Failure As a Motivational Tool

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This week we’re talking about failing at the goals we’ve set for ourselves. It happens to everyone at least once in their writing career, moreso if you’re trying to balance family, a day job, and writing. It’s not the easiest thing to do – especially if you have young children who can’t entertain themselves – and at some point you find yourself with your head in your hands wondering how you managed to get there.

Setting goals for yourself is a great thing for those of us with super hectic schedules. I’ve heard many people say that it’s a good thing to schedule some time in your day to write and even read one person say you should commit to being creative during your scheduled time. The problem is, your brain doesn’t always cooperate.

You can’t schedule creativity. You can find time to write but if the creative juices aren’t flowing there’s a good chance you’re going to have to cut everything you just wrote when you edit it.

So what do you do when you fail at a goal you’ve set? I accept the fact that I didn’t get where I wanted or what I expected, then use it as a lesson. What worked? What didn’t? Was there a reason I didn’t make my goal, and if so can it be worked around next time? By asking myself these questions I not only learn a lot about my writing process, I also learn about myself and get that much closer to achieving my goal next time.

How do my fellow writers deal with failure? Check out their posts on the blog hop!
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.



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A Preview of Turn the Page

As promised, here’s a little bit from the contemporary I’ve been working on, Turn the Page. It’s very early in the process and I can’t guarantee it’ll even be in the finished book but I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

“Sorry I took so long to call you. I should have done it yesterday. I like hanging out with you,” Marc said. “Even if it’s squeezing in a snack on my way to a reading.” Then, before she could come up with something clever to say, he leaned down and gave her a quick kiss. Chelsea stopped in her tracks and he looked at her curiously. “Should I not have done that?”

“No,” she said quickly. “You definitely should have done that.”

“I’m glad.” He grinned at her. “Mind if I do it again?”

“You can do it all you want.” It didn’t seem possible but Marc’s grin got even wider and he put the hand not holding the last of his ice cream on her waist to draw her closer. The warmth of his body pulled her like a magnet and she resisted the urge to press every inch of herself against him. It had been a long time since she let anyone kiss her and she had missed it. His mouth that was still slightly cold from the ice cream warmed as his kiss became deeper and Chelsea’s lips parted to let his tongue brush past. She tasted blueberries as their breath mingled and her heart beat faster. When they parted, his face was completely serious for the first time since she’d watched Crosswind and she hoped she hadn’t done anything wrong.

“I hope you don’t think I’m bailing on you after that,” he said with another glance at his watch, “but I have to get going.”

“Sorry if I made you late,” Chelsea said, tugging at her shirt uncertainly. It was something else she hadn’t done in a long time and she willed herself to stop it. Marc smiled at her, this time more gently than he had before.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “It was worth it.” He brushed back the side of her hair. “Are you going to ask me out now?”

“You’ll have to wait and see,” Chelsea said with a smirk. “See you tomorrow.” She walked to the end of the block, then turned around to make sure he wasn’t following.

Book Review: Duma Key (Part One)

duma keySix months after a crane crushes his pickup truck and his body self-made millionaire Edgar Freemantle launches into a new life. . He leaves Minnesota for Duma Key, a stunningly beautiful, eerily remote stretch of the Florida coast where he has rented a house. All of the land on Duma Key, and the few houses, are owned by Elizabeth Eastlake, an octogenarian whose tragic and mysterious past unfolds perilously. When Edgar begins to paint, his formidable talent seems to come from someplace outside him, and the paintings, many of them, have a power that cannot be controlled.

Because I felt like reading something older, I picked Duma Key up again because it’s become one of my favorite Stephen King books. I first read it a few years back when illness kept me from working for a period, and I wanted another dose of the creepiness that entranced me the first time I read it.

I’ve been a fan of Stephen King since I was in middle school and sneaking around with The Dark Half and Misery, and I’ve been disappointed in some of his more recent work. An old friend recommended Duma Key to me and I loved it.

