Rocking Autumn is now LIVE on audible!!! And a Rocking Forever update.

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Grab it >>>HERE<<<

First, I would like to give a huge shout out and thank you to Steven Barrett for bringing Jax and Autumn to life. His “Jax” was amazing, and honestly made me crush on him a little harder. Steven’s voice is smooth, sexy and emotive – and I couldn’t have asked for a better narrator.

Through the process I learned that this was Steven’s first romance narration, and also the first time he had narrated a sex scene (which by the way, he nailed) and the feedback I’ve gotten from some listeners already crush on his voice like I do. One messaged me asking: where has this guy been hiding? Followed by a bunch of heart eyed emoji’s.

It’s also made me realize – I really dropped the ball on finishing up their story. Because they do have some loose ends that need to be tied up, and part of me really didn’t want to mess with their happily ever after and put them through the ringer again! But, sorry “Jaxtumn”…your time has come to be put through hell once again. But I promise, it will be worth it. As of today, Rocking Forever is on, as they say, like Donkey Kong.

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Procrastination: the dirtiest P word any writer knows

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I’ve plotted and outlined my story, I’m excited. Inciting incidents and an ending that will cause my readers to ugly cry are dancing in my head. I’ve spent hours curating the perfect writing playlist on Spotify and making inspirational pinboards on Pinterest. My desk is clean, I have a notebook at my side, ready to write down anything that may come to me when I’m in this heightened state of inspiration.

Then I stop.

I’ll do almost anything to avoid being productive, maybe not intentionally, but I will… I’ve cleaned my house top to bottom. Suddenly remembered that I need to clean out my closet or garage. I have chores, errands. Then I start binge-watching shows on Netflix and getting stuck for hours on Youtube watching other authors talk about writing. And then suddenly – it’s gone. I can’t write. The motivation deflated.

So how do we kick procrastination in the ass?

Procrastination is all in my head. It’s about my fear of failing and comparing myself to others. It’s about thinking that I need to be perfect, and re-reading my work and thinking that I’m a complete fraud who can’t write and my words suck and I become my own worst enemy. it’s obsessing over creating beautiful passages and similes, going back and correcting things before I can move on.

Writing isn’t pretty. First drafts aren’t pretty.

When I get stuck on certain passages and can’t move on, that isn’t writing. When I’m constantly re-reading my work and trying to perfect it before I can move on, that isn’t writing.  That interrupts the flow of my story and zaps my creativity.

Step one: TURN OFF THE INTERNET!!!

If you’re like me, you might head to Pinterest or whatever website inspires you, and then three hours later you’ve planned your cats birthday party in great detail, and you haven’t written a damn word. No, you don’t need it for research. No, you don’t need it to come up with a different word for arsenal because you’ve just written it four times in one chapter (true story – and there was never any weapons…). That comes later. Right now, you just need to get those words on paper.

Step two: Baby steps

Set a timer. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. And tackle something SMALL. Tackle a small scene, not even an entire chapter. Are you trying to nail a fight scene, or a kissing scene or maybe an important internal monologue. Take a small amount of time and just write that one thing.

Step three: Stop self-editing before you move on

That’s what your second draft is for. That’s what a proofreader is for. You’re too close to your work at this point, it hasn’t had time to breathe and sit. If you continually take time to self-edit (especially AS you are writing, you aren’t doing yourself any favors) The focus on perfection is a doom spiral, trust me on this.

Step four: Allow yourself to take a break.

Take a ten-minute walk around the block. Pet your dog. Go outside and pull some weeds. Whatever it is that clears your head and allows you to stop thinking about your damn book for a minute – do it.

Step five: Bones

No, not like a dog. This has been the biggest a-ha moment in my writing. I just get the bones or the skeleton of a chapter or scene written. I worry about the meat later when I revise. So what does that mean? That means – maybe I have a pivotal conversation and I just write the dialogue. No tags, no action, no scene setting. Just the conversation. And I move on. Yep. I just move on. It’s ugly and anxiety producing at first and if anyone ever read my first drafts of certain chapters, they’d think a five-year-old wrote them. But I swear by it and it’s really helped me become more productive.

The final step: Be nice to yourself.

Stop beating yourself up for not hitting a word count goal. Stop focusing on everything wrong with your first draft and focus on the fact that you started the first draft. Reward yourself for the baby steps. Reward yourself for completing a chapter. STOP comparing yourself to other writers and how fast they write.

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Writers Monday: The Art of Junk Writing

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I’m often pressed for time writing-wise. I work full time outside of the home, and I’m a single parent of two. People ask me how I do it – the answer is, I have a schedule and I stick to it.

Writing time for me is between the hours of 7 pm and 9 pm on work nights and as much as I can on days off – sometimes if my mind is really spinning, I’ll write instead of brushing my hair for work (hello messy bun).

