Am I What I Write? (Posted for the IWSG Monthly Blog Hop)

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It’s IWSG Day Again!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. This month’s question is:

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

My Answer … ABSOLUTELY, and it’s always purposeful.

Why? Because I am inseparable from my writing. I believe that’s what “finding your writing voice” truly means, at least what it means for me. Writing is an almost magical combination of intent and imagination, a mental and spiritual place where your life experiences and creativity combine to create something that is uniquely yours.

If you’ve ever entered a contest where you’re given a storyline (or even just a keyword), you know it’s true: one hundred different writers will deliver one hundred distinctly creative entries, each one influenced by his or her own experiences, preferences, and personal characteristics. That’s what makes writing such a beautiful, life-affirming experience. And why I will keep writing until I can no longer hold a pen or use a keyboard.

Writing Inspirational Quote by Jeff Goins
Source: Jeff Goins on Pinterest

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The awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

Blog Hop Link:

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About IWSG: The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

PURPOSE:
To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
MISSION STATEMENT:

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

HOW IT BEGAN:

Alex J. Cavanaugh, the founder, noticed a lot of blog posts from writers mentioning their doubts, concerns, and lack of confidence. He also saw the positive replies they received and realized that the writing community offered an abundance of support. Writers want to see other writers succeed, which is how he came up with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This group would act as a form of therapy, letting writers post about situations where they need encouragement, or to offer words of encouragement to others if they have experience.

On September 7, 2011, Alex launched the monthly blog posting of the IWSG and it has been going strong ever since.

On the first Wednesday of every month we share of thoughts about writing on our blogs. We also have an optional monthly question to assist with member’s posts, which can be found on the Sign-Up page.

 

WHERE WE ARE NOW:

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group has grown since conception. Over 250 people are a part of the blogging community that posts on the first Wednesday of every month, known as IWSG Day.

The group has expanded beyond blogging into other forms. We have a Facebook Group with 3,000+ members. Our free monthly newsletter, which has featured industry experts like Jane Friedman and Sandra Beckwith, has 600+ subscribers.

We offer a free guide for writers: The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Guide to Publishing and Beyond. We have an annual anthology contest, and the first book is available now – Parallels: Felix Was Here. The second, Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life, will be released in May, 2017. We even have our own merchandise which include pens, magnets, and T-shirts!

Alex and the nine other administrators are actively pushing the group to greater heights. Nothing is impossible when insecure writers band together.

Rescued, An Elkridge Novel by Lyz Kelley: Blog Tour & Review!

Rescued

(An Elkridge Series Novel)

by Lyz Kelley

Release Date: 12th September
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
#RescuedTour

 

 

About RESCUED


What happens when you realize too late that you’re in love?
Karly’s animal shelter business is failing. Right now, she has too many animals, and not enough foster parents, trainers, or adopters to keep food in the bowls, and she’s desperate to find options. When her first love returns home from Afghanistan wounded and alone, she offers Thad a win-win situation—a job in exchange for training a special needs dog.
Thad wants to be left alone. He feels responsible for not spotting the IED before it killed his friends and his war dog. When Karly drops off a dog for him to train, memories of their deaths swamp him with guilt.
Corruption is tearing the small town of Elkridge apart. Thad is brave enough to give his life to save Karly, but is he brave enough to live? Will she be strong enough to survive? Will fate allow them a happily ever after?

RESCUED is a sensual, contemporary romance about a brave woman and a heroic man who fulfill their dreams. If you like heartfelt characters, deep topics with powerful emotional cores, and happy endings, then you’ll love this sixth book in Lyz Kelley’s tales of strength, love, and survival. Buy RESCUED to unlock the emotional tale today!

Read my 5-star review of RESCUED and add it to Goodreads HERE.


Buy The Book on Amazon (UK) 
or Amazon US


Release Promo Ad for Rescued, by Lyz Kelley


Meet Lyz Kelley

 

Award-winning author Lyz Kelley resides in a small community in Colorado with her husband and several four-legged family members. She’s a lover of board games, gardening, and painting, a disaster in the kitchen, a compulsive neat freak, and tea snob. She loves writing about strong women who have endured challenges and the men who enrich their lives.
A healing love is at the heart of her book series. Creating wounded yet amazing characters—discovering what drives them, frightens them, heals them, makes them laugh—is what gives her joy. Lyz is pleased to share that joy through her masterfully written stories.

