Oak Hollow Books Available on Kindle Unlimited!!!

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The book world is buzzing about Kindle Unlimited.  What is it?  Well, basically it is like Netflix for books.  I’m not going to go into all of the details here, because I am not sure I entirely get how it works.  But, it IS a thing and it IS available for Indie Authors to enroll their books in.

The chat around the water cooler about it is both good and bad, but mostly it is all speculation.  Many authors are afraid to take the plunge and try it out because it means pulling your enrolled EBOOK down from every other sales site and making it exclusive to Kindle (Amazon).  That could drastically reduce sales that may or may not be made up by the lending/Kindle Unlimited program.

You know me, I’m DARING!  So, I have enrolled three of my books in the program for the next 3 months (at least) to see how it goes.

What does that mean for you?  WELL, basically, that you can read the Oak Hollow books for FREE this month!  Free?  Well, yes.  You see, because it is new, Amazon is offering a Kindle Unlimited 30 day FREE TRIAL to readers to test out the program.  (After that I think it is $9.99 a month.)

So, go sign up for Kindle Unlimited and check out:

A REASON TO STAY

LORELEI’S DANCE & ROMANCING LORELEI (NOW COMBINED IN ONE BOOK)

 

 

Updated Release Dates for Just As You Are and Unmasked

As you may know, I signed on with Crimson Tree Publishing last week to republish Voodoo Moon and continue on with the Paranorm World series.  I do not yet have a release date for the new edition of Voodoo Moon, though I know it will likely be sometime in late 2014.  I will let everyone know as soon as I know.

The new contract means Immortal Moon (Paranorm World #2) must take #1 priority over everything else and finally get completed and in to the publisher.  This means the two indie books I had planned for a late summer release have been pushed back to fall.

Just As You Are (Oak Hollow #3/Oak Hollow College #1), originally scheduled for a September 30 release has been pushed back to October 28.  Unmasked (Godmother Security #1) was originally set for an August launch, but is now set to release November 25.

These dates are as set in stone as I can make them.  Hopefully I won’t have to push them back again.  As long as I can get Immortal Moon to the publisher by September 1, I should have plenty of time for revisions and edits on the other two in order to get them out on time.

No clue yet on what my 2015 Release schedule will look like.  I do have some Oak Hollow, Oak Hollow College and Godmother Security Books in the line up, but I have a couple of stories that don’t fit into any of the series I currently have going that I want to spend some time on and shop to publishers, so I may only do one or two indie novella’s next year.

As always… THANK YOU for reading!  Because of YOU I have a job!

And now, a completely unrelated meme that has no relevance to this post but just makes me smile.

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Announcement of Awesome: New Publishing Contract

whos-awesomeThat’s right!  If you are reading this you are AWESOME!  And since you are so awesome, I want to share MY awesome news with YOU!

I have just signed a contract with Crimson Tree Publishing for the Paranorm World Series.  I am so excited to be a part of such a wonderful team!

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This means Voodoo Moon has been taken down and will be republished at the end of this year (no exact target date).  THEN, Immortal Moon will be next.  Of course I don’t have any dates yet, but I will definitely keep you posted.

But for NOW… I I just want to celebrate!  Let’s PARTY!

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Guest Post: Make Your Sex Life Sound Like Fiction

adameve.com606ClosenessThere’s nothing quite like some hot erotica to turn you on and give you a spark of spontaneity with your partner. However, if you’ve been in a relationship for awhile, your sex stories might read as exciting as last week’s newspaper.

It’s all too common: You get comfortable, slip into a routine, and sooner or later you find yourself in a sexual rut. The same moves, the same setting, the same everything.

Not to worry, there’s hope yet! The good news is that you’re completely capable of changing things for the better. By taking charge, you can make sure you and your partner get everything you want out of your time together, and that your mattress springs start getting one hell of a regular workout.

You might think that rejuvenating your sex life starts in the bedroom, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, the first step to improving things involves no touching at all.

It might be a little awkward at the beginning, but discussing your sexual needs with your partner is crucial for a healthy sex life. Professionals such as relationship expert Dr. Kat agree that open communication about intimacy with your partner more often than not leads to better, more frequent sex. And Dr. Kat certainly knows her stuff! According to her bio on Adam & Eve (where she also writes articles), she’s a certified Clinical Sexologist and a Marriage & Family Therapist, among other things. If you’re confident enough to be open about what you want, your partner might feel more comfortable expressing their desires as well. As Kat said herself:

“[We] all know sex isn’t just about sex, it’s about communication, self-esteem, general health and wellbeing; it’s connected to everything in our lives.”

