The Good Things That Have Come Out of July 2018

I’m going to flat out say it, and pardon my French. But overall, July 2018 has proven to suck ass.

In the hope of brightening my own spirits, I’ve decided to share the bits of good news that have surfaced this month.

Contests!

As you all already know, I was named a finalist in this year’s The Sheila Contest, run by the Valley Forge Romance Writers.

I placed 2nd in the Historical Romance category!

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Congratulations to all the finalists! I am honored and thrilled to be counted among you.

I also received word that I am a finalist in the TARA Contest‘s historical category as well, and am waiting with baited breath to get the final results of that, as well as a third contest I entered my post-Civil War historical into at the end of June.

A Signing!

Once again I’ll be participating in the Carolina Romance Writers’ Sip & Sign event, happening September 8th. Full information about the signing and event will be posted on the CRW website, but if you’re local to the greater Charlotte area, mark your calendar!

HE TAKES THE CAKE in Print at LAst!

It’s been a bit longer in the making than I’d expected, due to technical issues outside my or my publisher’s control. But at last, the print release of HE TAKES THE CAKE is available!

And please remember… If you’ve enjoyed an author’s work (and I’m speaking on behalf of all authors, not just myself), the two best ways to say “thank you” are to spread the word and leave a review on Amazon/B&N/Goodreads, etc.

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Summer Semi-Hiatus

In case you haven’t figured it out by the relative radio silence, I’m on something of a hiatus now that summer vacation has arrived.

I’m reveling in summer vacation. Three days into it, I’d completely lost track of what day of the week we were on, let alone the actual date. (But let’s be honest – most of the time I only know the date because I write it on the board every morning.)

Time to cook and bake? Yes, please. Hanging with Babycakes in SAHM mode? Check. Finally powering through a friend’s copy of Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager because I’ve lost track of how long ago I borrowed it? Working on that.

The need for the hiatus is work-related, though. I’ve joined a cohort of history-minded colleagues in a rewrite of our district’s secondary social studies curricula, whilst also planning to present with one of those colleagues at our August curriculum days. I’ve also picked up a couple freelance jobs, one of which is a pretty big project and will take up a big chunk of my writing time.

Travel to visit family is in there somewhere, as is working on, you know, my newest novel.

So if there’s a lot of radio silence from me over the next couple months, fear not. I’m just being productive.

Other Fun Information

No specific word yet on the print release of HE TAKES THE CAKE, but I do know it’s visible in the pipeline. Once I know, you’ll know, and there will be a chance at a BIG GIVEAWAY once everything is set in stone.

I’ve entered my post-Civil War historical romance in a handful of contests this spring, and have a couple others pegged for possible entry. This leads to the second coolest thing that’s ever happened to me, after landing my first book contract.

Final round results are supposed to be announced soon. This is a huge accolade, even if I don’t even make honorable mention. Good luck to all the other finalists in The Sheila!

Carolina Romance Writers Sip & Sign with Christie Craig

I have some exciting news about an exciting event (if you’re local or even semi-local to the greater Charlotte area).

Carolina Romance Writers Sip & Sign is a super fun book signing. Our mission is to bring romance authors and readers together for a couple of hours of fun over good food and fun beverages.

I’ll be at the Carolina Romance Writers Sip & Sign at Texas Land & Cattle, 7779 Lyles Lane, Concord, North Carolina on September 9, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:30. Christie Craig and several other romance authors will be joining me. If you love any genre of romance this is the place for you!

Come by, say hi, grab a drink, and a book or three.

And an awesomesauce bonus for Sweet Somethings fans – THE ONE I’M WITH will be out in print on October 12th, and is currently available for pre-order. But if you’d like to get your hands on a (signed) copy BEFORE October 12th, I will have some on hand at the September 9th Sip & Sign event!

So if you love romance, plan to join us on September 9th! Can’t wait to see you there!

Lessons from RWA’s National Conference

This past month has been a whirlwind of activity – professional development, a family wedding, Babycakes’s third birthday…

Oh yeah, and a trip to Disney World for RWA2017 (AKA National).

About five years ago, I informed my husband that I was going to the National Conference in 2017 – yes, because it was being held in Disney World. Plans to attend the 2014 conference in San Antonio were scuttled because I would be eminently due to give birth. NYC in 2015 didn’t happen because we’d just moved to Charlotte, and 2016 in San Diego wasn’t doable for a variety of reasons.

So not only was attending this year sort of a goal-met moment for me, it was being held in the Happiest Place on Earth and we could roll a fun family vacay into the whole deal.

I cannot express what it felt like to walk into the conference center. The energy was through the roof – inescapable when so many creative minds gather under that roof. Because of said family vacation (I mean, I didn’t want to miss ALL the magic of Babycakes experiencing Disney for the first time), I gave myself Thursday and Friday, the two “full” days of the conference. And I jammed them full.

Prior to leaving for Florida, I read the very wise advice of fellow Soul Mate author Rebecca Heflin, regarding the challenge introverts face at writers’ conferences. I can’t say I followed her advice well, but I definitely learned some lessons for myself – and maybe for others – that I can take to heart the next time I have the opportunity to attend RWA National.

