50/50 Challenge

My local writer’s group is three weeks into our 50/50 challenge – write a minimum of fifty words a day for fifty days–and it has to be a work of fiction. You can take two days off in any one week, but those words must be made up so you have a minimum of 350 words for the week.

That doesn’t sound like much, does it? Fifty words a day for 350 words a week? That’s barely a page and a half. Most of us make our fifty and more. Some make way more–in the thousands range. The point of the challenge is to get you writing every day.

But you’d be surprised how hard some of those days are. Some days, I get my fifty in and that’s about it. For instance, yesterday… I had a bad night of non-sleeping and was up by five. Paid bills, took care of household accounts, worked on an edit for a friend, and yes, got some words done. Not many, but some. I had grocery shopping to do, then was on the road to deliver five boxes of books to a used book store (I’m downsizing) that is on the way to the home where my mother lives. It’s an hour drive one way and there was road construction everywhere, plus I don’t travel well. Oh, and add in there a stop for gas and another stop for groceries for my mom (called brother to tell him we were coming and was informed that Mom needed some things – could I pick them up?)

By the time my husband and I got home, I was exhausted, not feeling well, and–thanks to some things I found out at the home–had some financial issues to take care of for my mom. Because of my morning writing, I managed to get my fifty in…but barely. Total count was fifty-three. Last week, I had a 2000 day.

One of my friends lost her mother-in-law this week. She dropped out of the challenge because she has enough to cope with at this time. Another dropped out because of illness. Another because of work. Our numbers always start out strong, but along the way, we lose some for one reason or another. The reasons are valid. Life gets in the way of our writing time. Some manage to work around these problems, others don’t. And that’s fine. Each person has to do whatever works for her.

The point is, we face challenges every day. Some are more difficult than others. Am I going to tell my friend that the funeral she’s helping plan doesn’t matter? Or another that her husband’s brain surgery isn’t as important as her writing? Nope. Not going to do it.

But as soon as I’m done with this blog, you can bet I’m going to get my fifty words in. Because of my schedule today, it may be all I get in, but that’s okay. I challenged myself and I will meet that challenge.

What’s your challenge today?

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Series vs. serialized

I recently read a book by an author I had heard of through another. They recommended her series as something I might enjoy. And I did…right up to the end. When I got so angry at the author, I will never buy another one of her books.

Why? Because the book didn’t end. It stopped, but it didn’t end. It was a serialized novel. One book split into many sections and sold as a series. But it’s not a series! A series is defined as a set of events, programs, books, etc. each of which is complete in itself. They may contain the same characters and settings, and even an overall arc that connects the stories (like Harry Potter vs. Voldemort) but each one is a complete work all by itself. A serialized novel on the other hand, is not complete until the last book.

And I hate that. Okay, it’s a particular pet peeve of my own, but I really don’t like spending time to read a story only to get to the end and there’s no end. And I have to wait for the next one. I’m okay with it if I know this up front. Tell me that this is the first book of a set that will be continued in book two, three, four, etc. That way, I don’t feel cheated when I get to the end.

I understand that it’s a marketing ploy. If you want to know what happens, you have to buy the next book. But… as a reader, all you’ve done is anger me–and a lot of other people I’ve talked to. We feel cheated when we get to the end of book 1 and find out that it’s not the end. For me…that means forgetting about that story and that author because I refuse to buy any more of her books. (Plus, it wasn’t that great to begin with, but that’s another blog).

Yes, I have purchased some serialized novels from other authors over the years, and bought the entire set. But I usually wait until the entire set is available and then get them all at the same time so I can “finish” the book. But I knew before hand that they were serialized and not a series.

So… your opinion… how do you feel about series vs. serialized novels? Especially when you don’t know ahead of time that they are serialized?

Blasting through writing

My local RWA writing group has an event we do every other month that we call “Blast Week”. Basically, we go to a chat room and as many as want show up. One person is the “host” and generally runs the show. It usually runs for two hours. During that time, we “blast” through our writing in 20-25 minute increments. You write like crazy for twenty minutes, come back and chat for a little bit, then blast off again. Blast week is a great way to kick start your writing. It makes you really focus for that twenty minutes – and you’d be surprised how much you can get done in that amount of time. Most times, the twenty minutes flies by so fast, you don’t realize it’s happening until the host calls you back.

Though I wasn’t in the “mood” last night, I went to the blast. I’ve been struggling with my writing of late. Partly because of vision issues I’ve been having – being on the computer for more than about an hour gives me a vicious headache. But mostly because I’ve lost some of the joy of writing. It happens. All writers go through these highs and lows. But the blast last night brought me up. I found a new direction for my WIP and got almost 1200 words done for the day – mostly thanks to the blast. Plus chatting with them helped with a plot point I was struggling with. The blast for me was…a blast. 😉

So thank you to Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers (www.cprw.org) for pulling me out of my slump. And it’s only day one of blast week!

