The Best Hangover of all Times

Necklace with the cover of Boss
Amazing gift from my friend Author Mary Behre!

Have you ever had a hangover without drinking a drop of alcohol? Like you’ve been swept of your feet and floated for the whole night? I woke up last Friday feeling like I had been to the ball, danced the night away with my prince, and drank two bottles of champagne.

And I did have a hangover because I did spend the night floating away. Except by dance I mean stood and signed. The ballroom was Turn the Page Book Store Café.

Photo of authors at Girls' Night Out event what I call The Best Hangover of all Times
From top left to right: Authors Laura Kaye, Emily Duvall, Stephanie Dray, Shiloh Walker, Toby Devens, Patricia Hopper, J. L. Lora, and Nora Robert.

My prince was a book. My book. Boss. I know what you’re thinking, Holy Cornball Batman! But it’s the only way I can describe this.

On May 18, I had my first book signing event. For over two months, I’ve been imagining that moment. It wasn’t just my first signing. It was Girls’ Night Out. At Turn the Page Book Store Café . With Established Authors Toby Devens, Emily Duvall, Shiloh Walker, Stephanie Dray, Laura Kaye, Patricia Hopper. And Nora Roberts. You know, the same author whose books provided me with endless hours of entertainment, got me through rough times, and made me sigh like only a good love story can make you. Yeah, that Nora Roberts!

I can’t describe—and trust me I’ve looked for the words— to describe what it was like to see my book in print for the first time. My heart quickened and my eyes welled a little. All night my eyes kept drifting to the cover and I know it may seem a little silly to some, but to see physical proof of three years in the making, wow. Just wow. Carissa looked as gorgeous in print as she does on eBook.

Photo of my author friends who came to support me at Girls's Night Out, what I call The Best Hangover of all Times
From top left to right: Authors Laralyn Doran, Shadow Leitner, J. L. Lora, Cate Tayler, Mona Schroff, Alexa Jacobs, and Stoni Alexander

I couldn’t dream of a better signing. I mingled with readers, got to know other authors, and got to talk about Boss all night. I was giddy and cheesing in the worst of ways. I am so grateful to Turn the Page Book Store Café and Nora Roberts for the opportunity. I am grateful to the readers who came, didn’t know me, but still took a chance and bought Boss. I am uber grateful to that wonderful lady who came and said “Oh there’s Boss. I heard someone who’s staying at the Inn go on and on about it and I want to buy it.” You made my millennium!

I couldn’t be prouder of the night. Especially because I got to share it with my mom, my friends, and some of the Hidden Figures behind #TeamBoss. I’m still feeling the hangover.

Image of Love Me Now by Cate TaylerI started a new feature in my newsletter. Every month, I’ll be introducing you to a Literary Bae for your reading pleasure. You can read all about our first guest Miles Gardner, the hero of Cate Tayler’s Love Me Now by going to Chats with Book Boyfriends.

Next month’s Bae, A laird from the highlands!

Coming soon

I’ll be posting deleted scenes from Boss to this website. Till then, Stay Fearless!

JL digital signature



Ten Spring Reads to Feed your Heart and Mind

March sent me over the moon, April has started out sad but, I’m turning to May with a hopeful heart and loaded with good reads. I’ve come to share with you my list of 10 books I’m reading in Spring 2017. I’m especially excited because some of the books on list are written by friends. And I want you to come with me on this ride. I know, I know. Reading is a solo sport but it would be fun to read these together. Then we can chat about them here on my Facebook page. 

The Complete Works of Florence Scovel Shinn (Dover Empower Your Life) by [Shinn, Florence Scovel] Read now on amazon

The Complete Works of Florence Scovel Shinn — I’m all about bringing the positive, empowering thinking, and evolving. When my dear friend shared the quote: “Nothing but fear and doubt stands between a woman and every desire of her heart” I knew I had to read this one. Then, it came in the mail as a gift and I was like yup, meant to be read by me!

