Thursday, September 29, 2011

The unlikeable protagonist????

Sometimes the main character in a story starts out a bit unlikeable.....unreleatable.....

When I first searched for an agent and publisher for A Bitch Named Karma...I had a real hard time. I didn't realize my character was unrelatable and unlikable until I was told so by an editor who judged a contest I entered the story in. And at first I couldn't see it. (What? They are COMPLETELY crazy!) But then I did start to see what they meant. And it angered me a bit. Yes, Lexi is self-centered and materialistic and just a the beginning.... Did all these agents and publishers really think I wrote an entire story with a main character like that who did not learn and grow throughout??? I thought they should have had a little faith that the character would not stay the same. That she would turn into a character the reader would love and admire and really feel connected to. Don't all main characters in any movie or book develop throughout the story? Become different people, or at least better versions of what they were in the beginning.

I have two prime examples of stories where the protagonist starts out really mean and nasty and unlikeable.

Let's first take Lightning McQueen from Cars.

This has long been one of my kid's favorite moves, and in my top 3 Disney films. I really just love it. But Lightning starts out very unlikeable- he's mean to his crew, he has no respect for his fans, he pushes his driver to go all night, promising to stay awake with him...then falls asleep on him. He's plopped in a new town where he insults the residents and does a crappy job fixing their road- his penance for destroying it. But as the movie goes on, he slowly learns what life is all about and what really matters. In the end, you can't help but root for him to win the big race...and even when he doesn't, he's still the winner. I get teary every single time I watch it.

And something a bit more adult, the character of Darcy in Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed.

I adored the main charter in the book, Rachel. Like most women, I identified with her on so many levels. And even though she did a bad thing, I wanted her to do it because she deserved to and her supposed BFF, Darcy, was such a colossal bitch. But in that story, Darcy was not the main forward to book two- Something Blue.

I did not expect Darcy to be the protagonist and I did not like her AT ALL. She was the bitch who made my "friend" so miserable in the first book. Several times I wanted to put the book down and not continue. But I did because I had faith in the writer and the character. And in the end I did like Darcy and enjoyed her story. I liked watching her mature and become a different person.

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where the main character was not likeable in the beginning?? What did you do?? Did you put it down, or did you push on...having faith that the character would grow and develop??

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Survey is up and running!!

I got my survey together and it's been live for a few days now. I am getting some really great feedback on it!! I really cannot wait to share this facts with you all!!

So please please please.....share the link with anyone who would be willing to help me and fill it out. I really only want readers--non writers--to fill it out. I think writers have completely different habits when it comes to reading and purchasing books. I just want the answers from pure readers!!

Thank you!!!! Click here for the survey!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Did you know I have another blog?????

Yes...I try to keep up two blogs. Tried it once before....a cooking blog I did with another writer...but that kinda failed. Went well for a while but both of us just got too busy to keep it up. It's kind of a pain to post a recipe and review and all that...takes a lot of time.

I've always had my other blog in the back of my one day I just decided to do it. Not sure if many of you know, but I am a HUGE Disney World fan. I  love the planning process that goes into a trip and all my friend know I am the one to come to with Disney-related questions. And everyone always seems to have the same questions. So I decided to start this blog as a place for them to go...with all of my advice already there and waiting. 

It is mainly an informational blog, so daily posts are not completely necessary. But I do try to post once or twice a week to keep it updated.

So if you're a Disney World fan like me, please stop by!! Disney Dreaming

Friday, September 23, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation....

Today I am participating in a blogfest, hosted by Michael Di Gesu at In Time!! Who doesn't want to hold onto summer just a tad bit longer??? This sounded like a fun way to relive my own vacation and share in everyone else's!

Click here for the list of participants!

So here's my entry:

My summer vacation this year was very close to not happening.

Most years we don't even take a trip during the summer. The weather is so nice here and there is so much going on all summer long that there really isn't a need. We tend to travel in the fall and winter, when we really need a getaway. Our yearly trek to our favorite vacation destination, Walt Disney World, was all planned for November. But then we had to postpone the trip. And this only made me completely desperate to go somewhere, anywhere. But that wasn't exactly easy.