To keep tabs on her award-winning novels, connect with Lyz by signing up for her newsletter at LyzKelley.com. Members receive an exclusive copy of Regrets, (the prequel to the Elkridge Series), learn about thoughtful giveaways, and get a sneak peek at upcoming releases. Members may even get the opportunity to receive advanced reader copies. Check out LyzKelley.com for more information.

Website: www.LyzKelley.com

Newsletter Sign Up: www.LyzKelley.com

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An Interview with Lyz…

Why would I want to read the Elkridge Series?  Each book in the Elkridge series is a piece to a puzzle—a suspenseful mystery involving the murder of a small-town sheriff. You get six contemporary romance books to figure out the mystery and a bunch of happy ever after (HEA) endings. Two novels in this fiction series—Blinded and Orphaned—are award-winning romance books.

Where is Elkridge, Colorado?  Elkridge exists only in my mind. On any given day, I can stop at River Creek Café for Jenna’s fresh baked cinnamon rolls, or shop for a birthday present at Mara’s Blooms, or get my nails done at Kym’s nail salon. Sitting in the park eating lunch, I can watch the kids play and hear the latest gossip from neighbors. Later, if I want, I can stop at Mad Jack’s to hear a local band play and get some dinner. Elkridge is a great small town where the sun shines 360 days a year, and people do their best to make ends meet.

Would you tell us about your writing process?  It takes me awhile to write each stand-alone story because I am passionate about creating the very best stories for my readers. These contemporary romance books have complex plots and sub-plots and include suspense romance threads, with deep emotional women’s fiction elements, humor and even a bit of quirkiness. I’m so excited to see the 5-star ratings because it means I’ve created the ideal mix to provide readers with a few hours of enjoyment.  
Many of your books have challenging topics. Why? The easiest explanation is that I believe everyone can be honorable, brave and loved no matter the circumstances. Blindness, domestic violence, and abuse can create fear and insecurities, yet each situation can be overcome with a gentle, patient, and healing love. In my heart, love begins with respect and the willingness to listen to gain mutual understanding. Without those two components, a relationship filled with love is hard to build.
How did the Elkridge story line develop? I don’t want to spoil the series ending, but the series story arc started with Colorado legalizing marijuana, then it went from there. Question after question started popping into my head. The first question was, “How will the illegal drug trade change?” I started researching news articles on drug trafficking to find answers. Then one day a story formed. I’m glad I had my research notes when I talked to an FBI agent to nail down technical aspects of the story. Otherwise, he might have been a little more curious about why I was asking such in-depth questions. There is a saying, “Don’t judge me by my search engine history, I’m a writer.” {grin}
You say you write about honorable men and brave women, but your characters are so flawed. Everyone can be a hero just by offering a smile, holding a door for another, or opening a medicine bottle for a person with arthritis. Heroes aren’t only those individuals who accomplish grand gestures. We may feel a smile is insignificant, but to the person on the receiving end, we might just have made that person’s day. Being a hero isn’t always about rescuing a child, or stopping a bank robbery, it can also be about the little things in life that bring joy.
Would you ever do a spin off of the other characters introduced in the Elkridge series?
I love this question! What a great way to introduce the Lonely Ridge spin-off series. I chose to differentiate the Lonely Ridge series from the Elkridge set because this group of books will not have the mystery thread included in the Elkridge series. Each new book will be a stand-alone love story and will include the quirky characters from the town I’ve come to love. I’m hoping to have the first book in this new series out in time for Christmas.

Giveaway!

Head to Lyz’s website to enter the giveaway – http://lyzkelley.com/elkridge-series.html

Other Books in the Elkridge Series

Blinded – Buy Here



Spurned – Buy Here


Abandoned – Buy Here


 

Orphaned – Buy Here







 

Exposed – Buy Here









Thought for the Month: Elements of Surprise in the Life of a Writer

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SURPRISE!

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like surprises — even good ones. However, as with other facts of life, surprises are inescapable; and the majority of them, at least in my experience, are welcome. It’s the fear of the unexpected that repels those of us who ascribe to the myth that we have control over what happens in our lives. We enjoy inflicting the element of surprise on our loved ones (who may not necessarily appreciate them), and we enjoy seeing those surprise wedding proposals on the KissCam at sporting events, but surprises are for other people, primarily those outside our private bubble.

