So Many Projects, So Little Time…

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I’m freaking out. (Well, not really, but I should be). Currently, I have 11 stories, (some novels, a few shorts), that need to be written. Yes, 11. I am almost finished with one, and another of them is actually just compiling some of my already written shorts into one collection and revising. However, the rest are due or long overdue. And some of them will require sequels…

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You know what? I take on too many projects, I agree to too many things, and I set too many unattainable goals. But, since I have committed to all of this, I need to figure out a way to make it happen. I am trying to finish Book 3 in my Isle of Fang series, then I MUST write Book 3 in my Northland Crime Chronicles series. Until I complete those two, I can’t write my Martini Club 4 1940s stories, and my friends are counting on me. Plus, I’ve got a good handle on the story and characters, and I’m sooo anxious to get started.

I also work full-time and edit for Wild Rose Press and freelance edit. I blog and I have a promo loop. I love to watch TV. And hang out with my family and friends and visit my mother in the nursing home at least once a week. Yesterday, my sisters and our friend went to dinner, then out to hear my brother and the band he plays for at a bar. I hadn’t been out to a country bar in ages. We had a blast and it was awesome to hear my brother play. He’s an incredible lead guitarist. Here is a snippet I recorded: (The quality of the recording sucks, but you can see how awesome he is :))

 

Unfortunately, I also waste a lot of time when I could be writing. (and none of those things I mentioned are what I consider wasting time. I meant things like playing around on the internet) I need to become more disciplined, and I have a few ideas on how to up my production. One is to use the ‘Speech Recognition’ function to speak my scenes instead of typing them. The other is to make myself get up two hours earlier than I have to. So…wish me luck. After all, those books aren’t going to write themselves. (But, how cool would that be???? :))

Any tips for me? Any tricks you use to be more productive?

Road Trip with the Girls – Boas and Tiaras

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A few months back, Kathy L Wheeler suggested we attend a Fresh Fiction event in Allen, Texas called Boas and Tiaras. I didn’t know what to expect, and I am ANYTHING other than a boa and tiara kind of gal, but I’m always (almost always) up for a road trip with my peeps, especially if it involves an author event. 

While it turned out to be a very long day (I left my house at 6:45 a.m. and arrived home at 11 p.m.), and there were positives and negatives, overall, I would call it a success. 

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First, the negatives:

  • Amanda McCabe wasn’t there to round out our foursome, since she had the nerve to move to New Mexico, without our prior approval, I might add.
  • We didn’t sell any books.
  • It took up an entire day that I could have gotten some editing and writing done

Hmmm….that’s it. Now, the positives.

  • Spending time with the other two Martini Club 4 girls, Krysta Scott and Kathy L Wheeler. (Even though this picture clearly shows they like one another more than they like me)

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  • Meeting new author and reader friends.
  • Sharing a table with the wonderful Cathy Maxwell. She was a doll, so warm and friendly, and she gave us some nice little goodies, including a few of her books. They look fantastic, and I can’t wait to read them.

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  • The awesome Q&A with Cathy Maxwell and Deeanne Gist. Both ladies were delightful and funny and encouraging. 

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  • And last but not least…Photo Booth!

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Martini Club 4 Does Dallas

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Ahem…now that I have your attention… 

The Martini Club 4 group traveled to Dallas this past weekend for a writing retreat. Our little jaunt wasn’t quite as titillating as the title of this blog post might lead you to believe. We were there to work. Seriously. I promise! Although, we did goof off a bit. One of the things I love to do almost as much as writing is to, in the words of the Cleaver boys ‘give people the business.’ And, when my poor MC4 friends are stuck with me on a road trip, business-giving ensues. Kathy was so pleased at my antics on this trip, she thought I should share them on this post, so, here’s what happened…

We stayed at the Market Center Renaissance Hotel in Dallas, and it was an excellent place to stay, really nice and offered a lot of extra amenities. We had access to Club Level, where they served breakfast, snacks, and dessert. In the room was a conference table where the four of us could spread out our notes and laptops and work on our stories. On Saturday, Kathy and Krysta were upstairs already, and Amanda and I were in the room. (We had adjoining rooms, so that was really nice. I roomed with Krysta and Kathy and Amanda roomed together).  Anyway…Kathy texted and asked if… Well, I’ll just show you:

Kathy: Can one of you grab that tour book and map when you come up? It’s of the Northeastern States.