It wouldn’t be uncommon for the first step to lead you to a spontaneous session between the sheets, but there’s more you can do before the bedroom that will make your time together even better.

Doing the “prep work” yourself is a great way to ensure that you both get what you need. While masturbating or touching yourself might seem like the go-to, the brain is far more involved in helping or hindering a woman from achieving orgasm than physical touch. For a female to reach orgasm, our minds have to be ready far before our bodies are. Some women even get so good at mentally putting themselves in the mood, they can make themselves orgasm without any physical contact.

If you can’t seem to telepathically turn yourself on, try watching some pornography, or use that erotica to your advantage. Not only can you get some new ideas, but you’ll also be in a sexier state of mind when the time is right.

When you do make it to the bedroom, (I know — finally) just as you did with the prep work, it’s perfectly okay to take control of your own orgasms during the act. Putting the pressure entirely on your partner can cause anxiety, and will often leave you disappointed.

Instead, try to pleasure yourself while you and your partner are intimate. No one knows your body better than you. If you’re partner isn’t quite hitting the mark, try rubbing your clit or using a toy on yourself while they penetrate you, or change to a position that hits your G-spot more.

You might feel a little overbearing at first, but just remember that men find a lot more positions satisfying than women do. The vast disparity between the ease of which each sex reaches climax is known by researchers as the “orgasm gap.” In fact, men are able to get off about 50% more of the time than women. So chances are if a certain position feels amazing for you, it feels pretty great for him too.

Most importantly, if your partner is doing something you like, or you’ve found a position that feels good, say so! You’ll get the satisfaction of great sex, and your partner will gain confidence knowing that they’re driving you wild, not to mention that hearing so will probably turn them on even more.

To make things a little more exciting for you both, use some of those ideas from your book! Opt for some morning shower sex to really wake yourselves up. If you live alone, any surface of your house can provide a sexy setup—kitchen counters, dining table, staircase, or just up against a wall. Your options are endless.

The worse thing you can do when you’re feeling things fade is stay silent. With open communication, little changes can go a long way. You don’t need cheap tricks from magazines to put the spark back into your intimacy. Just don’t be afraid to speak up about what you want, in and out of the bedroom. Your sex life, and your partner, will thank you for it!

The Official Just As You Are Cover Reveal

JAYA_COVERREVEAL_MEDWe are excited to share the cover for June Stevens’ upcoming New Adult Novel, Just As You Are. Just As You Are is the #3 book in the Oak Hollow series and the first in the new adult series Oak Hollow College. The two series’ will overlap with common characters and settings, but the Oak Hollow College series will consist exclusively of New Adult novels.

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JUST AS YOU ARE BY JUNE STEVENS

OAK HOLLOW #3 and OAK HOLLOW COLLEGE #1

When you’ve gone through your whole life being told you aren’t good enough, you learn to accept love with conditions…and never expect anything better…

The not-so-shy fat girl…

Layla Harper has no problem with who she is. She’ll never be a beauty queen, but she doesn’t care. She does have a problem with guys who think she is easy because she’s fat. And drop-your-panties-sexy Alden Cortland just became her #1 problem.

All Layla wants to do is keep her head down, get her computer science degree, and get as far away from Tennessee and her past as she can. She certainly has no intentions of getting mixed up with another smooth talking rich boy, no matter how much he tells her she is sexy.

The rich boy with a secret…

Alden is the disgrace of his family. Which is why he has been sent to a small college in the backwoods of Tennessee, out of the media spotlight, out of mind. He is completely focused on getting his degree and taking off to start his career on the other side of the camera. Until he lays eyes on Layla Harper.

She has no clue how beautiful she is, but he is determined to help her find out. Unfortunately she won’t give him the time of day. He wants to prove to her he isn’t the kind of guy she thinks he is…or does he? Getting close to Layla means letting her in on his darkest secret. And that would mean losing her.

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DJ Westerfield Writing As June Stevens

DJ Westerfield is a wife, step-mom, sister, auntie, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, and Mommy to three adorable and mischievous four-legged babies.

