It’s Good to Have a Group

Before I started seriously pursuing a writing career (translation: actively crafting specific stories with the aim of publication, instead of just puttering around on various projects), I was operating in something of a vacuum.

I was lucky to find an online community or two, and then sort of by chance I discovered that there was a local RWA chapter practically in my backyard. Honestly, if not for the support, guidance, and general cheerleading by the wonderful people who make up the Central New York Romance Writers, I may never have heard of Soul Mate Publishing, let alone mustered the guts to actually SUBMIT something.

After moving to North Carolina, I reentered the vacuum again, so to speak. My local chapter wasn’t local to me anymore, and I sharply felt the lack of community that comes from being part of a writer’s group. When we first moved, I was way too consumed with juggling life in a new place, stay at home mommyhood, then the rapid return to work and becoming a working mom, to manage much more than my own writing time.

I desperately missed being around other writers, talking about writerly things. Then finally, FINALLY, thing settled down, and I have once again found a community. This past weekend, I officially joined the Carolina Romance Writers, and I’m so thrilled to have a local chapter to call my own once more.

You see, writing, by nature, tends to be a solitary pursuit. Authors spend the majority of their free time having conversations with imaginary people, after all.

And sometimes it feels like you’re doing this thing, this great big thing that is so much of yourself, and you’re doing it all alone.

Except we’re not.

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No matter what you write, there are communities out there for you. Some are connected to national (or international organizations) like RWA. Some operate as critique groups. Others operate simply as meetups for local writers who want to get together and, well, be around other writers. Finding and joining these communities gives you a sense of belonging, that you aren’t just writing in a little bubble of your own.

There are others like you. And they’ll support you. You’ll support them.

The actual act of writing will never cease to be a solitary pursuit in some manner. But writer’s groups and communities give a definite sense of belonging.

Maybe it’s because we all are sitting there, having conversations with imaginary people.

Welcome to 2017

I hope everyone has had a fun and refreshing holiday season, whatever holiday(s) you may celebrate. My own holiday hiatus was insane, between work and writing and family. But now that the cookies are gone and the confetti has settled, it’s time to get back to business.

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And as usual, that means it’s time for the annual….

Goal Setting Post!

I took a quick peek back at my goal setting post for 2016 and found, well, I didn’t do so hot.

Resolutions and me tend not to get along well.

That said, let’s take a look at some goals for this year.

  1. Finish Sweet Somethings Book #4. It took me a while to really get into this last installment, despite the fact that it’s been plotted since, like, February (I went back and forth over whether Book 4 should have come before THE ONE I’M WITH, so I had both plotted way early on and sort of went “eeny, meeny, miney, mo” with them). I have a soft-ish deadline to get the draft to my editor by the beginning of February, so once again, this is a no brainer of a goal. It’s non-negotiable.
  2. Have at least one hour-long writing session a week. I’ve struggled to pin down writing sessions once September rolled around, when I started a new position at a new school. Much of my extra time has been spent building a kick-ass online course platform for my 7th graders. However, since I’ve streamlined a lot of how my in-school planning time is being spent, I’m doing less at home and more at work. So that’s helping.
  3. Peddle my post-Civil War historical romance. I did some serious editing over the summer, and still need to do some touch ups (plus write the damn synopsis and query letter). But once Sweet Somethings Book 4 is in the bag, I can devote some time to this project and start making the rounds with the manuscript.
  4. Return to the “Magnum Opus”. I actually spent a good chunk of time this summer looking at Volume 1 and marking some areas that still need a bit of spit and polish. And I spent a full day’s work just reading through the mess that is Volume 2 (OMG THE HEAD-HOPPING!!!!). So at least I’m up to speed on what I actually wrote…four years ago…
  5. Flesh out some short synopses for future project ideas. Several years back, I started compiling a list of novel ideas, but most have just the barest basics of a plotline. I’d like to sit down later this year and build on a few of the frameworks, in part to decide where to go next.
  6. Be better at promotional opportunities. This encompasses a lot of things. In addition to the standard stuff I do around a new release, I’m also going to start hitting up review bloggers, looking into getting print releases into local bookstores (and potentially setting up more signings), participating in local author events, and doing more online promotional events, like the Romance Writers Gone Wild Facebook event I did in November.

