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Melanie Jayne: Decision Time (Contest)
Monday, August 19th, 2019

It seems that every time I turn around someone I know is making the declaration, “I’m going to quit writing. I quit. I’m done with this.” The list goes on and on. Perhaps it is the humidity or that summer seemed to last about three weeks before schools went back in session. We didn’t get any lazy days or time to recover.

A week ago, I celebrated a birthday, and I try to use the night before “my” day to take stock and reflect. Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to purge blatant negativity from my world. No-I don’t have a magic wand but I can turn off, unfollow, and choose to not read things that a.) I cannot change b.) I can’t control c.) I don’t have the energy to engage in anymore.

These are small changes, and I have seen progress. I identify the negatives faster, and I am more decisive about dealing with them. I also am much better at using the stopper, where I ignore and don’t feel that I am missing out by not continuing.

If you follow any form of social media, I am sure that you have seen an author declare they are quitting the business. Some are tired of working and getting nowhere, or putting in the same effort and back-sliding. Others believe that their work is devalued for a variety of reasons, and they can no longer afford to publish. Some are tired of going unnoticed, of not being heard.

I understand their anguish. There have been many days I wonder if anybody cares if I produce another word. I see the lists, and sometimes wonder at those titles. I’ve looked at a royalty statement and felt disappointment. The lure of sitting on the porch and watching the clouds is strong, but I decided to pursue this dream. I decided to try writing romance because I had voices in my head. I would watch a TV show, and then, before I fell asleep, rewrite it. As I drove to work, names, places, and personalities popped into my head. I’d weave these ideas into stories to help me fall asleep at bedtime. I decided to make a concentrated effort to write a manuscript. Of course, that try was a disaster, but I enjoyed the process—the fulfillment of seeing a blank page become full of words that came from my soul, the thrill of finding the perfect adjective to describe an emotion, the joy of creating a scene and knowing that it will make someone smile or cry… I was addicted. I took classes, found mentors, made mistakes and learned from all of them. I rejoiced every time that I typed “The End,” and celebrated every small victory (and some were tiny). I do the same today, six years in.

There have been disasters, heartbreaks, and frustration. In order to succeed, many pieces of the puzzle have to fall together perfectly. I can produce a great story, design an eye-catching cover, and market the hell out of the book, but it might not catch on. Readers are very much like horses being led to water—you can’t make them do anything.

The other lesson I have absorbed is that life is not fair. The world of Publishing is a crapshoot. Readers can be fickle and unreliable. The hot trend today can be dead tomorrow. The editor that loved your book can be without a job overnight. What your Beta Readers praised in your last book doesn’t work for them in this one. It is a topsy-turvy world.

This career isn’t for the weak. I spend time outlining, writing, revising, and worrying about an early draft of a story. I then send it to my trusted editor, and although I know in my heart she is on my side…I dread reading her opinion. I know she is working with me to make this product the best it can be, but with sixteen stories published and four more in the pipeline, it still takes me hours and sometimes days to open up her e-mail. After two rounds of edits, three or four proofreads, plus my final read-through — the book is birthed and ready for public consumption. There are huge parts of my heart, soul and bank account attached to the baby, but now it belongs to the world, and it can be ignored, loved or hated.

And that is hard for writers. We pour so much time and self into each project that when we feel it isn’t getting the proper attention, a part of us wilts. Each time I hear another writer say they are done, a part of me hurts for them, but then I hear another voice that comes from deep inside of me saying, “Keep pushing, keep working… Don’t give up. You can do this. You are doing this.” The voice sounds a little like Vin Diesel. I like to think of it as my Dark Guide — the part of my soul that will keep me upright when my world crumbles, the gritty slice that will fight back until my last breath.

Every morning, I rely on it to make me settle into my chair, to focus on my manuscript, and to do so the next day and the next. Deciding to quit is not easy, but sticking with writing isn’t for the weak.

Contest

Comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

About Melanie Jayne/M. Jayne

M. Jayne/Melanie Jayne has the best life. She spends her days chatting with feisty females, waking up to sexy men, eating chocolate and wearing pajamas. Her books predominantly feature characters over the age of thirty-five, facing life head-on. They are woman-positive and advocate empowerment. She writes paranormal romance, The Novus Pack Series, and several contemporary series.

