Thursday, March 23, 2017

Faith, Compassion, Forgiveness....#MFRWauthors #12

What's my greatest strength?

I'm about to break a sacred rule.

You see, I attend a Women's Conference at church every year, and we're not supposed to divulge secrets.  But since this one's about me, I'll share it anyway.

I was raised in a Christ-oriented family, and thanks to some childhood bullying and anxiety issues, I clung to my faith, since I'd been taught about a loving God.  I pictured Him with gray hair and wrinkles, and a very loving manner, much like my own grandpa.  I didn't feel accepted by kids at school, but I was close to several friends whom I only saw once or twice a week.  Plus, I had Father God whom I could talk to any time of day or night:)

So yes, I have a deep faith in a Higher Power.....which may seem strange to romance writers.  Stranger still, I have many friends who don't believe, or are of other faiths.

My childhood issues gave me a unique compassion for others, and I've also been told I'm way too forgiving at times.

But that's how I was raised....and since I was an 'ugly duckling' who has blossomed into some sort of swan, it allowed me to develop my imagination, since I was a voracious reader.

I am loyal to a fault; I can be your greatest fan if I love your books; I can champion the underdog.

Hope:  I've never given up hope that one day I'd be published.  This has allowed me to be flexible, since at 1st I wanted to be published by age 20 and be a guest on Love Boat, and have that shipboard romance with either Doc or Gopher, but alas, it went off the air when I was 13 or 14!  Nevertheless, when it didn't happen at 30, I was thrilled when it finally happened before I hit 40!  Even then, I struggled with marketing, but through trial and error I've attained some small successes:)  The worst thing anyone can say to me?

"Why don't you give up on that writing thing?  You're not making any money!  Go get a 'real job'."

Ummmm....Yeah, I don't make a huge sum of money, but I would much rather be doing something I love than spend a lot of time and energy doing something I despise.

If those aren't strengths, then apparently I've misunderstood the topic.

For more, or even better posts, go here.

Or here.   You might get all the links on this one; there was some confusion at the beginning of the week!

Friday, March 17, 2017

How My Brain Works....#MFRWauthors #11

Welcome back!  This week's topic is 'What is your writing process?'

Answer:  I really don't know.

I've written books in a month, involving several hours' worth of pounding the keyboard and snarling at any interruption.

I've written books which have taken years, yanking every word from my brain, much like a toddler in the throes of a colossal temper tantrum.

Then there was last Wednesday......

I was working on a new short story, and being under an intense deadline (long story short, I thought my original story was accepted, but discovered two weeks before publication, they were asking me to revise it!  Thankfully, publication has been delayed another week...okay, that wasn't so short,,,,are you getting ANY sense of my thought process yet?  LOL!), I was rather stressing out about the way the new story was going.  I sat down to watch Jeopardy, when one of the clues sparked an idea.  As soon as the commercial break began, I jumped up and went to the computer and wrote.....then back to watch more Jeopardy.

Then Survivor began.  I'm a die-hard lover of this show, so, you guessed it....every commercial break I was back at the computer, pounding out the words and relying on my mother to yell, "It's back on!"  This went on for the next two hours.

Let me stop a minute and mention the fact we'd ordered Chinese for dinner.  I had fully intended to get another plate of Mu-Shu Pork while watching the premier of this season's Survivor.  With the brainstorm, this didn't happen!

After Survivor, I went back to the computer and finally finished that damn story ninety minutes later.  Then returned to the kitchen to find my dear mother had carefully packed up my food and placed it into the refrigerator!  So at eleven-thirty at night, I finally finished my meal, and watched an old Perry Mason episode with my mommy.

Mom asked how the story was coming along, so I told her I'd finally finished it.  She smiled at me and said, "It's so amazing how your brain works!"

I'm interested in seeing if the other authors on this hop share this, or are there those who actually plot, outline, and write, as we were taught in school, or if we're all pantsers?  When I write longer books, I like to have a sense of where the story is taking me, but occasionally it's nice when the characters simply hijack your brain and all you can do is hang on for the ride!

Normally at this time, I'd provide a link to the others on this hop, but no such link appears to keep checking back HERE. 

EDITED:  There's a new post with links:  Go Here. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Inquiring MInds Want To Know.... #MFRWauthors #10

My top seven guilty pleasures?  *ahem*  In no particular order......

