My friends, Evan Downey’s book is DONE.
I completed proofs (the final step before the book goes to print) today. So, it is official. Evan Downey is complete.
Which, I’ll be honest, makes me feel like this:
There’s a certain relief-slash-sadness-slash-joy to finishing a book to completion. Evan Downey was dreamed up back when I wrote him into the prequel Can’t Let Go and its follow-up, Hard to Handle. Here are a few excerpts:
Then we got to hang out with him for longer in The Millionaire Affair:
So finally, FINALLY! I was able to dig in with the man I’ve been chasing through three books.
And now we are SO so close! January 27, 2015 and Evan (and this beautiful cover) will be in your hands.
Preorder information is available here (except for Amazon because they are still refusing to put up preorders)
On a scale of one-to-GIMME GIMME!!!, how excited are you?
I received a tweet from a reader and I was so excited! I love questions about process. If you ever have one, please don’t hesitate to ask! I remember being insatiably curious about this business before I was published. So here goes–I’m going to answer this question to the best of my ability.
My only issue is that “typical” isn’t really in my vocabulary. I have always referred to myself as consistently inconsistent, rarely doing the same thing two days in a row.
That said, I’m going to give it a go.
Most mornings, I start slow. Coffee, breakfast, and it is mostly done from the couch. I function best when I start quietly, reading the Bible or a book. I feel like I lose control and develop temporary ADHD if I start with checking the email/messages on my phone or scrolling through social media.
I do work part-time a few days a week at a family business. If I need to report there, this is when I do that. If not, I get going on the writing.
In direct answer to the screenshot of the tweet above, it has been my experience that writers have no more free time than anyone else. Bummer right? Yes, I did not stumble upon a Time Freeze Gadget when I signed my contract with Grand Central Publishing. In fact, I often feel as if I have LESS time as a writer. Once the words and ideas start (even this blog) it is nothing to look up and notice two, three, or more hours have slipped past.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, granted we don’t have the same things that fill those hours. Some people have children, some don’t, some people work full-time, some people care for their elderly parents or grandparents.
We are all capable of prioritizing to a certain extent. Maybe not every single day can be corralled into a tidy package of productivity, but many of your hours can be organized.
Which brings me to a question you may have… How do you fit writing into a busy life? I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll give you two things that helped me.
NEVER wait for your muse to show.
ALWAYS write for the trashcan. There is no “right way” to put down words. Whether this makes you feel better or not I have no idea, but the fact is you’re not going to get it right the first time. I think what holds us back is the idea that we have to get it perfect before putting it down. I don’t find this true. Often, I find my story in the second draft, sometimes the third. In the beginning, it took more than two or three drafts. The sooner I accepted this, the more peaceful I became.
Like my coffee cup says:
By now, I have forgotten to eat lunch. I’m so into whatever I’m doing, be it edits for first draft or blogs or whatever, that I sort of snap out of it and realize I’m starving, haven’t had a glass of water in three hours, and haven’t gone to the bathroom in just as long. Now is when I typically take a break. Not a bad idea to step outside, take a breath of fresh air. Say hi to the dog, check the mailbox. Maybe another cup of coffee if it’s one of those days.
For me, my imagination wakes up in the morning and shuts down right about now. The husband is almost done with work, dinner needs made or purchased or at least thought about, and I’m just about done hearing the words in my head.
I’m not a fan of having the television on. Typically, I will play games on my iPad, or turn on some music, or the husband and I will sit and read, or play on our phones and share the goings-on of our day.
By now, and sometimes sooner, I have opened an adult beverage, and finally meandered down to the basement to watch something on TV. At this point, I’m ready to be entertained by someone else. We watch Netflix or DVR most often. Some of my favorite shows now? Sons of Anarchy, Outlander, Parenthood, Supernatural, Whose Line is it Anyway?, New Girl, and since it starts soon, I’m guessing American Horror Story will be added to this list.
Yep, that’s Outlander. Now you see why this is good fodder for a romance writer.
Varies, but typically 10 or 11 o’clock is when I hit the hay. And then about 7 or 8 is when my eyes naturally open. Provided one of my heroes doesn’t wake me up at three in the morning with a litany of things to say, I will sleep through the night. But if he is persistent, and has a great idea that can’t wait, sometimes I’m up in the wee hours typing those words into my laptop.
