Friday, January 23, 2015

Welcome Loni!

Top 10 Awkward Romantic Moments 

Thank you, Elizabeth, for allowing me on your blog.

Sometimes, romance is tough. Take it from Cera, the main character in This World Bites. Throughout the story, she shares her flirting rules, including the one about not killing your potential love interest.

Now, I'm luckier in love than Cera is, but since my wonderful host, Elizabeth, is a romance writer, I thought it'd be appropriate to present my Top 10 Awkward Romantic Moments.

Discloser: My husband and I have been married for 7 years (together for 10). My daughter is 4, and my son is 18 months.

10. *first date attempt - we were co-workers at the time*
Me: I don't think Beverlie can go to the movies with me.
Him: If your friend can't go, I might be able to.
Me: Actually, next on the list is Sarah.

9. *first date success*
Him: Did you want to go see a movie?
Me: What did you have in mind?
Him: The Grudge.

8. Him: *gets down on knee and holds up ring*
*six hours later*
Him: "Oh, uh, I forgot to ask... Will you marry me?"

7. Me: *wanders out in new lingerie* "Hey, my love..."
Him: *at computer* "Just a sec, we're almost done with this raid."

6. Him: "I've got the wine. You got the oysters?"
Me: "I set them on your desk."
Dog: *burp*

5. Him: *strolls into house, flowers in hand*
Daughter: *utterly hopeful puppy-dog eyes* "You brought me flowers, Daddy?"
Him: "Uh, yeah... Happy Mother's Day."
Daughter: "Mama! Daddy brought me flowers!"

4. Me: *smoke alarm blaring in the background* "I made you dinner."

3. Him: "Both kids are asleep, so how about you and I--"
Him: "--f*ck."

2. He and I settle into a nice bath. A laptop plays a movie nearby. Candles glow in the dim lighting. Daughter wanders in.
Daughter: "I want a bath too!" *strips*
Him: "Wait. No--"
Daughter: *climbs in* "I like baths."

1. He and I are under the covers. Daughter climbs onto the bed.
Daughter: "I want to be in the middle."

What awkward romantic moments have you had?

Me? I'd have to say any romantic moment prior to adulthood was always more than a bit awkward ;)

I've read This World Bites and loved it. It's a funny, science fictiony fantasy sort of tale with zombies vegan vampires. 

Thanks for stopping by Loni!!

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Thanks Lexa Cain for keeping this hop going!

What wonderful things happened this week?

* The fabulously sweet Tara Tyler updated my blog header for me. Pretty awesome, right? 

* Defying Reason edits are done.

* Christmas decorations are all down and packed away. 

* I even managed some exercise time this week!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Follow That Bliss!

I've got my edits back and while you're reading this, I'm hopefully happily getting this book ready for publication:

Thanks to everyone who offered to host me in the coming month. You guys are all awesome!

This book was a fun story to write. The hero of the story is young Tanner Coulter, the now grown-up son from the first book in the series, Past Due

When I wrote Past Due, I never planned on writing a series. It was going to be a stand alone tale. 

But once THE END was written, the middle child bad boy and heart-break accomplice of the Coulter Men was off on his own- licking wounds in Montana. He seemed sad. Misunderstood. 

Then when that story was done, little brother Trip was shouting- Hey, what about me, lady? What am I? Chopped liver?"

And I was done. A three book, stand-alone series that was never meant to be a series in the first place. 

But a funny thing happens with books and characters. 

They feel like they belong to the writer, but that's a fantasy. We start it, but we don't finish it. 

These stories belong to the readers. 

And when I said- these stories are now done- time to move on. Fans of the Coulter Men asked for me. Honestly. I was ready for a fresh set of characters, so I balked a little. I reminded them that there were only three Coulter sons. Some suggested a long lost bastard child emerge. Well, that wouldn't work. Barbara and Charles Coulter were soul mates. To add another child to either of their back story would have ruined their love story. 

Then it occurred to me. There was another Coulter. He just needed to grow up. 

And he has...sort of.

I'm all about bliss following. That's why I write. That's why I'm sitting here typing up this blog post. I believe people should follow their heart and pursue what makes them happy. And no one is a better example of a bliss chaser than the nets own, Alex J Cavanaugh. Ninja by day, rock star by night- Alex knows that once you take care of business, the soul should get to play. 

Way to go Alex! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Take Me Away!

No one understands the twists and turns of the teenage mind like C Lee McKenzie, so the following won't shock her a bit.

Now Christine Rains is raising a young, genius child, so she may not yet get it, but she may as well learn now and get the shock over with.

I was trying to think of an intro post for Christine and Lee's new books- books that are absolutely high on my to read list because both of these ladies know how to deliver a good story. And they're both sweet hearts, so I wanted to do right by them. So I sat there looking at the screen- thinking hard.

Then my phone pinged. And I got this from my college student: (Forgive the bit of crude, my son is eighteen and has zero fear of Mom...and Mom is known to slip into potty mouth, so who am I to judge?)