  • Do not try to do everything. I planned to attend three sessions each day, plus the Golden Heart and Keynote Luncheons. By the end of the second day, my head was pounding. Not sure if it was from being inside all day or from the sheer amount of fantastic information I’d been digesting. But if I had to do it again, I’d pace myself better. Many of the handouts/resources are available at RWA.org, as are the recordings (for a price).
  • Stay hydrated. I brought a water bottle with me, knowing the importance of fluids during a marathon day. I consistently forgot to drink from it, and by the end of the day I was definitely feeling it.
  • Bring snacks. The luncheons were a fabulous way to meet other authors and editors, and snag a “free” meal (technically I paid for it with my registration). But I should have brought some things to munch between sessions.
  • Decide on one method to take notes, if any at all. I tend to be one of those note takers who can jot down a few key phrases and then just magically remember what the presenter said about those phrases. The first day I lugged around a spiral notebook, the second day I used a small pocket notebook, and all the while I thought about how much easier it would have been to just bring my Surface and type. I can’t read my chicken scratch anyway.
  • Get people’s names and contact info. I was fortunate enough to run into several colleagues and friends, but I also met some new people. At my first session, I sat beside a woman who also worked in education. I remember she lives in Houston, but that’s it. I wish I’d gotten her name, or at least given her my card. We could have connected on multiple levels.
  • Coordinate with people you know, so you aren’t alone (applies mostly to introverts). I am a painful introvert in new situations, especially when surrounded by a LOT of people. It was really hard for me to introduce myself, even if I got into small-talk convos. And after running into several colleagues from my local RWA chapters, I felt like an idiot for not coordinating better with them to meet up. I think when you’re with people you know, as an introvert, it’s less scary to be introduced to someone new.
  • Just make it be about the conference. While I wouldn’t give up Babycakes’ first trip to Disney for anything, it was hard not being immersed in the conference full time. I mean, there was a write-in! People were meeting up for dinner! I totally skipped the RITAs in favor of a little couple time with my Romantic Hero of a Husband out at the parks. I did tell the hubs that the next conference, I should really just go on my own and do the conference properly. Stay at the conference site, with other conference goers, and be immersed in the amazing experience that is RWA.

If you’re not an introvert like me, maybe these lessons don’t apply to you. We all have different professional needs, and finding your stride, figuring out what your conference mojo looks like, is valuable.

HE TAKES THE CAKE Cover Reveal and Release Date Announcement!

Hey all!

I know I’ve been really incommunicado the past couple months. It’s not on purpose, I promise. And I do have lots of things rattling around in my brain that I would like to talk about at some point in the near future.

BUT luckily for you, I do have something to share this evening,

Something . . . sweet.

It’s a COVER REVEAL for the final installment of the Sweet Somethings series, HE TAKES THE CAKE!!!!

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Coming June 21, 2017 from

Soul Mate Publishing

Cover Reveal – The One I’m With (Sweet Somethings Book 3)

Since I just sent some revisions back to my editor yesterday and the release date is somewhat set in stone, I thought it might be a good time to reveal the cover for Sweet Somethings Book 3!

Ready?

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In this installment, I’ll be taking readers a little closer to my new home turf, with a setting in beautiful Asheville, NC. And who will be our romantic couple this time around?

Remember Josh Mattingly, the womanizing best man who tried (and failed) to snag a one-night stand with Carmella in BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE? Well, he’s been trying to clean up his act, and that includes erasing his playboy reputation. But his real challenge will be proving to Sweet Somethings newcomer Marissa O’Brien that she can trust him with her heart.

The truth is, letting yourself fall in love means daring to risk heartbreak.

Stay tuned for more updates about THE ONE I’M WITH, including the official blurb and release date. As always, if you want to stay connected on announcements and upcoming releases, email newsletter and follow me on my socials (Facebook, TwitterGoogle+, Pinterest, and YouTube).

And if you’re new to the Sweet Somethings series, don’t forget that BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE and WHEN IN ROME are both available for Kindle (and can be read on any device that supports the free Kindle reading app), and BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is now available in print!

Love isn't always picture perfect...

Love isn’t always picture perfect…

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is Now in Print!

Being published for Kindle has been a pretty awesome experience. But still, I have always held onto that dream of seeing my work in actual physical print.

(I know technically an ebook is in print. But you know what I mean.)

Now that dream has come true!

BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is now available in print at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Three friends. A broken engagement. A surprise elopement. A big secret. A lot of chocolate.

*squeeeee*

This is like, the epitome of awesomesauce for me as an author.

And if you’re of the “I prefer Kindle/ebook” persuasion (because let’s face it, it’s easier to load up on books for a vacation when you don’t literally have to load up on books), and still haven’t snagged a copy of BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE yet, here’s another fun scoop of awesomesauce.

For one week, starting this Friday, May 13th, BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE will be available for $0.99 at Kindle Nation Daily and BookGorilla.

So really, there’s no good reason to NOT check it out. 🙂

On a somewhat related not and as a final announcement, thanks to everyone who entered my Rafflecopter giveaway for the May Fresh Fiction Box NOT to Miss. Congrats to Ryan Summers, the lucky winner of this great box of literary goodies.