“Time is very precious to me…” March 4, 1993, Jim Valvano at the ESPYS
We need more.
We want more.
There is never enough.
I’ve been a published author for six and a half years and have released twenty-nine books with four in the pipeline and five planned for 2022. I’m often asked how I produce so many books and manage all the work that goes into being a romance writer.
There isn’t a simple answer.
During the last six years, I was working full and then part-time. I run the house and always seem to be chasing a repair person because something has broken (Currently—my washer is giving error messages and not fully draining). I’m not the type that can lock myself in a room and work for eight hours straight, totally focused on what is in front of me. I must have a plan, and even more importantly, stick to it.
Here are five strategies that have helped me.
Know how much time in a day is actually “yours.” For four days, keep a detailed list of what you do and how long it takes. Start subtracting from twenty-four. Sleep, tv time, morning coffee, social media, meals, errands, grooming (remember to shower). The remainder is “your” time. **Round up, everything takes longer in reality.
Pay attention to how long tasks take from start to finish. For instance, a run to the bank. You should factor in changing clothes or showering, gathering the necessary papers, finding your keys, plus the trip itself, and then when you return, another change of clothes, putting receipts away. What you at first claimed was a twenty-minute task, now turns out to be sixty minutes.
Learn how long it takes for you to get into your writing headspace. I am jealous of those who can write while waiting in the carpool line or while their husband is driving them somewhere. I don’t work that way. I have found I have a series of steps I follow before I can get to the words. It starts with dog out/dog in, laundry started, drink at the ready, and music or tv playing low in the background. I also check e-mails before I start in case something important has arrived. Then, I write. It takes me at least thirty minutes to settle in. When you do the math, I lose valuable time getting there, but once I’m ready, I’m working.
I make To Do Lists that are feasible. I try to keep it to six items. I don’t want to self-sabotage by giving myself too much to do because I won’t get it all done.
Prioritize what is important and what you need to accomplish today. What do you want to do? Social media is a time suck, not only producing posts but scrolling through everybody else’s. I know that TikTok is currently the hot trend. I found that I don’t believe I have enough to share to post often, and for a while, the stress of worrying about it caused me to lose valuable time.
Our lives are busy and constantly changing. Your scheduling will evolve as your life changes. You will learn how to trim minutes in certain areas, and maybe, add more in others. Remember, every day offers a new opportunity. Don’t give up!
Today, I’m offering a $20 Amazon Gift Card for a great time-management tip shared below.
About the Author
Melanie Jayne/M. Jayne spends her days on a grain farm in central Indiana with her long-suffering husband and mastiff, Duncan Keith. She writes Contemporary Seasoned Romance and has published several series. As M. Jayne she is the teller of tales of the Novus Pack. You can learn more about her work here:
Even after 110 books published, I still get excited about the release of a new one. WOLF IN THE WOODS was released earlier this month. It’s the start of a new series, but it has roots in the past.
My Salvation Pack series was a labor of love—all 9 books. Luckily for me, it’s also been a reader favorite. For years, readers have asked if there would be more books. I honestly wasn’t sure, but I always felt as though the series wasn’t complete.
Thus was born Salvation Pack: The Next Generation. I’m so excited about this new 5-book series. Each book stands alone, so if you haven’t read the original series, you can still read and enjoy the book. If you’ve read the original series, you’ll see many familiar faces. I hope my readers love this new series as much as I do.
Wolf in the Woods
Salvation Pack: The Next Generation, Book 1
Not wanting to be forced to mate to an eligible male in her pack who won’t take no for an answer, Addie Fuller is on the run.
Billy Gallagher might be human, but he understands werewolf culture all too well after being raised in the Salvation Pack.
When their paths cross, he helps her, even knowing it will likely mean his death. He’s no match for a full-blooded male wolf. A short, brutal fight, leaves him near death and Addie fighting to save his life.
He recovers, but he’s not the same man he was. The one thing he does know for sure—he and Addie are meant to be together. All he has to do is convince her of that and deal with the threat looming over them.
Excerpt from Wolf in the Woods…
So much blood.
He flinched at the pressure and gave a moan of pain but didn’t tell her to stop. He had to know just how bad the situation was. He licked his lips, his breathing labored. “Gear.” His fingers uncurled and pointed to the right.
