Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Jumping Around

Every writer has their own process for writing, and it's rare that any two writers' processes will be the same. Mine is fairly simple. I sit and write. I don't plot. I don't typically write character sketches. I am a pantser to the core. Now, in order for me to keep things straight in my mind, and to make sure the story flows well, I have to write the story in order, from beginning to end. If I don't, things get all messed up.

Recently, however, I've had this particular scene on repeat in my mind. It's a scene for a book I haven't even started writing yet. In fact, it's nothing more than a fleeting idea at this point. But it's driving me nuts! Every time I try to work on my WIP, this other scene keeps sneaking in. I just can't seem to shake it. So, I broke down and did something I rarely do: I wrote the scene.

Here's a snippet of it:

Tanner grabbed her and steadied her. He gave her an adorably sexy, boyish smile. It was the same smile he always gave her. The smile of a friend.
“Okay, I think someone has had enough to drink.” Tanner laughed.
This was it. Now or never. She had to play by the rules of the game in order to win. Juliana grabbed Tanner’s face and pressed her lips to his. She didn’t know what kind of reaction to expect, but she really didn’t expect him to look at her with a horrified expression. Nor did she expect him to drop her. She scurried to her feet, eyes wide, ashamed.
“Oh, no, Tanner, I’m—” Juliana turned and pushed her way through the party until she reached the front door. By the time she stepped out into the cool evening breeze her face was wet with tears. I’m so stupid! Did I really think he would kiss me back? Why would he when he’s in love with my best friend? God, Vanessa. If she found out…
“Jules!”
She turned to find Tanner jogging down the street after her. Great. She hastily wiped her tears and kept walking, not bothering to slow down. The last thing she wanted was to explain herself to him.
“Juliana.” Tanner caught up and grabbed her elbow. “Will you please stop for a minute?”
She crossed her arms and remained silent. Even though none of this was his fault, she wanted to yell at him for choosing Vanessa over her, but that wasn’t fair. He never knew he had a choice because Juliana never had the chance to tell him.
“What was that about back there?”
“Nothing. It was just a stupid game. No big deal.” She shrugged.
“So you kissed me because Jackson told you to?” His voice dripped with disbelief, and that kind of pissed her off. Just because Tanner Grayson was God’s gift to women didn't mean he had to act like it.
“No, I kissed you because I had to in order to win the game. Seriously, why are you making such a big deal about it?” She walked away, and Tanner fell in step beside her, hands shoved in his pockets, head down. Why wouldn’t he just leave her alone so she could suffer her embarrassment in solitude?
“It is a big deal, though.”
“Look,” she stopped and faced him, “I know I crossed the line, and I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it. But if you’re worried about Vanessa, don’t be. I’ll take the full blame.” She started to walk away again. “It’s not like you kissed me back or anything,” she mumbled.

“And that’s exactly why this is such a big deal.” He put his hand on her shoulder and made her turn to look at him. “You’re right. I didn’t kiss you back, but God I wanted to, Jules. You have no idea how badly I wanted to.”
****

The concept is an NA romance. Of course, I have no idea if I'll ever actually write this book, and if I do, I have no idea where this particular scene will fit in to it or how I'll manage knowing I've written out of order. But, on a positive note, I feel at peace now and I can focus on my current project.

What's your writing process? So you jump around or do you write in a linear fashion?

I is for Inspiration

I know this post is a day late, and I apologize. I planned to write something helpful about finding inspiration for writing, but, ironically, I couldn't find the inspiration to write the post. lol. That and I got busy with life. So, to catch up and get back on track, here are places I most commonly find inspiration:

Music
Television - specifically talk shows. I have a mild obsession with Dr. Phil.
Social media
Writers groups
People watching while out and about with my kids
Dreams

So, where do you find inspiration?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Humble

When I was a kid, I had a T-shirt that read: "It's hard to be this great when you're as humble as I am." Back then, I had no idea what it meant, but the adults who read it always thought it was funny. Now, years later, I get the joke. My mom, also a writer, has a really twisted sense of humor. I mean, who would slap that on their child and parade them around in it? I digress...

Dictionary.com defines humble as: not proud or arrogant. Yes, there are other meanings for this word, but this is the one I'm going to focus on today.

As writers, we're told we need to believe in ourselves, believe in the value of the stories we write, and to never give up despite the massive rejection we face. And that's really good advice. I'm not here to dispute that. I mean, if we don't believe in ourselves, no one else will be believe in us. But when does that unfaltering belief turn to arrogance? When do we cross the line from humble belief to I'm-the-greatest-thing-since-sliced-bread attitudes?

