Friday, March 24, 2017

Kim Redford Discovers a Bit of Texas in California

One of my favorite tours in Texas is the string of five missions along the San Antonio River. Most people have heard about, or even seen, the Alamo (1718) in downtown San Antonio because of the famous Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. Yet there are another four magnificent missions in the area.

From north (upstream of the San Antonio River) to south (downstream), you can follow the Mission Parkway with fifteen miles of hiking, biking, paddling trails, and culture bus routes. The Park connects Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada to the San Antonio Riverwalk through a series of park portals (http://www.lsjunction.com/facts/missions.htm)

San Jose (1720), San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, was once a major social and cultural center, as well as the strongest garrison of the five missions. San Juan (1731), San Juan Capistrano, supplied agricultural and other products to the region. Concepcion (1731), Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, became the center of local religious celebrations. Espada (1731), San Francisco de la Espada, was renowned for its unique bell chapel and stone entry.

When I recently made my way to Southern California, I had San Juan Capistrano on my mind because I knew there was another mission in the area with the same name as the one in Texas. I quickly found the mission famous for its returning swallows in the lovely village of San Juan Capistrano.

Mission San Juan Capistrano California (1776) (https://www.missionsjc.com) is an inspirational historical, cultural, and religious site. The adobe wall enclosed compound consists of outstanding architecture, stunning oil paintings, religious artifacts, agriculture implements, horse tack, and rich landscape. Restoration and preservation is ongoing as public contributions fund this exceptional educational site for current and future generations.

Mission San Juan Capistrano California (1776)
Did I compare San Juan Capistrano Texas with the sister mission in California? I couldn’t help doing just that. I even met a lady in the gift shop who was buying—wouldn’t you know it?—a gift for a friend in Dallas. After hearing my Texas accent, she wanted my opinion on her choice. I assured her the present was perfect. And so we parted ways, even as she kept her connection to Texas and I kept mine to California.

I must admit there is definitely more glitz and glamour in the Golden State mission, but San Juan Capistrano sparkles big and bright in the wide open spaces of the Lone Star State. And yet, the missions in Texas and California—even after almost three hundred years—exhibit the same peace, serenity, and beauty deep in their heart of hearts.

Kim Redford's Smokin' Hot Cowboys


Kim Redford is an acclaimed, bestselling author of Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at http://www.kimredford.com.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Top Ten Favorite Bromances

Bromances are pretty much the staple of the entertainment world to me. Nothing beats the banter and the friendship of two or more men. The way they interact, the way they rely on each other, the way they look to one another as not just friends, but brothers too. In Reckless Hearts, I took my love for this idea and paired it back to my days of being the girlfriend/wife of a hubby who has more bromances than I ever did girlfriends. From his high-school best friends, to his rugby playing buddies years later, I stored my eye-witness accounts into the back of my mind, unknowing that I’d use them years later for the Reckless Hearts series.

It wasn’t just my experience firsthand that had me loving the concept of bromance-ism, but also different characters in movies, books, and TV shows too.

Below are my top ten favorites bromances. Make sure to comment with some of your favorites too! I’d hate to think I’ve been missing out on some.



10. Nick and Schmidt from New Girl.

Talk about opposites attract in the friend department. I love these two. Schmidt, with his crazy cockiness, and Nick with his goofy, lovable side… These two were a match made in cable TV heaven.

9.  Seth and Ryan from The OC.

Back in the day, when teen drama was all I ever watched, these two boys rocked my fictional world. They were just so damn cute with their friendship that I wanted nothing more than to hug them through my TV screen. (In a non-obsessive-creepy-fangirl way, of course.)


8. Danny, Joey, and Jessie from Full House.

I grew up with this show and cannot, for the life of me, picture a world without these three men. Add in the fact that they also gave me the Reckless Hearts idea and I couldn’t love them anymore than I already do.

7.  Phil, Stu, Doug, and Alan from The Hangover.

What could possibly top these four? Not a lot. They were hilarious, though clueless, and their banter and escapades were everything.

6.  Kolton, Sawyer, and Nico from Kelly Siskind’s Over the Top series.

If you haven’t read this series, then you are seriously missing out. Not only are they sexy and romantic, but they feature one of the best fictional book bromances ever. I adore the relationship between these three men. They’re hilarious and bromance-perfection.

