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. =)

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

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

new-dil-teaser

Mark Cuban’s Advice To Entrepreneurs – Risk, Energy, and Funding

According to online dictionaries, an entrepreneur is “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money” or “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”

Well, I get a check for both of those. My past venture into the fashion industry was fraught with risk and cost me plenty. Now, I have little to show for it, save for a closet full of the most amazing handbags EVER CREATED.

I’m normally a risk-averse person, but somehow, when I’m on a quest to find the formula for success in some endeavor, I throw tons at it – money, energy, time – hoping to find the magical components. The problem is, when you invest in something you really don’t understand, you come up empty more often than not. Knowledge is power, sometimes more so than money, and that’s what struck me with this video from Mark Cuban.

The big takeaways?

Seeking funding for a new business venture is failure. It’s an admission that you can’t hack it on your own, can’t find success with the resources you already have, and need to sell-out in order to plunge forth. The question is, how successful will you really be when you are on the hook for millions of dollars to others who believed enough in your idea that you probably could have rocketed on your own first, albeit a little slower??

I never thought of it that way…

My latest venture is challenging, to say the least. And while I’ve researched the concept itself, I’ve thought many times about how I’ll pitch the idea to investors, how I can get into an accelerator, how I can get the attention of venture capitalists…all so I can command funding and leverage expertise from those who have already found success.

But after watching this video, I realize my mindset needs some fine-tuning. Funding is not necessarily the answer. Preparation is the missing element in my formula. It’s where I fell short with my first business. Not taking enough time to learn about the industry before jumping in, spreading myself and my resources too thin to be even slightly effective, not doing enough research in the form of focus groups prior to designing my products. It was a totally ad hoc, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, throw-lots-of-crap-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks process, with no tried-and-tested repeatable elements. I had no blueprint, no measurable metrics, and no plans for future execution. So, what did I do? Hired a new, more expensive PR firm (which did squat, btw), designed even more products without customer input, spent more money than I could afford…only to land flat on my face with no answers and lots of anguish.

I never acquired the knowledge, though I did amass mountains (now they’re more like hills) of debt as a result. I could have mitigated the risk with a deep understanding of the business landscape, including potential pitfalls and competition elements. But not me! I’m an instant gratification whore, way too impulsive and impatient to waste time on LEARNING, of all things.

To my own peril. I’ve raised many a glass to that toast, regrettably…

So, Mark. Thanks for the advice. Knowledge is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. The more ammo you have, the more prepared you are for battle. And yes, it IS a battle. But winnable if your head is in the right place.

Romance Charity Anthology – One-Click For St. Jude’s!

*•♥ CHARITY ANTHOLOGY – ONE-CLICK FOR ST. JUDE’S! ♥•*
 
Please share to help us save innocent, young lives! 100% of the digital proceeds for Drunk In Love, a sweet and steamy wedding anthology featuring twenty trendsetting romance authors, will be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Preorder today for only $0.99 – this is one collection that will make you laugh, cry & swoon! Don’t miss out! #drunkinlove #march13 #allthingsbridal
 
Excerpt from Sex, Lies, and Wedding Bells by yours truly. =)
 
“Morning, beautiful.”
 
A low, gravelly voice approaching my ear sends chills shimmying down my spine. Even in my current state, I welcome the idea of having Jeff’s taut body sprawled on top of me again, feeling his magical fingers exploring every orifice, experiencing his hot, hungry tongue tasting me from head to toe—
 
“That alarm of yours has been going off for about ten minutes.”
 
I let out a groan and flip over. “I can’t move.”
 
“I think I can come up with a few ways to solve that problem.” He smooths back my hair.
 
A smile lifts my lips. His deep blue eyes twinkle, making me forget everything for a blissful, fleeting minute. And then it all comes rushing back, like an all-consuming wave, ready to pummel me into the shore. My throat tightens, and the nausea is back with a vengeance. “No time.”
 
“Yeah, you’re right.” The twinkle fades, the perfect white smile now forlorn.
 
“Your tux is in the closet.” I rise, clutching the sheet to my bare chest. “The shoes are in the bag by the door.”
 
“Ariana…”
 
“I have to get ready now. Hair and makeup are on the way. You know what’ll happen if I don’t get back to the suite.” Bile rises in my throat as I throw my legs over the side of the bed.
 
“Don’t go. This isn’t over, Ari.”
 
I slip into my tight, black cocktail dress from the night before and grab my Louboutins. “Yes, it is. See you at the altar.” My lips brush against his forehead for a brief second. I squeeze my eyes shut, but it doesn’t keep the tears from forming. I grab my clutch and bolt from the room without a backward glance. Because I know if I look back, I won’t be able to drag myself away. It’s what I need to do, what I did a very long time ago, and what I should have done last night. But fate…she’s a bitch with a sick sense of humor.
 
Buy Links
Amazon ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ B&N
 

Snail Slime Oozes Into Skin Care…And Onto My Face!

Snail slime. Blech. How can those two words possibly inspire thoughts of beauty?

Well, hop on the bandwagon because the gooey secretions that these mollusks leave in their wake is packed with nutrients like hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial peptides, and proteoglycans (fillers that plump) – ingredients your skin needs to look healthy, youthful, and rejuvenated.

The secretion is also billed as having positive effects on acne scarring, acne prevention, dryness and hyperpigmentation. Daily application of topical products containing snail secretion is also shown to significantly reduce fine lines and wrinkles, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology. – Courtesy of ABCnews.com

My hubby, who knows me and my tendency toward vanity all too well, gifted me with a box Skederm Snail Jelly Face Masks the other day, and I gave it a shot. For $16.99 on Amazon, you get a box of ten masks. You can use them 2-3 times a week to see continuous improvements in your skin’s appearance and overall health.

61vs1ioszzl-_sx522_

Check out my review on YouTube and see for yourself! Oy, the things I share publicly in the name of beauty…

And…I’m doing a giveaway! For a chance to win a box of these miracle masks, subscribe to my YouTube channel and comment on this Facebook post that you did!

#booksbeautyblogger

%d bloggers like this: