What Happens When You’re Not So Super?

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My new Entangled Covet (and the first book in my new series) HIS SECRET SUPERHEROINE is out today!! And it’s on sale for $0.99!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a superhero? So have I and since I’m a bit neurotic the first thing I thought about is what’s it like for all those not so fabulous superheroes that don’t make the Avengers cut? What happens when you’re just not that awesome and there aren’t willing supergroupies breaking down your door looking for a date? How do you blend finding someone to love with saving the world?

That’s what Peyton, Shea (His Sidekick Situation) and Carly (The Villian Who Loves Her) all have to figure out. Because if dating is normally complicated– it only gets worse when you have to save the city as well.

If you’re interested in finding out just how well Peyton aka Fantastigirl can mix flying, crime fighting, the hot cop next door, and a doomsday device all into her busy schedule and still make it to work then click the link below and pick up His Secret Superheroine while it’s still on sale for $0.99

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25 Things I Learned From Chuck Wendig

1.) Some days writing is like brushing the teeth of a meth cranked baboon but other days it’s bliss. The bliss days should happen more often than the meth cranked baboon days.

2.,) Villians have mothers– no one sees themselves as a villian. Remember that.

3.) No more aspiring bullshit. You are a writer or you aren’t.

4.) Yes it always feels this way

5.) Reading does not make you a writer. Writing makes you a writer. So start writing damn it.

6.) Stop playing it safe– carpet bomb your comfort zone so that none may live there and you can never go back.

7.) Stop being afraid

8.) Novelists– read screenplays (and books about screenplays)

9.) Grow plots don’t build them. Stories are living things not banks

10.) Stories are filled with the tension and recoil of choice and consequences

11.) The two essential pieces– the screw up. Fixing the screw up

12.) The necessity of one kick ass MC moment

13.) Discover the sadness

14.) Establish setting early and reveal gradually

15.) Setting reflects theme

16.) Setting can be a source of conflict

17.) Put down the baseball bat and pick up the phial of poison

18.) For every answer a new question

19.) Boom goes the dynamite

20.) First drafts are vomit. All subsequent drafts are turning the vomit into something better.

21.) Be merciless toward your own work

22.) The mindset for editing is “I am excited to destroy the enemy that resists good fiction. I am ready to fix all the shit I broke”

23.) Editing passes: Content. Context. Copy

24.) Limit yourself to three descriptors. Any more and you’ve got a problem.

25.) It’s okay for pen monkeys to drop an F Bomb when they need to.

You Are Now Being Monitored For Performance: One Month on the Fitbit Flex

Six weeks ago I went to visit my doctor for my yearly physical. Yes, it was a special day for all of us involved. So I go in and the first thing they have you do is step on the scale. Now, like every woman in the world, this is the worst part of the visit but I step on the scale and the  nurse goes “hmmm.”

Why on Earth someone would say ‘hmmm’ in a doctors office I’ll never know because ‘hmmm’ is the very worst thing you can say in a doctors office because immediately you assume they’re diagnosed you with a rare, uncurable disease and you have minutes to live.

So I go into the exam room and my doctor meets me and she tells me “your weight is a bit up. And so is your blood pressure. I know you’ve been busy but I’d like you to start exercising more. A good investment to help you do this is to get a Fitbit. You can get a Fitbit flex, it’s waterproof (we both have daughters who are swimmers on the same team and the doc knows I like to swim laps for stress relief), and it will help record how much exercise you do. It can monitor your sleep. Monitor your activity. And it can help you make better choices—just by wearing it on your wrist.

What can I say? I fell for it. Another toy that is actually supposed to help me. So I get myself a Fitbit Flex and I strap it onto my wrist. I go onto the site and I set up an account and I’m all ready to go. I set myself an alarm so I can “silently wake myself without disturbing my parter” and I set my step goal (10,000 steps) and I get ready to get healthy.

Here’s what my first 30 days were like:

Day 1 6:15 am: I begin having dreams about being sent to death row. Old school movie clips play in my mind. I’m being led to the electric chair with a priest in formal robes with the big red hat and he’s walking in front of me reciting parts of the Bible.

My husband shakes me awake and tells me I’ve been screaming in my sleep about how I didn’t kill the guy he was already dead when I showed up.

Turns out it was the alarm.

Day 1 Noon: I’ve been to the gym and gotten my 10,000 steps in. Can I quit now?

Day 5: I realize that I haven’t been getting 20,000 steps a day. Turns out that I talk with my hands. A lot. The Fitbit thinks my talking is steps taken. I now take my Fitbit off if I’m having dinner with my husband, arguing with my kids or on the phone with friends. My daily steps have now dropped to somewhere around 7500 unless I make it to the gym. Which means the gym has now become a priority. Yay?

Day 10:  I’ve finally stopped having dreams about my own death via electric chair. Now the stupid buzzy alarm is just freaking annoying.

Day 15: I now find myself tapping my Fitbit Flex to see how many steps I’ve taken before I get myself a snack to debate whether I can “afford” the calories.

