After a very successful January, I had big goals for February. My actual results are a little mixed. I have great excuses. Always do. But here’s what I did accomplish on my goal list…
I published my short story from the Cowboys anthology as a single short story release, “Hunk of Burning Love.” It’s currently FREE in Kindle Unlimited, but I also offered it as a FREE direct download as my Valentine’s Day gift to you.
I completed 4 editing projects in February, including two long novels!
I did NOT write a book—only a few pages, actually—which was my only disappointing progress this month.
I continued with Weight Watchers and can proudly say that I’ve lost 18.6 pounds as of today! I’m not pushing to lose fast because I like how I feel. Slow is good!
I’ve been paying attention to my step count. It’s not stellar, but the fact that I’m looking at it means something to my brain.
I began working on the #100DayProject art challenge! It’s my third year participating, and yes, it’s HARD fitting in play time at my art table but sooooo fulfilling. Here are some samples of what I’ve done so far…
Here’s me putting this out in the world…
For work-related, I plan:
To write and publish the next Texas Vampires novella, No Tender Mercy. (Have you pre-ordered your copy?!) No dilly-dallying. This will be done!
To get close to “Done” with my next romantic suspense story.
To prepare a new box set of the three Danger Zone books and publish it!
To complete 4 editing projects in March!
For health-related, I plan:
To continue with Weight Watchers and hope to lose at least 5 pounds. Slow is good!
To begin some low-impact aerobics, which will include a video workout for old people (I’m not old, and my joints aren’t effed, but I like the low-impact part!), plus, I’ll add some outdoor activities, like pool maintenance and blowing the patio—counting the things I should already be doing to get ready for pool season. All of them burn calories and build muscle. Guess I should count housework, too. Blech.
For happiness-related, I plan:
To continue working on getting my art room better organized, because I plan…
To produce something art-related every day for the #100DayProject art challenge!
Comment on anything you’ve read in this post. Tell me what you’re doing to make yourself happier and healthier. Tell me what you plan to read… Like I said, comment on anything for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Be sure to enter these contests while you still can!
So happy to be back on Delilah’s blog. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about my writing process. It’s what I have started following ever since writing Matched (book 2 of my Navy SEALs of Little Creek series). Hopefully, you might fight something useful or interesting that you may want to try with your own writing. (Or, for you readers out there, this gives you a view into how this author approaches her craft.) At the very end, there is even a bonus excerpt from Matched.
My writing process usually begins with me developing my premise. I try to figure out what will make it unique, what do I believe about some of the topics that occur in the story, and the biggest part of the chart—the one that is up at the top—is my why. Why is this book important to me, and why do I want to write this particular story?
From there, I move on to developing my characters, specifically focusing on their backstories, goals, motivations, and conflicts. Then comes the fun part…character profiles. I love looking at their quirks and how they dress and what they look like. Enter Pinterest!! I’ll admit some days I feel like going shopping after spending time “researching” the clothes my characters might wear.
Next comes working out my beats followed by creating my chapter-by-chapter outline. And because I am a super plotter, I have ended up with outlines that have been fifteen to twenty pages long. Luckily, this has come in handy once I learned how to fast draft. I find the hardest part of the process just getting that first draft out.
Editing comes next. Believe it or not, I actually love this step. There’s nothing like working on a story and making it better. Some of my favorite parts of editing come from ideas that are created with my critique partners. After a couple of rounds of editing I’ll send my book off to beta readers. This is a great time for me to disconnect from the story. Usually during this time, I try to take some classes and listen to podcasts on craft. I usually wait until I get feedback from all my beta readers before diving in. This way I can decipher issues that everyone had versus comments that might be more subjective. And even if they are subjective, they might spark an idea or a different path or even a new chapter to include.
Truthfully, I don’t think the need to edit ever stops. Even after a book is published, I’ve found areas I want to fix or things I should’ve included. But there comes a time when we must send our book into the world and apply things we wished we could fix to the next manuscript.
Everyone’s writing style and process is different. There is no right or wrong way, no way that makes it any easier. My best piece of advice would be to do what works for you but take time to understand your why. It will keep you going when you hit a point where you are struggling or are even contemplating giving up.
An excerpt from Matched…
To my credit—for which, I should get big kudos—I don’t point out that history and her birth prove her mother knows her way around a boner. Instead, I walk closer and reach around her for an apple sitting on the counter in a powder-blue fruit bowl that matches the wall color, the coffee maker and a stand mixer I can’t wait to show her I know how to use. Chicks love guys who can cook. It’s helped me score on more than one occasion. But while I’m ready to score with my new wife whenever she says the word, a part of me is just as eager to prove to her I’m good for more than terrible pick-up lines.