Allow me to throw out some hypothetical scenarios...

You get a request from a dream agent and/or publisher for your full manuscript. You squeal with delight. Tell all your friends. Announce it on social media. Then you sit down to actually send it. In your reply email you gush about how excited you are and thank him/her profusely for wanting to read your book. But you don't stop there. You continue to ramble on about how unique and wonderful your book is. You let him/her know that it's a bestseller waiting to break all previous sales records and you've already starting putting together your dream cast for the movie adaptation. You know he/she is absolutely going to love it and can't wait to have "the call" with them.

Humble belief or arrogance?


You've finally gotten a sweet book deal and you're so super excited you're telling everyone you know. You've told the story so many times you could recite it in your sleep. Then you get the (dreaded) editorial email. It's pages upon pages upon pages detailing everything that is wrong with your story. You take it personally and even shed some tears. After your rant fest with a few of your closest writing pals, you take a deep breath and reread the email. You see the value of the edits and realize you're story isn't as perfect as you think. Although you don't agree with everything your editor has suggested, you resolve to try and compromise even though there are certain things you absolutely refuse to change and you will be as stubborn as a  toddler throwing a tantrum on those points. 

Humble belief or arrogance?


The line isn't so clear cut is it? And the line will absolutely be in different places for different people. But the lesson is the same: Think about what you're saying and how you're presenting yourself to others. Stop and ask yourself, "If someone said this to me, would I think they're an arrogant jerk?" If the answer is yes, then chances are good if you say it, someone will think that way about you, too.

Believe in yourself. Believe in your talents. Believe in your ability to write a stellar story. But balance your belief with a healthy dose of humble pie. The world will thank you for it :-)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Girlfriends Galore

One of the best perks of being an author is the people I've met along the way. I have made some really great friends. Granted, I've never met any of them face-to-face, but that's just a technicality ;)

So today, for the letter G, I'm going to take a moment to reflect on a very special group of friends I met a year ago. The (former) authors of Entranced Publishing. I'm not going to go into detail about the fall of the publisher which has recently made news around the internet and the watch dog sites. If you want to know, Google it. You'll get the truth. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

I've been a part of several author groups thanks to the diversity of publishers I've sold my books to. They've all been great, and I've made friends in all of them. But the former Entranced authors are somehow different. I don't know why, and I'm not going to try to explain it, but right from the very start I clicked with each and every one of them. Maybe it was God's hand that brought us all together in a perfect melody of talent and personalities. Either way, we found each other and every day I am so thankful for them.

Through thick and thin, we've stuck together. Even during the darkest, hopeless, last days of Entranced, instead of falling apart and giving up, we stood together, united as one. We've supported each other, encouraged one another, and even offered up our collective talents to help those who have chosen the self-publishing route. For those still pursuing the traditional route, we're a fantastic group of cheerleaders!

These authors, editors, publicists, cover artists, etc. mean the world to me, and I would not be where I am today without them. What's the point of this, you ask? Don't take the "virtual" friends you make for granted. I know for a fact that if I didn't have mine, I'd be broken right now. They are not only there when I have writing issues, they're available whenever I need them. Anytime. For anything. If that's not true friendship then I don't know what is.

To my former Entrancies: I love and adore each of you! Thank you for being you and for being such great friends. And thank you for the honor of being Kaptain Kara! #Darksideresearch forever :-)



Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Fun

Are you having fun writing?

If not, then this post is for you!!

Writing is hard work! Don't ever let anyone tell you different. I mean, authors have to come up with an idea that is unique enough we're not accused of plagiarism, write the story, revise, revise, revise, fill plot holes, keep the readers' attention, create real life, likable characters, make complete strangers love our characters and our worlds.

Like I said, it's hard work. But that doesn't mean it isn't fun. Okay, so maybe not all the revisions, but the actual writing should be fun. Think back to the very first book you've ever written. Do you remember that excitement you felt? That constant need and desire to always be living in your fictional world, to want to spend every waking moment with your characters? The dreams you had about them? The inspiration that was washing over you every time you turned around? Now, ask yourself, do you feel that way about what you're currently writing?

No? Then you're doing something wrong because writing should be fun. I'm not saying it's not difficult, because it is, but if you're not having fun.... Why are you doing it?

