Category Archives: Blog

InD’Scribe Con 2017

I spent most of the last week at InD’Scribe Con, held this year in Burbank, CA (focused primarily on Indie and small press authors), but anyone is welcome. I had an absolute blast! Here are a few of the highlights…

Keynote Speakers

We got to hear from Marie Force, Kathryn Le Veque, Cathrine Bybee, and Brenda Novak. All these women were fantastic. Each shared their journey as an author–the ups, and especially the downs. I found their journeys inspirational. The main message for me was to never quit and every path is different.

Workshops

I was particularly impressed by the workshop. It’s rare for a conference to have a workshop that interests me every single hour they are available, but this one did. And I went to some great ones. My favs were Arial Burnz workshops on newsletters and Marie Force’s workshop on writing series.

If you get a chance to do either of those, go.

Speaker / Panelist

I brought my Organize Your Writing Life workshop to the con and, as always, had a fun time delivering it. I always love getting to talk to people afterward. Especially when people stop me the rest of the con to show me how they’ve already incorporated some of my tips. I was also a panelist in the Genre Feud game. CLICK HERE to watch it from our FB Live Stream. Oh my gosh, one of the most fun panels I’ve ever been on.

Reader Rave Signing

I was one of the authors doing the signing and was very pleasantly surprised with the turnout and the fact that (unlike at some other conventions) readers came by all the tables and not just the big names. I sold about 10 print books, but gave out about 100 books post cards that have the QR code to buy links. Although, I will say the best part was getting to know the authors sitting near me.

RONE Awards & Gala

I was one of the finalists up for a RONE Award (Her Demigod Complex in the Novella category). I’m sad to say I didn’t win, but I had a blast regardless. The awards were fun and so was the dinner and dancing afterward.

Friends

As always, the best part of any conference are the friends you make. Romance authors are my people. My tribe. So conferences are one of the few places I can go where everyone there gets me and is equally interested in books and writing. It just doesn’t get better. 🙂 Plus, I get to meet fantastic new authors to me, which as a reader is awesome. Make sure y’all check out these authors…

Other Fun

I took advantage of the location and got to see my cousin who lives in L.A. I don’t get to see her often, so it was wonderful to have a chance to catch up. She is a costume designer and an extra, so I got to hear some fun stories about Hollywood.

I also took a Warner Bros. Studio Tour which was really cool. Y’all know how much of a movie/TV fan I am. I was especially fascinated by anything related to the classics. They pointed out a couple things from Casa Blanca for instance. I also got sorted into my Hogwarts house–Gryffindor.

Thanks & Can’t Wait for Next Year!

A huge thank you to T.J. McKay (nicest woman in the world) and the entire staff from InD’Tale who work so hard put on this spectacular event every year on top of managing the magazine and everything else. Y’all rock! Writers, if you are interested in a fantastic con with great workshops, great speakers, great friends, and more, this is the one for you. I hope to see you there next year!

 

 

Her Demigod Complex – Excerpt

Her Demigod Complex, the first book in my Legendary Consultants series, is up for a RONE Award for best novella. This week I’ll be at InD’Scribe Con and will find out the RONE winners Saturday night. I’m really looking forward to it! 🙂

Here’s a short excerpt from Demigod, just for fun!

 

EXCERPT

“How’d it go?” Castor’s voice had her swinging her gaze sharply right as she walked in the main door of the hotel.

She frowned when she found him lounging in one of the big leather chairs close to a big stone fireplace in the lobby, a happy fire crackling away, giving off a comforting campfire odor. While the early May days were warm, the nights were still crisply chilly, which was why she’d added a long brown sweater over her pink dress and changed out her heels for a pair of tall suede boots. “Were you waiting for me?”

He held up a leather-bound book, The Shining. “Nope.”

She moved closer, took the book from him, and flipped through the pages. “Creep-tastic.”

“It seemed appropriate, giving the surroundings.”

“You know this place is haunted, right?”

“You believe in ghosts?”

She shrugged and handed the book back. “I know a couple.”

“I guess you do then. How’d it go with Calliadne?”

She wrinkled her nose. “About what I expected.” Honestly, their meeting had been weird. Calli had been afraid—more than seeing Leia should have warranted. Calli’d practically jumped out of her skin at every noise or person who walked by. For someone who used to like humans, her behavior seemed odd. But she wouldn’t admit anything was wrong, and she refused to help Leia with her cause, muttering something about it being too late.

