Holy S#!t! I Won a RITA!!!!! (oh, and I have a book out tomorrow)

*insert all the curse words* I did it y'all!

This past week was the Romance Writers of America conference, and the big event that wraps up the conference is our version of of the Oscars--The RITAs. I was nominated for two this year, which was a huge honor in and of itself. But then this happened...

Okay, so I thought *maybe* I had a chance at the erotic category (where BREAK ME DOWN was nominated) because it only had five nominees and the odds were better. But the Best Novella category was first of the evening and had like ten nominees from all different genres. I was not prepared to say the least. The first words out my mouth as I heard the word "Nice" and my table erupted in screams were, "Oh SHIT!" Lol. Always so eloquent, right? Then I was shaking all over and in some weird out of body state as I walked up to the stage.

I had a speech prepared. I couldn't read it. I choked up on stage and announced that I was going to cry. I forgot to thank everybody I meant to except my husband, mom, editor, and agent. But despite me completely having a breakdown in front of a giant ballroom of people and the live stream on internet, it was the BEST THING EVER. I can't even tell you how amazing it is to bring one of these home. I don't do this for awards, but man, they sure are nice. :)

And so since I forgot to thank you, my readers, I'm saying it now. Thank you, thank you, thank you. For reading my books, for your enthusiasm, and for all the kind words you send me. I couldn't do this job if it weren't for you. So I share the lovely RITA with you. ;)

*hugs* (Oh, and if you want to watch the RITAs and see my complete freak out, I think they're going to upload it to YouTube at some point and will share the link.)

In other news, WANDERLUST will be out tomorrow! And it's only $3.99. So if you haven't already, go grab you a sexy rockstar. ;)

About the book:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Loving on the Edge series and Off the Clock, a story of sex, love, rock & roll, and a reporter who’s about to learn a new meaning for staying on top of her assignment... 

Restaurant critic Aubrey Bordelon is never at a loss for words to describe her meals in the fancy restaurants of New Orleans. But after her magazine’s high-profile music reporter falls ill, she finds herself out of her element and in a sea of screaming fans awaiting Wanderlust’s lead singer, Lex Logan. The sound of his voice gives her goosebumps, and the stage presence of the hard-bodied rock star takes her breath away. So when he pulls her onstage for a sexy stunt, she knows she’s in real trouble.

Lex doesn’t want to pretend that the sparks on stage between him and Aubrey never happened, but it certainly makes the fact that she’s writing a story on his band all the more dangerous. The last thing he needs is some nosy reporter revealing their problems to the world. But the sexy Southern belle doesn’t give up easily, and soon he’s wondering if the best way to chase her off the story is to coax her into his bed… 

PRE-ORDER THE BOOKAmazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play 

That's all I've got for you today! Hope you have a great week!

A Writer's Block Breaker: 30 Songs For 30 Chapters

As most of you know, I'm slightly obsessed with books on the writing craft. And a few weeks ago, I was poking around in Barnes and Noble (as you do) and picked up the book Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today's Best Writers and Teachers  (Edited by Laurie Lawson) to flip through.

Now, I write romance, so you may be wondering what would make me pick up a book about speculative fiction, but I like to expand my horizons. And there are things to be learned from other genres. Plus, I love horror and may one day pen something with some scary stuff.

Anyway, this book is filled with short essays (1-2 pages) on different topics: World Building, Plotting, Creativity, etc. and at the end of each essay are writing exercises. (Hence the title Now Write!)

And I've only read a handful of them thus far, but it's turned out to be a great book already. And one of the exercises I read last night got me moving in all kinds of creative directions. This exercise was by Diego Valenzuela in an essay titled "The Constant Writer: How To Plot An Entire Story In Minutes and Never Run Out of Ideas"

I won't go into the whole essay because you should buy the book. But the exercise he suggests is so much fun and oddly effective at sparking ideas. So here it is:

Put your playlist on shuffle. Write the numbers 1-30 for your 30 chapters and then label each chapter with the song title that comes up. Then use those titles to help plot/spark ideas for your story.

I read it and was like--sounds interesting but how could that work? So, of course, I tried it.

Here's what I got with my own playlist:

Pretty cool, yeah? Especially that near the "black moment" time in a book I have Live and Let Die, Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone, and Walk Away. And then the last chapter is a song about goodbyes. 

But these are my songs that I'm already familiar with, so I decided to try a variation. I put on Spotify's Coffee House station and did the first 30 songs of that. And look, I ended up with a road trip book! And I kind of got a story idea from it. How awesome is that?

Then I was chatting with my friend Julie Cross and she did it. And when I looked at her list, I thought--hey she has a sci-fi space novel! Daylight, Extraordinary, Come Fly With Me, Defying Gravity, Radioactive, 93 Million Miles...