Florence Scovel Shinn taught generations of readers how to live richer, fuller lives with her four empowering classics: The Game of Life and How to Play It; Your Word Is Your Wand; The Secret Door to Success; and The Power of the Spoken Word. This volume collects all four of those works, offering a wealth of affirmations and real-life success stories


Because some like a heart stealing read

Love Me Now (Mystic Point) by [Cate Tayler] Read now on amazonLove Me Now — One of the true joys of being a writer is writing and publishing along with your friends.  Love me Now is very special to me because it was written by my friend and critique partner, Cate Tayler. I read an earlier version of this story. It’s sweet, sexy romance that yanks at your heartstrings. I can’t wait to read the final version.

Calista Markatos is failing miserably at saving her family’s Greek diner. Without a miracle, her parents will lose everything. And it’s all the fault of a land developer whose big ideas are destroying her family’s livelihood.

Driven by guilt over his brother’s death, Miles Gardner plays the role of dutiful son. But he rebels against his father’s choice of a bride. A fake engagement can help him avoid the marriage trap. All he has to do is convince the Greek goddess to go along with his plan.

She doesn’t have to like him to pretend to love him. Thirty days later, they’ll both get exactly what they want—and maybe something they didn’t know they needed.

Under her Skin – Under Her Skin (Blank Canvas Book 1) by [Anders, Adriana]In Adriana Anders’ story, Ivan thought the world was through giving him second chances. Hell, who was he kidding—he wasn’t good enough for them anyway. And he certainly wasn’t good enough for her.

But the moment Uma walked into his life, Ivan knew he had to put all that crap aside and do everything he could to help. She was like nothing he’d ever known. Beautiful, lost, alone, she had the kind of sad eyes that were just begging for someone to save her…

…and despite his rough exterior, despite the nasty rumors, despite all the bad decisions following him around like the strays he couldn’t help but rescue, Ivan was nothing but willing to be the kind of man she needed.

Yeah, he’d thought the world was through giving him second chances. Until she came into his life. Until she changed everything. Until he realized he would do anything, fight anyone, tear the world apart if it only meant saving her.

And some like a hot read 

The Mitus TouchTHE MITUS TOUCH: Book One of The Touch Series by [Alexander, Stoni] Read now on amazon — Stoni Alexander Wealth manager Brigit Farnay despises Colton Mitus. And with good reason. He ripped away her family’s company during the most painful time in her life. Forced to work with him, she can’t deny that Colton is gorgeous, brilliant, commanding. And the enemy. Her traitorous body craves his touch every moment of every day. And then she finds out about the erotic games he plays…

Corporate raider Colton Mitus is success and power personified. He demands control in the boardroom and in the bedroom. So he shouldn’t be tempted by the newest member of the Mitus team. But he is. Brigit challenges him and frustrates him, but also quiets the demons that haunt him, especially as she agrees to be drawn into his secret, sinful world.

The most lucrative deal of Colton’s career places Brigit’s family’s company in jeopardy. When old enemies return hell-bent on ruining him, Brigit is the only person who can save him. But she’s been keeping secrets that could destroy everything…

Familiar StrangersFamiliar Strangers by [Singleton Jr, Sanco C.] Read now on amazon — Sanco Singleton Jr’s story of love, betrayal, sex and dominance will have you glued to your eBook reader of choice.  Executive Vice President Alex Nicole Winston is done with love. After an abusive marriage and miscarriage, Alex has reinvented herself as a dominating boss in both the boardroom and bedroom. Now married to a man who adores her, Alex refuses to give love another chance. She has vowed to never be vulnerable again, and for her love is vulnerability. She cheats, unapologetically, and uses sex to control anyone she wants. However, there is one person who cannot be controlled and he is back with a vengeance.

Alex’s best friend, Reese, is a closeted bi-sexual who hides his sexuality from everyone, including his wife. Reese seemingly has it all, but he’s not satisfied. His search for satisfaction will lead him down a path of sex, love, betrayal, and blackmail.

