An Invitation for #Tsu!

In case you hadn’t heard, Facebook is making changes to how pages work. I have no idea how or if it will impact me but it’s got a lot of people re-thinking their social media strategies.

Long story, short, I discovered Tsu. I have no idea if it’s the next big thing or not, but I’m giving it a try. Since it’s invitation only, I’d like to invite all my WordPress followers.

Click here if you’re interested. It will bring you to a registration page and you can easily join from there.

Also, if you haven’t joined my mailing list, click here.

In other news, check out this awesome review for Mystic Hero by The Romance Review.

Mystic Hero

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Happy Release Day to Me! #kindle

I’m so excited. And I can’t quite believe that my fifth published book is out today. If you purchase a copy (thank you very much!), and you have something positive to say, please do leave me a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Every bit helps!

Thanks for all your support and kind words over the last few years!!

Mystic HeroA wise Satyr always pays his debts. Pawn shop owner Devlin Ward isn’t stupid. When Karma appears on his doorstep to cash in an old favor, he can’t refuse. It’s a simple request – accept a delivery and keep it safe. Unfortunately for Devlin, the “package” is a sullen teenage oracle who insists that he locate the Feather of Truth. Or else.

A promise is a promise. Mary Swain, aka Ma’at, Goddess of Truth, honors her word. For the first time in centuries, she’s finally free of her debts and wants a new life, preferably away from Mystic, where every quaint shop and cozy restaurant is a reminder of her unreliable ex-boyfriend. Finally, she’s leaving and nothing’s going to stop her.

But when Devlin approaches her with the oracle’s dire warning and a frazzled plea for help, she can’t resist a tempting new adventure or his quietly sexy allure. Despite his best efforts to feign indifference, she knows Devlin is attracted to her too. He claims to have deep, dark secrets that even the Goddess of Truth can’t pry out of him. Or can she?

Third Time’s A Charm

perf5.000x8.000.inddIt’s kind of hard to put into words how I feel about the third book in the Mystic Series. Last year, while I was writing the book, it seemed like I would never finish it.

There were two reasons for that:

One: I was simultaneously writing another paranormal romance –  Lachlan’s Curse (which I did complete early 2014 but that’s a whole other blog post).

Two: the book ended up longer than my target goal of 83,000 – 85,000 words. In fact, the word count after the last round of publisher edits was @92,000 words.

Because I am a die hard plotter, in my mind, this shouldn’t have happened. Obviously I took a wrong turn in Albuquerque or something.

Why so long?

Well, the short answer: that’s how long the story is. For those of you following this series (and I thank you very much!) this is Devlin Ward’s book.

Devlin is a virginal satyr who has a boatload of childhood drama to deal with before he can obtain his happily every after. Lucky for him, his heroine, Mary (aka Ma’at) is more than ready to take accept the challenge.

And believe me, it was a challenge for me too.  Even though I know this world well it didn’t make writing their story any easier. When I realized that the first draft would clock in around 95,000 words, I had a choice to make – stop writing and figure out what was wrong or keep writing because maybe nothing was wrong.

While that sounds incredibly insane, I know from first hand experience that I can be my own worst enemy (hello, Doubt Monster).

In the end, I decided to keep writing and see what would happen because I’m crazy like that. I figured, why not? I can always delete stuff later (which I did).

This past weekend, I read the book again after a final round of edits. And guess what? The length felt just right for Devlin and Mary.

So is there a moral to this blog post? Yes!

Don’t fear the delete key. And don’t be afraid to just see what’s going to happen next.

 

Cover Reveal: Mystic Hero

One of the joys of working with a smaller publisher is getting cover art super fast. Once again, another great design from Rae Monet. Don’t you agree?

Mystic Hero

Here’s the back cover copy. This book is coming soon – Fall 2014. I can’t wait to share Devlin’s story.

A wise Satyr always pays his debts: Pawn shop owner Devlin Ward isn’t stupid. When Karma appears on his doorstep to cash in an old favor, he can’t refuse. It’s a simple request – accept a delivery and keep it safe. Unfortunately for Devlin, the “package” is a sullen teenage oracle who insists that he locate the Feather of Truth. Or else.

A promise is a promise: Mary Swain, aka Ma’at, Goddess of Truth, always honors her word. For the first time in centuries, she’s finally free of her debts and wants a new life, preferably away from Mystic, where every quaint shop and cozy restaurant is a reminder of her unreliable ex-boyfriend. Finally, she’s leaving and nothing’s going to stop her.

But when Devlin approaches her with the oracle’s dire warning and a frazzled plea for help, she can’t resist a tempting new adventure or his quietly sexy allure. Despite his best efforts to feign indifference, she knows Devlin is attracted to her too. He claims to have deep, dark secrets that even the Goddess of Truth can’t pry out of him. Or can she?

The Times, They are A Changin’

Not a lot to say today other than I’ve cut back on the amount of blogging I’m doing over at the Seven Scribes. As a group, we decided to post less based on all our busy writer schedules.

My next Scribe post will be on February 20th. The site recently received a make-over. Take a gander, since yours truly did the actual change over (courtesy of WordPress and their new Twenty-fourteen theme).

I’m in the home stretch of Lachlan’s Curse, draft 1. Yes, someday I will finish this book. I hope to do that by month end. We’ll see.

I haven’t been idle. Just focused on other things. I took an RWA class this past week and I finished edits for Mystic Hero and submitted it to my publisher (fingers crossed that they like it!)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Wishing for warmer days!