When I saw this month’s optional question, “Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?” the answer was easy. Every. Single. Day. As a debut author, whose only previous works have been unpublished attempts at fan fiction, the inspiration for my first “serious” work might have been the biggest surprise of all.

After dabbling in a disastrous attempt to co-write an erotic suspense novel with another indie author, I thought I might close up my laptop for good. I’d been burned–badly–by someone I trusted like a sister. My contributions were torn apart and ultimately deemed unworthy by my co-author, and I believed her. I felt like a failure, a fraud, and a fool. The betrayal was the worst kind of surprise–the kind that makes you question your self-worth, or worse, abandon your dreams.

I loved that story–and its principal character–so much, letting it go was like burying a loved one. Later, seeing it retitled and published by my former friend added salt to the wound that burned from the inside out. Then came the second surprise.

As I drifted off to sleep one night, a long-buried incident from my past turned into the story that only I can tell, and Where Angels Sleep began to unfold, like buds on a grapevine after the cruelest of winters. At that moment, as I frantically captured thoughts on paper, the characters came alive and guided my pen. The bitterness of previous experience faded and the surprise of self-discovery took hold.

Every time I’m tempted to give up–when I get blocked, the middle gets muddy, or yesterday’s prose reads like utter crap–I remind myself that this story is mine alone to tell. That the tragedy that inspired it infuses every paragraph, but its happy ending is mine to imagine. I remember the young man–my beloved cousin Paul–to whom the book is dedicated, and I resolve to finish it as a personal tribute to his memory. To devote the time, effort and money it takes to make it the best it can be. To publish it and to love it, even if it never hits a list.

As it turns out, the book’s theme has everything to do with what happens when life spins out of control, and how the right surprise, at the right time, can change our destiny. For a woman who’s not fond of surprises, this amuses me to no end.

Today I took a long walk to consider what to write for this month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) post. (BTW, It should come as NO surprise to those who know me that I’m an insecure writer!) As I walked, enjoying the first cool, sunny day in weeks, a song from the Where Angels Sleep playlist came to mind. It deals with the memories–and associated feelings–that we bury “down deep in our souls.” To me, this speaks to the essence of authentic writing–the surprise of what emerges when we take ourselves to new depths and explore that which we most fear.

Please listen and enjoy. Think about what unique life experiences have led you to tell your stories. Leave a comment about them, if you please. Then go forth and write your next story.

About the IWSG

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting:  The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Check out the details and sign up on the IWSG website!

The awesome co-hosts for today’s posts are Tyrean MartinsonTara TylerRaimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.

#ISWG Thoughts for August: Pet Peeves While Reading, Writing & Editing

#ISWG logo

Q: Do you know an insecure writer?

A: Well, now you do…

I confess that I’m a devoted follower of the ISWG (aka the Insecure Writers Group),  a community of writers whose purpose is “to share and encourageeach other. It’s a place where “writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” If you haven’t discovered #ISWG, click the link above and check us out!

The first Wednesday of every month is #ISWG Day. Members post a response to a pre-determined question, reaching out to readers and fellow group members, sharing their thoughts, support, encouragement, doubts, and fears about a writing-related topic. This month’s question is,

What are your pet peeves while reading/writing/editing?

Our #ISWG Day co-hosts for August are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner.

Be sure to visit their blogs and see what they have to say!

And, after I’ve shared a few of my personal pet peeves, feel free to comment with your own, as a reader, writer, or both.

Pet Peeves While Reading…

Pet Peeves while Reading-Interruption

I know I’m not alone in this one, but being interrupted while I’m reading is the worst. Sometimes I resort to putting my noise-cancelling headphones on, if for no other reason than to broadcast that I’m not available for conversation. Or texts, phone calls, cooking meals, or basically anything other than running from a fire. I will signal my willingness to be interrupted by closing my book. Until I do that, approach at your own risk.

