I had this great topic (for other writers) dreamed up this month (actually last month, but I digress), but it’s been one of those months.

via GIPHY

I finally finished the second book I had to revise and submitted it to my publisher. Edits for the first (which is being published June 20!) should arrive any day. We had an Open House and Formal Dance here this week with the kids and my daughter’s last day of Cosmetology school was Wednesday.

And I wasn’t there because my husband had to have surgery WAY out of town. And, so of course, we took her out Monday to celebrate. A surprise party with cake then sushi.

It’s been a hell of a month. In just ten days, my daughter and I will be making our way to Arkansas, by way of Nashville (where we will spend the night, going and coming, because I can’t drive that long in one go), to spend a week. She’s meeting up with a friend and I’m spending several days holed up with my critique partner, where I will be slaving away at the third Infamous novel.

No, you didn’t miss the second one. I just submitted it. Cross your fingers, please, that the publisher likes it.

So, here’s a gif of Princess Leia because she’s my hero.

via GIPHY

I’m going to take a deep breath and remind myself that things will eventually settle down.

Welcome to my stop on the Highway Cafe Spring Tour!

Spring is hands down my favorite time of year. I live in rural West Virginia, in the US, and Spring is incredibly, blissfully green. Even the sunlight seems to reflect the greenness of the grass and budding leaves giving the air a refreshing quality.

I wanted to share a picture of typical West Virginia beauty. We get a bad rep in the media, but I won’t go into that. What we do have in spades is mountains, trees, flowers, creeks, and rivers.

This isn’t my view but it’s pretty damn close to what I see driving from my house to town on any given day. (Click either the picture above or the one to the left to get a full size view.)

I love my mountain home, but never more than in the Spring.

More about my novel, Infamous

Justine Montgomery, daughter of a divorced beauty queen and TV magnate, is a tabloid disaster after her infamous sex tape. She’s so desperate to help save her family’s home she turns to her deal-making dad. Can she prove to him she’s cut out for a career in television or will she lose it all?

Sawyer has his own past and a successful career is his only goal. Seeing Justine fail would mean the promotion of a lifetime, but things get complicated when he develops feelings for her. Suddenly, the lines between work, life, sex, and love are blurry.

They will have to overcome the bitterness of a rejected ex, the controlling actions of her father, and the half-truths they’re telling one another to forge a lasting partnership both on the job and off the clock.

Buy from Amazon right now!

Win a copy, plus many more books!

You can check out the home page of the Spring Tour here. My book, Infamous, along with several others can be won by visiting that page. Mention that you spotted the Easter eggs on my site (you’ll have to look for them) in the comments there.

Win a ton of great books in the Highway Cafe Spring Tour and find out why I adore Spring in WV. Click To Tweet

I said you’d have to look for them. I never said you’d have to look hard. ;-)

 

Remember the year I forgot to get my husband a chocolate bunny and he was devastated? Which was like three years ago, so go me for remembering. Sort of. As Meatloaf said, “Two outta three ain’t bad.”

So, anyway, I really stepped up my Easter game this year. Got to make a basket for my granddaughter (which I filled with books because Nana Lori is going to make a reader out of that girl). And my daughters got things they were dying for but had no idea they were getting. It was great. Part of the reason I indulged so much is because my husband helped me do the shopping this year (first time ever). He completely negates the better judgment side of me by saying, “Get it if you want.” I can’t argue with that.

Naturally, he was there so I couldn’t surprise-buy him a chocolate bunny.

And then… well, I forgot. I had Easter in the bag. A literal bag, hidden in my closet, all finished. I remember thinking about it once, but then I was in a hurry.

Come Easter, I had to tell him I’d forgotten. He wasn’t really as emotionally bereft as the first time so I kind of wonder if he didn’t buy himself one, to be honest. But, that’s not the point.