She gives a little gasp as my fingers brush against hers, and I shiver. Yeah, no. Getting to know my wife in the biblical sense definitely edges out proving my usefulness on the scale of things I’d like to accomplish today.
I could cover up. Could even take a piss and get rid of the problem, but this is more fun than I’ve had in a couple of days. More like months. And I’m not itching to hurry it away. “So, is this breakfast you’ve baked for me?”
Her eyes go dark, what could be classified as deadly, and she smiles slow, devious, a smirk of proportions so epic, I’ve never seen another like it. “Cold day in hell, mi esposo. And before you even think to open that stupid mouth of yours once more, for the indefinite future, your situations are your problem.” She wax-on/wax-offs her hands in front of her. “This is off-limits until further notice.”
Paris Wynters is a multi-racial author who writes steamy and sweet love East Coast stories that celebrate our diverse world. She is the author of Hearts Unleashed, The Navy SEALs of Little Creek series, Love On The Winter Steppes, and Called into Action. When she’s not dreaming up stories, she can be found assisting with disasters and helping to find missing people as a Search and Rescue K-9 handler. Paris resides on Long Island in New York along with her family and is also a graduate of Loyola University Chicago.
Everyone knows who Rosa Parks is and why we know about her, but very few know about Elizabeth Jennings Graham.
Born free in 1827, Elizabeth grew up in New York, a child of the African-American bourgeoisie known as the “Talented Tenth.” Hers was a family of activists committed to uplifting the race. Her mother wrote an address for ten-year-old Elizabeth to deliver at the meeting of the Ladies Literary Society of New York. The society was founded by New York’s elite African-American women to promote self-improvement through community activities, reading, and discussion. Elizabeth’s speech focused on how the neglect of cultivating the mind would keep African-Americans inferior to whites. Her father helped found the Wilberforce Philanthropic Society, an African-American self-help organization named after the British abolitionist.
Elizabeth worked as a schoolteacher in the African Free School then in public schools and as a church organist at the First Colored American Congregational Church. On Sunday, July 16, 1854 on her way to church, she and a friend boarded a horse-drawn streetcar in Lower Manhattan. By custom, this was allowable if no White passengers objected. None did but the conductor still ordered them off. Despite being attacked by the conductor and the driver, Elizabeth refused to be moved. She was finally forced off with the help of a policeman.
This incident, much like Rosa Parks’ arrest, led to an organized movement to desegregate streetcars. The movement’s leaders were Jennings’ father, Rev. Henry Highland Garnet and Rev. James W.C. Pennington. Her father filed a lawsuit on her behalf against the driver, the conductor, and the Third Avenue Railroad Company. Her case was handled by 24-year-old Chester A. Arthur, who became the 21st president of the U.S. In 1855, the Brooklyn Circuit Court ruled in her favor and awarded her damages and her legal fees. Even though the Third Avenue Railroad Company desegregated their line the day after the ruling, it took another ten years before public transportation in New York was fully desegregated.
Elizabeth married Charles Graham in 1860, survived the New York Draft Riots of 1863, moved with her family to New Jersey, then after her husband’s death in 1867, returned to New York. She went on to found and operate the first kindergarten for African-American children in her home. She died at age 74 in 1901.
One hundred years later, Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a White man sparked the historic Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott of 1955 and led to an Elizabeth-Jennings-style desegregation victory in 1956. Maybe, someday, a young person will write a blog post of their own entitled, Rosa Parks: the Elizabeth Jennings of the 1950s.
For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card leave a comment about an undersung historic event or person you’ve learned about.
Better To Marry Than To Burn
Wife Wanted: Marital relations as necessary. Love not required nor sought…
A bridal lottery seems the height of foolishness to ex-slave Caesar King, but his refusal to participate in the town council’s scheme places him in a bind. He has to get married to avoid paying a high residence fine or leave the Texas territory. After losing his wife in childbirth, Caesar isn’t ready for romance. A woman looking for a fresh start without any emotional strings is what he needs.
Queen Esther Payne, a freeborn black from Philadelphia, has been threatened by her family for her forward-thinking, independent ways. Her family insists she marry. Her escape comes in the form of an ad. If she must marry, it will be on her terms. But her first meeting with the sinfully hot farmer proves an exciting tussle of wills that stirs her physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
In the battle of sexual one-upmanship that ensues, both Caesar and Queen discover surrender can be as fulfilling as triumph.
Excerpt from Better to Mary Than to Burn…
“I do many things, Miss Payne.” He pushed up the brim of his hat and grinned, fired up by the hazel flame sparking in her eyes. “Pretending to be a gentleman doesn’t number among them.”