PSA: Don’t eat that!

Going off the topic of books today.

Many of my friends know I have multiple food hypersensitivities. What does that mean? It means, if I eat one of the foods on my “don’t touch that” list, I get sick. Except for one food, they’re not “allergies” – my body doesn’t produce antihistamines, I just get sick. Really sick.

For instance, yesterday afternoon, I was heat up some pasta sauce for my husband. I dipped the tip of my little finger in to see if it was warm enough (it wasn’t). Without thinking, I licked my finger off. That’s all it took. The dip of my little finger and a moment of not-thinking. For that, I spent the rest of the night running to the bathroom with horrible gut cramps or trying desperately not to puke.

For the lick of the tip of my little finger.

And no, there are no medications I can take for this. It’s not an allergy (besides, I’m hypersensitive to the allergy meds too – can’t take them).

And it’s not something I “will grow out of” as a doctor once told me – it’s actually getting worse as I get older. I’m down to a handful of fruits and vegetables that are “safe” for me. I can’t go to a grocery store and pick up a box or bottle of something that has the word “spices” listed on the label because I have no idea what those “spice” are. Is it what sent me to the ER and landed me in the hospital in January? I don’t go out to eat except for a very few places and even then, I’m extremely careful what I order. I know the wait staff gets frustrated with me asking what’s in something, but I can’t just order anything I want. When I’m at your home for a meal, I’m not being rude when I ask what’s in something. And I don’t want your grandmother’s secret family recipe. I need to know the ingredients – not the recipe. Because I need to know if it’s safe for me to eat.

But the worst is people who think “just a little bit won’t hurt you”. You don’t get it. Just a little bit WILL hurt me. (Remember – little finger, dipped) People like me who have food allergies/hypersensitivities aren’t faking it. Trust me. I wish I could eat like a regular person. Yes, there are things we don’t like, just like everyone else. But a food allergy/insensitivity is not a dislike. If we eat it, our bodies react in a bad way to that food. A really bad way.

So please, be aware of friends or relatives who have these food issues. When they ask what’s in something, tell them – and don’t leave anything out. And don’t be insulted. We can’t help what’s going on with us. It’s an illness – but one that cannot be cured. So please…understand.

Thank you

Vicki

It’s Alive! No Tears for Darcy

Available now from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and other outlets. And it’s even on sale today!

Letting love pass them by would be a crime.

Former forensic accountant Cameron’s lost nearly everyone he’s ever loved, and now his vintage clothing shop has been broken into and trashed. When town police chief Will Carson asks an out-of-town cop friend of his for help, Cam takes one look at the dark-haired, blue-eyed detective and knows he’s in real trouble—and it has nothing to do with vandalism or murder.

Pete Minchelli is on leave from his job in Philadelphia due to a gunshot wound, but he figures he can help an academy buddy with some light police work. Plus, he’ll have a chance to experience small-town life. He’s tired of the big city and all its corruption. But he quickly discovers that not all the bad stuff happens in cities. What he doesn’t expect to find is death, treachery—or love.

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Guest: KG Fletcher

Book Cover Final - GA ClayGeorgia Clay

Southern Promises – Book One

KG Fletcher

ISBN: 978-1-7320240-0-7

Buy Links:

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732024006/ref=la_B01MECVIJ1

“Georgia Clay” Watkins is a handsome, award-winning Nashville songwriter rubbing elbows with the elite stars of country music. An incredible talent in his own right, Clay has always hesitated to step into the spotlight on his own for fear his debilitating childhood secret will rear its ugly head.

Katie Parker is a workaholic Southern beauty who’s first love is her career. It’s not just her knowledge of the cut-throat insurance business she has skillfully navigated over the years, but her tenacity and gumption in climbing the corporate ladder.

The musician and career woman run into each other in the heat of the Atlanta summer at their ten-year high school reunion and unexpectedly end up in the bed of his pickup truck talking till dawn. As they forge ahead in a passionate long-distance relationship, can Clay admit to Katie she had his heart a long, long time ago? Will her drive and encouragement finally be the reason Georgia Clay takes a chance on his career…and love?

Excerpt 

“Thanks so much…for being here tonight,” Clay slowly said into the microphone, his voice deep and smooth. He was much more reserved when he spoke as opposed to his singing. This took Katie by surprise.