Together friends Alex and Reese will prove that sometimes those we are the closest to are nothing more than familiar strangers.

Dirty Filthy Boy (A Bad Boy Sports Romance) (Chicago Outlaws Book 1) by [Alexander, Magda] Read now on amazonDirty Filthy Boy — In Magda Alexander’s steamy story, Bad boy quarterback Ty Mathews has it all–money, women,

fame. On the gridiron, he vanquishes defenses with his golden arm. Off the field, it’s another part of his anatomy that gets all the glory. And deservedly so, for what he doesn’t know about women hasn’t been written. Except for MacKenna Perkins.

The rookie reporter wants nothing to do with him. After all, she was hired to cover women’s and social issues for her local Chicago newspaper, not deal with a cocky football player. But when the sports reporter falls ill, she’s asked to interview a wide receiver. Since she knows next to nothing about football, predictably she fails at it.  Until Ty Mathews volunteers his services.

With her job on the line, she accepts his offer. Too late, she realizes her unruly heart’s not listening to her head. In no time at all, she’s in his bed, doing all those dirty, filthy things he likes to do. But soon secrets surface about his past. Secrets that may destroy his future. And MacKenna must decide if the price she pays for the story is worth a broken heart

No Good Dead: (Bad To Be Good, Book 1) by [Volney, Dana] Read now on amazonNo Good Dead — i love bad boys . . . in books, that is! That’s why I can’t wait to dig into Dana Volney’s first novel in her Bad To Be Good series.

I’ll kill you if you touch her.
Blood on my hands isn’t anything new. I’ve been killing my whole life and it’s not protecting the innocent type bullsh*t either. I do it because I want to. Because I can. Nothing can stop me from getting what I want. Except her.
My sister died protecting others, she gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Now I’ll catch the murderer who did it. Except I’m the one who gets caught. The web of lies that is being spun around me is increasing and I can’t stop it. I need help. I need him.

Able and Teagan must decide if an assassin and a do-gooder can overcome their pasts to build a future. One in which they both survive.  

Others want to be transported back in time

Night Song by [Jenkins, Beverly] Read now on amazonNight Song — Beverly Jenkins’ story has been on my TBR list for a while now. I can’t wait to meet Cara and Chase. 

A Traitorous Heart . . .

Cara Lee Henson knows no soldier can be trusted to stay in one place—and that includes handsome Sergeant Chase Jefferson of the Tenth Cavalry. Dallying with the dashing man in blue could cost the pretty, independent Kansas schoolteacher her job and her reputation. So, Cara is determined to repel Chase’s advances—even though her aloof facade barely masks her smoldering desire.

A Blazing Passion . . .

Never before has Chase longed for a woman the way he ached for lovely Cara Lee. The strong-willed ebony beauty, however, will not surrender easily. But with tender words and soulful caresses, Chase intends to conquer the reluctant schoolmarm’s misgivings—and teach her how to love fully, sensuously . . . and forever.

But some just want the read to scare the snot out of them

The EyewitnessThe Eyewitness by [Weeks, Nancy C] Read now on amazon – Nancy C. Weeks —  Maryland PD forensic scientist Emersyn D’Azzo has an explosive past with her father’s younger, sexy partner, Detective Alec Pearce. Then an ill-timed kiss destroys the thin line of trust between her and her dad, just before tragedy strikes and someone guns down her father.

The fatal bullet turns out to be tied to the ongoing spree of random sniper kills across the state, but Emersyn knows this wasn’t a random act of violence and is determined to find the killer.

To do so, she’ll need to rely on help from Alec, whom she doesn’t quite trust but just can’t resist. When they discover a connection to a decades-old disappearance of a college student, their investigation takes a deadly twist. Can they learn to trust each other with their hearts to save their lives?


Dead Silence (The Stillwater Trilogy) by [Novak, Brenda] Read now on amazonDead Silence — Last but certainly not least on my spring read list is New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Brenda Novak’s first book in her Stillwater Trilogy. 