This is something I struggled with recently. Writing felt more like something I had to do instead of something I wanted to do. All the fun had been sucked out of it. Here are some of the things I did to overcome those feelings:

1. I stopped writing. I know. I know. As writers we're always told to keep writing. Write every day. But when I wasn't having fun doing it, I stopped. I mean, honestly, why would you continue to do something you weren't enjoying? For about a month, I didn't write a word on any of my books. There was no pressure to meet word count goals or self-imposed deadlines. It was very relaxing.

2. I read. A lot! During my month off, I think I read nine or ten books. Mostly young adult books, which is outside of my realm. Typically I read adult romances, so it was a nice change of pace to read a new genre. And I learned a lot, too!

3. I attended writers groups. I'm lucky enough to be a member of a weekly writers group and a monthly romance writers group. I made it a point to attend more meetings during my down time. Just being around other writers, hearing them talk about their projects, and talking craft was enough to make me want to jump back into my WIPs.

4. I wrote something just for me. When I finally decided to devote time to writing again, I started by writing a story I had floating around in my mind for some time. It's something I don't think I'll ever publish simply because I don't think there would ever be a market for it, but it's a story I'm really excited about. I have fun writing it, and that's exactly what I was looking to get back.

Has anyone else ever lost the fun of writing? How'd you deal with it? Share your tips in the comments :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

{COVER REVEAL}: One Lucky Night

I'm so happy today to share the cover and official blurb of One Lucky Night with you!





One night can change everything…



The crew at Boston’s Brazen Head Pub hasn’t been very lucky in love. Can a mysterious visitor inspire them to look past old hurts and misconceptions and give romance a chance? One Lucky Night is a collection of five sexy interwoven novelettes by Aria Kane, Grace Teague, Ana Blaze, Constance Phillips, and Melinda Dozier.



Lucky Break by Aria Kane

Four years ago, chef Derek Chase walked out of Andrea Rivera’s life after a tragedy neither of them were prepared to deal with. When she’s called to the Brazen Head to repair a dishwasher, old sparks ignite buried feelings.



Lucky Star by Grace Teague

When her life is threatened by a mugger, Charlotte Price realizes she's in love with her best friend, Tommy Leung. The Brazen Head seems like the perfect neutral place to confess her feelings, but nothing goes according to plan.



A New Tune by Ana Blaze

When it comes to dating, Holly Hall has one unbreakable rule: no musicians. Not even gorgeous ones. Especially not gorgeous ones. Dating them only leads to heartbreak. So why did she let singer-songwriter Cian O’Neill kiss her? And why is she thinking about doing it again?



Lexi’s Chance by Constance Phillips

As a bartender, Sean Whalen meets all kinds of women every night, but none turn his head the way that Lexi has. She’s been playing cat and mouse with him for weeks. Tonight, Sean’s determined to get Lexi to quit teasing and take a real chance on him.



Drink or Dare by Melinda Dozier

A bachelorette party Drink or Dare game pairs paramedic students, Rachel Robertson and Killian Whelan, in a flirting match. Soon, the dares threaten to turn their academic rivalry into something much more.





One Lucky Night will be available in print and at all major ebook retailers on May 7th. For now, you can add it to Goodreads!





About the Authors



Aria Kane is a recovering mechanical engineer and romance writer. As a military brat, she grew up all over the country, but now lives in sunny Florida with a 60 lb mutt who thinks he's a chihuahua.



Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads




Grace Teague lives in Pittsburgh with her spouse, children and a cat named Mr. Sushi.



Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



Ana Blaze lives near Washington DC with her charming husband and three cats who firmly believe they are royalty. Ana is a member of Romance Writers of America.



Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Tumblr




Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, two
ready-to-leave-the-nest children, and four canine kids. Her perfect
fantasy vacation would involve hunting Dracula across Europe with her
daughter, who also digs that kind of stuff.



Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Tumblr




Melinda Dozier teaches English to middle schoolers by day and writes at night. She lives in Guatemala, Central America with her college sweetheart and three sons.



Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads





Giveaway



The authors are giving away four print copies of One Lucky Night before you can buy it!



Enter here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Editor


I used to think editors were scary people. Larger than life. Untouchable.

Then I became one, and the illusion was shattered.

Yes, editors have the power to make your dreams come true or crush them. But believe me when I say, editors don't like to reject your manuscripts. It really does hurt us, too.

