Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Questions and my truthful answers

Recently I was at a dinner party when my friend informed some of the people that I was a writer. I was bombarded with questions almost immediately. How do you write? Do you use an outline? What is your word count per day? Where do the stories come from? Do you ever get writer's block? Some of the questions were from people who had never met an author before and were curious about the process. Others were wannabe writers who wanted to know everything there was about writing a book. I shouldn't have been surprised by all the questions. Almost every single day I receive emails, messages, etc. about being an author. Please give me advice. How did you make the New York Times? Tell me how to market. Are you a planner or seat-of-pants writer? The list goes on and on. I'm always happy to answer any questions. (Okay, I admit. I get giddy answering them because I'm a book nerd.) But the truth is I remember being in their shoes, looking for answers and wondering how other writers worked. I still find it fascinating to hear other authors' processes and I'm not afraid to ask what they are so it's only fair that I tell you mine.

I can't possibly answer every single question that I get, but I thought I would answer a few common ones...

~How do I come up with stories? This question always surprises me. I don't understand how someone cannot have an imagination. I've lived with mine too long to know anything different. My imagination kept me entertained when I was little and preoccupied when I should have been studying. It was my friend when I was lonely (I was a very, very shy child) and gave me something to daydream about when I was bored. I have never understood people that can't imagine. How can you not? My mind just doesn't comprehend that! The people that don't have an imagination look at me weird when I tell them that my stories play out in my head like a movie. My characters tell me what to write. They can pop in my head out of nowhere. I don't come up with stories. They just appear.

~How do I write? (Aspiring writers ask me this but so do other authors. It's just interesting to know how we each work.) When I start a new book, I open up Word and start typing. It's that simple. Blank page. Chapter One. Go. I write linear, meaning I start at the beginning and write scene by scene until the end. I VERY rarely skip ahead. It's just how my mind works.

~Do you use an outline? Good god, no. If I did it would be a mess. I would probably pull all my hair out and end up curled up in a corner rocking back and forth, crying. That's how much I hate outlines. I do have an idea in my head on where I want the story to go but when my fingers hit the keys everything flies out the window.

~What is my word count per day? It depends. Sometimes I'm lucky if I hit 500. Other days I can easily write 5,000. My best day was @10,000. On average I strive for 2,000 a day. That's my goal.

~Do you write everyday? Yes. I am a full time, this-is-my-job writer. I take my kids (a kindergartener and a teenager) to school, return home, grab some coffee, and start writing. I sit down at my computer around 9:00 a.m. I scan social media, reply to people, answer emails then I get to writing. I break for lunch and stop at 4:00 p.m. to do family stuff. I don't open my laptop again until 10:30 p.m. when everyone has gone to bed. I write until 1:00 a.m. or sometimes later then start all over again at 6:30 a.m. I survive and thrive on five hours of sleep or less. (My mother can testify that I've been this way my whole life.) (And no, I don't drink any Redbulls or Monster drinks. Only two cups of coffee a day.) But those kind of hours aren't for everyone. I do that seven days a week. Sometimes I take a day off but that's rare. I write every single day but weekends are a little slower for me. Sometimes I only write two hours if I have a lot going on Saturday or Sunday. That being said, I don't churn out a book every two months despite spending most of my waking hours writing. I know, you're asking why the heck not. Your guess is as good as mine.

~Do I ever get writer's block? No. There is always something for me to work on. If I get aggravated or stuck on a scene in a book, I'll close it and work on another ongoing book. Somehow that clears my mind and helps me focus.

~You're a New York Times bestselling author. How can I be one? Here's my answer - if I knew I would tell you. Really I would. But please, please, please just write because you want to, not because you're looking for a big paycheck. This is a tough business. Be here because it's your passion. Not because you think you can get rich quick.

~How do you market? I don't. I focus on the writing. Books are marketing. Giveaways, contests, Facebook parties...you are taking a gamble on if they will pay off. Your best bet is to write. That is just my opinion. I don't normally talk sales numbers but honestly, my books sales are crazy good and I don't do any marketing. The only time I market is around a book release (and I've been known to not do it then either.)

~I'm a new writer. Any advice? I get this open-ended question a lot. A LOT. So here's my short and sweet answer - write what you love and what you want to read. Period. Don't write something just because it's selling. Don't write about rocker duds because every blooming author out there is writing about them. Write to entertain yourself. Write what you love. You will never, ever, ever make everyone happy so you might as well only make yourself happy. In the end someone will love your book. Just make sure you do first.



Monday, January 5, 2015

What's on my nightstand?

I love to find out what everyone is reading. It's one of my favorite things to talk about. When I was younger, my summers were spent at my grandmother's. We would spend many afternoons sitting around the kitchen table discussing the books we were reading. We talked about the plots, the characters, and what it would be like to live during that time (we read a lot of historical romances.) Now I discuss those things with my husband (when he will listen) or with readers and other authors. Since I always want to know what others are reading, I thought I would share what I'm reading...

The first book on my nightstand is Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. I love her books. Really love her books. Like really, really love her books. (Did I mention how much I love her books?) In my opinion they are truly epic novels that are timeless and could be read again and again. I just can't get enough of them.

The second book on my nightstand (well, not really not my nightstand. This one's on my Kindle) is The Slayer by Kele Moon. It's not released yet but one of the secret perks of being an author is getting to read manuscripts before anyone else gets them. I have the privilege of reading Kele's manuscripts every once in a while and giving her my feedback. I did exactly that with The Slayer and now I'm enjoying the finished version. Love me some Kele Moon books!

