Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Never put all of your eggs into one basket.

We’ve all heard this at least a million times, right? Diversify your interests. Always give yourself options. Variety is the spice of life.

My issue? Too many freaking baskets.

I always bite off more than I can chew – figuratively and literally, like the shrimp taco I had to stuff into my mouth last night before the fillings busted out and ruined my new shirt. I never want to miss an opportunity, so I sacrifice time spent on other endeavors. For example, I’d probably be able to finish a book much faster if I wasn’t writing three others at the same time.

In a nutshell? I lack focus, which in turn, gives me stress. And there is no shortage of stress in my life, so I decided it was time for me to calm the hell down. Easier said than done.

I tried meditation. I’d just heard on the radio how Hugh Jackman and his wife attributed their successful marriage to meditation, so I figured it was worth a try. Except I got too stressed out trying to block out all of my thoughts. I didn’t want to focus on my breathing. I had a book to finish, and a cover to design, and a website to design, and a blog post to write, and…well, you get the idea. No bueno.

Even my daily workouts were stressing me out. I don’t leave the house, everything gets done right here at home. But sometimes, it’s hard for me to close my laptop and start lifting, especially if I’m in the middle of a scene or designing a user interface for a new app. And that happens quite often. So much for the elusive endorphins.

Until a week ago, I thought I was doomed. But then I made a choice that has finally given me some peace. Kickboxing. I know, I know. How can beating the ever-living crap out of a heavy bag bring you peace? Simply because you are so spent at the end of an hour-long class, you can’t possibly have the energy to be stressed. You unleash everything on the bag – stress, angst, anger, frustration – you use it all against your inanimate opponent and once you are finished. you walk out of the building lighter, happier, looser and – wait for it – FOCUSED.

Healthy body, healthy and CLEAR mind.

Novel FINISHED. =)

Small Wins, Books, and Booze

Some days, it’s all about the small wins. By themselves, they don’t seem like much. But when you get a bunch of them done within the few hours you have allotted to work before the afternoon crazy train barrels through the house, you feel like you’ve reached the pinnacle of productivity.

I had that feeling today. It was good.

That’s why I’m drinking wine right now.

What did I do that was so worthy of midweek alcohol?

Well, first (literally, it happened at 6:15 AM), I finished another scene for a Hanukkah romance I’m writing for the holidays. It’s  a rom com, and I’m loving it so far! I also love that I’m over 2K words in, and it’s only June.

Then, I decided to finally try the new formatting software Terry bought me…four months ago. I have a book to format, so I figured now was as good a time as any to give it a shot. Of course, I needed to call on a friend to help me figure out a few things, but guess what? The book is FORMATTED and ready to publish!

Score!

I also figured out a pretty critical scene in the book I’m working on right now, a romantic suspense called Hard Time. SWOONY!!! Wait until you see the cover! I’m actually pretty anxious to see it myself, but I digress… This is the story of Jeff and Ariana, who first made a sweltering appearance in Drunk In Love, the St. Jude’s anthology that I coordinated with Jesey Newman of Schmexy Girl Book Blog. And their book is so fantastic. I know it’s probably bad form to admit that, but I don’t care. It rocks!

All in all? Today was success with a capital S. Laundry? Done! Housecleaning? Done! Researching Instagram analytics? Done!

Okay, time to get back to studying for finals, the other big reason for midweek wine. =)

Create A Natural & Gorgeous Face In Less Than 10 Minutes!

I love the natural look, especially when I’m already late for whatever appointment I’m running to (which happens ALL THE TIME) and don’t have time to apply a full face of makeup. Quick and flawless are my primary makeup goals during the week. So, I decided to do a video to show you exactly how to achieve that in less than ten minutes!

I did cheat a bit, so I could show you the finished product on half my face. =)

This is perfect for the summer, too, since nobody likes the feel of heavy make up clogging your pores in the hot and steamy weather.