She writes non-fiction, blogs, and co-hosts an internet radio show as DJ Westerfield and uses the pseudonym June Stevens to write fiction in a variety of genres including contemporary romance, romantic suspense, romantic fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy. You can find out more about her and WHY she uses both of her names on her website.

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Love of reading

Flash Photo Writing Prompt: Red

A great way to get writing is to use photos for inspiration. Use the photo below as an inspiration to start a new story or write a bit of flash fiction (up to 1k words).

Things to think about to help you get started:

  • What is happening in the photo?
  • What just happened?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What emotions does the photo invoke?
  • If this were the cover image for a story/novel, what would the story be?
  • Could this be a setting or scene in your current story?

Photo from Morgefile.com

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Cover Reveal: Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin

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We are so pleased to finally share this gorgeous and much awaited cover for Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin.

 

Queen of Someday (Stolen Empire Book 1)

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Release Day: October 7, 2014

Published by: Clean Teen Publishing

Genre- YA Historical Fiction

ADD TO GOODREADS

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophia will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

A seductive pose of a young bride fixing her dress

Sherry D. Ficklin

Sherry's-an-Author-030Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

She is the author of The Gods of Fate Trilogy now available from Dragonfly Publishing. Her previously self-published novel After Burn: Military Brats has been acquired by Harlequin and will be released in 2014 with a second book in that series to follow. Her YA steampunk novel, EXTRACTED: The Lost Imperials book 1, co-written with Tyler H. Jolley is now available everywhere books are sold and her newest YA novel, Losing Logan, is now available from Clean Teen Publishing.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/sherry.ficklin

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/AuthorSherry

PINTEREST: http://www.pinterest.com/authorsherry/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4153170.Sherry_D_Ficklin

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A Note From The Author:

The true story of Catherine the Great is one fraught with betrayal, intrigue, and romance. While a good deal of my story is drawn from actual people and events, I have been very liberal in the rearrangement of dates, events, and places. Whenever possible I took my cues from her own words, intermixing my own thoughts and ideas. My thought upon the creation of the book was simple. I looked at the woman she was when she claimed the crown and then wondered, how did an innocent girl from Germany become such a force of nature? Most people aren’t born cold or ambitious, but have circumstances that forge them into those people. And that was the story I wanted to tell in this book. I wanted to see the events in her early life that would have changed her into the person she became, and not knowing the truth of that story, I simply made something up. That is what we, as writers, do best.

If you are curious about the real history behind Catherine, I suggest heading to your local library and doing a bit of research. This is not meant to be a historically accurate representation, but a flight of fancy, one that I hope you, dear reader, will enjoy as much as I have.

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Flash Photo Writing Prompt: Holding Hands

A great way to get writing is to use photos for inspiration. Use the photo below as an inspiration to start a new story or write a bit of flash fiction (up to 1k words).

Things to think about to help you get started:

  • What is happening in the photo?
  • What just happened?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What emotions does the photo invoke?
  • If this were the cover image for a story/novel, what would the story be?
  • Could this be a setting or scene in your current story?

Photo from Morgefile.com

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Win Ebook Copies of A Reason to Stay and Romancing Lorelei

I am being hosted over on ARe Cafe this week to celebrate the release of Romancing Lorelei.  Go check out the post about Love in a Small Town and enter to win ebook copies of A Reason to Stay and Romancing Lorelei.

June Stevens: Love in a Small Town + Giveaway

As a reader I have always enjoyed book series that followed a group of people, either a family or town.  My favorite are those where each book has its own set of main characters, yet you see glimpses of the continuing life of previous main characters, as well as quirky secondary characters that appear continuously throughout the series…CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING AND ENTER TO WIN

A Reason to Stay is on Audiobook!

AReason_AUDIOBOOK_COVER2IT’S OFFICIAL!  A Reason to Stay is an AUDIOBOOK!  I’m so excited.  It officially went up for sale on Audible and Amazon today.

A special thanks goes out to the ultra talented Meghan Kelly for the exquisite production quality and spot on performance!

This is truly a momentous day for me.  Thank you to EVERYONE that has read A Reason to Stay over the past 9 years! (Yes…it was that long ago when it was first published, and it is still going strong!)

GET IT NOW!

You can get it for FREE on Audible with their 30day trial offer!  Or, if you are an Audible member, purchase it with this month’s credit! Or get it on Amazon!  If you prefer Itunes, just keep checking.  It should be available SOON!