Day 20: I gave up on this early morning crap and moved the alarm up to 7:00 a.m.  (Now that it’s summer I’ve actually shut the alarm off because I no longer have to landmine my kids out of bed to get them to the bus each morning).

Day 25: My jeans are a little looser. I make healthier food choices when I go to the store. I’ve got more energy. I’ve been conditioned to wait for the little buzzes coming from my wrist like one of Pavlov’s dogs waiting for a dog biscuit.

Day 30: I’ve lost 5 pounds. Most days I get 10,000 steps in. The days I don’t—I don’t sweat them because I know that I can make up those steps the next day. Every day I get excited when I feel that buzzing. Every buzz reminds me that I’m making progress and I make better choices because I don’t want to undo that progress.

So, for me? The Fitbit Flex was a win. Sure, it looks a bit dorky wearing a rubber bracelet around everywhere but the constant positive reinforcement helps me to achieve my fitness goals. And no offense I can deal with looking a bit dorky—especially now that I’ve started craving that little buzzy feeling.

My Best Beach Reads

It’s Summer and I think everyone knows what that means. Beach and vacation reading. This year me and mine are heading on a 10 day eco tour of Costa Rica. Tortuguero National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park. Sea Turtles, Volcanos, Monkeys, Horses, Zip Lining, Surfing. This is not DisneyWorld my friends. So I also made sure to book in plenty of relaxing beach time for my lazy bones. And there’s nothing I love to do more on lazy beach days then work on my sunburn and read a good book. So here are nine that I’m held off on reading so that I can take them along to enjoy:

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And the one book I can’t wait to reread:

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Happy Birthday To Me!!!!

Just a sort note today to let everyone know I’m middle aged. I’ve been middle aged for a while but today I’m going to celebrate it. I’m 34 and this is the year I’m expecting big changes to happen.

My youngest is getting ready to start kindergarten this year which means I’ll now be home alone during the day with a full time writing career. I’ve got a banging new office that my family gave me for mother’s day, and a great spouse and two fabulous kids.

I am an exceptionally lucky woman and today I’m celebrating it? I’m going to enjoy the day with my family, the sun, and a whole lot of margaritas. And possibly barbeque.

For everyone else? I hope you have a good week. Read something fabulous. Have a drink for me. And remember—birthday cake doesn’t have calories so have a second piece.

Proud Book Girl

There was an article last week about Book Girls at BEA. Book Expo America for those of you who aren’t in the know. I didn’t get to go this year and it’s killing me. Especially since post-BEA was BookCon and BookCon looks like it’s going to become each year’s pilgrimage place for Book Girls.

Book Girls (if you don’t know what they are) are girls who love to read. Seriously love to read. Girls like I used to be. Girls who would rather read a book than anything else. Girls who seriously connect with the characters on their pages—or their screens. Girls who want to be special for more than their hair or their ability to get on a reality television show. Girls who are smart and funny and sensitive.

I was one of those girls. I still am one of those girls. And the great part? My oldest is a book girl as well. But the difference is she’s a book girl with a community. She’s not weird or nerdy or anything else. The teachers don’t complain because her nose is in a book.

Now, people are embracing book girls. Hollywood, publishers, the internet, even teachers and other students. People want to be the book girls. Why? Part of it could be that YA novels are starting to get real respect and very talented writers have started treading the boards in YA. Not just one or two authors like it was in my day. Now there are talented writers all over the place and their focus is the YA/NA market.  Another reason is that people are starting to see that the Book Girls are amazing. They’re smart and funny, confident girls. They’re girls that are sensitive to others and are capable of leading.

These Book Girls are going to be the ones who finally break the glass ceiling once and for all. And in thirty years? When we’re all old and grey and they’re us—their daughters aren’t even going to know that a world where Book Girls were something different and amazing even existed.

If you’re interested in a really great article from on the ground at BEA try this one at NPR.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/06/05/319064976/the-muscle-flexing-mind-blowing-book-girls-will-inherit-the-earth

New Work Spaces

So I’ve been behind in putting this up but I’ve got to share the Mother’s Day present I got from my family. Back in May it was decided for us to turn our fourth bedroom into Mommy’s Office. (Yay, the youngest is soon in school and that means Mommy gets an office to work in rather than tapping out words between disasters during the day. I repeat—loudly—YAY!!!

 So, back to the task at hand. Turning a dark brown, dreary fourth bedroom into a place where I not only could work but wanted to work. Let me show you how it looked:

 

This is what the room looked like before...

This is what the room looked like before…

Okay. You’ve got the old room in your mind. First things first—new paint. We went with this gorgeous light blue from Valspar called Beachy Sparkle. Or as Oldest called it – Alice in Wonderland Blue. Perfect for me—I’m a serious Alice Addict. This is the color it turned out:

 

aka Valspar's Beachy Sparkle...

aka Valspar’s Beachy Sparkle…

Now, what an office needs is a workspace. And I need lots of space since I am a work blob—I will expand to fill my space like no one’s business. That meant either A.) a new desk or b.) a trip to Ikea. After some looking online we decided that Ikea was the way to go. Now instead of one  foot desk I have two six foot desks that are joined together at their long ends giving me one big, white 12 foot hunk of space to clutter. Now I have my computer, two additional monitors and both of my printers along with office supplies right where I need them.