Nothing spectacular, no fairy dust, no bartering with a magical Muse. Just commitment to my passion, paired with a stubbornness to fit my life around that passion.
What about YOU?
What will you do today to find time to daydream?
We all have the same 24 hours in a day.
How will you use them?
Suggested reading that helped me discover my dream:
Ask me anything!
Have questions? Here’s where to ask ‘em.
Contact me via email: HERE
Ask on Goodreads: HERE
Facebook message: HERE
I’m sure you’ve all seen the posts I’ve been putting up about #Outlander on Twitter, on Facebook, on (cough) Tumblr. <–those are NSFW.
I canne help mahself, lassies. Sam, who plays Jamie, is a dead-sexy beast, and even if he wasn’t (he is) I couldn’t resist the show, itself. So, so well done. Especially the #OutlanderWedding episode.
I couldn’t resist sharing Sam being a little un-Jamie here, and confessing up to today’s quickie poll on Facebook.
Coffee or tea?
What’s your vote?
Book #2 of the Second Chance series is coming closer and closer to becoming a reality! Out spring of 2015, the story of Donovan and Sofie is the book that started my very serious journey to publishing. I wrote the first version of this book way back in 2010, and since then it’s had several edits and TWO complete rewrites.
I’m working on edits for RtBB now, and praying I’m doing these chracters justice. I’ve put them through so much!
Rescuing the Bad Boy is a reunion story, which I love to write. There’s nothing quite like a second chance! Here’s a quickie blurb since we don’t have the “official” one yet:
Years ago, Donny took something from Sofie he can never give back, leaving Evergreen Cove, and her, for good. When an inheritance brings him back to the town he’s avoided, he also must confront Sofie, and the mansion that was his own personal House of Pain.
And the COVER.
I wish I could show you. It’s absolutely, jaw-dropping gorgeous!!! In the meantime, here is my inspiration board on Pinterest.
I only took one picture of this beauty. My apologies! I was too excited to try it, and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure it would actually taste good. We paired this perfectly sweet, amazing salad with grilled red potatoes (topped with a dash or two of Tabasco) and a piece of Mahi Mahi. The fish was fresh, so salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon was all it took to make it taste AMAZING.
The best thing about this salad is it looks super fancy and it is SO EASY it’s kind of embarrassing. If you’re cooking for a larger crowd, I’d say double this. There’s really no “exact” measurements, it’s more throw it together and add a little more of this or that if it looks uneven.
Here’s how I did it.
That’s it! A simple salad, completely delicious. It paired nicely with the potatoes and the fish, making the meal light but filling.
A mini throwback for #ThrowbackThursday.
Here’s a snippet from one of my favorite scenes from The Millionaire Affair.
“Hi, nanny Kimber. How’s my adorable nephew?”
You have no idea.
Have you read Tempting the Billionaire yet?
Here’s 3 reasons why you should:
1. Shane August is not your typical billionaire. He’s as sweet as the chocolate chip cookies he bakes. (Yep. BAKES.)
2. Imagine Henry Cavill as Shane. Enough said.
Need more? Here’s an excerpt:
Oscillating red, green, and blue lights sliced through the smoke-filled club. Men and women cluttered the floor, their arms pumping in time with the throbbing speakers as an unseen fog machine muddied the air.
Shane August resisted the urge to press his fingertips into his eyelids and stave off the headache that’d begun forming there an hour ago.
Tonight marked the end of a grueling six-day workweek, one he would have preferred to end in his home gym, or in the company of a glass of red wine. He frowned at the bottle of light beer in his hand. Six dollars. That was fifty cents an ounce.
The sound of laughter pulled his attention from the overpriced brew, and he found a pair of girls sidling by his table. They offered twin grins and waved in tandem, hips swaying as they strode by.
“Damn,” Aiden muttered over his shoulder. “I should have worn a suit.”
Shane angled a glance at his cousin’s T-shirt and jeans. “Do you even own a suit?”