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Flash Photo Writing Prompt: Stone Ruins

A great way to get writing is to use photos for inspiration. Use the photo below as an inspiration to start a new story or write a bit of flash fiction (up to 1k words).

Things to think about to help you get started:

  • What is happening in the photo?
  • What just happened?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What emotions does the photo invoke?
  • If this were the cover image for a story/novel, what would the story be?
  • Could this be a setting or scene in your current story?

Photo from Morgefile.com

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Flash Photo Writing Prompt: Mushroom in the Woods

A great way to get writing is to use photos for inspiration. Use the photo below as an inspiration to start a new story or write a bit of flash fiction (up to 1k words).

Things to think about to help you get started:

  • What is happening in the photo?
  • What just happened?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What emotions does the photo invoke?
  • If this were the cover image for a story/novel, what would the story be?
  • Could this be a setting or scene in your current story?

Photo from Morgefile.com

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Romancing Lorelei’s Official Release!

The OFFICIAL Romancing Lorelei Launch is here!

TIME TO PARTY!

party-hardYes, I really am that excited!

RL_Tour_Banner_MedTHESE FINE PEOPLE ARE HELPING ME CELEBRATE, SO GO CHECK OUT THEIR BLOGS:

I Read Indie

Avid Reader Amy’s Reviews

Rage, Sex and Teddy Bears

Bibliophile Book Reviews

Sherry D. Ficklin

The CurvyWriters on Reading, Writing, & Publishing

 

BUY ROMANCING LORELEI

AMAZON (KINDLE) | ALL ROMANCE | BARNES & NOBLE | ITUNES | SMASHWORDS

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ROMANCING LORELEI BY JUNE STEVENS

OAK HOLLOW SERIES #2

ISBN: 9781310267628

Romancing Lorelei is a STAND ALONE novella in the Oak Hollow Series.

RL_FINAL_400X600She doesn’t believe in love…He fell in love at first sight.

The moment he laid eyes on her, Kaden McAllister knew there was something special about Lorelei. After spending one incredible night with her, he knew he wanted her in his life. But the next morning she was gone, without even giving him her last name. When he finally finds her can he convince her there can be much more between them than sex?

Lorelei isn’t interested in falling in love with anyone, ever. Yet, she can’t deny that something deeper lurks beneath the intense sexual attraction that sizzles between her and Kaden, She agrees to get to know him, but can she put her past behind her and open herself up to the possibilities of love?

BUY NOW

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About June Stevens/DJ Westerfield

MEPINUPDJ Westerfield is a wife, step-mom, sister, auntie, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, and Mommy to four adorable and mischievous four-legged babies.

She writes non-fiction, blogs, and co-hosts an internet radio show as DJ Westerfield. She also works as a consultant for independent authors and creates crafts and jewelry she sells on her online store, Hydeaway Cottage.

DJ uses the pseudonym June Stevens to write fiction in a variety of genres including contemporary romance, romantic suspense, romantic fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy. You can find out more about her and WHY she uses both of her names on her website.

AUTHOR LINKS

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FACEBOOK

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EXCERPT

RL_PRomo1“Kaden, we don’t have a relationship. We’ve had sex and I’ve met your family. That’s all.”

“Exactly. The two biggest relationship hurdles and we’ve already passed them and we are still talking. Neither of us has run away screaming, yet. I think we are making great progress.”

Lorelei shook her head, her lips twitching into a smile. “You’re a nutcase.”

“Probably. Yet, here you are, still in my truck.” He reached out and took her chin between his fingers and turned her face so that they were eye to eye. His silly grin had melted and his eyes were intense and unreadable. “Lorelei, I know we’ve gone about all of this a little backwards, and maybe we don’t have a relationship yet, but I would like for us to develop one.”

“Kaden…”

“Let me finish,” he cut her off, leaning in just a bit closer. His and slid from her chin to clasp her hand between them. “You are beautiful and sexy and since the first moment I saw you I’ve been fascinated. That night between us, that wasn’t like me either. I was so incredibly hot for you I couldn’t think straight. I thought that if I could have you then I could get you out of my head. So I arranged with Kath and Jack to use their tent. But that all too brief night was more than I imagined possible, and then you were gone the next morning without a word. You have haunted me every moment of every day since.”

