Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Day of Your Own

by Cheryl Brooks

I finally had a full day to write this week, and I was surprised at how many words I was able to add to my current WIP, although I shouldn't have been. There was a time when I was cranking out a 90K word book every four months, and that was while I was working full time. Granted, it nearly drove me insane, but I did it. Somehow.

After quitting the full time nursing gig in three years ago, you'd think I would have been putting out four books a year. But instead, I've been catching up on all the things I'd been neglecting for years, my family included. I've been home for holidays that I used to have to work, and I've been more active in my local RWA chapter. The only drawback is that saying no is a lot harder to do when you don't have work to use as an excuse.

As a result of that inability to say no, I haven't been home for more than a couple of weeks before packing my bags and heading somewhere else since April. Ordinarily, I enjoy traveling, but I'm not as young as I used to be, and what with all the preparations beforehand and the catching up afterward, I was, to put it bluntly, exhausted.

Then on Wednesday of this past week, for the first time in months, I had a day off. My husband and son were both at work. I had no appointments to go to, no shopping or cleaning to do, the yard was mowed, the bills were paid, and the vegetables were picked. I had to check my calendar twice before convincing myself that I wasn't forgetting some vitally important task. But there truly was nothing I needed to do. I had the entire day to myself.

So I wrote. Lots. And it felt good. I wasn't snatching a moment here or there to peck out a paragraph or two. I had time to think and feel and let the words flow. I plotted out the rest of my current WIP and most of the next. I fixed myself a nice lunch, and I even took a nap. I was busy again on Thursday and Friday, but I felt more in tune with myself and my surroundings, and I wasn't nearly as tired by the end of the day.

I guess where I'm going with this is to say that no matter how busy you are, don't forget to schedule a day with a big, fat ZERO on your calendar now and then. Consider it as important as any other task or appointment--fight for it if you must--because taking time for yourself matters just as much as the laundry or your kids' soccer games.

You need time to be you.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Farewell Summer


Summer is over in the Galen household. In your part of the world, you might be stretching the season to Labor Day, but we have gone back to school. My daughter began Kindergarten this year. She loves it, and I love it too. We can walk to school, she’s making new friends, and I have time to work.



I always like to go on a mother-daughter end of summer trip, and last week my princess and I were in San Antonio with a friend and her daughter. This little girl was beginning middle school. I asked how she felt, and she said, “Nervexcited.” That’s a great description of how I always felt before a new school year.

It’s how I feel before a book release! My big day is September 1. The Rogue You Know comes out, and I’m so nervexcited. I want everyone to love it and buy it and add it to their keeper shelves. My daughter’s biggest fear about Kindergarten was that she wouldn’t make any friends. An author’s biggest fear about a book release is that no one notices.


One thing I hope readers will notice is that right now the print edition of The Rogue You Know is less than $5. So if you pre-order it, you get a real deal. Oh, and you could win from me. I have a big giveaway going on right now, and I only need a few more pre-orders to give away my next prize. It’s a $50 gift card to Target or the bookstore of winner's choice. And maybe I'll get to my 3rd goal, which is  the randomly chosen winner receives $75 Visa gift card.

If you want to enter, you don’t have to do anything but click here http://bit.ly/1JIcAMy and enter your name and address.

Happy End of Summer!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fun New Adventure by Terri L. Austin



If you’ve met me for five minutes (or if you read my tweets) you’ll know I have a mad pash for reality TV. For years, my husband has chided me as I sit and faithfully live tweet Real Housewives and Southern Charm. I’d tweet more shows, but I usually record them and watch them as time permits.

Recently, I started contributing to All About The Tea, a reality website that shares recaps, scoops, and news about my favorite reality shows. So far, I’ve recapped Housewife blogs, which I LOVE because sometimes those ladies go wild as they try to explain away their behavior for the week.



I don’t know why I’m drawn to reality TV. I think in another life I would have been a cultural anthropologist. That’s sort of what this is like—watching rich, semi-famous women in their somewhat natural habitat. Now I know a lot of the storylines are there for our viewing pleasure, but often you get real moments. Poignant moments. You see the good and bad in everyone. And I don’t believe you can fake a personality for an entire season. To observe how people react in these (usually) forced groups is always fascinating for me.