5.  Peter, Michael, and Jack from Three Men and a Baby.

Of course I needed to give a shout out to this movie and these boys. This was another one that inspired Reckless Hearts. I may have only been five years old when this movie came out, but I can remember it as though it was released yesterday. (It also helped that I’ve watched it constantly over the years too.) This is one of those movies that will stick with you for years, and the bromance shared can’t be forgotten.

4. King, Bear, and Preppy from the King Series by T.M. Frazier.

A dark romance series meshed with a dark bromance? Yes. Please. Thank you. Read this series. I can’t really do these three guys and their bromance justice with a few lines.

3. Styx and Ky from The Hades Hangmen Series by Tillie Cole.

This is another dark romance series, featuring a rough and rugged group of motorcycle club men. Styx was the club president, Ky the vice president, and together, they were pretty much epic as far as the bromance department went. Though this series might be hard to read for some, I highly rec it for these two men alone.


2.  Corey and Shawn from Boy Meets World.

Holy macaroni, did I love these two. They were just a couple of teens trying to make it through life, but together they rocked the TV world, including mine. I adored them together. Corey’s goofy self, paired with Shawn’s rowdy self, was TV genius.


1.  Rick and Daryl from The Walking Dead.

The number one spot was a no-brainer for me. Take my love of gruff men and add in some zombies, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for the perfect bromance. I’ve adored these two from day one of that show and (SPOILER ALERT) when they were reunited midseason during season seven, I’m not ashamed to say I cried crocodile, happy tears.

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Now available: 








Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How I Discovered My Love of Reading by Abbie Roads

How I Discovered My Love of Reading 

by 

Abbie Roads

*Psst... At the end of this blog, I'll tell you about a special deal that ends today!



I was a sensitive child. I was an anxious child. I was a fearful child.

My second grade teacher made all that worse. She was a yeller, not a nurturer. Not only that, whenever a student walked up to her desk to turn in a paper, as they turned to walk away she swatted them on the butt.

Maybe that sounds trivial to you all. But back then spanking in schools was allowed. So her swatting ‘every’ student on the butt felt like the equivalent of punishment. She made kids cry from this. She made me cry from this. And then she’d get angry and demand to know why we were upset.

I was terrified of her. I started backing away from her when I turned in my papers so she couldn’t reach my back side. Still she just plain scared me. Her classroom rule was that after you handed in your paper, you had to lay your head down on your desk until she told you to raise it. I remember burying my face in my arms and crying because I was so miserable. I cried every day.

And then I missed a day of school because I was sick. The standard used to be that the second grade was when we first started learning to read. My teacher called us into the reading circle. She had a book that we passed around and each of us was supposed to read the next word in the sentence. It came to me and I had the word ‘as’.

I stopped. Didn’t speak.

My teacher said, “Sound it out.”
 
I knew what sound an ‘a’ made and I knew what sound an ‘s’ made. In my mind it sounded like ‘ass’
and I knew ass was a very bad word. I was already petrified of my teacher—there was no way I was going to say ‘ass’ in front of her.

“We just learned this yesterday.”

“I wasn’t here yesterday.” It took a ton of courage just to say that.

“That doesn’t matter. You should be able to sound it out.”

Oh, I could sound it out and I didn’t know why she’d want me to say ‘ass’ out loud. Was this some trick? Like how she spanked us for turning in a paper. Was she trying to get me to say a bad word so she could punish me?

“Sound it out. Sound it out. Sound it out.” Over and over she kept saying those words. “You should know this. It’s easy.”

I didn’t utter a peep.

After that episode I got sent to the slow reader’s class.

It was one of the best things to ever happen to me!
 
The teacher of the slow reader’s class was nice and nurturing. Pretty quickly she realized I didn’t have a reading disorder and discussed sending me back to my normal class. I begged her to keep me there. Begged her. And Mrs. Knickle kept me in the slow reader’s class all school year, despite me not being a slow reader. Thank You Mrs. Knickle! Being able to leave my normal class and go to Mrs. Knickle’s room every day made school bearable.

It wasn’t like Mrs. Knickle didn’t make me work. She fed me books and I ate them up. That slow readers class is where I discovered that I loved books. I learned that books were a great escape from my anxiety and fear. I didn’t feel bad while I was reading. By the time the school year was over I was reading a sixth grade level and wanted to be a writer!

And that moment when I learned that ‘as’ wasn’t pronounced ‘ass’… Best mistake I’ve ever made!

How did you discover that you loved reading?

