Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What do you want most for Christmas??

My mom still asks for a gift list. I am 35 years old. I always make one for her though. I know how much they enjoy giving us gifts. (and I do enjoy receiving them too!) I just wish she could give me what I really want this year :)

No one can give it to me. It's something I have to get on my own, but it seems no matter how hard I work, it's just not happening. This year my wish list really only has one thing...the same thing that's been on the list for years: an agent.

I know an agent is not the be all and end all and having one doesn't necessarily guarantee success, but it sure would help.

So what's on your list this year? Is it something someone can physically buy you...or something less tangible?

Where's cousin Eddie when I need him...to go to an agent's house and deliver them to mine with a big red bow wrapped around?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tis the season!

Today I'm blogging over at Sandra Sookoo's blog, all about Christmas and one of my favorite things!! Come check it out here, and sign up for an awesome giveaway!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Posting in the heat of emotion

We all have done it. We've posted something in the heat of the moment, whether it be anger, hurt, sadness...and come to regret it later.

I like to think I've gotten better about it and have been proud of myself for pulling away from the enter key. There have been times I've read a blog post or Facebook comment, Tweets too, and really wanted to speak my mind or defend myself, but didn't because it wasn't worth the fall out that would come after. But sometimes my fingers still operate faster than my brain. I hate when it happens. And there's little you can do to fix it afterward, other than offer an "I'm sorry" and an explanation of not distancing myself before typing away.

I try not to be a hypocrite, but it happens. I think it happens to everyone now and again. And most times without even realizing it. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. All I can do is learn from them and try to be a better person in the future.

Been so long...I gotta start from the beginning

I think I can finally get back to my work in progress...that is almost finished. And has been "almost finished" since the middle of October.

It's been a busy couple months in my world. And I hate that I have not been able to finish when I'd originally wanted. The plan was to have this baby done by Halloween and completely edited by Thanksgiving. We left for our trip the week after Thanksgiving. I'd wanted to have it done and even sent out on submission before our plane took off. I hate that I did not fulfill that goal.

This book has been really tough to write. I really don't know why. The last one I outlined (a first for me) and it made the process so easy that I wrote the entire first draft in 35 days. It was a good first draft too! So when I prepared to write this new one, I did another extensive outline and went at it. But it just did not flow this time. And I found myself veering from my outline a whole lot more than in the last book. It's been about 3 months and the thing still needs about 15 K to be finished.

But now that I've been away for it for almost a month, I need to go back to the beginning and read it. All of it. To get my head back into the story and actually remember everything that has happened. I'm hoping I fall in love with these characters again and maybe the ending will flow right out of my fingers tips! Wish me luck!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

At what point do you let go?

Parenthood is a never-ending cycle of not knowing what the absolute right choice is. Ever. Or maybe that's just me. But I struggle almost daily with what the right choices are. Some are easier than others, but some decisions are really hard. And at what point do you have to just step back and let them make their own decisions?

I feel I was very fortunate as a kid. My parents trusted me and trusted I was making the right choices. And I think it was pretty early on...like my senior year of high school when I was only 17. I had goals, I went after them, and they never told me I was doing something stupid. I graduated, went to college, got engaged, graduated, got a job in my field, got married, bought a house. Never once did they say "that's a stupid decision." Even now, as a 35 year-old adult with my own children, they never tell me what to do or that my decisions are wrong. Never once when my kids were babies did they try to tell me how I should take care of them, or how I should parent them.

I hope they know just how thankful I am for the way they've trusted me.

'Cause I see other parents who are parenting their 19-year old child like they are 5 years old. And me and my husband are the bad guys because we believe a 19-year-old "man" should be able to make his own decisions in regards to his education and career.

Doesn't there come a time when you really need to step back and hope the child you raised is smart enough to make the right decisions? And if they do make a mistake, as adults, they need to learn how to be responsible for that mistake and learn and grow and understand what it means to be a mature responsible adult.

I try real hard not to judge other parents....everyone has their own ways. But to me, this just seems like a way to hinder a child/adult's way of learning how to be an adult. And hindering a child's growth and development just seems wrong.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Face your fears!

I so wanted to do this post as a vlog...but I have no make up on, and no real desire to go do it right about now. I am all snug in my electric blanket! :)

So anyway, yeah...a VLOG! I've wanted to do one for some time, but there was always that fear of the video camera thing. I've never been good talking to a camera. I've only had to do it a few times in my life, and it was always a monotoned mess. I'm sure it looked completely hilarious...but so not the goal.

But then a month ago I signed up to do Pitch Live....which was a pitching event hosted by Brenda Drake. (If you don't know who she is, go to her page NOW! She is so so awesome!!) So she organized this event where you had to record your elevator pitch in 2 minutes or less...post it on youtube and your blog, and the judges picked their favs to move on the the agent round. Yeah...pretty damn nerve-wracking. Only 49 people signed up, and only 38 actually posted videos.

And I was one of them!

So many times after I signed up I thought of chickening out. But I told myself- "This might be your big chance! Don't let it slip away because of fear!"

I did it. I made my corny little video and posted it for the world to see. And it was pretty damn liberating. I faced a fear and did a pretty darn good job. I even made it to the agent round! That was the end for me, no requests, but I took away something almost as good. I conquered a fear. And now I feel like I can do it again...do it better....do other things that are similar.

My advice today is to face your fears...no matter what they are...and just do it. Life is far too short to live in fear.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Platform...how important is it?

Today I am over at Sandra Sookoo's blog talking about platform. Please stop by and tell me what you think about it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Life is not easy.

I didn't think that was something that needed to be said. But apparently it does. I get very frustrated with people who think life is all rainbows and sunshine and they will get everything they want without having to work for it.

I wasn't born with any kind of silver spoon. My dad worked real hard to give us what we had. We had everything we needed though, and I look back fondly on my childhood. My parents taught me by example that life is not easy and you need to work hard. And even then, hard work won't always give you fancy things. I try to teach my kids that too, though sometimes I do think they are too spoiled. Financially, we are in a better place than my family was growing up...which I attribute to the hard work my husband and I do. (Not that we work harder than my parents did, my husband was just lucky to get into a career that pays better than my dad's did.) It's not a matter of wanting to give my kids more than I had. We want to enjoy our life and do fun things as a family...and sometimes fun things cost money. We like to go on vacations since we can afford them. It's something we rarely did when I was growing up. And sometimes I do wish my family could have made some of the great memories we have with our kids.

Money aside, it takes a lot of work to make a marriage work, parenthood, owning a home. None of it can be done successfully without a lot of hard work. And a lot of times, it's not fun. The complete opposite. It's complete hell. But the benefits outweigh the hell. I see so many marriages fail and people complain about how hard it is to raise kids. I never entered into either thinking it would be easy. I had prepared myself from the beginning. Some days it feels much harder than I ever anticipated, but it's all worth it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Tweets of the week!!

Here's this week's installment!! Enjoy!!

@jentoinfinity: You're sleeping with the wrong people. RT @INDIEAUTHORHULK WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET A LITERARY AGENT, BUT SO EASY TO GET CHLAMYDIA?

@MattBryantDFW: The problem with the bat-signal is it lets everybody in freakin' Gotham know he's coming.  It should be a subtle iPhone app.

@RickyGervais: Following someone on Twitter & then complaining about what they tweet about is like stalking someone & complaining that they walk too fast.

@AdvicetoWriters: Writers get paid for what other people get scolded for: daydreaming. We’re supposed to wander. RICHARD WALTER

@RuthiKnox: I just need to say, for the record, because I'm really feeling it today: God, I love being a romance writer.

