It’s Never Too Late To Be Thankful

Last week I lost track of days. Maybe it had to do with only having to work three days  before Thanksgiving. But Monday came and went last week and I didn’t think about posting my Monday blog. And when I woke up Thursday morning and turned on the Macy’s day parade for some reason that jogged my memory that I hadn’t posted anything!

I had planned on writing about being thankful – very appropriate for the holiday. And I realized that it is NEVER too late to talk about being thankful. I think it is something we should think about every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.

I am so thankful for my family – my dad, especially. And my friends who have been with me for years and those I have met recently as a writer.

And I am thankful for my writing. It has opened up a world for me. I have met amazing people and readers! I am so thankful for my readers – you jump into my world and understand my characters and keep reading! How blessed and thankful can one writer be?

Very, very thankful!

When a Drink Isn’t JUST a Drink

Last week my brother came to town, and we went out to dinner. When the waiter came to take our order, my brother said that I wanted a shot of tequila and then another shot should come every ten minutes after that. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, my brother is a bit of a comedian).

When the waiter came back to the table, he passed out the drinks and then set a shot glass with a lime in front of me, smiled, and told me he would be back in 9 minutes.

My brother and I gaped at him for a moment until the waiter said, “Just kidding. That’s water.”

And then we laughed, and laughed again. And even though my brother had gotten “one-upped”, he proclaimed the waiter was awesome!

So I got to enjoy a drink without really enjoying a drink!

I think that can also be said about the power of fiction. It allows us to experience other times, locations, people, and even worlds that we wouldn’t normally get to experience. And good fiction means that we enjoy these stories even when we aren’t really living in them 🙂

So we get the buzz without the hangover – I’ll always take another round of that!

Lovin’ Summer

If you have ever seen the musical Grease, there is a great song called Summer Lovin’ where we get to find out how Danny and Sandy first met. I’m going to take the liberty of switching the title around a bit to discuss this week’s topic – Lovin’ Summer.

Where I live, we’re in the midst of summer and I love it. There is something so freeing about summer. Maybe it’s because I live in the north where I’m trapped inside in the winter months, or maybe it just has to do with the fact that the sun doesn’t set at 4pm, making me want to crawl under the covers by five.

Freedom from heavy clothes and shoes. Wiggling my toes in my flip flops. There is something amazing about it for sure. But summer also makes me want to free myself of responsibilities.

But that is not going to happen. Why? you ask… because when summer is done and fall is here, my demon trilogy will release. So even though I’m sporting flip flops right now, I’m still getting my books written, edited and ready for you. In my stories, Misha and his crazy family are enjoying a Cleveland Summer. I may be channeling my seasonal love through them, but that’s fine.

It will just keep summer around a little longer!

 

Writing is NOT Solitary

You might have noticed that last week I missed posting my blog. I had just returned from RWA’s national conference and by the time I realized I missed my blog last Monday, I decided it was Fate’s way of telling me to take a blog vacation for a week. So I did.

But I didn’t want to forget to share my conference experience with you. For me, the national conference gives me the ability to regroup, both mentally and emotionally as a writer. I attend sessions and find out what is happening in the world of publishing. But even more importantly, I catch up with my writer friends. Many of whom I only see at conference. Sure, I may email or talk to them since they are located all over, but there is something special about spending actual time together.

When I am with a group of writers, my sense or rightness (or “writeness”) returns. I gather with people who understand my language and have stories that won’t stay silent in their brains. Powerful friends to have.

So I got to spend time with my peeps to gear up for another year of writing and publishing. Batteries have officially been recharged.

Why 9556 Is a Magic Number!

Have I piqued your interest? Why in the world would 9556 be a magic number? Well, that is the number of words I wrote this weekend on my third novel in my demon brothers series. And the best part of that number? The last two words were THE END!

Wow, I am so happy to have the first draft done, done, done! Cue the music, confetti, balloons, and chocolate, because AE has written Misha, Aleksei, and Sergei’s stories.

Now we jump into edits, edits, edits! And then the books should be heading your way in the fall. I can’t wait to share this Russian demon family’s stories. It was great to dive into Misha’s family in a big way.

Normally an author provides splashes of backstory to build a character. In this instance the back story actually got to come to life in the form of two more sexy demon brothers, an outrageous Grandmother (Babushka) and a smooth-talking Father. So we get romance, and family drama, and learning how to fit in. We also have some cute kids thrown in as well!

Over the next few months, I’ll be telling you more, more, more about these stories. I’ll also share covers, blurbs, and release dates.

I just wanted to share the news, so you could celebrate along with me! And don’t worry about things getting too crazy. My celebration last night included a vanilla/chocolate twist cone with crunch.

Yep, I know how to throw a party!

 

Spring Had Finally Sprung

In an hour, it will officially be the first day of spring in the states. And even though it might snow tomorrow in my part of the country, I am still looking forward to breaking out of a very long and cold winter.