“Marrok and Tala will be disappointed.” Castor interrupted her thoughts.

“I have a plan.” Of sorts. She thumbed over her shoulder toward the stairs. “I’m going to our room now. Are you going to stay down here?”

“I’ll come up with you. I want to hear this plan.” He unfolded his long length from the overstuffed chair.

That’s when her worst nightmare appeared across the room, laughing with a group of five or six other men—Kaios. The werewolf was still drop dead handsome, still remarkably young for one so old. She’d bet money he was also still the same total and utter ass.

“Shit,” she hissed through clenched teeth. Panic flipped her heartrate to max. She frantically scanned the room for an escape. Seeing none close enough, she stepped closer to Castor, letting his size hide her.

“What the—” Cas glanced over his shoulder at whatever had captured her attention.

She yanked on his arm. “Don’t look,” she pleaded.

“What’s going on?”

She peeped around her human shield. Crap. Kaios was walking this way. He’d see her any second. She glanced up at Cas, who stared at her like she’d lost her mind. Because she had.

“Kiss me,” she demanded.

His eyebrows shot up. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me.” Only a few more seconds.

“You want me to—”

“Screw it,” she muttered.

Going up on tiptoe, she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him down to her. Taken by surprise, he didn’t resist as she planted her lips over his.

He was unresponsive at first, which didn’t matter because she was more occupied with where her nemesis was in the room. But then Cas took over the kiss. She went from distracted to completely focused…on Castor.

Electricity burst through her body, her nerves alive to his every touch, starting from what his lips were doing, then spreading outward. Those lips—warm against her own—they mastered, they coaxed, they tempted. She gave a small moan as he ran his tongue along hers. She opened for him like a flower to the sun, and heat pooled in her core. His hands smoothed under her sweater, over her back to her hips, where he used a light grip to tug her in closer to his body.

For a demigod he was amazingly gentle. A warm glow of rightness joined the heat of passion. In his arms was where she was meant to be. Nothing had ever felt this right.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The warning bells went off in her head. This was her boss. And a demigod. And a man still in love with his dead wife. Nothing was right about this.

With a gasp she jerked back, stepping out of his arms before he could stop her. Her hand flew to her lips, which throbbed from his touch. Oh great gods, she’d just kissed her boss like the nymph she’d once been.

He pinned her with his blazing blue eyes. “Wow.” His voice was low and raspy and skittered along her nerves in a delicious way.

She pulled her shoulders back. Time to act casual. “Thanks for helping me with that. I’m sorry if it got out of hand. I couldn’t think of any other way to avoid that son of a hell hound.”

Passion shifted to confusion as his brows lowered. “Helping you with what?”

He’d only been playing along… hadn’t he? “I was hiding from someone. I thought you realized.”

She checked over her shoulder, belatedly. There was no sign of her tormentor, thank the gods.

READ THE BOOK!

WIP Status Check

I used to share my WIP status a lot more. Lately, it feels like my writing life has sped up exponentially. When I first started, I’d spend six months on one book, and only work on one book at a time–not just the writing, but the editing, publishing, and marketing. These days, I’m on fast forward, juggling multiple projects at a time. And LOVING it!

In addition, as new events–like contracts–happen, my schedule shifts rapidly. At this point, primarily thanks to the combination of my agent and new contracts, my schedule is full up. Lol. Let’s take a look at what’s in the hopper at the moment and through the end of 2017 (at least as of September 26, 2017).

This list includes ALL my active projects, including paranormal romance as Abigail Owen and contemporary romance as Kadie Scott.

The Attraction Equation – Upcoming Release

Book 2 of my contemporary romantic comedy Love Undercover series release November 13th with Entangled! I am gearing up to start promoting in October as we do cover reveals and preorders. Super excited for this one. Max might be one of my favs. 🙂

 

Saving the Sheriff – Copy Edits & Cover Design

The first book in my contemporary cowboy romance Hills of Texas series with Tule is set for release in January. I’ve just sent in info to get the cover started (can’t wait!) and am waiting on copy edits to come my way sometime soon.