As far as writing goes, I think I’ll leave it at that. Yeah, a couple of those are repeats from last year, but I don’t think I’m being overly ambitious with this list.

2016 proved a very tumultuous year in Casa de Rowan, for a variety of reasons, but overall our year has us moving in a very positive direction as a family and professionally. I have high hopes for 2017 to continue in that same vein.

And just to get you all excited, Sweet Somethings Book 4, HE TAKES THE CAKE, is slated for a spring release. Lots more details to come, so make sure you keep an eye on my socials, the blog, and sign up for my email newsletter to stay in the loop!

Here’s a little taste to jump start your craving…

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Mmmm… Red Velvet…

 

Holiday Hiatus (sorta)

So this has been me lately:

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Which is why I haven’t posted anything in almost a month.

I wouldn’t say I’m approaching burnout levels, but given everything going on nationwide, statewide, city-wide, and just right here in my little sphere of existence… It’s time to take a little break and focus on my family.

You know, the things that mean most to me.

That said, I’ve decided the next month or so will be spent baking:

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Reading:

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Enjoying Christmas with my family:

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And, of course, writing Sweet Somethings Book 4:

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I’ll still be popping in on my social media accounts here and there, and of course, if you’re receiving my email newsletter, you’ll still get some updates about upcoming fun stuff and announcements in mid- to late December.

Everyone, please enjoy your holidays, whatever it is that you celebrate, and I’ll see you all in 2017!

Romance Writers Gone Wild

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be participating in Romance Writers Gone Wild, a week-long Facebook event that will spotlight 130+ romance authors in genres ranging from contemporary to historical to paranormal and suspense (and just about everything in between).

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The event runs November 14th-November 18th. In addition to finding some great new authors, readers have the chance to enter to win a slew of great prizes including:

  • Gift Cards to iTunes, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon
  • A variety of book related prizes given away by authors themselves (think ebooks and print books!)
  • And one grand prize winner will walk away with a Kindle Paperwhite (to read all those new ebooks on, of course)

The Facebook event page is open and anyone can join the party! The week before the event, authors will begin introducing themselves, so be sure to check everyone out.

THE ONE I’M WITH Release Day Giveaway – Winner Announced!

Thanks to everyone who’s checked out all the Release Day shenanigans for THE ONE I’M WITH, and entered the Rafflecopter Giveway.

Grand Prize Winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card is: GLEN HOUGHTALING

And the winners of a copy of THE ONE I’M WITH for Kindle are:

  • Brenda Houghtaling
  • Linda Moffitt
  • Dan Dykstra
  • Rachel Griesmer
  • Natasha Lamoreux

All winners have been notified. Thanks, everyone!

If you’ve read BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, WHEN IN ROME, and/or THE ONE I’M WITH, rememer to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and spread the word!

If you would like to stay in the know about future giveaways, releases, and other special things in the Awesomesauce category, remember to sign up for my email newsletter, and follow me on my socials, Goodreads, and my Amazon Author page!

THE ONE I’M WITH – Meet the Main Characters

It’s hard to believe that THE ONE I’M WITH is almost a week old already! I hope everyone who’s snagged a copy has enjoyed it (and of course is telling everyone you know about it).

If you haven’t entered my Release Day Giveaway, it’s not too late. The giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight, so make sure you hope over to the giveaway post for details and the link to Rafflecopter. You can win a $25 Amazon gift card OR a Kindle copy of THE ONE I’M WITH.

If you haven’t yet grabbed a copy (or if you have but just want another fun tidbit), perhaps a little meet-and-greet with the main characters will convince you to check out this sweet (but slightly spicy) romance.

Meet Marissa O’Brien

For the past three years, Marissa O’Brien has focused on renovating her Victorian-era farmhouse and building a solid, reputable, and highly sought-after interior design business in Asheville, North Carolina. She likes to have fun with her friends, and does date quite a bit. But never more than five dates (and really, a guy is lucky to make it that far). But her flirty, lighthearted personality hides the scars left by a devastating breakup that’s left her gun-shy when it comes to flowers-726532_1920love.

She has rules. Nothing more than a casual kiss until after three dates. No hooking up until after five. And no sleepovers. Ever.