Every molecule of oxygen in the car seemed evaporate. Lorelei’s chest tightened and her throat closed, and even if she could have spoken her brain was too fogged to put together a coherent sentence. No one had ever said anything like this to her. Ever. She didn’t know if she should laugh in his face or melt into a puddle at his feet. Before she could decide, he went on.

“You don’t want me to think you sleep with just anyone, but I need you to know that I don’t think that. And more than that, I need you to know that I don’t just want sex from you. As a matter of fact, I don’t want to have sex with you again. Well, not for a little while at least. That’s why I didn’t go any further than I did earlier today. It’s true that I find you so incredibly sexy it’s hard to think straight sometimes, but, there is more to what I feel than that. You are funny and sweet and your smile breaks my heart. I don’t know even a millionth of what there is to know about you, but I do know that I want to know it all.”

There was a long pause where there was no sound in the truck except for their breaths. Then Lorelei pulled her hand from his and took a deep breath. “I still think you may have me confused for another type of girl. I know I said I’m not casual about sex, but I’m not quite that serious about it either. What I meant was I am usually very picky about who I sleep with. I usually go on a minimum of three dates to make sure we are on the same wavelength. But I don’t require a serious relationship to have a sexual one.”

Kaden’s eyebrows furrowed quizzically. “So, what you are saying is that you’ll have sex with me, but you won’t date me?”

Yes, that is exactly what she was saying. Wasn’t it? She wasn’t really sure of anything. She definitely wanted to get him in bed again, she couldn’t deny that. But, she had also had a lot of fund with Kaden and his family tonight. “I’m not really the “know everything about you” type of girl. Before tonight I’ve never met the family of anyone I’ve dated. It’s just not who I am.”
“You know, there’s a first time for everything. And how can you really know you’re not that kind of girl if you’ve never tried it?” He didn’t give her time to respond. He grabbed her hand again, lacing their fingers together, and went on. “Lorelei, I just want to date you, not skin you and eat you for breakfast. It’s not that scary. We go to the movies, dancing, out to eat, you know the things people normally do when they are getting to know each other. Let me romance you a little. What’s the worst that could happen?”
“I could detest you.”

“Or you could really like me, even fall in love with me,” he grinned and waggled his eyebrows at her.

Yeah, that was actually the worst thing that could happen. The last thing she needed was to fall in love and get her heart ripped out. Yet, he was so cute when he was trying to be endearing. And so sexy. Even with the word “love” in the air, which would normally be a splash of cold water to her libido, sitting so near him had every one of her nerve ends tingling.

She let out a huff of air. “Okay. I’ll date you. But I’m not making any promises, and I definitely don’t want you to make any.”
Kaden didn’t respond with words. Instead he slid his to the back of her neck and pulled her to him. When his lips met hers something hot and needy exploded inside her. She leaned into him, letting him deepen the kiss. For a long moment they explored each other through taste and touch. When he finally pulled back she was weak and breathless. That kiss had certainly felt like a promise, she just didn’t know of what.

“Will you come in?” she asked hopefully, her voice barely more than a whisper.

“No. I meant it. No sex for a while. I want to get to know you without sex muddling things up.” He straightened in his seat and slumped back, groaning. “I can’t open your door for you. If I get out of this truck, I won’t get back in until morning.”

Lorelei flashed him a sexy grin. “That would be okay.”

“Stop trying to seduce me, you sultry siren,” he laughed, leaning over to drop a chaste kiss on her forehead. “Go on. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Lorelei laughed and slid out of the truck, then walked around to his door. When he rolled down his window to see what she wanted she said, “I just wanted to tell you I had a good time tonight.” Then she reached up and slid her hand to the back of his neck like he had done to her a few moments ago and pulled him down into a hot, searing kiss. When she pulled away she had to put her hand on the truck for a moment to steady herself. “Sweet dreams,” she called over her shoulder as she walked to the door, letting her hips sway just a little more than usual.

She heard him say “Siren” and smiled to herself knowing he was affected by the kiss as she was. She just hoped he couldn’t see the way her hand shook as she fumbled with the lock. Finally she got the damn thing to work and let herself in, closing the door behind her. Once she’d reset the alarm, she slumped against the door replaying his words in her head and wondering what she’d gotten herself into.