**Special Deal: Today is the final day to get HUNT THE DAWN for only .99¢**


Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN are available now! SAVING MERCY is available for pre-order.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sneak Peek of Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle

 Run to Ground

Run to Ground, the first book in my brand new Rocky Mountain K9 Unit series, will be out on June 6, 2017. To help tide you over until then, here's a sneak peek:


He lost his mentor.
He lost his K9 partner.
He almost lost his will to live.
But when a ruthless killer targets a woman on the run, Theo and his new K9 companion will do whatever it takes to survive—and save the woman neither can live without.

Grieving the death of his partner, Theo Bosco has no room in his life for distractions. Though his instincts scream that he should avoid Juliet ‘Jules’ Jackson, he can’t seem to stay away. It doesn’t help that Theo’s new K9 companion has fallen head over paws with Jules’s rambunctious family.

Or that when he’s with her, Theo finally knows peace.

When Jules rescued her siblings, whisking them away to the safety of the beautifully rugged Colorado Rockies, she never expected to catch the eye—or the heart—of a cop. Yet as Jules struggles to fight her growing attraction to the brooding K9 officer, another threat lurks much closer to home…

And this time, there’s no escape.


Run to Ground
Book 1 in the Rocky Mountain K9 Unit Series
Available June 6, 2017

It was one thing to resolve to stay away from Theo when Jules wasn’t faced with his broad shoulders and a rare, precious smile. Viggy sat next to him, his tail thumping on the porch boards. It took less than two seconds for her to cave, to smile back and open the door wide enough for them to step inside.

“We’re about to have dinner,” she said, unable to keep her gaze from roaming over Theo hungrily. He was in jeans and another hoodie that was identical to the one she’d stolen from him. Although Jules had planned to wash it and give it back, she couldn’t bring herself to do either. It was warm, comfortable, and smelled like him, and she couldn’t bear to change that—or give it up. “Want to join us?”

“Yes.”

“It’s tuna noodle casserole.” As she started to lead the way to the kitchen, she glanced over her shoulder and caught him staring at her butt. Her voice went a little husky. “Just thought I should warn you.”

“Consider me warned.” His gaze slid up her back and their eyes caught.

Of course, Jules tripped on the warped floorboard at the kitchen entry. Flushed and flustered, she regained her balance and hurried to the stove, pretending she had to check the contents of a pan. After a moment of staring at broccoli—because who could get breathless about a vegetable?—Jules was ready to face Theo again. When she turned, he was right there, his eyes locked on her mouth. She was immediately breathless all over again. He leaned in closer—or maybe she did—until their lips were just a breath apart.

Ty and Tio came charging inside through the back door, and Theo straightened, taking a step back. Jules didn’t know whether to curse the twins’ timing or thank them.

“Hi, Jules! Hi, Theo! Hi, Viggy! We’re going to get cleaned up,” Ty yelled as they charged through the kitchen and into the hallway. The clatter of their feet on the stairs sounded like a thousand booted soldiers making their way to the second level.

“Ow,” Jules complained, rubbing her ear with one hand. “Why was he shouting? I was two feet away from him. I think I just lost my hearing in this ear.”

Theo took a step closer again. Taking her fingers in his, he gently pulled her hand away from her ear and leaned in. She held her breath.

“Should I test it?” he said quietly, near enough to her ear that his breath touched her skin.

Jules shivered. “Um…what?”

“A test.” He leaned even closer. Now she could feel the warmth of his lips. “A hearing test.”

“This doesn’t feel like any hearing test I’ve taken before.” Her voice had gone from slightly rough to full-on throaty. “I’m wondering about its medical legitimacy.”

“That’s because it’s a field hearing test.” She loved how he played along, understanding when she was teasing and when she was serious. She knew, too, that he wasn’t like this with anyone else—only her. There was something heady about being the one who was able to make serious, angry Theo laugh and joke. “Only to be used by trained first responders.” His voice had lowered to a rumbling hum, and his lips were actually brushing the ever-so-sensitive shell of her ear.

“Good thing you’re here, then. Being a trained first responder and all.” Jules knew she shouldn’t be flirting, but this teasing version of Theo made it impossible not to respond.

“Hey.” Sam’s voice brought her off her flirty cloud and back to earth with a thump. On the pretext of getting a serving bowl from the cupboard, she reluctantly eased her body away from Theo’s, only then realizing how closely they were standing, with her side almost plastered against his front.

“Hi, Sam.” She still sounded breathless, and Theo hadn’t even touched her—not really. “Homework done?”

A crease formed between his brows. “N-not yet.”

“Need a hand? I can break out my rusty chemistry skills.”