She firmed her full lips into a thin, angry line. “But you do aspire to establish a legacy—like a gentleman would.”
“If marrying you to leave a legacy makes me a gentleman, then I must agree. Although, your letter made it clear you weren’t looking for a gentleman. In fact, if you had your way, you wouldn’t be looking for a man at all…gentlemanly or otherwise.”
She responded with a slight rise in her eyebrows.
He thumbed over his shoulder. “Our marriage carriage awaits.”
He sauntered toward his wagon, not surprised to find when he looked back, her highness hadn’t moved. But uncertainty colored her imperiousness and rippled in her frown.
“The stagecoach back East isn’t due until midday tomorrow,” he shouted.
“Hmmpf.” She turned her back on him, presenting a bustle-less skirt that outlined a behind, round and ripe for his inspection.
He huffed out a breath, cupped his hands and shouted again.
“We’ve a minister waiting…if you’re staying.”
Of course, she was staying. She’d never have agreed to marry him if she’d had another choice. Philadelphia’s Lombard Street, a bastion of black privilege it may be, had only one place for a daughter of Lesbos who wouldn’t marry: the insane asylum. Marriage to him here in the West was her last—and probably only—refuge.
Every new release is special, but the Salvation Pack will always hold a special place in my heart. The original five-book series became nine. And now the second installment of the Salvation Pack: The Next Generation series is here.
I’d originally planned much different stories for these two, but they had other ideas…
Wolf in Pursuit
Salvation Pack: The Next Generation, Book 2
Etienne Rollins is in hot pursuit of Amy Blanchard, the female he wants to mate. Her sheltered upbringing has left her questioning her future and place in the pack. The sizzling attraction between them, the change in their relationship from friend to romantic interest, confused her even more, so she fled. He’s tracked her to a bar in Tennessee and not a moment too soon, as she’s caught the attention of two unattached, unknown male wolves—the Landry brothers.
Amy uses Etienne’s unexpected arrival to explore the sensual heat pulsing between them. Not easy to do while handling the Landry brothers, a violent confrontation with some humans, a kidnapping, and fleeing a crazed wolf who wants to use her to get back at the Landrys. If she survives, she’ll need to confront her feelings for Etienne once and for all.
Excerpt from Wolf in Pursuit…
There was no way to avoid the bar any longer. She had three tables waiting on drinks. Head forward, she marched up to the far end, keeping a few stools between them as she gave Gracie her orders.
“You seem tense.” Etienne tilted his head to one side and frowned.
She bit her lip to keep from falling into hysterical laughter. “You think.” She thought about banging her head against the bar, but that would hurt and it wouldn’t do anything about her current predicament.
“What can I do to help?” The concern surprised her. Not that he cared about her—she already knew that—but that he’d actually ask her what she wanted, rather than jumping right in and doing whatever he thought was best. The men in her pack were loving and caring, but they could also be a tad overbearing and even dictatorial at times.
She rubbed her hand over her face, trying to ignore the knots in her stomach. Why was life so complicated? Everything had been so easy when she was a little girl. She’d believed her daddy could solve any problem, slay any dragon, and he always had, handling all her tiny concerns with great seriousness, never making her feel like a bother. But this was one only she could tackle.
Sometimes being an adult sucked.
“I honestly don’t know.” Taking a deep breath, she rallied. “I’m not your problem.”
“Chère, you’re anything but a problem. You’re a joy and a gift.” The low, intimate tone made her toes curl and her breath catch in her throat. How was she supposed to respond to that? Her wolf pawed, wanting out so she could rub herself against him. The animal part of her had desperately missed her pack. Being alone sucked for a wolf.
N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.
Grown up Drummonds. What happens when your YA characters won’t leave you alone? Well, if you’re me, you write grown-up versions of them. Dibs in the Drummer, Ozzy & Raven, What Happens in Florida, and Spring Break Take 2 are just a handful of stories that continue to overlap the YA books in this series.
In the YA September North versions, you see the events from the teens’ perspectives. In the adult, Cara North versions, you see the events from a new angle as some of these characters are now all grown up and ARE the parents.
It’s a wild and complicated series I have created, but I love the family so much, they just won’t let me let go of them. Not yet anyway. I have concluded the YA series with the Gen 2 Drummonds and will continue to play in the land of Drummonds until the Cara North versions hit that Gen 2 conclusion as well.
It all started with these three in Drum, Fight, and Break. This is the cover for the print anthology with the bonus story of The Rooster: Kendra and William’s Story
You can get started with Drum by clicking the title above.