1)  Big Brother.  I've tried to stay away from this show, I really have.

2)  Pedicures and dying my hair blue:  I never thought I'd enjoy having red/green/purple/pink toenails, or even having streaks of blue in my hair!

3)  Binge-watching Classic TV on DVD:  I found Laverne and Shirley, What's Happening, Hill Street Blues, and Gilligan's Island.  I also own a few seasons of Mary Tyler Moore!

4)  Potato skins, bagal bites, and stuffed mushrooms.  'Nuff said.....or even playing Trivia at BW3....

5)  Binge-watching Law and Order.

6)  Going on vacation or even having a staycation, when the family leaves ME at home by myself:)

7)  Unleashing my inner rock star at karaoke:)  There's just something relaxing about getting up and belting out a Bon Jovi hit....or having other singers request that you sing with them:)

Bonus:  I also love to go out to eat.  I don't mind cooking, when I'm in the mood to do so, but it's so nice to only have lunch or breakfast dishes in the sink!

What's YOUR guilty pleasure?  Want more?  Go here. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Words I Detest #MFRWauthors

This may sound strange, coming from someone who writes erotic romance, but there are several words I don't like to use, and certainly would NOT have them come out of my mouth!

Words I've Written, But Sparingly:
-basically anything with a derogatory context for race, women, private parts, or people in general.  I have written a few, but only if I end up with a character who uses them.

I'm also not a fan of certain euphemisms; I once saw a post full of weird ones that I can't even recall them now, unless it is meant to be funny, as in the case of Spinal Tap:

"My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo; I'd like to sink her with my pink torpedo..."

"My love gun's loaded and she's in my sight; big game's waiting there inside her tights...."

"Sex farm woman don't you see my silo risin' high...high....high..."

Words I Hope To Only Use Once Per Book:
This is only because of a Certain Book Which Shall Not Be Named, because they are in nearly every damn paragraph on every damn page!

Word I've Said In Anger, But Not All The Time:
Unless I'm seeing red from anger, this word usually does not come out of my mouth, even when it's in a song.  When She Hates Me by Puddle of Mud came out several years back, I realized I was singing every word, and even inserting it when the radio didn't!  Plus, it was creeping into every day language more and more, so I decided to purge it from my vocabulary.

Until I started reading and writing erotic romance.

Yes, there are some of my books where it is prolificly used....but I will say 'freaking' or even 'frickin' instead.

Unless, of course, you have me so mad I slip up!

What words make YOU cringe?  To find out more, go here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

What's In A Title? #MFRWauthors

Speaking of catchy titles, let me get this out of the way first:

My 10th book (tenth!  Can you believe it?), Kira's Slice of Pizza, released yesterday:)  So far, only the Kindle version is available, but the print format should be ready to go live soon.  I'm waiting on a cover, ha ha!

Leaving TriJupe to escape scandal after the death of her Bond Mate, KiRah exiles herself on Earth and takes refuge in an abandoned house to paint and mourn her loss. But when a stranger brings upheaval to her new life, will KiRah discover it’s possible to love again?

Duffy Switzer never thought he'd be interested in an artist. Kira's quiet demeaner proves refreshing after a string of self-centered women, and having someone who makes no demands leads him to believe he's found the perfect woman. But as he's drawn deeper into Kira's life, he learns she is no ordinary human. When the truth is revealed, will he turn his back on her?

Get your copy here!  

Okay.  Now that's out of the way, you may be wondering, Kenzie, what the hell is up with that title?

Great question.  Let me explain:)

Sometimes a title will come to me before I begin writing (Teacher's Pet, Class Reunion, Off The Clock).  Others I don't have a clue what to call the little bundle of joy I've just written (All She Ever Wanted, Wild At Heart).  It may be a phrase, it may simply be an idea.  It may even be a collaborative event.

The Great Title Search of 2014:
Heart's Last Chance began it's working title form as Star Crossed Lovers.  The book was in final edits and I was even about to have a cover when I realized I hated that title.  Okay, in all fairness, I googled that title and was appalled at how many other books popped up! new sci-fi baby was about to get stuck in oblivion.

So I rallied my editor, publisher, and trusted friends, and we spent four days tossing new titles out before we settled on Heart's Last Chance:)

But we wanna hear about KIRA'S TITLE!!!
Okay, okay.  You know when you go to a gathering of old friends who know what you do for a living, and alcohol is involved?  I discovered my BFF from high school had not only READ Class Reunion, he'd told a few of his buddies,  Who then chose to take me to task about 'Brian Vellinger'.  Yes, I combined my BFF's 1st name and his male BFF's (whom I'd had a MAJOR crush on as a sophomore!) last name.