@thejessbess: I've been calling 1-900-MIX-ALOT, but no answer. So I'm not quite sure how else to kick these nasty thoughts.

@BuffaloGrlProbs: I've been doing a lot of bikram yoga...except room temperature and no stretching and in my bed watching TV. #workoutplan #buffalogirl

@RubenAgency: Don't be too serious as a writer. Or anything. If you're not having fun, you're probably doing it wrong.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WINNER!!!!

Huge thanks to everyone who stopped by the Girly Blog Hop!! Such a fun event!!

And now for my winner!!!! I used Random.org to choose a winner and the lucky gal is: Cassandra!!! Congrats!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tweets of the Week!

Here we go again! The funniest, most inspiring, and most entertaining Tweets I read this week!

@Lisaurstein: So someone just found my blog searching "Lisa pull my pants down, lisa suk my pp on you tube" my eyes my eyes o.O

@kirstiealley: DWTS makes people happy!!!! Thank you for having me..it's makes me happy too!!! xxxo

@abswrites: I wish people cared about real issues as much as they care about football referees. '....

@SW_Messenger: Why am I incapable of using superglue without gluing my fingers together at least once???

@rklipman: HEY I JUST MET YOU STOP AND THIS IS CRAZY STOP BUT PHONES HAVEN'T BEEN INVENTED YET STOP SO TELEGRAM ME MAYBE STOP

@Chrishell7: I feel like I legitimately have the right to key a car that purposely takes 2 parking spaces.


@Pamstucky: Whoever just found my website by searching on "how to make a pterodactyl out of toilet paper roll," Thank you - you made my day!

@honeyrun: You know what's funny? Paintings of Adam & Eve where they both have belly buttons. Think about that, take as much time as you need

@MandyHubbard: We should bring this back. RT @OMGFacts:  In ancient Rome, men found guilty of rape had their testicles crushed between two stones.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Girly Book Blog Hop!

Today I'm part of a fun blog hop all about secondary characters!!

What gal is complete without her super fab BFF?????

Secondary characters give our main characters depth. I think you can tell a lot about people by who they keep closest to them. In my writing, my secondary characters are usually quirky and wild. They're usually a person my main character wishes they could be more like...and learns a lot from them.

Below is a scene from my newest work in progress...just wrote this scene! It's the first glimpse that readers get of the dynamic between Deeni and her BFF Lydia. Basically, Deeni has just been dumped by her longline boyfriend and concocted a wacky plan to save face at her sister's wedding. Enjoy!

(PS...except has a bit of strong language...18 and over only please!)

Deeni took a deep breath. She was about to share this crazy plan with someone who was not physically involved in it. Lydia wouldn’t sugarcoat. She’d tell her exactly how nutty they were to even attempt it. 

“It’s not how it looks.” 

“You looked pretty damn cozy, if you ask me. Who is this guy? Where did he come from? And were you cheating on Eddie?”

“Hold on. I’ll answer all that. We just met this morning.”

“Wow. You jump back in the saddle fast. And by the way, I’m kinda pissed I had to hear about the breakup from my mother, of all people.

“I know. There really wasn’t any time. It all happened late last night, and then I had to get to work. The wedding takes precedence over any other thing in my life right now.”

“Fuck the wedding.”

“I’d love to, believe me. But anyway, we met this morning and he just got dumped too. He needs someone to pose as his fiancĂ© and I need someone to pretend to be my new boyfriend cause I kinda told my mother I had been cheating on Eddie for months.”

“And why would you do that?”

“Because she was gonna sit Uncle Fred in Eddie’s empty seat at our table for the reception, and I don’t know, it seemed like a good idea at the time. She had that pitying look in her eye and I couldn’t stand it. I think I’d rather be a cheater than a pathetic dumpee.”

“Okay. I think I get it.” Lydia pulled up in front of Deeni’s place. “But that doesn’t explain the almost kiss I witnessed at Allegretto.” 

 I can’t explain it either. “Uh, I guess when you take two recently dumped people and give them two bottles of wine, they get a little out of control.” 

She shook her head. “Just be careful. You don’t know this guy.” 

“I will. Thanks for the concern, Mama Bear.”

“You don’t want to end up like me."

“What are you talking about? You’re blissfully happy.” 

Lydia’s fling the summer between junior and senior year turned into a baby girl that spring. Luckily, she was good at picking someone to fling with. She and Chuck fell in love, adding two more kiddos to the crew.

“Yeah, I am. But it’s not fun to have a baby with someone you barely know. It wasn’t exactly easy getting to where we are now.” 

Deeni remembered. She’d listened to Lydia cry numerous nights back then.

“So how are you, really? It had to suck being dumped like that.”

“It did. It does. I’m not sure how I feel. One minute I’m devastated and feel completely blindsided, the next, it’s like I dodged a bullet. Can you imagine if I’d married him and had kids and then he decided to cheat on me?”

“That woulda sucked. But I guess now that it’s happened, I’m not really all that surprised. Do you wonder if he’s cheated on you other times than this?”

“I never suspected until now.” She turned toward Lydia. “Do you think it’s cause I’m bad in bed? A girl like Gina G probably does all kinds of freaky stuff.”

“First of all, I can’t say for sure having never had sex with you, but you are not bad in bed. And secondly, that tramp is a freak. If he’s attracted to a girl who flashes her lady parts all over Miami and will blow him anytime, anywhere, then you don’t want him anyway.”

“You’re right.”

“And now you can find a better man. Who knows? Maybe something will happen with the tasty one you had for dinner."

“Uh, no. He’s just been dumped too. Nothing good can come of me thinking I can start a relationship with Carter. If anything, he’d be a fun fling.”

“And there’s nothing wrong with that. Best way to get over a guy is hot sex with an even hotter guy.” 

Deeni giggled and shook her head. “Thanks for the love. And the ride. I appreciate it.” She leaned across and hugged Lydia. “I’ll talk to you later.”

 So there it is! I love a great set of BFFs! And in honor of great BFFs, I've giving one lucky winner a digital copy of my book, Soap Dreams, which also stars a feisty BFF sidekick!



Giveaway is international and you must be a blog follower to enter! Just leave a comment below with an email address so I can contact you! Contest ends on Oct. 1st at 11:59 PM! Thanks for stopping by!

And make sure you check out all the other participating blogs and all their awesome giveaways!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Do you thrive on routine??

Today I'm over at Sandra Sookoo's blog talking about routine! Click here to come on over and check it out!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tweets of the Week!

I just came up with this fun new idea. I think it's fun, anyway!!

I am on Twitter pretty often. (@StephaniHaefner, if ya wanna follow!) And I come across some really funny, awesome, inspiring, entertaining Tweets. I sometimes retweet them, but I thought it might be neat to collect them and do a weekly post here!

So here we go!

@saralapolla: I'd never actually do this, but sometimes I feel like auto-rejecting when I see the line "As if _____ wasn't bad enough..." in queries.

@alannacoca: Long pants, long sleeves, a jacket, and hot tea. Autumn is here. Dammit.

@stephbeck123: Think if I add a nice scarf to my outfit it will distract enough for people not to notice if I wear sweat pants to my meeting tonight?

@lindseysine: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did. Mark Twain

@angelajames: A submission where the author let us know he wouldn't be doing any edits on the sex scenes. Always good to know. #editreport

@redhotbooks: Life is almost always better after a snack.


Monday, September 17, 2012

How to show an author love!