Inferno Rising #1 – Submitted to Editor

I’ve completed beta edits on the first book in this new paranormal series for Entangled and have turned the MS into my editor. I am on pins and needles to hear what she thinks. Fingers crossed it lives up to her expectations!

Resisting the Rancher – Writing 1st Draft

The second book in my Hills of Texas series with Tule is due to my editor in January. I’ve been waiting to write Will and Rusty’s story for years (while I found an agent, and then a publisher home for the series). I am about mid-way through the first draft, which I’m scheduled to wrap up by mid-October. That’ll give me three month to do additional drafts and beta readers.

 

The Boss – WIP Next Up

Starting in November (when I’ve finished Resisting the Rancher), I move into writing the first draft on The Boss. This is the first book in my recently announced 2nd dragon shifter series for Entangled. Chomping at the bit to get to it.

Don’t Open Until Christmas – In Query Process

I have a publisher interested not only in this story, but in starting a series with it. I’ve just submitted a rewrite of the MS to the editor my agent is working with, along with a synopsis, and a series outline. I’m not sharing who because I don’t want to jinx it. 🙂 Of course, with my commitments, it’ll be a while before we see this one out. Fingers and toes crossed!

That’s enough to keep me busy for a while. I’ll check in again in January with a look at 2018. 🙂

I Still Love Editing/Revising

Almost 5 years ago, between releasing my first book, Blue Violet, and getting ready to release the next book, Hyacinth, I posted about how I loved the editing process.

Now, years later, I’ve completed 13 novels, 3 novellas, and 3 short stories with more on the way. My writing style has changed over the course of writing those books. However, I can still say that editing/revising is still my favorite part of the process, and for pretty much the same reasons…

The Worst is Over

Writing the first draft is a personal form of long-term torture. It’s gotten easier over the years as I’ve morphed from a pure pantser to a hybrid who plots key parts and pantses the rest. But I walk around with a pit in my stomach until the bulk of the story is on the page. Pure relief.

Making It Better

I see revising and editing as a way to make my story the absolute best I can make it. I use the time to fill in details, make sure I’ve covered plot holes, build the world, make sure my characters are consistent, check the plot and pacing, and set the stage for future books. Yes, I do a ton of that on the first pass. That pass is about laying the foundation and the walls, the second and subsequent passes are about adding those little touches that make it a home.

Feedback & Learning

Working with my beta readers and especially with my editor, I love getting more sets of eyes on the pages after I’ve gone blind to it (or have started to hate it, which happens with every book. Lol.) I love getting that feedback. Even when it requires major rewrites, it’s still about making the book better. I also look at these edits as an opportunity to learn. Believe me, I am constantly learning, changing, and growing as an author.

Final Product

I love knowing that the final book that you see as a reader is the best possible book I could write at that time. Knowing how much it’s improved from that first painful draft to the last version makes me proud and shows me how all that time spent on revising and editing was well worth it.

 

At the moment I am at varying stages on 4 different projects.

  1. I just wrapped up copy edits and am waiting for the final galley for The Attraction Equation, the 2nd book in my Love Undercover romantic comedy series.
  2. I am in the painful first draft process on Resisting the Rancher, the 2nd book in my upcoming Hills of Texas cowboy contemporary romance series.
  3. I am doing a revise and resubmit of my cowboy contemporary romance Don’t Open Until Christmas.
  4. And I am about to start apply beta reader edits to the 1st of my new Inferno Rising dragon shifters paranormal romance abefore sending it on to my editor.

And I’m LOVING every second (except that darn first draft lol).

I know a lot of authors out there can’t stand the editing process. I wish I enjoyed the first draft more. It’s not that I hate it, I just agonize through it, anxious to get to the really fun part of editing and making it better! 30 years of writing and 7 years of publishing my books later, I have to wonder if I’ll still love it 30 years from now. 🙂

 

 

Dragon Shifters are Coming – Another Entangled Series!!!

I am still in shock that this happened…

Entangled loved my concept for Inferno Rising, the dragon shifters series I signed a 4-book contract for in June, so much that we’re adding a 2nd 4-book series.

I’m thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to announce a second dragon shifters series with Entangled Publishing on their Amara line! This new series will be mostly separate (different setting/different group of characters/different big bad) from the Inferno Rising series, but the 2 series will tie together with a few shared characters, shared story lines, and all built in the same world.