It was supposed to strictly be a placeholder name, to be changed when publication loomed.  But I forgot to change it.

So the following exchange took place June 20, 2014:
MS (words a little slurred):  What's with the Brian Vellinger character?  How come you didn't use me or Duffy?

KM:  It was supposed to have been changed, but I forgot to.

MS:  I insist you put a character named Duffy Switzer into your next book, and call it Slice of Pizza!

(Collective group laughs)

Kenzie thinks, Oh boy....what am I going to do with this?

I chewed on that character and title all weekend.  Heart's Last Chance had been submitted, and I was in the process of writing NiKoh's story.  Two months later, after HLC's aforementioned Great Title Search, little KiRah, the youngest member of my alien family, decided to shove her older brother out of my head and came up with the perfect way to tie that weird title into her story.  

"And Kenzie, use my name, in order to give a hint."

Brilliant, Kira.  I love it!

So nope, not going to tell you how it all ties together.  You'll just have to read the book and let me know if you think it's as clever as I do:)

How do others come up with witty titles?  Go here and find out! 

******Contest Closed*****   Congrats to Melissa Keir! Oh, and if you'd like to win a free copy of Kira's Slice of Pizza, or if you've never read any of my work and want to start with #1, Heart's Last Chance, leave me a comment with your contact info:)  I'll draw a winner next week.

Bonus Question:  Can you name any of KiRah's siblings?  I mentioned one in this long-winded post, ha ha!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Two Thousand Zero Zero Party Over-Oops, Out Of Time"....#MFRWauthors

I love music.  Always have, from the time I received my 1st record player at age 5, and 'bunny hopped' all over my room.  Carpenters, Sonny and Cher, Elton John, The Who, Tony DeFranco, Donny Osmond, Shaun Cassidy, Bay City Rollers, Bee Gees.....I've lost count of how many times my mom would tell me to 'shut off that music and do your homework.'

But I DID do my homework!  Just because I could belt out 'Stayin' Alive' and do my math homework at the same time.....or find and underline all verbs/adjectives/prepositional phrases......or even do my assigned reading didn't mean I wasn't studying!

When I first began writing (seriously), my kids were little.  I'd put them down for a nap, turn on Hooked On Classics (my hubby had an 8-track) or Enya's Oronico Flow tape and write for two solid hours until my son would come out and crawl into my lap.

Later, when the laundromat was my writing 'cave', I learned to write with whatever was on the juke box.  My favorites were AD/DC, Don Henley, Nirvana, and a few others.  I even plotted out an entire book once while in a bar, waiting for friends to show up!  (Hey, even this past Saturday, while waiting for my turn at karaoke, a fantastic idea popped into my head for #5 of The Chosen!  No, it has NOTHING to do with karaoke!)

I've written to Prince, Bon Jovi, and Back Street Boys.  One of my favorite stories to tell was the time I had an entire week to myself, and went through my (then) entire 8 CD library, and wasn't motivated.

Until I happened upon the Aqua CD I'd not yet unwrapped.  Remember 'Barbie Girl'?

I was on page 20 when I realized I'd forgotten to set my CD player to 'continuous play'.

Ever written a sex scene while hearing, "Bob the Builder, can we build it?  Bob the Builder, yes we can!" in the background?  Don't laugh....Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer also kept my little one happy during the first year I did NaNoWriMo!

What I'm trying to say is, I focus better with 'noise' in the room....unless I'm trying to have a conversation with someone.  If we're in the car, I'll probably shush you and turn up the radio!

Housework is even tolerable when Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' is playing.  Yes, I've even played air guitar with a broom....I admit it!

Who are some of your favorite bands/singers?

To see if other authors share my love of music, or have to write in absolute silence, click here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hobbies: When Do I Find Time? #MFRWauthors

"Congratulations....according to the IRS, you now have a very nice hobby."
  -H & R Block tax preparer 2013

Wait....what?  I just had my most profitable year as an author and you're telling me I can no longer file my Schedule C?  What the hell is wrong with you people?

