Weekly (er, Monthly) update

Remember that blog post I wrote a couple months back where I promised to blog much more often? Yes, that one. You’ve probably realized by now that I lied. I really tried, but time (and life) got away from me and a weekly blog post slipped through my fingers like sand from the beach vacation I haven’t taken yet this year.

You might be wondering what’s been keeping me so busy that I reneged on my promise to blog. No? Well, too bad because I’m going to tell you everything anyway! Well, maybe not everything

I spent a week in Denver in mid-July. I stayed at my oldest sister’s house for the first few days. One-on-one time with my big sis was my biggest priority and we accomplished it. As a family, we day-tripped to Red Rocks Arena. The altitude is no joke. I run approximately twenty miles a week and I was breathless after only a few steps! I went on a mini-hike with my sister and youngest niece. And my sister was shocked to learn I’d never seen the Ocean’s series, so we watched Ocean’s 11 and Oceans 12 in one sitting. A moment of silence for George Clooney. I also managed to write at least 1000 words of my new novel from her back porch while the rest of the family was at work/camp. Since I wasn’t expecting to write at all, it was a win!

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Sisters 1 and 3 at Red Rock. (There are three of us)

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Is this beautiful or what?

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A rare solo photo

After three days with the fam, I headed downtown for the Romance Writers of America Conference (RWA). It was the first time I’ve attended the conference and I was a hot ball of nerves! But I’m so glad I went! I reunited with online author friends I hadn’t seen in person in years (or ever), attended fabulous sessions on craft and marketing, and met with industry professionals, including agents and editors. One of my favorite sessions was The Writer’s Guide to Getting it All Done. Balancing my writing career with a full-time job and a personal life is a challenge, and the speaker, Sarra Cannon, provided so many amazing tips on how to prioritize tasks based on your ultimate writing goals. I’d never really visualized my dream writing career, and doing so helped me figure out what activities to focus on or toss aside depending on whether they would bring me closer to accomplishing my goal. I’m also a fan of Sarra’s young adult series, The Shadow Demons. I picked up the first one when it was free on Amazon and got so sucked in that I read the entire series!

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Dinner with my fellow authors from Chick Lit Chat

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From left to right, Kathryn Biel, Melissa Baldwin, Becky Monson, Stacey Wiedower, Kate O’Keefe, and me 🙂

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The gang from Chick Lit Chat again.

One of the highlights of the conference was meeting my writing idol, Kristan Higgins. She was moderating an early (very early…) writing sprint with another one of my faves, Tawna Fenske, and I couldn’t resist having them both in the same room at the same time! After the sprint, and approximately three hundred new words later, I summoned the courage to introduce myself to Kristan. I told her she’s not only one of my favorite authors, but she inspires me to be better. It’s true. I purposely read a Kristan Higgins’ book when I need a swift kick in the butt to up the humor, conflict, and swoon-worthy moments in my own work-in-progress. She seemed genuinely touched by the comment and hugged me. Kristan Higgins HUGGED me!!!

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That’s also my author friend (and amazing RWA roommie), Stacey Wiedower!

I returned from the trip incredibly motivated and anxious to continue working on my new book. It’s a romantic comedy for fans of Sally Thorne and (you guessed it) Kristan Higgins.  Hopefully, fans of Meredith Schorr will like it, too! That’s all I’m going to say about it right now…

I’ve also been busy with the day job, but nobody wants to hear about that!

Now that I’ve caught you up, it’s time to get my butt back in the seat…of my new writing desk. Check it out!

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Until next time (hopefully next week, but no promises)

XOXO

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Reading for research

Until recently, I thought of reading as strictly for entertainment value. I’m a self-proclaimed book nerd. I love getting lost in stories, and use every available moment, even while on a street corner waiting to meet a friend, to power up my Kindle. I read on the subway, in line at the grocery store, while blow drying my hair. My friends have been known to mock me over it (out of love, course).

Over the last couple years, I’ve discovered that reading is not only fun, but educational. Studying great writers and noting what works so well in their novels motivates me to up my own game. I’ve recently started writing a new book—the first in what I hope will be a three-book standalone series. This book will focus more on the romance aspect than my others, but I intend for it to be funny—very funny. I’m counting on inspiration from some masters of true romantic comedy to keep me on my path. In that vein, I’ve stocked my Kindle with some of the best and will be reading back-to-back romantic comedies beginning…now!

Some authors don’t like to read books in the same genre they write, but I’m the opposite. Some of these authors write books with a little more steam (read: sex) than what I have planned. Some of the romances are a bit mushier than my style of writing. I don’t plan to change my own writing style/voice, but I do hope the funniest of the bunch will remind me not to waste even a line of dialogue or opportunity for conflict, the deepest of the crew will serve as a lesson to add depth to my couples’ connection, and the quirkiest of them will implore me to keep my voice and characters as distinctive as possible. By reading these authors, I will work harder to be funnier, to create fleshed out characters, and to make sure my couples have the chemistry required to keep readers turning the pages of my book just as I am flipping the pages of theirs.