Get this look and GET GORGEOUS!!!

it Cosmetics CC Cream in Medium

Smashbox Contour Palette

MAC Powder Blush in Mocha Matte

Tarte Lightning Palette in Skin Twinkle

Rimmel Lipliner in Cappuccino

MAC Lipstick in Angel

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eyecolor in Rosegold

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Mat Black 0L

 

I Had A Dream…

Last night, I had a dream about one of my characters, Paul Emerson. He was upset about something and wouldn’t tell me what it was. I can see the setting so clearly, which is odd because I never remember my dreams. I was in his house – the one I’d created for him – and he was being really standoffish. Kind of a jackass. He ended up leaving at one point and then returning with some other guy. It could have been his best friend, AJ Morgan, but I wasn’t paying very close attention. LOL.

When I woke up, I actually remembered the dream. And in my sleep-cluttered mind, I tried to figure out why he’d appeared in my dream. And then I remembered…

But first, let me tell you a bit about this man. He has a very specific role as an arrogant prick in the first book of my series, Unlikely Venture. However, he’d also thrown his Rolex in the ring for a shot to win over Jessica, our heroine. But I’ll let you find out the rest of the story on your own.

Here’s the thing about Paul. He was the very first character I’d ever “created.” When I was plotting Unlikely Venture, I was planning it around Paul. But I ultimately decided he needed something bigger, so he had only a small role in the first book. It was enough to turn most readers into haters, and that panicked the hell out of me because I knew this guy, knew why he was the way he was, and why they needed to give him another chance, why he so desperately deserved redemption.

He’s always been my favorite. Not by a little, either. He’s so alpha, brilliant, an entrepreneur (and you know I’m passionate about entrepreneurship!), and the arrogant prick thing is right on target. His book, Venture Forward, was the hardest one I’ve ever written because I knew I needed to bring him to his knees and kick him while he was down to make his transformation that much more impactful.

Now, that was the long-winded way of telling you about my epiphany – why he was so angry. Earlier that day, I’d confided to The Stiletto Click, my Facebook reader group, that Jeff Torres (current swoony alpha of Hard Time) was nearing that top spot.

Bottom line? I think this dream was a manifestation of guilt. LOL! These guys have some hold on me, huh?

Still Grumbling About The Season Finale of Billions

I suspected the season finale of Billions was going to piss me off, and in large part, it delivered. I hate seeing Axe beaten down, and he was, until the very end when he was staring at his house before walking inside to face his family. I hated that he lied to Lara about coming home before the Feds picked him up, I hated when she realized he’d lied…again, I hated that he didn’t say “I love you” to his kids, and I really hated that it was Wendy who got Lara’s goodbye hug.

I am an Axe supporter. Always have been. I tell my husband that Axe could pretty much slit someone’s throat on screen, and I’d still take his side because knowing Axe, there would be a legitimate reason for the slashing.

Sick? Maybe. But not as sick as the fact that Rhoades Sr. finally redeemed himself to me after showing Chuck the pictures of Wendy and that dude the morning after. Yeah, that part of the finale actually made me smile.

Now, if you know me, everything you’re read to this point makes sense because I am pretty much driven by emotion, not logic. And nothing I say above is any bit logical. Notice that I’m blatantly ignoring the fact that Axe committed a crime and that’s why he was arrested. LOL.

This episode had a lot of feels in my opinion, which is why I still feel gutted days later. Axe is a criminal. He knows it, everyone around him knows it. He doesn’t try to hide it, he just comes up with some damned creative ways to gloss over it. And most of the time, he succeeds. He marches to the beat of his own drummer, and it’s burned him a few times this season, especially with his wife. But he’s still human under the all the ego. Not perfect, but certainly not the villain.

But Chuck…there is nothing remotely redeemable about him, the US Attorney, driven by some pretty deep-rooted vengeance thinly masked by justice. What about Axe has Chuck’s tighty whiteys in such a bunch after all these years? Is it that he always gets what he wants, no matter what the cost? Is it that he has a blatant disrespect for the law? Or…is it as simple as Axe has risen to the top on his own merit and answers to no one because he has nothing to lose? Chuck always has to answer to someone, he always has Big Brother, or rather, Big Daddy, watching over his shoulder. He can’t ever act without consequence. Axe does because he can. His success is his own. He started with nothing and built an empire, whereas Chuck is always choking on the huge silver spoon shoved down his throat. He’s never had to create a life for himself – it was always ready and waiting.

