Winners for How I Met Your Brother

If you posted a comment on the last blog, you won the audiobook. Easiest contest ever. I emailed you and asked you to email me in return so I know the email that wordpress gave me was legit. If you commented and didn’t get an email from me, email me so I knowl.

Happy reviewing!

How to get the How I Met Your Brother audiobook for free!

Audible just gave me some review codes and I’ll be giving away ten of them on my blog to people who 1) have an audible account and 2) want to leave a review. (Doesn’t have to be long or glowing, just any review.)

Leave a comment and if I have more than 10 people comment, I’ll let Random.org choose the winners. (Either leave me your email so I can contact you and tell you that you won, or check back on the blog a week from now when I announce winners.)

Don’t have an audible account? Then you can get the book for free when you sign up. (And you can quit anytime, although if you’re like me you’ll like audiobooks too much to quit.)

Just follow this link. It’s super easy! Click here to get How I Met Your Brother for free

The best day of his life, the worst day of hers.

Back in college, Marco Dawson never thought of Belle as anything more than a friend. If she had crossed his mind on his wedding day, it was probably only to wonder why she hadn’t shown up to be a bridesmaid. After all, his new wife was her old roommate. Seven years have passed since then, and Belle just found out that Marco is divorced and vacationing with his family in an elegant Cancun resort. She’s not about to let the right man get away twice. She heads to the resort where she plans to casually bump into Marco and ignite some romantic flames.

But Belle hadn’t planned on one thing: Flynn Dawson, Marco’s handsome, charming, and determined twin brother. He thinks Marco and his ex-wife can make amends and he’s not about to let Belle stand in the way.

Part Sabrina, part While You Were Sleeping, romantic comedy readers will eat this book up!

 

How I Met Your Brother is available on Audible

If you’re like me and don’t have time for all of the books you want to read, you’ll love Audible. You can listen to books while you eat, clean, put on makeup or drive.

Consider it time saved. Consider it your reward for doing housework.
And now How I Met Your Brother is available as an audiobook. I think the narrator did a great job. (But let me know what you think!)
If you don’t already have an Audible account, you can sign up and choose How I Met Your Brother as your free book. And then you can cancel your membership anytime.

The best day of his life, the worst day of hers.

Back in college, Marco Dawson never thought of Belle as anything more than a friend. If she had crossed his mind on his wedding day, it was probably only to wonder why she hadn’t shown up to be a bridesmaid. After all, his new wife was her old roommate. Seven years have passed since then, and Belle just found out that Marco is divorced and vacationing with his family in an elegant Cancun resort. She’s not about to let the right man get away twice. She heads to the resort where she plans to casually bump into Marco and ignite some romantic flames.

But Belle hadn’t planned on one thing: Flynn Dawson, Marco’s handsome, charming, and determined twin brother. He thinks Marco and his ex-wife can make amends, and he’s not about to let Belle stand in the way.

Part Sabrina, part While You Were Sleeping, all romantic comedy.

 

Technology strikes again (I didn’t mean to blow off your email)

Just wanted to let you know that if you emailed me at the end of January or beginning of February, I received your email, but couldn’t respond. Every time I tried, I got a Mailer Daemon. (My tech guy assures me the word isn’t supposed to be demon but I disagree.) For some weird reason, the computer thought everyone who emailed me had my email address. I’m pretty sure I’d notice you all if you were living in my house.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your email and the lovely things you say even when I can’t respond!

There are good people in the world

For the last three days, the world of kidlit has undergone scrutiny over sexual harassment allegations. It’s enough to make anyone despair about the state of humanity in general and the children’s publishing in specific. I feel for the victims and worry about the state of the souls of the perpetrators. Guilt does its own damage to a person, but that is a topic for another blog.

My agent (The awesome Tim Travaglini) called me this morning to see whether I was “on the ledge” because he knew one of my friends had been named in the allegations. I was touched that he was concerned enough to take time out of his day to talk with me.

Which made me realize, yet again, that I know so many wonderful, caring people in this business. I expected many things when I became a writer, but I never imagined that the greatest benefits of putting pen to paper (Or more accurately sitting alone in front of a computer) was the many friendships I would gain.

I know so many wonderful, kind, generous people–people who have helped me and others with no thought of benefitting themselves. So no matter what happens next, I just want to say that I am glad I know so many of you. The world is still a good place.

FAQ about Slayers: The Dragon Lords (Yes, there is a fifth book)

Will there be a fifth book?

I got an email last night from a lady telling me that the book didn’t seem to be complete. “So many issues were left unresolved,” she told me. “I thought you said this was the last book and you were going to write two different endings.”