 

So yeah, you've just lost the next hour of your life because I bet you can't resist. ;-)  If you do one, feel free to post it in the comments. I love seeing other people's lists.


Fill Me In Friday - Best Writing Links of the Week

Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho
  

 Hope everyone has had a great week! This one has flown by for me. How is it already Friday? If yours has been a whirlwind too and you need to catch up, here are the best writing links I've come across this week.

 

But first a quick announcement. I've joined forces with a few other author moms to start a new group blog called Peanut Butter on the Keyboard. We'll be blogging about parenthood and balancing the writing life with family life. Hope you'll stop by and say hi for our inaugural post!

 

Alright, now on to the links...

 

On Writing/Publishing:
On Social Media:

 

Just For Gits and Shiggles:
What You May Have Missed Here:




That's all I've got for the week. What were some of your favorite links this week? Feel free to share them in the comments. Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Made of Win Monday: The Concert Rush

Photo by Incase (click pic for link)So hubs and I have an addiction. For most couples, a romantic evening would entail a nice quiet dinner and maybe a movie out. Now, I can appreciate that kind of night like anyone else. But my ideal romantic evening is heading out to a crowded, dark place and screaming at strangers with thousands of our newest friends. In other words, a concert. : )

(If you want to see who I've seen live, I've made a Pinterest board. I realized as I was putting it together that I think I may be nearing 100 concerts. No, I don't have a problem, not at all. *cough*) 

I was introduced to concerts at a pretty young age. My parents have always been music lovers and started taking me along when I was about ten. I also dragged them to a few New Kids on the Block concerts before that. : ) But as soon as I started going, I was hooked.

There's something about that rush of shared excitement. How often do you get to be somewhere with thousands of people who are all happy and having fun at the same time? In a world where we exist amongst so much day to day grumpiness, it's a huge rush to be in the middle of all that positive energy, singing your favorite songs with others who love them as much as you do.

That rush is made of pure win, y'all.

So are you a concert person? What's the best concert you've ever been to? The worse? Who is on your bucket list of bands/singers you want to see? 

Author Websites: What Do Readers Want?

 

eBook Reader

Photo by goXunuReviews

I referenced this post on Dear Author about author websites on Fiction Groupie yesterday when I talked about Can You Know Too Much About an Author, but I want to touch on a separate issue today:

What do readers most want from an author website?

In the comments section of that Dear Author post, hardly anyone talked about blogs (except to say they don't like the blog to BE there in place of a website). Most of the things people focused on were pretty straightforward:

 

  • Have a clean, user friendly design (No flash, autoplay music, etc.)
  • Make your books easy to find and buy.
  • Make series lists and backlist titles available and clear so that people know the order of your books.
  • Keep things updated.
  • Provide a Current Release and a Coming Soon page.
  • Have an FAQ and Contact page.
  • Excerpts.

Basically people want to be able to find information easily and quickly. Period. If they have to hunt for your book information, you've lost them.

One of the commenters, KKJ, offered this list of those she thinks have good websites:

The good:
http://www.philippagregory.com/ 
http://julialondon.com/ 
http://tessadare.com/ – book trailers!
http://macleanspace.com/ 
http://mayabanks.com/
http://www.elizabethhoyt.com/

 These are good examples and I recommend checking them out. (And interestingly, many of these don't have blogs at all, but simply a news page.) But this left me wondering, beyond these basics, what makes an author website stand out? What do readers want to see when they go to an author website?

So I'm asking you guys...what kinds of things do you want on your favorite author's website?

Do you want a newsletter option? 

Do you prefer to have a news page separate from a blog?

Do you want "extras"?

If so, what kind of extras do you like--playlists, cut scenes, stories about how the stories came to be, interesting research tidbits, downloadable bookmarks, videos, live chats?

What would make you come back beyond just looking up the next release?

And I'm sure there are more questions I'm forgetting, but I really want to hear from y'all. So I'd love for everyone to let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on all these things.

Boyfriend of the Week: Brad Pitt

Okay, so I know this week's pic is like a "duh". This is the go-to stereotypical hot guy that we use now like his name is a turn a phrase. Plus, after the whole Jennifer Aniston/Angelina Jolie thing, my interest in Brad cooled a bit.

However, last week I saw Moneyball and I have to say--he was fabulous in it. And the movie kicked ass. So Brad, darling, you're back on my yum list. Well, at least this week. ;) I'm fickle.

So hope you enjoy...

And for a great does of Brad, check out Moneyball. Here's the trailer. (And I promise you don't have to be into sports to enjoy the movie.)

So what are your thoughts on Brad? Over him or classic crush? And anyone else see Moneyball?