She lives a quiet life on a grain farm in central Indiana with her very patient husband and mastiff, Duncan Keith. She is grateful to all that have helped her with her writing career and in turn, is giving back to new and aspiring writers.

Learn more about Melanie Jayne:
https://www.facebook.com/MelanieJayneAuthor
www.ReadMelanieJayne
@1MelanieJayne on Twitter
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-jayne ReadMelanieJayne on Instagram

A Puzzle & a Contest!
Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Just to remind you, these contests are still open…

  1. BIG SKY WEDDING is almost here!!! (Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Caroline Clemmons: An Agent for Magdala (Contest, FREE Read, & Excerpt) — Win an Amazon gift card!

And be sure to enter today’s contest (below)!

First, let’s play!

Contest

The puzzle is a cover reveal for an upcoming re-release of story I wrote a while ago. The romance is f/f. The concept is wicked cool—set in my fave city, New Orleans, and involves a witch and a dead woman and some scary voodoo loas… For a chance to win a download of one of my recent releases, NOT Big Sky Wedding, let me know if this is something you would read.

Caroline Clemmons: An Agent for Magdala (Contest, FREE Read, & Excerpt)
Monday, August 12th, 2019

Thank you, Delilah, for hosting me as your guest.

Hello Readers, I’m Caroline Clemmons and I write western romance. That sounds a bit like I’m at an anti-addiction meeting, doesn’t it? Well, writing is an addiction—but I’m not trying to recover. I love being a writer. Of course, I’m a reader, too.

My husband and I live in North Central Texas where we are staff to three cats and a dog. Other than being with my husband and children, my happy place is in my little office that I call my pink cave. Surrounded by books and memorabilia, I create stories I love on my desktop computer. I hope readers love them, too. My intention is that readers are uplifted and entertained by my stories.

Usually, I write historical romances, but I also author contemporaries, time travels, and mysteries set in the west. So far, I’ve written fifty-two titles and I’ve plans for many more. No matter how many times I write the same time period, each book requires specific research. For my latest release, AN AGENT FOR MAGDALA, Pinkerton Matchmaker Series book 37, I searched for the land route from Denver to San Antonio, Texas in 1871. I was astonished to learn that not only were there no rail lines where I needed them to be, there were very few roads a passenger stagecoach would travel—rough terrain, little water, lots of Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache made travel difficult.

My two Pinkerton agents are assigned a case in San Antonio, Texas and must travel there from Denver. At that time San Antonio had a little over eight thousand people. This community had been a trade center beginning in the eighteenth century with the Spanish. They established five missions there: the Alamo, Concepción, San Jose, San Juan, and Estrada. Even people who are not from Texas have probably heard of the Alamo. I was surprised to learn that at the time of the famous battle in 1836, the Alamo had a flat roof and not the arched one added during restoration.

A large portion of AN AGENT FOR MAGDALA takes place in The Menger Hotel. The Menger has been an important San Antonio destination since 1859. When the hotel opened, Mary and William Menger were so successful that they immediately added more rooms. Through its life the hotel has been remodeled as new conveniences became available and has remained popular with travelers. There is a rumor that ghosts reside in the Menger but when our youngest daughter stayed there she did not encounter one. Frankly, she was a little disappointed even though she enjoyed the hotel’s accommodations.

AN AGENT FOR MAGDALA

She craves adventure, but this may be too much…
His job means the world to him…
Capturing jewel thieves will test them…

Magdala leaps at the opportunity to become a Pinkerton agent. Learning the position requires a paper marriage shocks but doesn’t deter her. She plans to get an annulment before her unusual family learns of the situation. She’s determined to prove she has the grit to be an excellent investigator. But, why does she have to be partnered with the one man who has been rude to her?
Douglas “Cloud” Ryan loves being a Pinkerton agent. Otherwise, he’d never go along with his boss’ crazy plan to marry him to a female agent. He’s certain women have no business dealing with criminals. After enduring the stagecoach trip from Denver to San Antonio, Maggie needs to stay in the background and let him solve the case. He has reasons to distrust women, especially women like Maggie.
Can Maggie and Cloud catch the jewel thieves plaguing an historic San Antonio hotel without becoming victims? Will they take a chance on the love growing between them?