The worst part is, the man bought me a Twix Easter egg. He got me candy and I had forgotten his favorite thing. Well, his favorite thing about Easter. I’m pretty sure his favorite things are his Harley, the kids, and me–in that order.

So, basically, I just lost at marriage. Beat at my own game. It’s a good thing I have a Twix Easter egg to drown my shame in.

I forgot to buy one damn thing and I lost at marriage--Easter Edition! Click To Tweet

I had this in-depth post planned for this month, but January has not been great for the family. We lost my grandmother on January 4 following a long battle with dementia, my mom has been in the hospital off and on (mostly on, as she is now) since before Christmas, and my oldest daughter (the pregnant one) is in the hospital with pre-eclampsia.

It’s not all bad news. We think the doctors have found the issue with my mom and surgery should correct it. All her tests for bugs and cancer, the scary stuff, have come back clear. And if my oldest can stand the boredom of an 11-day hospital stay, the baby will arrive by the end of the month, albeit about 6 weeks early.

All this is to say, I just don’t have it in me to do a blog post or newsletter this month. I’ve been writing (a lot) so I’m too busy to worry, but some things my brain just turns up its figurative nose and says, “Nope.”

I appreciate healing thoughts, positive vibes, and prayers. Our family is going to come out the other side of this and we’ll be fine.

 

Writers are readers first, so I’m always looking for awesome gifts (for myself). This year, I thought I’d share some of my finds with you. Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size picture; click the title to go buy these items.

Find a unique, special gift for the reader in your life. Just in time for the holidays! Click To Tweet

Who doesn’t love Alice’s story? It’s a wacky, weird, metaphor-laced journey of self-discovery for us all. For me, it says, “Embrace your own brand of crazy.” I love that.

I can’t even say how much I love these earrings. You must click the link to see them in full-size glory. Sherlock is hot (thank you, Benedict Cumberbatch) and a fun read.

In the Dewey decimal system, that stands for fairy tales. It’s sort of an homage to those dark and twisty stories we loved as kids as well as libraries in general. I really want this one, if my husband happens to be reading this.

This is another one I hope my husband is looking at. As both a reader and writer, I can appreciate these. They say, “I love stories!” loud and clear.

This is from one of my favorite books and one we should all be proud to wear. “Obstinate headstrong girl.” Yep, that’s me. And you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little virtual shopping trip and maybe found something for you or the reader in your life.

 

I’m so excited! Today is the day my book goes out into the wild, into readers hands, to (hopefully) be enjoyed and give readers a respite from their stressful lives.

I received a glowing review from The Genre Minx. Here are some quotes:

“Believable, charismatic and entertaining!”

“The pages just sizzled with smoldering desire between Justine and Sawyer.”

“If you are looking for a book that will engage you from beginning to end, then I recommend this book to you!”

You can find the full review here.

I’d also like to share the full options of buy links with you because not everyone wants to buy from Amazon. For what it’s worth, new releases are 50% off on release day at The Wild Rose Press, so if you’ve been unsure and decide to buy today, I’d suggest you go there.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
All Romance | BookStrand | Goodreads

Thank you for all your support through the years. If you do decide to try Infamous, I truly hope you enjoy it!

these-are-a-few-of-my-favorite-thingsSo, it’s December and even the hardest hearts can’t deny the pull of the holidays. For me and my family, we celebrate Christmas.

Today, I’m going to share three of my favorite things about the holiday season.

Christmas Music

I like all the Christmas music. I can happily tune my Sirius Radio to Channel 17 after Halloween and rock out to whatever they choose to play.

(Note, the links above will open in Spotify.) 

Share your favorite holiday songs in the comments to make me love you forever.

Hand-crafted Gifts

catbuttI think once you’re an adult the joy of Christmas becomes giving. In that vein, I’m busy crocheting gifts. For instance, my aunt asked for 2 sets of cat butt coasters. Those do exist and here is the pattern, if you’re interested. Alternatively, you can buy them on Etsy if you’re dying for a set.

