Friday, March 21, 2014

Motivation! Where are you?

Photo Credit: photosteve101 via Compfight cc
I have to admit that I've been neglecting the blog. I've spent a lot of time working on my part-time freelance writing business and almost no time working on anything else. My novel is sitting on my computer gathering virtual dust just waiting for me to find some time to work on revisions.

As most things go, the longer I go without touching my novel the more I lose sight of my goal. And then I forget my motivation and start wondering if writing fiction novels is really what I want to do. I tell myself that my novel sucks and I should concentrate on technical writing and forget about fiction.

More time goes by and I don't touch my novel for months. MONTHS! I think about it nearly everyday but I'd lost my motivation to proceed.

Today I decided to find it.

My long-term goal is to be a published fiction author so my motivation comes in the form of seeing others achieve what I want. I search out blogs of relatively new authors and read them starting from the beginning. I am especially interested in the posts regarding acquiring an agent or selling to a publisher.

So, today I read the blog of Veronica Roth, the ridiculously talented author of Divergent. She got an agent and sold her book in 2010 (said book was adapted into a movie and came out in theaters today, but I digress). Reading her post about landing an agent was just the motivation I needed.

Vigor. Renewed.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Cover Reveal: The Stable Boy

The Stable Boy
by Harmony Stalter

Publication:  March 14, 2014


Claire is a 40 year old widowed farm owner. She lost her husband in a terrible freak accident. In a constant state of depression for the past two years, her farm is failing. She barely has enough money to survive and her last farmhand just left to follow his new wife's dreams. She is all alone, until he walks into her life.  She knows she needs the help, but does she want his help? Can she resist his good looks, charm, and flirting or will she give into temptation and open her heart and bed to him?

Add The Stable Boy to your Goodreads TBR list today:

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions: 5 Tips for Creating and Achieving Them

It’s that time again.  Time for us to think about what we want to accomplish over the next year and time for us to make some life-changing decisions.  That is what New Year’s Resolutions are all about, right?  We decide what we want to change and we resolve to make it happen.  

Unfortunately, according to a study by the University of Scranton, 92% of us will fail to achieve our resolutions.  In fact, the older we get the less likely we are to achieve them.  But you shouldn’t give up on creating resolutions.  You should simply modify them a bit.

Here, I’m going to walk you through some tips that will help you to achieve success in the coming year.

1. Don’t set yourself up for failure.  I could say “I resolve to get a multi-book contract this year” but, while confidence and determination are certainly great traits to have, is it possible to achieve that goal in less than a year?  Your answer may be yes, but mine is no.  Know what you are capable of achieving and don’t set goals beyond that or you will be setup for failure.

2. Make your resolutions quantifiable and not vague.  Don’t resolve to lose weight.  Instead, resolve to exercise three times a week or eat at least one healthy meal per day, thereby increasing your odds of achieving success.  Setting a goal to lose weight is great but without a plan to achieve that goal it is doomed to fail.

3. Don’t set a goal you have no control over.  Don’t say “I’m going to win the lottery this year”  or “I’m going to sell my book this year” because you don’t have direct control over those things.  You can, however, resolve to buy one lottery ticket per week or send queries to one literary agent per week. These things you can control.

4. Make your list short.  Don’t resolve to change too much at one time.  Doing so will only overwhelm you and decrease your chances of achieving anything.  Instead, choose up to five goals that you really want to achieve in the coming year and, who knows, you may achieve more in the process.

5. Make yourself accountable.  There is no greater motivator than the fear of public failure.  You are more likely to try your hardest when there are people who will know if you fail.  Chances are, this will work in your favor because you will likely gain some cheerleaders in the process.

So, while you’re busy scribbling down your resolutions for the coming year, keep these tips in mind.  They might just help you achieve success.

Do you have any tips to add?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Blog Tour: A Home for Christmas by Ann Vaughn

A Home for Christmas
Ann Vaughn

Publication: November 28, 2013


Single mom, Jenna Blackwell wasn’t having a very good start to the Christmas season; her purse got stolen on Black Friday. She’s cursing her luck and herself for even being out in the Black Friday madness when the store manager brings in Riley Stanton, a former Navy SEAL who chased down the thieves and recovered her purse. Jenna is blown away by Riley: his looks, his smile, the fact that he ran down the purse snatchers, everything.

