Monday, November 30, 2015

AND DONE!

NaNoWrioMo 2015 is over today! I just finished and received this awesomeness! I love how encouraging the NaNoWriMo folks are. I wouldn't have my first draft of a new novel without them! The community is amazing!!


I'm still cheering for all those who are in different time zones and typing away! YOU CAN DO THIS! Even if you don't hit the 50K mark--if you've typed a page or a chapter--you have made more words happen than zero. And that's something!!

For those who are finished, I hope to revise and rewrite with you in the coming months! We have our drafts, now let's make them shine before next November!!

Love to each of you! You're irreplaceable. Only you can tell your story!

Love and blessings!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hitting the Halfway Point

Today is the 15th day of NaNoWriMo!!! YAAAAAAAAAAY!




Congratulations to all who have written more than one word! Double congrats if you've completed a sentence!

NaNoWriMo isn't the same for everyone.

Some decide they have to write the traditional 50K.

Some try to finish a novel that they've already started.

Some might try to write 50 picture books!

Whatever your goal is, keep going.

Keep trying!

Don't worry about word count or if the story is amazing or not.

There will be an entire year before next November for editing!!

Just write the words! Any words!

YOU CAN DO THIS!




Know that you're wonderful and no one else out there has a story just like yours. 

It's going to be great! 

Friday, October 30, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015


In just two days...

I'll be participating in another NaNoWriMo! YAY!!

I love how tons of writers come together and encourage one another to get creative and write! Last year I wrote a YA supernatural fantasy called Blood and Bones, which I'm querying right now!

Writing a novel in 30 days can be done. Don't give up!

Like most creative peeps, I have a very specific formula that gets me through NaNo.

Breathe.
Eat.
Sleep.
Write!
Read.
Watch TV.
Write!
Kids.
Hubs.
Friends.
Write!
Family.
Thanksgiving Dinner.
WRITE FASTER!
Sleep.
WRITE LONGER!
All The Other Things!
Christmas shop.
WRITE THE END!

Really. I do all this. BUT...

To actually write, I use a computer. HA! No, really, I write in short blasts throughout the day. It's like sprinting. Though it's not as cute as these adorable penguins.



First, I find pockets of time for my writing blasts. It might look like thirty minutes while waiting in the pick-up line or an hour after the kids go to bed. Once I've got my time pockets, I'm faithful to them or my novel doesn't get done.

To make sure my writing blast time is successful, I plan it out. I jot down a few sentences at the top of the page, which I use as a rough outline. If I have a longer time pocket, my outline is a little longer. If I only have ten minutes, I may just plan a scene.

Once I finish my word count for the day, I brainstorm for the writing blasts the next day.

And that's it! So far, I've been able to reach 50K each NaNoWriMo.

How about you? What are your favorite tips and tricks?

If you're diving into NaNoWriMo for the first or tenth time, GOOD LUCK! And if you want a buddy, I'm here over at the NaNo site! :)


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Organizing Your Writing Space

 Image by Eric Heupel via Flickr

At home, my writing space is in my bedroom. It's an old desk where I also tend to stack papers and books. I pay bills there and file stuff. It faces a window and has a little lamp on it.

Does a little clutter bug me? Not really. Usually, I move the paper pile and books off the desk when I sit down to write or edit, and move them back when I'm done.

Is this ideal? Probably not.

 So I decided to hunt down some ideas via Google on how to create a productive writing space. Here are some of the most helpful hints I found.

1. Free your space of clutter!
2. Some inspirational notes, pictures, verses, etc are acceptable, but trinkets galore can be distracting.
3. Have a door you can close.
4. Sometimes we write in a cafe or coffee shop, bookstore, or library. So, yeah, no doors. But also no distractions like laundry, bills, pets, kids, spouses, etc...
5. If working without a door, bring some excellent earphones/headphones.
6. Make sure you have the supplies you need. Examples: stapler, paper, pens, pencils, computer, your brain! :)
7. Write once you get there!

And that's the gist of it. These are quick and easy tips, but aren't always easy to follow.

Will I always have a clean, organized writing space? Probably not. With three kids at home during the summer, it's easier for me to leave when the husband gets home and chill out at Starbucks. Ahem, I mean write.

