Camp NaNoWriMo Midpoint Check-in – personal life update

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I just love NaNoWriMo. I don’t know if it’s the looming deadline or my competitive nature, but NaNoWriMo kicks my writing butt into gear. As with NaNo in the fall, I used the time to complete The Space Between Us, and I am using Camp NaNo to complete How We Fall, book two in the Men of Evansdale County series.

I am just shy of 40,000 words in my 80,000 word goal!

My cabin mates and I have been keeping tabs on our goals and word counts daily, and last weekends “write in” was quite a success. One of the things that I’ve been doing a little differently this go around is listening to rain sounds instead of music, and it’s been really working for me. THIS ONE  and THIS ONE have been my favorites so far.

My goal is to have this book published and in your hands by the end of July!

In other news, I am now a homeschooling mama.

If you know me, you know my youngest son is on the autism spectrum as well as a host of many other issues. This school year has been progressively worse to the point he was recently expelled for nine days. Upon the advice of a teacher and many friends, I found a group called Parent 2 Parent who provided me with two advocates. We spent hours on the phone talking the night before his re-entry meeting. And boy was I glad. When we arrived that morning, it was myself, my two advocates and eleven school board members including the superintendent of schools. It was intimidating to say the least.

I held strong, remained poised and called on my advocates when I needed to.

In the end, I had them change some wording on a bunch of paperwork that kind of “blamed” certain behaviors on me (that I would not have noticed had I not had my advocates) and we fought to have him finish the school year from home. An aid will be coming for an hour or two a day to help him out, and he and I will work on some schoolwork together as well. I think my binder full of school work is more intimidating than that meeting.

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Camp NaNoWriMo | The Island re-cover

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If you follow me on any social media sight, you know that I finished writing The Space Between Us during NaNoWriMo.

Until recently, I’d never heard of Camp NaNoWriMo until it was mentioned in a group I’m in on Facebook led by the one and only Alessandra Torre. Since I have a WIP that I’m trying to write, I figured I would sign up and I volunteered to be a “cabin leader”.

I am now the proud cabin leader of 8 other authors (Go Cabin Seahorses!) Every word we write counts towards our entire cabin – so camp is a team effort. My goal for Camp is to write 50 thousand words, which will put me at close to 80k for my current novel!

I’ve been a busy little bee. Writing. Working. Raising my boys. Beta reading. And I’ve had the pleasure of creating custom FaceBook branding for quite a few authors and working with two authors on creating their book covers. (I will post as soon as they give me the okay and have done their own cover reveals.)

Well, I couldn’t just NOT give The Island a pretty new cover. I’ll tell you – I’ve really struggled with that cover. Nothing ever felt quite right…until this beauty happened yesterday. As soon as I started to build the cover, everything just felt right. The tone, the colors – I’m in LOVE.

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Re-named WIP teaser | NaNo update

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I kind of knew in the back of my mind that Broken or Beautifully Broken was a placeholder name and that the title would come to me through my characters. The new working and final title for this story is: The Space Between Us. So, I’d like you to meet Dean King and his princess.

*note: I do not own these images they are merely for entertainment purposes*

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And, I kicked NaNoWriMo’s butt! Yesterday I hit just over 51,000 words. Just 29,000 shy of my overall 80,000 goal!

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Quick thank you to everyone who has been reading, purchasing and reviewing Rocking Autumn – it has been flirting with this rank for a few days and it’s so close to that top 100. It means the world to me!

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Writing Tip Monday: Instantly Improve Your Writing by Removing Filter Words

No, that’s not a joke.

You can immediately improve your writing by removing filter words. So what are filter words?

Have you ever read a book and felt disconnected or jarred out of a scene? Have you ever read your own writing and felt like something was lacking or you don’t know how to be more descriptive and engaging? Before I learned about filter words, I didn’t know why I couldn’t connect with certain books or why it took me so long to read them when the story itself was good.

It was the writing flow that kicked me out of a character’s world and narrative.

Filter words are the difference between showing and telling. Our goal as fiction writers is to pull a reader in and have them feel like they are part of the story. They can see it in their heads, they can smell every smell and it’s like they’re one of the characters not just a voyeur to the action.

Filter words: (and variations of these words)

  • to see
  • to hear
  • to think
  • to touch
  • to wonder
  • to realize
  • to watch
  • to look
  • to seem
  • to feel (or feel like)
  • can
  • to decide
  • to sound (or sound like)

Filter words in action:

(with filter phrase) I see the rain falling on the roof.
(without filter phrase) Rain falls on the roof.

(with filter phrase) I feel cold.
(without filter phrase) I’m cold.

(with filter phrase) I hear the thundering music from the bar spilling onto the sidewalk.
(without filter phrase) Thundering music from the bar spills onto the sidewalk.

(with filter phrase)  I decide to go inside where it’s warmer.
(without filter phrase)  I go inside where it’s warmer.

(with filter phrase) She looks beautiful in her flowing white dress and veil.
(without filter phrase)  She’s beautiful in her flowing white dress and veil.

It’s a small change, with a big punch. One shows you, one tells you-drawing you into a deeper point of view.

I have certain words that I am apparently addicted to, and my first drafts are full of them. But now that I know what they are, they are easier to spot and even easier to fix!