Curious what books are on my TBR for the coming months. Here you go:

MY ONE AND ONLY – Kristan Higgins (Just Finished. LOVED.)

SUNSET IN CENTRAL PARK – Sarah Morgan

GOOD AT GAMES – Jill Mansell

UNTIL THERE WAS YOU – Kristan Higgins

MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY – Jill Mansell

NEW YORK, ACTUALLY – Sarah Morgan

YOU AND ME ALWAYS – Jill Mansell

AT THE HEART OF IT – Tawna Fenkse

BET ME – Jennifer Crusie

SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE – Rachel Gibson

TRUST ME ON THIS – Jennifer Crusie

HOLIDAY IN THE HAMPTONS – Sarah Morgan

IRRESISTIBLE – Stephanie Bond

HOW I MET YOUR BROTHER – Janette Rallison

DAISY’S BACK IN TOWN – Rachel Gibson

NOTHING BUT TROUBLE – Rachel Gibson

AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS – Lauren Layne

DATING YOU, HATING YOU – Christina Lauren

HEAD OVER HEELS – Jill Mansell

TRUTH OR BEARD – Penny Reid

You’ve probably noticed several repeat authors. This is because they are tried-and-true masters of romantic comedy fiction and if I’m going to learn, I want it to be from the best. True confession: I’ve never actually read anything by Rachel Gibson, Christina Lauren, Lauren Lane, Janette Rallison, Stephanie Bond, or Tawne Fenske, but I’ve heard enough positive feedback to trust I will love them as much as I adore the others on the list.

But enough about me. Who are your go-to authors when you want a romantic yet hilarious story?

where I’m at from A-Z (2/2017 version)

I haven’t written a “Where I’m at from A-Z” blog in a long time. Since my followers seem to enjoy it and I have fun doing it, it’s on! I’m stressed out and feeling a bit out of control about all those things I can’t make happen exactly when I want them to, so we’ll see if these emotions are reflected in my A-Z:

Anxiously awaiting returned emails from several parties, all writing and marketing related.

Busy at my day job and not happy about it. (Although it’s what pays the bills.) I’m on my lunch hour if you’re wondering what I’m doing writing a blog if I’m so busy at work…

Cautiously optimistic about the status of my current work-in-progress. It’s the third book in my Blogger Girl series and the pressure is on to make it as entertaining as the first two. It’s only forty-one pages so far, but you can’t get to page three hundred without first passing page forty-one.

Desperately in need of a cocktail. Thank God tomorrow is Friday.

Enjoying The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins. It’s the second book in her Blue Heron series and it’s inspiring me to dig deeper in my own writing to bring on the funny and the conflict.

Finding it hard to summon the patience to build a new audience for my chick lit collection. I love my old audience, but unfortunately, I can’t force them to buy the new editions of the books. (Can I?)

Grateful to my fellow Henery Press authors for being so supportive and helpful.

Happy the Amazon reviews for four of my five books merged and hoping the last one will follow soon.

Interested in possibly teaching a class in writing chick lit. They used to offer them at Media Bistro and when things calm down, I’m going to look into it.

Jane! I worked so hard on the revisions of A State of Jane and am so happy with the changes. Some new reviews are in from folks who got the book on Netgalley and they love it too!

Kim vs. The Mean Girl, the young adult prequel to the Blogger Girl series, will be released in April and I’m so excited to share it with you.

Loving the second half of this season of The Walking Dead. I hated seeing Rick and the gang so defeated. I can’t wait until they take down Negan.

Missing my eight-month-old twin nieces, Sammie and Maddie, something fierce. I met them for only the second time last weekend, but I love them so much. I can’t wait to see them again in June for their first birthday.

Not entirely sure this blog post is working for me…

Oh, crap. My lunch hour is over.

Prosecco. I’ll be drinking lots of my favorite bubbly beverage tomorrow night. Tomorrow is Friday, right?

Quantico. I gave up earlier this season. It was too confusing for me and everyone was ridiculously pretty even when they were in the midst of combat. It annoyed me.

Rankings of my novels are not good right now. I know it’s because the books are new and I’m building an entirely new audience from the ground up, but it’s so frustrating. See F above regarding my lack of patience.

Single living is getting old. Does anyone know any eligible men for me? Preferably 38-50 and kind, funny, and good looking (at least to me). Creative is a plus.

The. The title of my next romantic comedy novel from Henery Press (releasing in November) starts with “The” but that’s all the scoop you’re getting from me until at least this summer.

Ugly cried. That’s what I did last night when I watched This is Us.

Virtually drawing a blank for this letter, but not entirely because I came up with “virtually.”

Wine. Wine. Wine. Wine.

Xerox machine. I almost killed the one at my office today. I shook the part of the machine where you enter a billing number and spewed out a string of curse words. I was very irritated with its failure to perform properly and having a moment. I’m not proud of it, but I’m positive it will happen again.

Yellow plays strongly into the cover of Kim vs. The Mean Girl. I’ve never had a yellow cover before and I love it. It’s still being tweaked, but will be revealed in March.

Zee End! (I’ve used that before, I know. It’s my thing.)