Sometimes away from home helps me focus, especially if the coffee shop closes at 10pm and I get there at 7pm. I work my butt off for three hours without getting distracted.

How about you? What does your writing space look like? Does it change from day to day? Are you a clutter bug or a minimalist? I love hearing from you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Don't Stop!

image via Flickr by Phil Gyford


When the muse hits, it's great! Words flow from our brains to the page.

Then, we stop. There's nothing.

How is the main character going to get out of the mess she's in? I can think and think and have absolutely no idea.

That's when I just go with whatever pops into my brain.

Yep. I make something up that may or may not work in the end, but at least I have something written down.

Never suppress the imagination. Go with it. You can always edit it or revise if a better (more logical) idea comes your way.

So when writer's block hits hard, push back! Don't stop! Keep creating no matter what!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Finding Hope When All Seems Hopeless

At any point in time we can all feel hopeless.
We wake up to a flat tire. We left the headlights on overnight.
We're running late.

The computer crashes.
A kid is sick.
We fight with a loved one.

Writer's block!



All these things and more.

Anytime. Anywhere.

So how do we find hope when it feels like the world wants to chew us up and spit us out?



For me, I turn to God. I pray my little heart out. I read and meditate on God's promises for my life.

I call my husband. Talk to a friend. I reach out.

In my writing life, I seek out my critique partners and hunt the web for relevant blog posts.

There is hope. A new day comes tomorrow.

Sometimes, this works, sometimes, it doesn't. The hopelessness may last more than a day or two. Don't give up. Shake things up. Get a new perspective.


Kicking Out Hopelessness:

1. Remember you are loved.

2. Don't try to live this life alone. Reach out. Reach up. Grab on to life. Talk to someone about what you're feeling.

3. Take time for yourself. Take care of yourself.

4. Remind yourself that things will change. It might be for the worse, but it might get better. Don't shut out the possibilities.

5. Love the people around you. Sometimes being a blessing to others can shake the feeling that all is wrong in the world.

And always DANCE!



How about you? How do you deal with life's ups and downs whether it be writing or just a week that feels like everything against you?

Shine on! Be you! You're irreplaceable!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Eternal Sacrifice Cover Reveal! + GIVEAWAY!!

Today, I'm thrilled to reveal the cover to the last book in the Mortal Enchantment series!! 

AND AND AND!!!

If you're new to the series, this is the BEST TIME to check it out!!!

THE SHADOW PRINCE & MORTAL ENCHANTMENT are currently available for FREE on Amazon April 24th-April 28th!!!! 

EEEEEEKKKK!!

So pick up your copies NOW!!!



And now, here is the cover of the last book in the series, ETERNAL SACRIFICE!!!
Drum roll, please...


EternalSacrifice.v2-Final.v2


As promised, here is the Gift Card CONTEST!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PLAY ON Release Day! + GIVEAWAY

Play On by Michelle Smith is out today! 

Giveaway at the bottom of the post! Win a copy of the book, Amazon gift card, or bookmarks!




In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma's flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she's also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there's something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek--he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa's pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn't everything--maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.

B&N      Amazon      Book Depository      IndieBound         


And today, I have an exclusive excerpt!

In this excerpt, Marisa surprises Austin on the baseball field…in more ways than one.
~
I pass the bat to her, watching her face light up like a full moon on a summer night. “Now, it’s a little heavy,” I joke. “Think you can handle it?”

Her eyes widen. “I don’t know,” she says breathlessly. “I may need the help of a big, strong, baseball player. Because we both know that baseball is so superior to softball.”

I shake my head. “That’s not entirely true. Your balls are bigger.”

We stare at each other. Stare. Stare some more. She’s the first one who breaks, bursting out laughing. It’s one of the best sounds I’ve heard in a long time.

“Here,” I say, still laughing. I carefully place my hands on her hips, helping her square up over the plate. “In case, you know, you’re too out of practice.”

She bites back a smile. “Yeah. Because I’ve totally forgotten how to square up for a pitch.”

“Two years is a long time.” Resting my hands on her shoulders, I remind her, “And relax these. You’re too stiff.”

She hangs her head. “You’re killin’ me, Smalls.”

I walked right into that one. She relaxes her shoulders. Slowly, my hands move down her arms until they rest on top of hers. They’re so warm, fit so perfectly in mine that it almost hurts to let them go. But I do, because, you know, friends.

“There,” I say on an exhale. “Ready?”

Her lips curve up. “Let me have it, Floral Prince.”

My mouth drops open. “All right. No mercy, Marlowe.”

I grab the ball and jog out to the mound. I gotta say, she’s the prettiest batter I’ve ever been up against. Taking a deep breath, I wind up and let my fastball fly.

That girl smacks the hell out of the ball.

Holy… I turn, watching it sail all the way back to the fence. When I whirl back around, she grins, pointing the bat at me.

“And that’s how it’s done,” she calls to me, setting the bat in the dirt. She wipes her hands on her jeans.

All I can do is gape. Some of the guys on our team could take a lesson from her. It’s not like I thought she would be bad, but damn. I pull off my cap as I walk toward her. As soon as I tug it onto her head, she laughs.

“Are you going to have any of these left?”

“I have an endless supply.” I nudge the brim of the cap, so I can see her eyes. “And you’ve earned that one.”

She quirks her lips into this little half-smirk that makes me pure weak in the knees. Takes a step closer. Another. And another. I swallow hard. My hands ache to touch her, to pull her to me and kiss the daylights out of her.

But friends, though.


Y'all, I can't even tell you. If you're a fan of love or baseball or both, PLAY ON is the book for you!



This teaser melts my heart! BUT...

PLAY ON isn't just all romance and loveliness, it hits some hard topics. Check out what Michelle has to say on what it takes to write such a fantastic novel.

1. Play On touches on several sensitive topics. What do you hope your readers will take away from reading it?
I hope they come away knowing that illnesses do not define us. That setbacks, mistakes, scars, whatever we’ve done in the past—none of that defines who we are. That yes, you can fall to rock bottom, and you can still thrive after that fall. There’s laughter, and happiness, and hope, and love waiting for you—there’s so much love. And I hope they know that they’re worthy of that love.
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to reach out. It’s okay to admit that you need help with this crazy life-thing. Because none of us have all the answers—we’re just doing the best we can. And we’re all in it together. 

2. What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Not really a scene itself, but one of the lines. In the original draft, Austin had an ex-girlfriend that was, in a word, vengeful. One night, Austin told her to leave, and she came back to slash his truck’s tires. After discovering what happened the next morning, his mom said, “Your breakup really brought out the redneck in that girl.” That line always made me giggle.
(There’s no ex-girlfriend in the final version, by the way. She got the cut in my first round of edits.)

3. On the flip side, what was your favorite scene that got added during edits?
My favorite scene in the entire book was added during edits!  It takes place toward the end and involves stars, hand-holding, and Austin and Marisa talking about what’s to come, rather than the past. It’s a sweet moment that makes me grin like an idiot.

4. Biggest writing quirk?
I have to have something on my feet, whether it’s socks or shoes. Like, I absolutely cannot write with cold feet.

5. Are you working on any new projects?
I am! I can’t say too much at the moment, but I will say that we haven’t seen the last of Lewis Creek. ;)




Happy book birthday!



Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.





Find out more about Michelle!
Website      Twitter      Tumblr      Facebook



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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

PLAY ON Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Today I'm so excited to be a part of the PLAY ON blog tour with an AWESOME character interview! The publisher, Spencer Hill, is generously gifting a copy to one lucky winner so make sure to enter the giveaway below.

Here's more about the book and the character of the day, Marisa!



In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma's flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she's also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there's something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek--he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa's pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn't everything--maybe it is just the the that ties them all together.

WOW! I can't wait to read it!!

You can preorder now at AMAZON, B&N, BOOK DEPOSITORY, and INDIEBOUND.

Now for the interview with Marisa!

1. What do you love about school? Do you have a favorite subject?
Austin calls me a weirdo because I love Chemistry, but…I LOVE Chemistry. It’s fascinating to discover how things function and work together.

2. Have you always been home-schooled?
My mom started homeschooling me near the end of junior year.

3. Do you want to go to college? If so, what do you want to study?
I’m going to University of South Carolina after graduation! I’m super excited. I was set on Chemistry for a long time, but I think my dad may have convinced me to go Pre-Med? Kind of crazy.