For most, the editing process can be scary and overwhelming. It's my job as an editor to make sure it's not :) I'm a firm believer that the author / editor relationship cannot function or be successful without mutual respect and communication. It truly is a unique situation. You, the author, are trusting me, the editor, with something very close to your heart. You've worked months, maybe even years, on your story and now you're entrusting it to a complete stranger. Personally, I take that very seriously. And for that reason, I always encourage my authors to talk to me. Whenever. About whatever. My virtual door is always open to my authors. 

Have you ever wondered exactly what an editor does? I mean, yeah, you know we editor your books, but what else do we do? 

I can't speak for other presses, but at Anaiah, a Senior Editor is responsible for:
  • Performing developmental/content-level edits and should maintain his/her own list of active authors.
  • Assessing submissions to assigned imprint
  • Meeting editing deadlines
  • Acting as author liaison to the editorial department
  • Maintain an active social media presence (with special emphasis on Twitter)
  • Responsible, engaging blogging is encouraged, but not required
  • Reporting to Executives and Managers as follows:
  • Attend staff meetings (as needed) – in person or via video chat (for telecommuters)
  • Upkeep of department databases and status sheets via the Anaiah Press intranet


Have you ever wanted to be an editor? Do you think you have what it takes? If so, I'd like to hear from you! I'm on the hunt for a few good editors for our Romance (adult) and Surge (YA / NA) Imprints. Interested? Send me an email with your prior editing experiences (preferred but not required), which imprint you prefer, and why you want to work with Anaiah Press. 

Please send to: KaraLeigh.Miller (at) anaiahpress (dot) com 

Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Deleted

I'm really putting myself out here today, fellow challengers! Below is a short story I wrote a couple of years ago entitled, DELETED. It's a funny but dark tale about revenge and Facebook. There's a bit of swearing, so please be forewarned.

I apologize for the length of this post and promise it will be the only really long one I do during this challenge. I hope you enjoy it :-)

DELETED
by
Kara Leigh Miller

Wednesday, October 5th
8:15 a.m.

He had his usual steaming cup of coffee, cooled only by the five tablespoons of cinnamon hazelnut creamer he added to it. The highlight of my day, he thought as he took a bite from one of his three plain donuts. A slow smile spread across his face as the familiar shades of blue blanketed his computer screen. His long, bony fingers breezed across his keyboard as he entered his login information. A sigh of content escaped past his lips. Ah, the glory of Facebook.
He maneuvered to his profile page. And just like that he was staring at himself. He took a moment to contemplate his profile picture. Winter was just around the corner, and he really should change his picture. The one of him standing in front of his friend’s boat in nothing but a Speedo was getting old. His gangly, ghost white legs mocked him, and his absurdly hairy arms made him look like he wrapped himself in a monkey. Maybe he should take some new ones to post. Like one of him standing in a pile of leaves. Or maybe one of him on a snowmobile. He shrugged, took another bite of his donut and decided to deal with the picture later.
Clicking on the dialogue box that read: “What’s on your mind?” he typed the following status update:
Eating donuts, drinking coffee, and contemplating changing my profile picture. Should I or shouldn’t I?
He clicked the “post” button and just like that, his words were published not only on his personal profile, but on the News Feed of all 23 of his friends.
How could anyone not love Facebook? Where else can you have two dozen people tell you how grateful they are that it’s Friday or how much they despise Monday mornings? Personally, he didn’t mind Monday’s. He actually welcomed them because Monday’s were meatloaf day at the college dining hall where he worked. And he made it a point to share this information on his wall every Monday morning.
And where else can a guy go to learn what his friends were doing every minute of every day? With a few clicks of his mouse, he knew what his friends were having for dinner, where they were going to drink beer, what kind of beer they were going to drink, when and where they were going on vacation, and he was always up to date on his friends relationship statuses.
To Joel Waterman, Facebook was the greatest invention since sliced bread and microwave ovens. He lived for Facebook. He was always obsessing over how often to post status updates and how to word them just right so as to get the maximum amount of responses. There was no way around it. Joel was a Facebook fanatic.
Like he did every morning, he began to systematically go through his friends list. He’d visit their respective profiles and greet them with a “Good morning” and a smiley face. While he was at it, he gave each of them a poke, just for good measure. He was very pleased with himself when he logged out and shut his computer off. What used to take him over two hours, he now had down to less than forty-five minutes.

Wednesday, October 5th
12:30 p.m.