There’s a body buried behind a Mississippi farmhouse

Grace Montgomery knows who it is, and she knows why it happened. She was only thirteen the night it all went wrong. And now, like then, she has no choice but to keep her mouth shut.

Grace left the town of Stillwater thirteen years ago, trying to forget, trying to make good. As an assistant D.A. in Jackson, she’s finally achieved the success that was supposed to change her life. But it hasn’t—so she’s come back to confront her own history. Which means returning to the farmhouse now owned by her brother and facing the people of Stillwater, a number of whom suspect the truth.

Widower Kennedy Archer is one of those people. He’s running for mayor and needs to stay as far away from Grace as possible. And yet…she’s an enigma he can’t resist. Even though her enemies are close to finding out what really happened—and that could ruin them both.

Wait! Don’t go, there’s one more, I can’t leave my baby out!

BossBoss by [Lora, J.L.] Read on AmazonDetermined to avoid the violence that claimed her family and friends, Carissa Elliott flees her hometown with a dangerous plan. She has proof that mafia boss Calum DeMateo killed her father—now she just has to catch him. To do so, she’ll have to transform herself from small-town ingénue to New York crime boss.

When her path crosses with Alec McLean, the sexy stranger with whom she once shared a steamy nightclub kiss, things take an unexpected turn. Alec heads his family’s criminal organization, the kind of made man Carissa should want nothing to do with. But he also has a plan to take down Calum, and the flames that flicker between them are irresistible.

Will their vengeful quests jeopardize their chance at lasting love? 


Whew that was close . . . Tell me, what are you planning to read this summer? Do you want to join me in reading these awesome authors?  Let me know!


Grateful for my Team of Hidden Figures

Team is my word of the month. I recently sat down with Kini Allen for her Romance Romp Podcast. We talk about Boss, romance, our favorite heroes/heroines and so much more! Go listen to it if you get a chance.  We talked about my journey to publishing. It got me thinking a lot about the road, the obstacles, and the influencers to getting my book out. 

I’ve worked on Boss for over two years. Not only on the story itself but while taking classes and attending workshops, applying what I learned and trying to fine tune myImage that says: Behind every published book there's a Team of Hidden Figures that helped put it in the shelves writing. My craft is still a work in progress but light years ahead of where it used to be. 

Getting the story out of my head was the fun part. At first, the story was all mine and the characters belonged to only me … until in came the critiques, the beta reads, and consequently the rounds of edits. Once you share it, it ceases being just yours. Much like when you enter a relationship. Your life ceases being just yours when you choose to let people in it. That’s a scary as hell thought for some of us. 

Is it still my story if so other people had a hand in it? All these suggested changes but I know my characters best. Letting others in can bring a lot of questions, anxiety, and soul searching. And you now what? That’s not a bad thing!

You will get a different perspective and see things you didn’t, couldn’t before because you’re so close to the story and the characters.

Next thing you know, you’ve build a team, a tight-knit circle. People who get their hands dirty helping you make your book pretty, who believe in it and support it like you do. Your book has a built-in entourage/squad/back-up and it hasn’t been listed for sale yet. You can only get that if have the courage to put your fears, and ego, aside.

There’s always a risk in letting others, surrounding yourself with a great team, is a path to self-improvement.

My critique partners
Some of the awesome members of Team Boss. From left to right: Cate Tayler, Laralyn Gill, Audrey Couloumbis, Donetta Marie, and Shadow Leitner (insert).

It’s tough.  I know but, In order to grow you have to open up and take the critique, the advice, the um girl . . . You need to delete that. You may get your feelings hurt at times—you may not like what you hear—but the world out there is not going to hold your hand and help you make it better. But your team will.

Behind every published book, there’s a team of hidden figures that helped put it there. I’m grateful and forever indebted to Team Boss . My critique partners, my betas, and editors.  

