Resolution: Keeping Sane When Everything Falls Apart.

New Orleans in 2005 and 2015

New Orleans in 2005 and 2015

So everything fell to sh*t last week. I made a stupid assumption that if I worked hard, I could control the outcomes in my legal practice, my writing career, my family life. NOT TRUE.

I’m not God. I’m pretty much on this rollercoaster called life and am unable to stop the worst of life from destroying people I truly care about, the work I give my heart to complete, the relationships I think I have a grasp on. As I struggled with one disaster, another bit me in the ass. At one point, on a plane to New Orleans where I was supposed to enjoy a carefree weekend, I scrambled to make something work out, to fix one of the tragedies that was beating me down. I couldn’t bring anyone back from the dead, but I could resurrect my story, and I could tighten the bonds with the one person who matters more to me than anything. The plane hit the tarmac as I tried to pull a brilliant idea from my exhausted and emotionally void brain. I fell asleep in a hotel and woke with no motivation, not ambition.

Instead, I roamed the streets of the city alone for two days. Drinking coffee, watching the city that had been completed devastated resonating with life. Tourists walked through the French Quarter headed for beignets and coffee as though nothing had ever interrupted life here. Yet this city had gone through a hardship of biblical proportions. Hard work and faith brought the city back from complete destruction (only 15% of the city was inhabitable at the end of the Katrina). Time had also healed many of its wounds.

Did I have time? Had I already used up too much of it chasing the wrong dreams? Had my priorities become so twisted that what really mattered in life had fallen from my radar screen? Suffice to say, I was unsure whether to head back to bed and hide under the covers or dive into a mountain of work to fix whatever was wrong in my life.

What pulled me out of my funk? Hours on the phone with my girlfriends from every corner of the country and a few hours at a coffee shop with one of the dearest of writer friends.

Now that I’ve had time to think about all that life has thrown at me, I’m ready to accept my limited role in things that happen and move on. I can’t change the past, but I can learn from it.

I’m headed back to work this work with thicker skin, a refusal to back down from challenges, and the love of an army of friends who have my back and my heart.

I care about the braided life I’ve created with law, writing, and family, and I do make a difference in the world. I just can’t guarantee all HEAs in life, although maybe I can in my stories.

Romance Writers Weekly: Writer’s Space

This week’s topic was chosen by S. C. Mitchell – Describe your perfect writing retreat.

If you came from the amazing Sarah Hegger’s site, welcome!

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Today is the release day for my romantic thriller “Untrue Colors.” The hideaway in my house is where I wrote most of “Untrue Colors.”UNTRUE COLORS 1600x2400

 

In a nutshell, I took over the sunroom in our house, and I refuse to give it back. Large windows on three sides provide perfect views of huge trees, squirrels, deer, and a few neighbors.

I started writing with a snack table and a large leather chair. It worked for a while. McDreamy, my husband, however changed everything by buying a small desk on wheels. I could keep a printed manuscript, a laptop, and a cup of coffee on it.

There was only one drawback to my setting, poor posture. Agonizing.

The solution? A lime green ball chair. I can sit on that for hours and not feel the muscle strain in my back I did when in the way too soft leather chair.

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Sometimes, I head to the kitchen and stand at the island to finish some tasks. I’m also closer to the coffee. I love the retreat. I’ve trained myself over the years to focus on work in the office, soI tend to be more productive here than anywhere else. My slice of Heaven on Earth.

Betty Bolte is the next stop on this trip around the web. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll catch sight of one of her many pets. Dogs, cats, horses.

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Release Day secrets from “Flirting on Ice” (Shhh don’t tell Susan I’m talking about her!!)

The release of a new novella by Susan Scott Shelley and me is today! OMG. What started out as a lark, turned into a pretty cool novella. IMG_2631 Susan and I spent hours in my kitchen and hers plotting and revising “Flirting on Ice.” We’re damn proud of the result.

After all that time together, I’ve discovered a few things about Susan you may be interested to know.

Susan takes sports seriously. She’s crazy smart about players, stats, and rankings in both football and hockey. I can’t tell you the number of times she rewrote a few plays I created for our fictional hockey team the Atlantic City Hustlers. Thank God she did or the team would have been playing four quarters and skating over the end zone.

In addition to her sports expertise, she can make a heroine likeable, probably because she is likeable herself. While this may not seem like a feat to some people (and yes I’m talking to all you “nice” people out there), I tend to make my heroines unlikeable to the extreme (and no, I don’t think there is a parallel with me and unlikeable heroines. Do you?) Working with Susan, we created a heroine who is truly a person I’d want to hang out with.