Riley Stanton had no idea when he chased down the kids who stole a few purses that he would walk into a room and have his life changed forever. He looked into the eyes of Jenna and saw a strength in her that he found intriguing.

Riley soon learns that Jenna is everything he ever wanted in a woman. He falls for her and for her son harder than he expected to. Jenna is cautious but welcoming and hopes that she and her son can give Riley the one thing he hasn’t had in years, A Home for Christmas.


Riley came over every evening after work. He helped Cam with his homework. he got there before she did on Wednesday and he and Cam had dinner ready by the time she got home. Jenna had to fight tears as she sat at the table. It had been so long since someone had cooked for her. To be honest, other than her mother, she didn't think anyone ever had. Wade, her ex, certainly never did. Watching Cam work so closely with Riley, having Riley there filling the role that Wade had abandoned, even sitting at a table with candlelight and roses and food she hadn't had to was a lot for her to handle. She was barely hanging on by a thread and when Riley had initiated the blessing, she lost it. "Mom?" Cam asked, uncertain of what was happening. Jenna covered her face with her hands, silently crying. She heard the scrape of a chair and then suddenly Riley was there, his arms around her, lifting her from the chair. She heard him say something to Cam and then he carried her from the room.

He sat on the sofa and cradled her in his lap and just held her while she cried. After several minutes, when her tears had subsided somewhat, Riley reached down to cup her chin in his hand and lift her head so he could look into her eyes. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "Nothing to be sorry about," he said, smoothing his hands over her cheeks to wipe her tears away.

"Mom?" Cam asked again, drawing her attention. "You OK?" "I'm good, bud, I'm sorry." Riley looked up at Cam and made eye contact with him. Jenna wasn't sure what passed between them, but Cam got up and left, leaving her there with Riley. "Look at me," he said, softly. When she raised her eyes to meet his gaze, he lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles. "What's going on?" She took a deep breath. "It's one's ever done something like this for me before." "Like what? Take care of you?" She nodded. "Better get used to it, babe. I'm not going anywhere." She squeezed his hand, tears falling down her cheeks again. This time, Riley leaned forward and kissed them away before touching his lips to hers. For the first time, Jenna didn't hold herself back.

Maybe it was because Cam was just down the hall and she knew it couldn't get out-of-control. Whatever the case, she turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss. "Thank you, Riley," she whispered when they pulled apart, pressing her forehead to his, and placing her fingertips against his lower lip. He nipped her fingertip lightly, then ran his tongue around her finger. "Anytime," he replied, "and I mean that. You don't have to do it all alone any more." "Riley," she whispered, kissing him, "please don't make promises you can't keep. My heart is fragile enough, but Cam..." He kissed her back. "Quit while you're ahead. Don't piss me off." She smiled and combed her fingers through the hair at his nape. "I'll try." "Good. Let me take care of you, Jenna.

You and Cam." She took a deep breath. "Tell you what. You're still here by Christmas? We'll talk," she said, giving him a final kiss then sliding off his lap. He watched her walk down the hall to Cam's room. Closing his eyes and letting his head fall back on the couch, he reached down to adjust himself in his jeans. For the first time since leaving the Navy, Riley felt like he wasn't just spinning his wheels.


Check out Ann's previous novels:

Publication Date: August 7, 2013

Shane McCanton and Tessa Kelly were childhood enemies. Everything was a contest to them and Tessa always seemed to show Shane that nice guys finished last. Things change, however, when hormones take over and Shane begins to see the perpetual thorn-in-his-side as more than just his childhood nemesis...

Tessa had never meant to set into motion events that led to their childhood rivalry, but once it started, she embraced it with gusto...until her world started to fall apart and she realized that Shane was the one constant in her life, her rock who would never leave her and help her find her Long Way Home...

Book Trailer:

Publication Date: November 4, 2013

Colt Harris wasn't on the hunt for love when he looked up from his lunch and spotted Sarah. As cliched as it was, time stood still - all he could see was her. Hearing her laugh sealed his fate; he knew his life was about to change.

Sarah Sauter was used to being alone. She lost her parents when she was eighteen and after a really bad love affair, had given up on ever finding love. Since then, her life had been all about simply surviving. Little did she know that when she went to lunch with her co-workers, she would have a chance encounter with a man who would literally turn her world upside down.

