Some Wisdom from a Great One

August 16, 2016 at 10:59 am (Authors, Virtual Gems)

And no, I’m not talking about Wayne Gretzky. I’m talking about The Melissa Blue. (No, really–that’s her name, see?) And the woman drops hella knowledge, one such gem being this morning.

Check it out–


Now, I wanted to draw your attention to this for two reasons. The first is she’s absolutely right–do NOT compare your career to someone else’s. An ugly dark path does indeed await you and it can mess you the fuck up. So don’t. Just don’t.

But the second reason is she’s 100% right about the Catch-22. You grow and learn by doing it yourself, absolutely, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the help that is there in front of you. There are trailblazers, experts, and mavericks aplenty out there and why not take a look at what they did to see how, if at all, it fits you? It’d be crazy not to, but yeah, watch your step. The difference between sifting for gems and that nasty black pit of self-doubt is only a few degrees but the lingering effect is enormous. Just watch your step.

(For more awesome knowledge and seriously HAWT books, check out Melissa at her website, on Facebook or on Twitter.)


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Why a Writing Challenge is Important (Secrets Within…)

May 27, 2016 at 9:06 am (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems, Writing)

So, last you heard from me was–gosh–over two months ago on March 20th. (I’d link it but it was a pretty small post and you know how to find it if you really do want to read it.) Anyhoozles, you are due an update, probably treats and booze too, but we’ll start with the update.

My 30 Days of Write Challenge for March? I did not accomplish a sentence a day for 30 of the 31 days, so one might argue that the challenge was a fail. However, I accomplished something much greater (two things, perhaps) so I call the challenge a great big bucket of win. This leads us to Outcome #1:

A writing challenge is what you make it, so don’t let the rules tell you otherwise or make you feel awful about how you finished.

Here’s what happened to me.

I was motoring along, doing my sentence (plus) a day, when something wonderful happened. I was driving to work, listening to the soundtrack to my book when another book popped into my head. This is one I’ve been working on for a while and it’s been vexing me. I’m thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close–got a strong, fierce heroine but my hero needed that one little something to put him in the neighborhood of the woman he was supposed to end up with. Well, something about the other book’s soundtrack and, what I truly and firmly believe is the writing muscle I’d been flexing during the challenge, came together to bop me on the head like Tinkerbell’s wand to say, “This is what your hero needs to be.”

Ka-blam. Pow. Holy shit. Cue fireworks. I had it. I had it!

This is where the writing challenged diverged in the yellow wood and I, I took the path less edited. Or needing to be edited, I guess, but yeah–I honored Tinkerbell’s bonk on the head and started editing the other book, knowing I was putting my sentence-a-day book on the back burner. But you know what? That’s okay, and it leads us to Outcome #2:

A writing challenge is what you make it, so if you need to leave or alter your original plan, it’s okay to do.

So the editing was going awesomely–I tore through the first quarter of my book by the end of March (so hell yeah, I’m calling my March challenge won and done!) and I was feeling great. But then something beautiful happened again and yes, dear reader, I’m calling this a direct result of the challenge, that writing muscle I’d been flexing–no matter how small–on a daily basis.

I’ve had this other book (don’t we all have about seventy kabillion ideas floating in our heads at any one time?) that I’ve been letting stew deep in the fecund writing stew of my brain. I had a soundtrack and oh damn did I have the characters in my head (and they’re so awesome together. {swoons}) and I had some crucial scenes but it wasn’t ready yet.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?

Ka-blam. Pow. Holy shit. Cue fireworks. Tinkerbell’s wand hit me again, gave me a plot point that just tied it all together with a neat little bow. And I started writing this story and it has been flowing so deliciously. I think I’m around 35K right now and am just loving the hell out of it.