Me: If I can find it

Kathy: Thank you. I think it’s on the desk.

(I located the tour book and map quite easily, although it was NOT on the desk. It was on the nightstand. I’m just a really shrewd detective, because I STILL found it.)

Me: This?

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Kathy: Yes

Me: I can’t find it

Kathy: That’s it. The tour book. If you don’t find the map, don’t worry about it.

(See how patient and calm she is? I was impressed. I mean, if I couldn’t find it, how the hell did I send a pic of it, right?)

Me: Is this the map?

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Kathy: Yes

Me: Is this the way I go to get to where you are?

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(our hotel room door)

Kathy: Smart ass

(It appears she’s run out of patience.)

Kathy: Look for us here

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🙂  (The ‘in’ door to the Club Level (that’s Krysta Scott hard at work)

Besides all the tomfoolery, we also had a productive weekend. We pretty much nailed our story lines for the Martini Club 4 1940’s series, although, before I can write that story, I have a few other books I need to finish. Krysta helped me brainstorm Isle of Fangs 3, so maybe I can get that one wrapped up so I can work on Northland Crime Chronicles 3. Then, I’ll be ready to dive into the 1940’s story.

Oh yes, and about the teaser of a blog title, if you’re still in need of titillation, maybe this will help. I spotted this on one of the hotel doors:

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Hahaha, pretty funny, right? I guess we weren’t the only ones giving people the business!

Be sure and check out our MC4 stories while they’re on sale for only 99 cents each!

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Click here to purchase

My First Time by Krysta Scott

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Welcome to my first blog post.  What should I write about? A humorous quippy anecdote? Nope. Don’t have one. There are no delicious little details about my life that anyone would find even remotely interesting. I go to work, come home, spend time with my family and repeat it all the next day. It’s true I watch a lot of TV and movies. At some point, I want to talk about that interest. Like why I think Tyrion Lannister is my favorite character from Game of Thrones. Or why Maze Runner and Divergent are so hot right now. But those aren’t subjects for my first time out. I think I’m supposed to tell you about myself. Not an easy task for me in any situation. Anytime I hear, “tell us something about yourself” or “let’s share”. I freeze. Self-disclosure is not my strong suit. But I did think of an experience that might reveal a little bit about me.

Since I was a child, I had always been writing but I didn’t seriously contemplate writing professionally until after I graduated law school. I’d been practicing law for a few years when I happened upon RWA and OK-RWA. After I joined, I took a class from one of our members. She had a lot to say about the business. The most important thing was to be prepared. She told us about an unpublished author who sat behind a published author at a book signing. While the published author signed books, the unpubbed sat behind her pretending to sign her own books. The point was, after you sell everything moves at hyper speed.   It’s best to prepare for your life as a published author while your career is in slow motion.

I nodded my head and smiled like every other student in the class. Yeah, preparing for life after publication was a very good idea. But I was still teething on my first novel. Although I’d received much encouragement, I also knew publication was a long way off for me. It was more important to concentrate on craft. What use did I have for a website? With no books to offer, it would just sit there collecting dust for years. I’d create a page when I was closer to my goals. When it looked like I was on the brink of publishing.

Years later (and I’m not going to tell you how many), my friends and I started meeting at the Martini Lounge for drinks and discussion of our writing projects. Soon we dubbed ourselves the Martini Club. Then we decided to write stories revolving around four young ladies who leave London in search of a better life in New York City.  Before I knew what was happening, I was being pulled along with Alicia, Amanda and Kathy developing my own story. All the while, I ignored the importance of what was happening. We were having fun. What could possibly be serious about this project? Except….

I forgot to prepare. I have a published work of short fiction out there. And that’s it. I have no website. I have an unformed idea of what my brand should be. All the things that I should have been considering while I was developing my craft, are being assembled much faster than my comfort zone allows. The good news? It’s under construction as I write these words. I should have one soon.