Writers are a pretty self-conscious bunch. We work for hours day in and day out, sacrificing so much, and never really know if what we're doing is worth it. Is it good or just crap? The only way to know if the stories in our head come out on paper (or e-reader) as vividly as we hope is to get feedback from readers. The best way to thank an author for a story you read and enjoyed is a review, whether it be on Amazon, Goodreads, email, blog post, FB post.

Recently my husband passed my debut novel, the only one in print, on to a coworker. Two days later he came home with this note:

Hi Stephanie,

I loved your book! You are an amazing (with the word "amazing" underlined TWICE!) writer. I read it in a day and a half. Can't wait to read your next one and I loved the title. Continue writing...it's what you should be doing!!

This has to be the best review/letter I've ever received about my work. It really means the world to me!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Men are from Mars....

And I'm starting to think they don't have much parental instincts there.

So, this morning after the gym, I was in the shower and hubby came in to use the toilet, as I'm sure most married couples do. We chatted a few minutes and heard the door knob jiggle.

He yelled to our 4-1/2 year old son. "You can't come in. I'm going to the bathroom." And then said to me, "Don't worry. I locked the door."

I said, "Why? What if he needs something?"

He said, "What can I do? I'm on the sh$&^er?"

And I replied, "So, if he cut his finger off, you'd say 'Sorry. Can't help you. I'm on the sh&^*er.'"

He said, "Oh. Yeah. You're right."

(LOVE hearing that!)

It's no fun to be interrupted while using the bathroom, and 99% of the time it's for stupid things like the kids asking for snacks or wanting a DVD put in. But I always leave that door unlocked. You just never know when they will need me for something really really urgent.

I've been a mother now for 9-1/2 years. My maternal instincts had kicked in immediately. It was second nature to prepare for all the "what ifs" life could throw at us. I am always the one who's prepared when we go anywhere. I'm the one who thinks to grab bug spray, sunscreen, wippees, medications, sunglasses, hats, etc... Often Hubby says to me, "Oh, good thing you thought of that!"

Why don't men have these same instincts? Or is it just my man who doesn't? He once wanted to go out in the garage and weld things while I wasn't home. Wanted to leave our son in the house playing. I said, "Um, I don't think so. You can't even hear him when you're out there welding." The garage is connected to our house and there is a door separating it from the playroom/den where the kids spend most of their time. But still.

So, is this just another one of those things that separates men from women?? Do women just naturally have these instincts? I feel as if I am always on high alert. I can never fully relax until my kids are safely tucked into bed. Hubby doesn't seem to be the same way...not that he doesn't care and is unable to properly care for the kids...his brain just doesn't think the way mine does all the time. And I do think his operates different when I'm not around. Does his brain get lazy when I am around??

As a romance writer and writer who is constantly exploring relationships between men and women, I'm really intrigued.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Look Challenge!

The other day on Twitter, Laura Lee Nutt tagged me in a Tweet for her challenge post. Sounded like lots of fun!!

The Look Challenge works this way:

Find the first use of "Look" in your WIP (work in progress) and paste the surrounding paragraph into a blog post.

Tag a string of victims-ehem- friends and fellow writers to participate. If you're not tagged, feel free to participate too!

So here goes! I'm not currently working on something right now, just plotting my next book, but here is a the last book I finished, that I am currently trying to find a home for. It's called Try Me On For Size. Enjoy!

She had a file for each of her “interviewees,” as she’d decided to call them, complete with photos of their naked bodies. After all, she wasn’t just looking for an able penis, she needed a spokesperson for this new venture. And the new venture would require them to be mostly naked. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Reading but no commenting?

I'm told for every 10 blog readers, there is only 1 comment. I'm told people read, but no one comments anymore.

When I started blogging, it was a way for me to meet other writers, commiserate, start the "platform" I was told I needed to start. It was fun and I enjoyed it. Back then I had 100-150 followers and on any random day, I'd get a slew of comments. I felt the love!!

But now things are different. I still post blogs, though less frequently. But even with double the followers I used to have, I'm lucky to get 2-3 comments. I check my stats on Bloggers and it shows a decent amount of blog hits. So I *think* people are reading. But I guess I'm just not seeing the proof...in the form of feedback....interaction....the whole reason I got into blogging to begin with.

But I do get that interaction on Twitter now. So maybe things have just shifted??

I try to keep my blog fresh and updated, since it is doubling as my website for the time being. Blogger is easy to use and with the pages function, it just made sense to me. I can't afford to hire someone to make a fancy website right now.  And I wouldn't know how to update it anyway.

So...blog readers, if you're reading this, why do you read and not comment? I don't comment on every blog I read...usually it's because I just don't have anything to add.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Big 3-5 :(

Tomorrow is my birthday. Not happy.

Never thought I'd be the woman who was embarrassed to state her age or would want to lie about it. I didn't used to be. I used to think I looked great for my age, so I liked telling people and having them say "Wow, you don't look that old at all!" I try to do lots of fun things and be outgoing...I don't want to act old. But this birthday...it's just not sitting well with me. It just sounds old.

I remember being 21-22 and thinking 30 sounded really old...a lifetime away. Then it came. And I was okay with it. But now 5 years later, not so much. My sister in law told me to shut up...as she turns 40 in October.  So I guess it could be worse.

We're going out to dinner with my parents and brothers. I had a hard time picking a place, since some of my family members are kinda picky when it comes to food. But Mexican works. Plus I can get a margarita to drown my sorrows. Today just me and hubby are celebrating. Kids are both in school in the afternoon, so we're going to a fun little restaurant downtown called The Chocolate Bar. YUM! Today sorrows will be drowned in chocolate cake.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"My way is the best way!"

I'm sure everyone knows someone who acts this way. Their ways are set in stone and they think their way is the ONLY way. It's pretty aggravating to the rest of the world. Especially when they start preaching...without being asked.

I have my own ways of doing things, whether it be cooking, cleaning, parenting, exercising, whatever. I do the things the way I do them because I feel it's best FOR ME. It works FOR ME. But I never try and tell people my way is the only way. I thoroughly believe everyone needs to find their own ways of doing everything and they won't be the same as my ways. And that is 100% okay. If someone asks me for advice, I will tell them what I do and what works for me. But I in no way try and convince them it's the only way. Everyone needs to figure out their lives by trial and error.

Even my kids. Yeah, my daughter is only 9, but even now I try to make her figure things out for herself. Me telling her the answers to everything, or forcing her to do everything my way, only stunts her creativity and individuality. I don't want a clone of a daughter. I want to raise an independent woman. My parents always encouraged me to become my own person and I've loved them for that. I am pretty different from them, and that's okay. I'm still a responsible adult even though I do things differently from them.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Fear

Earlier this week a terrible thing happened in a town not far from me. An innocent 5-year old little girl was murdered by a teen the family knew well and had trusted. As of right now, the motive is not clear.

As a mom of a 9 year-old girl and 4 year-old boy, I sit here completely terrified. How can I prevent this from happening to us?

For me there is no greater fear than death...my own, and of those I love. One moment I want to pull my kids and husband close and never ever leave the house. Just stay here in our little bubble. But the next moment I tell myself I will not let fear run my life. Is there a happy medium? Who knows? I'm sure this family thought they were fine. The girl was at her grandparent's house, as she often was, with a friend she often saw. They believed he was a good kid...he routinely helped the grandfather with chores around the house. What would make him do such a heinous thing?