So that’s where I’ve been for the past 2 months–editing and writing like a fiend, swimming with the tide my writing challenge started way back on March 1st. That book I started then? Yeah, it’s still in there, building and growing in the back of my head, and I know it’s going to have its moment like this current one did. It’s my process and I am Ned Flanders okily-dokily with it. Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise, this tide is going to carry me through the summer and into the fall. And if I need some help somewhere in there, well you can bet I’m going to get another 30 Days of Write started, give me the boost I need to get back where I need to be.


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One Sentence Has Never Meant So Much

March 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems, Writing)

So, here I am at Day 20 for my 30 Days of Write challenge. I just wrote my official sentence (two of them, actually) for today, so I can tell you with swear-on-a-stack-of-bibles truth tDSC02190hat I am meeting my challenge. I haven’t even used my cheat day yet, though some days have been verrrrrrry close.

A sentence a day has been more difficult than I thought, but it’s also been more rewarding. I’ll talk about it more when I’m done and have had a little bit of time to reflect on my 30 Days of Write, but for now I can tell you this: it’s been amazing. Doing a sentence every day forces you to think about your story more than usual, because you have this once-a-day goal chained to your brain. Sure, it’s a tiny goal, but the effects are huge. The sentence is the pebble, but the ripples are the payoff.


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Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

March 9, 2016 at 8:00 am (Creativity, FAFW)

WebcoverToday is March 9th, 2016 and exactly one year ago today, my first book was released. It’s been a tremendous, wonderful journey and I can’t wait for my next step, my next book, and more than anything, I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

To all of you who have purchased THE FIGHTER AND THE FALLEN WOMAN or tweeted it or blogged about it or reviewed it or celebrated with me or did some spectacular thing worthy of a super-hug, I thank you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to my 30 Days of Write. It’s getting time to kick it into a higher gear. YAWP!!!

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30 Days of Write: Days 2-5

March 6, 2016 at 10:07 am (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Writing)

DSC_0004All I’m thinking right now is I’m a freaking genius. I set up this writing challenge so one sentence a day is a win (see? genius!) and so far, I am winning. Almost took my pass day yesterday but nope–got 3 sentences written. The box on March 5th gets marked with a big green check. Hooray!

And where I could hang my head and mumble about how sick I’ve been and how work was an extra helping of suck on Friday and all kinds of excuses, I’m not. This challenge is about more than that singular daily sentence, always was. It’s about getting back into the mode of writing, the constant brain-churning of characters and plot and arc and beats and themes and everything else that makes up a good story, and it’s working!

  • My 7 or so sentences on Day 2 brought me a single line of description for my antagonist and, if I may say so, it is perfect.
  • My 3 sentences on Day 5 wrapped up my first scene. The final sentence, the one that sets everything and ties my hero and heroine together in ways they cannot even begin to comprehend just makes me giddy, this-would-never-be-just-a-kiss giddy.
  • And to get into writing mode, I’ve been listening to my Michael Hauge lectures over and over again. Though I’ve been keeping the current story in mind, something about listening to them yesterday gave me a few great tweaks for the one I’m about to start editing (code name: Bedlam) which is going to make it so much stronger!

So, you see, the writing is about more than single-story quantity; it’s absolutely about quality across all of my writing, from my current story to editing to even my blog posts. I could scrap my 30 Days challenge now and I’d be very comfortable declaring myself a winner, but I’m not going to. Just think–if I’ve made this much progress in 5 days, what can I do in thirty?


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30 Days of Write: Day 1

March 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm (30 Days of Write, Writing)

I wrote yesterday. It was 11 sentences, but where that number may be small, my victory was huge, because I wrote. I knew it was going to be tough getting some momentum
going and the residual effects of my infection are being tiring, lethargic beasts, but I wrote and, as it was more than 1 sentence, fulfilled my challenge requirements. (Mama didn’t raise no fools…)

PSX_20160302_142140I’m still pretty wiped out today, still have tons of things to do, but you know what? Yup, I’m gonna write again. Those 11 sentences yesterday? Not only were they great for the simple fact that they were written, they’re also fabulous because I turned my hero from something a little beta, a little too nice, into an asshole. Not a raging one, but one who is flawed and has made some very bad decisions. Oh, don’t worry–he’ll pay for them and become a better person in the process, but I’m still going to torture the fuck outta him first. There are no easy love stories in my world.