When my son came home from school a few weeks ago, he dragged me into a new show. Ink Masters. I don’t have any tattoos. I’m far too squeamish to ever think about it, but after watching a few episodes I found myself casting a critical eye on contestants’ wobbly lines and dubious shading. Never mind the fact that I couldn’t draw a straight line to save my life. But that’s the fun thing about watching these shows—it turns everyone into an armchair authority.


So this is my life lately. During the day, I’m get to write fiction—I’m currently working on a romance series featuring Irish expats. Heaven! And in my spare time I get to write about reality TV. The cherry on my awesome sundae. I’m blessed, I tell you!



If you’re like me and you’ve never met a Housewife show you didn’t like, stop by and say hello. Or come join me for live tweeting. It's addictive!



 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Books getting us through difficult times and paying it forward

I recently had a book signing in Salem, MA. It went well even though my books were pricier trade paperbacks. They were about witches, so I was appealing to the right audience. Not all of the shoppers at Magika on Pickering Way were witches. Many were tourists, curious about all the hoopla that made Salem famous in the first place. Oddly enough, the women hanged as witches in the late 1600's weren't witches at all. They were victims of fear and mass hysteria. Today's witches are nothing to fear either. In fact, they're all about making the world a better place--as are the witches in my new novels.  

 
A craft is something creative. It’s also something that requires practice. Authors create and practice their craft each time they write a story—Wiccans may draw a magic circle and put an intention out to the universe as part of practicing their craft. The term 'witch' came from our pagan ancestors and means 'wise woman.' Their #1 rule is: Harm None.
Because I wish to be a wise-woman, I never told a certain ex-friend that I had studied the craft. She had a hair trigger temper and revenge was something she thought was good to get. Right after Hollywood released, “The Craft” she asked me if I knew where she could learn witchcraft. I told her she should probably realize that Hollywood wasn’t real. I went on to mention that Witches today were more like a bunch of earthy, peace-loving hippies. She quickly lost interest. 



In my Sourcebooks series Strange Neighbors, I have an array of paranormal characters who live in a haunted apartment building. Among them are shapeshifters of various types, a vampire, and two witches who are roommates. The elder is teaching her sometimes foolish younger cousin the craft with an emphasis on responsibility. I had great fun with these characters. So much fun in fact that although they show up in each book, the third and final book in the series features the witches prominently. But that’s not the end of this cast!
A spin-off series called Flirting with Fangs is now out and complete. Book 1 is Flirting Under a Full Moon, Book 2 is How to Date a Dragon and book 3 is Kissing with Fangs. The gang gets back together to defeat a foe which could expose and destroy them all. I received a wonderful fan letter recently. The woman said How to Date a Dragon got her through a difficult time in her life. That meant the world to me. I said the same thing to Diana Gabeldon about Outlander many years ago. I'm so happy to know I paid it forward.

And now…I’ve been contracted to write another spin off series called Boston Dragons! This one is based on a newly discovered enclave of dragons in Ireland. Book 1 is I Dream of Dragons where we meet the Arish siblings--displaced and on their way to Boston. That book is now finished (release date April 2016) and book 2 My Wild Irish Dragon is in my editor’s loving hands.

 
Thank you to my publisher Sourcebooks for believing in me. All the books in the Flirting with Fangs series are now available in audiobook format as well as mass market paperbacks and eformats. The new series (not even completed yet) has already been contracted for audiobooks! That's another 'pay it forward' for me. After spinal surgery I had to spend a month on my back, staring at the ceiling fan. I would have lost my mind if not for audiobooks!
How about you? Has a book ever gotten you through a tough time?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Winter Stories to Cool off this Texas Heat!

The cover for the new release coming Feb 2016!!! Love it!  It's also set in the winter like the next few stories.