During the Gen 1 stories for Lou, Hendrix, and Junior, Drum and Mariah started talking, but as adults and since the reader can see some of the struggles they are having as adults in those three stories, I ended up writing this one. You don’t have to read the other stories to enjoy, it, but I am sure it helps to read Drum so you know their story as teens to understand where they are in this story on the verge of an empty nest and a lot of life happening as they move into their fifties. It is a contemporary, erotic romance. A bit of a second chance romance, too.
I LOVE arrogant romance heroes. I love how they usually start the story thinking they know everything. They are certain they are all powerful, all knowing, are never wrong.
Then they meet their love interests.
The love interests don’t bow to their arrogance. They push back. That confuses the heroes, knocks them a bit off balance. The heroes try to reassert their control over everything and everyone. The love interests aren’t having it. They put the heroes in their place, humbling them, sometimes making them grovel.
There’s something so steamy about bringing a powerful man to his knees. (bites knuckles)
Those scenes, when written deliciously well, are re-reads for me. They are my happy places to mentally go when the world is…well… (waves at everything happening). If an arrogant hero can find humility, there is hope everyone can change, can become kinder, more generous people.
Power, the dark-eyed hero of my newest cyborg romance Seizing Power, is one of the most arrogant heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing. He is the self-appointed leader of the Cyborg Council, which says it all. The cyborg warrior gave himself the role.
Power is merely one being on a council, yet his decisions are usually upheld. Because he’s intelligent, skilled in strategy, and he’s often unfortunately right.
He’s often right but not always.
Eirene Ours, his soon-to-be love interest, knows Power is wrong about one critical, life-endangering decision, a decision that could kill every cyborg in existence. She has been pushing back on it for solar cycles (for years), escalating the matter until it has reached its breaking point.
Having been taught strength respects strength, she has also built a formidable army of warriors, all loyal to her. She has formed allies with influential beings. Thousands of warships are under her control.
Eirene Ours is Power’s equal. He doesn’t yet appreciate that she has the ability, the willpower, the strategic thinking to bring him to his knees, but he will soon come to that realization. And it will be GLORIOUS.
Who is your favorite arrogant romance hero? What is your favorite grovel scene?
(And YES, this will be a grovel scene in Seizing Power.)
This cyborg believes he’s in control.
Power is the self-appointed leader of the cyborg council. Other members might debate situations. He makes the ultimate decisions.
When a threat to Homeland is revealed, he takes command of a fleet and ventures to the edge of cyborg-controlled space to investigate. He finds a rebellion led by a mysterious upstart he calls Cadet.
The plan Power derives is simple—he’ll quickly quash the uprising and teach its leader a lesson the warrior will never forget.
NO ONE challenges his authority.
Eirene Ours might be called a cadet by Power but she is NOT his subordinate. She is the arrogant E Model’s genetic match.
For much of her mature lifespan, she has desired the male, yearning for his dark-eyed gaze, craving his sure hands, longing for his respect.
That esteem was never granted. And Eirene Ours can no longer wait to earn it. There’s an external threat to their kind, a danger that might destroy them all.
Having lured Power to her home terrain, she now plans to use everything within her means — her fists, her daggers, her ship-destroying missiles — to pound that truth into her stubborn warrior’s thick metal skull.
The future of every cyborg is at stake. She can’t fail them.
Power will believe her. Or he will die.
Seizing Power is an enemies-to-lovers Cyborg SciFi Romance set in a dark, gritty, sometimes-violent universe.
It features an epic battle between two equally strong cyborg leaders, plans that go terribly yet passionately wrong, and a love that will shake the entire universe.
For a chance to win your choice of one of these Cowboys on the Edge stories, answer me this!
Yellowstone or Longmire?
(Click on a cover if you’d like to learn more!)
Don’t know what you’re missing in this cowboy series? Read an excerpt…
Snippet from Cain’s Law…
Cain Whitfield wasn’t the sort of man who put much stock in premonitions or any “sixth sense.” But the moment he’d first spotted the shy brunette through the window of the Prickly Pear Motel, he’d known trouble had arrived in Caldera.
His gaze had snagged on her ill-fitting clothing and her wildly curling hair. Not unusual, his noticing a stranger arriving in his little town, but the minute his dick twitched, he should’ve heeded the warning.
Yeah, he sure could pick ’em. Just like his ex, only Susan hadn’t burned down a cabin. She’d left his place cleaner than she’d managed to keep it the entire six months they’d been together. Hell, the woman hadn’t even left him a can of beans in the pantry when she’d walked out on their marriage. On a Monday. After he’d left for work. Via a note taped to the kitchen counter because she couldn’t put that into a U-Haul trailer.
Staring at the fire that lit the Texas night sky, he shook his head. The strobing lights of police and fire vehicles were no competition for the furious blaze. No simple kitchen fire or leaf pile run amok.