SISTERHOOD OF THE WORLD BLOGGERS

sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward-graphicI’ve been complaining for weeks that Old Man Winter is nothing but a tease.  With a flurry here or a light dusting there, I was beginning to think a pretty white winter wasn’t going to happen.  And then … BAM! Old Man said take that and pounded us with a foot of snow.  Before moving to Kentucky, I saw snow twice in my life. Twice, and even after being here for sixteen years, I still get excited about it.  And since I don’t drive on the stuff- I do good maneuvering a vehicle on good roads, much less slick ones- and because the hubby pretty much works around the clock during bad weather, I’m home bound.  Which means I should be putting these free days to good use and working on my manuscript, but it seems I’ve done a lot of everything but.  Things like the Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers award. Another blog hop?  Yeah, why not?  I’ve got time 🙂

The rules are fairly simple.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.

2. Put the Award logo on your blog.

3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.

4.Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.

5.Nominate seven blogs.

So, thank you very much E.L. Wicker, I appreciate the nomination. I mention her quite often on here.  She’s one of those people I just clicked with.  So if you’ve never visited her site, you should.  She’s the author of The Bearwood Series, an amazing new vampire series with a modern twist. Fractured Immortal is available now and Finding Immortal is on its way soon!

So, to answer the questions given to me by E.L.:

1. What is your favorite book?

I hate when someone asks me this question because I have so many and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one, so I’m going to say Night Sins by Tami Hoag and simply because it sparked my love for reading again.

2. Do you have a favorite character in a book?

Hard one! Especially since I typically read romance and the type of characters vary so drastically.  I like strong, driven females, especially those that go against the norm of what is expected from a woman, but I still want them to be a lady.

3. What is your preferred book genre?

Easy peasy- romance

4. What book did you most read as a child?

The Sweet Valley High series.

5. If you could live in any book world, where would it be?

You’re making me think! I would love to say Harry Potter, because I think that would be super cool, but in reality I’m such a weenie it would probably scare the shit out of me.  I’ve had this fantasy romance somewhat going through my mind about mermaids and I love all things water, so I think I’d pick something like that.

6. One of my favorite books is The Killing Place because of the wintery atmosphere – do you have a season you prefer to find in books?

I also love wintry themed books, especially those with a snowed in trope.  I also enjoy reading Christmasy books all year long.  Again, I think it’s because they typically occur in winter.  I think it has something to do with being in the cold with  a hot, sexy guy to warm up too 🙂

7.  What’s you favorite TV Show? – I’m just being nosy now!

Do sporting events count? Because if the Kentucky Wildcats are playing, I’m there.  But, gosh I don’t watch TV unless I’m at my sisters and then it’s usually some kind of reality crazy stuff like Snapped.  I do love Criminal Minds, though. I have an obsession with serial killers and how their minds work- weird I know.

8. Name one interesting thing about yourself.

I blogged about this before, but in case someone missed it. I was born and grew up in Texas. My husband was born and grew up in Kentucky.  We met when he was in stationed at Ft. Hood while in the army.  Years after we were married, we discovered that the doctor, who delivered me, was originally from Kentucky and was a brother to the doctor who delivered my husbands two older brothers.  So, our paths weirdly crossed before we ever met.

9. What is your biggest fear.

Mice.  I hate the little boogers.  I’m convinced I must have had some kind of past traumatic experience that I’m blocking because even saying the name gives me chills.

10. Would you like to join my vigilante team? (must supply own bows and leather/pvc suit)

Hell yeah!  I’ll grab one of the boys bows, but it’ll have to be a pvc suit, cause um … leather would not be pretty on this!

And now for the nominations – oh jeez! Seriously 7? I’m terrible at this.  How about I’ll nominate a few and then if anyone else wants to join in they can. And for those that I’ve nominated, please don’t feel obligated to participate. Although, I’d love to see everyone’s answers, I know how busy we all can be and that we use our blogs for different things.

Rachel Carrera

Paige Randall

Aetherhouse

April Nichols Baker

Julie Stock

And, the questions:

1. How often do you read?  Daily, weekly, monthly?

2. Favorite Movie?

3.  Worst habit?

4.  I have a couple weird food quirks.  I don’t like chocolate or ketchup.  How about you?

5.  Since we are all authors, what’s one accomplishment you’d like to have with your writing?

6.  Collect anything?

7.  Most daring thing you’ve done.

8.  Although I don’t believe a drop of what I read, I’m a tabloid junkie.  I know shameful, but I can’t help it.  So, what’s your guilty pleasure?