Bring it on, Day 2.


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30 Days of Write: March 2016 edition

March 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Writing)

First of all, thank you to everybody who voted for me in the #Swoonies2016. I did not make it out of the first round, but it was a total blast being nominated and, knowing Tessa Dare is in the finals? Well, this historical romance writer’s heart is happy and full.

Now, on to business. As you can tell from the title of this blog post, I’m setting up a writing challenge for myself. I’m coming off a nasty respiratory infection, have a epic shit-ton of things to do in March and need another thing on my to-do list like…well, like I need another thing on my to-do list. But I’m going to do it anyway.


Because I need to. I have to. The idea of a 30 Days of Write challenge (yes, I have one excuse day–we’ll get to that later) is a heavy weight, but I. Have. To.

I know me. Once I get a pace going, I’m damn near unstoppable, the USS Pamela Cayne, but the trick is getting that pace going. I’ve blogged about this before–the whole ‘getting a bicycle‘ going, and it’s still truth. But I’ve got this book…I’ve had this book for a while, all set up and ready to go, but then something happened about 2-3 weeks ago.

It changed.

I was doing some light noodling on it and with one “I wonder if…” turned this book on its fucking ear. It exploded–all kinds of crunchy goodness explosions. Plot points opened before me like I was Hermione with a wand, chemistry sizzled and popped like water thrown on hot oil, choirs of dark and twisty romance angels SANG.

But I have to get going on it, get past this sludge I fell into with my nasty infection and Tons of Other Things. And, it makes me think of one of my favorite philosophies–if it scares the shit out of you, that means you absolutely, positively should write it. I absolutely, positively do not have the time to start a writing challenge, but you can bet your sweet bippy I’m going to do it anyway.

All I have to do is write a sentence a day. 30 sentences and I will have conquered the March 2016 edition of 30 Days of Write. But I know me, if not today, then pretty damn soon I’m going to be writing much more than a sentence. Just like I know my competitive side won’t let me take that day off–30 Days of Write will turn into 31 Days of Fuck Yeah.

Join me if you’d like–I’m hoping to be talking about this on Facebook and Twitter, so if it’s one sentence a day, one photo posted online, one line of knitting on your scarf that’s taunting you, join me. Let’s see where we are on March 31st.

Okay, got two tortured and flawed characters who need to fall in love, got JT’s “Drink You Away” blasting on the iPod, got the best cheerleader in the world in my corner. Time to write.





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February 14, 2016 at 10:13 am (Events, FAFW) ()

Wow. What a Valentine’s Day! First, I wake up to (among other things) a beautiful handmade card from my husband, then I discover I’ve been officially nominated for a Swoonie, Heroes & Heartbreakers’ head-to-head battle for the Swoonworthiest Couple of the Year.

LadyandKingSwoonie(I wish I could take credit for this stunning graphic, but all of that credit needs to go to the wonderful people at H&H!)

[Ahem. Vote here.]

So what this means? Well, in a basic view, it means some people loved Lady and King enough to nominate them for this tournament, and I can’t tell you how freaking happy that made me. Seriously. I knew Lady and King had an audience, that there were readers out there who would like my kind of dark Victorian romance, and to see that I had reached them was better than a Reese’s peanut-butter cup the size of my head. Now, to be in this tournament with some heavy hitters of historical romance (Tessa Dare in my bracket? Come on!!!) I can only say what has developed into a cliché, but is so very damn true: It is an honor to be nominated.

I mean it. Nobody had to buy my book, nobody had to read it. Nobody had to take the time to write posts or reviews or chat it up on Twitter. Nobody had to take any amount of their precious time and do anything with THE FIGHTER AND THE FALLEN WOMAN and I am well aware of that, so when I say it is an honor to be nominated, it is that, and one that bolsters me to keep writing, to keep living in my dark Victorian world and telling the love stories only I can tell.