SEAL Wolf in Too Deep
http://www.amazon.com/SEAL-Wolf-Too-Deep-Heart/dp/1492621838

Don’t you guys all wish you had those abs? And, ladies, don’t you also? If he was yours, I mean, of course. lol :)

My dad used to say, “Yeah, but when they get older, those muscles all turn to flab.”

I’m over halfway done on Covert Cougar Christmas! It's coming out with a megaton of paranormal authors. Excited! It's Alphas Unwrapped.

And my story in it:

Coming Dec 1!

But before that:

A Silver Wolf Christmas!

http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Wolf-Christmas-Heart/dp/1492609501

I'm so tired of the heat and so ready for the cool that these stories really appeal! 100's for the rest of the month and through September. :(  And NO rain!

Then I need to get cracking on the jaguar Christmas story!!


Peacock Bear in early morning light

New Peacock Bear

And New Blue and Purple Bubblegum Bear



Purple Bubblegum Bear
Purple Bubblegum Bear

Back to writing on Covert Cougar Christmas! Have a super day!!!

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

These Boots Were Made For Walking by Linda Broday

In historical westerns four things are always in every story – Hats (Stetsons usually,) Guns, Horses and Boots. Not necessarily in that order.

But who were the early bootmakers?

The first boots, and maybe the forerunner of the western boot, were reportedly worn by Genghis Kahn way back in the Mongol Empire. He wore a pair of red boots with wooden heels. But definitely the Wellington boots worn in 17th and 18th centuries of England were a precursor of the cowboy boots. They rode high on the leg, had a low heel and were made of the same four part construction as cowboy boots.  Soldiers in the Civil War preferred them and when they went home from the war, they took their boots with them.

NEW BOOTS
One on the earliest known bootmakers was Charles Hyer in Olathe, Kansas in 1872. He and his brother Edward founded the Hyer Brothers Boot Company and outfitted many a trail driver.

Down here in Texas as the cattle drives accelerated, bootmakers popped up in the towns along the trail.  The Justin Boot Company and the Nocona Boot Company in Texas are among two of the earliest makers of western footwear. I’m sure there were many others. Justin Boots is world famous. It was founded in 1879 and George Strait along with rodeo stars and thousands of others still wear them today.

MY WORN JUSTIN ROPERS
Nocona boots were long made by H. L. Justin before he ever formed the company. He was a maker of fine boots in Spanish Fort, Texas which sat smack on the Chisolm Trail. Cowboys would stop on their way north and let him measure their feet and pick up their boots on the way back.

MY RENO BOOTS
Boots are worn by rich man and poor, presidents, country singers and the cowboys of today who work the ranches, herding cows and riding the rangeland.

I have three pair of western boots-- an old pair of Justin ropers, a new pair I bought last month to wear to NYC to a writers’ conference and a pair I bought in Reno, Nevada at an RWA conference one year. My new pair is made by the Abilene Boot Company and they're as comfortable as my Justins. I've always had trouble finding shoes that don't hurt my feet. I never have to worry about my boots.


So what about you? Have you tried cowboy boots? Or boots of any kind?

You Can Contact Me:



Friday, August 21, 2015

Silliness is a Wonderful Thing.

Being silly is technically defined as: "a ludicrous folly” or sometimes just “stupidity.” Think of funny voices and slipping on a banana peel. Freud considered it part of our fun-loving id. One psychologist has recently suggested that it helps us deal with depression.

One of my favorite examples of a pure silly moment is the slapping fish dance.



There are advantages of silliness. For example, think of Patch Adams and the clowns that lift the spirits of sick people at local hospitals. Or the subway riders who mark a day to ride without their pants making a lot of people smile. What is wrong with a smile?

As someone who really enjoys comedic writing, my favorite 19th century authors include Jerome K. Jerome, and P.G. Wodehouse. Thanks to Three Men in a Boat, I cannot open a can of pineapples without dissolving into laughter.

My absolute favorite comedy piece is by Ian Frazer published in The New Yorker Magazine in 1990. It is the lawsuit brought by Wylie Coyote against the Acme corp and can be found here.