I don't watch the news...and this is why. If I saw all the bad in the world, it would consume me. It would keep me up at night. It may sound like I am choosing to be ignorant..and maybe to some degree I am, but for my own sanity, I need to try and stay positive. That does not mean I am stupid or blissfully unaware. I am careful about everything I do, especially when it comes to my kids.

Sometimes my husband, and his family, who live in a rural town, think my city upbringing has made me paranoid. My husband used to laugh when I would lock our car doors in our own driveway. He's since reformed and become more careful after breaking free of his sheltered small-town bubble.

There is a lot of bad in the world...but I do believe there is good too. I see it all the time. It's extremely sad that there are people that, for whatever reason, feel the need to harm others. I just don't understand it.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Once you've gone Erotic, can you ever go back?

With the popularity of a certain erotic bdsm trilogy that shall remain unnamed, it seems as if everyone is getting into the genre. I've heard from more than one reader, that until now, they didn't even know the genre existed. They want to know what to read next.

This is fantastic for all my erotic-writing author friends. For me, not so much.

I am beyond ecstatic that romance is in the spotlight right now, even if it's not exactly my type of romance. The world is proving that people love romantic fiction, and will buy it, by the millions. And now that consumers have been bitten by the bug, they just want more.

But I'm kinda concerned. Erotic bdsm romance is so intense, so detailed, so completely sexy. Having now gotten accustomed to such a high level of heat, will readers want to step back a little in the spiciness level?

My books are definitely steamy, but definitely not as detailed as erotic romance. I'm hoping readers will still find their way to me, even if that means the heat will be turned down a smidge.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rejection...it sucks.

Today I'm over at Sandra Sookoo's blog talking about rejection and it's suckiness. Come on over and check it out!! Commiserate with me!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Speaking out on reviews????

Since before I even published my first book, it's been branded on my brain that it is taboo for authors to respond to reviewers. Many won't even read their reviews. I think thats smart to some degree, but I do read all of mine. I like to know what people think. If it's something I completely disagree with, I let it go. But if it's a valid point, I learn from it.

For the most part, my reviews have been positive. I've yet to receive a really awful review. There was one pretty negative review a while back, but it was obvious to me that the reader rarely read romance. They just didn't understand the fantasy aspect of the genre.

I used to thank people for their kind reviews, but then I learned even that was kinda taboo. Reviewers and readers, especially on sites like Goodreads, want the ability to talk about books without the intrusion of the author....whether good or bad. Now I know things can get really nasty on Amazon...like really bad, all out scathing reviews. And for an author, it can be devastating. We put so much blood, sweat, and tears into our books...they're our babies. It hurts to hear they're not liked. Or despised...or compared to the contents of a litter box.

Recently a very popular author made some comments about a negative review she received on Amazon...or rather her husband did. Whatever. This isn't new. It happens every so often. Some author flips out and chaos ensues. Her reactions after it all went down were less than favorable. And they make all authors look bad. This is a subjective business. Everyone will have their opinion, and not all of them will be nice. You have to grow a thick skin and put on your big girl panties if you want to survive this business. And keep your mouth shut. And make sure your husband keeps his mouth shut too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Does the pace a reader reads affect their opinion of the book?

I am a romance writer and reader. I love it. I have a hard time getting into a book if there is zero romance in it. I have always been a romantic at heart and my heart swoons whenever I read a book or watch a romantic movie. I yearn for the happily ever after for the characters.

After an interesting chat on my Facebook page the other day, I found myself wondering something.

Often the timeline in romance novels and romantic movies is very short...sometimes as short as a week or a month. It seems perfectly logical to me for a couple to find love in that short amount of time (I did!) but I know many others are skeptical about it. They believe lust is a possibility, but not love. I once had a reader tell me my book was unrealistic because my characters fell in love after only knowing each other a short time. But in romance novels, there is a level of suspended belief that must come along. It's a fantasy...an escape from reality. While some parts are realistic, some are not. And while my love story happened fast, I know it doesn't really happen for everyone. (Though all the successful marriages I know, it happened the same way as mine. My mom and dad dated for years then got married...divorced a few years later. My dad met my stepmom and 6 months later they got married. It's been 30 years.)

But anyway, the real point to my post today.

I started to wonder..... Say a hero and heroine fall in love and find their happily ever after in a novel that takes place over the course of a week. Say reader #1 reads this book in only 2 day's time. So for them, the entire relationship happened really really fast. But what about a slower reader who takes a month to read the same book. Do you think it's more believable for that reader, since they read slower and the relationship sorta took longer, in their mind, to develop??

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer's winding down.

In Western NY, you know summer is almost over when the Erie County Fair starts. It started last Wednesday. It's 12 days of fun that ends the 19th of August this year. After that, there's only a couple more weeks til Labor day, and the start of school. Right now everyone is trying to pack in as much fun as they can before life goes back to hectic schedules.

We haven't done anything super exciting this summer. Lots of little things though. We went to NYC the first weekend in June. We have season passes to Darien Lake, a local amusement park. We went to Niagara Falls Canada last weekend (it's maybe a 30 minute ride for us). My daughter did theater camp this summer. My son did a play group. We had a Toga party. We went to the beach a couple times. It's been a fun summer so far. We still have a few fun things left. We're going to the fair tomorrow. I was hoping to take a day trip to Toronto...but we'll have to see about that one.

Around here school starts after Labor Day. I know some kids around the country are starting up this week. But we still have a few weeks. We've already bought new sneakers and clothes, jeans and undies. Gotta get school supplies. I still don't have a list for my daughter, but I won't bore you all with the annoying details of that! My son is starting preschool this year, so I have to get the few things he needs too.

I'm looking forward to the fall and getting back into a normal routine. With my son starting school, though only for 2-1/2 hours a day, it will be time everyday that is silent for me. Pure gold to a writing mama. I need to work on my next book. I need to get something else finished and perfected and out there. I need to grab the attention of an agent if I ever want to get where I want to go.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Are you a quitter???

Ever since I started writing with the purpose of completing a book, and then getting that book published for the world to enjoy, it's been hammered into my head that only those who work hard and never quit succeed. Makes sense. But when I first started writing, I NEVER thought it would be so damn difficult.

My whole life I was taught that with hard work, you will get where you want to go. If you want to be a doctor, you go to school, get good grades, work hard, and eventually you will be a doctor. But with writing, it's not that cut and dry. You can work hard for years and go no where.

There are so many factors that can keep a writer from achieving their dream. Something as small as your book is too quirky. You need to write something that is popular enough to be accepted by the masses, but different enough to stand out from what's already been written. Take an old idea and put a completely different spin on it...but not too different or far fetched. At least in contemporary romance, which is what I write.

And the writing has to be perfect. For the most part, I think I have that down. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but my grammar is pretty darn good. My style is smooth. I've developed my own unique voice. It's taken quite a few years but I am really excited to have a style I love and one that is fun and flirty and really represents me. But obviously it's not enough to get me where I want to go.

Quitting has crossed my mind on several occasions. And again very recently. A couple weeks ago I had the worst week in a long time. Rejection after rejection. I'm not a quitter...never have been. (Well, once. I did quit dance class when I was 12. It wasn't fun anymore when the teacher was yelling at us when we didn't do a step properly.) But never in my life have I felt so downtrodden....hopeless. In my first career, I worked hard, perfected my craft, made a successful business. It was all pretty easy. This is not. I know nothing worth having comes easy, but I'm getting to the point where I just wanna scream, "Come on, already!" How much rejection can a person take--should they take-- before they throw in the towel? Was I crazy to think I could stand out in such an over saturated talent-filled industry?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Is Twitter for you?

