In the wee small hours…

Posted on 12/6/15

Much as it pains me to get older, once in a while I like to stop and look at the changes that have happened in my life. Sometimes you don’t realize things are changing but change happens whether you like it or not. Might as well embrace it for an adventure and roll with the tide.

Just this morning I got the email from my publisher with the draft cover art for my next book (my first with them; <3 you, Loose Id!), which also happens to be my Golden Heart finalist. The cover is fantastic and it nails the characters, though granted, I might’ve liked to see his tux collar open a little, but that’s just me. Ever wonder why men look better fully dressed and women are the exact opposite?

This time last year I was stressed out by my day job and, in every spare moment, writing my happy hands off to get my Golden Heart entry finished so I could enter the contest. This year I’m completely relaxed because I have a much better job that’s allowing me to take the last week of the year off, so I’m taking my kids up to NY to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and do some sightseeing in the city where we were all born. I haven’t had New Years Eve off in fourteen years so this will take some adjusting but I’m sure we’ll manage. ::wink wink::

But this year I’m not eligible for the Golden Heart because I took the plunge and self-published Heated Competition, followed by Tall Shadows. I’ve entered both in the Rita contest (RWA’s contest for published authors; still boggles my mind to think I AM one) and while I don’t expect them to have a ghost of a chance, I’m in it because I can’t imagine finalist day coming around and I don’t have a pony in the race.

There’s a certain calmness to it now. Getting ready for the Golden Heart was a panic because the manuscript needed to be finished and the first 50 pages polished to a fine sheen, if not outright glowing. (It was in GH prep that I became familiar with the term “polishing a turd.”) But with the Rita, the book is finished; it’s just a matter of going to the post office to mail the copies down to Houston. I’m even thinking, in looking at the cover for Indulge My Fantasy, how I’m going to enter it in the 2017 Rita because it has a 2016 pub date, as does its follow up, Save the Best for Last.

But that still feels odd. The book is done. I’m not frantically trying to piece together the last of the plot or even figure out the next few scenes because they’re done; it’s all been written. I’m not in a panic over the manuscripts (because they’re books) and I’m not in a panic over my job (because that was my old job). All this not panicking makes me feel like I’ve forgotten something. But maybe it just means my life has gotten better. Things are behind me but good things are coming.

Like Indulge My Fantasy, which releases January 5, 2016. (See what I did there?) Also a certain someone’s birthday, the irony of which isn’t lost on me. I’m trying to work up the courage to send him a copy. I mean, after all, he inspired the hero. Read it and tell me if you think you know who I have in mind.

It Never Stops

Posted on 08/30/15

I had a “come to Jesus” moment last night, but as always, it was a good thing. I reached the conclusion that I’m happiest when I’m writing. Something in the act of writing: new story, new words; editing; reading; fine-tuning. You name it, so long as there’s a story in front of me, I’m happy. I’m my best version of me when I’m writing.

This creates a small conflict in that I still need a day job to pay the bills—something I’m still seeking so if you need a writer, my contact info is up there at the top bar! Call me, maybe?—but writing makes me the happiest. If someone asks me who I am, I’d have to lead with “I’m a writer.” To say otherwise is to deny my identity. It made me happy to reach that conclusion. A writer isn’t just what I do. It’s who I am.

On the up side, I decided to use this internal/external conflict for my next project. I’m not starting it yet, though. In the inimitable words of my OB when I was delivering my first son (after 18 hours in labor), like my contraction, I’m going to “let it build.” (I still want to beat him upside the head for that.) Besides, I need to catch up on my life a bit first. This includes finishing a book I started reading in June. It’s on sale on Kindle now so if you’re so inclined, go look for Lara Archer’s Bared to the Viscount. You won’t regret it. Tell ‘em Caroline sent you. :)

But for now I can share the blurb of my latest completed novel, Tall Shadows. It’s not quite the same as the other books, and I think I worked a little harder for this one, but I like how it came out. You be the judge.

Holly Wallace has spent her life in a supporting role, managing her brother Adam’s acting career. When Adam has a mental breakdown, she knows from past experience that standard rehab programs won’t work for him. She finds an unorthodox program:  an asylum in the truest sense, to let him take a step out of society and rediscover himself. But when Holly finds herself attracted to the therapist caring for her brother, she once again has to take a step back and put someone else’s needs above her own.

Following the tragic death of his sister, Ben Crawford developed a program based on a nineteenth century treatment that allowed patients to heal themselves holistically. When Holly brings Adam to Ben, Adam’s status could be the boost his program needs. Ben could help even more people, except he comes to see Adam isn’t the only Wallace he wants to help because he’s falling in love with Holly.

Ethics is the one line Ben can’t cross, but if he doesn’t save Holly from herself, he could lose her to the Tall Shadows of her past.

Gabe and Lindsey – coming soon! (Yes, I meant that)

Posted on 05/28/15

Change is good. That’s the mantra I keep repeating to myself when I feel like my whole life is a jigsaw puzzle with not just a few pieces but the box lid missing. Once again, the future I saw ahead of me has been erased, but this time I’m trying to look at it in a positive light. If I don’t have anything set in front of me, I can create it to be what I want, right?

I’m still adjusting to the “I’m a full time writer” concept but I’m starting to get attached to the idea. It’s not such a bad “new normal.” When one of the HR resource providers called to invite me to attend a “how to get ready for your next job” seminar, I actually saw it as an intrusion on my time. After all, I’m a writer now. I need to write, edit, brainstorm. (Nap.) I didn’t know how much of an intrusion it would be until I registered and found out it’s a 4.5 hour online class. I dreaded meetings over an hour, and this one overlaps lunch. I’m not looking forward to this but a) if it gives me story ideas, fine; b) if it gives me some skills to get started in another job (should I opt for one), also fine. And the c) I probably shouldn’t admit to: I’ll be crocheting the whole time. Seriously, I’m a tactile learner. If my hands are busy during a meeting, I’ll absorb more information. Would that my previous owners–uh, employers understood that if they would let me knit a sock during staff meetings, I’d have been a whole lot more productive.

But that’s business sh*t and I don’t live for that crap. Some people do. More power to you but it’s not for me.

I finished the first edits to Heated Competition last night, and OMG, am I excited about this story. I put an excerpt up on the Bookshelf tab—because I haven’t written the synopsis or blurb yet—and I’m just a little hyper about it because these two were fun to write. I lived with a lot of conflict in my real world so for a long time I avoided it as much as I could, often to my own detriment. Unfortunately, “Nice boy meets nice girl, they have a nice life and live happily ever after,” makes for a truly boring story. This was the first time I wrote characters in direct conflict with each other. They’re both Type A PE teachers, constantly trying to outdo the other one; whenever they’re together, they’re pretty much at each other’s throats, dressed or not. It isn’t until they realize that if they team up that they can win what they really want. Okay, so that’s the world’s worst blurb but it’s 8 a.m. and I haven’t touched my second cup of coffee.

I can’t wait to introduce Gabe and Lindsey to the world. I really have strong feelings about this story. They were a fun adventure to go on. I don’t think it just “has legs”.  I think this has wheels.

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