     It was time for his lunch break and he was super excited. Not because he was hungry or because he wanted to sit down, but because he had a whole half an hour to spend on Facebook socializing with his friends. He hurried across campus, found an empty computer in the library and quickly logged into his account. The walk had cost him a full eight minutes, which meant he had to allot another eight minutes for the return trip. He was down to only fourteen minutes of Facebook time. This didn’t make him happy. He really should invest in one of those smartphones with internet access.
     Without wasting another moment, he went straight to his profile. There were nineteen comments on his post from this morning. He was excited. Unfortunately, his excitement was quickly dashed when he realized that four of his friends hadn’t responded to his post or replied to his friendly, personalized greetings. It didn’t take him long to figure out who the perpetrators of this blatant disrespect were: his very own sister, Kim; his old college roommate, Aaron; his ex-girlfriend, Jen and his co-worker, Bob.
     Something would have to be done about this. But what? A carefully worded Facebook message pointing out the error of their ways? Or maybe a display of public humiliation by posting a rude comment on their walls? No. None of that would work. He needed to do something drastic. Something that would make these people realize they couldn’t treat him like this.
     This wasn’t high school anymore. He wouldn’t stand for this kind of treatment. He wouldn’t allow people to ignore him and treat him as if he didn’t exist. Nor would he allow them to make fun of him for how he looked or how he talked. It wasn’t his fault he had early onset baldness. That was his mother’s fault. Or that he had such severe social anxiety he became paralyzed with fear when talking to people face-to-face. That was also his mother’s fault. She never let him have regular play dates as a child. The only playmate he had was his sister, and she was a bitch.
     So, what could he do to show them that he was no longer going to put up with this behavior?
He would delete them!
     Yes! That would show them. With a shaky hand, he decided to start small. He’d start with his sister first. He never really liked her anyway. She was always teasing him, calling him a dork and a loser, telling him that no one liked him and that he’d never have any real friends. But, who needed real friends when he had Facebook friends? And so, without another moment’s hesitation, he did it. He deleted his sister from his Facebook. It wasn’t really that big of a loss---he still had 22 other friends.

Wednesday, October 5th
7:42 p.m.


     Joel rushed into his tiny one-room apartment and snatched the ringing phone off the hook. “Hello?”
     “Oh it’s so horrible, Joel!”
     “Mom? Is that you? What’s so horrible?”
     “Kim is dead!” she blurted out.
     Joel slumped down on the couch with a look of horror on his face. “How...I mean, what happened?”
     “She was found dead in her apartment. A brain aneurysm.”
     “I...I don’t know what to say, Mom, I’m sorry. I can’t believe...” And then he hung up. This explained why she hadn’t responded to him on Facebook.
     Which reminded him; he had three more people that needed to be deleted. He stood, went to his computer and fired it up before going to the kitchen and getting his drink of choice: an ice cold glass of Mountain Dew with a shot of 5-hour energy. It was going to be a long night—-he had to delete people, say good night to his remaining friends, and update his status with the news of his sister’s death. He was giddy at the thought of how many comments he’d get from that status update. 

Thursday, October 6th
9:20 a.m.


     Joel walked into work with a smile. He refused to let his sister’s death get him down. He never liked her anyway. He remembered when Mom and Dad had brought her home from the hospital. All she did was cry and she always smelled like poop. Joel had tried several times to “accidentally" lose her when he was left in charge or to invoke a tragic “accident” that would result in her death. He never succeeded, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. At least now he wouldn’t be teased by her all the time. In his mind, justice had been served.
     He was almost half an hour early for his shift, so he grabbed the newspaper off the counter and flipped open to the obituaries. The color drained from his face when he saw two familiar names: Aaron Brock and Jen Folds. His old college roommate and his ex-girlfriend. Aaron died from a massive heart attack and Jen was mauled by a pack of wild dogs while jogging in the park.
     “Joel, man, you okay? You look whiter than an Eskimo on the beach,” his co-worker, Dan said.
     “My sister died last night.”
     “Whoa! That’s heavy dude.”
“And now two of my friends are dead.”
“Maybe you should go home or something.”
     “Yeah, maybe.” Joel crumpled the paper and walked out of work. He walked all the way home in a daze and it didn’t really dawn on him what was happening until he had his hand on the doorknob to his apartment.
     “Nah...” he said aloud.
     But there was really only one way to be sure. He’d have to delete someone else and see if they died. There was only one person left: his co-worker. He hadn’t deleted Bob last night because he figured he had to work with the guy so it was best to keep the peace. But Bob was a fat, lazy, jerk who always gave Joel a hard time. He hated working with Bob.