The villain in the story is not evil to the core, but he is selfish and greedy. Just enough evil to make you root for the hero. I would have had him kill a few people and kick a puppy or two, but Susan was opposed to random violence in a romance. That’s not to say there’s no tension in the book, just less blood than I’d like.

 

In celebration of the release, we’re doing a Release Day Power Play. Whoever gets the most likes or tweets from their hockey social media posts will make a donation to Hockey Fights Cancer,and we encourage all of you to donate too. It’s a great cause.

http://www.nhl.com/hockeyfightscancer/donate-now.html

 

And we may publicly humiliate the loser too, although I hate being publically humiliated, so that part is optional!

Get Wicked With Entangled Blog Hop

 

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Welcome to this stop of the Entangled Wicked Blog Hop. Connect to the other blogs for more contests and great prizes by clicking on the logo above.

I’ve decided to wear a costume to this party. I’ve always loved black hair and Halloween is the perfect time to morph into someone new!

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I’m one of the newest authors at Entangled Publishing. Everyone from the publisher to the editors and the publicists have been so supportive. My book “Flirting on Ice” written with Susan Scott Shelley will be released in November. It’s a sexy novella about professional  hockey player who can’t away from the team owner’s daughter.

Mr. Perfect has found his kind of trouble…

Professional hockey player Zac Elliott is in top form. He’s having the best season of his career, the local fans can’t get enough of him, and he’s in the middle of the most successful contract negotiations of his career. When the sexy little spark between Zac and the team owner’s daughter blazes to life, no matter how forbidden, he can’t resist.

Philanthropist Heather Ryan can’t keep her hands off of Zac. If her father finds out, it could end Zac’s career and ruin her reputation. What they share is deeply passionate and intensely private…until the press exposes their illicit relationship.

Now the fans have viciously turned against Heather, Zac’s game is faltering, and even his team has deserted him. The only way out of the penalty box is for Zac to play hockey like life— and love—depends on it…

I can’t wait to reveal the cover.

Veronica Forand, Susan Scott Shelley, Tackled by the Girl Next Door

Veronica Forand, Susan Scott Shelley, Tackled by the Girl Next Door

In the meantime, Susan and I have published a fun football novella, “Tackled by the Girl Next Door.” Jason Black is a newly retired professional football player. Forced off the playing field due to an injury, he returns to his hometown to contemplate his future and finds solace in his relationship with his best friend, Samantha O’Brien.

Sam has spent the past five years caring for her younger brother. Home from college for Thanksgiving break, he parties hard and bullies his sister. When Jason comes to her defense, protecting her from a crowd of drunken college kids, Sam begins seeing him as more than a friend. Yet, she fears acting on their attraction could ruin the friendship she’s grown to depend upon.

Just one kiss changes everything for Jason. Sam is no longer the girl next door but the woman of his dreams. Now, he just has to convince her that his feelings are real. But when the football world comes calling again and career decisions are on the line, both sacrifice all to put the other’s needs first. They must decide whether to follow their hearts and make the catch of a lifetime.

 

I’m giving away a $10 gift certificate, a gift copy of “Tackled by the Girl Next Door,” and a gift copy of “Code Red” my romantic suspense short story. Good Luck!

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Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat

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Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride!

If you’ve come over from Elaine Jeremiah’s website, welcome. She’s the author of “Reunion of the Heart”.

 

We have Vicky Mason to thank for her questions today.

http://www.andilit.com/

http://www.andilit.com/

1.)   Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?

I’ve always jotted down stories in my head. Nothing great, nothing formal. A few years ago I decided to try NaNoWriMo. I lost. I made it to 35,000 words though and wanted nothing more than to finish the book. It took me two more years to finish it. When I was done, I had no idea what to do. Luckily, I found a local Romance Writers of America chapter nearby. The day I joined in February 2012, I became focused on making writing more than hobby. Since then, I’ve finished eight other manuscripts and sold seven of them.

 

2.)   When you write a story, do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?

Even when I know the beginning, middle, and the end of a story, I always add subplots and additional layers into a story as I write. These are generally the best parts. The car that only starts after a push and shove, the chocolate that always remains on the heroine’s lip after eating a donut, or the hero’s fear of flying. Not plot points, but the icing on the cake!

 

3.)   How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?

I edit as I write, so my work has already been edited about three times before I finish a manuscript. I then print it out and edit it another time. Finally, I read it out loud to make sure everything flows.

My critique partners then pick it apart it. I send it to my agent after I have a solid draft. Then my editor sees it.

 

Hop on over to Raine Balkeras blog to see a bit of her writing history and techniques.