My husband was due for a job transfer this summer and we couldn't make any plans in case the transfer went through. Months we sat around waiting and waiting and finally we just booked a trip. Nothing fancy. Few days at the beach. His bosses had been dragging their feet and it wasn't looking like anyone was going anywhere.

And then, of course, the transfer came through.

Somehow he managed to pull some strings and get the vacation days he needed. We packed up our car, with not a single square inch of room left, and were on the road by 4 am, as planned. We sunned, played in the sand, jumped over waves. We rode thrill rides and coasters of all kinds, and even some awesome water slides. It was fun and exactly what we'd needed!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy medium between Modest and Whore?

Maybe "whore" is a little much..but I was hoping to grab some attention here!! LOL!! This kinda is a continuation of yesterdays post.

I am a very modest person...or at least I try to be. It's just not in my nature to brag about myself, my accomplishments. I mean there are some people I my mom. She always wants to know everything that happens to me, my kids, etc... But it's my mom. Of course she wants to know.

Part of why I keep most things to myself is because I think of others and if I think certain news will possibly hurt someone's feelings or make them sad, I would rather just keep it to myself. Like a while back. We were getting close to our Disney trip. We were excited. I love talking about all things Disney World. But one of my friends was going through a rough time financially. So I felt it wrong to talk about my upcoming vacation. I've also been going to the gym for almost 2 years, so I've lost weight, toned, etc... But I won't brag to my friends about it. I know they're all struggling. And I'm not I don't feel like I can brag even if I wanted to.

It's the same with my writing successes. I know so many writers who are struggling and just can't catch a break. I know how I felt every time I read about someone's newest achievement when I was struggling. (And there are many days now where other people's good news still hurts because I am not as far in my journey as I'd like to be right now...but that's a whole 'nother post.)

BUT then there is the other side of me that needs to be the "whore" and put myself all out there for the world. I NEED to get my name out there, my books, my blurbs...I need to generate traffic to my website so people will read the excerpts I posted that will hopefully entice them to want to read my books. Being quiet and reserved will not sell books.

So how about you??? Are you a bragger?? Or do you keep quiet?? Are you somewhere in the middle?? Got any pointers for me?? :)

And PLEASE share the link for my survey....Readers writers!! Survey

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is it best to be everywhere??

As everyone knows....or if you don't know....pull up a seat and listen close....authors need to do about 99% of their own promotion these days. Unless you're Stephen king or JK Rowling....

But the rest of us need to put our names and books out there...entice readers to spend their hard-earned dollars on our book. Social media has made this relatively easy. There are so many places to put your face and books: Facebook groups and author pages, Twitter, blogs, Goodreads, Yahoo groups, LinkedIn, and a million other places.

But what is best?? Where should you spend your time? Is more better?

I am lucky enough to stay home and not work outside of my home. I have one child home with me and another who is in school full day. I get a decent amount of time each day to work and network. But I still have many interruptions and responsibilities. So it's not always all that great. I do what I can. But that means I have to limit the time I spend doing Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, etc... I could spend hours and hours each day doing that. But that means I get little or no time to actually write.

And what about the working writer who has to do the 9-5 all day and only has a couple hours each evening to do all their writing related things???? They can't spend all of their little time networking and promoting. Or they'd never have anything new to promote.

So my question today is...does it really pay to have your face and hand in EVERYTHING out there???

I do what I can...I think I'd rather do a couple things, and really do them right, than try and visit a million places each day. But I have days where I feel like I'm not doing enough. that I should be doing more. But then my work in progress suffers. There's only so many hours in the day and I can't neglect my family (and I don't want to). And as much as I would loooooove it...I cannot survive on an hour of sleep.