Then there are the other forms of social media. Some of them are perplexing. I get Facebook and can post. Yay! I even have a twitter account but haven’t made good use of it. I feel like my 83 year old mother who doesn’t understand email. She sent me one with her message completely in the subject line. Yes, I laughed for longer than I should have. My mirth was erased when I realized that I know little about social media. On twitter am I limited in words or characters? What makes a compelling tweet? And Pinterest? What could possibly interesting about a virtual corkboard? It just baffles the mind. When I ask my daughters they just roll their eyes and laugh. I have become my mother. A very sobering thought.

It isn’t over yet. I still have time to figure it all out. I haven’t reached hyper speed yet. But when I think back to those years ago (still not going to tell you how long), I have to shake my head. It would’ve been simpler to take my time creating my website and dabbling in social media. Now I have to learn all of it at once.  I was forewarned but didn’t heed the message.

That’s all I have for now. Thank you for reading my post.

Krysta

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Blurb:

Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?

After escaping an arranged marriage, Charli Daniels lands on a new shore. But things go from bad to worse when her fiancé follows her to New York. Now, instead of realizing her dream of opening her own bakery, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom.

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his effort to find a murderer is jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect.

When a new threat surfaces, Felix wonders if he is once again on the wrong track. Can Charli convince him of her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?

Excerpt:

His eyes narrowed to slits. Funny. She’d never seen him as menacing before last night. Now, no matter what he did, she quivered. “And what did you say?”

“Nothing. I told him I didn’t know anything.” Panic surged at his proximity.

“How’d they find out who the stiff was so fast?”

“I-I don’t know.” She focused on her hands. That was more comfortable than looking into the eyes of a cold-blooded killer.

“They suspect anything?”

Words flew from her mouth in a torrent. “He had an announcement of my engagement. Somehow he found me. What am I going to do?”

“Huh. Dig out those charms you have hiding. There’s plenty a dame like you can use to your advantage.”

The burn of a blush crept across Charlotte’s cheeks. Thank goodness the speakeasy was dimly lit so no one would see her shame.

“Whatever you do.” Slick leaned in closer. “Keep your mouth shut.” He glared down at her, then stumbled away.

Charlotte’s stomach lurched. She’d gotten herself into a pickle with no clear way out. Her legs wobbled. She forced deep breaths. In, out. In, out. Once steadier on her feet, she picked up her tray and darted to the bar. Ira was back, wiping it down. He didn’t scold her. He didn’t say anything at all. His silence unnerved her. Her life had turned upside down. Things would never be normal again.

All of the Martini Club 4 Stories:

Rebellious by Amanda McCabe – Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster?

http://amzn.com/B00RKKP9VI

Ruined by Alicia Dean – She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans.

http://amzn.com/B00RICLM2I

Reckless by Kathy L Wheeler – Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger.

http://amzn.com/B00RICW0G0

Runaway by Krysta Scott – Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed?

http://amzn.com/B00RIFHGPC

Buy link for all four:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=martini%20club%204&sprefix=martini+club+4%2Cstripbooks

 

Where Were You in 1924?

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AND THE WINNER IS…

Actually, since we only had two commenters other than members of the Martini Club 4, both Calisa Rhose and Diane Burton win a signed  copy of all four novellas in print. Congrats, ladies! 

The fun facts that made it into RUINED are 2 and 3. Although the spy incident happened in 1919, I found it so fascinating, that I still felt compelled to use it, so I had my hero recalling the incident as he arrives at the Bellevue.

I used ‘Coffin Varnish’ rather than ‘Panther Piss’ to describe booze, although, I was sorely tempted to use Panther Piss. I love that colorful phrase! 🙂

For the answers to my If you’re young like me, you weren’t yet born in 1924. 😉 However, many interesting things took place that year. When we decided to set our MC4 stories in 1924, I began researching events, styles, terminology, etc, although I didn’t end up using all of them. I’ve shared some tidbits I discovered below. See if you can guess which of these made it into my Vintage Romance Novella, Ruined:

*** One commenter will receive a print copy of Martini Club 4 – The 1920’s, containing all four novellas, signed by all four authors (only U.S. residents eligible) Winner will be drawn a week from Monday, March 16th.