That being said, absolutely it’s okay to use them sometimes. Just because filter words are weak, doesn’t mean they have no place in your writing. But if you cut the majority of them out, the others won’t stand out when you do use them. In a few scenes in my current  WIP I had to create that distance between my character and the action because that was how he processed that moment.

I hope you find this helpful and you can go back to your drafts and see and feel the difference in your manuscripts! I will be posting more writing tips every Monday.

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Rocking Autum Excerpt | 99 Cent Sale |NEW Project!

Eight days in a row.

Eight days in a row, Jaxon has come in and bought a cupcake.

The first seven days I hid.

I could see him at the crosswalk on the corner of Main and Second from where I stood at the cash register. He didn’t look both ways. He didn’t even wait for the signal. He just crossed the street like he owned it, his stupid hair blowing back in the breeze.

Too afraid of what I might say, I hid behind tall rows of books so he couldn’t see me. Yesterday I hid in the kitchen and the day before I hid in the office. But I watched him the whole time. He would flash that bright white grin and order a coffee. Double espresso macchiato, like that made him so sophisticated or something.  He flirted, asking for cupcake recommendations.

God, the way he lay on the charm with Shannon, the barista. It made me sick. And her giggling at his jokes was even worse. I had to do something, this had to stop.

Following him out to the sidewalk, my knees shake so hard I’m afraid I’ll fall over. “Get back here,” I call to him.

Jax turns to the sound of my voice, with that maddening grin on his face. “I knew you’d come around.”

“No,” I shake my head in disgust. “I came out here to tell you to stop. Stop coming in. Stop with the flirting and the cupcakes and—just stop.”

“Why does it bother you so much?” Jax leans against the brick building, propping himself up with his elbow.

I wonder if maybe there is some kind of ‘cool’ class he went to and learned these things. The Perfect Smirk 101. Advanced Leaning Against Buildings Theory and Discussion. Philosophy of Always Looking Like Your Hair Is Blowing In The Breeze. Creative Eye Smoldering Basics.

“It-it doesn’t bother me,” I stutter and roll my eyes, vowing not to let myself get distracted in staring at him. “Fine, it does bother me. You’re bothering me. I’m trying to work, something you obviously know nothing about. I have responsibilities, okay? I can’t just run around with a stupid freaking guitar and get people to throw money at me. I have to work for it. And you’re…”

He smirks again. “I’m what? Distracting you?”

“Fuck off, Jaxon.” I shake my head.

“C’mon,” he urges. “Let’s get lunch and catch up.”

“I’m not hungry,” I say and cross my arms defiantly.

“You know you want to.” He moves closer and lowers his head so that our faces are mere inches away from each other. “You just said yourself that I’m a distraction.”

“Have you always been this full of yourself?” I snarl.

Jaxon chuckles and shrugs. Raking his fingers through his hair. He’s so close I can smell him. The crisp, clean scent of soap and the warm, masculine musk of his skin. I have the urge to reach out and slap him.

“You forget, I know you.” I grin right back. Two can play this game. “Or at least I used to. This Jaxon—” I use my hands to gesture towards him. “The one walking around like he owns this town, grinning at everyone and acting like he’s so cool and sexy? This isn’t the Jaxon I knew.”

“You think I’m sexy?” he asks with a grin.

“I feel sorry for you. I really do.” I take a step back to get away from his nearness. “The Jaxon I knew was sweet. Maybe a little cocky and rough around the edges, but not this—egomaniac asshole purposely trying to ruin my workday.”

His face softens slightly, but it isn’t good enough. “I’m not trying to ruin your work day Autumn. I’m trying to get you to talk to me.”

“Well, you’re doing a miserable job of it.” I turn and walk a few steps, resting my hand on the handle of the door. I turn back to face him for a  second. “My advice? Turn around and leave. Go back to Chicago and don’t come back.”

“What about my daily cupcakes? I’m starting to get used them.” He cocks his head to the side.

“I’m sure you’ll learn to live without them. The same way I learned to live without you.” With that, I open the door of the bookstore, walk in, and don’t look behind me to see his expression.

Rocking Autumn’s Kindle Countdown is going. Only 33 more hours to get it at 99 cents until the price jumps!

Amazon → US https://goo.gl/nNxvzK
Amazon → UK https://goo.gl/iC8hGK
Amazon → CAN https://goo.gl/7pSZrE
Amazon → DE https://goo.gl/AxgSAR
Amazon → FR https://goo.gl/ct7FzN
Amazon → AU https://goo.gl/tDJA8T

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If you’ve made it this far then welcome to my WIP update and New Project announcement.

Broken is coming right along. I’ve finished the first 30K words and now I am waiting for NaNoWriMo to begin so I can write the remaining 50-60K. I’m SO excited about where this story is going.

For those who know me, I was involved in a storytelling forum of sorts for MANY years. And I had quite a few stories that were popular, but none were as popular as my ongoing story of Matt and Miley. It had glamour, lust, love, betrayal, heartbreak and so much more. I’ve decided to turn it into a series! I have not purchased these images yet, these are just for me to figure out visually where I am going. But here is a sneak peek at The Enigma Models INC series…

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