Charity

I know it’s kind of hard to make the jump here from cat-behinds, but let’s do it anyway.

One of my most favorite things about the holidays is charity. The spirit of it, sure, but the act as well. On this one, I won’t out myself, because I believe giving should be private. It doesn’t mean as much if you want a pat on the back later.

I will, however, share a few charities dear to my heart. In West Virginia, where I live, drugs are an epidemic. That leaves many children unfed and without Christmas presents (among other more terrible things). The Family Resource Network not only tirelessly works to meet every need, there’s a toy drive you can donate to. They often have to take used toys just to come close to having enough. Your donation would mean a lot.

On a bigger scale, there’s always Toys for Tots. It’s the Marines collecting toys for needy kids–doesn’t get more awesome than that.

Finally, my favorite charity is St. Judes. No child should be denied treatment that could save their lives.

Comments are open for you to list your favorite charities, as well.

I wish you all happy holidays, whichever holidays you and your loved ones celebrate.

sig2015

I’m joining with several (and I mean several) new-to-you writers to put out a newsletter every other month. This doesn’t replace my newsletter, which you should totally sign up for right now.

Each newsletter will highlight four different authors. You’ll find new excerpts, books on sale, book boyfriends (<3), and author spotlights. Each newsletter will also feature contests (plural) that you’ll automatically be entered to win by virtue of just being a subscriber.

We’re having a Sign-Up Contest now. Every subscriber will be entered to win one of three (3!) prizes: a $50 Amazon Gift Card, a $35 Amazon Gift Card, and a $20 Amazon Gift Card. In addition, we have a Facebook page which will be teeming with info about us all and you should go like it after you sign up for the newsletter below.

The winners for the prizes will be drawn on December 31. They will be announced on the Facebook page and emailed.

Sign up below to discover new stories and win contests. It’s literally win/win.

wildrosesandromance

The time I almost died. Featuring: a killer infection, Dr. Ridenhour, and my book, Infamous. Oh, and some sage advice on living.Settle in for a little story. As usual with me, there’s some drama and a little bit of humor.

You guys remember when I told you I’d become sick earlier this year, so sick I almost died? I wanted to tell you a little more about that.

I was getting ready to send in my manuscript from what’s called an “R & R”–revise and resubmit.

Even though I didn’t know they’d accept it, I just had a feeling. This was it, my chance to break into publishing.

First, let me set the stage a little. I’d had surgery in December. And even though it was over a month later (an awfully long time to show symptoms of becoming septic), I knew something was going wrong for well over a week before I ended up in the hospital.

I was sick, and it got worse every day. I called my surgeon; they called me in medicine for the nausea. Not uncommon with the type of surgery I’d had.

I went to see my surgeon. He told me that even though I’d been running a fever well over 102 degrees, I wasn’t running one at that point, and he just assumed I’d had a stomach bug.

Two days later, I was violently ill, my fever was 104 degrees. I would become desperately chilled as it spiked, then sweaty and hot when it broke. Over and over I went through this. Finally, I went to the hospital, no longer able to say I was going to be okay. I was also a little wonky in the head–a serious fever will do that.

I was hospitalized for eight days while they tried to get this raging infection under control. And one doctor saved my life.

I was trying to remember why I had to fight to live (my kids and husband) and this pervasive question kept popping up. Who would edit my book if I died? Who would sign the publishing contract? No one. It would never see the light of day.

In comes the internal medicine doctor I was referred to. I’m laying in the hospital bed, half out of it, half blasé because I was too sick to be scared, even.

I was not too sick to giggle when the doctor introduced himself, because apparently on the inside I am twelve. “Dr. Ridenhour.” Pronounced RIDE-an-hour. It just struck me as perversely funny and I swore right then that if he helped me, I’d put him in a book someday.