 

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1) In Chicago, two wealthy young college students, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, kidnapped and murdered 14 year old Bobby Franks, simply because they thought they were clever and wanted to get away with the perfect crime. They made some mistakes, and were imprisoned, although they were represented by Clarence Darrow. Loeb was murdered in prison in 1936, slashed to death with a straight razor. Leopold was released in 1958.

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2)  This didn’t happen in ’24, but I discovered it while researching Bellevue Hospital, and found it fascinating: After his arrest in New York, and while awaiting extradition to Britain, German spy Fritz Joubert Duquesne pretended to be paralyzed. He was sent to the prison ward at Bellevue Hospital. On May 25, 1919, after nearly two years of feigning paralysis, he disguised himself as a woman and escaped by cutting the bars of his cell and climbing over the barrier walls to freedom.

3) The 35th presidential election was held on Tuesday, November 4, 1924. Incumbent President Calvin Coolidge, the Republican candidate, was elected to a second, full term. One of the slogans used at the time was ‘Keep Cool with Coolidge’

4) The first ever Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held after Macy’s stores expanded an entire city block from Broadway to Seventh Avenue along 34th Street. Although the parade was thrown on Thanksgiving morning, it was originally about Christmas. Macy’s intent was to bring in shoppers for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

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5) As everyone knows, prohibition was in place and the manufacturing, transport, and sale of alcohol was prohibited at the time. What I found interesting, that I didn’t know before, was that it was not illegal to possess or drink it. Also,  whiskey could be obtained by prescription from medical doctors. (Does that remind you of anything? Like, medicinal marijuana? :)) I ran across some colorful terms for booze during my research. Which of these did I use in Ruined? Panther piss or coffin varnish?

So…what do you think? Out of these, which were mentioned in my story? (Hint, two of the first four were used)

Leopold and Loeb

The German spy’s escape from Bellevue

The presidential election

Macy’s first parade

Did I use the term panther piss or coffin varnish?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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Blurb:

She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans… 

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped. 

When Vince Taggart’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend. 

Snippet: 

Her gaze bounced over a man, then zeroed back. The bloke was looking directly at her. She caught her breath. He was leaning on the bar a few stools down, talking to Charli. He had this…magnetism, some kind of forceful presence that made it impossible to look away.

He was broad, muscular and dressed like a dock worker with brown suspenders over a yellow shirt and a newsboy cap over his dark blond hair, but what caught her attention right off was his smile. His white teeth flashed, and a dimple creased the right side of his face.

Charli moved away, and the man looked up and caught Eliza staring at him. His grin widened. His eyes were so blue—so electrifying, that Eliza could feel their allure even in the dimly lit, smoke bar.

He winked and gave her a finger salute off the brim of his cap.

A tingle ran from her toes, all the way through her body, making her head swim. My, but he was a fresh one. With superhuman effort, she dragged her gaze away, but it didn’t keep her heart from racing faster than a thoroughbred at Churchill Downs.

She swallowed and took a deep breath, fingering the pendant at her neck, trying to slow her heart rate. What on earth was wrong with her? She met plenty of handsome men—men more pleasing to the eye than he with his workmen clothing and slightly crooked nose. But never had any man sent her blood rushing through her veins like this.

She gulped from her glass. Get ahold of yourself. She was not the kind of girl to pick up strange men in bars—even if they did have a devil of a smile and eyes like an angel.

Amazon buy link:

http://amzn.com/B00RICLM2I

Barnes and Noble buy link: 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ruined-alicia-dean/1121316629?ean=2940151708210

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‘Downton Abbey meets Sex and the City’:

1 Rebellious and Ruined 2 Reckless and Runaway

The entire series can be found at this link on Amazon: 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=series_rw_dp_labf?_encoding=UTF8&field-keywords=Martini%20Club%204%20Series%20-%20The%201920s&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text

 

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