4. Why work at a flower shop? What’s your favorite flower?
When my family and I moved to Lewis Creek, I’d been cooped up for way too long. I love my parents, but…yeah. Way too much time together. I was desperate to get out and just meet people, and to have something that made me feel, I don’t know, normal? So when I saw the ad for Braxton’s Bouquets, I thought, “Why the heck not.”

My favorite flower is a purple rose.

5. What drew you to the small town of Lewis Creek?
I’d just been accepted to University of South Carolina when my parents decided that it was time to move away from Baltimore. Both my parents grew up in South Carolina, and since I’d be moving here soon anyway, they figured we’d all move down here together.

6. What have you always wanted but never asked for?
Hm. That’s a tough one.

Understanding, maybe? I know I can be hard to handle. I know it’s not always easy to be friends with me. And I have a hard time asking people for that understanding.

7. What qualities are you looking for in a friend?
*points above* Understanding, even if I do hate asking for it. Loyal. Trustworthy. Someone who makes me laugh, because laughing is the actual best. Oh, and a baseball fan, please.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be more open. But it’s hard.

9. If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be?
If you could give me ten minutes with Chipper Jones, I’d be yours forever.

10. What do you like about yourself?
I’m smart. I can fill in the periodic table without cheating. And I like that.

11. What do you like about Austin?
Austin…he’s a good one. Super-adorkable. Unbelievably sweet. Pretty goofy. The whole understanding-thing comes naturally to him. And he doesn’t push. He never pushes.

And we won’t even talk about that grin of his. Or his accent. Both of which snagged me from the get-go.

12. If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?
World peace? KIDDING. Okay, not really—world peace would be awesome.

I want the world. I want college and friends and love. I want a job and a family and a place in the world to call my own. I want to travel. I want to be happy. And I kind of think that happiness is something we make for ourselves, so I want to make it happen.

13. Do you have a favorite candy? If so, what is it? Or if not, what’s your go-to snack?
I’m not really a candy person, but give me popcorn or give me death. And Austin got me hooked on barbecue, which I kind of hate him for.

14. What do you love about baseball? Do you have a favorite team?
Baseball is MAGIC. That field, and those bleachers? They’re home. Favorite team: the Atlanta Braves. Always and forever.

15. Do you play a sport? If not, do you wish you did?
I played softball until I started homeschool, and I miss it like crazy. Luckily, I know a guy who can sneak me onto the field. J Oh, and I can totally kick his friends’ butts at the batting cages. They’ll never admit it, but take my word for it.

OH MY GOSH, I love this girl already!


Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.


Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.


Find out more about Michelle on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hello Spring!


Texas Bluebonnets by Matt Turner via Flickr

Okay, wow, I haven't been here since November! I have, however, been over at Revision Warriors! Check out my blogs here.

I'm so excited it's SPRING! And in a sense, I'm doing some spring cleaning by updating here and also sharing some things that have/are happening.

So I finished NaNo! I'm revising and rewriting that beast right now. It's name is BLOOD & BONES and I'm soooooo very, very, very excited about it. The genre is YA and it's a supernatural horror fantasy. That's a mouthful, but... it is what it is! The story takes place in a world that reflects the Ottoman Empire for those who took Humanities in college. *wink* And it has pirates and all sorts of evil that doesn't seem evil until it melts your skin off. So much fun!

Next up on the writerly front, I signed up for DFW Writers Conference! I'm so excited about it! If you're in the DFW or North Texas area, I would highly recommend going. They have a great line-up of agents and editors.

My super awesome critique partner and fellow Revision Warrior, Michelle Smith has a book coming out April 21!! It's name is PLAY ON and you can find out more about it at Goodreads. Seriously, y'all it's a MUST READ. And...next week, I get to be a part of the blog hop!! Can't wait!

I've also been reading! And I can't leave here without saying that I'm so sad The Walking Dead is over. :( Until next season! I can't wait for prequel this summer! The next show I'm looking forward to is the return of Hell on Wheels, also this summer! In the meantime, I'm watching Supernatural, Agents of Shield, Constantine, and Arrow. All great shows!

Until next time... Happy writing and reading! Only you can be you so SHINE ON! Happy Spring! :)