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Haunted Hearts is a 2019 RITA® Finalist! #RITAGH

I got “the call” today.  Haunted Hearts is a RITA® Finalist in the Paranormal Romance category!  This is big – like huge – and it hasn’t sunk in yet.  The RITA’s are the biggest awards in romance writing, and Haunted Hearts made the cut.

This was the proverbial story that sat under my bed for the last decade.  Longer than that, actually.  My first draft dates back to 2001.  The story went through many incarnations, based on feedback from several editors, until it was a tangled mess.  I opened the file in 2018 to look at it again, and suddenly I could see the path to untangle everything.  I took my story back and self-published it.

And, today, it was nominated for the highest honor in my book’s genre.

Knowing Yourself

I’ve recently been working on updating my Courting Series. I’ve been changing everything back to “American” English from the “British” English in which the books were originally published, and something interesting has been happening. As I’m proofreading, I’ve been noticing sentences that don’t sound like me or even individual words I don’t like.  Nine times out of ten when I go back to my original manuscript, I’m finding that these are things that were changed in the editing process.  It’s gotten to the point where it’s freaky.  I’ll read a sentence and think “that doesn’t flow right” and boom.  It turns out that was a sentence that a line editor re-structured.  These aren’t grammatical or punctuation errors that were fixed.  I’ll stumble through some dialogue and think “something is missing,” and I’ll discover that a word was removed or changed… and not because it was a translation thing like “lift” versus “elevator.”

What’s even more interesting to me is that it’s been four years since I worked on the first book in the series.  Four years since I’ve even looked at the story itself.  The stories are fresh to me as if I was reading somebody else’s work, yet these blips stand out like sore thumbs.  At first I thought it was odd, but the more I considered it, the happier it made me.  I know myself.  I know how I would write something.  My style has matured to the point it’s indelibly “me.”  And guess what?

Everything is being changed back to the way I want it.

Updated Website!

One of the things I wanted to finish before the end of the year was an update to my website, and I did it!  (Barely)  Here it is.  I’ve cleaned up the navigation and changed the styling.  There are still some things I want to change, but I’ll do it incrementally.  So… What do you think?  Let me know if you have any problems or find any broken links.  So far, I’m pretty happy with it.  I’ve sharpened up my development skills and have learned a lot.  New year, new start, new website.  I’m off to a good start!

Cover Design is Hard

I had a very long day yesterday, sifting through stock photos.  I’m trying to come up with a concept for some covers I need to re-do.  You’d think this would be fun – and it is – for the first three hours or so.  Then it becomes unbearably frustrating.  There are millions of photographs and various images out there.  Many are fantastic and would serve perfectly fine as book covers.  So what was the problem?  Designers have to tag their images with keywords in order for me to find them, and the keywords they use don’t always match up with what I think their keywords should be.

Not all creativity is the same.  My creativity is rooted in words.  Designers think visually.  Often, it’s difficult for the two sides to communicate with each other.  Example?  I was looking for a “sophisticated couple” or a “classy couple.”  My results were disappointing.  It took me forever – and I mean hours – to figure out that what I was looking for was an “elegant couple.”  Aaaaggg.  Beyond that, even when I had the right search words, a lot of the pictures were labeled wrong.  So, so wrong.

It’s interesting how the brain works, isn’t it?  We often think that creative people and practical people have trouble communicating, but it can go deeper than that.  It can be difficult for writers and graphic artists to communicate, too, because our creative strengths are in different areas.

This process consumed my entire day.  It even affected my sleep.  I finally got up at three o’clock in the morning to write down a couple of new keywords and some different concepts to try.  I started searching again early this morning.  While none of them panned out, I stumbled across something I think will work.  Finally!  What a relief.  I’m ready to stop looking at pictures and go back to words.  It’s much easier on my brain.


Results of #NaNoWriMo

Well, I heard back on one of the proposals I submitted in November, and it’s a Go!  I will be writing for Radish, once I figure out how to actually do it.  🙂  I’m so excited to try a new form of storytelling.  If you’re not familiar with Radish, they focus on mobile publishing (reading by phone) and everything is in short episode format for quick, easy consumption.  I’ve got a good start on a new story, but need to get more episodes written.  Yay!  This is exciting.

Not Knowing I’m NaNoWriMo’ing

I’ve been busy this month, getting back into the writing groove.  I realize it’s November. The weather’s getting colder, and there are fewer outside distractions.  I’ve been able to concentrate on putting words on paper, but I’ve been utterly oblivious that I’m doing all this while NaNoWriMo is going on!

If I had realized it, I probably would have put too much pressure on myself.  As it is, I’ve had great results.  I haven’t been tracking the number of words I’ve produced, but I have submitted two proposals to publishers.  Count ’em, 2!  Whoopee!  I’ll have to stop now for Thanksgiving, but there’s one week left after that.  Wonder what I could do?

Any suggestions?

Dream Man on #sale #paranormalromance

Just in time for Halloween, Dream Man is on sale for only 99 cents.  Get your ebook copy now.  This sale will be gone by the end of the week.

Dream Man

Genre: Paranormal erotic romance
Dream Weavers, Book 1

What happens when your dream man is real?

Each night, Devon Bradshaw dreams of him – her fantasy lover. She can feel his heated gaze on her and hear his deep breaths, yet as consuming as their shared desire is, they can’t connect.

Until she performs a love spell.

Cael Oneiros is stunned when Devon appears on his cosmic plane. For months, he’s watched over her as her Dream Weaver. As a sleeper assigned to his care, his job has been to lead the beautiful redhead into REM sleep. Visiting her each night, though, has led to deeper feelings. He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with her, but he has.

Now every night Devon visits Cael, their connection grows – but even the most innocent of spells can have repercussions.

All around town, people are acting strangely. Tempers are short, and chaos is starting to reign. Nobody is dreaming. Nobody except Devon.

When her dream man shows up in flesh and blood, she has to decide if he’s really the man of her heart… or the demon of her dreams.

Dream Man excerpt

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