Pet Peeves About Writing

Again, interruption is the worst, and in our house, with an extrovert husband, a greyhound, and two neurotic lap cats, it’s nearly impossible to avoid. I unplug the landline, turn off notifications, activate my Freedom App, and even post a sign outside the door, but some days I’m lucky to get a paragraph done without interruption. I’ve found that I write best on a long airline flight, because, again, noise-cancelling headphones, and a look that says, “back away slowly. There’s nothing to see here.”

I have one other writing peeve, and this one concerns being a writer. Simply put, I’ve found that many folks just don’t think writing is a serious job that requires work and time. Lots of work, lots of time, all the time. When someone asks what I do for a living, and I say, “I’m a writer,” I can feel the blank stare before I see it. And those who show enough interest to ask what I’m writing seem to have no idea what to say when I tell them it’s a contemporary romance. Even when talking about writing with other authors–presumably those who don’t write or read romance–I’m usually on the receiving end of a sigh, followed by an awkward pause. And then there’s the inevitable, immediate assumption that I write smut, which I don’t . . . but if I did — and I might someday — deserve the same respect that every other writer does. Whether it’s Hemingway-level prose, a travel blog, a children’s book, poetry, or Writing for Dummies, it’s hard work. Even more, to serious writers, it’s an investment of the mind, heart, and soul.

**steps off soap box**

And Finally…Pet Peeves About Editing

1) Editing Causes Wrinkles

and

2) Editing inevitably includes an extended period of time during which my insecurity comes out to play. But I’m not alone in that, either …

Having said all this, the truth is I live for the experience of reading and writing. (Editing my own work, not so much, so I work with an amazing editor who “gets me.”) But, despite the drawbacks, the awkward moments, and the crippling self-doubt, when my debut novel is finally published, it will be totally worth it.

P. S.

If you’re so inclined, you can read the first few, unedited chapters of my work-in-progress, Where Angels Sleepon Wattpad and Goodreads.
Thanks for reading this month’s #ISWG post!

 

It’s a Movie! The Wrong Bed: Naked Pursuit, by Jill Monroe – Coming Soon!

Movie Announcement: The Wrong Bed, Naked Pursuit by Jill Monroe

The Wrong Bed, Naked Pursuit, is coming to the “big screen!”

The book The Wrong Bed: Naked Pursuit,  by Jill Monroe, is now a Lifetime movie! Check out the links below to join over 30 authors for a Facebook party to celebrate the movie launch on June 1st, and enter to win a huge prize pack.  

Jill Monroe’s book THE WRONG BED: NAKED PURSUIT is now a Lifetime movie! You can watch it on LMN on June 2nd at 8/7c. Watch the movie trailer HERE.  Sign up for Jill’s newsletter for exclusive news about the film.

FACEBOOK PARTY!

 You won’t want to miss this! Jill is hosting a Facebook party for THE WRONG BED: NAKED PURSUIT movie launch. The author lineup for this event is incredible and there will be a ton of giveaways throughout the day. You can stop by anytime so make sure to CLICK HERE to join!

Help spread the word about the party by using the hashtag #NAKEDPURSUIT. Everyone who helps spread the word will be entered to win a huge prize pack by signing up below!

Celebration Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Meet Jill Monroe

Jill Monroe is the award-winning author of fourteen romance novels and novellas, and one satirical “non-fiction” book about dating the undead guy next door.  

When not writing, or hanging around on Twitter, Jill is the irreverent creator and co-host of the wildly popular Author Talk series, which has over 150,000 views on YouTube alone.  Jill has interviewed such #1 New York Times bestselling authors as PC and Kristin Cast and Kresley Cole as well as global superstar authors like Nora Roberts.  Due to reader and author demand, Author Talk will be returning in late 2017.

The Wrong Bed: Naked Pursuit will be released from Lifetime Movie Network in June 2017 and stars Jewel Staite and Corey Sevier.

Jill also wrote the second book in the international Royal House of Shadows series along with New York Times‘ bestselling authors Gena Showalter and Nalini Singh.

A former Golden Heart finalist, Jill has received Top Picks from Romantic Times and has been nominated for a Reviewers’ Choice Award.  Visit her website at www.jillmonroe.com

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Sign Up For Jill’s Newsletter

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | InstagramGoodreads

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Surrender: A NEW Novel from the Steel Brothers Series by Helen Hardt

Release Banner for Surrender by Helen Hardt

Surrender (Steel Brothers Saga #6)

by Helen Hardt

Release Date: 16th May

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About Surrender

Book Cover, Surrender, by Helen HardtJonah Steel has fallen in love with Melanie Carmichael but still lives with the guilt that consumes him as he tries to unravel the mystery of his family’s past. A new threat has surfaced, and he finds himself trapped in a web of deceit and lies.