Don’t forget to listen to my chat with on Romance Romp

Now, what about you? Do you have a team/tribe/squad/entourage? Who are they?



The Moments That Live Forever … in the Embarrassing Vault of Memories

embarrassing moment of someone buried under pillows image
I’m not coming out … ever

When something embarrassing happens to you, it feels like you’re the only person in the world. That only you would make that stupid mistake or leave that kind of foolish impression.

While on training today, the instructor discussed embarrassing moments and for a second, while he talked, I was treated to a memory slideshow of my greatest embarrassing hits. While I groaned in silence, I remembered the time I tripped over wires and left a party without music; and the time I walked out into a balcony and took the screen with me. of course, who could forget my first foray in heels in the sidewalks of Manhattan? #Winner.

I’m chuckling now but in those moments nothing seemed bigger than the fumble. And there are so many more. Some so minor I can’t remember. Other’s so big I want to bury my head under a pillow. None which matter today.

The instructor in the class reminded us that you can shrink after an embarrassing moment or tell the tale and laugh at yourself. Embarrassing moments are life’s little “Hold on girl, you’re moving too fast,” little incidents that remind us exactly how human we are. I was killing it in those heels!

But, in some instances, embarrassing moments are not even embarrassing.

embarrassing moments image of little girl smiling
Embarrassing? At least you didn’t just poop your pants

At times, we perceive things as embarrassment when the rest of the world sees the opposite. It could be a feedback from an editor pointing what you can improve on or a well meaning friend telling you “Yeah, that dress does nothing for your shape.” It’s all a matter of perspective. In both these examples, we have people telling us something in our best interest. Stepping back and assessing the whole picture goes a long way.

So, before you go on WitSec, remember you survived those embarrassing moments and became stronger for it. Next time, you open your car door straight into your face—like me—take a deep breath and remind yourself that one day you’ll be laughing at it. You know … after the bleeding stops and the pain goes away.


Boss releases March 6, 2017. Help me spread the word by supporting my HeadTalker campaign. Click on HeadTalker and share on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or LinkdIn account. Thank you! 


The Siren Call of Romance

hands forming the shape of a heartWhen did you first start reading romance? I was asked this question twice last week. I thought about it a lot, especially on my way to a romance pilgrimage with my critique partners Cate Tayler and Laralyn Gill. We attended the author signing at Turn the Page Bookstore. Did I mention it was 15 degrees? Yet, the line, of women and men, reached the end of the block, turned the corner, and kept growing.

What possessed us all to brave freezing weather is simple and complicated. It’s also the answer to my original question. Part of it is the opportunity to stand in front of your favorite author and say: Thank you for the hours you book took me on a ride away from the everyday, sadness, and heartbreak. It’s also:

The Call of Romance.

My call came at age 15. Returning a friend’s copy of Sweet Valley High to the library, I stumbled into the section filled with covers of strong, shirtless muscular men holding delicate women by the shoulders; sexy blurbs clearly suited to a sophisticated and mature teenager like myself. For days, I spent my every free moment trapped in the saga of fearless Tedra De Arr and her macho warrior Challen, in Johanna Lindsey’s Warrior Woman.

Life would never be the same after that. I read my way through historicals, paranormals, contemporaries, and suspense. 

You can’t ignore the call; it’s stronger than gravity.  It will hold you to a chair, a couch, a bed for hours caught-up in stories that will make you laugh, cry and sometimes want to bust a cap on the villain. 

The Romance siren—with its feminist views that a woman deserves to be put first—calls people of different ages, races, color, and languages. It makes us believe …

My goddaughter, a toddler, picks a Nora Roberts book every day from the shelf and brings it to her mom. They sit in bed and her mom reads to her (Not the sexy or violent parts … just to be clear). Sometimes she brings one for her dad and the three of them sit in bed, cuddled up with Nora. Doesn’t that sound like the sweetest epilogue you’ve ever read? The call came way early for Ysabel.

What about you? When did you hear the call?