9.  What’s the last picture you took with your phone?- A bit nosy, but I’m running out of interesting things to ask!

10.  I think we all have a few OCD tendencies in one way or another.  Mine is list. Emails, caller ID, and text messages even my work list on my computer at work, they drive me crazy if something is sitting there.  Have any obsessions/compulsions?

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GUEST POST: JULIE STOCK From Here to Nashville

Please welcome Julie Stock and her debut novel, From Here to Nashville to the blog.  Julie and I first became acquainted when a mutual Twitter/Blogger friend mentioned that I would probably like the book she was working on.  One look at her blog and I knew it was something I would definitely be reading.  Julie shares in my love for country music and romance and I’m excited to be able to share her new release with you!dfw-js-fhtn-cover-small

From Here to Nashville  Two worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Can music unite them? Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset. When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose. But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own? Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again and to see whether music really can bring them together.

AMAZON US |  AMAZON UK

Teaser Excerpt

I turned slowly to find myself staring up into the most beautiful pair of brown eyes I’d ever seen. The gorgeous man who’d been watching me earlier now stood before me, and my breath caught as I studied him close up. He towered over my petite frame, his soft, wavy, dark brown hair falling over his forehead, hands slung low in his pockets and cowboy boots peeking out from beneath his jeans. ‘Er, hi,’ I managed to stutter out, reminding myself to breathe. ‘Hey there,’ he drawled in the most luscious American accent. ‘I heard you singing and I wanted to find out more about who that fabulous voice belonged to.’ He smiled and as he did, I noticed the way his lips turned up invitingly at the corners. ‘Thank you. I’m glad you liked it,’ I replied, trying to appear calm and to bring my focus back to his eyes. And then he chuckled. God, he knew how to make a chuckle sound sexy. He oozed confidence too, with his broad shoulders pulled back and his head held high. ‘You British, you’re so damn polite,’ he said, raising his eyebrows. ‘You sounded great up there.’ ‘Yeah, the crowd had a great vibe tonight. I can’t quite believe it.’ ‘Well, you have no reason not to; the proof’s all here. I loved your own song by the way. You have a real talent there.’ I blushed then, an honest-to-goodness shade of pink that made him chuckle once more, locking eyes with me as he did, so I knew the compliment was sincere.

About the Author

Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance novels, novellas and short stories. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and is a Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors. She blogs about her path to publication on her website, ‘My Writing Life’ www.juliestock.wordpress.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter, on Goodreads and via her Facebook Author Page. If you would like to be the first to hear about her new releases and other news, you can also sign up to receive her occasional newsletters. Your address will never be shared and you can unsubscribe at any time. When she is not writing, she works part-time as a teacher. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire.

HELLO DECEMBER

Hello DecemberI did it!  I made it through and “won” NaNoWriMo.  I’ll admit the idea of writing an entire novel within a month was a little scary, but exciting at the same time.  Having never participated before, I wasn’t sure what to expect and hadn’t given it much consideration, but I’d been dwaddling around in a couple of projects with nothing really keeping my attention and then this new story kept screaming at me.  Determined not to start anything new until I finished one of the other’s up, I kept putting it off and then everyone kept talking about NaNo and I said, what the heck.  I jumped on the idea at the last moment.  Literally, I signed up on October 31st.  NaNo began November 1.  But even then I ended up a few days behind.  I didn’t write anything the first two days.  I can’t now remember what was going on, but I knew going into it that writing every day wasn’t going to be an option. Like everyone else, I have work and family obligations that keep me from it, but I was hopeful that I could do it.  Okay, I was determined!

Starting off, things went very well.  I made a few contacts and my word count was always more than needed.  I was excited and thought, man this is easy.  Then week three rolled around and my oldest child got sick.  And not with a twenty-four hour bug or a little cold.  He had a terrible case of bronchitis.  In fact, today was his first day back to school in more than two weeks.  I’m not sure if that’s what threw me off or if it was a combination of missing  and playing catch up at work, running to doctors visits, and planning the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Whatever it was, my writing suffered.  I don’t think I made my word count any of those days and what I did tapd out, was pretty rough.  Basically I was throwing out lines just to meet a count and it wasn’t very good.  As week four rolled around, I wasn’t all that hopeful.  I hosted Thanksgiving this year, so I knew I’d need to spend Wednesday evening baking and Thursday was gone.  But again, I was willing to give it my all.