…the premature detonation of Defendant's product resulted in the following disfigurements to Mr. Coyote:
1. Severe singeing of the hair on the head, neck, and muzzle.
2. Sooty discoloration.
3. Fracture of the left ear at the stem, causing the ear to dangle in the aftershock with a creaking noise.
4. Full or partial combustion of whiskers, producing kinking, frazzling, and ashy disintegration.
5. Radical widening of the eyes, due to brow and lid charring.

As writers, comedy should be used carefully. Most readers like characters that can laugh at themselves, but there will always be people who consider silliness “childish.” Comedy also opens people up and removes tension. Therefore, consider the best place for this in your manuscript. Shakespeare teaches us that the best place is right before an emotional, dark moment. This makes the reader more vulnerable to the emotions about to come. Also if you include a laugh-out-loud moment in your manuscript, it’s advisable to follow it with a strong hook. 

Every day I write, a silly moment emerges—a trait likely from the Scottish side of my family (Roderick the Witty). I then edit 99 percent of these out in the first draft.

All of my books have a moment of silliness. Here is one in my first book, The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide, where five young sisters in a carriage discuss the hero’s (cough) backside.


Alice yanked up the window to stop the breeze from blowing the feather on her bonnet across her face. “That Mr. Thornbury is a little terse granted, but a very nice man. I wonder why the unknown lady wants to call off and does not wish to marry him? It must be his age. He is very old, perhaps thirty.”
“I am worried about you,” Elizabeth said pointedly. “I fear you need spectacles.” The artist of the family, no detail escaped her sharp eye.
Jane, the ginger-haired sister, nodded. “Oh, I agree completely.”
The two other young ladies murmured in general agreement.
“I mean it is not as if he was objectionable in any way.” Elizabeth pointed out. “In fact, he is painfully handsome. Just why does the lady wish to refuse him?”
“She is refusing him,” Jane said, “because like Alice here, she cannot see him. God’s carrots. Did you see the thighs on that man?”
Four pairs of eyes widened in identical astonishment.
Jane ignored them and continued. “I wish my beau’s thighs looked like that in pantaloons. They were so broad—”
“Thighs!” Elizabeth exclaimed, shaking her head. “You must be blind, too. No, it’s his buttocks.”
Collective gasps ricocheted throughout the carriage. Furtive glances were exchange from left to right, then right to left. Everyone started to giggle.
The sisters replied in turn. “Oh my word.”
“Don’t be vulgar.”
“I’m going to tell.”
“Did you see them?” Elizabeth asked. “How could you ignore those buttocks? I would love to have him sit for my next watercolor.”
Anne, the wisest sister said, “I never stood behind him.”
“I apologize for the vulgarity,” Elizabeth said, leaning forward into the center of the carriage. “But his buttocks were just like butter cakes or those London muffins Cook was trying to replicate. You know, Mogg’s muffins, nicely curved and—um—delicious to look at.”
The sisters gasped again before exploding into various types of giggles.
“Muffins?” Jane replied, taking her turn to lean forward. “No, those muffins are soft, and believe me there was nothing soft about those buttocks.”
The other sisters gasped.
Jane wagged her finger. “Those buttocks were perfectly round and firm. I’ll bet they are so hard, a shilling would bounce off them.”
“I agree with Jane,” Anne said stolidly. “His backside cannot be compared to cakes or muffins, it’s so-so troublesome. Besides, our cake rings are all fluted.”
Four young ladies burst into identical whoops of laughter.
“No,” Elizabeth joined in, “he has perfect buttocks.” Waving her hand, she sliced a curve through the air. “Prominent, and you know how each cheek can get that little hollow in the side when the gentlemen are particularly fit. Buttocks with a hollow like that might be called fluted.”
“Just like those naughty Greek statues in the British Museum,” Jane said.
… Jane held up a finger to her lips. “Shh, Mr. Thornbury’s coming. God’s carrots. If one day he becomes my brother-in-law, I will always think of him first as the muffin man.”



So let’s celebrate silliness and laughter. What makes you laugh every time you read it?