Yeah. I did say that. And if you didn’t read the dedication (who reads those?) or you didn’t catch my posts on Facebook bemoaning the fact that the book was too long and I was having to split it once again, you might be very unsatisfied by the ending.

Yes, there is one last book in the series. It is mostly written. (I have a couple scenes left to write) And there will be a Team Jesse ending and a Team Dirk ending so you’ll have to choose which one you want to read.

Will the book be available in paperback?

Yes.

Before a physical cover can be designed, the book needs to be typeset, which is happening now. So it will still be a few weeks until it’s available. It would already be available if I didn’t have the habit of changing things right until the last moment. But no. I’m probably still going to make some small changes from the ebook to the physical book.

If you have any other questions, ask in the comment section and I’ll answer them.

Advice on Overcoming Writer’s Block/ Why Slayers series is taking so long

I didn’t always believe in writer’s block. Not really. Yes, there were bumpy patches in every book and at times I needed a break. But those were always temporary things.

I didn’t really discover what writer’s block was until I started Slayers 3 (Back then I thought it was going to be one book and that it would probably take me 6-9 months to write and about 6 months to edit. Ah, those naive, carefree days.)

I’m pretty sure the writer’s block happened when Feiwel told me they’d decided not to do the third book of the series. Basically, I felt like they were telling me that the series wasn’t good enough–that it hadn’t sold well enough–for them to put out any money into a third book.

I was sad but not devastated. I knew I could write the third book on my own and put it up as an indie book. That’s what I immediately planned to do. I was busy with some other book at the time. I’ve forgotten which. So I didn’t get to it immediately.

But when I did get to Slayers 3, the writing was hard. I wasn’t happy with the first chapter. It all seemed so much worse than the first two books, which I loved. I needed the third book to be just as good.

On a long drive home from a family reunion, I started writing another book that I’d been thinking about for a few years. (I have a large list of those). It was a book to write for fun, one that I didn’t have to concentrate on. (Because who can concentrate with a car full of children and a grandchild?) I loved that book from its first sentence: The demons came again in the night.

I decided to finish it and that manuscript became The Girl Who Heard Demons. I didn’t feel like I had writer’s block for Slayers 3, though. Sometimes one idea becomes irresistible and you have to write it.

With my demons out of the way, I went back to Slayers 3. I think I wrote on it for a week, and then I started writing another book I’d thought about for a while. One in which a German navigator is shot down over England during WWII and ends up hiding out, wounded, in the heroine’s barn. In just a few days, I had about fifty pages done on that book. That’s when I realized I had writer’s block. I wanted to write anything but Slayers.

Well, the way to get through writer’s block is to sit down and write. I told myself I could get back to English farm girls when I was done with Slayers.

It was so hard. And it continued to be hard for the two years I’ve worked on Slayers 3,4 and 5.

With that in mind, here are some things that help with writer’s block.

1. First, check to make sure the issue isn’t being caused by a plot problem in your story. Authors frequently get writers block when their story is going in the wrong direction. Usually the problem is a lack of conflict. The story doesn’t have enough tension and so everything stalls. Look at your previous scenes and ask yourself what the character’s problem and goal are. What is standing in their way? If your character doesn’t have a problem/goal/obstacle, that is usually what needs to be fixed. But if the writer’s block isn’t due to plot trouble, try the next methods.

2. Morning pages: These are three pages of longhand, stream of conscious writing that you do every day. (You can learn more about them from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.) You’re not allowed to edit or show these pages to anyone. They are written just for the sake of writing and they take away the fear of the blank page. They also give you time to take long looks at the issues you’re dealing with in your life. Good all around.

3. Do housework: No, really. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck on something and then while I’ve been mopping the floor the ideas I need come to me. Monotonous work will make the gears in your mind turn. It’s like your brain says, “Hey, I don’t want to clean the fridge. I’ll start spitting out ideas.”

4. Reading novels: Sometimes you just have to remember that you love stories and you want to tell them. Reading a book or two or five is a good way to remember that and rekindle your creative fires.

5. Professional help: In my case I talked with Forrest Wolverton (Dave Farland’s son) Dave mentioned in one of his posts that his son had taken psychology classes (and I’ve forgotten whether Forrest is a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or what have you) and how his son had helped him overcome writer’s block with one session. I was so mired in writer’s block–hating every day that I wrote–I figured it was worth a try to hire him.

I called him and we set up a time to talk. It was about an hour-ish session. I remember two things about our conversation. He asked me to visualize myself before I had the writer’s block, he asked me what I thought had caused the writer’s block, and then asked me what would I tell that first self.