“N-n-no, th-thanks.” He got a pitcher out of the cupboard and started filling it with water from the tap. “Hey, Theo. D-does Viggy n-need a w-w-water b-bowl?”

“Sure. Thanks, Sam.” Theo leaned against the counter next to Jules, close enough that she was continually aware of him. She held back a snort. Who was she kidding? She’d be hyper-aware of him even if he were in another room.

“D-did you f-f-find the sh-sh-shooter?”

Theo’s expression turned grim. “Not yet.”

“Jules!” the twins shouted in unison. Jules knew that tone. That was the something-else-is-broken tone. Her shoulders sagged before she stiffened them. No matter what had broken or collapsed or fallen off or stopped working, it was better than not having the kids with her. Even if the house toppled down around their ears, at least they were together.

“Sorry.” She gave Theo an apologetic smile. “Dinner might be delayed a few minutes.”

He took a step toward her. “Need help?”

“No.” She frowned. “Maybe. I’ll call you if it’s something beyond my abilities. My fix-it record is actually pretty good.”

Sam snorted. “All you d-d-do is p-put duct t-tape on st-tuff. Or k-kick it.”

When Theo coughed, Sam looked over at him, and the two exchanged a look that was so full of manly condescension that Jules propped her fists on her hips, now determined not to ask Theo—or Sam—for help.

“Sam,” she said, her voice sugar sweet, and Sam gave her a wary look. “Since it might take a while for little ol’ me to duct tape whatever it is that’s broken, why don’t you finish your homework in the meantime?”

He made a face but answered politely enough. “Yes, m-ma’am.”

“Jules!” The shout from upstairs had a hint of hysteria to it, so Jules hurried out of the kitchen, hoping she’d be able to solve whatever was wrong. Now it was a matter of pride.

A half-hour later, she proudly sailed back into the kitchen. Passing through the doorway, she opened her mouth to brag about how the toilet had been successfully unclogged—no duct tape necessary—when she stopped abruptly, the words catching in her throat.

Theo was sitting next to Sam, their heads bent over an opened textbook.

“If I c-can’t see it, I j-just d-d-don’t g-get it.” Sam’s head was propped on one hand, the fingers working against his buzzed scalp.

Theo picked up a pencil and tugged Sam’s notebook closer. “Here’s a hydrogen atom. Here’s another one. They each have one electron.” Jules leaned against the wall, her heart filled to bursting at Theo’s patient explanation. “When they share those electrons, they form a covalent bond and become a hydrogen molecule.”

Sam’s rumpled forehead smoothed slightly, although he still looked confused. “Wh-what m-makes it a c-c-covalent bond?”

“Sharing the electrons, rather than just taking them.”

“I’ll n-never r-r-rememb-ber th-that.”

“Sure you will. Think of ‘co’ as in working together. Like ‘cooperating’ or ‘coexisting.’”

Jules’s brain instantly supplied a host of other options, such as “co-parenting” and “cohabitation.” Feeling warm, she cleared her throat to derail those thoughts, and both of the guys looked up at her. 

“Y’all hungry?” Her voice was huskier than normal. “Although the casserole is probably burnt to a crisp by now.”

“I turned off the oven,” Theo said, getting up and crossing the kitchen to turn it on again. “It’ll need heating up, but it should be okay.”

Of course he did. Because Theo is wonderful.

How was she supposed to resist him when he looked like he did and saved people’s lives and rescued dinner and helped Sam with his homework? It was impossible.

“Theo, could I see you in the hall for a second?”

Although he gave her a wary look, he followed her out of the kitchen. As soon as they were out of Sam’s line of sight, Jules shoved Theo against the wall. With both hands knotted in his shirtfront, she yanked him down until she could reach his mouth. Then she kissed him. Hard.





Monday, March 20, 2017

Need a Kick in the Pants to Finish that Manuscript? Cherry and I will help. (by Asa Maria Bradley)

Every writer, whether seasoned or just starting out, need a support system. Completing a book is hard work and you need writer friends to cheer you on, commiserate with, and sometimes to bounce ideas off in order to solve tricky plot problems. But if you’re just starting out, how do you find your support tribe?


I met Cherry at my very first romance writer conference where I knew absolutely nobody. She recognized me as a very lost and scared beginning writer and introduced me to everybody she knew. Since Cherry is one of the most social and vivacious people in the world, that means I pretty much met everyone who attended that conference. 

Warning: this is where the post turns all gushy and fangirly.