Lastly today, if you can help me out...I have gotten my survey up and running!!! Yay!! It is for readers ONLY, not writers, so please please please send the link to anyone you think may help be willing to help me out!! I will be posting the results here on my blog in a few weeks!! I think the info will be very valuable for all authors!! Survey

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lucky 13

Today is my 13th wedding anniversary! My how time flies! LOL! But really does. Can't believe how far we've come. 13 years ago hubby was making far less money...I was working full time at my first career, making far less than him. We were almost ready to close on our first house.

Now hubby is making lots more, (me lots less, but I am in a different career, just starting out), we have two kids, a bigger house, more responsibilities.

We have a great life. We work hard to have what we have, and enjoy everything we do. We try to make the best of each day and just have fun.

Not much of a celebration this year. It's Monday, so we can't really go out or anything. We might go out to dinner and take the kids. We'll get them in bed and relax with some of our favorite shows that start brand new tonight (How I Met Your Mother!!) We don't have money to buy each other presents but we don't really care.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My first Sunday Six!

I think I'll start out with something from A Bitch Named Karma.

A strange woman stood nearby wearing a long patchwork dress fusing together hideous mismatched fabrics, one appearing to be burlap or something else equally coarse. Her long reddishorange hair flowed past her behind and she ranted about something. I ignored her screeches as I walked by until her pale hand shoved a photocopied paper in front of my face.

“Change your destiny!” she screamed. “Karma will destroy your life if you don’t change your ways!”

“Yeah, okay lady.” I pushed the Karma Kronicle back at her.

“You’ll be sorry…” I faintly heard as I continued on.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Survey says......

I've decided to do a reader survey to try and find out what entices a reader to buy certain books, where they find out about the books they choose to read, and their favorite ways to read them. I would like the survey to be completed only by readers who do not also write. I think there is a huge difference in how writers choose what they read versus how purely readers do. I know many of the books I read are because they are friends of mine and I want to support them. Readers don't really do that.

How can you help? Why thank you for asking! There are a few ways!!

First of all, if you have a question you are interested in knowing, please share it below!

Second, if you would be willing to pass the survey out to friends, family, colleagues of yours who are purely readers and not writers, that would be awesome! Comment below and let me know!

And lastly...all readers who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for all kinds of goodies. So...if you have any author swag or fun stuff you'd like to donate for the cause, please let me know!!!

Thank you thank you thank you!! And, of course, after it's all said and done, I will compile the info and share it with all of you!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The eternal question: Treebook vs. Ebook??

I make absolutely no attempt at hiding the fact that I ADORE ebooks and ereaders. For me, it made reading easier and more convenient. I love the size of the device and what it gives me. But I also love paperback and hardcover books. Reminds me of being a kid and snuggling up in my hot pink vinyl beanbag chair and reading.

I just love matter how I read them.

Hubby bought me a hardcover for my birthday. It is the fifth book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I am a huge huge fan of Ann Brashares, so when I heard this book was out, I had to have it. But digital wasn't good enough. I know I will read this book again. I just need to have a physical copy.

But part of me really wants the entire series in digital format's just so much easier to read than holding the heavy hard cover.

Do you own any books in both formats???

And don't forget to sign up for my Blog Event!! Button is on the right hand side!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Call me naive, call me ingorant, call me stupid.....

Ever have one of those days where you sit back and wonder why you're really here...what are you supposed to be doing...are you living your life in the best possible way???

One of my biggest flaws is that I let what other people say bother me. And it's not that someone judges me directly....but I hear other people talk about what they do, or don't do, and it makes me wonder if they think I am naive, ignorant and stupid for doing the things I do and making the decisions I make. Their statements make me feel I'm a bad person, a bad parent, for doing the things I do. I tell myself not to care what others think....but I can't help it sometimes. I tell myself not to let what other people say make me feel like less of a person, but again, I just can't help it sometimes.

I was at a picnic the other day, and conversation turned political. I immediately withdraw when any conversation turns too political or religious. I have my views and I prefer not to share them. I know not many share them and I prefer not to get into heated debates over these topics. I don't see the point. No one's minds will be changed, and no one will change mine. So why get all worked up??