AND THIS IS HOW I FEEL NOW

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8 Things Learned While Writing Romancing Lorelei

Have you ever started something in your life and for whatever reason had to, or chose to, put it aside.  Such as going to college, learning a new skill, taking out the trash?  Been there, done that many times.  I’m sad to say I’m an easily distracted person.  My interests are varied, and sometimes I have trouble finishing a project (crafts, etc.)  At home if I’m cleaning something and something else catches my attention I’m gone and the first thing stays half dirty until I remember to do it again, or the end of eternity…which ever comes first.  I happen to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 stories started.

1b87d6e18542bca245c38cf8f29b93e7Romancing Lorelei was, until recently, my oldest started but unfinished story.  However, it didn’t get put aside because of my undiagnosed ADD, but rather because of life circumstances.  I won’t go into them…they are pretty boring and it would sound whiny.

Then a few months ago I decided to re-brand A Reason to Stay (since it has been a constant seller for more than 9 years) and continue the small town series I have wanted to write for over a decade.  That meant dusting off Romancing Lorelei, because there was no way I could continue the series without it.  Oh, I suppose I COULD have.  The stories are all stand alone, after all.  But Kaden and Lorelei were screaming in my head that there was no Oak Hollow without them.  So, I dusted off the ten chapters I had written  and the outline for the rest of the story and got started.

That was the beginning of the most hellish four months of my life (writing-wise, at least).  In the end, though, it has been one of the most rewarding and informative experiences of my life.  Here are some of the things I learned while finishing Romancing Lorelei:

1.  I am not the same person I was 8 years ago.

oh-god-who-am-iWhile the basics of the story had never, even for a moment, left my head, rereading the words I had written was like reading something someone else wrote.  I knew I had put those words on paper, yet they were completely foreign to me.  I alternated between thinking “I wrote this?  I’m freaking brilliant!” and “I wrote this crap?  Why on earth did I use that word? Why would that happen?”

2. Lorelei and Kaden are not the same people they were 8 years ago. 

crackersFrom the first read through of the original, I quickly realized my writing style and thought processes were very different than those of the person that wrote that first draft.  I ended up re-writing four chapters and complete scrapping the rest, as well as the whole outline.  My visions of Lorelei and Kaden and what they would and wouldn’t do just didn’t fit the original story.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t even KNOW the characters anymore.  I thought I did, but I kept trying to write them one way and something else would come out.

3. Sometimes your characters know better than you. Just go with it.

schizoAt one point in the story, I can’t say where or what…spoilers… Lorelei does something that is very surprising to the reader.  My mother in law told me “I never saw that coming.”  You know what?  Neither did I.  Seriously, I had a completely different way for the scene to go in my head when I sat down to write, but in the end Lorelei just blurted something out and it ended up on the paper and I thought… Wow, really?  Okay, let’s go with it!  It turns out that is one of the best parts of the story.

4. Rewriting sucks. 

waitYes, revising sucks, any writer knows that, but this was more than that.  I completely overhauled the story and by the time I was done, I was starting to hate it.  Because of points 1 & 2 (see above) I was starting to really doubt whether or not the story was salvageable.  I wasn’t sure if it would even be readable.

5. A solid week of 2 hours of sleep at a time and drinking 2 pitchers of  sweet tea a day make me cranky. 

d3d750e9610c6b5b198304e8fe8ff8d8Because of #4 finishing up the story took longer than the 1 month I allotted.  Some of it was because of the rewriting, and some was because I am a champion procrastinator, and I get even better at it when I don’t want to do something.  So, by the start of month three when it HAD to get done I was putting in 16+ hours writing (and cranking out not nearly what I could have) and living on chocolate and sweet tea.  It wasn’t pretty.

6. My husband is a saint.

dogsmileySee #5… and we are still married and he didn’t take the puppies and leave me. Enough said.

7. I don’t suck as much as I think I do.

sealofapprovalDue to lack of sleep and the fact that I finally had to forget an outline and just let Kaden and Lorelei do their own thing (seriously doubted my sanity for a while), I was convinced the whole thing would have to be scrapped…again.  And I would have to start over…again.  I was really hating the story by then.  Then I handed it over my Beta Readers.  The next day my most trusted Beta Reader called me and had me come over.  She had printed it out and went over every single note she’d made with me.  Most of them were positive.  Watching the enthusiasm she had for the story rekindled a nearly extinguished spark in me.  I came home and reread the whole thing with her notes and saw it through her eyes.  I decided that it IS readable.  It is a good story even.  I won’t toot my own horn and say it’s GREAT, but I will say that the things I was trying to get across DID come through and didn’t get muddled up.  I just hope everyone else likes it as much as I do now.