I started a Twitter account a while back...and I won't lie. It's main purpose was to stalk follow celebrities. It was pretty cool to read the daily thoughts of people I admired and idolized.

But then I started realizing it might be a good idea to get on there and network with many of my fellow authors. So I started a new account, since the first was not my actual name. (The one I use now is @stephanihaefner, in case you wanna go follow me!) I started following writers I already knew and agents I wanted. I started making lots of friends and it started to be really fun. I gained a small following and it was so cool. And yeah, I still follow celebrities ;)

So is Twitter for everyone? No. It really depends on what you want to gain from social networking.

If you want to share photo albums, keep in touch with family and friends, send lengthy private messages, and organize events, Facebook is definitely far better for all that. Twitter is tough, with it's 140 character limit and all.

If you want to meet new people with similar interests, Twitter is the place. In my opinion, since Twitter has a very limited profile page--bio is all you have and it's pretty short-- to me it feels a bit more private. There's no pics of me, accept my one profile pic. There's none of my kids. It's simple. And I feel like it's a better place to converse with people you don't know in real life, if that makes any kind of sense.

If you're looking to network and meet people in your line of business, Twitter is DEFINITELY the place to be. I have made SOOOOOOO many connections there and found out about so many opportunities. Invaluable! :)

And if you want to stalk celebrities, definitely check Twitter out! :) It really is cool :) And you just never know when one will actually reply to you! Just today I was beyond ecstatic to get a RT (that's retweet, for those of you not versed in Twitter-speak) and a direct Tweet from Josh Henderson, one of the hotties on the new Dallas (the hottest, IMHO!) Many celebs post pics you wouldn't get to see otherwise. Very cool stuff :)

If you like to keep up on news, current events, anything happening in the world or in your town, with up-to-the-minute posts, Twitter is for you. I follow several news outlets, including my local newspaper. They update throughout the day with breaking news.

I really love Twitter...far more than I ever expected.

So, do you Twitter? Why? What do you like about it? What do you hate?

Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm read all over the world!

I have to say, one of the coolest things about writing this blog is connecting with people from all over the world.

Years ago, before the internet and all it's glory, I NEVER would have thought I'd get the chance to meet and chat with people on the other side of the globe. Well, I guess that's a lie. When I was a kid I had two pen pals. One was from England and the other Italy. It was so so cool to get their letters. I wrote back right away and couldn't wait for the next to come. My penal in England even sent me gifts from time to time. So so cool!! :)

Ever have a penal when you were a kid???

And then the internet made it possible for anyone to make friends with people from any country. Kinda made the earth not seem so big anymore :)

I periodically check out where my blog hits come from and MANY of them come from Russia! Hello friends!!! Thanks for stopping by!!!!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How do people become pychotic?

In the wake of tragedy, I think everyone asks: Why? How did he get to be that way?

I like to think babies are not born psychotic. But could they be born with mental illness? And without proper care, it can turn into something serious?

Are people products of their environment? I think a person's upbringing has a lot to do with how they turn out. Children of poverty have more obstacles to overcome.

Are parents 100% to blame for how their child turns out? Our job as parents is to mold children into who they should become, teach them right from wrong, teach respect and kindness. But sometimes even despite our best efforts, they turn out differently. Are parents still to blame? Should they have noticed something sooner? I think all parents should be aware of what their children are doing. No one becomes psychotic overnight. I think it takes years.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Changes.....

Some people say "People never change." I really don't believe that. I think people can change for the better if they want to. Bad habits can change if people give it their all and really want to change.

And I don't know a single person who can say they don't know someone who has changed for the worse at some point in their life.

But what about when people change and it's not good or bad, just different? Sometimes people do change and they may be the person they want to be and all, but they've changed so much that other people can't connect or identify with them anymore. People who were once the best of friends no longer are...they just don't have the common ground anymore.

I have a group of friend and I honestly wanted to be tightly wound with these women for the rest of my life. On many occasions I'd envisioned us in our 70's still getting together, still laughing, still enjoying ourselves and going on adventures. But now it seems the dream is fading. I don't feel as connected to all of them anymore. They've changed.

I guess I can't say that I haven't changed. I hope I am becoming a better person. That's my goal. But I want to still be the same person too.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Taking a break!

Hello! I'm over at Sandra Sookoo's bog today for Museful Monday! Come stop by and read today's post: Taking a break from your manuscript!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Twitter me this, Twitter me that!


Do you Twitter? I do. In the last couple months I've made quite an effort to be on Twitter more and the last few weeks, I've really gained a decent amount of followers. I think I'm actually getting it.

So here are a few tips I've learned.

- You need to actually interact with people. Don't just post your own updates and read others. Reply to posts that interest you. This whole networking socializing thing doesn't work unless you actually conversate with people.

- If someone posts something that amuses you, or informs you, don't just reply to them. Retweet the post so all your followers can enjoy it too.

- Don't just post about your book or other thing you need to promote. People like to interact with other people, not just advertisements.

- Link your Facebook posts and Blog posts with Twitter. Anything, really. I think my Goodreads posts are linked too.

Good luck with your venture into Twitter. And if you'd like to follow me, check me out here!! :) Thanks!

And please please please check out my guest post on Rachel Brimble's blog!!!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Do you ever put yourself first?

These days there are so many pressures in life. Work, appointments, household chores, kids, their activities, etc...the list goes on and on. I think women can sometimes feel the pressure more. There is more expectation to do it all...and perfectly.

I often wonder how many women, and men, put themselves first once in a while. I feel it is so important to do things for ourselves. To be kinda selfish once in a while. I think we need to feel special and do something just for us. Everyone needs a break from their reality...to recharge, not think about the rest of the world.

Me, I take a dance class. It's my one night a week to do something just for me. I love it.

When you have kids, mom is usually the last to get new clothes, shoes, etc... But I make sure to buy myself something new too. I feel better, more confident, when I look good :)

To live a happy life, I think balance is key. And it's okay to yourself first every once in a while!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How can you dislike something you've never experienced?

I often come under ridicule for liking the things I like. Maybe "ridicule" is a harsh word, but it's how I often feel. I am a very open-minded person and I accept people and the different things they enjoy, even if I am not really into them. I think all people should be free to enjoy what they enjoy as long as it's not hurting anyone else. So it really aggravates me when people come down on me for liking what I like.

ESPECIALLY when they have never even experienced it.

Now I have never skied. Once we were going to go (my hubby used to ski all the time) but there was an ice storm and we had to cancel our plans. I really just never had the opportunity or desire since. But it would be silly for me to sit here and say "I dislike skiing. I think it's a waste of time. I don't understand why people like skiing so much." I don't know if I will ever go skiing (though most likely not) but I sure as hell will not come down on the people that do it and love it just because it's not my thing.

Life is far too short and I truly believe we should all spend our time doing things that make us happy. No one should be made to feel as if their passions are less worthy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

And the winner is.....

Thanks so much for stopping by to comment for the Angels vs. Demons blog hop!! Very fun, as always!!!

I drew my winner for a $10 Amazon or B&N GC just now! The winner is Christine!!! Congrats!!!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday! Size Matters! ;)

***WARNING***
****This post contains material ONLY suitable for those
18 and over.***


I signed up kinda late, so I am number 100-something on the list, but hopefully I will still get some decent hits!! I REALLY want some feedback on the opening of my new book. This is book 2 in a three book series.