It’s hard to find the words to describe how much this amazing woman means to me. Basically, Cherry Adair has been an incredible influence on my career. Thanks to her—and FTDB challenge—I completed two manuscripts in two years, received amazing feedback from a big publisher editor, met some amazing fledgling writers who are still my friends, and gained the confidence needed to go from writer to author.

Before I met Cherry I had read just about every book she had written, so imagine what it was like to meet your idol, have her take you under her wing, and then find out that she runs this special group for people just like you that will help you realize your dream of finishing a novel.

And here’s the thing. I felt very, very special and singled out that first conference, but Cherry treats all new writes the way she treated me. Her passion is to give you the resources you need to finish your manuscript. She’ll give you encouragement, advice, and a swift kick in the behind with her designer stiletto heels--when you need it. J

This year’s FTDB starts on April 1st. (Sign up now!)  It is open to anyone unpublished, not published in the last three years, or those with five books or less, traditionally or indie published as of April 1, 2017.  

Here’s what the $35 commitment fee and completing the challenge gets you:
• A finished book!
• Confirmation that you are one of the 2% who finished writing a complete book!
• Bragging rights.
• Become part of a dedicated FTDB group and receive weekly encouragement, tips on the writing process, answers to your burning writing questions, and receive kicks in the butt- er- motivation to help you stay on track, and keep you focused on your goal.
• A personalized Certificate of Completion.
• A Finish the Damn Book! I Did it! pin.
• A conference badge FTDB ribbon.
• Entry into the drawing, where one randomly selected winner will receive the Grand Prize.

And the Grand Prize is:
• Your FTDB manuscript professionally copy edited. Editorial Services will include content and line edit of the completed manuscript, turned around in 2 weeks. Edits will be applied to the completed manuscript via track changes, with content/story notes detailing plot holes or suggestions to improve the story.
• A fabulous cover. A professional cover designer will work with you to perfect a fabulous cover for your eBook (limitations on edits to cover and purchase of cover art images apply).
• Your edited manuscript will be eBook formatted and ready to upload to vendors such as Amazon, iBooks, and Kobo.
• A two-week Blog Tour to promote your fabulous new book.
• A paid Romantic Times Conference fee for 2018 (hotel and airfare not included).

And if that is not enough of an incentive to get you to sign up, here’s another one:

I will pay the $35 FTDB commitment fee to 3 writers who have not yet published a book (traditionally or indie).

In the comments below, say why your think the FTDB challenge will help your writing career. One week from today, on Monday March 27th at 8 pm PST, I will randomly pick three people and arrange to reimburse their commitment fee (in US currency). A fourth person (US Only because of shipping fee) will receive the prize package pictured here which includes two books signed by Cherry.  

Sign up for the FTDC challenge now and then even if you don’t win this giveaway you’ll be a winner since you just took a HUGE step toward the next phase of your writing career. :-)

Note: The winners must get back to me by Wednesday 3/29 at 4 pm PST to claim their prize. (If you win the $35 reimbursement, you have to show proof that you entered and paid for FTDB.) At that time, I’ll pick new winners for any unclaimed prizes.

~            ~            ~

Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired her sexy modern-day Viking series. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with a British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. Booklist attributed her writing with “nonstop action, satisfying romantic encounters, and intriguing world building.” Her debut book, Viking Warrior Rising, was a 2016 double RITA finalist and the follow-up, Viking Warrior Rebel, is a Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award Nominee. The magazine described the book as “filled with action and passion from the first page until the last.”

Subscribe to her newsletter: http://www.asamariabradley.com/newsletter/

Sunday, March 19, 2017

99 Cents--Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply!

99 Cents!!!!
An alpha werewolf meets his match in this sizzling paranormal romance from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear
THERE’S A NEW WOLF PACK IN SILVER TERRITORY
Wolf shifter and park ranger Eric Silver is committed to his job policing spectacular San Isabel National Forest, and he’s hot on the scent of some mysterious wolves who are up to no good. When Eric’s investigation leads him to cross paths with forester Pepper Grayling, he’s fascinated to learn this she-wolf is her pack’s leader—strong, independent, and definitely not looking for a mate.