My career has taken a few blows in the past two years, with one publisher folding in 2015 and the other following suit last year.  My year-long experiment to keep my numbers spiking on Amazon resulted in monthly checks, but only recouped 1/3 of the money I paid out in booth fees, and could not afford to put out another title under my name. But something good came of it.

While poking around in our basement, I came across a box of my grandmother's things from 2012, among them being a small needlepoint kit.  I decided to try it, and fell in love with the craft.  When I found out my my niece loves butterflies, I found another kit at Hobby Lobby and spent three months working on it.  A friend graciously turned it into a pillow, and since it's going to cost me $60 to ship it to her, it will have to wait until next summer when she arrives for a visit.

I've also found a leather journal and a bookmark that I'm going cross-stitch and to somehow incorporate into a giveaway this summer, to celebrate the release of my latest book (more on this later).

Binge-watching TV:
If you read my post a few weeks ago, or follow me on FB, then you're well acquainted with my TV habits and the fact I spent the past two months engrossed in Game of Thrones, and am now immersed in Downton Abbey. Since my spouse can't seem to get enough of Fox News, most of my shows on are on the DVR, and I watch them whenever I get a chance.

I've been a voracious reader since the beginning of time, though since becoming published, the only time I seem to actually read anymore is either in the car or right before bedtime.  My granddaughter has developed a nasty habit of leaving Kindles around the house and not telling people when they need charged, so I've hidden mine from her, and pull it out at bedtime to play my daily Solitaire challenge.  I think I've got five books yet to be read on it, as well as a stack of paperbacks on the night stand.

Last count of my book collection stood at maybe 1500; that does not count the books on my kindle or the ones I've downloaded to floppy disc or online storage.  I hope Total-E-Bound never goes out of business, since any books I've bought from them are on floppy discs and I no longer have that drive.  Some I downloaded and saved on my Dropbox....but I really love the 'library' aspect to TEB, which archives your purchases and allows you to download them again (admittedly, it's been several years since I've been to the site, so I hope this still applies!)

Six years ago this month, my BFF insisted I go out to karaoke with her.  It took me a while to work up the courage to sing a song on my own, and after I finished Invincible by Pat Benetar, the other six patrons politely clapped, then one of them came over and told me I had a good voice, and he was looking forward to more from me.  This boosted my confidence, and the next time she and I went, we decided to simply go through the song list, alphabetically, to find songs in our range, since she was tired of singing the same ones over and over, while I had no clue which ones were in my range.

I'm proud to say I've now reached the 'Love' titles and have a fairly solid list of songs on my 'good' list:)  Beloved songs from The Carpenters, however, are too low for me, and I've been able to bring out my inner rock star at times, wowing patrons with songs by Bon Jovi, Triumph, Journey, and even some Skid Row.

So What Does This Have To Do With Finding Time For Hobbies?
I'm so glad you asked:)  There are only 24 hours in a day, and at least 7 are spent sleeping.  2 hours in the morning for getting my youngest off to school, breakfast, and getting dressed.  Another hour for lunch, and generally 2 for dinner/clean up.

2-3 hours for binge-watching TV or DVDs.....twice a week I'm singing karaoke for 2-3 hours.  What am I down to?  6 hours....and I still have to run errands with the spouse, check social media, do housework, and did I mention we'd recently moved into a house?  So I'm also in the process of getting things arranged, though things have slowed down until the weather improves, and I can get into my storage unit.

Yeah....right now, I can spend at least an hour or two working, as Monday showed, since edits arrived.  So the hobbies have taken over, temporarily!

Here's the shiny new cover art!  I really hope that title makes readers go 'huh?' and to buy it out of curiosity:)  Intrigued?  Here's the blurb for #4 of The Chosen series:

Leaving TriJupe to escape scandal after the death of her Bond Mate, KiRah exiles herself on Earth and takes refuge in an abandoned house to paint and mourn her loss. But when a stranger brings upheaval to her new life, will KiRah discover it’s possible to love again?

Duffy Switzer never thought he'd be interested in an artist. Kira's quiet demeaner proves refreshing after a string of self-centered women, and having someone who makes no demands leads him to believe he's found the perfect woman. But as he's drawn deeper into Kira's life, he learns she is no ordinary human. When the truth is revealed, will he turn his back on her?

I'm hoping to release this book in time for my 1st signing, an author's fair in La Grange, KY, at the end of April.

Want to see what other hobbies authors enjoy?  Click here:)