Cole's texts are in gray; my responses are blue- just in case you thought I was trying to talk him into buying me an Xbox.

See? Teens are tough to raise. Quick witted teens- even tougher.

No wonder I like to lose myself in a good book. Thank you ladies for keeping me in stock!

Geek girl Morgan Reid has been to many conventions, but none that had her wishing it would never end.

Dressed as their characters from the online game Steampunk Quest, Morgan and her best friend meet the other players for the first time in real life. Morgan's attraction to the gorgeous Dean Bradley is immediate, making it difficult to breathe in her tight corset. Even after a few dice shattering orgasms, she doesn't believe this can be anything more than a con fling. But Dean is making her feel things she's only read about in books. Can Morgan let go of her cool-headed logic and allow herself to fall completely for the perfect geek guy?

Purchase links: Amazon / Nook / Ellora's Cave / Kobo

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. Please visit her website and blog.


one Secret
Cleo has struggled to heal after her baby sister’s death, but the flashbacks to the accident won’t go away. With the move, she vows to keep her tragedy a secret and avoid pitying looks.

one Mystery
Something’s strange about the abandoned house across the street—flashes of light late at night and small flickers of movement that only someone looking for them would see. 
Everyone says the house is deserted, but Cleo is sure it isn’t, and she’s sure whoever is inside is watching her.

another Secret
In one night, Belleza’s life changes forever. So famous, her only choice is to hide her secret from the world so she can silence small town bigotry. 

Then Cleo happens.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'm So Appy!!

Yesterday, I had a conference with my editor (or as my husband so accurately understood that meant I Facebook chatted while answering his Trivia Crack challenge), and Defying Reason should be ready to launch in mid- February!

So, I am adding the cover to the coming soon category and looking for blog stops. My plan is small promos with a new odd fact for each stop (playing on the Defying Reason idea). Anyone who has space available, I'd be grateful for the help.

Now, about those Apps....

I love saving money. 
Money saved is money not spent, therefore it's just like money earned.
First, and the easiest ever way to save money is with the Wal Mart Savings Catcher. It's price matching without hauling in the sale ads! I got the app on my iPhone, so all I have to do is scan the QR code on the receipt.  So easy!!
Another savings app is iBotta. Basically, you scan the bar code of an item they offer a rebate on, take a picture of the receipt and you get money back.

I also love writing!

Being the list making, need to quantify what I've done in a day sort of gal, I wanted a way to log in the number of hours I was working. I downloaded the Writing Journal and I love it.

It has a timer, so when you sit down to write, you can time yourself. Then when you're done, log in your word count and the Writing Journal keeps track of your stats- rate, word count, project total, and combined total. The app is free if you only want to log in one project. 2.99 for the upgrade.

And I LOVE playing games!! 

My latest addiction: Trivia Crack.

I got this to play my kids, especially my guys away at college.
It was a fun way to interact, get my butt kicked and have fun.
The upside is that it's a quick back and forth. Since I'm no genius, I can play all the games on my challenge list in about ten minutes. Or I can just play the games that are expiring- I have two days to respond.

I even let Tara Tyler beat me a time or two. It's just fun!

That's it for the Apps.
But I do have more good stuff. I got this before Christmas and kept waiting for the perfect time to brag it up a little. One of my favorite bloggers, Ms. Sheena Kay Graham has a cover for her upcoming book. Yay!!!

Isn't it lovely? Congratulations Sheena-Kay!!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Rosey Marketing

Do I have a treat for today!! The fabulous Stephanie Faris is here sharing a little about marketing!! I know. I know. Marketing makes me want to cry too. I'd rather be in labor edits than do marketing. But Stephanie is one smart lady and she's here to try to ease our pain. 

Here's Stephanie!

How to Promote Your Book without Breaking Your Budget

As new authors, we want our books to succeed. We work hard, crafting the perfect piece of fiction, and we can’t wait to share it with the world. Unfortunately, as new writers, our names are completely unknown to the vast majority of the population. This means we have to work hard to get the word out about our books and hope people are interested enough to buy it.

New writers have another problem, as well: no marketing budget. Fortunately, we live in the era of the internet, where a message can be sent to thousands of people at once for free. Here are a few free (or inexpensive) ways to promote your book for free.

Make It Social

Sites like Twitter and Facebook are perfect for promoting your book, especially if your friends and family follow you. The problem is, unless you’ve worked hard to build your online networks, your following may be fairly small. To build it up, invite your followers to share news about your upcoming release. You’re likely to get a few new followers who are excited to be Facebook friends with an author.

Host a Giveaway

As part of your book promotion, host an internet-wide giveaway that includes a free signed copy of your book as a prize. Some authors purchase a $25 gift card to add further incentive to entrants. Rafflecopter offers all the tools you’ll need to create a giveaway to post on your blog.