She jumped up and raced in that direction, inhaling deeply to find his scent. His knapsack was partially hidden under a short pine tree. With shaky hands, she grabbed it and hurried back.
“I’ve got it.” Adrenaline pumped through her veins, allowing her to focus past her own pain. She ignored the gashes in her stomach. Her werewolf metabolism was already working to heal them. They weren’t as deep as they could have been. He wasn’t so fortunate. She opened the bag and dug out a long-sleeved flannel shirt. It would do for a makeshift bandage. She ripped the arms off and then folded the rest into a thick padding.
I don’t know how to do this. This was beyond anything in her experience. Werewolves healed naturally, for the most part, and she’d never been around anyone who’d been this seriously injured.
I have to clean the wound first. Fear was making her sweat. She swiped her forearm over her forehead.
You can do this. She didn’t have a choice. The alternative was to just let him die.
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.
I’m Sierra Brave, author of the Horse Mountain Shifters series. I’m excited to be back on Delilah Devlin’s blog today to share an excerpt from my upcoming paranormal romance. Scarlett and the Big Bad is a fantasy Red Riding Hood retelling but also the first in a three-book series filled with magic, romance, danger, and angst.
Most everyone knows the original story of Little Red Riding Hood, but Scarlett Capuche, the heroine in my book, is a young woman, who in some ways is as naïve as the original. Imagine being raised away from society and only being taught what your captures want you to know?
I imagine everyone remembers the old lines of “What big eyes you have, Grandmother!” The only elderly matriarch in Scarlett and The Big Bad isn’t exactly on her side, but the (were)wolf is much more open with his intentions. He does reveal something huge to her though…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here’s a fun little compare and contrast:
Scarlett and the Big Bad
Fated Fairytales 1
What if Red Riding Hood invited peril, and the big bad wolf was the only hero who could save her?
Promised power and position, Scarlett Capuche left her tiny village to join the prestigious Order of the Phoenix.
Monty Blackwolf never wanted a mate, especially not a human raised on a hidden farm for blood-ritual sacrifice. But his werewolf’s heightened sense of smell drew him to Scarlett’s sweet fragrance from miles away.
Duty-bound to protect her, he will break her of her religious devotion to the magical terrorist group responsible for the murders of his parents and older brother, even if he has to put her over his knee and turn her bottom as red as her hair.
She belongs to him now, and he will claim all of her despite his affliction with a unique, third shifter-form he doesn’t fully understand and isn’t able to control.
Will Monty save Scarlett, or will he prove more dangerous to her than anyone else?
Author’s Note: If you’re offended by steamy fairytale retellings with graphic language, explicit put-you-in-the-moment love scenes, elements of power exchange, and domestic discipline, you might want to look for a different book.
As she relaxed against him, his heart drummed against her back, the beat syncing with hers. The lump in her throat dissolved as her chest rose and fell with his.
She stared at the ceiling. The lights appeared to blur as she mewed and groaned. His hands, big and rough, worshiped her skin, every inch touched, washed, tenderly explored but never exploited. After a while, Scarlett blinked and stretched, realizing the naked girl staring at her was her reflection. Monty patted her dry as she sat on the edge of the tub.
“What happened?” Her heart pounded as confusion nipped at her brain.
Standing with only a towel wrapped around his hips, his six firm abdominals close to her eye level, he shrugged. “We had a bath. I think you might have dozed off a little. It’s been a long day.”
She tapped her finger against her lip as he hung up the wet towels before grabbing a fresh one. She most certainly had not been asleep. Now back in her right mind, she remembered every slight movement of his hand, every turn of his fingertips, the coiling in her stomach as the tantalizing sensations coaxed forth primal feelings she’d never imagined she’d possessed. She recalled breathing in his scent so deeply she could taste it even as they laved the fragrance away, and she had fantasized about him manhandling her, forcing her legs open and entering her even though he had not.