Thursday, October 6th
3:26 p.m.

     “Hello?”
     “Hey Joel, its Jim. Can you come into work?”
     “Yeah, why?”
     “Bob hasn’t shown up for his shift, and he’s not answering his phone.”
     Joel bolted upright off the couch. His heart raced, and he felt an unfamiliar tingle of excitement. “Is something wrong with Bob?”
     “I don’t know, but its spaghetti night and we’re swamped.”
     “Okay, yeah, no problem. I just gotta make one stop, and then I’ll be right in,” Joel said before hanging up.
     He grabbed his jacket and raced out of his apartment. He arrived at Bob’s house in twelve minutes flat. Not bothering to knock—-there was no point for manners, he knew that Bob was already dead—-he barged into the house and found him sprawled out on the kitchen floor. It appeared that he choked while eating peanuts. 

Sunday, October 9th
8:18 a.m.

     The last two days were a blur to him. He’d been systematically deleting people from Facebook. Anyone who’d ever teased him, bullied him or been mean to him was deleted. Without remorse. And within twelve hours, every person he deleted was found dead. Always from “natural causes” of course, but he knew better.
    
Monday, October 10th
2:49 a.m.

     He couldn’t sleep. This newfound power had him flying high and he was busy on Facebook looking up all his old high school classmates. He was going to friend them, and then delete them. They would all pay for making his life hell. Karma had a new name and it was Joel Waterman.


Monday, October 10th
10:37 a.m.

     One hundred and eighty four friends. Yes! All of his requests were accepted. Now it was time to get to work. Of course, he wasn’t heartless. He’d take the time to visit each of their profiles and post a friendly greeting. And if any of them responded or offered an apology, he might spare them.
Maybe.

Tuesday, October 11th
1:52 p.m.

     Joel rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes and walked to his computer. He visited the websites of the local papers in each town his “friends” lived. Every single person he’d deleted was dead. A slow smile spread across his face.
     Who else? That girl from the salon who wouldn’t give him the time of day...his former boss who’d fired him...his high school gym coach...that rotten guy who was his Big Brother in high school. He needed to make a list. Grabbing a pen and a sheet of paper from his printer, he sat down and wrote. 
     Carefully setting his completed list next to his computer, he walked over to his CD boom box and popped in a disc. His tiny apartment was flooded with the sounds of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” Extending his arms straight out and letting his head fall back to his shoulders, he began to spin around in a circle as he thought about the macabre manner in which his “friends” had died.
     Sarah drowned in her bathtub; Tony fell off a ladder and broke his neck; Regina was hit by a bus; Brittany tripped and fell into a bed of roses and bled to death; Rob had a massive stroke; George was shot while walking home from a poetry reading; Mike was stung by jellyfish while vacationing in Hawaii; and Todd---well Todd was an idiot. He crashed his motorcycle into a guard rail while trying to text and drive.
     “YES!” he shouted.
     His blood was pumping. His heart was racing. He’d figured out how to commit the perfect murder. He was untouchable! 
      
Friday, October 13th
11:18 p.m.

     Over the past two weeks, he’d friended and deleted over two hundred people. He felt good. Powerful. And for the first time in his life, he felt important. The eleven Facebook friends he had left were good friends. They cared about him and what he did and what he had to say. These friends greeted him every morning, commented on every post he made and wished him a good night every night. They were his personal fan club. He didn’t need or want anything else---not even his job; which he quit last week. More than half of his co-workers were dead anyway. It just wasn’t fun to go to work anymore.
     Yet...something was bothering him. He knew he wasn’t the smartest person and it hadn’t taken him long to figure out what was happening. So, what would stop others from figuring it out, too? What would stop his friends from deleting him?
     The thought terrified him.
     He knew there was only one option. He had to quit cold turkey. He had to give up Facebook once and for all. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he allowed himself to think the unthinkable.
     Would deleting his own Facebook page result in his death?
     “Don’t be ridiculous. Facebook is a tool for revenge, not suicide.”