Pound the Pavement

One thing you can (and should) do is visit all of your local bookstores to tell them about your book. If your novel is self-published, many independent and used bookstores will now sell your book on consignment, so if you have physical copies for sell, you’ve likely already considered that. Introduce yourself and offer to sign a few copies if your book is already on shelves. If not, tell bookstore owners you’ll come back to sign them once they’re in. I found most bookstore owners were more than willing to order a few copies if they could place a “Signed by local author” sticker on the front cover.

Schedule Local Visits

If your books are for adults, contact local writer’s groups and offer to hold workshops. This can be a great way to sell books and introduce your name to people who love to read. Also check for local book clubs and readers’ groups. Children’s writers often find the best way to promote our books is to offer school visits, either in person or via Skype. Some authors have been able to sell hundreds of books in one visit.

Keep Promo Items Simple

Before your book releases, you’ll need a website, as well as some promotional materials to give out as you’re talking to bookstore owners and writer’s groups. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a website—using one of the many free WordPress templates available, you can create a promotional page without spending a dime. You can also design your own bookmarks and postcards using the design tools available on sites like VistaPrint and UPrinting. Printing won’t be free, but you can print in small quantities and have a handful available whenever you need them.

With enough hard work, hopefully you’ll eventually build a fan base who will buy every new release from you. Initially, this will require some hard work and support from your great friends.

25 Roses

Stephanie Faris


Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight. 


Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 

Thanks for stopping by Stephanie! I took some notes and now I just have to put these wise words into action! And for readers, that's not all- there's a give away too!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cloud Niners: An IWSG Post

Join the IWSG here!

Welcome to the very first 2015 IWSG posting!!

I love new years. They're like clean, blank notebooks. No smudges, no scribbled out sentences...just wonder and magical possibilities to mark up each new page.

I'm also excited to be one of this month's IWSG co-hosts! Helping Alex out periodically is a great reminder that being successful is a LOT of hard work. I mean everyone wants to be a ninja master, but until you walk a mile in those slippers, you have no idea how much work it takes to be awesome.

So, be sure to stop by the IWSG Page and say hi to the ninja master...and don't forget to say hi to this month's other co-hosts: 

Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, and Michelle Wallace

Oh, yeah- I almost forgot! It's howdy time at the IWSG, so I will pause a moment to (re)introduce myself. 

I'm Elizabeth. I have four boys (I guess two are now men- egads!) and one comic book addicted, OCD husband. I write women's fiction (AKA romance) and tackle the laundry one pile at a time. Want to know more? Visit my website where you can learn all**

Now about that insecurity....

People wish on stars all the time and hope they get what they want. It's simple and easy, sometimes costing nothing more than a penny. But some people move beyond wishing wells and shooting stars and apply elbow grease and brow sweat to the pursuit of the goal. And with all the hard work and dedication, good things start to happen. Maybe it's a book deal, weight loss, or even a perfect house- no matter the dream, when it becomes part of your reality, you're on Cloud Nine. 

Then suddenly, someone from Cloud Ten rains on your happy parade with a friendly reminder that Cousin Lynn or Acquaintance Joe is skinnier and better than you. Sure, you're bragging about that small pub contract you snagged...Lynn or Joe wrote a story that's bound to be a best seller- AND he/she penned it on a napkin while juggling dinner plates as he/she also whipped up a masterful Hollandaise sauce. 

Or maybe Cloud Ten rains down with bad reviews or snubs from friends. 

There are so many ways that Cloud Ten tries to block the sunshine on Cloud Nine. It's just the way things are. People who live on uppity clouds don't like it when Cloud Niners attempt to change the natural order of the universe and grab a star. Instead, they console themselves by trying to pop a go-getter-dreamer's bubble. 

Don't let their nastiness make you feel insecure. 

You're all sorts of awesome. And eventually you'll be able to take that to the bank. 

**Weight not included 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

As another year of memories gets pasted in the scrap books, it's time to say good-bye and look ahead to 2015.

And what better way to set and track goals than the Update Day blog hop hosted by Misha Gericke and Beth Fred!

Update Day monthly check ins are a great way to stay on track.

Last year, my goal was to publish two books.

I managed one.

That's one book shy of the goal, but I did manage to get some other things done- little odds and ends, like putting together an author website and a monthly newsletter.

If you're can subscribe :)

* indicates required

I also got to venture away from the computer desk last year and made it out to some book fairs. Hanging out with writer friends and readers is really just about the most awesome thing ever.

In March- there was reader/writer convention where I got to meet the amazing Tara Tyler and Ashley Chappell.

me, Tara, and Ashley

 And I got to meet my publisher and hang with some World Castle peeps.
Best selling author, Kathi Barton
 writer/ publisher, Karen Fuller
writer and awesome gal, Ashley Chappell
and publicist Babs Hightower

Then there was the Huntington, WV Book fest in September where I got to meet the multi-talented Carrie Butler!

me, Carrie Butler, and Tara Tyler
Then, once again, I got to meet up with my book fair bestie, Tara for the Upper Ohio Valley Book Fest in Wheeling, WV. 

Tara helps me master the selfie!

For 2015....

Publish two books
Master marketing
More book events

That's a lot of work in those three little goals, sooooo...fingers crossed!!