But just listening to the conversation had me questioning myself and what I do and why I do it and I hated that. I have my own mind and I hate that I let other people's opinions affect me.

My husband and I have built a life for ourselves. We try our best. We want to raise happy healthy kids who are caring and considerate. We want to live happy lives, enjoying each other and making the most of what we have. I know there are times we put too much emphasis on material things and spend our money frivolously. I know all the bad that is going on in the world, but I sometimes tend to tune it out. Call me ignorant...but sometimes I prefer to just live in a happy bubble. If I focus on the bad it makes me so depressed and sad....anxious and scared. I don't want to live my life like that. I can't control anything outside my own life.

So I do what I can to make our life happy and I do what I can for our community. I know I'm not doing as much as other people do, but I like to think I am helping at least a little bit.

So...on that note....if you haven't already, please sign up for my Lucky in Love Blog Event!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blog focus???

 When I started this blog, it had no real focus. I didn't know much about blogging then. I just did it because it was something I thought I needed to do to help build my platform. It sounded something I could get into. I wanted to share myself and my journey. But once I started, it really became something I hadn't expected. I found an amazing community of writers and readers. So so supportive!! And I did my best to support them in return. I blogged mainly about writing related things. I couldn't really teach anyone anything, but I did my best to share my experiences on my journey. But everyone seemd to enjoy my posts and appreciate them.

But now I just don't know what to write about. I guess I can keep writing about the same topics. But I still am not a teacher...I don't think I will ever feel like I can come on this blog and teach people. I still have days where I feel like I know absolutely nothing.

My readership has dropped CONSIDERABLY. I am not happy about this at all. Makes me think that I have lost everyone...I am not interesting one cares what I have to say. I tried chalking it up to summer...but summer's over. I posted my new cover last week and I only got 4 comments. :( I'm trying to do a Blog Event in a couple weeks to kick start my promotion for the fall. Only two participants beside myself (and I know them in real life! LOL!) I know I haven't been around much posting on other's blogs...this summer really pulled me away from the computer unlike any other summer has. But I promise...I am jumping back in!!!!

I struggle with topics to write about...many of my current followers are also writers, so I know they are interested in informational blogs. But as I said, I can't teach. And I want to attract non-writers too.

So here I sit, wondering what the heck to do!!!

Please please please sign up for my Blog Event on the 19th! Click here!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's my birthday!! But I have a surprise for all of you!!!

I know birthdays are not special to many people...but for me...even as I step into my mid-thirties today...I still feel special on this day. I think everyone should feel special on their birthday! It's the only day of the year that is just for you.

I have long sine abandoned parties on my birthday, but in our family, we still celebrate. The birthday person gets to choose where we go for dinner and we enjoy a nice meal together. I don't get as many presents as I used to...and I'd be lying if I didn't say I missed it! Can't help it...I'm a girl who likes to be spoiled!!! But my parents and my mother in law always treat me to something and hubby too...but usually I pick out my own present and say "This will be my birthday present!) LOL!

So anyway...without further ado..I have a present for all of you on my birthday!!! It's sultry and sexy and I can't wait to hear what you think! It's my new covert art!!!!! Karma Kameleon will release in January 2012 and here is the cover!!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

If you've got it, FLAUNT IT!!!!

Content Warning!!!
Today's post is for 18 and over only!

Today I have interviewed a fabulous friend of mine, fellow romance author Natasha Moore!! Her latest release is Flaunt It! Learn a little about her and what she did to celebrate her book releases

Hello Natasha! I have the standard first question for you! :) Have you always wanted to be a writer? What made you decide to write romance? 

I’ve been writing my own stories since I learned how to read and write. I used to pass around my own version of fan-fic back in 6th grade to my classmates, stories written on lined notebook paper.
As I grew up, I realized I liked books with romances in them, and always wished there was more romance in the books that didn’t have them. So making sure there was enough romance was a no-brainer when I began to write seriously. I read all across the board, but still long for more romance in the stories that aren’t romances. Hopeless, I guess.

I see you are published with three houses, Samhain, Ellora's Cave, and Red Sage. Why go with different houses? Pros and cons to doing so?

