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:) 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

"I Can Only Pick One? No!!!" #MFRWauthors

It may seem hard to imagine, but I'm really a shy person who selects her friends carefully.  Having been traumatized at a young age for being the tall, gawky kid with glasses and being at the bottom of the social pecking order (apparently I also had no filter for my mouth at times!), I learned to keep people at  arm's length until they proved loyal.

The lady above in the pink and I were fast friends in the 5th grade, mainly because she was a transplant and didn't get the message that being friends with me meant the end of her social life.  As a result, forty years later, we are still best friends who pick up right where we left off, whether that means we saw each other last month or ten years ago.  Thanks to FB, we sometimes chat daily.

I met this sweet lady in 2009, when mutual friends introduced us.  Our personalities clicked immediately, and we shared a love of books and movies.  She needed an emergency sitter one day, and her little girl quickly became my 'Adoptee #3'.  CB and my son became friends, and even attended a few kickboxing classes together, until my lazy child decided he'd rather play video games!

This photo was taken last May, when I got the chance to introduce her to my world, and some of the authors I was friendly with.  We also enjoyed walking around the Grand Ol Opry Hotel:)

Meet 'Princess Leia', 'Molly Pitcher', and a sexy cop!  The lady on the left and I formed an instant bond when we met at a book signing event.  Again, our personalities clicked, and when she moved to my town two years later, she got me hooked on karaoke.  Both these ladies are wonderful singers, and their friendship has brought me out of my shell a bit more.

See the handsome guy off to the left?  He and I shared a love/hate relationship all through our sophomore year of HS.  He was just a kid in my PE class, not realizing he was on the basketball team.  Things seemed to be going well until I found out he was on said team, then I quit speaking to him (long story....I'd vowed to NEVER be friends with a jock!).  He persuaded me to keep the friendship, until HIS friends convinced him I was only friendly with him because of his status.  We didn't speak for 6 months, until we ran into each other in the hallway, and we admitted we missed each other's company.  I now only see him every 5-10 years, but again, we pick up right where we left off!

The guy standing behind me in the hat took me to one of our school's dances our senior year, and he's my 'go-to' 'date' at the reunions, since there are still some snobby girls in our class who make disparaging remarks against B and I spending so much of our time together at the reunions.  Geez....grow up, will you!

Every once in a while, you meet someone and within five minutes, you feel as if you've known them forever?  That happened with L and I.  She took me to my 1st Texas Tenor concert, and though there's nearly a 15 year age gap between us, it's hard to shut us up when we get together!

Last, but certainly not least, is the sweet lady on the right.  Oh wow.....where do I start?  Back in 1984, she called me to get acquainted, since we were to be roommates at college.  That conversation lasted 2 hours, and even though she was more friendly with another girl for part of the year, she eventually found out I was her 'soul mate' and this quiet exterior hid a 'wild' side.  We had our girls a month apart (mine, the one holding the baby, came early while her oldest, the one in blue, decided to 'cook' an extra two weeks!), shared good times and bad, and she's been wildly supportive of my writing career.  We joke that we'll be the two hell-raising ladies in the nursing home one day, playing the piano, belting out 80s tunes, and attempting the 'Electric Slide' with our walkers.

Want to meet other authors BFFs?  Click here:)