     And so, with this thought firmly planted in his head, he deleted his Facebook page. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Courtney Rice Gager

I know I've already announced this on Twitter, but I'm excited to now announce it here on my blog. Author, Courtney Rice Gager has joined #TeamKara and Anaiah Press for her contemporary romance, TESS IN BOOTS. Let me just say, I love this book! It is adorable and the hero.... Wow! I really cannot wait for y'all to read this book. Anyway, enough of my rambling. Courtney is here today to share her experiences with Anaiah Press, me, and even a hint about her book.

Courtney, take it away...

I had been querying my manuscript, Tess in Boots, for about four months
when I entered the #adpit contest on February 5, 2014. I say I entered the
contest, and that sounds so purposeful and official, but I should divulge
that it was actually a very clumsy and last-minute decision on my part.

With my toddler pulling on my leg and asking (okay, more like screaming) for
Cheerios, I tweeted my pitch and didn't give it another thought. I had
entered pitch contests before, and usually I would spend hours agonizing
over responses. This particular day was different. Suffice it to say,
my house was a zoo (no, more like an airport... actually, more like a
zoo *at* the airport), and I just wasn't able to obsessively refresh
Twitter like I'd hoped.

I can only assume that fate took over when Kara Leigh Miller of Anaiah
Press happened to see my pitch, requesting my query and first ten pages.
Anaiah Press was already on my list of publishers to query, so I happily
sent the partial. Kara responded later that day with a request for the full
manuscript.

On February 28th, I received notification from Kara that Anaiah Press was
offering me a contract for publication! I took my time, prayed, did my
research, had a conference call with Kara and Eden, and on March 11, 2014,
I officially signed with Anaiah Press.

Kara's enthusiasm for my manuscript was the biggest deciding factor in
signing. She has really come alongside me in the editing process, and her
ideas for fine-tuning my story have absolutely blown me away. I can't wait
to reveal Tess in Boots to the world, but for now it's just me and Kara,
plugging away to make this book the best it can possibly be. I continually
get the sense that she cares about my characters as much as I do. (Ladies,
wait till you meet my leading man. He's definitely, as Kara puts it,
book-crush worthy.) She is also impeccably organized and on the ball. At
least, that's how I see her!

I am thrilled to have Kara in my corner, and I feel that way about everyone
I have encountered at Anaiah Press. Their publicity ideas are awesome,
their personal approach is unprecedented, and I am proud to be part of
their family.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Belief

I don't mean belief in a deity, but belief in yourself and your abilities.

As writers, we take a lot of hits. Harsh critiques from our peers, rejections from editors and agents, negative reviews, etc. And it's easy to get discouraged, to feel like you want to give up. But that's the worst thing you could do and that's where a strong belief comes into effect.

If you don't believe in yourself or your work, no one else will either.

It starts and ends with you!

So, you better believe!! Now please bear in mind that too much belief can lead to arrogance and illusions of grandeur.

Believe and be confident, but be reasonable, too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for April Fools Day

Today is the start of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 



When I first signed up for this, I was uber excited and committed to rocking it. Then life happened. I had some personal family issues to deal with. I fell behind on my work and my deadlines. I haven't blogged since early March, and I even missed the theme reveal.

But, I'm NOT giving up! I will do this :-)

So, I thought I'd start out with a funny story in honor of April Fools Day and hopefully lighten the mood a little...

My husband used to be an over the road truck driver, and he used to cross the border into Canada quite frequently. There were several times he was delayed at the border either waiting for customs to approve his paperwork or simply waiting for his company to provide the necessary paperwork. Anyway, one week, his last pick up before coming home for the weekend was in Canada. Now, we both understood this would more than likely delay him getting home, but as long as he did, I was happy. Friday afternoon, he calls. Now, mind you, he was supposed to be home that night. This is our conversation, almost verbatim:

Me: Hello?
Hubby: Hey baby. Doesn't look like I'm going to make it home this weekend.
Me: What? Why not? *getting ready to go off on a rant of epic proportions*
Hubby: I've been detained at the Canadian border.
Me: *anger vanishes & is replaced with absolute fear* Oh my God! Are you serious? Why? What happened?
Hubby: They found out my wife writes porn for a living. *wild laughter*
Me: *silence*
Hubby: Are you still there?
Me: You're a jerk.

For anyone who knows me, you will know two very important things: (1) I do NOT write porn, and (2) my husband has never read a word of anything I've ever written.

Clearly he was doing this just to get a rise out of me. Now, looking back, I can laugh about it, but the range of emotions I experienced back then was intense.

Enjoy the challenge everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with something useful and writing related :-)