So thank you to anybody who has ever bought my book or read it, taken the time to post about it or even reach out to me and tell me you liked it. I cannot tell you how much it all means.

Now, this is by no way a concession post or a faux-humble “Just to be nominated” speech meant to manipulate anybody. I firmly intend to have some fun in promoting the Swoonies, do my best to get into the next round. Profound apologies for the influx of posts to come in the next 4 days, but I’m going to try to make sure you have fun, too.

Starting now.












Vote here.

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Some End-of-the-Year Love for THE FIGHTER AND THE FALLEN WOMAN

January 3, 2016 at 11:48 am (Events, FAFW)

Hello and Happy 2016! We rung in the new year with black-eyes peas and collard greens (with cheesy grits, of course) and watched Sherlock on PBS. Not necessarily the craziest thing in the world, but some food-inspired luck and the Cumberotter is hard to beat. I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season.

December brought me wonderful news for my dark historical romance, THE FIGHTER AND THE FALLEN WOMAN, the first coming from where it was ranked one of The 10 Must Read Romance Novels of 2015. I discovered at that point when people talk about their jaws dropping, it is, in fact, a thing that happens.

Allow me to post a screenshot here (and pardon the squishy graphic, but that’s how it appeared): screenshot














The next wonderful news I received was when Wendy the Super Librarian (who gave me this phenomenal review back in March that I still go back to in moments of doubt and it bolsters me) who listed FAFW as one of the 12 Best Not-Your-Usual Historicals of 2015. Since I had a battle even getting my romance some consideration, having it ranked on this list with the likes of Jeannie Lin and Michelle Winningham was worthy of a pretty epic boogie dance party in our living room.









Then, more great news. Heather Waters, site manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers, listed Lady and King as one of her Top 8 ‘Ships (that’s slang for ‘relationships’ with the kids nowadays) of 2015. That honor is huge and meant so much to me, but another couple in her list was Max and Furiosa, from this summer’s blockbuster movie, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. I cannot even begin to describe what that meant. I loved that movie, really fell in love with the characters and their journey and their flaws and weaknesses and how they overcome them, so to have my Lady and King on a list with them? I’m still in shock. Here’s a snap of that piece of awesome:








If you knew the struggle it was to see FAFW published, the years of knowing I was fighting such an uphill battle for the kind of story I wanted to tell, but I had to tell it like I had to breathe, you would know what amazing honors each and every one of these listings are. Not from contests I entered, or even reviews I solicited, they came from people who picked up the book and read it but, more importantly, they got it. I knew there would be readers who wanted stories like Lady’s and King’s and I thank whatever force it was in the ‘verse that got my book in front of them. If you’re one of them, I thank you too.

So, thank you 2015, for seeing THE FIGHTER AND THE FALLEN WOMAN published and getting it out to some great people. I’m working on my next dark Victorian romance and hope to have some great news during the year to make 2016 a worthy successor.

Happy New Year everybody.

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Eggnog and Holiday Movies

December 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm (Uncategorized)


So here’s the good news–I got a new job. It’s actually a great job and I find myself thinking that jobs don’t necessarily have to equal stressful soul-sucking horror filled with passive-aggressive dickheads and people who get paid way too much and given way more power than they ever deserve.

Sorry. Might still be working through a few issues with the past job. Ahem. Now, onward…

But the good news of the great job also means my time is being taken up more so than usual as I settle into the new job and the new commute and new everything else, and on top of that, it’s the holidays! I do love the holidays, especially Christmas, but my biggest gift this year is going to be some time.

Time to relax, time to recharge, time to read and drink tea and watch traditional holiday movies.


(And I haven’t even mentioned Star Wars…)

Anyhoozles, I’m going to try and do a Christmas post, but for right now know I’m getting geared up in my day job and writing my next dark Victorian romance (and damn, is it good if I say so myself…) and taking a few minutes here and there to listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and drink eggnog.

Happy almost Christmas.

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