The Start of a New Series

Yesterday was my favorite day. Not because it was Monday because let’s be serious, everyone hates Mondays. Everyone. Even those annoying people who tell you how much they LOOOOVE going to work each day. Even they hate Mondays.

So the fact that it was Monday was not why I it was such an awesome day. Yesterday was an amazing day because I started a new series that’s been bubbling away in the back of my mind for about two years that I’ve been plotting for the past four months. Over 200+ pages of notes and yesterday, finally, FINALLY I sat down at the computer, opened my word processing program—I’m a Scrivener Girl for rough drafts and then I move to word—stared at that beautiful

Chapter One

And got the chance to start filling in everything beneath it. Now I’m off to work on my new baby a bit more. Have a beautiful day everyone

There’s Nothing Like Getting Back To Work After A Vacation

So I made the conscious decision this year to take the summer off and hang out with my kids. Youngest is heading to Kindergarten. Oldest is in her last year of elementary school. I was at a swim meet or a swim practice basically every day all summer and my brain needed a break. So I took the summer off and hung out by the pool. And it was fabulous. Absolutely great. I now have a healthy jealousy for teachers who get the summer off.

But I noticed half way through July that my fingers were itching for my computer. I was ready to get back to work.So I reread old favorites. I started scribbling down ideas and batting them around with some people I trust. In August I started plotting a massive YA series. Just in dribs and drabs. No deadlines. No pressure. But pretty soon that urge to put my fingers on the page was back. And now that the kids are in school? I’m ready to own my writing again and my brain is fresher than ever.

What about you? Do you get itchy when you take time off to recharge or is it a slog to go back?

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

Entangled-Covet

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?