Shane suppressed a budding smile and tipped his beer bottle to his lips. It was Aiden who dragged him here tonight. Shane could give him a hard time, but Aiden was here to forget about his ex-wife, and she’d given him a hard enough time for both of them.
“This is where you’re making your foray into the dating world?” Shane asked, glancing around the room at the bevy of flesh peeking out from the bottom of skin-tight skirts and shorts.
“Seemed like a good place to pick up chicks,” Aiden answered with a roll of one shoulder.
Shane tamped down another smile. Aiden was recently divorced, though “finally” might be a better term. Two years of wedded bliss had been anything but, thanks to Harmony’s wandering eye. Shane couldn’t blame Aiden for exercising a bit of freedom. God knows, if Shane were in his shoes, he’d have bailed a long time ago. This time when Harmony left, she’d followed her sucker punch with a TKO: the man she left Aiden for was his, now former, best friend. At first Aiden had been withdrawn, then angry. Tonight he appeared to be masking his emotions beneath a cloak of overconfidence.
“Right,” Shane muttered. “Chicks.”
“Well, excuse me, Mr. Moneybags.” Aiden leaned one arm on the high-top table and faced him. “Women may throw themselves at you like live grenades, but the rest of us commoners have to come out to the trenches and hunt.”
Shane gave him a dubious look, in part for the sloppily mixed metaphor, but mostly because dodging incoming women didn’t exactly describe his lackluster love life. If he’d learned anything from his last girlfriend, it was how to spot a girl who wanted to take a dip in his cash pool.
He’d only had himself to blame, he supposed. He was accustomed to solving problems with money. Problem-free living just happened to be at the top of his priority list. Unfortunately, relationships didn’t file away neatly into manila folders, weren’t able to be delegated in afternoon conference meetings. Relationships were complicated, messy. Time consuming.
“I can pick up a girl in a club,” Shane found himself arguing. It’d been a while, but he never was one to shy away from a challenge. Self-made men didn’t shrink in the face of adversity.
Aiden laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. “Don’t embarrass yourself.”
Shane straightened and pushed the beer bottle aside. “Wanna bet?”
“With you?” Aiden lifted a thick blond eyebrow. “Forget it! You wipe your ass with fifties.”
“Hundreds,” Shane corrected, earning a hearty chuckle.
“Then again,” Aiden said after finishing off his bottle, “I wouldn’t mind seeing you in action, learn what not to do now that I’m single again. Find a cute girl and I’ll be your wingman.” Before Shane could respond, Aiden elbowed him. “Except for her.”
Shane followed his cousin’s pointing finger to the bar, where a woman dabbed at her eyes with a napkin. She looked so delicate sitting there, folded over in her chair, an array of brown curls concealing part of her face.
“Crying chicks either have too much baggage, or they’re wasted.”
Says Aiden Downey, dating guru.
“Drunk can be good,” he continued, “but by the time you get close enough to find out, it’s too late.”
Shane frowned. He didn’t like being told what to do. Or what not to. He wasn’t sure if that’s what made him decide to approach her, or if he’d decided the second Aiden pointed her out. He felt his lips pull into a deeper frown.
He shouldn’t be considering it at all.
What are you waiting for?
And if you’ve already read it, well, read it again. You’ll need something to do while we wait for Evan’s book, right?
Can you believe it?
I get to go on a vacation!
Florida was lovely, and of course, I got to spend time with my author bestie, Shannon. But that was months ago, and since then I have written and edited Bringing Home the Bad Boy (have you read the complete first chapter yet???), written a first draft of Rescuing the Bad Boy, and started A Bad Boy for Christmas.
Yeah, it’s been a busy five months!
This time around, I’m not going to the ocean, but I am going to the water! A little island by the name of Put-in-Bay. The hubs chose this location because of the location of my bad boy books. You see, my bad boys live in a ficticious town called Evergreen Cove which is a wealthy lakeside town in northern Ohio. Going to this Great Lake is going to really help me finish out this series!
I am so excited!
Of course, I will keep you posted. In the meantime, tell me where you went on vacation last. Have you ever been to Put-in-Bay?
I have been on a quesadilla kick lately.