Sierra Brave is a multi-published author of heart-pounding, blush-inducing romance with put-you-in-the-moment love scenes. She enjoys writing about a variety of gorgeous alpha males who can’t resist head-strong heroines. Curvy girls have a special place in her heart and often grace the pages of her books. Tales of shifters, cowboys, twisted fairy tales, space pirates, Amazon warriors, and vampires capture her imagination as do tempting spanking and ménage scenarios, but she also engages in more down-to-earth themes such as office romance. You’ll find lots of unique characters and humor in all of her stories.
UPDATE: The winners are…Misty, AnnaMarie, and Jennifer Beyer!
Before I wrote bounty hunters, I wrote about vampires…
Answer me this for a chance to win your choice from among my many Night Fall titles!
Bounty Hunters or Vamps and Werewolves?
P. S. And be sure to check out the list of open contests you still have time to enter at the bottom of this post!
Wolf in Plain Sight
“A wickedly funny and passionate series, fans of paranormal erotic romance will enjoy [Wolf in Plain Sight] tremendously. Ms. Devlin has done it again!” ~ Romance Reviews Today
To Super-cop Max Weir, the only good vampire is a dead one. Since his special police unit integrated with vampires, he’s had to suppress his natural hatred to work side by side with the undead to hunt down and terminate the deadliest killers. Now the unit’s hot on the trail of a new menace in town, a pack of werewolves prowling for vampires who don’t care whether humans get in their way.
When a stakeout goes awry, Max enters a bar looking for a fight or woman to help him blow off a little steam. What he finds is a winsome siren whose sexual appetites match his own.
Vampire Pia D’Amato is on a secret mission to take out Max–either by seduction or turning him. He’s become a liability to the Masters’ Council setting up jurisdiction in southern Florida, and she’s not leaving until she’s done the job. But Max is more man than she bargained for with a deadly secret of his own.
Excerpt from Wolf in Plain Sight…
Max pushed through the door of the bar determined that tonight he’d either get shit-faced or fucked. Which, didn’t matter so long as he could blow off the steam that had been gathering a head since the botched mission hours before. The bar was a regular haunt—only a block from his house. If need be, he could crawl home. The smoky air, the loud grinding music, and the smell of stale beer appealed when he had an axe to grind.
The SU had swept the area for signs of the wolves that killed the vampires before turning on the humans in a mutilating frenzy. Their bloody paw prints lead beyond the house to a gravel road where they’d disappeared. The pack had made their getaway in cars. This hadn’t been a roaming band’s target of opportunity, but a takedown.
The grim faces of the vampires telegraphed their worry. He hoped they were shaking in their boots. Not that the thought of a rogue wolf pack wasn’t just as unsettling to Max.
But seeing the cock-sure Quentin lose his perpetual smirk was gratifying. Dylan had been grim-faced and pale. Perhaps the bastard saw his own fate in the house.
However, Joe’s silence had been the most telling. He hadn’t looked the least bit surprised.
Max made his way through the tables ringing a small dance floor. The place was nearly empty, save for the men hovering near the bar for the night’s last drinks. The tension in his shoulders knotted tighter. All it would take would be one smart-ass comment. He hungered for an excuse to drive his fist through something.
The crowd parted, and a flash of a slim white ankle snagged his attention. Every trace of anger, bitter regret, and frustration coalesced into a single, burning need.
The men blocking his view shifted, and the ankle drew his glance upward to a bare knee. The woman’s legs parted, and one slid atop the other. Her foot sawed up and down, and a slender, functionless sandal dangled from the tips of her painted toes. God, he wanted to help her lose the shoes altogether.
He advanced toward the men standing between him and his goal. Their faces registered annoyance for only a moment before they stepped aside. The hard hunger that rode his belly must have turned his face into an implacable mask.
As he drew near, her shape was revealed one tantalizing curve at a time. Sweetly turned hips were clothed in a stretchy black skirt that ended at the top of her thighs—not a hint of underwear marred the smooth fit. Conveniently tied behind her neck, a miniscule top bared the gleaming, supple skin of her back and midriff—again, no sign of a bra. Her nipples puckered invitingly against the black fabric that barely contained the apple-like curves of her small breasts.
Finally, his gaze rose to her face. She could have been a whole lot less than appetizing, and he’d still have wanted her on the merits of that ride-able frame. But her face only made him more determined to have her.