Chuck wants to be Axe. Not in the literal sense, but in the sense that he wants to be able to spread his wings and leave his own legacy without being overshadowed by privilege. But when your life is not your own, it’s hard to escape the nest. Axe will always rise because it’s the only thing he knows how to do. Chuck will always be at risk to take a nosedive into the ground because he has to operate within the walls of structure. Axe’s fortress has no walls. It knows no bounds. It’s organized chaos.

Okay, I feel a little bit better now. Wow, this writing thing sure is therapeutic. =)

 

Productivity ROCKS!!!!!

So, what have I been up to lately???

LOTS!!! And I love it!!!

On the Homefront…

Today, I tackled one-half of a monster job – cleaning out our playroom closet. Trust me, it doesn’t even look that good right now, but it’s a 200% improvement from the way it looked this morning. I only had enough time to get one side done, so guess what my job is tomorrow???

 

 

 

The pic on the left is how it looked before I gave up for the day…the one on the right just shows you that we can probably clean all the toilets on the East Coast with the supplies we have on the bottom shelf. =)

 

 

On the Writing Front…

For the past month and a half, I’ve done 30 minute writing sprints every day. Chris Fox says, in his book 5,000 Words Per Hour, my word count per minute will continue to improve as I practice, and he was RIGHT!!! I get up early, eat that frog, and do my first sprint. It’s usually 500-600 words for the first one, but at 6AM and barely any caffeine in me, it’s the best I can do. My word count increases with each additional sprint. You know, as my brain wakes up. LOL.

But today, I did 3 30-minute sprints and got 2,000 words out! Now, since I’m not super prolific, I consider this to be a major accomplishment. So, YAY!!!

I also have a bunch of projects in progress. I finished my first real hard-core romantic suspense, called Fatal Lies, recently, which will release in the fall. And, for those of you who read about Jeff and Ariana in my short story Sex, Lies, and Wedding Bells (as seen in the Drunk In Love anthology for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital), get ready for Hard Time, coming in August!

Click on the title links above if you want to add them to your TBR on Goodreads!!!

And that’s not all…

I’m also working on another romantic suspense called Screwed By The Mob that’s due out this July, a Kindle Worlds novella scheduled for release in October, and I’ve plotted a holiday romance as well!

My dance card is officially FULL for 2017, but I am loving every sweet, sexy, and suspenseful minute! ❤

 

Juicy Scenes That Don’t Make The Cut

Sometimes when I write, the characters speak to me and the story unfolds exactly as planned. But other times, I’ll readily admit I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, and the story goes in a million different directions before I finally reel it back in.

Case in point…Joint Venture.

Did I finally pull it together? YES! And it turned out to be an Amazon bestseller, so YAY! But it was rough going. Here’s only ONE of the deleted scenes from that story. I have another thirty or so pages sitting in a folder…LOL!

“I heard you did real well today in that meeting.” Danny sauntered into Lisa’s office later that night and shut the door. “Your boss was really impressed.”

Her back stiffened. “How was your trip?”

“It would have been better if you were there with me, baby.” With an appraising leer, he inched closer, his hands stroking her bare shoulders. “I’ve missed you. Come back to my place tonight and let me show you how much.”

Shrugging out of his grip, she stood, arms folded. Her voice dripped with disdain. “Now Danny, how would Kendra feel about you taking me home tonight, especially after your romantic anniversary weekend in New York?” Color drained from his face, and she allowed herself a small smile at the shocked expression. “Yeah. I know all about it. You’re a fucking lying bastard. I wouldn’t go to the end of the street with you.”