“You might recognize this next song. Sung originally by the great Brett Young, it recently crossed over into pop music featured in the movie, The Watchman…” The crowd started to get amped up as if knowing he was about to segue into his Grammy-award-winning song. He paused biting his lower lip, shaking his head and smiling at his bandmates, waiting for the noise to die down. “Here’s ‘Forever in Love’…”

Katie almost covered her ears with her hands because the shrieks and clapping of the audience were so loud. It only lasted a moment, the silence in the room immediately so prevalent you could hear a pin drop as the audience hung on every note and every word. The haunting melody was stripped down in the unplugged version Clay played. Moved to tears, Katie listened as he told the story through music about a love that he would never get over. She looked around the room at the mesmerized faces of his fans, tears streaming down more than one person’s face in the crowd. She could see the emotions the song conveyed and the profound effect it had on people. It was a captivating experience hearing the song performed by the creator himself. This was a moment she would never forget. It was pure magic.

When Clay strummed the last note in tandem with the haunting, sustained, single note of the fiddle player, it was as if time stood still. His head was bowed as if in worship, his chest rising and falling with each deep breath he took. Katie couldn’t imagine the exertion his entire body had gone through in conveying the emotions of the incredible story told through music. The roar of the crowd startled her as she watched every man and woman stand, offering Clay a heartfelt ovation. When he looked up and into the crowd, his eyes locked in on hers. She didn’t realize she was on her feet too, clapping with everything she had and nodding with pride, staring back at him through glistening tears. He absolutely took her breath away.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

KG Fletcher is the author of the standalone contemporary romance, The Nearness of You and romantic suspense novels, Love Song and Unexpected. She is an active member of RWA and the Georgia Romance Writers Association. She was a singer/songwriter in Nashville, TN and a recipient of the “Airplay International Award” for “Best New Artist” showcasing original songs at The Bluebird Café. She earned her BFA in theater at Valdosta State College and has traveled the world professionally as a singer/actress. She currently gets to play rock star as a backup singer in the National Tour, “Remember When Rock Was Young – the Elton John Tribute.” www.almosteltonjohn.com

KG lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Ladd and their three gorgeous sons. She is a hopeless romantic continuing her work on her original cabaret act called, “The Novel Romantic – an unexpected evening of sweet & spicy love” to help promote her romance novels.

Find KG online:

Website: www.kgfletcherauthor.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/@kgfletcher3

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kellyf9393/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/@kgfletcherauthor

Amazon: www.Amazon.com/author/kgfletcher

Cabaret Act: www.kgfletcherauthor.com/cabaret.html

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/kfletcher3

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38483940-georgia-clay

 

Cover Reveal: No Tears for Darcy

Here is the cover for my new book coming from Dreamspinner Press on April 4. I absolutely love this cover and thank Anna Sikorska and the DS art department for their amazing work. NO TEARS FOR DARCY is a romantic suspense with hot cops, betrayal, romance, and murder.

Letting love pass them by would be a crime.

Former forensic accountant Cameron’s lost nearly everyone he’s ever loved, and now his vintage clothing shop has been broken into and trashed. When town police chief Will Carson asks an out-of-town cop friend of his for help, Cam takes one look at the dark-haired, blue-eyed detective and knows he’s in real trouble—and it has nothing to do with vandalism or murder.

Pete Minchelli is on leave from his job in Philadelphia due to a gunshot wound, but he figures he can help an academy buddy with some light police work. Plus, he’ll have a chance to experience small-town life. He’s tired of the big city and all its corruption. But he quickly discovers that not all the bad stuff happens in cities. What he doesn’t expect to find is death, treachery—or love.

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The Second Sentence

The Second SentenceA Collection of Romance Novellas

The premise: That if 5 authors start with the same sentence, they will all write vastly different stories. The results: A series! After the success of The First Sentence, we upped the degree of difficulty. These romantic novellas run the gamut of genres but all are inspired by the same SECOND sentence.

Catch of a Lifetime by Vicky Burkholder
Maren spent her year above the waves searching for a mate before her father marries her off to a stranger. Then she meets the one. When Kai meets Maren, the water around them sparkles with magic. Then he finds out who she is. With family honor at stake, can they trust their love to the fates?

Sing to My Soul by Allison B. Hanson
Ariah Bentley’s life is all about music, so of course she’s fallen for a musician. In the past, the guys she’s dated have pretended to be into her just to gain access to her record-producer father. She’s certain Jackson Slater is different. Not only has he asked her to move in with him, but she never told him who her father was. But could he still be using her to get to the top?

Written in the Cards by Misty Simon
Lydia’s broken heart does not need to be at a Ren Faire, but her friend Penelope insists. Codpieces and men in tights shouldn’t do it for her, but when she meets a tarot card reader who seems to see right into her soul, she might just have to rethink this romance thing and see what the future holds.