Melanie loves Jonah but has yet to surrender completely to his needs. Meanwhile, a new friend uncovers more information and more questions. While the ghosts of Melanie’s past still hover around her, she joins Jonah on his quest for answers. Together, they vow to find the truth.

But the deeper they dig, the more danger they uncover…and Jonah’s life hangs in the balance.

Buy the Book 

http://www.helenhardt.com/book/surrender/

Meet The Author

#1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.

Visit her on Facebook & Twitter: 

https://www.facebook.com/HelenHardt

https://twitter.com/helenhardt

Buy Links for all of Helen’s Books: 

http://www.helenhardt.com/book/

                 Steel Brothers Saga Series Available Here 

 

Giveaway:

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 Direct Link:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/95cb0282282/

Curve Balls: A Sexy New RomCom Novella by Andie M. Long!

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Book: Curve Balls
Series: The Balls Games Book Six
Author: Andie M Long
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Hosted By: Francessca’s PR & Designs

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About Curve Balls

The much loved Turner family and friends are back in another hilarious novella.

Tyler Turner has had the shock of his life. Is he really ready to be a fully-fledged adult with responsibilities?
Dylan’s had enough of Cam’s business taking over their life together and gives her an ultimatum. With the two at loggerheads, Dora does her usual meddling to get them to see sense.
Beth and Leo are keeping their own secrets, but how long before at least one becomes obvious?
Dora’s period is late, and she’s found out she’s going to be a grandmother. In true Dora style, she runs away. This time on a pre-booked mini-break to Liverpool with her sister.
Life is throwing Curve Balls at the Turner Family and friends.

Add To Goodreads

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Purchase Links


Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Excerpt

“It’s this bloody play centre.” Dylan takes a large swig of beer. “I’m fully aware it’s her business and if it goes ‘tits up’ as she keeps telling me, she’d lose all her savings, but she’s never at home. It’s ridiculous. I work full-time and I’m having to come home and cook. She comes in late, eats, and is so tired she then goes to bed and is out like a light, until our alarm goes off and she repeats it all again. We barely speak, barely see each other. Since the engagement party she’s made no inroads into sorting out our wedding. I’m thinking we should forget the whole thing. She’s obviously not interested.”
“Have you tried to tell her?”
We look at each other and burst into laughter.
“As if we tell women anything. We like our bollocks right?” I state. Then I tilt my head at him, “Seriously though. It is time for the talk.”
“Oh God, no. Anything but the talk.”
The talk. The thing that makes a man quake in his boots. When he needs to say something important to a woman and he needs to be listened to. The one that goes something like this.
Man: Darling (always start with an endearment to sweeten them up).
Woman: Yes?
Man: It’s just a small thing but could you possibly fold my socks up rather than leave them in a pile as sometimes one falls behind the sofa and I end up with lots of odd socks.
Woman: Fine.
Man: Fuck, that was easier than I thought. (Goes to sit down.) Thirty minutes later: Hit by balls of socks to the head with a ‘will that do fuckhead?’
“Rather you than me mate.”

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Early Feedback

I adore Andie M. Long and her clever and bawdy sense of humor. Her riotously funny Ball Games series has never failed to give me the giggle-snorts. ~ Goodreads Review

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, ANDIE IS THE QUEEN OF COMEDY WRITING! ~ BookLover

I love Andie’s Ball Games books, the families and characters are relatable for me and Curve Balls is no different. ~ Goodreads Review

Giveaway
Andie’s Facebook Page

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About The Author

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Andie M. Long is the author of The Alphabet Game series, Underneath and Quickies. When not writing she can usually be found time wasting on social media. If you ever see her doing housework, step away. It means she’s stressed! Prepare to meet the Turner Family in the Ball Games series in 2016 plus other works in progress.

Stalk Andie M Long Here:

Andie’s Reader Hangout
(not a street team, just a place to hang and have fun).
Mailing List Free E book of Quickies on Sign up.

Facebook Page

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