Like a lot of Stephen King books it takes a while to get to the good stuff. Most of the first part of the book is dedicated to Edgar Freemantle’s unfortunate construction site accident that takes his arm, his marriage, and a large chunk of his ability to remember words and phrases. He goes through rehab, moves out to their lake house, visits his daughters. Pretty mundane stuff, right up until his daughter comes to visit him on Duma Key.

The island itself is good and creepy right from the start. The shells under the house “talk” to Edgar and half of the island is covered in jungle-like flora that has no business being there. He meets Wireman and Elizabeth soon after, and slowly his paintings become more surreal and he feels them take on a life of their own.

I love Edgar’s progression from suicidal to comfortable to genius artist. I feel it’s very genuine, and when the old Stephen King supernatural element comes into play it happens gradually, ramping up until you’re on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next.

Personally, I consider the first half of the book to be up until Edgar’s art show. You suspect a bit of the supernatural presence that has been hinted at, but it’s not until the show that the cover is thrown back by a terrified Elizabeth. After that, things pretty much get full-blown frightening.

Next week: Part Two

Now For the REAL Fun!

CNW_Winner_1500-1Sunday night a wonderful thing happened. I finished the first draft of Turn the Page, the contemporary romance story that started out as a novella and turned into a full-length novel. If it hadn’t been for Camp NaNoWriMo I don’t think I could have gotten it done this quickly, and time was of the essence since I really need to be getting back to the pirate novella that was supposed to be finished by now.

The next step is to give it a quick once-over, attach a bunch of tape flags to the pages, and chase my husband around the house trying to get him to read it before sending it to beta readers, then off to my editor at Booktrope!

I’m really excited to get this next book out there, so hopefully it’ll be out later this year! I might have an excerpt for you on Friday if I can get my stuff in order before then. It’s the first contemporary I’ve written and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

Love’s Prelude Box Set

Today I’m excited to tell you about a new box set that’s just about to come out! It features some of my good friends and their fabulous historical romance stories – there’s something for everyone in it! Read on for more information…

Love’s Prelude: A multi-genre set of historical romances that begin a series.

First Slide

 

In this stunning set, an amazing cast of BESTSELLING and AWARD WINNING AUTHORS bring a prelude to an epic love story, the beginning of one of their series. These love stories begin on the Highlands, in Regency England, on the Great Plains of America, and beyond but each will start a love story that begs to be finished.

Buy Links

Amazon |B&N | Kobo

Seeds of Love by Tammy Andresen

Regina Lafayette had done as she was told her entire life. Does she dare to take a chance and find out if she can have more than she ever imagined?

A Flawed Jewel by Dawn Brower

Pieretta boards a ship, unaware that Thor is waiting to kidnap her for revenge against her grandfather. Will love intervene, altering both their courses?

Chef’s Mail Order Bride by Cindy Caldwell

Read the book that started it all, first in the Wild West Frontier Brides series set in Tombstone, Arizona in the 1880s.

Love’s Imposters: The Setup by Maggie Dallen

In the high stakes world of espionage, falling for one’s partner might just be the biggest danger of all in this fast-paced Regency romance.

Loving Lieutenant Douglas by Barbara Devlin

Take a trip back in time, to 1785, when Horatio Nelson was a new captain. It is the Age of Sail, England is on the brink of war with France, and Royal Navy First Lieutenant Mark Douglas is not looking for a wife.

Howard Haskell Takes a Bride by Merry Farmer

A historical western never before published

Gold Rush Brides by Cassie Hayes

The GOLD RUSH BRIDES is a series of stand-alone clean historical western romances that will warm your heart.

Little Red by Caroline Lee

She’s gone over the river and through the woods, but who will protect her from the Big Bad Wolf?

Scandalous Endeavors by Amanda Mariel

A determined heroine, a Scottish duke, and a scandal.