There are things I both love and loathed about NaNo.  I love the community and support you receive.  Frustrated? Tweet it, tagging #NaNoWriMo and you’re sure to get a little support or advice (some followers too). Make it to a certain goal, shout that out.  You’ll have all sorts of congrats coming your way.  Those little things help, they do, and they were very much appreciated.  The awesome E.L. Wicker, who also participated and won, was very supportive (Her debut novel, Fractured Immortal releases December 21st and can be pre-ordered now, by the way :).  Our good friend Bill, checked in regularly with words of encouragement.  Julie Stock, gave us a little push at the end, and when I was really having a bad day, DJPM was there cheering me on.  These are just a few of the wonderful people who kept me motivated and made my first NaNo experience something to remember.  I also met Laurajay.  Who I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of her work.  She didn’t quite make her goal, but she’s close and let me tell you, the girl is talented.  I’ll seriously cry if she bums out on me and doesn’t finish her story.  She’s a copy editor, mostly non-fiction, and has generously offered to take a peek at my current work, even if it’s for proofreading purposes.  Hello!  Um, have I ever mentioned that I think comma’s are the anti-Christ?  I know that’s where my weakness lies and her offer is truly invaluable. Besides, I’m already in love with her post-apocalyptic romance.

But with the good, also comes the bad.  I pretty much ignored most forms of social media for the month of November.  I skipped reading blogs and didn’t scan my twitter feed except for checking in with those listed above.  I stopped reading and quit listening to music.  I didn’t even catch a full Kentucky basketball game the entire month.  When I wasn’t tending to family stuff, I was writing, even when it wasn’t always easy.  By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, my body let me know that it wasn’t very happy with me.  My back, shoulders, legs, elbows, hands, basically everything hurt.  I was tired and antsy and yet I trooped on.  Honestly, had I not had those few days surrounding Thanksgiving off from work it probably wouldn’t have happened and had I not hosted Thanksgiving and had all those leftovers, I probably would have been more stressed with the idea of having to cook for the family. While my guys lounged around and watched movies Friday and Saturday, I camped out on the couch and typed my fingers off.  I gave up with about fifteen hundred words to go around midnight on Saturday.  To the point of exhaustion, I just couldn’t do it anymore.  Four o’clock Sunday morning, I apparently felt differently, because I was up in full force, with renewed energy and ideas.  Those fifteen hundred words flew out effortlessly and with my word count validated, I shut my laptop and said that I was taking a break.  A week, maybe two.  No writing or editing, just some time to refocus for the edits and catch up on things I’ve neglected.

Yesterday, I laid on the couch and watched TV.  I didn’t go to my sisters like I normally do.  I helped my big guy start working on some of his make-up work.  I caught a basketball game, listened to music while I took a walk, I took a nap and I read.  Not one, but two books (okay, they were very short novellas) and by the end of the day, my fingers were itching to open my laptop back up.  Yep, I’m all ready to dive back in.  I haven’t-yet anyways. I’m still holding out and hoping that a few days away will jump start my gusto when I do begin.  I’ve been promising two friends that I was going to read their books and I still have some feedback that I’d like to send Laurajay.  So, yeah, I’m trying to give it at least a week.  We’ll see 🙂

Overall, NaNoWriMo was good for me.  I needed the little push and drive to make me maintain focus and finish up my second novel.  It’s still rough in places and needs some thorough editing, but I have something to work with.  Will I do it again?  Maybe, but I’m not going to commit just yet.  It takes a lot to write an entire novel within thirty days, so I will have to see where I am next year before I decide.

Congratulations to everyone who participated and thank you NaNo, I now have another completed manuscript ready for editing.

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

SPRINGSTEEN

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” 

                                                                                                                                          – Victor Hugo

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of my cousins and I running around and attempting to entertain ourselves while trying to stay out of trouble at my grandparents farm.  It wasn’t a task that was always easy when you had no TV, phone or game systems to keep you occupied.  Or maybe it was, being that we were out in the middle of nowhere without the concern of strangers, and pretty much left to our own devices.  We left the house each morning with a spoon and an empty tin pie pan and didn’t come back until lunch.  I can guarantee that I am an excellent mud pie maker because of it.  Honestly, I don’t remember going in for lunch, although I’m sure we did.  Then again, maybe not.  We were so busy playing outside the idea of food probably never crossed our mind.  And I’m sure my grandmother, who usually had five or six of us there at a time, figured we’d come in when we were hungry and was just thankful for an afternoon of peace.  We built log cabins out of firewood, made a pirate ship in the hayloft, and yes sadly, we found chasing chickens around the coop, fun.   The good old days … yes they were.  It’s an era my children will never experience, but one that I wouldn’t trade for all of the electronics in the world.  Okay, maybe I won’t go that far.