In the Heart of Chaos by Victoria Smith
When the residents of her small town begin exhibiting zombie-like symptoms, Mari will do whatever is necessary to survive. She meets up with Jason, the boy-now-man she has loved forever, and they work together to help their community survive. Along the way, they discover the feelings that had always simmered under the surface are real.

The Tempest Turtle by Natalie J. Damschroder
Using time travel to right wrongs has filled Amaya and Brody’s lives for 12 years. But when they learn what The Charge, their employer, is really doing with the power they’ve tapped, everything changes. Their purpose. Their choices. And their feelings for each other.

Preorder Now (Release date: 2/14/18)

Guest Post: Tammy Mannersly

Tammy Mannersly is an Australian author based in Brisbane, Queensland. She loves writing romance, has a fondness for animals, is crazy about movies and enjoys a great Happily Ever After. Her passion for writing started at a very young age and led her to complete a Bachelor Degree in Creative Industries majoring in Creative Writing at Queensland University of Technology.

Persuading Lucy by [Mannersly, Tammy ]Persuading Lucy

By Tammy Mannersly

Blurb:

You can’t hide from destiny….

Callum Hawthorne is one of those lucky guys who seem to have it all. He’s a wealthy property tycoon, the CEO of his family’s company. He’s handsome, intelligent and charming and has a gorgeous new woman on his arm every week. But there’s one thing still missing – the love of his life, Lucy Spencer.

Fourteen long years ago, Lucy left for college and cut off all contact with Cal, leaving their mutual friend Madison as his only connection. That was until in his effort to save his deceased father’s beloved Gold Coast property, The Calypso, Cal contacts Insight Marketing, the best advertising firm in Melbourne, and discovers his Lucy among the team.

Successful marketing executive, Lucy Spencer had managed to avoid her ex-best friend for nearly half their lives. Fearful of trusting him, loving him and having her heart broken all over again, Lucy tries to keep her distance from him, but discovers that there is a fine line between love and hate, and maybe – just maybe – Cal could be her inescapable destiny.

Excerpt: 

“Cal?” She said his name as she glanced between the two options.

Is he behind door number one or door number two, she wondered. And if so, where exactly did door number two lead?

“Luce?” His voice sounded wary. “I’m at the adjoining door. I’ve unlocked my side, but you’ve got to unlock yours.”

The adjoining door?

Her gaze snapped to the right, to the bright cream color of door number two.

Yes, she’d heard that correctly. Cal had organized adjoining rooms. She would have been furious had the knowledge of it not sparked some deep enticement to tug at her libido. She considered telling him to head around to the front, not wanting to unlock the door between the rooms and add further temptation to what her slinky black dress was already offering—but she didn’t.

Without a word, she walked over to the door and placed her hand on the cold brass handle.

“Lucy?” His tone was cautious again.

With a flick of her thumb, she turned the lock and then twisted the handle. Her breath caught in her throat as she pulled the door toward her, slowly revealing the tall, broad handsome figure behind it.

Cal was elegantly dressed, matching her quite perfectly in his jet-black suit, white fitted shirt and gold and silver tie.

Lucy tried to breathe, she knew she needed air, but the scrumptious sight of him kept each breath too shallow. She felt like some kind of animal, like a creature that had been caged too long without food and now found itself face to face with an extraordinary meal. The feminist in her was irked at the comparison, at the thought of Cal as a potential piece of meat, but she knew the reality was much worse than that. She had hungered for him nearly all her life and now here he was, presented to her in such a perfect situation—adjoining rooms, for heaven’s sake—that her once tight control over her lustful desires was ever weakening.

$2.99

ISBN: 978-1-945910-49-4

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078851NPB/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/persuading-lucy

You can find out more information about Tammy and her work on her website: www.tammymannersly.com or by visiting:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tammymannersly

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16935790.Tammy_Mannersly

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tammymannersly/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TammyMannersly

 

Here’s to 2018

As 2017 comes to a close and we look forward to a new year, I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you the best. I know for many of us that the past year has been one of challenges, but tomorrow dawns a new day. Look not back, but forward. Below is blessing that I give to you. I’ve seen it listed as coming from multiple cultures and countries–which only means it’s a universal wish. May you have a blessed new year.

May your joys be as bright as the morning, and your sorrows merely be shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to keep you happy, enough failure to keep you humble, enough success to keep you eager, enough friends to give you comfort, enough faith and courage in yourself to banish sadness, enough wealth to meet your needs and one thing more; enough determination to make each day a more wonderful day than the one before.

Vicky