Squeeeee!!!! No I’m serious. SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!

I’ve been working on this series on proposal with my fabulous editor for months, and can’t even begin to put into words how excited I am about it. I can’t give too many details yet.  Here’s what I can share…

The contract is for a 4-book digital-only paranormal romance series. I’m not sharing the series title yet, because it’ll give too much away. Lol. The series features dragon shifters. These books will release alternating with Inferno Rising, and, actually, book 1 (The Boss) will release sooner than book 1 for Inferno Rising, so it’ll be introducing the world.

I don’t have release dates yet, and it will be a little bit before the books hit the shelves. I mentioned I pitched the series on proposal, and now have to write them. The good news is, book 1 for Inferno Rising is done and about to go into edits. I’ll start on The Boss for this series shortly (yes, I’m writing them in backward order from how they’ll release, lol).

I’m beyond excited about the entire 2-series concept and how we’ll be tying them together and releasing them. 2018 can’t get here soon enough for me. And, BTW, if you get my newsletter, you’ll be seeing some EXCLUSIVE content for several months before release day. So I suggest you sign up if you haven’t already.

As soon as I have more info, you can bet I’ll share!

A huge thank you to my editor, Heather Howland, for your faith in me, and also to Entangled for this overwhelming opportunity!

Hurricane Harvey & How YOU Can Help

I’m a Texas girl. Raised and still live in the Austin area. I may not have been personally affected by Hurricane Harvey, but many friends and loved ones have been. My heart goes out to everyone affected, and I’m choosing this small platform as just one way I can try to make a difference.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long estimated Monday that 30,000 people may need shelter, and some 450,000 may qualify for federal flood victim assistance. Those numbers are growing as other areas in East Texas and Louisiana are added to the list. Even as the rain stops, there’s still a ton of clean up that has to happen.

If you are wondering how you can reach out and help the tens of thousands affected, below I’ve come up with a list of tons of different legit ways to pitch in.

I have pulled these organizations from lists compiled by CNN, NPR, and other trusted sources. I am not associated with any. Please choose the right one for you, and thank you in advance for any help you can give.

In Person Aid

If you’re in Texas and can physically help, here are some different ways…
  • Donate bloodSouth Texas Blood & Tissue Center
  • Donate food: See Food Banks below or contact
  • Donate items: See organizations below that will accept physical items from clothes, to diapers, to toys, to blankets, to items to help with reconstruction, etc.
  • Local organizations: Get involved with your church or other local organizations to see what aid they are organizing and how you can help
  • Volunteer: Most of the organizations listed below will take volunteers.

 

Donate to Help

If you are not in Texas, but still want to give, here are different organizations to choose from:

General Aid

Food

Shelter

Kids

Animals

Clean Up & Recovery

My Wishlist for GOT Happily Ever Afters

We’re coming up to the season finale of Game of Thrones, and even realizing that everyone probably dies by the end of this story, I’m still rooting for a few happily ever afters for several characters. Can’t help it–I’m a romance writer. Here’s who I’d like to see get their HEAs…

Jon / Daenerys

Yeah, yeah. Everyone saw this one coming, and the show is doing a decent (if rushed) job building it this season. So I won’t spend too much time on it. All I will say is that, like killing off Daryl in The Walking Dead, if the show creators don’t make this happen and stick (they don’t have to rule, just end up together and alive), then the women watching GOT might riot. Just saying.

**Amended post season 7 finale, because ewwwwww….

Brienne / Jaime

Let’s just kill of Cersei now and then Jamie can pull is head out of his behind. Brienne is the only one who can redeem Jaime, an almost irredeemable character (just can get over his pushing a boy out of a window).

Sam / Gilly

The relationship there is obviously solid. Let’s see them end happily with him as Lord Tarly. Jon can do it.

Arya / Gendry

He was so nice to her when she was pretending to be a boy. Now they are both grown up and obviously about to be reunited. I bet he could soften some of her edges, plus he’d be on board for helping her with that list.

Missandei / Grey Worm

Another relationship well established. They’ve both finally found freedom and purpose and each other. Let them keep it. Please!

Sansa / The Hound

That poor girl has only wanted one thing, a strong, handsome husband to take care of her. The Hound is one of my favorite redeeming characters in the show. Sansa needs someone plain spoken who obviously only wants to protect her. Classic beauty & the beast.