When Colt steps into Sarah's life, he finds that things with her aren't exactly as they appear to be. Secrets hidden deep in her past begin to surface, dropping Colt and Sarah in the middle of a nearly twenty-seven year old mystery. It will take all of Colt's strength, patience and resolve Finding Home for Sarah.

About  the Author
Ann Vaughn is a Native Texan now living in Oklahoma. She's been writing since the seventh grade (many MANY moons ago) when she and her friends were obsessed with the Sweet Valley High series. Back then, access to books wasn't as easy as it is now, so to tide her over between SVH releases, she began writing her own, Texas versions of SVH, full of lots of Texas Friday Night Lights and pitfalls and perils of teenage life in the 80s. Writing has always been a comfort and a release for her, though she never expected to be published. It wasn't until a conversation with her husband about the rise of eBooks that she decided to try her hand at self-publishing. It was scary and exciting and ever since the release of her first book, Long Way Home on August 7, 2013 she has been on a wild roller coaster ride that she wouldn't trade for the world. 

Contact Ann:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Meet my old friend, Thesaurus

Have you ever asked the question "what's another word for....?"

Yes?  I thought so.

Whether spoken aloud or just in thought, this is probably the most common question asked by (and of) writers.  Just the other day my hubby asked me this very question.  Our conversation went like this:

Hubby:  What is another word for <insert random word here>?
Me:  Um, I don't know.  Do you want me to look it up for you?
Hubby:  You're a writer.  Shouldn't you know these things?
Me:  I know how to look it up.  In the thesaurus.

It is not possible for a non-genius-type person to know synonyms for every word in the english language.  Though, I have to admit, the more you write the more synonyms you know.  Searching for the perfect word is par for the course and so the thesaurus has long been a valuable writing companion of mine.

So how do you use a thesaurus?  Well, this part is easy.  Read on...

Imagine you've just finished writing a very rough first draft of your latest novel.  In revising, you've found that you used the word "suddenly" sixteen times in the first three pages.

What do you do?  Delete the pages?

Maybe, but not yet.  Let's try to fix them first.

Step one: open up your thesaurus to the word "suddenly."  If you use an online thesaurus you should see something like this:

I use for all my word-smithing needs.  The dictionary and thesaurus are both excellent writing tools.

Step two: read through every synonym until you find one that works as good as (or better than) the word "suddenly."  The best word will depend on the sentence in which it is used.  Read the sentence aloud, replacing "suddenly" with an alternative word.  Continue this until you've found the perfect word.

You'll know when you've found the perfect word (I usually exclaim YES! when I've found it).  If you don't find the perfect word, most likely the whole sentence needs to be rewritten.

It doesn't get any easier than that!

Happy word-smithing!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Self-Doubt and the Naked Writer

Today is the deadline for the Writer's Digest Competition.  I submitted my short story at approximately 8:30 pm.  But I have to say I'm a little surprised that I submitted it at all.  Even yesterday my self-doubt reared its head and I started thinking it wasn't good enough.  So I revised.  And I revised.  And finally I was done.  Want to know how I knew it was ready?

I hated the thought of reading it again.

I revised so much that I didn't care if I ever saw it again.  And so it was submitted to the competition.  Now someone else gets to decide if it's good enough.

I'm a little nervous.  This is the first time (in my adult life) that my writing will be seen by someone other than me.  I feel naked.  Vulnerable.

I don't like it.  But, like eating your vegetables, sometimes you have to suck it up and do what's necessary if you want to get somewhere in life.

So, kids, eat your vegetables.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Writing, Betrayal and Weeping Books

Life has been busy since my last post.  Between the norovirus (shared by the whole family) and baby boy's first birthday I have been almost useless when it comes to writing.

Despite all of that, I managed to finish the third draft of my short story for the Writers Digest Competition.  I believe it is almost ready to be read by someone other than me.  I am trying to decide if I want to do a fourth draft but I feel like I'll be beating a dead horse at that point.  I could potentially keep revising it forever because I'm pretty sure I'll never think it's good enough.  One of my many flaws...

I've been reading Stephen King's 11/22/63 and as I previously stated on twitter: The man is a genius!  This book (like all King books) is about the size of Texas and I have a difficult time putting it down.  This is evident by the fact that it jumped to the front of my very long reading list.  I can practically hear my other books weeping from the betrayal!