6 Years!!

I was looking through my Facebook page the other day and something hit me: I started that page and this blog back in March of 2011, six years ago!

It’s been a fun ride since then, and I’m so grateful not just that I get to be an author, but that I am living the life that I am. I’m a super creative person in several formats, and being self employed and working at home allows me to draw, paint, and explore other art forms. I like painting Oregon landscapes in acrylic and oil, drawing flowers for body art in temporary jagua ink, and I’m starting to explore things like wood burning and even tattooing fruit.

And of course I love to create new stories! It’s an amazing journey, and each novel is a process where I enjoy writing it, getting to know the characters and their arcs, and learning more about storytelling.

Seems like I should celebrate 6 years of blogging!

I posted an audiobook giveaway on my FB page, with 5 copies of Point Hope up for grabs.

And I have a bunch of my Kindle ebooks on a 99 cent special for a while, including Covetous if you haven’t read it yet!

I’ll come up with some fun things throughout the month of April too.

So my next novel…. a past/present time split story

I’ve been painting a lot so far this year, and I’ll share those below, but I wanted to tell you about the novel I’m writing. It’s about a woman in a dying marriage–Lily can grasp the issue but doesn’t know how to get around it. She desperately wants a baby and her husband Mic is dead set against it. She wishes for a different life and wakes up on the Oregon Trail with Mic and their children. That’s all I’m sharing for now! I’m 20,000 words into the book, and I’m not sure how long it’ll be. So more to come…!

Here’s a few of my paintings; I love painting Oregon forests and the beach. And the last pic is my newest tattoo–very Hawaiian themed this time!

 

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Covetous is out! And news on the sequel for All in my Head

So two things…

covetous-front-cover2Covetous, my new thriller release, is out on Kindle!  The preview isn’t live as of 2-11, but you can get the sample and read the first four chapters. I’ve posted the first two chapters here on my blog too. 

COVETOUS is a gritty, dark erotic thriller with a killer on the loose and suspects no one can trust.

I can’t wait to see what readers think of this one! I dipped into writing thrillers with Stranger in my Bed, and I went all out in this one.


And in other news:

I’ve released the second edition of In my Dreams, the sequel to All in my Head.  It’s not wildly different, but I added to the ending. If you have the book already, you can go to “Manage your Kindle and Content” (from the drop down on the Amazon bar at the top) and go the book, then click for the update. You can scroll to the last few chapters for the new material.

inmydreamsThey can finally be together…right?

Avery almost lost Marcus while he was in a coma. She couldn’t think past saving him. Now that he’s awake, she can finally see and touch him, but she can’t hear his thoughts or feel his emotions anymore. What if he doesn’t need her? Marcus wants her to go back to Ashland to catch up in college and fix things with her friends. She’s not ready to face that mess.

Marcus was a gold medalist in Sochi but now he’s stuck in physical therapy, dreaming of being with Avery and returning to his life. Is his snowboarding career over? Will he ever play his guitar or draw again? And can he let Avery be with someone who’s so damaged?

They’re together—but it’s not what they expected. Marcus has a long recovery ahead of him and Avery needs to put her life back together. Can they make it in the real world?

First Peek at Covetous

Covetous is a gritty, dark erotic thriller with a killer on the loose and suspects no one can trust. (Gone Girl meets Fifty Shades of Gray)

Covetous – now available on Amazon!

You can read the Amazon preview by clicking below.

Covetous – upcoming erotic thriller release!

 

A dark erotic thriller for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train

Releasing in February 2016 – This is my longest novel to date and my first thriller of this type! Scroll more.

Detective Allen Hounder desperately needs to uncover the connection between two sets of gruesome murders before more people die. He finds beautiful Lucy Marshall caught in the middle, and he struggles to stay objective while pulled into her charm. He follows the rabbit hole, discovering each suspect has secrets and hidden links to the others. They all have motive…

Lucy doesn’t know who she can turn to. If her boyfriend Luke knew the truth about her, he would have more motive than anyone, but does he know? Her two closest friends are involved—one is even hiding. Lucy wants to hold onto everyone but can’t control the web she’s weaved around herself. She can’t trust anyone anymore, not herself, and not the mysterious stranger leaving messages for her.

COVETOUS is a gritty, dark erotic thriller with a killer on the loose and suspects no one can trust.

Tiny Teaser: (I don’t want to give too much away!)

I just had to wait out their goodbye and try not to puke as they clung to each other. She fit oh so perfectly in his embrace, her smaller body pressed to his, her arms curved around to his back to press her face to his chest, and her knees just slightly bent to contour to his legs. It was a long and needy hug.