Others?

Unfortunately, I know I’m breaking a few hearts. I’d really love to see Tyrion end up with someone nice, but who? Ser Jorah can’t end up with Daenerys, but that’s as it should be. If Brienne doesn’t end up with Jaime, then I hope she gives in and ends up with Tormund, just because I like him. 🙂

Okay, that’s mine. GOT fans, what about you?

Favorite Ways to Build Chemistry & Tension in Romance

I know you’re expected a show don’t tell king of blog post here, but not today. 🙂 The other day I posted a question on social media. I wanted to know readers’ favorite ways to show/read chemistry and build up of tension between the hero/heroin in a romance novel.

I got some great answers, so thought I’d start a list. That way when I get stuck or feel like I’m repeating myself, I’ve got a resource. So here we go, favorite ways to show chemistry:

  • The moment when they’re eyes meet and they connect for the first time.
  • The way they avoid each other, even though they are attracted to one another, but still have to be in the same room or elevator.
  • The first casual touch. It doesn’t have to be sexual. (But not a handshake) It can be as innocent as a hand on the arm, or a hand on the lower back to guide them.
  • Where you can tell they really, really want to kiss, but neither will make the first move. Then they’re interrupted and the moment is gone, but they’re both just SMOLDERING.
  • That “will he/won’t he” moment when you’re hoping he will.
  • When they’re laughing and then the chemistry kicks in and they stop abruptly
  • That shared joke or inside piece of information that no one else in the room knows about, but you see them connect over it.
  • When they share a vulnerability, fear, or experience that builds intimacy and connection.
  • When the other person sees more than everyone else.
  • Becoming hyper-aware of each other. Both physical – the sweep of her neck, the way she blushes, his strong forearms, and personal – the way she’s nice to everyone, how he defended her when he didn’t need to.
  • A feisty dialogue exchange where the underlying tension just screams through both words and actions
  • Their inner thoughts reveal that they both WANT but can’t HAVE, but still WANT

Okay – that’s what came from Facebook and Twitter (and me lol). What else? Help me add to it!

Summer Insanity Is Almost Over

On August 17th, the kids go back to school, and our fantastic but totally nutty summer comes to an end. Boy did it fly. I find it funny that the advent of school will actually slow us down. Here’s what happened over the last few months, starting at the end of May!

Estes Park, Colorado

We spent 10 days at my favorite place in the world doing all my favorite things. Spending time with family, hiking, eating, shopping. Loved it! Nothing better in the world IMO.

Book Release–The Wrong Kind of Compatible by Kadie Scott

My first romantic comedy, The Wrong Kind of Compatible, under my Kadie Scott pen name, released with Entangled on June 12th. I’ve been thrilled with the feedback and really enjoyed all the release festivities (blog tour, Facebook take overs, Facebook parties, etc.)

Birthday Parties

We celebrated birthdays for kids, parents, and friends over the course of the summer. February through July for us is insane birthday season. Now we have a “break.”

Dallas & St. Louis

We visited my hubby’s fam in Dallas and all drove up to St. Louis together for a lovely family wedding. We also did all sorts of fun things, including a Cardinals game!

Signed Entangled Contract–Inferno Rising

I signed a contract with Entangled for a 4-book paranormal romance series, tentatively titled “Inferno Rising” under my Abigail Owen pen name. This one I contracted on proposal, and I am obsessing over it. The world is so alive in my head! #TheDragonsAreComing!

Summer Camp

My oldest went to summer camp which involved transporting him to Dallas. And then heading back up there a week later for the parent presentations and to pick him up. It was a STEM camp and they did cool things like learn to be a CSI, build and program a robot car, and dissect a cow’s heart. Super cool.

Time with Bro & Fam

My brother and his family lived in our house all summer. They are between digs at the moment, and they house sat and watched our dogs while we were gone so much. In between trips we got to spend a lot of wonderful time with them.

California Friends

We went back to our old home in El Dorado Hills, CA to visit friends there. We got up to Lake Tahoe for a day, and otherwise took it easy and had a blast seeing our buddies. That’s what I miss most about CA…our friends.