Large, doe-like eyes, framed by thick lashes, blinked as she caught his stare. Her upper lip was a fraction fuller than the lower and inspired delicious, succulent fantasies. Her face was round, her jaw small, and a thumbprint dimple carved her chin into two delicious halves. His tongue itched to slide along that little notch.
As he reached the bar, he drew a deep breath, eager to catch the scent of her perfume. He wasn’t disappointed. The woman smelled like sex. Hot, nasty, spicy sex.
His body hardened along with his intentions. With only a fleeting thought for how aggressive he might appear, he loomed over her, his gaze sweeping downward. When he glanced back up to her eyes, he schooled his expression into something shy of predatory. He didn’t want to frighten her away before he’d even learned her name.
UPDATE: The winners are…Eniko, Misty, Colleen, bn100, Debra, and Fedora!
I’m a Sci-fi Romance Writer. Or, at least, I was.
But then an Earth-bound dragon-shifter story idea knocked at my brain, and I had to write it. Because, you know… dragon-shifters!
The idea was a Viking shifter and a Chinese shifter come together to battle a prophesized World Destroyer. An East-meets-West story with a strong emphasis on the concept of yin and yang (and fortune cookies) and rich with references to the two cultures.
No biggie, right? Except for the small detail that, aside from my avid support of a local Chinese restaurant, I know nothing about that culture. And even less about Vikings. Or Minnesota, where the Viking clan now live. Or LA, where my story takes place…
When I write my alien-planets-filled-with-alien-creatures books, I get to just make stuff up for the most part. But not with What a Dragon Wants. Oh, my… I was going to have to research for my story. Not just a quick Google of a few details, either. This was gonna involve intense research. I had to be thorough. I had to be accurate.
And most importantly, I had to be sensitive.
I wasn’t crafting some culture from the weird synapses in my brain; I was trying to convey cultures that actually exist (or have existed) on this Earth. The suspension of disbelief would be narrower and the readers less forgiving if I got it wrong. And there are soooo many ways to screw up!
Critique Partners were important, and Sensitivity Readers were crucial. I inquired around my small network and found several kind souls willing to help in this endeavor. Heck, one day subbing at the local High School, I walked into the Mandarin teacher’s room during passing period and did the whole “you don’t know me, but I have a huge favor to ask” awkwardness. Probably not my finest five-minutes, but I was desperate to get the Chinese culture right.
I’m so grateful for all the comments and suggestions I received from my Critique Partners and Sensitivity Readers. I always am, as they help make my story the best it can be. And in the particular case of What a Dragon Wants, they certainly caught several places where I had proverbially stepped in it.
Did we catch everything? Probably not.
Will someone with a greater or more astute knowledge of these cultures find fault in my story? Possibly.
Did I attempt to craft an interesting, sexy, multi-cultural paranormal story that is entertaining, sprinkled with humor, and not grossly offensive? Absolutely.
The theme of yin and yang—of balance—runs through my story. The same theme also applies to how well I incorporated the aspects of my various cultures with the made-up story of my dragon-shifters and their world-ending-prophesy. And, while only time (and my readers) will tell if I accomplished this balance, it was a fun challenge and an exciting, somewhat nerve-wracking, endeavor.
G I V E A W A Y!
Comment on this blog, and I’ll pick five random winners to receive either a Kindle ebook or a signed paperback (US only) of my What a Dragon Wants novella. Then you can tell me how well I managed to balance it all. 🙂
Ava Cuvay writes out of this world romance featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, and adventure… often set in a galaxy far, far away. She resides in central Indiana with her own scruffy-looking nerfherder and kiddos who remind her daily she’s not as cool and hip as she thinks. She believes life is too short to bother with negative people, everything is better with Champagne, and Han Solo shot first. When not writing, Ava is thinking about writing. Or wine. And she’s always thinking about bacon.
Nearly twenty years ago, a white doe roamed the forests south of Raleigh, NC. A true albino, the deer was a ghost bounding through the trees. She walked the miles around the protected lake, the pride and joy of the town in which she wandered.
But life is never safe. Humans paved roads, mowed down trees for houses, and children filled the air with their screams and squeals. One night the white deer tried to cross the road but never made it with her two babies.