It's called Size Matters :)

If a bike had a penis and eyes pleading for a blowjob, the whole ordeal would be just like riding a bike. Bryn Harper hadn’t had sex with a living, breathing man in nearly two and a half years.  The only sex she’d had was the sort involving rubber and vibrating replicas of manliness. So being in this position, nearly naked as she stepped into her dimly lit bedroom, felt far more difficult than peddling around on two wheels.

She’d been sorta dating Max for a couple months and it was finally time to do it. Bryn didn’t love the guy, but he was good enough. 

Whattya think????

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Angels Vs. Demons Blog Hop Event!



Which do you prefer?????

There's something totally sexy about an angel...always doing the right thing, always knows what's best. But a demon, the bad boy, that's completely hot! Making his own rules, no concern for consequences.

Not sure I could really choose. Guess it would depend on what I wanted him for. ;)

And now for the PRIZES!!!!!! EVERY person who comments on my post, and comments on every pother blog participating, will be entered to win one of the GRAND PRIZES!!!! Which are:


A Kindle Touch

or

A $60 Amazon of B&N Giftcard



Awesome, right????

And everyone who posts on my blog, AND follows me, will be entered for my own giveaway!! A $10 gift card to Amazon or B&N!!

To enter, you MUST post a comment WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS!!!! Very very important. If there is no email address, you will not be entered.

Make sure you hop around and visit all the other awesome blogs participating!! TONS of great prizes to be won!! And every post you make is entered for the grand prizes!

Here is the link to the list of participants! I can't get the Linky to work :(

Angels and Demons List






Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chick Lit Challenge Review!! Two Days Til Mrs.



I read the first book in this series, 2 Days Til Sundae, which ended with a mini cliffhanger and I needed to read what happened next. So much so that I bought the sequel immediately on my Kindle and read the beginning. I liked the first book and was excited for the next chapter in Cat and Fynn's life.

The book was pretty good, though there were times I kinda wanted to slap Cat. I guess it's just me and sometimes I have a hard time identifying with people/characters who care too much what other people think. I know I was like that at one time, but have matured and moved past it. So I know many other readers can identify with a character like Cat, but not me.

But the book was very entertaining and there was always some kind of trouble Cat was getting into...which made for some really funny scenes. But her troubles always seemed to be solved quickly.

Here is the link to Goodreads!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The New Dallas!!!! And a lesson on backstory :)

Oh yeah...I watched the new Dallas. I never watched the original. My parents were huge fans, but us kids had to be in bed before Dallas came on. But I do remember that opening song...and boy did it send chills up and down my spine when I watched the new Dallas the other night!!

With some of my favorite shows ending and being canceled lately, and the lack of decent TV (meaning, good fictional shows with talented writers...not reality crap), I've really been craving good shows. I love a great soap opera....I want sex, drama, a few laughs. I wanna be sucked in and emerged in a fabulous fictional world. And Dallas is exactly that. Plus some really hot guys!! I've been a Jesse Metcalfe fan since his first appearance on Desperate Housewives. And though I thought Josh Henderson was cute when he was on DH too....he is so super sexy now. I've never been into bad boys, but Oh My! I am loving me some John Ross Ewing!! I think he's my favorite so far!!

Anyway, the second point of this post (after all my gushing over the story and hot guys) is the backstory. Now, like me, there have to be thousands of viewers who did not watch the original series. I don't know every character's story. I only know tiny bits and pieces. I mean, really, who DIDN'T know JR was shot in the 80's?? So the writers have a huge challenge in front of them. They need to bring new viewers up to speed, and also remind old viewers what happened 20 years ago. But the story needs to start in the here and now and draw people in to what's happening now...no time for too much filling in.

And so far, I think the writers have done a great job. I know enough of what happened years ago to not be completely lost. I still have a couple questions that I hope will be answered soon, but the show has already pulled me in enough that I am intrigued with the present and not so much the past.

So, anyone become a new fan of Dallas like me?? Any old fans watching the new show? What are your thoughts??

I tried to get the Dallas DVDs but my library did not have them :(

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Twitter Giveaway!!!!

This week I am giving away a signed paperback copy of A Bitch Named Karma!!



All you have to do is Tweet the hashtag #IWantKarma to be entered to win! US only, sorry :( Entries must be in by Thursday 6/21 at midnight EST and I will draw a winner on Friday via Random.org.

Thanks! And pass it on!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Control and letting it go.

I used to be far more of an anal person than I am now. I liked things how I liked them. I liked to do what I wanted when I wanted and where, etc...

But when I became a mom, I learned to let some of that go. As any parent can tell you, babies and kids have their own schedules and you need to somewhat adapt to them. But you also have to be ready to change plans at the drop of a hat or make new ones, be ready to come home if you're out, and basically be ready to do things differently than you'd planned. Being an ultra planner like myself, it was hard at first, but being a parent made me relax...whereas other people it does the opposite. Many people become anal when they have a baby. I learned to take things a bit slower and adapt.

But I did still let a lot of things bother me. Until about a year or so ago. All of a sudden, it hit me...total lightbulb moment. There is so much in life that I have absolutely zero control over. So why was I making myself nuts worrying about them? Why did I stress myself out??

I do what I can with the things I can control...but everything else.....whatever. I can't control other people's actions. I can't control other people's feelings. All I can do is do my best to be a good person. Life is unpredictable and there are never any guarantees with anything. Things change. People make mistakes. Unforeseen things happen. It's not worth the aggravation and stress to let them bother me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

NYC Part 2! With photos!

If you missed part one, click here!

Quick recap...I decided to attend an agent/editor luncheon to pitch my new book. It was hosted by the Long Island Romance Writers. So we made a little weekend getaway out of it! My last post is all about the luncheon! This one is all about the family fun!!

After leaving the luncheon, we crawled through traffic to get to Coney Island!

Someone didn't want his picture taken!


We went on lots of rides and hubby and I even rode the Cyclone. That coaster is a deathtrap...seriously. I am a huge roller coaster nut, but I seriously feared for my life on this one. But, we can at least say we did it. We rode other, safer, rides and played some games. Dinner was at Nathan's on the Boardwalk.

Had to show off her game winnings.

And while we waited for dad to get our food, we were treated to a lovely sight.

So so pretty!!!


Then we played on the beach.

Lighting was kinda weird then, so this is kinda dark.

We decided to leave before the fireworks, just so we could navigate back to our hotel in semi-daylight. We got some decent rest so we could wake up bright and early for our big day in Manhattan!

After breakfast at the hotel, we took the PATH train in to the World Trade Center, where we met up with one of my oldest friends who now lives in Manhattan- our tour guide for the day! We'd wanted to see ground zero, but it's all fenced off as they are working on the memorial. We moved on to one of the oldest building in NYC, a church, and it's cemetery. I've always been intrigued by old cemeteries!



Then we walked through City Hall Park.

She loves to pose in pics for me.

We then walked through Chinatown and Little Italy and had lunch there.

So cool that they close off the streets.

Next was 5th Avenue and all kinds of fancy stuff.

You're fired!


Lots of cool toys!

Awesome stuffed animals.

We walked through Central Park...such a gorgeous view!


Then we headed to the American Museum of Natural History! Kids loved it!

Really cool dinosaur skeletons!

Had to see Rockefeller Center! That's my hubby and son at the top of the pic!


And Times Square. Could just sat there and people watched for hours...the bright lights and excitement!



Stopped at the Times Square Toys R Us! So so awesome...better than FAO Schwarz.



One last shot of Times Square before we headed to Crumbs Bake Shop for some fancy cupcakes.