So while her professional life has been a smashing success, Marissa’s personal life is a shell of what it could – and what she hoped it would – be. But all that seems destined to change when a chance meeting with Josh Mattingly on Girls’ Night Out has her wondering if it might be time to throw her rules out the window and take a risk…

Meet Josh Mattingly

Josh Mattingly has spent most of his adult life perfecting his image as a rich playboy. Being the second son of a prominent family with global corporate interests, his job has allowed him the luxury of having fun without responsibility. But one too many bad choices and a step too far have landed him in hot water. Desperate to avoid an ultimatum that will cut him out of his beloved nieces’ lives, Josh has sworn off romantic entanglements that could lead to bad press for his family and their business.

sparkling-wine-1030754_1920Determined to prove to his parents and brother that he can be serious about his life, Josh has come to Asheville to help save a dying company. If he can pull off this corporate merger, he might be able to convince his family to let him branch out on his own – and finally free himself from their expectations and control.

Romance is the last thing on Josh’s mind – until he meets Marissa. There’s something different about her, and the way she makes him feel.  Though he’s terrified a revelation of his past indiscretions could send her running for the Blue Ridge Mountains, Josh decides that taking a chance on Marissa could be the answer to everything.

If he can convince her to let him into her heart…

THe One I’m With Is now available for Kindle! Order today on Amazon!

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Ready for a Taste of the Newest Sweet Something?

THE ONE I’M WITH comes out this Wednesday, and I don’t know about all of you, but I’m excited. Remember that there’s a Rafflecopter Release Day Giveaway going on right now, and you can preorder your Kindle copy right this very second.

But you don’t have to wait until Wednesday to get a glimpse….

Chapter 1: Girls’ Night Out

Music blares from the Bluetooth speaker on my ddress-186249_1280resser, and I sing along at the top of my lungs as I buzz between my bedroom and the adjoining bathroom. Saturday’s long-standing girls’ night out tradition dates back to when my three best friends and I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, after our college graduation. This week’s get-together couldn’t come soon enough. Three spring redecorating jobs have kept me swamped for the past month and a half, and today I worked later than usual to wrap up a few odds and ends for my clients.

My gaze falls on the bedside clock. I slow my steps with a grimace. My ride should be here in ten minutes or so, and I still haven’t decided on shoes or jewelry to go along with the black burnout leggings and clingy thigh-length red tunic dress I’ve chosen for tonight. Normally I’d be waiting patiently on my front porch by now. But a last minute phone call right after dinner pushed the start of my night-out preparations back almost a half-hour.

Running my fingers lightly through my curly pixie cut, I duck into my closet and grab two pairs of shoes. I haven’t had a chance to wear the red heels yet, but the knee-high black riding boots would be a more sensible choice. Parking near Pack Square tends to be limited, especially on the weekend, and the boots will be more comfortable if we have to walk more than two blocks to the bar.

I put on one of each shoe and turn to the cheval mirror in the corner. Sexy sometimes trumps comfort, even if it means blisters the next morning. Hands on my hips, I lift my right foot up so I can only see the red shoe on my left. My eyes narrow, and then I switch feet. I alternate my view of the shoes a couple more times, no closer to a decision.

A phone call interrupts the music playing on my cell phone. I hobble over to my dresser and check the caller ID. My older sister, Beth.

Figures she’d call just as I’m about to head out the door.

My hand hovers over the phone. My sister calls me once or twice a month, sometimes more if I haven’t been diligent about keeping in touch. But tonight, given how crazy my week has been and how much I just want to relax with my friends and a cold beer, I don’t feel like talking to her. Pursing my lips, I press the button on the side of my phone and send Beth to voicemail. There will be time enough tomorrow to listen to her well-intentioned lecture on how it’s okay to stay home once in a while, that it’s time for me to focus as much on the direction of my personal life as I have my professional life.

Which is sister-speak for quit with the casual dating and commit to somebody already.

Easy for her to say. She married her college sweetheart, and two seconds after landing her dream job at a Manhattan talent agency, she popped out a kid who’s about as perfect as they come. Everyone expected me to follow suit.

Including myself.

But then life happened, and all my expectations evaporated.

Shaking my head, I banish those thoughts. Life is great. I like my life.

The doorbell rings, jolting me out of the morose track my mind almost took.

“Marissa!” a familiar voice shouts from my front hall.

To find out who’s at Marissa’s door, preview all of Chapter 1 here.