Lucky for me, he was not only an attractive man with a cool name, he was brilliant. He pinpointed right away that I had an internal abcess from the surgery and had slowly gone septic. My body was so close to going into septic shock, I still have flashbacks to the smells of that hospital room, the tastes of the saline as it hit my IV. The night before they gave me antibiotics (finally), when my fever had spiked to 105, and I was having trouble breathing. The nurses packed me in ice and stood around my bed watching anxiously. I was in serious trouble. And I was going to die.

I know not everyone is religious, but I know God brought Dr. Ridenhour into that room to save my life. Not just, obviously, for my manuscript (that is publishing next month–yay!), but for my kids and husband. My husband had lost his mother and best friend only seven months prior to my illness. He couldn’t lose anyone else. My kids had lost a loving great-grandfather and their grandmother just nine months before. And for me. I’m not done living yet.

At the time, I was too sick to be scared for myself. I worried about my family and my book. Now, I get chills when I think how close I came to not having this year, and however many more I have left. My daughter celebrated her twelfth birthday last month and I almost missed that. It hits at times like that.

So, the moral of the story is threefold. One, don’t take even one day for granted. Two, look for Dr. Ridenhour in a book of mine someday. And three, buy my book next month because I almost died and you’d never have seen it. It’s a flipping miracle book.

Click here to find out more about my book and to access pre-order links.

sig2015

The Time I Almost Died: A killer infection, hot doctor, miracle book, and advice on living. Click To Tweet

perf5.000x8.000.inddToday, I’m revealing the cover for Infamous, my upcoming novel from The Wild Rose Press. It’ll be available on December 14, 2016.

Go ahead, click the picture so you can see the full image. I’ll wait.

Isn’t it lovely? It was designed by RJ Morris. I’ve been sitting on this thing of beauty since July, waiting for my official release date.

In exactly two months, you can read Infamous. I’ll update with pre-order links when I receive them (and include an excerpt).

Keep reading beyond the blurb and excerpt to enter my Cover Release Giveaway! Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to receive freebies and other excerpts.

Blurb:

Justine Montgomery, daughter of a divorced beauty queen and TV magnate, is a tabloid disaster after her infamous sex tape. She’s so desperate to help save her family’s home she turns to her deal-making dad. Can she prove to him she’s cut out for a career in television or will she lose it all?

Sawyer has his own past and a successful career is his only goal. Seeing Justine fail would mean the promotion of a lifetime, but things get complicated when he develops feelings for her. Suddenly, the lines between work, life, sex, and love are blurry.

They will have to overcome the bitterness of a rejected ex, the controlling actions of her father, and the half-truths they’re telling one another to forge a lasting partnership both on the job and off the clock.

Excerpt

She tangled her fingers through the hair that covered her face and pushed it away. Next thing he knew, she’d wrapped her arms around his waist.

“Justine? Um… what are you doing?”

“I’m hugging you. Taking emotional comfort.”

“Like a leech.”

“Haven’t you ever hugged before?”

“I’ve never hugged anyone I wasn’t going to have sex with.”

“We’re not having sex.” She squeezed him tighter and rested her head on his shoulder. “Hug me back.”

Sawyer lifted his arms and wrapped them around her, his hands cupping her shoulders, pulling her closer. He dropped his head to rest on hers, and parts of him, so deep he couldn’t name them, pulled free and demanded his attention. Her hair smelled like fruit, the kind kids eat in the summer, juice dripping down their chins. “I’m fine with the hugging, but, just saying, I’m not responsible for any physical reaction hugging may induce.”

“Okay.” The word drifted out of her on a sigh.

He wasn’t equipped for this. There hadn’t been a lot of touching growing up, at least not the kind that didn’t end in a busted lip or a cracked rib. As an adult, there’d been lots of touching. But, not like this. The tighter he held her, the closer he wanted to be.

Cover Reveal: Infamous - Coming 12.14.16 #Romance #Giveaway | Love wasn't in her job description. Click To Tweet

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway