Channing Tatum - Boyfriend of the Week #atozchallenge

Okay, before I get to the main "C" focus of this post, I have a quick other "C" to talk about. Today, I have a query and 10 page critique from me up for grabs at the Crits for Water charity campaign. This is a fabulous charity that provides clean water for those in the world who have trouble getting it. This is the second year I've participated and Kat Brauer does a terrific job getting fantastic prizes up for auction. So even if you don't want to bid on mine, there are other crits available as well.

And though I make no promises, I will say that the person who won my crit from last year ended up with a referral to my agent because I liked her pages so much. But even if a referral doesn't come out of it, you'll get a thorough, no holds barred crit from me. (I'm kind of a hardass on crits, but I deliver it with love, so don't be scared. ;)  )  Any romance subgenre or YA manuscript is eligible for the crit.

Alright, now on to today's main topic...smexiness.

For those of you who are regular followers of my blog, you already know what Tuesday is. : ) And don't worry, just because I'm doing the A to Z challenge this month doesn't mean I'm going to leave you mancandy-less. Because honestly, what a sad state of affairs that would be. :) So on Tuesdays, we're still having Boyfriend of the Week, but I'll make sure I find a boyfriend whose name works with the letter of the day.

And lucky, lucky us, today's theme is C so we get to enjoy Mr. Channing Tatum...

So are you as happy as I am that today's letter was "C"? :)

Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone #atozchallenge

Photo by Lars Plougmann (click photo for link)Today is day two of the A to Z Challenge (you can still sign up, btw) and I want to talk about why I chose to do this thing--even though it's going to be a crazy busy month for me and doing extra blogging is probably the opposite of a good idea.

I am a creature of habit, and I appreciate structure. Having a set schedule with some theme days here on the blog keeps me on track. But, that kind of schedule and structure can also become a bit of a crutch and a comfort zone, so it's important every now and then to break out of your comfort zone and do something different.

This challenge will force me to think past my normal topics and will shake up my schedule completely. Honestly, even two days in, it's a little uncomfortable, lol. We'll see if I survive or curl up in the fetal position and return to my normal blogging world.

But breaking out doesn't have to apply only to blogging. Using the same mentality in your writing can also be a tremendous help. Just like any other part of our life, we get in our happy, safe place in our writing. We only write THIS genre and we only write THESE types of stories at THIS length. Some of that is necessary. I'm writing a series and have a contract that says I need to stay in this genre and world for these books. But that doesn't mean I don't need to look for places to push myself.

When I turned in Melt Into You to my editor, her notes back to me were "I love the risks you took in the book!" That was amazing feedback to hear because A) I was nervous as hell that she'd hate where I took the story and B) I realized not only was it okay to step outside my box, but it was fun and made for a much better story than if I would've tried to recreate the same kind of story I did in Crash.

So push yourself to look for ways to break out of the mold you're currently in. Try a new genre, write a short story or some poetry, shake up your blog schedule, or listen to music you may not normally be into. You never know what treasures or inspiration you may find in the world outside that box. In fact, I can't tell you how many writers I've talked to that didn't get their agent or book deal until they tried something completely different than what they'd been doing. (Including me. I started out writing YA. I sure as heck never thought I'd end up finding my voice in the erotic romance genre.)

So never be afraid to break out. :) And if you need a little extra are the Foo Fighters to jump start your Monday with "Breakout". *shakes out hair and prepares to headbang*


Have you done anything lately to break out of a rut or comfort zone?