 

Ignore the mess

Ignore the mess

Next came the bookshelf filled with all the possible reference books I might need. Then the closet was filled with filing stuff and tended to sit around taking up space and needing to be moved before now. Before it was cluttered—now it’s still cluttered but I know where everything I need is. I might have to root through the closet but at least I know it’s only that closet.

 

My Reference Shelf and Reading Nook

My Reference Shelf and Reading Nook

Where the Ideas are supposed to happen

Where the Ideas are supposed to happen

Then? A comfy place to curl up and read a novel—or have a visit from hubby and the kids. I put in a futon and covered it with a quilt that Ben’s grandma gave us that matches the walls. Heck, I can even take a nap in here if I want to pull it out and have a kip. And I have with Youngest several times since the office was finished.

And for the finishing touch? Alice decorations. Red heart party lights strung over where the curtains should be. Alice in Wonderland wall decals up to inspire me and make me laugh. And red roses so I can keep reminding myself that if all my flowers turn out white then I can always get out the paint and start coloring them in.

What about you? If you were designing the ultimate YOU workspace what would you include? What wouldn’t you include? And what can you totally not live without?

 

 

Checking Out Fiction Unboxed

So I signed up for a Kickstarter (something I never do by the way) for a program called Fiction Unboxed and if you’re a writer or you’re just curious about how writers do their jobs or you’re one of those assholes who say “I could totally write a book if I wanted to I just have too busy of a life”—let’s hope you’re really not one of those assholes—then you should consider signing up too.

What is Fiction Unboxed?

Fiction Unboxed is this really cool program being ran by two great authors from Austin Texas – Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. If you sign up and contribute what you get to do is watch these two guys write a novel from the ground floor up. Depending on your level of contribution depends on how much you see and how much you get out of it. At the level I donated at I get to watch these two authors go through their process (which is probably much different from my process) and see how they make their magic happen.

Why do I want to do that? Because no one, NO ONE, except maybe J.K. Rowling and Nora Roberts is an absolute Jedi Master Yoda when it comes to writing. There are still tricks and techniques that we can learn—and teach—to each other as writers. Seeing how someone else does their process and does their work will help me evaluate what they’re doing, compare it to what I’m doing and then see how their process can help  me make mine better. And what comes from an improved process? Better stories.

How I explained Fiction Unboxed to my husband (who is not a writer): It’s like I’m Volkswagen and Toyota just invited my engineering and design team in to see how they make cars. When my time at Toyota is over am I going to stop making Volkswagens and start making Toyotas? No, but what I’m hoping is that I can learn about how they move their Prius down the line so that the next time I’m designing and building a new Beetle I can take what I’ve learned from them and use what applies in my work to build a better Beetle.

Which FYI—if that would have happened I guarantee you that the new Beetles would still look like Beetles and not some sort of toaster with a Cougar complex.

Anyway, Fiction Unboxed—it’s a cool program for authors and nonauthors to check out how one duo puts out a lot (and I do mean a lot) of fun stuff every year.  If you want to  learn more and possibly get in on the fun here is an article about it from the Austin Business Journal and the website for Fiction Unboxed as well as their publishing company Realm and Sands.:

http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/at-the-watercooler/2014/04/kickstarted-how-two-austin-authors-raised-19-000.html?page=all

http://fictionunboxed.com/

http://realmandsands.com/

 

 

What’s Coming Next

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog (I know I know, bad author no Starbucks) but I’m starting up again and I thought a good place to start was with what’s coming up. So here we go:

1.)    My novella—Sleeping with the Enemy—comes out Tuesday in the Spellbound in Sleepy Hollow Anthology with Boone Brux and Rosalie Lario. If you like witches, ghosts and all sorts of funny romance then this anthology is for you. And oh, yeah, it’s $0.99 when it releases so talk about a good deal—three novellas by three different authors (two of them are wildly funny and allowed me to come along for the ride) all for the price of a normal novella.

You can buy it here:

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2.) My St. Louis Superhero trilogy is churning along. I don’t have definite publication dates yet but I can tell you that His Secret Superheroine (St. Louis Superheroes Book #1) has been through it’s second pass edits with the editor and His Sidekick Situation (St. Louis Superheroes Book #2) has been through it’s first edit pass with the brilliant Allison Blissard at Entangled Publishing. The Villian Who Loves Her is almost finished and it should be heading into the publisher early this summer. So lookout for more information on this trilogy.

3.)    If you haven’t finished the Speak of the Devil series (my first series of books) all of them are now out and available for sale. Do Matt and Faith get happily ever after? Will the world end before they can finally get some time alone together?  What sort of secrets is Malachi hiding? (trust me even I didn’t see some of them coming). Find out by picking up the whole trilogy now. And if you comment below with an email I’ll even send you a special bonus short story on how Lisa ended up a succubus.

You can buy them here:

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