Back to Basics

Every year, my father and I participate in our town’s chalk walk. We pick a picture and then transfer it to a sidewalk stone “up town” while hundreds of adults and children draw around us. It’s a fun event, and over the years some of the drawings have been quite elaborate.

This year we were battling against the weather. The event was supposed to happen on a Saturday, but it rained, so they moved it to Sunday. We decided to draw something simple – to go back to basics like when we first started this process years ago. Attached is the finished product. Not too bad if I say so myself 🙂

And this got me thinking about my upcoming novels that will be released in the fall. The first book is all about Misha who was a huge part of my first series. In many respects, I am going back to basics with my books as well. But the fun twist was adding in Misha’s always overprotective and often hysterical family into the mix. And so the fun began and it gave me enough “story fodder” for brother stories!

So going back to basics isn’t a bad strategy after all.

 

A Paranormal Writer’s Halloween

Yes, I know. I didn’t write my Monday blog yesterday. But since Halloween was today, I decided to hold off until one of my FAVORITE days. As many of you who have been following me for awhile know, I am in love with Halloween. Costumes, parties, decorations…you name it…and I’m doing it.

Each year I dress up for work and keep it a secret until the day. My coworkers pester me for weeks, hoping I’ll slip up and give them some sort of hint. But no dice. I like to build the anticipation. Kind of like with my stories!

Is it any wonder I write paranormal? Halloween is about escape and childhood and memories of a wonderful time. I think it’s worth the trip, don’t you?

Let me know what you think about this year’s costume. Marge Simpson was a hoot for me to wear, especially the wig!

Paranormal Diet & Exercise Tip #1

In my new novel releasing on October 31st, the heroine works as the health director for stressed out paranormal brides. Which makes me chuckle every time I think about it. I thought it would be fun, instead of paranormal wedding tips, to share diet and exercise tips in preparation for my release!

The paranormal twists to this theme could be endless…but I controlled myself this time and created five tips to share. So this week, you can have some fun with me. Check out the first tip in the 30 second video below or by clicking HERE.

Let the fun begin!

 

Calling All Book Boyfriends!

i-beg-your-pardon-927750_640You heard me correctly, I am looking for the best in book boyfriends and I want to hear from you!

So what is a Book Boyfriend (or Book Girlfriend – I’m all about equal opportunity), you ask? Well, let me tell you. We all have read that special book where the hero or heroine calls to us. Something about them that makes us think, THIS, THIS is what a good boy(girl)friend/spouse is all about. And since it’s a story, we can revel in the wonder of making that hero(ine) ours, at least in our imagination.

So let me give you two examples of my book boyfriends (and this is just a very small sample since I have MANY of them).

Kev Merripen the hero in Lisa Kleypas’ Seduce me At Sunrise is one of my all-time favorite heroes. Dark, damaged, and yet loving and willing to sacrifice everything to protect the delicate woman he has loved for years. Sigh…

Butch O’Neal the hero in HR Ward’s Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood book 4). Now if you read BDB, you might be surprised by my book boyfriend choice. Don’t get me wrong, I love those bad-mouth, sexy-alpha vamps, but there was something so special about Butch and his love for Marissa. AND the fact that he didn’t start out as a vamp.

There’s a taste for you.

I think this is a wonderful exercise and as I find new book boyfriends, I’m going to share them with you. So keep an eye out on Twitter, FB, etc to find out who my newest crush is! What I’ve found is that book boyfriends normally mean I’ve found a good book, so why not share (the book, not the boyfriend – he’s mine).

So who is one of your book boyfriends? Spill the beans and let me know. You can comment on this blog, or tweet me or FB my page. Curious minds want to know.

 

Creative Avenues

Each year, my father and I participate in our town’s Chalk Walk. This is an event where kids and adults (who still think they are kids) go to town and draw on the sidewalks. Think of it as a legalized graffiti day!

For my dad and I, it’s a time to do something together. We enjoy the idea of picking out the picture and then figuring out how we’ll resize it and draw it on the sidewalk. My dad has a whole process worked out now on what we do (now you know where my OCD comes from, right?).