Lady Amelia’s willing to create a scandal to stay in her beloved England. A Scottish duke ignites her passion, but will she abandon her endeavor for love?

Beauty and the Highlander by Hildie McQueen

Discover this wonderful, compelling Scottish medieval romance that will transport you to the beautiful Highlands into a spellbinding page turning love story.

Emma, Mail-order Brides Club by Ashley Merrick

A Sweet and Clean Western Historical Romance about Mail-Order Brides set in Montana.

Conquered by Kirsten Osbourne

Christiana and her two sisters, women of power in medieval Europe, are left alone to defend their family’s home when Duke William of Normandy invades England in 1066.

The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation by Erica
Ridley

Enjoy the laugh-out-loud first book in USA Today bestselling author Erica Ridley’s new Dukes of War regency romance series!

Love’s Prisoner by Laura Stapleton

A never before published historical western.

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 Get your copy of Love’s Prelude today for just 99 cents!

Buy Links

Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Tape Flags and Highlighters

Open Book BH 3Today on the Blog Hop we are talking about our favorite office supplies!

I have to say, I absolutely LOVE office supplies. I have always loved roaming the aisles at Staples or Office Depot, checking out the latest pens (I prefer fine or extra-fine point), and buying way too many Post-It notes and highlighters, all of which I use when I’m doing my first round of edits.

My favorite office need by far, though, is the humble tape flag. I use them as a quick way to mark a page that needs a change, and I prefer the ones from Post-It because they’re like tiny horizontal Post-It notes and I can scribble a quick note on them if I need to. I can also put some on the top and some on the sides if I need to remind myself where I was at during the last editing session. They come in all sorts of colors (I prefer the neon-colored ones) and they’re surprisingly cheap.

Once I decided I was going to try and make my own tape flags out of Post-Its, but it ended badly and I ended up walking to the drugstore to buy some of the real deal instead. Ditto for the ones made like tape, which are hard to write on. I always come back to the Post-It ones and try to keep a pack of them handy whenever I have to do some editing.

Another thing I love are Sharpie highlighters. They’re liquid highlighters which seem to go on smoother and last longer than regular ones, and despite being liquid they don’t smear ink as badly. When I go through the manuscript for the first time I do it on a hard copy, so highlighting and tape flags are immensely important to me. This is a very timely post, as I will be starting edits tomorrow on Turn the Page and need to make sure I have all this stuff!

What are my fellow authors loving these days? Check out their posts on the Blog Hop and see!

 
Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Book Review: Run Away Charlotte

Run Away Charlotte

Trusting and depending on others has never suited nineteen-year-old Charlotte Cooper, who believes she’s unworthy of a happily ever after. She’s fiercely loyal to one – her BFF Joe. Afterall, Joe’s the only one who knows everything about Charlotte and he’s sworn to protect her heart, and her deep dark secrets.

Until Andrew Wagner walks into her life.

When it comes to matters of the heart and mind, which direction do you follow? Love or Logic?

Run Away Charlotte is the precursor to Ask Me Again, which I received from the author in exchange for a review, and I loved it so much that I bought this one.

It was interesting to see how Charlotte and Andrew came to meet and be together, and how much they meant to each other. You could definitely tell they were in love from the start in Ask Me Again but I got to see every little detail that was alluded to in it. Having read the previous book I couldn’t help shouting “No, no, stay away from Jack!” the first time they met.

While this book was really good, I feel like the author hit her stride with the second book. I could tell that she learned a lot more about pacing by that time, and there were parts in Run Away Charlotte where the pace lagged. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, just that I felt that Ask Me Again had worked out some of the kinks.

That being said, when there was excitement or something big happening to Charlotte (so much happened to poor Charlotte!), the pages seemed to turn themselves and I had a hard time putting it down.

I highly recommend both of H.M. Shander’s books. While you don’t have to have read this one to understand and follow the second, I do recommend you read them in order so you can fully appreciate Andrew and Charlotte’s love.