This doe had been named the town mascot. As such it was a beloved member of the community. The town raised funds to stuff and eventually house the deer. Before a permanent home could be built, it was located in the local high school and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
In time, the deer returned to her natural habitat. But she still wasn’t safe. Vandals burned the structure and the deer’s body. Once again the town raised funds to repair the stuffed animal and eventually it found a home at the Nature Center in White Deer Park.
When my family bought our current house, we were told the tale of the White Deer. She became the inspiration for my Capricorn character in my final Zodiac Shifters story. There aren’t many myths surrounding red-tailed deer, but the White Stag is one of the most well-known.
Whether he is a part of the Fae’s Wild Hunt, the Guardian Protector of the forest, or a messenger of the Gods, the White Stag is very powerful. But what happens when humans cheat and use magic to hunt? Will the stag be able to outrun them, even injured? Find out in Sundered, the third and final story in my Willows Haven series.
For years, reluctant earth witch Daphne Lowe has feared the strength of her powers. When she loses control, people are harmed. She already ruined Deputy Sheriff Stanford Morgan’s life once, when their relationship ignited his dormant magical powers and turned him into the legendary white stag. Getting involved with him again would just hurt him more. She has to ignore her feelings for him, and hope that someday he’ll stop loving her too.
Except the paranormal sanctuary of Willows Haven needs Daphne and Stanford together—she must anchor the town’s mythical willow trees, and he serves as guardian. Only then will the town’s supernatural residents be safe from the outside world. Trapped together by a snowstorm, Daphne and Stanford have a second chance at happiness if they can resolve their past issues.
When a dark witch invades the town, a final test of their commitment emerges. To succeed, they’ll have to truly trust in each other and embrace the power of their love.
Can a second chance at love survive vengeance from the past?
A print version will be available in the new year.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, leave a comment telling me your favorite character from Disney’s Bambi.
About the Author
Although Beth grew up in West Virginia, she currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, two sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who makes an excellent lap warmer. Blending the analytical and creative sides of her brain, she delights in creating fantasy worlds for others. She loves fairy tales, fantastical creatures, and stuffed animals.
One of my earliest Christmas memories was my aunt’s gingerbread cookies. I was born and raised in Hawaii, but there were a number of Thanksgivings and Christmas Holidays that were spent in California. My father was the baby of six children, and four of them lived in Southern California. Aunty Dot is a great baker, and her gingerbread makes the whole house smell like heaven. I may or may not have snuck a few extra cookies and eaten them on the sly. (Guilty)
They really made that Christmas holiday a memorable one, and since that time, thoughts of Christmas bring to mind the taste of those cookies.
When I decided to write Gingerbear Christmas, it was because of two reasons. 1) I had the most amazing cover image of a tall, gorgeous, ginger model (can’t turn that down); and 2), since it was a shifter, “gingerbear” popped up in my head because… yummm.
What is one of your most enduring Christmas Memories? I’d love to know!
In the chilly Christmas Season, a Bear Shifter is the perfect thing to keep her warm…
If there was one simple truth about the town of Allaway, it was that they took care of their own. Bear shifter, Clancy Rhodes, couldn’t remember his parents, but he remembered all of the kindness shown to him by the other residents in the valley and up in the mountains. He’d never wanted for a roof over his head or food in his stomach, and when he was old enough, they’d helped him build a house of his own. This fall he built an extra room onto the original structure with his own hands. Why? He really didn’t know, except his bear had thought it a good idea.
Haley Woodward hated being alone in the big city. She had friends, but no one too close and instead of being stuck in a cubicle all day, she longed to spend more time on her art. When she found herself the recipient of an artist-in-residence grant in the small town of Allaway, she jumped at the chance. The woman who arranged her trip had also arranged her lodging, in a tidy cottage with the largest and sexiest man Haley had ever seen.
Even with the heavy snows in Allaway, Haley didn’t find herself in need of a fire to keep herself warm, but would this seemingly effortless relationship continue beyond her time in the valley? She had a life she was supposed to return to in the city. Right?
Clancy had never had any intention of finding a mate. The community of the town was small. Small enough for him to know that no one there was the one to complete his soul, both halves of it. And yet Haley had made her mark on him in so many ways and before it was her time to leave, he had to make her see that what they had together would carry on for the rest of their lives, not just Christmas.