8. FINISHING SOMETHING IS THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD. 

feelsgoodman1I feel so accomplished.  Seriously, I feel more accomplished after writing this little 30k Novella than I did after finishing Voodoo Moon, which was 110K words.  And trust me, I happy danced for a week after writing “the end” on that one.

If there is anything you have put off, take my advice and finish it.  Whatever it is, if it has been niggling at your brain, finally do what it takes and do it.  It might be hard, it might be near impossible.  But the very act of trying is a huge achievement.  And finishing… well, it doesn’t matter if it’s a short story or a high school diploma (a whole chocolate cake probably doesn’t qualify though)… finishing something you started is one of the most amazing feelings you could have and is an accomplishment no one can ever take from  you.

believingAnd also… Don’t Stop Beleiving…or Journey will get pissed.

Flash Photo Writing Prompt: Abandoned

A great way to get writing is to use photos for inspiration. Use the photo below as an inspiration to start a new story or write a bit of flash fiction (up to 1k words).

Things to think about to help you get started:

  • What is happening in the photo?
  • What just happened?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What emotions does the photo invoke?
  • If this were the cover image for a story/novel, what would the story be?
  • Could this be a setting or scene in your current story?

Photo from Morgefile.com

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Cover Reveal of Leading Her Witness by Cheryl Ann Smith

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We are proud to share the cover of Cheryl Ann Smith’s new upcoming novel, Leading Her Witness (A Dead to Rights Novel).
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Release Date: October 13, 2014
Publisher: Tulip Romance
Format: e-book
ISBN: 978-1939392-46-6

Leading Her Witness by Cheryl Ann Smith

Goons, deadbeats, and murder: A tenacious process server’s unconventional techniques get her into loads of trouble. So much so that her boss jokes that he keeps the coroner on speed dial just in case. Still, most of Andie Dixon’s job is pretty tame if she doesn’t count snapping dogs and homeowners squirting her with garden hoses. That changes when she serves papers on a notorious crime boss and puts her life in real jeopardy. But despite this close call, Andie will not let threats keep her from doing her job. She puts the matter behind her until a hunky U.S. Marshal tracks her down and solicits her help to find the fugitive. Again. At first Andie adamantly refuses, but eventually agrees when she’s swayed by the Marshal’s persistence and rather dreamy brown eyes. However, when crime boss Sammy Gilroy, finds out she’s back and close on his heels, he threatens to make her disappear for good this time.
Marshall Colin Navarro needs to find Sammy Gilroy before the man vanishes forever. Colin is certain that the notorious crime leader was involved in a shoot-out with the FBI that injured his sister. But he never expected that he’d have to sway a newbie process-server to help, or that she’d turn out to be stubborn, aggravating, and an all-around pain in the ass. Yet despite her shortcomings, he cannot figure out why she’s taken over his thoughts and is front and center in some very hot fantasies. But can he keep her from getting herself killed as they edge closer to catching the fugitive? Then again, the crime boss and his goons don’t know who they’re messing with. With Andie on the case, Colin is beginning to believe that justice may be served after all.

About the Author

cheryl_photoA fan of romance fiction since the dark ages, author Cheryl Ann Smith loves to throw her heroines into danger, just to see what they’ll do. Her dream of publication came true in 2011 when the first in her historical romance series came out with Berkley Sensation. And just this year, she sold a new contemporary series to Tulip Romance, thus allowing her to mix her crazy sense of humor with suspenseful elements to write about process server, Andie Dixon, the kick-ass heroine Cheryl has always wanted to be.

Cheryl lives in Michigan with her family, two cats and a very hairy dog. She enjoys outdoor adventures and traveling, when she has the time, and hopes to make her first visits to Europe and Australia in the very near future.

Find Cheryl:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Love of reading

Flash Photo Writing Prompt: Barefoot in the Park

A great way to get writing is to use photos for inspiration. Use the photo below as an inspiration to start a new story or write a bit of flash fiction (up to 1k words).

Things to think about to help you get started:

  • What is happening in the photo?
  • What just happened?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What emotions does the photo invoke?
  • If this were the cover image for a story/novel, what would the story be?
  • Could this be a setting or scene in your current story?