It seemed appropriate that this weekend I finished the first rough draft of the second demon book I have been writing. My editor is in the process of editing book number one, and I am multi-tasking and working on the next one. I got quite a jump-start on this second book and now I need to read it through and start my edits before I send it to my beta readers.

Writing is a cyclical process much like the seasons. Ideas – writing – content edits – detailed edits – proofread – format – publish. Start all over again…

And when you are working on more than one book at a time, it’s like your seasons crash together – kind of like snow on the first day of spring…

(See how I tied that back to what I said in the beginning? Cool, right?)

A Writer’s Spring Fever

Spring is coming in a few short weeks and I am so very excited. We had a LONG winter where I live, and the idea of flowers, green grass, and sunshine pushes away the winter blahs.

There is something invigorating about spring. It’s a fresh awakening. As a writer, that holds a special appeal. For me, there are several “spring-like” steps to my writing process.

Writing lets me delve into new worlds, new plots, new characters, new mysteries, new romances…something that I haven’t experienced or written before.

Right now I’m reading through my manuscript before I send it to my editor for detailed edits, and I realized that as I make tweaks to scenes, I am planting seeds. Making it the best it can be, before my editor gets a hold of it and REALLY cleans it up – I guess you could say she’ll be doing a spring cleaning on it 🙂  (sorry couldn’t help myself  with that one).

But I’m happy that sunshine is finally making its way into my little corner of the world. And if I’m lucky, I hope it continues to shine in my work as well.

Calendar Me This

It’s almost February and I was quickly losing sight of a goal I had set for myself this year. My plan was to map out 2018 as best I could concerning my writing. How exactly to do it?

A giant, erasable calendar, of course!

In that way, I can scope out my plans for the year and look at them hanging from my wall in all it’s technicolor glory. And while my hope is I can stick to the plan, the calendar is erasable, so it allows me some flexibility.

Flexibility is a very important thing to a writer. Nothing ever goes exactly to plan. Whether it’s the writing of the story – the plot goes a new way, the character evolves into something unexpected- or the process to get that book out there to readers – edits, proofs, formatting – something will not follow the normal path. So you learn to roll with the punches, but at the same time, if you don’t plan at least a little bit, you won’t ever get to point B.

I’ve decided that I want to plan for writing in 2018! Better planning – leads to bigger successes. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Summer Desperation

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I can feel the anxiety in the air. I call it summer desperation. The last few weeks before the glorious season comes to an end and we head into fall. With these last days, there is a need to eat fresh foods, sit in the sun, walk barefoot in the grass, drive with the top down, swim, boat, camp, grill outside, and get in those last minute summer reads!

All the fun things that we enjoy in the freedom of the warm season – at least for those of us who have cold winters!

As much as I love the fall, there is something bittersweet about these last weeks of summer. As if our play days are coming to an end whether we want them to or not. Of course, for writers, we can delve into worlds where the sun is shining warmly. I have found that the weather in my books often reflect the mood of the scene I’m creating.

One scene that stick out to me in particular is in Sentinel Lost, the 5th book in my Mind Sweeper series. Kyle must face something painful, that she prayed she never would again, and as she runs outside, the rain comes down, cold and wet as if Mother Nature cried along with her. It just fit with the mood.

So as I walk barefoot outside and lean back absorbing the sun on my face, I know that I can visit summer anytime I want in my writing. And I’ll remember that when the air outside fills with frost.

What about you? Can you think of stories where weather plays a part in the story?

Speak Up!

child-1267510_640While my editor is reading my first draft of To Have and To Howl, I thought it was a good time to try something new. So I bought dictation software. I finally bit the bullet and decided to try it after hearing other authors rave about dictation. They said it helped with productivity, and it was healthier because they didn’t have to sit and type at the computer.

I’ve been using the software for a couple of days now, and one of the things I found out rather quickly is that you need to be patient. And that is something that I’m not very good at. Another thing that I’ve learned is that I’m teaching myself how to rethink as I write. What I mean by that is that when I type, in some respects, I’m using muscle memory. With dictation, I have to think through my mouth…so to speak – LOL

I have to remind myself that when I first learned to type it was a slow process and now I do it without thinking. So I hope the same thing can be said about the dictation software once I get used to it. So far, it’s been an interesting ride. As a matter fact, I am writing my blog tonight with the software. My cat Dylan is sitting next to me meowing and the software keeps asking me to repeat what I’m saying 🙂

If I don’t watch him closely, he’ll be using my computer and dictating emails to his cat friends! I’ll let you guys know how it goes as I get more used to hearing myself tell my stories out loud.

The picture I’ve included is a representation of me working on my dictation software. Except I don’t have red hair, and the headset I’m using isn’t pink, and I’m not a doll, but you get the idea!