Here’s an excerpt from their first full day in the Menger Hotel where they’re pretending to be Princess Magdala of Bayergrovenia and her husband, the Duke of Montpelier:

He’d learned that Maggie was cheerful when she first woke. He envied her because he needed an hour or two before he could appreciate people. There he went again. Concentrate on the case instead of thinking about her habits and moods.

Instead of the voluminous coat she’d had with her on the trip, today she wore a fur jacket. He had to admit that in a green dress that looked very expensive and wearing a fur, no one would doubt she was a princess. Her jewelry was less spectacular than she’d worn last night, but still eye-catching.

After breakfast, Cloud pulled out his pocket watch. “Perfect timing. Shall we meet the McMillans?”

He held her chair while she stood then she put her hand on his arm. Man, she was good at looking regal. If he didn’t know differently, he’d believe she really was a princess.

But, apparently people thought he was a duke. Even though the admission cost his pride, he had to confess he and Maggie made a good pair. They looked and acted—at least in public—their parts of a happily married royal couple who had plenty of money and time to spend it.

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Agent-Magdala-Pinkerton-Matchmaker-Book-ebook/dp/B07V3G4QHY/

Contest

To thank you for reading this far, I’m giving a $10 Amazon gift card to one person who leaves a comment on this post telling me their favorite fictional hero or heroine.

I love to stay in touch with readers:
Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a FREE novella
Follow me on my Amazon Author Page where all my books are shown: https://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Clemmons/e/B001K8CXZ6/
Follow me on Bookbub at https://www.bookbub.com/authors/caroline-clemmons
Join my Facebook Readers Group – Caroline’s Cuties https://www.facebook.com/groups/277082053015947/
My website is http://www.carolineclemmons.com

Once more, Delilah, thank you for sharing your blog with me.

BIG SKY WEDDING is almost here!!! (Contest)
Saturday, August 10th, 2019

Yes, I’m late posting! I’ve had my head down for the last few days, trying my best to finish up a novelette that’s supposed to release next Tuesday! I’ll type THE END on Sunday! The story lives in my sister’s Brotherhood Protectors world as well as being a Montana Bounty Hunter story. Also, this is the third time this couple has been the center of their own story. If you want to catch up on what Jamie and Sky have been up to, grab your copies of the books below. They aren’t long—novelette length, really. Meant to be gobbled in a single evening.

Jamie & Sky’s Romantic Journey

You first met them in Big Sky SEAL, which was a crossover between the Brotherhood Protectors world and my Uncharted SEALs series and introduced the Montana Bounty Hunters. Complicated, enough? Not really. It’s a sexy, funny story and you also get your first taste of Reaper, who is my favorite MBH character!

A former military police dog handler, Jamie Burke, along with her former bomb dog Tessa, are still trying to adjust to civilian life. With a jaded, testy personality, Jamie has few friends. Now, a bounty hunter, she’s tasked to help federal and local law enforcement search for an escaped terrorist in the Crazy Mountains of Montana.

Former SEAL, Sky Reynolds can’t believe Jamie Burke is part of the task force. The last time he saw her was in Afghanistan. Back then, he’d thought he never stood a chance with the pretty, ballsy blonde, sure she had someone waiting for her back home. But here she was, still single, still prickly as hell. Assigned to stick close to her and her dog Tessa during the hunt, he’ll use the situation to get close. This time, he’s not letting her slip away.

When Jamie’s captured by the terrorist, it’s up to Sky, his fellow SEALs and her motley crew of bounty hunters to save her…

Get your copy here!
And hey, if you are a KU subscriber, you can read it for free!

Then there was…Head Over SEAL, which was another Uncharted SEALs story.

*~*~*

Happy Ever After for a SEAL and a bounty hunter requires true dedication…

A former military dog handler, now Montana bounty hunter, Jamie Burke’s still trying to adjust to life with a live-in boyfriend. With a testy personality, Jamie’s circle of friends is very small, and includes one very loyal canine best friend. Which is how she likes it. She also likes uncomplicated, but her feelings for her boyfriend, Sky Reynolds, are anything but simple.

With ex-SEAL Sky away on a weeks-long mission, she jumps at the chance to work with the Charter Group again, happy to do anything to keep her too busy to worry about him. She heads to Mexico with her dog Tessa to be part of a team working to discover the whereabouts of a cache of weapons stolen from the Army. She’s thrilled when Sky meets her at the airport.