The man—Theo—was a little over a foot taller than her, with a long lean body, and skin the color of coffee beans. He could easily be called a beautiful man, the kind you see in Calvin Kline ads.

It was early morning now as they stood entwined on the front porch, hidden behind the thick rhododendron leaves blanketing the columns of the rounded portico. It was an expensive Colonial home; they thought they were refined but it looked flashy to me. Yellow light cast down over them like a harvest moon. It had started to get cold at night and their breath showed in quick little puffs.

Almost done… Nope. Jacqueline stepped outside. She was small and peach complexioned with silky honey colored hair, and she wore a red and flower silk robe—that was probably all she wore.

The first woman lifted her face to press a kiss into Theo’s neck before turning to hug Jacqueline, a tight hug like she didn’t want to leave. She finally did, but before she made it three steps, Theo teased, “Don’t forget me.”

Smile now. You won’t be later.

“I’ll do my best.” She tried not to smile back but the man’s slow curving of his lips was hard to resist. And she never did resist him. Stupid girl. What a mess she made.

She was at the stairs when she gave them one last look before leaving. Could she go any slower?

It was an hour later, just past three, when I slipped past the shrubs and columns and paused at the front door to insert the key. This was really it.

The fragrance of apple-flower potpourri wafted out the door as I opened it. I entered with a bundle under my arm and crept through the house, into the bedroom, rolling a thin tarp out across the bedroom in front of me before silently approaching the end of the bed. A nightlight lit their room, making it easy to creep in without bumping into anything.

They were sound asleep, and I watched his chest rise and fall. She didn’t even look like she was breathing, she was so deep asleep. Their faces were planes and shadows, not that their looks mattered. They didn’t really matter. They just had to be stopped from taking what didn’t belong to them.

NaNoWriMo – a novel in a month

National November Writing Month… I’ve wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo for several years now, but I’m usually in the middle of a writing project when it starts. If you write year round, it can be trickier to plan a novel and start it on November 1. This year, however, I got an idea on Oct 30, and decided to jump in.

I’m still amazed that I did, but I finished on November 28 with 50,000 words.

What was the biggest thing I learned? It takes passion and excitement about your story to write that much in that short of a time. Because I’m also a freelancer, I had other writing and editing projects too. So my actual word count was around 80,000 for the month.

The second lesson was to use my creative time–I often worked on my novel at nine at night, when I have a really creative hour or two.

As far as my novel writing method, I’m not sure I’d recommend it to other authors, and especially not newer authors. But here goes:

I get an idea out of the blue (which actually means different things in my life suddenly mixing together) and once I see the story line, I start writing. With this story, and some before it, I busted out 10,000 words in the first day in my giddiness over the idea.

So at that point, I usually pause and realize I need some structure. I start putting in headers before my scenes (marked with Header 2 in Word) and open the Navigation Map, which displays an outline to the left of the text. I’ll start jotting down scene ideas too, right in the manuscript, so I have something to jump into when I sit down to write. I like keeping it all together in one file.

I write in a mostly linear way, but if I don’t feel too motivated on a section, I’ll jump to a different part. Then later, when I feel more focused, I go back and figure out why I wasn’t excited about that problem scene–because when it’s working, I love to write.

I haven’t always used this fly-through-the-novel method. When I began writing in grade school, I would create an outline and type it up on my electric typewriter. Then I’d write chapter by chapter, and if I changed the story, I retyped the outline.

Later on, I went through a phase in my twenties where I’d plan my novel, write it, and then go through a long revising stage where I’d rearrange the story and add quite a bit. A few times I even changed entire novels from third to first person and then back to third.

I think it’s all that writing that got me to my present method. But even though I jump right into it, I do have the story and characters clearly in my head. I even start by writing the book blurb. And on that note, here’s the blurb for my NaNoWriMo novel, Covetous:

Two couples are found murdered in their beds. The only link comes from their phone records, leading Detective Hounder to Lucy Marshal.

Lucy and her live-in boyfriend might be next on the hit list. She doesn’t know who she can turn to. If Luke knew the truth about Lucy, he would have more motive than anyone, but does he know? Her best friend Emma is someone connected to this mess—and hiding now. Her other close friend James was still in love with one of the victims…and involved with Lucy without knowing her connection.

She wants to hold onto everyone but can’t control the web she’s weaved around herself. Lucy can’t trust anyone anymore, not herself, and not the stranger leaving messages for her.

You may have noticed… it’s not like my previous novels. This is more of domestic thriller. (Murder mystery psychological thriller–is that a genre?)  I’m currently polishing the story, and adding to it because 50k is a pretty short novel, and then I plan to submit to agents. 