But so many of those work weeknights my mind is tired. I have the ideas, but I’m too exhausted for coming up with clever similes and metaphors. The words that come out onto my paper aren’t crisp, and they read juvenile. And I know I’m not alone here.

I hold myself accountable for writing a minimum of 1600 words a day. Which means, I’ve learned to embrace the junk writing. I have the base idea for a scene, or a conversation – I know it’s a good idea, but it all comes out like jumbled crap. WRITE THE JUMBLED CRAP.  Get the idea out of your head( see the picture above) It’s a first draft, a rough copy – whatever you want to call it. First drafts are never perfect. They are meant to be amended and edited.

The above picture is “junk writing”. I had just finished my final round of edits on The Space Between Us – but I had these scenes swirling around in my head. My brain was TIRED from the previous book – but this meet cute and intro scene were just too good. I would never publish that in a book, I would never send that to a beta reader – but the base idea for the scene was there, the core of it is something to go back and work with.

Here is the same text, after round one:

A woman can drive a sane man to do crazy things in the same way hunger, greed and lust can. A woman like this could cause me to go insane.

I could fire her. I should fire her. What I really should do is call Sean, the staff manager, and let him deal with her.

But one look inside those big green doe-shaped eyes, and I crumbled into specks of dust. And just one word falling from her bow-shaped lips, smooth and sweet like honey, tempted my ears in the hopes for more. I wondered what she sounded like when she was having sex. Did she moan? Whimper? Scream?

Christ, I needed to get laid. I blanked my face to hide any devious thought or emotion from showing.

Outside my office, the kitchen was picking up in speed. The closer it gets to dinner time, the wilder it gets back here. It’s a carefully calculated orchestra of skill and chaos. A faint perfume of butter and sautéed garlic wafted through the door, and my mouth watered much like it did when I saw her wandering around the market.

It’s my driving force in life. Food that is.

Again, still not perfect, but better. Round two, round three – you get the idea. It gets cleaner, tightens up and flows.

Next time you’re stuck, I challenge you to try it. Don’t worry about the words and flow. Don’t worry about dialogue tags and actions. Get your ideas out of your head and move on. Yes, you’ll be embarrassed if someone were to read over your shoulder. Yes, you’ll read it and think “this is a flaming pile of shit” – and it is – but you can fix it later. I’ve written entire chapters this way, thinking to myself – this is such crap, I’m going to have to delete this and start over – some of them wound up being my favorite chapters/scenes in my book.

Next week I’ll talk about my other trick I use for when I get stuck. I call it, the what if game.

So go on now. Write some junk and turn it into something glorious.

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Gabe’s story

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Ahhhhhhhhhh as I’ve said before, my mind is a wild, crazy, weird and unpredictable place. I imagine it to be a little like Mordor, Tatooine and Panem combined. Foreign, alien and primed for a revolution.

Oh. But I meditate, so that balances it out.

I’ve scrapped Girl Harbor. At least for now. 50,000 words in, and I realized – now is not the time for me to write that book.

Back to the drawing board, and I plotted a new romance about a wounded, ex-Marine and an emotionally wounded heroine. It incorporates military, small towns, second chances, healing, cowboys and …. apples. What? Yes, you heard me. Apples.

Now when I first released The Island, the one thing I kept hearing over and over was, please expand on Gabe and Michael. Immediately my mind went to Michael. He’s my BABY. Someday, I will go in depth on how that story evolved…but Michael was and will always be my baby. Naturally, I wanted to tell his story first. The entire thing is outlined and the first three chapters are written and I planned on finishing it in early 2018.

Then I meditated and Gabe’s story came crashing through. How he and Michael met. How their lives were shaped and how they became so intertwined together with each other the way they are.

So now, I have two manuscripts going and I couldn’t be more excited about the things that are coming ♥

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Saturday Top Six?

Apologies! I skipped my Friday Five – but in my defense, I was driving for nearly twelve hours! So I bring you Saturday Top Six.

Today: Top six things I NEED when I write.

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One. A scent. Weird? Certain scents just ignite something in me and this one in particular always does the trick. It smells all manly and woodsy to me, and for sure gets me fired up to write some romance!

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Two. Coffee or tea. Lately, it’s been green tea with matcha.

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Three. Snacks! I don’t even know how I can stand myself after posting all of these together. The smell of white woods, a cup of green tea and Wasabi peas – yet somehow I’m still alive! I love these things and they are the perfect little snack when writing.

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Four. Notebooks, planners and tons of pens and pencils to jot down dates, ideas, things to research – I have a million notebooks and calendars scattered around my desk.

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Five: My cat. If you hang out long enough you will discover I am somewhat obsessed with my cat (s) Meet Jojo, my beautiful baby. She is just about as obsessed with me as I am with her. Her little friend Hazel, however, besides me giving her food – really doesn’t care about me much at all.

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Six. A break. Tuesday night Trivia at The Red Monkey is the perfect break!