Fanfiction Brought My Dream Back

I’m thinking fanfiction today, and not only because of my interview with Denny S. Bryce for her Happily Ever After column on USA today, but fanfiction as a gateway to a dream. When Denny asked questions about the fanfiction I love to read and write, I couldn’t help but think back about how it’s been a catalyst to where I’m going with my writing. A TV show couple inspired me to get off my butt and start writing again.

It reminded me that I have a dream and gift that needed to be honored.

Before I started watching The Vampire Diaries, I had a long writing drought. I hadn’t written a story in years. Life, work, and all the blah things that come with adulthood had distracted me from what I wanted to do.

animated image of Caroline and Klaus smiling at each other I kept telling friends about this book I wanted to write. The story would play in my head but I would sit in front of my computer and…nothing. Then watching the Vampire Diaries, the inspiration for a story based on the two people on the screen came to me. Klaus and Caroline were sharing yet another stellar moment where she was basically leading him by the neck and this bad-bad-bad guy, with a sexy smile and killer British charm, just allowed her.

And thus sweet inspiration started to flow and I began to flex my then EXTREMELY rusty writing muscles. There was a lot of over-telling vs showing, shouting from every character’s head in the same scene, and fuzzy writing that shot for mysterious and landed dead-smacked on vague. But…

I was writing again and I was happy.

A writer that doesn’t/can’t write always feels empty. Something huge was missing from my life. Fanfiction gave that something back to me again. It gave me the opportunity to feel good and whole again. I am sure that sounds cheesy to some of you. It doesn’t make it any less truth. Ask anyone who knows me.
With my book, Boss, coming out on March 6, I’m on my way to living my dream. Yeah, Jay Klaus saying, you brought me back, Carolinegot her writing groove back! Thanks to Fanfiction. Thanks to Klaus and Caroline.

Has something simple (like a TV show couple) ever brought you back from a nasty writer’s block? Or a period in your life where you felt stuck? If so, what was it?


Yeah I wrote that! It’s Ugly, Bloody, but it’s a Manuscript and it’s mine.

nano-charliebrownI wrote 62, 567 words to win NaNoWriMo 2016, . Right now, I stand in the bloody field screaming victory. Maybe that’s not the analogy I want. Remember that Seinfeld episode where they go see a friend who just had a baby and the baby is so ugly they can barely stand to look at him? Yet, the mom and dad are smiling, happy and blissfully unaware of how ugly their baby is.

Well…Today I can kind of relate. I am the proud, covered in blood but adoring writer of an ugly manuscript.

A manuscript I wrote!

The difference is that I know it’s ugly and it will take a lot of effort to make it pretty and presentable to the world. But man…Am I proud!

I slay NaNoWriMo on the 22nd and validated last night.

Heart of the Island is the manuscript equivalent of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Yes, she is hairy and warty. But she’s mine, crafted through my fingers. She’s the third proof that I can do it all over again. Every time I start a new book, I ask myself OMG can I really do it all over again. She’s my big fat yes, I can!

So how did I do it?

  • I made a plan
  • Set daily goals (around 2000 words a day)
  • Let the imagination flow
  • Didn’t put limits
  • Didn’t stop to edit
  • And kept going
  • I didn’t look back. Just kept going.

It’s a lesson in self-control because my hands and inner editor itched to go back and fix and other than my misspellings (because I can’t stand knowingly having typos), I just controlled myself. I got to know my characters better and though, we still have about 27,000 woYeah I wrote that and got this certificate!rds to go, to a first draft, and months before we sleep but, I’m smiling and happy.

How’s your NaNoWriMo experience going? If you didn’t do it, can you share why?  What do you find most challenging?




Why my book is not published yet and failure led me to do better

The reason I'm not published is because I want to get it right.
When my book is published, I want to know I did the best I could for its success.

When will your book be published? It’s a far cry from the rosy and happy ‘tell me what your book is about.’ The excitement waned into ‘so when is the book finally coming out’ at every encounter, in any venue, on the phone or via Morse code.