Will I try to write another novel in a month? We’ll see; maybe if I get another awesome story idea… like the sequel for this one.  

10 Easy Steps to Write Your Novel

My newest writing guide is out! This project began when I tried writing a blog post about how to write a novel, but I quickly realized just how much I had to say on the topic. It turned into a 100 page guide on the entire process. Take a look at the table of contents below!

(More info on all my books for authors under Authorpreneur Press)

10 Easy Steps to Write Your Novel: The Quick Start Guide to Novel Writing.

Print for only 7.99

10 easy steps novel

The “Quick Start Guide” to outlining and writing your novel!

Helpful exercises with each step.

Tips for beginnings and more advanced writers.

Have you ever wondered how to write a novel? Have you started and got frustrated? Or have you written a few novels but still want to streamline your process and learn more about structure, plot, characters, setting, and putting it all together? Do you struggle with outlining? 10 Easy Steps to Write Your Novel covers developing ideas, conflict, characters, setting, big plot points, outlining, the writing process, writing scenes, and editing and revising.

Table of Contents:

  • Step 1: Develop your Idea
  • What about a title?
  • Developing “Sparks”
  • Questions to Consider
  • A Solid Foundation
  • Developing Your Idea Exercises
  • Step 2: Develop Your Conflict
  • Conflict Exercises
  • Step 3: Add Your Characters
  • Play Around with Character
  • Character Exercises
  • Define Your Characters
  • More Character Exercises
  • Step 4: Define Your Setting
  • Using Setting to Shape Story
  • Setting Exercises
  • Step 5: Outline your Big Plot Points
  • My Novel Structure
  • Expanding the 7 Plot Points
  • Step 6: Plan Act I to the Door of No Return
  • Outlining
  • What about Prologues?
  • That Opening Line
  • Beginnings
  • Genre Beginnings
  • “The Beginning” Exercises
  • Complications
  • The Door of No Return
  • Step 7: Plan Act II to the Midpoint
  • Act II Exercise
  • Low and High Points
  • Midpoint
  • Step 8: Act III: Plan the Middle to the End
  • Taking Action
  • Dark Moment
  • Climax
  • Resolution
  • Ending Exercises
  • The Last Line
  • Step 9: Writing
  • Writing Scenes
  • Should you write every day?
  • Should you set a daily word count goal?
  • Should you write in order?
  • Should you edit and revise during the first draft?
  • Staying in the flow
  • Keeping up your momentum
  • Celebrate your progress
  • Step 10: Re-writing & Editing
  • When should you share your work?
  • Critique Groups?
  • Start with the big issues
  • Checking Smaller Elements
  • Should you have a theme?
  • When is your novel finished?

Marcus and Avery on my mind

So whenever I’m working on a novel, the characters basically hang out in my head. I see them going about their day and think about how they think, talk, feel and dream. I’ll get scene ideas throughout the day or even think about how they’d react to what’s going on in my life. That has taken on a life of its own as I work on In My Dreams… I’m starting to feel like Avery in the first book! The reason is both Marcus and Avery feel so real to me. I can see the way Marcus’s eyes light up and how his face changes when he laughs good and hard, and I hear his comments. I’ll be picturing something for the story and hear him say, “That girly? Really? Dude, you’re turning me into a girl.” Or, “You think I’d hold back like that? When did my mouth get so PG?”

And I imagine Avery going through my crap with me – I’m pouring a lot of my emotions into her right now. My life took some crazy turns and I’m starting over in many ways, and she’s like a friend going through the same thing. When my emotions try to eat me alive, she’s there feeling it too. She’s gotta figure out who she is even while she cares about other people so much; it’s hard to see where the lines are. She’s surprised sometimes as she thinks, “Holy shit, I can do this.” But it’s still hard for her to own that.

So this is going to be one interesting sequel – I want it to be as raw and intense as the first one, or maybe even more so. There’s a crazy wild amount of possibilities too, now that Marcus is back in his body and they both have to figure out their relationship and their separate lives again. Of course they don’t want to be separate. Can you imagine having someone in your heart and mind 24-7 and then you can’t hear them anymore? It’s like falling off a cliff in the dark. That twirling free fall is a good metaphor for the emotions pouring out of them and into the story.

And this story isn’t about just them. We have all these other threads to pick up with Kristina, Kyle, Nash and Jazz. And some weird things happened when those guys started talking, and now some of them have their own chapters and are feeling certain things for each other… Yeah, a big hint there, but I don’t want to give away too much just yet!

First Tracks Series:    All in my Head     In My Dreams