However, Sky’s not happy Jamie’s in the middle of this op. Having nearly lost her months before, he’s going to stick close. Not a tough job it turns out, since they’re staking out a beachside mansion from the mansion next door. Things heat up as they reconnect, but Jamie and Sky both worry about their future, until a cartel arms dealer arrives and bigger worries mount…

Get your copy here!

Finally, we get to see Jamie and Sky tie the knot in Big Sky Wedding, which is coming this Tuesday! Drool over the cover, but you’ll have to wait until then to learn more!

 

Contest

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon card, tell me one thing you have to do before you can sit down to read (or re-read) the first two stories in Sky and Jamie’s little mini-series!!

There’s still time to enter! (Contests)
Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Enter these contests to win some fun prizes! They won’t be open forever!

  1. A Puzzle & a Contest! — Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Diana Cosby: Nature – Inspiration For The Muse (Contest) — Win a tote bag & a mug!
Diana Cosby: Nature – Inspiration For The Muse (Contest)
Sunday, August 4th, 2019

©Diana Cosby 2019


I love crafting stories, and I trust my muse to give me inspiration to create characters, craft their story, and write their book.


I’ve discovered that my muse is most inspired during my walks through the woods as I enjoy the sights of nature. Read the rest of this entry »

Elizabeth Andrews: Happy New Year (Giveaway)
Friday, August 2nd, 2019

UPDATE: The winner is…BookLady!
*~*~*

I want to start by thanking Delilah for being so generous with her blog and letting me play here with you today. I always have fun when I come here to visit. 

I suppose my choice of title for this blog post may seem odd, given that we’re in the middle of summer (and a hideously hot and humid one in my neck of the woods). But I just had a birthday near the end of July, and I always think of birthdays as fresh starts, much like the actual new year at the beginning of January. So even if it’s the middle of the year, you get to start over. It’s a good time to re-evaluate any goals or plans you’ve set for yourself for the year. Are you on track? Do you need to adjust or down-size an overly-ambitious aim? Do you have something new you want to try instead? Maybe it’s just something you want to accomplish before your next birthday. 

I came home from a writing conference a few days ago, so, besides all of the things I was already evaluating from my January goals for just this calendar year, I have a head full of fresh ideas and plans that will need to be worked into those existing plans. It would be unrealistic for me to try to cram everything into the next five months until the actual new year. Probably, it is unrealistic for me to even work more than one of these new ideas into this year since I am already reworking this year’s goals. So I have to look at big-picture plans and goals for the next year or so, but that’s a whole other project in itself, and I have time to figure those out. My focus right now is on the more immediate goals and plans. I’ve given myself two weeks to figure how those fit into the rest of 2019. Then I can start thinking about next year when we get into November, and maybe start working on my big-picture goals sooner, which ought to make setting next year’s goals easier. 

A lot of romance novels have characters who are forced to start fresh, who thought they had their lives mapped out and then got the rug pulled out from under them. I’m working on a project for late this year and just realized as I’m writing my post that it falls into this category. The heroine in the story is dealing with that issue, having lost a job she thought was secure, following a path she’d been on for a long time, and now she has to start over. She agrees to house-sit for friends on a Maine island while licking her wounds and trying to figure out where to go from there. 

That story opportunity was something that came at a time when I needed to figure out a new direction, and the timing couldn’t have been any better. It was nowhere on my list of plans last year, but I couldn’t say no to it since it leads down a path I intended to research and wanted to start on eventually anyway. I guess it’s ‘eventually’ now.  

Does anyone else see their birthday as the start of a shiny new year? An opportunity to start fresh? Or is there a story you love where one of the characters is forced to start all over again?

Contest

I would love to hear from you on those, so I have a signed copy of my first book Hunting Medusa to send to one person who comments by 5 pm (Eastern) on Sun, August 4 (via drawing on RandomResult.com).

About the Author

Elizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read. She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart. As an adult, her book habit continues. She has a room overflowing with her literary collection right now, and still more spreading into other rooms.  Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own.  Thanks to a fifth grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels. Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.  

Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and-though she loves horror- romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression. There are more than just a few manuscripts, however, tucked away in a filing cabinet that will never see the light of day.

Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of twenty-five years, and spends plenty of time with her two young adult sons who have recently flown the coop. When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers and vegetables that requires occasional attention.

You can find out more and keep up with news at her website: 

www.ElizabethAndrewsWrites.com