After writing and submitting and getting soooo close, but still getting rejected, I decided to tweak five different manuscripts for five different markets and submit them all at the same time. I told my husband that if I threw enough stuff against the wall, something was bound to stick LOL. Within a six month period, I sold three of those projects to these three publishers. There are many pros as far as I’m concerned. I like being able to write different types of stories. I like the experience of working with different editors. I like not having all my eggs in one basket. The only con I’ve seen is when I had releases at the same time with more than one publisher, and then it’s just the fact that life got a little crazy then.

When did you join Romance Writers of America? And how has it helped your career? 

I joined RWA when I first started writing romance, and that was a LOT of years ago. LOL. The resources and the people I have met while being part of this organization have been instrumental in my career, from the support from my fellow members, to the contests that brought me in front of editors, to the education and information I’ve gleaned from the workshops and loops. I doubt I would have continued to write for publication if it wasn’t for the people I met through RWA.

You've had lots of releases! A little birdie told me you have done something special for each of those releases? Care to share with my readers? ;)

You mean my ink? After I signed my fifteenth contract, I celebrated by getting a tattoo with fifteen hearts. I’ve signed four more contracts since then, so I may have to add some more hearts soon. 

Now let's chat about your new release, Flaunt It! Fab cover!! Tell us about it- blurb, inspiration, etc...

 I’d love to talk about Flaunt It, and Paolo’s Playhouse, the series that launches with its release. Actually, the idea for the series came first. I wanted to write a series of stories, each focusing on a different fantasy, and thought that an exclusive fantasy playhouse, and its sexy owner, Paolo, would be a good way to anchor the series.

The first two stories play with exhibitionism and voyeurism, and take place in adjoining playrooms, on opposite sides of a two-way mirror. Here’s the blurb for Flaunt It:

When it comes to sexy and sassy, Piper, the most popular waitress at Ben’s bar, has it all going on. Now that they’re dating, though, Ben wishes she’d dial down the skimpy clothes and flirty attitude, and her habit of dancing and flashing to her favorite song. Every teasing peek at her body, every a laugh at some customer’s lousy joke, is certainly good for business—but it sends his jealousy meter into the red zone.

Sure, they’re dating, but he’s no muscled, tattooed stud with diamonds in his ears. How can he compete, especially when she refuses to even spend the night at his place?

Desperate, Ben books a room at his friend Paolo’s fantasy club, hoping an erotic night in front of a two-way mirror will get her exhibitionist streak out of her system. Praying it won’t prove his greatest fear—that she lives only to show off. And he’s not that special to her at all…

The second story in the series, Risk It, will be released Nov 15th. The other two stories in the series will be released in February and May and play with ménage and bondage fantasies.

Can we have an excerpt? 

Of course!

“Did I ever tell you that you’re a great kisser?” she asked.

“No.” He was a little surprised. He’d never put a whole lot of thought into kissing. As far as he was concerned, it was just a prelude of things to come.

“Well, you are,” she said, threading her fingers through his hair. “Kiss me again.”

Ben ran his tongue across her slick pink lips. She tasted so sweet. But a taste wasn’t enough. Never enough. He pressed against the seam of her lips and she opened to him. When he plunged his tongue into her mouth, Piper moaned and leaned into him. She started to suck greedily on his tongue, and each pull caused his cock to throb in a matching rhythm.

His heart raced; his breathing kicked up too. There wasn’t anything better than the feel of her body stretched along his, her softness cradling his hardness. Except when his cock was buried deep inside her. And if they didn’t slow things down just a bit, this evening was going to be over real quick. She didn’t need another quickie. He let up his grip on her shoulders and they broke apart. Her breathing was just as ragged as his.

Whatever made him think a quickie in her apartment would make any difference in the way he wanted her now?

“Off,” she demanded and tugged his shirttails out of his trousers. He helped her with the buttons and shrugged out of the shirt.

“So are we just going to screw around or what?” she asked. “’Cuz I’m getting that itch between my toes again if you know what I mean.”