So, as you can see, we really shoved a lot into our one day. Our feet definitely felt the affects of it. I wouldn't doubt that we walked at least 10 miles. But we had a really great time and I look forward to our next trip to NYC! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New York....concrete jungle where dreams are made.....

Alicia's Keys' voice played through my head as we walked around Manhattan this past Saturday. The city is really as gorgeous and fantastic as movies, music, and books make it sound. And embarrassingly, I've been a NY state resident my entire life and this is really my first time in NYC.

The main purpose of this weekend whirlwind trip was a luncheon hosted by the Long Island Romance Writers. They do it every year, bringing together lots of agents and editors to chat with and pitch your book to. It's all casual and relaxed.....or as relaxing as one can be coming face to face with the people who can make or break your publishing dreams! LOL!!

Today's post will focus just on the luncheon..and later in the week I'll post about the fun me and my family had and all we squished into one day!

Our weekend started with a 2:30 am alarm, and we backed out of our driveway at 3:10...ten minutes off schedule. But really that didn't matter. We made it to Long Island around 10, after being stuck in a little bit of traffic. I had been worried about a lotta bit of traffic...but I'd worried for nothing. Better safe than sorry. Hubby dropped me off at the inn where the luncheon was held at about 11:30 and he took the kids to lunch and to see Madagascar 3. 

I sat and waited, since the luncheon didn't start til 12. A few people trickled in and finally we could go in. But of course there was a snag...they didn't have a lanyard and badge for me. I was on the list, but no tag. While they looked, I went into the room and was immediately handed a glass of champagne. Soooo needed that! I snagged a seat at a table next to one of the agents I wanted to talk to, then went back out to the lobby. They found my lanyard and I felt more relaxed. 

I kinda stood around...not sure what to do. I am not very outgoing all on my own and sometimes it takes a little bit for me to relax and find the courage to just start talking to people. Then my friend Nicole Zoltack arrived. Yay! A friendly face! We chatted and the editor from Ellora's Cave came up to talk to us. Unfortunately, neither of us write erotic romance, but it was still nice to chat with her. Another writer came up and introduced herself to us, then introduced us to one of the agents she had talked with. SUPER nice. I knew beforehand she was not really a great fit for me and my book, but she said to send it anyway...it might be good for someone else in her agency. 

I split from my friend..as she wanted to talk to someone, so I chatted with the editor from Entangled. I just wanted to introduce myself. I did a pitch with the Romance University for Entangled last week and they requested it. So we chatted about that a little bit. Then lunch was announced. Food was tasty!! In between courses I got to chat with the agent sitting next to me. She thought my book sounded interesting, so she asked me to send it to her. YAY!! While waiting for dessert, I got up and mingled around, and chatted with another agent...another request!

Now I do know that agents often request material at these things....it's far harder to say no to someone's face....so I do take all this with a grain of salt. 

Anyway, the keynote speaker was great- Angela James from Carina Press. After she finished, the luncheon was pretty much done, but agents and editors mingled more and there was another opportunity to talk to them. I chatted with another agent who I knew was not exactly right for me, but while she did her introduction before lunch, she mentioned that other agents in her agency were looking for romance..and to come chat with her to find out more info. So I did. She referred me to another agent!! YAY!! 

And lastly I chatted with the editor there from Sourcebooks...who happens to also be the editor of one of my RWA chapter mates! Told her about my book and she said to send it over, though it might not be quite right for her. 

Overall, it was a really great event. I chatted with everyone I wanted to and had a decent number of requests. Fingers are crossed that one of these requests leads somewhere!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why is it wrong to escape into a book?

I know some people think it is a waste of time to read fiction. There's nothing to learn. The brain isn't stimulated.

Well, I completely disagree.

No, the purpose of fiction is not to learn facts, but I sure as hell learn a lot when I read it. If I'm reading a book about a rancher, I learn a little bit about what it's like to work that job. If I read a book about a fashion student, I learn a little bit about design and clothing. If I read a book about a football player, yeah, I learn a little more about something I knew nothing about before reading the book.

And yes, all of these scenarios are books I have recently read.

My point is that fiction does not have the main goal of informing it's readers, but the readers sure do learn something.

I read fiction for entertainment and escape. I like to forget my daily life and lose myself in another world. When I read Lone Star Trouble, it was real fun to "travel" to Texas and "meet" some people who raised cattle, got dirty, and worked hard. I never knew so much about vintage clothing until I "met" Lizzie Nichols in Queen of Babble and it was really interesting. Made me wanna peruse some yard sales for fabric treasures. And as a girly girl, it was super interesting to immerse myself in the world of a female high school quarterback in Catching Jordan.

I read for pleasure and entertainment....and if I learn something too, great. I don't think it makes me a less of a person because the books I choose to read are filled with imaginary people. As an author I know how difficult it is to create and imaginary world and do the research necessary to also make it realistic and believable.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey

Let me start by saying I have not read the books at all...I can only go on what I've heard from friends and fellow authors I know who have read them. And what I've heard is pretty darn mixed. Some adore the books...best thing they've read in forever and it's really spiced up their sex lives. Others say it's okay. And still others say it's so repetitive they can't get through them. I know I will never read them. It's just not my thing. I adore romance, and erotic romance too-- even the kinky stuff! But I am just not a fan of BDSM. Not gonna get into it right now...email me if you want my reasons :)

Anyway, I think the 50 Shades phenomenon is doing wonderful things for the erotic romance genre. The books are introducing readers to a new-to-them genre. I know many who are already asking "What do I read after reading 50 Shades?" And I have a list of authors I recommend. These wonderfully talented authors will sell many more books because of one woman's success and I think that's a great thing. Twilight did the same for all those great YA and adult paranormal writers out there.

My hope is that it's success also affects all genres of romance. I don't write erotic romance, but my stuff is pretty spicy!

I think the publishing world runs on cycles. The trends in books, just like fashion, come around every so often. It seems as if the paranormal trend may be waning and a new trend is upon us. Who knows where the industry will flow to next!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Recital weekend is over.

I don't know if I ever mentioned it on here, but I dance. I've been doing it for years. I started when I was a kid and did it for a while, but quit. Mainly it was because I just was not having fun anymore. I remember being yelled at in class for not doing something properly. But when I was 21 I got the crazy idea to start taking classes again. And 13 years later, I'm still doing it. I even danced through two pregnancies! I'm not kidding when I say I danced on a Tuesday night and then went into labor and had my baby on the Friday of that same week. Actually, I did that with BOTH pregnancies! Of course I had to take it easy in class, but I still went to class every week and did what I could. The stretching was great for my body! :) And proudly, with both babies, I only missed 2 weeks of classes! :)

I take an adult jazz class, and yes, we do recital! Over the years I took some other classes too- a jazz class with younger girls, which I also went to competition with, and lyrical. One year I even did a jazz duet with my sister in law. I just love to dance. Wish I could do more now, even at 34 years old. I love performing in the recital.

Friends of mine have joined the class with me, and over the years they have come and gone and some are planning to come back when their lives slow down. There is still one friend who dances with me. But along the way I have made lots of great friendships with the ladies in my class and with the teachers at the studio.

My daughter dances too. Started when she was 3. This was her 6th year. She is even in a competition class :) We're talking about next year and I think we can maybe afford to let her take two classes. The hard part is deciding which to take.

Here is our class picture this year! I'm on the right on the floor! :) We danced to Barracuda...but a remade version by Fergie!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting nervous!