The smiles turned from surprised-excited-encouraging to the barely curved lips of you’re-still-working-on-that-book-huh? indulging ones. And God forbid, when like mine, your book turns into a series and you decide to finish book two before publishing the first. Also, may God help you if, again like me, you write book three ahead of two. It’s a miracle someone hasn’t patted me on the head and said things like “oh Jay, you’ll do it someday, I’m sure.”

TRUST AND BELIEVE, no one wants in this world wants this book published more than me. I’m also the one that will have to live with the book for the rest of my life. My reputation is at stake and reviews follow you, even when you can no longer see them.

A few years ago, following a horribye long writing drought, I entered into the fantastic world of fanfiction. When you write fanfiction , you can take established characters and transcend them past the world they were created in. So, I dabbled in paranormal and alternate universes as my first step toward a writing career.

The fanfiction world is an inclusive community of avid readers, who are knowledgeable, serious and passionate about the subjects they stan for. They will also cut you to the quick when you get it wrong.

Unfortunately for me, I learned the hard way. I didn’t research the best practices for writing fanfiction before I put my work out there. I didn’t look into other fanfic authors to see what they did right and wrong. Most dooming of all, I committed the cardinal sin of putting your writing out there, I didn’t have a beta or an editor, someone to tell me what worked and what didn’t.

In my head, it was all in fun, doing something entertaining in a familiar way, creating my own endings when the ones I read or watched failed to satisfy me. But something else, much bigger, was happening.

I was putting myself out there as a writer, even if I didn’t know it. 

The reason I'm not published is because I want to get it right.
When my book is published, I want to know I did the best I could for its success.

Soon, my own liking and enjoyment of the stories weren’t enough. Readers were not reviewing though I can see how many people read it. My first chapters had a lot of hit numbers.

I  wondered why people were not taking to my stories and when I finally decided to get real with myself and ask the questions to someone else, I learned the heartbreaking but life changing truth. My storylines were interesting, but the quality of my writing sucked. MAJORLY.

I was devastated because you know…my writing was so edgy, so stylish, my characters so complex…Except they weren’t.

  • I wasn’t following rules because I didn’t think I needed to. I’m a rebel, HELLO!.
  • Thought my writing was mysterious but eeeehhhhh it was just vague
  • Violated rules of punctuation, grammar, and logical reaction order
  • Used my secondary characters as disposable tools

I had a decision to make, if I wanted to be a published author, Quit or get better?

I chose to get better; quitting was not an option. All my life I’ve known one truth: one day I would write for a living. Really, there was no decision. I needed to get better, so I set up to find myself some help. With the help of a strong beta, who is currently my critique partner, I started to course correct, taking classes, attending workshops and online webinars. Everything was rosy after that…NOT.

The damage was already done.  While I built a fan base of readers, others still remembered my old blunders even after the stories were long removed. They never forgave me. That was a great lesson. Some readers won’t give you a second chance. So, with my book, I want to make sure it’s right, meaning I am happy and comfortable with it, before publishing. And yes, I know it will never be perfect but I want it to have a chance.

This is one of the main reasons I still have not published book one. When people ask, I don’t want to bore them with this long, unsexy story, of me covering all my book bases. So I give a brief and allied version of the truth.

I’m in edits. It will be out soon.


Three Simple Things Prepared Me for NaNoWriMo 2016

Ready for NaNoWriMo
Only one thing missing in this pic

November, that special time of the year known as National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo or  aka or NaNo begins this week and with it comes excitement, promise, and worry. I can’t wait to dig into my new story but did I plan well enough? I can’t wait to meet the characters; will I be able to write them? I can’t wait to sit down and just write write write but will I make the at-times elusive 1667 words a day.

With NaNo, you have a month to focus all your efforts and want to take advantage of every single second.  Though I did win NaNo 2015, I’ve been trying do a better job of preparing for the month than I did last year.