I also remember that I cried during that phone conversation, which completely surprised me because I hadn’t thought this was a cry-worthy subject. Writer’s block was frustrating but it wasn’t like we were talking about personal things. Sometimes writer’s block becomes a personal thing, though.

6. Give yourself pep talks. I took a class at the Storymakers conference on overcoming writer’s block. (I did mention I had writers block for two years, didn’t I?) And the teacher there did a great job of having you identify a problem, (For example: I’m not a bestseller) then identify the conclusions you draw from the problem (I must not be a good writer) and then have you rethink your conclusions. (A lot of good authors aren’t bestsellers. A lot of bestselling authors didn’t start out that way. etc) You can reshape how you see things and that can make all of the difference.

7. Allow yourself to write the story badly. A main component of my problem has been that I’ve wanted so badly to write an amazing story. It’s a daunting task. I set the bar high for myself and don’t want to disappoint fans. Even though I know that first drafts are always bad, I still expected myself to come up with a perfect story. I finally had to just tell myself to write a bad story and trust in the process–trust that I could fix the manuscript in revisions.

One of my friends has writer’s block right now while she’s trying to write the last few scenes of her book. I told her to write them as dialog only. Most of us can commit to throwing some dialog on a page because we know that a bunch of dialog doesn’t have to be perfect. But once you have something down, you can start revising it. It’s always in the revisions that stories become what they were meant to be.

8. Pray. I know several authors who pray before they write. I’ve become one of them. If you’re not the praying sort, try a few moments of meditating before you write. Do what you need to in order to tap into the creativity inside of you.

With that said, I’m finally, finally doing revisions on Slayers: The Dragon Lords (which is now Slayers 4 and Slayers: Into the Firestorm will be Slayers 5) I’m shooting for a Dec/Jan release date.

Here is a rough idea of the cover. Every time I see the wording, I laugh.

Slayers: Into the Firestorm is 90% done. I need to write a few more scenes in each version. (Yes, I’ve written one ending for Team Jesse fans and one for Team Dirk fans) I don’t have a release date for it but I’m aiming for 3-5 months afterwards, depending on, you know, life.

A Perfect Fit is released!

For those of you who’re wondering why the fourth Slayers book isn’t out yet–writing this latest novella was partly to blame.
I know, you suddenly feel an intense hatred toward this poor novella, don’t you? But never fear, Slayers 4 (and probably 5… yeah, I think I need to break this book up again) is coming along and in the meantime, you have this 135-page romantic comedy to read. And I promise not to agree to be in any more romance anthologies until it comes out.
Here’s the back blurb: Do you remember your first love? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you had a second chance to follow your heart? In this collection of novellas written by award-winning and bestselling authors, come home to Echo Ridge as summer winds down and hearts once broken and lost are given one more chance, a second chance to love.
(Although if you read my novella My Fair Lacey–this is the story about Lacey’s roommate, Jojo.) You can order it here:

 

Slayers 4 (and other projects) update (sorry I’ve been AWOL)

I haven’t looked at my blog in weeks. This has mostly been because I was in England for 17 days, then had my three out-of-state kids and two grandkids visiting for 3 1/2 weeks, and all last week I had my downstairs floor torn up and tiled. (As I write this, my downstairs toilet and sink are sitting on my back patio, making me look like the white trash house in the neighborhood.) Also, I’ve been helping my sons with their books. Yes, both of my sons–neither of which liked to read growing up–have written books. My daughters who love to read and have actually considered writing books–they haven’t written anything for you.

James’s book already has a publisher, (They contacted him with the idea of writing a book–which never happens to authors.) and will be out in April 2018. It will probably sell more than all of my books combined, but whatever. No one is more proud of his success as a youtuber than I am.

Anyway, you’ll be glad to hear that throughout the renovations, I’ve been busy working on Slayers 4.

It’s now about 500 pages long and I still have a few scenes to add. Plus I haven’t decided whether to leave one of the characters dead or unkill him. I’ve written the ending two different ways–one for Team Jesse and one for Team Dirk. Yes, I am trying to make everyone happy… and I have to say, it’s sort of weird. Like, my brain doesn’t know which ending is the truth. This is probably why more authors don’t use this technique.

My romantic comedy novella A Perfect Fit is done–yay–and will be out in September.

I also am waiting from my Disney editor to get back to me on several projects, and hoping I can finish the Slayers series before putting anything else on my plate.

And I’m avoiding talking to my agent about that WWII romance that I’ve been researching for the last year. It doesn’t need to be written right now…

So that’s the update. Someone create more time and send me some!