Photo from Morgefile.com

file4591309038957

Flash Photo Writing Prompt: Old Wagon

A great way to get writing is to use photos for inspiration. Use the photo below as an inspiration to start a new story or write a bit of flash fiction (up to 1k words).

Things to think about to help you get started:

  • What is happening in the photo?
  • What just happened?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What emotions does the photo invoke?
  • If this were the cover image for a story/novel, what would the story be?
  • Could this be a setting or scene in your current story?

Photo from Morgefile.com

file4791262101755

Guest Post: VISUALIZATION WORKS! by Colette Ballard

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.

I’d always heard about the power of visualization, though I wasn’t 100% sure it would work for me. As with anything, it’s easy to make a new goal, not always easy to see it through to the end.

After a lifelong love of reading and dabbling in writing, I decided about fifteen years ago that I would make an honest goal of becoming a published author. For many years I researched how-to and craft books and spent countless hours at libraries and bookstores. One thing I always did was go to the shelves and find where my book would be placed alphabetically. It may sound strange, but it always gave me hope. After all, long before those books landed on a shelf, there was and actual person behind them—a writer who had a dream and a goal just like mine.

I attended a conference once that suggested making a vision or storyboard for your characters and anything pertaining to your work-in-progress. Although mine was never a beautiful or organized collage like she showed as examples, I did have a bulletin board beside my desk where I pinned magazine pictures of people, clothes, vehicles or landscape that reminded me of my characters or story. I highly recommend this; visually surrounding myself with details of my story seems to inspire me when the words aren’t magically appearing on my computer screen or notebook.

Another thing I started to do as I worked toward my goal, is make up Publisher’s Marketplace book sale announcements. (BTW, this is a fantastic exercise in narrowing the pitch for your book down to one sentence—which will come in very handy.) Many years before my book sold, I printed up my announcement and pinned it on the wall right above my computer. Whether I was feeling confident or not, there it was in front of me to give me hope and inspiration. Many years later, it was a profound moment when I was able to replace my made up PM announcement for the real deal. Nearly a year later and I still keep it pinned on the wall above my computer as a reminder of how far I’ve come.

Though I have to say, my most profound visualization moment to date happened only a few short months ago. I walked into the library where I used to do most of my research and there in the Young Adult section, sitting alphabetically on the shelf where I’d imagined it, was my book!

Proof that along with an insane amount of perseverance and dedication, that dreams can become reality. I’m not saying it’s always easy to believe in yourself or even to visualize it everyday. It takes a ton of work and patience but I do believe that surrounding yourself visually can certainly help get you where you want to go.

About the Author

Colette grew up on a dairy farm in rural Kentucky. She survived the high school experience back in the day when Aqua Net was bought in bulk and mullets were cool. After high school she went through a stage she calls “the wander years”, collecting a variety of job skills–some useful, some not so much. She even moved a few times in her quest for the meaning of life, eventually landing in the one red-light town she started in where she continues to live today with her husband and three children.

Running On Empty by Colette Ballard

18241299What does it feel like when you die—in those final moments? Do you feel the physical pain, or just the pain of your regrets? What does it feel like when you realize you can’t answer these questions because you’re not the victim?

You’re the killer.

River Daniels lives an ordinary life as a high school junior growing up in the confines of rural Texas until her boyfriend’s brutal attack leaves her both a murderer and a fugitive. When River’s closest girlfriends come to her aid, they make a hasty decision to not only help her, but leave their own troubled lives behind and join in her escape.

The girls manage to elude police for months, but with every near-miss, River’s life spirals further out of control, until she finally hits rock bottom. Realizing she must stop endangering her friends and find evidence proving she acted in self-defense, the girls decide to make a risky move. River must face her ugly past and the one person she was protecting the night her world caved in, the guy she has loved for as long as she can remember.

BUY IT ON AMAZON

Flash Photo Writing Prompt: A Bridge to Somewhere

A great way to get writing is to use photos for inspiration. Use the photo below as an inspiration to start a new story or write a bit of flash fiction (up to 1k words).

Things to think about to help you get started:

  • What is happening in the photo?
  • What just happened?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What emotions does the photo invoke?
  • If this were the cover image for a story/novel, what would the story be?
  • Could this be a setting or scene in your current story?

Photo from Morgefile.com

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