t help the feeling he’s connected to the break-ins and attacks plaguing Natalie’s restaurant, and when a serial killer goes after local women, he knows he needs to regain human form if he’s going to keep Natalie alive.

As exciting as it is to publish my first book, it is almost as exciting to refocus my attention on book 2 in The Foresters series–Perfect Stranger is in the works. I love this family, and hope you all will, too. You can subscribe to my newsletter or check back here on my website to learn more about the release dates for the stories of the Forester Pack!

Updates, Changes, and New Things

I’m still working on updating the website. I’ve gotten the newsletter link to work–sign up for Worth Reading!, my new monthly newsletter by clicking on the graphic in the left-hand column.

I’m still very excited by my cover…and looking forward to having preorder links up very soon.

Cover Reveal! PAST IMPERFECT comes out soon!!

PastImperfect-AmazonI am so excited to present the cover of my debut novel, Past Imperfect! The first in a paranormal romantic suspense series, Past Imperfect arrives at retailers soon. It will be available for preorder shortly.

Recovering in the tiny apartment of the hot, soft-hearted
woman who rescued him is a fine solution as “Fella” figures
out why he was bleeding and abandoned in an alley, though
the bigger issue might be that he is convinced he’s not actually
a dog.

Accidentally bringing home an injured werewolf with amnesia
is looking like the least of Asheville chef Natalie Richards’
problems as break-ins plague her restaurant and the mutilated
bodies of local women start turning up in the nearby state park.

My next books, Perfect Stranger and Perfectly Wild will be available over the next few months. Look for the continuing adventures and romances of The Foresters as the series continues. Each book is a full-length, stand-alone novel, focusing on five cousins trying desperately to keep their Pack safe as unknown enemies come looking for trouble. Romance is the last thing they expect to find as they try to stop the violence closing in.

I hope you enjoy the story!

 

[edited 11/30/2015]

Kim Headlee’s Maze of Twisty Passages on the Business of Writing

If you haven’t, you need to check out Kim Headlee’s blog posts on the Business of writing. Her most recent one is on how to handle–and find–reviews, but she’s got them on everything from basic e-book formatting to what you need in a promotion plan. Not only is her business advice useful, her historical novels are also amazing reads. Check out the links to her various books along the sidebar at her website.

http://kimiversonheadlee.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-business-of-writing-book-reviews.html

And check out her latTheChallenge-FINALest! (Love her covers!)

Synopsis:

Arthur the High King of Breatein has fallen captive of a longtime enemy, the Saxon warrior-princess Camilla, who lusts to avenge the death of her betrothed at Gyan’s hands and will stop at nothing, even the black arts, to achieve her goal. Because Gyan and Arthur have grown estranged, she fears that Arthur may side with Camilla to make her his new queen.
To meet Camilla’s challenge, Gyan must face all her demons—public as well as private.

The Art of Craft

This weekend was spCherry_at_podium[1]ent at a two-day Master Class workshop featuring the amazing Cherry Adair.

My brain is now stuffed with ideas, knowledge, and tips for doing everything better. Day one was Cherry’s plotting by color workshop—a grid and a rainbow of color sticky notes for every aspect of my novel I can think of and a few I couldn’t, but she provided.

Now…keep in mind, I am not a plotter. I am a “pantser”, an “organic writer”…let’s just say a seriously non-linear thinker.

Plotting workshops make me uneasy and somewhat panicky. Cherry’s was different. She suggests quite a bit of structure, but at the same time, it is flexible. And the colors sooth the creative part of my brain.

In addition to getting so much out of the workshop, I was part of a lucky group of people who won a one-on-one plotting session—half an hour of not picking Cherry’s brain, but having her pick mine to get the bones of the plot of a new book on the page. It was a fascinating process and so different from how I usually start a new story.

It’s always fascinating to see how different people approach the same idea—and what other people’s suggestions can do to your own ideas.

Cherry is the author of 52 books, novellas, and short stories. She gives workshops like this across the country and around the world. She’s published both Traditionally and Indie. She runs a Facebook page for aspiring writers to motivate them to finish the book and take the next steps in their careers. It is mindboggling that, on top off all of that, she will take her lunch break, her dinner break, and her “free time” in the evenings and do coaching sessions with a dozen or more writers.

From 9 in the morning to 10 at night, Cherry gave of her time, knowledge, passion, and energy. And the attendees hung on every word and gesture. The coachees were gracious enough to let interested people sit in on their brainstorming sessions and gather what tips they could from simply watching the expert in action.

“I wish stupid money upon you.”

 —Cherry Blessing   20150607_111658                                                                                                                                 

Day two was a series of shorter topics—the business of writing, with tips on everything from dealing with agents and editors to taking the leap into Indie Publishing. Then we dealt with Character Development, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she has fun and unique tips for getting to know your characters from every angle and using that inf20150608_223609ormation to produce vibrant three-dimensional characters on the page that the readers adore.

Cherry is total energy—she never stops moving—and Even when she veered off topic, the information imparted was fun and fascinating.

If you haven’t yet, you should check out the amazing and fabulous Cherry Adair. Her website (http://www.cherryadair.com/) is chockful of extras like a page about the agency from her T-Flac series, book trailers, tips for ergonomic writing, games, and her shop with her enhanced e-books and writing guides like The Writer’s Bible and soon, Plotting with Color. She’s been one of my favorite authors for a decade, and once I met her in person, one of my favorite people for years.

Now you’ll have to excuse me—I need to go play in my stack of brightly colored sticky notes.