Saturday, November 18

Romance for the Holidays Giveaway!


Ho-Ho-Ho! Kindle Santa is on his way! Enter our giveaway from November 13-30 and you could be one of 7 lucky winners to take home some Christmas loot, including Kindles and Ebook Prize Packs where you choose the books you want to win! Check out the Rafflecopter:

(Sponsored by the 59 authors listed below)

Alicia Kobishop • Allison Gatta • Amanda Uhl • Anna Durand • Anne Stone • Anni Fife • Astrid Arditi • Bokerah Brumley • C.E. Wilson • Cailin Briste • Calinda B • Cherie Claire • Christine d'Abo • Connie DavĂ© • Constance Phillips • Cynthia A Clement • Cynthia Cooke • Dakota Willink • Debbie White • Denise Devine • Donna R. Mercer • Elizabeth Rose • Emily Leigh • Gayle Parness • Gemma Snow • Holland Rae • Holly Cortelyou • Jacqueline Diamond • Jacquie Biggar • Jana Richards • Jeanne St. James • Jo-Ann Carson • Joan Reeves • Joanne Dannon • Josie Riviera • Judith Keim • Kris Michaels • Lana Campbell • Laurel Greer • Leanne Banks • Liz Durano • Maria K. Alexander • Mary Morgan • Melissa Belle • N.D. Jones • Natalie Ann • R.M. Gauthier • Robyn Neeley • Sahara Roberts • Siera London • Soraya Naomi • Stacy Gold • Stephanie Julian • Susan Jean Ricci • Suzanne Jenkins • Tamara Ferguson • Taylor Lee • Tena Stetler • Victoria Pinder • Whitley Cox

Shop Our Book Fair

And while you’re stopping by, pull up a cozy chair next to our virtual fireplace to shop for your next read at our Holiday Book Fair. Many titles 99 cents or FREE.

Friday, November 17

Mermaids and Dragons!

Happy Friday-Before-Thanksgiving!

Firstly, I'm part of a multi-author Facebook Hop going on now through November 20th. Feel free to start at my link below (or at any of the participating authors' Facebook pages, if you want). Then continue hopping through the rest of the authors. Many of us are doing our own giveaways, and there is a final big prize to be announced on November 20th. I am giving away a Kindle version of "The Lake House" anthology (you know... the one with my mermaid story ;-). So if you're interested in reading the awesome short stories from my Crossroads Romance Writer pals, this is a great chance to get a copy! (man, I love the holiday season... lots of goodies everywhere!!) 
And on another note, last week I wrote about the Romance Writers Gone Wild Facebook event that I was involved with this week, including the mermaid-themed box of goodies I’m giving away.

And speaking of mermaids… I have a writer pal who’s part of a multi-author box set devoted to mermaids and dragons. Holy beany-boppers, Batman! You say? I agree! I mean… mermaids and dragons?!? Who doesn’t like mermaids and dragons? As we say in my household (usually about anything Star Wars or Disney related) Shut up and take my money!

Here’s the scoop: 1 Collection. 26 Tales of Enchantment and Danger!

From the darkest skies to the deepest seas, dive into a breathtaking collision of mermaids, dragons, sirens, and more in SIRENS & SCALES, a unique Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Collection!

Your travels through these stories of dazzling ocean tides and the dizzying reaches of the heavens will leave you breathless. Join dragon shifters and mer-creatures for an experience of salty seafaring adventures and magnificent airborne enterprises where sky meets sea, love meets its match, and imagination has no end.

With 26 full-length stories of enchanting fiction, you'll learn the secrets of Atlantis, soar to uncharted peaks, and discover creatures of wing and fin and those who love them. Ready to set sail and catch the tide before your chance for adventure is lost forever? Then order this collection of BRAND NEW and EXCLUSIVE material from your favorite USA Today and award-winning authors before it's gone for good!

My writer pal, Jennifer Laslie, has a book in this collection, titled MERMAID ADRIFT.  Check it out:

When disaster strikes, Meriya must decide whether to stay on land or return to the sea.

Washed ashore after a natural disaster, Meriya finds herself in the human world, injured and running out of time. Unsure whether her family survived, she must determine the better course: stay on land, and thus become human, or return to the sea calling to her. When young Rowan claimed a mermaid rescued him after a boating accident which took his father's life, no one believed him. Now, with Meriya recovering in his pool, he must do everything in his power to keep her a secret. Can Rowan convince Meriya to stay in his world or will her betrothed and the secrets swirling in the ocean's depths prove a stronger pull?

Other books by the following authors: Kellie McAllen, Award-Winning author Pauline Creeden, RJ Blain, Graceley Knox, USA Today bestselling author Starla Night, USA Today bestselling author Gaja J. Kos, A.L. Knorr, Bethany Wicker, Ivy Quinn and Midnight Voss, Award-Finalist Natasha S. Brown, Isra Sravenheart, Harper Alexander, Rone Award Nominee C.S. Moore, Tina Glasneck, Award-Winning author Carly Fall, B. Kristin McMichael, Award-Winning author Natalie G. Owens and Zee Monodee, Konstanz Silverbow, N.D. Jones, USA Today bestselling author Cate Farren, USA Today bestselling author Kelly Anne Blount, Jennifer M. Eaton, Jennifer Laslie, Mindy Ruiz, USA Today bestselling author Katalina Leon, D.D. Miers & B.Crow, Kyoko M.

Releases January 2nd
Barnes & Noble:
Google Play:

Mermaids and Dragons… ‘nuff said. ;-)

And a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thursday, November 16

The Metamorphis of an Idea

by Margie Senechal

The number one question writers are asked has got to be, "Where do you get your ideas?" For writers, it's an easy and hard question to answer.

Image result for how do writers get their ideasSome days you feel like, "Where don't I get my ideas?" Other days, it's "I wish I knew." and still others, "I steal them."

For me, the initial idea is easy. I have a folder of ideas--along with sticky notes scattered along my desk, news clippings on my bulletin board--to prove it. 

The real work comes in the harvesting of the idea. We're kind of like farmers like that. We find a seed, we plant it, and then we have to nurture and care for it before it comes into it's glory.

Take Suitcases if you will.

The seed was a story about a girl who collected suitcases but never went anywhere. I had a compelling first paragraph and page.
Image result for butterfly meme

Why doesn't she go anywhere? That's the planting of the seed. Once I thought that, I couldn't let her go. 

As I wrote/write it, things have morphed. Originally, I was going to have her mother manipulating her into not going anywhere. But that couldn't sustain an entire novella, let alone an entire novel.

When Chessie arrived on the scene, I thought she was related to one character and now a third of the way through, I realize she needs to be with a different one. (Which will be ironed out in the rewrite, Jana)

Image result for the simplicity of cider by amy e. reichertDuring the summer, I read Amy E. Reichert's The Simplicity of Cider. The book is about a woman trying to save her family orchard through her apple cider business. And one of the things she does is create new apple blends by splicing and grafting. Think of a wine master with apples. Great book, btw.

It's a lot like the process we go through as writers during our cultivation period--which I have to admit, could be my favorite part of writing. The creation of goals, character, plot...before I have to start trimming and deadheading. But, that's another post.

Suffice it to say, next time you meet a writer, don't ask where they get their ideas. Ask instead, how do they cultivate their ideas? And then hurry back here and tell me.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 15

#WW: You Can't Edit a Blank Page

Sometimes I feel like there hasn't been a time I haven't been editing. In journalism school we edited and edited to get our news articles just so and once they were perfect on the page we printed them out and pasted up the paper. When I moved into TV news I learned that kind of editing was simple. In television they send you out in the big, wide world, tell you to shoot good pictures and get good interviews...and then come back and make the hour of footage you just shot into a story of a minute or less. And then I started writing my own stories and learned all that editing would stand me in good sted...because writing the perfect story the first time through is truly a myth. At least for me.

But I've learned a few things along the way and editing isn't the heinous crime against creativity it once was.

First, don't tackle it all at once. There are layers to my editing. As I'm writing the first draft, I read through the previous chapter before starting fresh with a new chapter. During that pass I correct small misspellings or grammar issues. I don't allow more than that. Once the book is finished I allot time for 3 full passes: 1 to check on grammar issues, 1 to check continuity - is that character's name really Reginald? WTF was I thinking?!? - plot and flow issues (this sounds like a lot but I've found they work well together), and a final pass to see what I've overlooked. On that final pass I print out a copy in 14ish point type and some kind of color ink (lately I like blue). I find the bigger font and color change helps me catch little issues I haven't to that point.

Second, time is my friend. You know those editing layers? I don't tackle them on the first, second and third day after finishing the draft. I wait at least 2 weeks before starting any kind of editing. And I try to let at least a few days slip by before going from one draft phase to another. Those built-in waits help me 'forget' the story so each time it's like looking at it with fresh eyes.

Third, new projects are a great carrot. During those wait times, I'm not twiddling my thumbs. I'm reading - out of and in the genre I write. I'm writing - sometimes on a new book, sometimes researching a new book, sometimes just free-writing some really, truly, horribly bad poetry that will forever be locked under my bed. But I'm still working on the creative side of my brain.

The subject line up there comes from La Nora herself. She said something to that effect a few years ago and it's kind of caught on in writing circles. Because she is 100% right. You can't edit a story that hasn't been written. In some cases you can't tell a story that hasn't been edited.

Do you have an editing tip that you live by? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, November 14

Liz and Nan Hit the Road

This is necessarily a short post today because Liz and I are on the road for our annual writing trip. This year, we decided to stick closer to home, so it's Madison, Indiana for our retreat. We actually booked rooms at Clifty Falls State Park way back in the early summer, but a couple of weeks ago, they called and canceled us because they're doing maintenance on the lodge. Kinda bummed us out, but intrepid as always, we soldiered on and found a new place to stay. It's an old hotel in Madison that is under new ownership and has recently been renovated--The Riverboat Inn and Suites. Nice folks and very accommodating on the phone, so I'm anxious to see how this one goes.

Here are a couple of pictures of the inn--the view of the Ohio is amazing, right? We're kind of excited about trying a new place and I confess, a little bit wary of trying a new place. But there will be wine and writing and food and writing and wine and exploring and writing and wine...oh, and did I mention wine?

We're planning to hit a few wineries on the way down and while we're in Madison--strictly for research, of course. My new series for Tule Publishing (YAY!!) takes place at a family winery in the southern Indiana hills just above the the Ohio River. My fictional town of River's Edge looks a lot like the river towns we all know and love down there. Exploring will be treat!

Although we won't be reporting here from the road this time, I'll blog our adventures on my website:, so you can follow us there if you're curious. I'm pretty sure it will look a lot like the above shot of Liz from last year's Michigan retreat. Also watch our FB pages because you know, pictures will probably show up there, too.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!