AND THIS TIME THE LEADER’S A SHE…
With unknown dangers on the prowl, Pepper is tempted to give in to her attraction to Eric and align her pack with his. But Pepper’s been pursued by many an alpha male out to take over her pack and gain her hard-won territory—and Eric is a born leader. How does Eric earn the trust of a she-wolf who’s been betrayed so often in the past?
Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply  (Book 19)
AmazoniBooks | BAM! | B&N | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo
One of the Silver Town wolves’ stories.
I finished most of my promo blogs for Between a Wolf and a Hard Place–coming April 4th! Another Silver Wolf tale. Need to finish one more of the promo blogs this morning, taxes are done, Dreaming of the White Wolf Christmas edits are done, Flight of the White Wolf is with beta readers, and that means????
Next up is Sarandon Silver’s story. So I need to figure out what I’m going to write on that one.   And I need to proof Galaxy Warrior’s print book. My daughter is due any day now and so I thought while I’m waiting on her to have the baby, it would make for a great time to proof the book. Or not.
But in the meantime, I wanted to share the sale price on Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply, the book normally selling for $7.99.

Terry
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Website: http://www.terryspear.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear
Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com


Friday, March 17, 2017

California Writing Retreat

A few weeks ago, I got to cross something off of my author bucket list.
I went on a writing retreat.
Now don't get me wrong, I've gone on those before but normally I was alone and it was only for a weekend.  This time I had the opportunity to go with five other amazing writers for an entire week! 

I flew from North Carolina to California and other than a three-hour delay at my layover in Chicago, that part of the trip was positively delightful.  When I landed in San Diego, three of the five girls were there and roaming the airport!  I met up with one of them (by accident) in the ladies room!  Lol!  We had a car pick us up and take us to Oceanside where we had three condos right on the beach.  The pier was literally right across the street and when you stood out on the balcony, it was all just right there.  I LOVE the sound of the ocean.  When I'm home, I have a sounds of the ocean CD that I listen to when I'm writing and need to block out the sounds of my family.  So to be able to open the door and just hear it AND see it?

I was so happy, I almost cried.

Until it rained.
And was cold.
And the freight train that goes by forty-flobbity-jillion times a day sucked my will to live.

BUT...I was with my girls and we were writing and brainstorming and lifting one another up and I felt energized and excited and ready to take on the world!  We each took turns talking about the things we were working on that we needed help with - we covered topics like covers or marketing or just going over the plot for an upcoming book!  I think the times where we did that were my favorite.  We did a Facebook live video of us playing Midnight Taboo (think of the game Taboo, but dirtier!).  It was hysterical and we posted it on our group page - Ever After Romance Authors - to share it with our readers.  It was a riot and from the response we got, we weren't the only ones to think that!

Then someone mentioned Disneyland.

Have I ever mentioned my love of all-things Disney?  Or that I've been to Disney World in Florida 18 times?  Disneyland was another bucket list item and we were only an hour away!  How was I supposed to concentrate on writing knowing that the ORIGINAL Disney theme park was so close??? So I did all of my editing that I needed to do, and all of my marketing questionnaires and brainstormed and plotted my next book all by Tuesday night.  After that, I felt like any work I did was just a bonus to get me ahead.  So...one of my girls took pity on me and took me there for a day!

If you heard a random YIPPEE on Thursday, March 2nd, that was me!

On Friday, we drove up to LA and did a bit of a driving tour through Hollywood and Beverly Hills and saw a lot of famous landmarks while on our way to do a signing at THE RIPPED BODICE!!  If you've never heard of that, it's the only all-romance bookstore in the U.S.!  Actually, it's located in Culver City and it's amazing.  If you have the chance to go, you totally should.  We arrived early - which was amazing considering we had been having such a great time sight-seeing - and after going and introducing ourselves to the sister-duo who own the store, we went and grabbed some dinner.  Then it was time to get pretty and prepare to meet some readers!  We did a panel discussion and signed books and on the two-hour drive back to Oceanside I even got to try In-N-Out Burger!  Suffice it to say that by this time, I felt like I had the total California experience!

On our last night we did a fancy dinner at this great restaurant on the beach and it was the perfect ending to an amazing week. We laughed and ate some amazing food (surf and turf for me!) and just really took the time to reflect on all that we gained by having the time together.  I think that what made this retreat so relaxing and doable - at least for me - was that we weren't all together all of the time.  Three condos meant that everyone had their own bedroom and their own bathroom and it was nice to have a place of your  own to retreat to at the end of the day.

Writing is kind of a lonely profession.  You write from home (normally) and you can spend days or weeks alone in the writing cave with nothing but emails and text messages to communicate with the outside world.  But to be able to sit and talk to people who do what you do and know exactly what you're feeling and can relate to your struggles with writer's block or how overwhelming marketing can be or the frustration that comes with cover designs?  It was priceless.