Writing Inferno Rising Book #1

I signed that contract and have been writing book 1 since June. I’ve finished the first draft and am working on second draft right now. Close to 85k words done with 90k being the goal. Seriously, when I say obsessing, I mean it. I am deep in this on and LOVING it!

Editing

Lots of editing going on at the same time. A combo of working on proposals for new books, and working with my editor on The Attraction Equation (book 2 in my Kadie Scott Love Undercover romantic comedy series).

RWA in Orlando & Disney

In July I attended RWA Nationals in Orlando, rooming with my buds Nicole and Tracy, attending workshops, giving one of own workshops, etc. Had a BLAST! And rounded it out with a day at The Magic Kingdom.

Placed 2nd in PRISM Awards

My paranormal romance novella, Her Demigod Complex, placed 2nd in the PRISM Awards for novella! Honored and thrilled to even be a finalist. Thank you so much to FF&P for running such a fantastic contest.

AOAD Business Growing

Authors On a Dime continues to grow and grow. I’m getting lots of great business. Anything from book covers (probably what I do the most), to other marketing graphics, to editing, to Facebook parties. Love working with all those fantastic authors and having a different creative outlet!

RVing at Krause Springs

We rented an RV and went to Krause Springs, TX for a few days to “relax.” And it was lovely. The kids had a blast. Other than the cottonmouth snakes and the big thunderstorm that rolled through the last night, so did we! 🙂

Prepping for School

With only a week to go, I’m now deep in prep for school time. This includes cleaning my entire house. Doing a ton of laundry (remember we’ve been traveling all summer). Buying school clothes. Getting kids hair cuts. A massive grocery shopping (again, all that being away from home). And my daughter wants me to help her start and Endangered Animals Club this year.

Phew!

I’ll be sad to not have the kids to myself during the day, but returning to a routine and slowing down a bit will be nice. We had a wonderful summer, enjoying each and every trip. But I will say it was a little too much. Next year we’re limiting ourselves and spending more time at home. Lol. I hope you also had a wonderful summer, and, if you’re like me and prepping for back to school, best of luck to you!

 

Fast Times @ 2017 RWA Nationals!

If you missed the tweets and FB posts, I spent the last week in Orlando, FL, at the Swan & Dolphin Disney Resort have a blast at the 2017 RWA National Convention!!!

Here are a few highlights…

tracy-nicki-me

I roomed with my author friends (and A-Game Team) Nicole Flockton & Tracy Goodwin. They made this year especially fun, sharing laughs and workshops and ideas. xoxo

linda-schadtina-canonI truly enjoyed seeing friends old and new…from TWRP and Entangled, my FRW adopted chapter, my ARWA home chapter, and my FF&P and CRW online chapters, AOAD customers, friends from prev conferences, and especially my FF&P mentees, Linda Schad & Tina Canon. I’ve truly found my people.

I was hugely honored to have placed 2nd in the FF&P PRISM awards with my paranormal romance novella, Her Demigod Complex. Congrats to Kathy Lyons on her well-deserved win (I devoured that book). I also had a lot of fun helping (errrr if you call what I was doing helping) with the tech for the awards.

I felt like my”Org Your Writing Life” workshop went well and loved the format. The 20/20 was a cool change up–more intimate and allowing me more time to answer lots of questions.

I attended terrific workshops. I particularly enjoyed Virginia Kantar’s workshop on Emotion and Damon’s Suede‘s on Power Couples. Damon Suede you are the boss! Head swimming with wonderful ideas to go rock on latest WIP.

rebecca-zanetti-2017I snapped my 3rd annual conference pic with my author idol Rebecca Zanetti – Author. (2015 on FRW cruise, 2016 @ RT, and now 2017 @ RWA) It’s become a part my conferences. Like sports stars with their streaks.

RWA2017-aoadswag

It was also hugely cool to see my Authors On A Dime stuff around (book covers, banners, postcards, hand sanitizer, etc.) Seriously…really fun in an oddly fan girl kind of way. Hope you each loved your swag!

Rounding it all out with a little Epcot and Magic Kingdom was just the cream cheese icing on my red velvet cake.

disney-castle

I flew home late Sunday night and slept most of the day yesterday. Now back to real life (and applying all those workshop notes to my latest WIP).

A huge thank you to RWA and all the volunteers who ran the conference. You guys are amazing!