Yeah, he knew. She reached for his belt and Ben stopped her hands with his own. They were usually equals when it came to controlling their sex play, but tonight he was going to direct the action.

“Wait,” he said.

She looked up at him, her eyes wide and curious. He led her over to the deep gold curtains that covered one entire wall. He placed his hands on her shoulders and moved her to the center of the space, facing the curtain. “You wanted to know what this room is for? What fantasy you can live out in here?”

Piper nodded and without a sound watched as he walked to the corner of the room and pulled on the cord. The curtains parted smoothly, silently, revealing a mirror that covered the entire wall from floor to ceiling, from one corner to the other. He met Piper’s confused gaze in the mirror.

“Some people like to watch. Some people like to be watched.” He came up behind her and slid his arms around her, pulling her against him so that her ass rubbed against his aching cock. “And I know you like it, babe. You like to be watched.”

Her eyes widened and she might have tried to back up, but he was pressed up against her and she couldn’t move. “This is a two-way mirror?” She stared into the mirror as if she was trying to see through to the other side. “There’s someone on the other side watching us?”

“Your fantasy, right? I know you like to be looked at.” He slid his hands up to her breasts and squeezed. “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

Spicy...I like it!!!!

Any secrets to success you can share with me and my readers?

There are no secrets, I’m afraid. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Be open to new ideas. Don’t give up.

And just for fun:

Favorite restaurant: A little restaurant in our village called Hungry Hannah’s, where we meet friends for breakfast every Sunday morning.

Favorite store to shop at: Clothes shop? Christopher and Banks.

Favorite vacation destination: Outer Banks. We’ve stayed there almost every year for nearly 10 years.

Favorite sweet snack: Chocolate.

Favorite TV show: Bones. I could care less who the murderer is. I love the interaction of the characters.

Thanks for having me as your guest today!

 Check out Flaunt It and Natasha's website!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer's last hurrah!

How do you kiss summer goodbye?????

Today I am guest blogging over at Fierce Romance! Come check it out!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Today is the FABULOUS Cassandra Carr's Birthday!!!!!!!! And she's celebrating all day on her Facebook Page and Twitter!!! I will be hanging out and there will be oodles of prizes and giveaways!!! Please stop by!!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

HUGE SALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lyrical Press is having a huge sale!! ALL titles are 50% off this weekend, starting today!!! Stop by and pick up a few new books to snuggle with this fall!!!!!

And of course, if you need some suggestions, A Bitch Named Karma, Paradise Cove, and Soap Dreams!! ;)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Do you ever wonder if you share too much???

I am, by nature, a very open and honest person. I never flinch when someone asks a personal question. I have no issues sharing my experiences, especially if it will help someone. And there are times I like to talk about myself! LOL! Who doesn't?

But sometimes I do wonder if I share too much...especially online.

Now I never worry about Facebook...I keep it set to private and I'm only friends there with people I know in real life...who would know the details about my life anyway.

On Twitter I never use names of my husband or kids, and I don't here on my blog/website either. But I do share stories from my personal life. I talk about the city I grew up in...because I love it. I talk about my favorite places to go. I talk about being a writer, a mom, a wife.....I like to connect with people on a personal level and how can you do that without revealing bits of yourself?

I know many authors prefer to write under a pen name for the purpose of keeping their private life private. I never wanted a pen name, though I did consider it because my married last name is not really all that easy to pronounce. But in the end I decided not to. I wanted to see MY name on the cover of my book..not some name I made up. And fame is not why I write, but yeah, I wanted to be able to go somewhere someday and have someone ask, "Oh, are you THE Stephanie Haefner?" And I could say, "Why, yes!"

Indulge my fantasies for a second, 'kay?

I've been on other blogs where I have felt the blogger shared too much...too many personal photos, too many names and places. I don't want that for my blog but I don't want the opposite either. I strive for a happy middle.

But even in the middle ground, I wonder if I reveal too much. What about you? Ever feel that way? What do you do to protect yourself??