Once night fell, it could get pretty boring.  Your only choices for entertainment were board games, cards, and the radio.  Aaahh yes, they did own a radio, and I’m certain my love for music was formed in their living room, dancing with my cousins to the likes of Conway Twitty, Lorretta Lynn, and The Oak Ridge Boys.  My taste  has varied since then.  I’ve always been partial to country, but I really have no prejudices and will listen to almost anything, except Bluegrass.  I know what your saying, I live in the Bluegrass state, how can I not appreciate something that’s imbedded into Kentucky’s culture?  I’m a Texan remember?  Seriously, I just don’t care much for Bluegrass or at least the greater portions of it, although I can definitely see the talent that goes into making it.  Unfortunately I was not gifted with any musical talents.  I tried  playing the violin and flute (sorry I never went to band camp), and was terrible at both.  My voice is equally horrible, however I still make my family suffer through my performances in the car.   For me, music is the ultimate inspiration.  I think for life in general, but mostly for my writing.  Aside from one specific piece, pretty much every thing I’ve written has been inspired by music in one way or another.  If you’ve been following my blog, you know the inspiration for Drive Me Sane came from listening to Tyler Farr’s song Redneck Crazy.  And if you haven’t, you can catch up on that post here.

I recently added my works in progress to this site.  At least I listed the three that are somewhat close to being complete.  I have a few more, some further along than others, but they are mostly just a paragraph here or chapter there.  I try to jot an idea down when it comes.  Which brings me to my point today.  I’m sorry if you clicked on my post thinking it would be about “The Boss.”  Okay, really I’m not sorry, but I’m glad you’re here.  Springsteen isn’t only the surname of one of the most well known musical icons of our time, it’s also the title of a song by Eric Church, which happens to be a reference to that icon.   Unlike Redneck Crazy, when I got an idea for a story the first time I heard the song, I had heard Springsteen numerous times and never did it draw any kind of spark.  And then one day, something clicked and a story started floating through my head.

I bumped in to you by happenstance
You probably wouldn’t even know who I am
But if I whispered your name, I bet there’d still be a spark – Springsteen by Eric Church

Springsteen or more specifically the lyrics above are what developed the idea for Keep Me Sane.  Yes, I know what you think, it’s a sequel.  But it’s not.  It simply shares in the music theme of Drive Me Sane and that’s all.  Who knows, the title may change, but for now that’s the name that has stuck.  I won’t go into what the story is about.  You’re welcome to check out my page, Keep Me Sane, if you’d like a little hint, but for now, I’ll leave you with a short (unedited) excerpt, and oh a video.  Give Mr. Church a look. I mean really look at him.  He’s nice on the eyes 🙂

KEEP ME SANE- EXCERPT

And then, the image that had burned through his mind for the past two years, stared right back at him. The most exquisite color of emerald he’d ever seen; deep yet brightly alluring.  If he hadn’t known better, he would have sworn her eyes were enhanced by colored contacts.  But they weren’t. He knew because he’d asked.  Cringing, he thought of the immature pickup line he’d used to get her attention.—It should be a sin to have eyes that beautiful.

“Meghan?” he asked, holding his breath.  The seconds ticked off allowing his fingers to tingle with excitement from the feel of her bare skin underneath his palm.  He let go of her arm when she turned round and wrinkled up her nose with dissatisfaction.  Swallowing hard, for a second he questioned his memory, but then the dimple in her chin deepened.

It was her.

He’d kissed that sweet little indention for hours on end, and hadn’t stopped there. Her mouth, her neck, the spot behind her ear that made her squirm like a two year old—he’d tasted every inch of her body, from north to south.  And sweet, she was.  Her flavor fused to his tongue for days afterwards.

Running his tongue over the inside of his lips, he could almost taste her now. Except now, that pretty little mouth that had done its own pleasuring, twisted in a pout.

         “No, I’m sorry.” The woman shook her head.

No?  He would have bet all his money in the bank that it was, but didn’t dare argue when a fleck of grief filled her face.  Whoever she was, she obviously had more important matters on her mind than reconnecting with an old friend.  Friend?  They weren’t even that.  He didn’t even know her last name.  A one night stand—distasteful as it sounded, but that was all they’d had.  One night, but what a night it had been.

And since we are talking about music, my new friend and romance writer, Julie Stock is celebrating 100 likes on her Facebook page with a giveaway for those of you that live across the pond. I know there are a few of you hanging around, so go say hi, and answer her question for some cool stuff. And even if you aren’t from the UK, like her page anyhow. She’s putting on the final touches of her debut novel, From Here To Nashville, which I’m excitedly awaiting.  Also, follow her blog to keep up with her journey to being a published author.