I have like 9 full days til I go to the Long Island Romance Writers annual agent and editor luncheon. A friend told me about this event, and for $60 and a semi-short road trip, it seemed like an awesome opportunity. Basically, it's a casual luncheon where beforehand, writers mingle with agents and editors and pitch their books. Fun, right??

Yeah....it should be. But already when I think about it, I'm nervous. I have never been great at small talk. I've never been great at starting a conversation with a perfect stranger. What if I sound like a complete idiot? My book's premise is already kinda far -fetched. Will I be able to talk about it with an agent right in front of me?

And my next question: Will this shindig have a bar? That might help the anxiety.

This luncheon is so important, so I have that in the back of my head too. I need to impress these people!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Museful Monday! Are you a Plotter or Panser??

I used to be a panser...but I think I've reformed! Come read about it today at Museful Monday at Sandra Sookoo's blog, Seeing is Believing! Click here!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday!!!!

I remembered!! (Thanks to my alarm on my cell phone AND my computer already being on.)

Here goes...from my book I just finished! No name yet, but it's done!! I am currently in the editing phase!! I LOVE this paragraph!! LOL!

Enjoy!

This was why she was still single. Men were assholes. Pigs. Scum that lived on the assholes of pigs. But it was her own fault this had happened. She should have known. 

And to visit the other participating blogs today, click here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chick Lit Challenge: A Review!

Last night I finished 2 Days 'Til Sundae by Heather Muzik. Click here for the Amazon listing!!



This book pulled me in right away. I had to know if she'd ever get the little dollhouse that she so desperately needed to have! I'm a sentimental person, so I could totally relate to needing to hold on to things from our past. The main character, Cat, sure goes through a lot to get it, and so many hilarious things happen to her along the way! And of course, there's a super hot guy too!!!

I stayed up late last night to finish it, and when it ended with a little bit of a cliffhanger, I right away had to buy the sequel and read the first chapter!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Been MIA...but with good reason!! :)

I've been kinda quiet lately. Even my Twitter and FB presences have been limited. It's all because I've been busy at work!!!!

I FINISHED MY BOOK!!!!!!!

No, this isn't the first book I've finished, but this one set all kinds of records and goals for me. It was a completely different experience than I've ever had before!

I finished and perfected my last book the middle to end of March, and spent about two weeks sending it out to every agent I knew of. I knew I wanted to start a new book right away, but I decided to approach it differently.

First of all, I decided to plot. I have never been a plotter, other than a very short rough outline, like maybe 2 pages. But I'd heard from other authors who are published with bigger houses that after they sell the first, the editors will buy the next based on just a proposal of a synopsis and first 3 chapters. That got me thinking....I should probably learn how to plot. So I did. I spent a week plotting my newest book. At the end, I had 26 pages of outline...every single scene. Except the very end. I just couldn't plot that out.

So I started writing the book on April 16th.

The second thing I did differently was up my daily word count goal. I used to have a 1000 word daily goal, until I did NaNo. That proved to me I could do more...much more. So I upped my goal to 1500 each day. But because of my crazy outline, many days I wrote WAY more than that because there never was a moment where I stared at the screen wondering what my characters were going to do next. I'd already thought it all out!!

I wrote "The End" yesterday....day 35. I wrote about 80,000 words in 35 days! And in those 35 days, there was only one day I did not write at all: Mother's Day :)

I am so so proud of myself! I made goals and I smashed them. My original goal was to be done by the end of June. But then I started writing, and changed it to the end of May. I finished more than 2 weeks early!!!

And now starts the editing phase, which I am all ready for. I've already gotten some great feedback on the first two chapters and so far, the readers are loving it! YAY!!

I know fast writing is not for everyone and a book written this fast may need a lot of editing. But I am pretty confident in what I wrote....all thanks to my outline. There may be something to this plotting thing after all ;)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Is bad grammar becoming the accepted norm?

I read this post today by the very successful agent, Kristen Nelson (who is on my dream list of agents) about 50 Shades of Gray and what books like it are doing to the publishing industry....basically books that are poorly written, but by some fluke are getting mega attention.

The comment made by the very first person really made me think. (I didn't go on to read many more comments, as I had a feeling I might walk away from this post feeling crabby and I really didn't want to puts myself in a bad mood!)

Anyway, if you don't want to go read it, the commenter basically said that the average reader doesn't care about style and grammar, only editors and agents do.

This really made me start to wonder. Have readers just become used to poorly written books with bad grammar and stories with shallow plot lines?

Part of me says no. I also read recently that readers have become extremely leery of the 99 cent book...they've been burned far too many times. It's only a buck, but still....once you buy 10 or 20 bad 99 cent books, it sure adds up.

As always, this industry just keeps changing and morphing. Where would I be without Twitter to constantly update me??? LOL!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sharing or Bragging?

When does sharing happy news turn into bragging? Is it the way the news is presented? The frequency??

I don't consider myself a bragger. I usually try to keep good news to myself, unless it's people I know truly genuinely want to hear it...like my mom and dad. They always like to hear my good news--about myself, the kids, etc...

But the rest of the world?

I am very active on Twitter and I post on Facebook too. I use them as promotional tools and do often share happy news about my career and my personal life. But I do try not to post more than once. Often I feel as if sharing my good news is rubbing it into the faces of others who may not have what I have. I know how it can feel to hear good news from others and it be a reminder of the things you don't have. And I'm not just talking material things here. For the most part I am able to be genuinely happy for others...but there are some who seem to always share the same news over and over.

So what should you do with a bragger in your life? How can you share your happiness with the world without others thinking you are a bragger?




Monday, May 7, 2012

How was your weekend?

Mine wasn't real great. My son has been running a fever since Thursday afternoon. Up and down, up and up even more. Meds were't helping. Doc said it is most likely a virus. So while we wait it out, I'm obsessively checking his temp...setting my alarm to check him throughout the night since it would spike up so fast. (I don't fool around with fevers. My daughter had a febrile seizure when she was a baby due to a fever that spiked super fast. Too scary to ever want to repeat that!)

So anyway, yeah, my weekend kinda sucked. And my hubby was off. He only gets weekends off every 6 weeks :(

But we did go to my parents' house yesterday for dinner. I figured my son could be feverish at home or at Grandma and Grandpa's. But he was actually doing better--played outside for a while with his sister. There's just something about going to visit my parents and having someone to take care of me for once. My mom cooks dinner and won't ever let me bring anything. She cleans and rarely lets me help....I do clear the table though and that's about all she lets me do. When the kids need something, she jumps up to do it. Though me and my husband try to get to them first...I feel bad...our kids are our responsibility. But i d think she enjoys it. Overall, it's just a nice relaxing afternoon.

So, my weekend did end on a good note and my son is doing better today. Motrin wore off almost 3 hours ago and he's still nice and cool! Fingers crossed!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Chatty Cinco de Mayo!



Recipe for a fab Cinco de mayo!
Hot Cinco de Mayo Party Recipe
1 Party Site http://trsparties.com
13 Authors
32 Books
18 Hours
2 $50 Gift Certificates
Numerous Excerpts 
Assorted Giveaways
Laughter (unlimited)
 
Start with incredible party site provided by The Romance Studio. Mix Authors and Books thoroughly. Add excerpts. Sprinkle with giveaways and laughter. Simmer throughout the day. Randomly choose Gift Certificate winners. Serve H-O-T.
 
Caution: Product WILL BE HOT and may produce wetness in certain areas. For best results, serve with a bib or drool cloth.
 
Download book and party info here: http://is.gd/ejurot



Today--all day long-- I'm chatting with a bunch of other romance authors for this fun-filled event!!! Come stop by!!