“You don’t understand…we, um, I told you….it was just to appease her…”

“Sure it was. And I’ll bet you didn’t have sex with her, either. Come to think of it, she probably didn’t even want the diamond bracelet you bought her.” She shook her head. “You actually got me, Danny. I swallowed all of the bullshit you fed.”

“But it’s not…I mean, I told you things aren’t good, and…the only reason we went to New York was to…to…see my lawyer,” he sputtered. “So you and I can be together.”

Slamming her pen on the desk, she jumped out of the chair. “You told me you were divorced! I never would have touched you with a ten-foot pole if I’d known the truth. You turned me into a home wrecker. Do you have any idea how disgusting I feel? That I allowed myself to play a part in breaking up a family? Because I was too naïve and stupid to see the writing on the wall?”

“Lisa, Kendra and I are through. She booked the trip to try and change my mind, but I don’t want her. I want you.”

 “And what about the kids? Do you give a shit about them? Do you even care that this will destroy them? For the rest of their lives, they’ll carry the knowledge with them that their father abandoned his family for another woman. They will never get over that! I will never get over that!”

“Don’t do this, baby. I love you. I need you.”

“You don’t love me. You love you. Now get the fuck out of here and leave me alone.” Rage bubbled in her veins, her fingernails digging deeply into her palms. How could she have been so careless as to get involved without anything more than blind trust guiding her decision? It was so unlike her. And because of that huge oversight, lives would be ruined at her hand.  

“Lisa, I—“

Her heart thudded against her ribcage. Stupid, stupid, stupid! She’d made plenty of mistakes in the romance department, but Danny was her worst one. “Leave. Now.”

A dark expression shadowed Danny’s face as he backed away from the desk. His head dropped as he slinked out of the office.

She collapsed into her chair. Her head throbbed as she recalled the exchange with his secretary. Weekend in New York. Anniversary. Romance. Flowers. Champagne. The divorce was a total fabrication. Not that she had any serious intentions with him; their affair was strictly physical, at least for her. But the thought of breaking up a family made bile rise in her throat. All those years of struggling to make ends meet, watching her mom pick up the pieces after her dad walked out, hearing her mother cry herself to sleep because there wasn’t enough money to pay the rent…he was a callous, self-centered bastard who only thought about himself, and Danny was no different.

Epic Book Release Benefitting St. Jude’s & A Giveaway!!!!!

drunklove_ebook_hires

Cover Design: Jena Brignola
Release Date: March 13th

Synopsis

A glittering diamond, the promise of forever, and the hope that your future in-laws will move to a galaxy far, far away…sounds like a decadent recipe for eternal happiness, doesn’t it? All girls dream about their wedding day, fantasize about each and every gooey-delicious detail. It’s so easy to get scooped by the champagne bubbles and swallowed by our dreams.

But we all know the magical path toward happily ever after is not always sprinkled with pixie dust. Sometimes, we stumble over our plans for a perfect future and choke on the words promising forever. We watch the path take a defiant turn away from our blissful paradise because everybody has secrets, and skeletons, and fears.

And sometimes, being drunk in love isn’t always enough.

This is a collection of twenty romantic short stories that will make you laugh, cry & swoon featuring twenty trendsetting romance authors with 100% of all digital proceeds being donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Authors participating in this worthwhile effort: Amy Daws, AM Johnson, Melissa Collins, Carey Heywood, Elle Brooks, Isabelle Richards, Jeannine Colette, JD Hollyfield, Liv Morris, Meghan Quinn, Kandi Steiner, Mariah Dietz, Tori Madison, AD Justice, Kristen Luciani, MD Saperstein, Ryan Ringbloom, MJ Fields, Kathryn Andrews & Katy Regnery

Goodreads

Purchase Links

Giveaway

GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY – One winner takes all! Prizes include ebooks, paperbacks and a $50 Amazon Gift Card

Enter here: http://bit.ly/2mIP24Q

 

 