He is the true artist. He draws the design and then I add the color and depth. We make a good team and since we are both creative, it’s a wonderful outlet for us.

And ultimately, that’s what matters. Are the pictures perfect? No. But the experience is the key. Are we having fun along the way?

That’s an important lesson I need to tell myself with my writing and with my life.

So here is this year’s design….what do you think?

20160625_112151

Reflecting on Nationals

Last week my blog was about my conference hangover and how I was trying to reconnect with the real world. Now that my brain appears to be functioning again, I have had time this past week to reflect on my experience at RWA Nationals this year. And for me, I think that the 2015 Nationals was all about CONNECTIONS.

When I arrived at the airport, I met up with several authors who were traveling on the same flight to New York. And boy did we have a blast at the terminal waiting for our flight. Not sure if people moved away from us or not, but when a group of romance writers get together…the conversations can get a little interesting.

And the fun didn’t stop there. We were stuck on the tarmac for two hours when we landed in LaGuardia, but we took it all in stride. When we finally got off the plane, a woman stopped us and thanked us for entertaining her while we waited!

The entire trip was about connections for me. Meeting new writers and reconnecting with old friends. But the highpoint of the conference was meeting my fellow First Book nominees. We had spent months blogging, tweeting and facebooking about being finalists. And finally meeting them face-to-face was so wonderful. Because here’s the thing…you can be up for an award and that is pretty cool, but the friends you make along the way? That’s what really matters.

At the reception, we “Firsties” spent time together and snapped this awesome picture!

Left to Right: Alyssa Alexander, Natalie Meg Evans, Sonali Dev, AE Jones, Patience Griffin, Clara Kensie, Elia Wnters
Right to Left: Alyssa Alexander, Natalie Meg Evans, Sonali Dev, AE Jones, Patience Griffin, Clara Kensie, Elia Wnters

 

The Experience is What Really Matters

Every year my father and I participate in our city’s Chalk Walk event. We have gotten pretty good at it over the years, if I do say so myself. We take our supplies with us, including knee pads, water, brushes, paper towels, etc. And then the city provides free chalk for us to use on the sidewalks.

This year I was upset to find out that I was going to be out of town on Saturday when Chalk Walk took place. VERY UPSET. So we came up with the idea to do our own chalk walk on Sunday (or I should say I came up with the idea and convinced my father to play along).

So here was our plan:

  • Choose picture to draw
  • Dad to pick up free chalk on Saturday
  • Draw picture on Sunday

Sounds easy, right? Well…it would have been if we hadn’t had to deal with RAIN. It poured rain at my house Sunday morning and I thought we were done. But it didn’t rain in town where we were going to draw. As I drove to my dad’s house it started to rain. And we thought we were finished, but after a few minutes it stopped and the sun came out.

?
Dad drawing the outline

We looked at each other, grabbed our supplies and headed into town, knowing that the rain was coming again and we probably wouldn’t be so lucky the next time. And we sat on the sidewalk, by ourselves, surrounded by drawings from the day before and black clouds overhead. Dad had already drawn a preliminary sketch on cardboard to help speed up the process when it came time to draw on Sunday. Not sure if he was fearful of the rain or the cops coming and asking us what we were doing!

As he drew, I colored and the drops started again. I threw my arms up into the air and yelled ‘no’! Really, I did. It was quite dramatic. We took a quick picture of the partially completed drawing, fearful we were defeated.

?
See the raindrops! Thought we we finished for sure!

But my father, brilliant man that he is, threw a blanket over me and the drawing and I finished it while it sprinkled. And we laughed as I knelt on hands and knees over the picture and my dad held the blanket. He would periodically peek underneath and tell me what needed fixed. And this chalk walk will definitely stick in my mind as one of the most memorable!

Here is the final picture. Pretty nice, huh? About 45 minutes after we finished the skies opened up and rain poured down over our drawing. But it was okay, because the experience was what really mattered to us.

?
Final Product!!

 

 

 

In some ways this process made me appreciate my writing path even more. Sometimes I have to remember that I can’t let things defeat me whether real or imagined. This weekend taught me that it’s overcoming the obstacles along the way that make the finished product that much sweeter in the end!