Friday Favorites – Beer Bread Recipe

I never thought I’d be typing these words – the first draft of Mystic Hero is finished! It’s not pretty, but it’s done and will be heading to my beta readers shortly. Whew! Just in time for NaNo (which I usually unofficially participate in), so I can finish my other manuscript – Lachlan’s Curse.

IMG_1187To celebrate, I’m sharing a recipe I recently re-discovered. When I was a teen, my mother used to whip up a loaf of beer bread and, man, was it delicious. And super simple to make. After my sons were born, I made it a time or two (using non-alcoholic beer) then I kind of forgot about it.

I’m not sure what triggered the desire for beer bread. Maybe it was the stew I was making at the time. After a quick search of the internet, I managed to find one that replicated my mother’s recipe at Food.Com. If this one doesn’t tickle your fancy, there are dozens of variations out there in cyberspace.

A note about flour. This recipe uses either all-purpose flour or self-rising. If you use self-rising, omit the baking powder and salt.

Also, I don’t actually sift my flour (you can if you want to). Instead, I stir it first (in the bag), then scoop it into the measuring cup and gently level it off. This is the proper way to measure flour.  Never tap the measuring cup against the counter or scoop flour directly from the bag using the measuring cup. If you do this, your baked goods will resemble a dense brick. Don’t say I didn’t warn you first!

Enjoy!

Classic Beer Bread:

Ingredients:

3 cups flour (see note above about proper scooping) OR self-rising flour

3 tsp baking powder (skip it if you use self-rising flour)

1 tsp salt  (skip it if you use self-rising flour)

1/4 cup of sugar

1 – 12 oz of beer (I used Sam Adams because that is what hubby had stashed in the cellar. If you don’t want a strong beer taste try something paler)

1/4 to a few tablespoons melted butter (Mom never used butter so you can skip it. But try it. You might like it).

Oven temp: 375 degrees

Grease the bottom of a 9″ loaf pan.

1. Combine all the dry ingredients with the beer.

2. Put in the loaf pan. (I’ve heard of people mixing ingredients right in the pan, but I don’t see how without making a big mess).

3. If using melted butter, pour over the top (this will make the crust crispy).

4. Bake 1 hour. Remove from pan and cool about 10-15 minutes. Try not to skip the cooling step. Otherwise the bread will fall apart when cutting (Not that it stops my husband or older son!)

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Anyone else love beer bread? Have any variations to share or other simple bread recipes?

There’s No Time Like Autumn

I am so close to finishing the first draft of Mystic Hero, I can taste it!! And no, it’s not ready for anyone to read yet.

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While I finish, I’m sharing some of my favorite fall photographs taken over the last few years.

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Most of these are from Old Sturbridge Village. My happy place! Enjoy!

Yankee Candle, Deerfield, MA
Yankee Candle, Deerfield, MA

Be A Big Meanie!

I’m happy to report that Mystic Hero finally crossed the 60,000 word mark. That means the end of the first draft is in sight! Unlike the previous books in the series, Devlin’s story is a bit different.

IMG_2249He’s got issues. Big ones. And just like in real life – everything that can go wrong, does. We Scribes have mentioned a few times the importance of being mean. And I totally agree with that. The most satisfying tales always involve some emotional pain and the eventual triumph over that pain.

Normal people generally steer clear of conflict. And most people don’t enjoy watching others suffer. At least not in real life (and I know the glut of reality shows probably says otherwise), but I think the big exception is in entertainment. Movies, TV, books – they would all be booooring if there wasn’t some kind of challenge to conquer.

And really, in fiction, we have to be extra tough on our characters. One of the things I realized so far about Devlin’s journey is that I wasn’t being hard enough on him emotionally.

Sure, it was easy to throw bad guys his way. Since I write paranormal, they are often extra weird or super creepy. But I also realized that I was shying away from his substantial internal demons. And that is short-changing the reader. I know when I pick up a romance I want to go on an emotional ride with the hero and heroine.

How does one overcome this problem?

1. Don’t let your characters have what they want. At least not until the very end. Dangle the prize in front of them and take it away a few times. Again, think emotional stakes. What will they lose if they don’t change?

2. Make them earn the payoff in the end. This means, the character has to suffer. They have to doubt themselves, question their choices and reach a low point (or two or three) before they can transform.

3. Bring them to their darkest place and throw in their worst fear in for good measure. And I don’t mean lock them in a dark room. Not unless your hero or heroine has a phobia of the dark and the only way to save the day is to overcome that fear.

4. If you get stuck – ask yourself again – how can I make things worse for this character? Never better. At least not until the very end

One caution  – There’s a fine line between being too sappy or preachy (no one wants to read an ABC After School Special – at least I know I don’t!) and creating an emotionally satisfying and believable experience.

What are your tips for character “bashing”? And what books do a great job of torturing the poor hero and heroine?

Rub my belly!!
Rub my belly!!

Don’t Skate Through Life!

So it’s Friday again. Yay! Too bad it’s raining like crazy here. Again. It may be good for the flowers but it’s starting to drive me batty!

Today at the 7 Scribes – another lesson on plotting and wisdom from Wayne Gretzky  A Hockey Lesson by Casey Wyatt.

I’m happy to report, I’m working on two books right now. Mystic Hero – Devlin Ward’s book and another paranormal romance – Lachlan’s Curse. I’ve been alternating between the two (like every other day). I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to do that. At some point, I’ll have to choose one for my full attention. Not sure which one it will be.

I leave you now, with my super adorable girl. How can I be expected to get any work done in the presence of so much cuteness? Have a wonderful day!