Connect with the Authors

Melissa Collins: Melissacollinsauthor.com
Carey Heywood: www.careyheywood.com
Isabelle Richards: www.isabellerichards.net
Jeannine Collette: www.jeanninecolette.com
JD Hollyfield: authorjdhollyfield.com
Liv Morris: www.livmorris.com
Meghan Quinn: authormeghanquinn.com
Kandi Steiner: www.kandisteiner.com
Mariah Dietz: www.mariahdietz.com
Kristen Luciani: kristenluciani.com
MD Saperstein: www.AuthorMDS.com
Kathryn Andrews: www.kandrewsauthor.com
Katy Regnery: www.katyregnery.com

 

cropped-SSFprLogo3.png

*•♥ BE A WARRIOR FOR A GREAT CAUSE! ♥•*

Help the fight to kick childhood cancer in the butt! #1-click to preorder your copy of Drunk In Love featuring twenty trendsetting romance authors releasing March 13th and only .99 pennies! A collection of twenty romantic short stories for charity with 100% digital proceeds being donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Be a #lovewarrior and grab your copy today!

Amazon ~ http://amzn.to/2mTBYHt
Barnes & Noble ~ http://bit.ly/2jqMRyn
iBooks ~ http://apple.co/2klLkKc
Kobo ~ http://bit.ly/2jjVHAq

GIVEAWAY!!!

Would you like to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card? Enter this special rafflecopter now and show your support! http://bit.ly/2ltmYTL

It’s Cover Reveal Day…Giveaway Time!!!

drunklove_ebook_lowres

Cover Design: Jena Brignola
Release Date: March 13th

Synopsis

A glittering diamond, the promise of forever, and the hope that your future in-laws will move to a galaxy far, far away…sounds like a decadent recipe for eternal happiness, doesn’t it? All girls dream about their wedding day, fantasize about each and every gooey-delicious detail. It’s so easy to get scooped by the champagne bubbles and swallowed by our dreams.

But we all know the magical path toward happily ever after is not always sprinkled with pixie dust. Sometimes, we stumble over our plans for a perfect future and choke on the words promising forever. We watch the path take a defiant turn away from our blissful paradise because everybody has secrets, and skeletons, and fears.

And sometimes, being drunk in love isn’t always enough.

 

This is a collection of twenty romantic short stories that will make you laugh, cry & swoon featuring twenty trendsetting romance authors with 100% of all digital proceeds being donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Authors participating in this worthwhile effort: Amy Daws, AM Johnson, Melissa Collins, Carey Heywood, Elle Brooks, Isabelle Richards, Jeannine Colette, JD Hollyfield, Liv Morris, Meghan Quinn, Kandi Steiner, Mariah Dietz, Tori Madison, AD Justice, Kristen Luciani, MD Saperstein, Ryan Ringbloom, MJ Fields, Kathryn Andrews & Katy Regnery

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33799670-drunk-in-love

Pre-Order Links

Amazon ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ B&N

Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5c281a3d41/ 

Connect with the Authors

Amy Daws: http://www.amydawsauthor.com

AM Johnson: http://amjohnsonauthor.com

Melissa Collins: Melissacollinsauthor.com

Carey Heywood: http://www.careyheywood.com

Elle Brooks: http://www.ellebrooksauthor.com

Isabelle Richards: http://www.isabellerichards.net

Jeannine Colette: http://www.jeanninecolette.com

JD Hollyfield: authorjdhollyfield.com

Liv Morris: http://www.livmorris.com

Meghan Quinn: authormeghanquinn.com

Kandi Steiner: http://www.kandisteiner.com

Mariah Dietz: http://www.mariahdietz.com

Tori Madison: https://www.facebook.com/ToriMadisonAuthor

AD Justice: http://www.authoradjustice.com

Kristen Luciani: kristenluciani.com

MD Saperstein: http://www.AuthorMDS.com

Ryan Ringbloom: http://www.ryanringbloom.com

MJ Fields: http://www.mjfieldsbooks.com

Kathryn Andrews: http://www.kandrewsauthor.com

Katy Regnery: http://www.katyregnery.com

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