Next on my list is...who knows. I have such a long TBR pile. To pick is hard, there are so many great authors to chose from. But my first priority is spending long hours in my writing cave. I've got numerous books that are halfway finished, sitting on my computer waiting for some attention. The characters in my head can be very demanding and grouchy. Must keep them happy. ;)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sweet Destruction Hits Lists!

I'm honored to announce that Sweet Destruction has been listed as one of the Top Books of 2014 by numerous blogs. This means the world to me and I want to thank each and every one of you that bought, loved, and continues to recommend Sam and Walker's story to others.


Below are some of the blogs that have Sweet Destruction listed as one of their Books of 2014. Go check out their lists. I know I'm adding the other books to my TBR pile!

~

*SubClub Books - http://thesubclubbooks.com (For two years in a row my books have been on their lists!)

*Southern Belle Book Blog - http://southernbellebookblog.weebly.com (Their review of Sweet Destruction blew me away!)

* Becca the Bibliophile Book Blog - http://www.beccathebibliophile.com (If you've ever seen a book trailer for one of my books, this lady is the one that creates them!)


Friday, November 7, 2014

Walker is back!

Sweet Destruction now has an extended ending! The e-books are live on all sites. All you have to do is update your version. (If you are not sure how to do this, please check the help menu on your particular reader device website or contact customer service for Amazon, B&N, etc.)

It has been brought to my attention that there has been some issues on Amazon for the automatic update. I've talked to Amazon and they reported there are some technical difficulties on their side with it. Until they resolve the issue, I've posted the extra scene and the extended ending here on my website. All you have to do is click the link below. It will also be listed under the tab "Extras."

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of Sam and Walker's story!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Promise Me Light Deleted Scene

Promise Me Light's one year anniversary was yesterday. I can't believe it's been one whole year since Maddie and Ryder got their happily ever after! I've been in my writing hole so much lately that the date slipped my mind until a reader reminded me of it. I wanted to do something special so I thought - why not release a deleted scene that I had sitting on my computer? So here's one I randomly picked. Yes, it's short but it conveys what I love about Ryder - his overprotectiveness, his love for Maddie, and his stubbornness too. I hope you enjoy!

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As Ryder and I stared at each other with anger, Cash grabbed the reins of the saddled horse. Stuffing the rifle in the scabbard, he led the horse back toward us, taking his time. His walk slow and sure, his gait measured. Holding the reins against his body, Cash started to peel off his gloves, one finger at a time. I glanced at him as he held the gloves toward me.

“If we’re gonna ride, you gotta be warm,” he explained in his thick Texas drawl.

I took the gloves with a snap of my wrist and slipped them on, almost weeping with relief when warmth enveloped my fingers. Ryder had made me so mad that I hadn’t realized how cold it had become. The temperature had dropped quickly with the falling snow, blanketing the ground with white. And Gavin was out there somewhere, lying on the cold, hard ground, thanks to Ryder and his short temper.

“Give me a leg up, Cash,” I said, turning my back on Ryder and holding the reins. Cash started to help me up, but was stopped quickly.

“Don’t touch her,” Ryder’s deep voice boomed behind me, snapping out like a whip. Before I knew what he was doing, his hands were around my waist and he was lifting me into the saddle.

I scrambled to hold onto the reins as Ryder planted me firmly on the horse’s back. His hand stayed on my thigh, burning me through my jeans, as I tried to calm the horse down. She danced and jerked sideways, away from Ryder. I understood the feeling. He made me skittish too.

His hand slid down my thigh and then off as he grabbed the reins. Stepping in front of the horse, he rubbed her nose, trying to get her to calm down.

“Whoa, girl. It’s okay,” he said in a soothing, calm voice. His eyes moved up to mine, looking so blue against the dark stubble on his face. Lowering his head again, he whispered to the horse, his gaze on me. “Calm down, girl. You’ve got my entire life riding on your back. Both of them. My heart and my baby.”

Oh, God. When he said things like that ... I was lost. Indefinitely.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Giveaway!

I'm giving away four free tickets to the Authors in the O.C. signing, taking place in Anaheim, California on Saturday, October 4, 2014. Enter for your chance to meet over 37 authors, including me!


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Crying Ahead But Still Behind

I just jumped ahead on a book I am working on (and still behind on) and wrote the "Acknowledgments" section because I was feeling very thankful for some people in my life. By the end of it, I was a blubbering mess and my youngest looked at me like I was crazy. I couldn't help it, I've met some amazing folks since I started publishing. And I also came to realize how much little things from my childhood would affect me now. Like my great-grandmother telling me stories about living during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl (I drew from some of those stories when I was writing PMD and PML). And then there was my grandmother spending hours discussing books with me, tearing apart plots and scenes and imaging living the life in the book. And my grandfather letting me tag along with him and the other farmers/ranchers when I was little, treating me like just another ranch hand. I feed cattle in the heat of the day and met the sunrise on the back of a horse. I stood around with old cowboys and listened to their tall tales, soaking in everything I could about their way of life. Each moment and memory affected me. Each second having an impact on my life. Not only did it make me what I am today but it also made me what I write today. So I'll cry when I write acknowledgments (even when I'm not done with the book) and blubber like a fool when I finally write "The End" because I've got a lot to be thankful about and many people that gave me the memories I needed to do what I wanted - write.