Here are the three things that I’ve done to prepare for NaNoWriMo so far.

Read a technique book.

A writer friend of mine recommended Plot & Structure. I dug into it and loved it so far. I’ll admit technique books are not my thing, mostly because of my fruit-fly-level attention span. This book, however, has proven a difference maker. It even references the other writing book that I absolute love Scene & Structure. Both these books have been awesome for me and my writing.

I used Plot & Structure as I was plotting my book along. The simple way of explaining the stages of plot and the LOCK system are both well worthy. The rest is great as well.

I use Scene & Structure to plan all my Scenes and Sequels aka Actions and Reactions. That proved to be the best way to work my way through NaNo last year.

Cleaned the house, the bedroom and the office

There’s a sense of stillness in a clean house and that’s how you realize how loud clutter, dirt and disarray are. My house is never filthy. We make sure there’s always cleanliness but there is a difference between freshly clean and lived in for days. So I spent my afternoon yesterday making it happen.

This morning when I made my way downstairs, I felt that Zen that only clean and organized can bring. Even in my bedroom, putting everything in my dresser in its proper place, and moving the cardigans from my footboard to the closet, it just feels right.

The same with my office. Yesterday, I cleaned the desks, removed the notepads and put them in their right place. Pinned the Post-its notes to the cork-board and left my desk blank except for the monitor. It helps me get into the mindset of writing. It’s something I learned from Margie Lawson’s Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors. Clear your desk entirely and leave no room for distractions.


Yes, this seems a little odd but it’s really not. In November, you’ll be turning down lots of invitation in the name of getting those 1667 words you need to write a day to get to 50,000 at the end of the month.

So, I spent some times with friends. I also made sure to let them all know I will be going ghost come today. Warning is a good way to state your purpose too. Your friends and family though they will miss you, will want you to succeed and will be 100% behind you.

Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? If so, how do you prepare? Share some of your ideas. We can learn from each other!


Writing and Reading, Better than Killing Furniture

Writing’s my answer to everything. I already can hear you all screaming. But hear me out here.

Sometimes, when something unexpected happens, frustration is almost an automatic response. It’s only normal. Using a writing analogy, you had an objective, a desire and something is trying to stop you from getting what you want.Instead of getting frustrated, you could be writing!

It could be as minor as watching a TV show. You get the dishes done, shower, grab the glass of Malbec and rush to your couch. You turn on the TV, but there’s a cable outage in your area. You rage, don’t they know you NEED to watch Talking Dead? You still haven’t recovered from The Walking Dead season premiere last night. How are you supposed to grieve for ***** (to protect the poor soul who has not watched) with other fans? Now you won’t know what Norman Reedus had to say until the morning. Ugh.

You want to rage. You want to scream. You want to punch a stuffed bunny in its glassy eye.

What if instead of bugging out, you  should try to remember that article on character development you haven’t had time to read or that book on the habits of highly effective people? What if you finally picked up the phone and made that call? To you know to who! What if you organized your drawers instead or started to crochet that infinity scarf you wanted for so long?

OR, bear with me here, you could be writing that book that’s been swimming in your head…

Recently, I experienced and outage…of sorts and I was upset about it. I came up with the idea to find other things to concentrate on. Things I could do instead of turning rage-green and Hulk-smashing my way through the living room. I used that time to read a book. A book that has already proven a difference maker, one I can actually apply to my writing. Remember how I told you that I like to try new things with my writing?

This unexpected outage-of-sorts couldn’t come at a better time with NaNoWriMo around the corner. Last year, I was a winner. This year I am planning to repeat! So I’ve stepped up my planning for J vs. 50,000 words in 30 days.

Sometimes unexpected things happen, not so you can go crazy and tear out your hair, but because your attention is needed in some other area of your life. There is something you’ve been wanting/needing to do but have been too distracted by the noise. Next time something drops out of the blue — and please know I don’t mean something major — stop and think, what else can I do with this time?

So what would you spend your outage-of-sorts doing?