I think because they are easy, and often lunchtimes sneaks up on me. Whenever I’m in the middle of writing or editing, I tend to blow right through lunch, subsisting on whatever I had for breakfast and coffee in between. So by the time I make it to the kitchen, I am STARVING.
First I have to tell you about the tortillas I use. I gotta say, I am not loving the generic white flour tortillas. Often, you just end up with a gummy, chewy wrap for whatever filling you insert. I’m not into that.
On the other hand, if you can find these, Tortilla Land makes uncooked tortillas that cook in sixty seconds. If you are taking your lunch with you, like my husband does, you can simply cook the tortilla, let it cool, then put it in a large Ziploc bag for lunch. Since these are raw, they cook up fresh. I can’t tell you how much better these taste than the ones with nineteen preservatives in them. These guys have FIVE ingredients. You can feel good about that!
Once you’ve picked your tortilla, then you’ve got filling. Quesadillas, like burritos are a great place to house leftovers. I didn’t take any pictures but earlier in the week, I combined my refried beans with a leftover piece of tilapia, salsa, and a piece of Swiss cheese. Sounds weird, but I promise you, a dollop of sour cream on top and this was the most delicious thing!
The recipe I’m about to give you is equally awesome.
The quality of your ingredients should be high, and that is what is going to take this quesadilla over the top. For my salsa, I chose Private Selection from Kroger. They carry a Chipotle Chile Pepper salsa that is so smoky and delicious!
For your cheese, you can choose regular cheese or, as I did in this case, vegan cheese. I don’t always eat vegan cheese, but I actually love the taste of Daiya for a little something different.
Let’s get started.
That’s it! This is just a method. Any leftovers you have in your fridge can get layered into a tortilla, and grilled.
Hi, my name is Jessica and I used to be a vegan.
Weird that I feel the need to confess that, right?
Except when you make a food change as drastically as I did (in 2011, I ate a bacon cheeseburger on a Saturday and went vegan on a Sunday) people notice, want to talk about it, and for some reason, happily anticipate your inevitable “failure.” There’s only one problem.
I didn’t do it to win favor.
The land of Veganville is rife with politics bordering religion, and starts at an epically beautiful place: compassion. Compassion for animals, care for your own well-being, and an overall love for life.
Why did I go vegan?
Simple. I was sick ALL the time. My immune system is a weak beast as it is. Pile that on top of the fact I make terrible food choices (Bacon? Only if it’s on top of cheese fries!) and you have a recipe for one unhealthy human being.
Colds and flus were upon me like white on rice. I was sick four times a year–like laid up sick–and if someone sneezed around me, I knew I was in for it. I was also so terribly tired (having received the junkpile diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in my early twenties) and I knew drastic measures had to be taken.
Why did I stop?
Simple answer? Being on a super strict diet OF ANY KIND is hard. HARD.
It requires a ton of planning, a ton of thought, and more time than I was willing to give it. To be fair, I jokingly referred to myself as 98% vegan seven months after I caved and ordered a cheese pizza. Allowing cheese pizza on occasion for ease, and an egg at breakfast if I was out at a restaurant made my life less stressful. I was still a vegan at home where I could easily control the ingredients. No animal products, not even honey!
And let me tell you something. Vegan cooking? AMAZING. DELICIOUS. I’ve made it all. Cashew cream, seitan, tofu “crab” cakes, chickpea “tuna” salad… I’ve learned how to make quinoa and kale and OMG, please let me make you tempeh picatta sometime because it’s YUMMO.
That takes time. And when you don’t have time, you resort to what’s easy. Non-dairy cheese sandwiches and processed Tofurkey and peanut butter and jelly aren’t “bad” on occasion, but you can certainly do better on the health scale.
I lost 30 lbs. That’s three-zero, people. I’d done everything known to man to try to lose my post-baby weight (two miscarriages, no babies) and it finally fell off because I cut out fattening dairy and meat that wasn’t nourishing me. Because I was strict, I lost my taste for packaged cookies and a lot of cheaper sugars. (Most over-the-counter candy bars contain milk so I simply quit eating them.)
Then it quit working.
The panic attacks started in March of this year. Full on nervous breakdown stuff. I was trying to work through deadlines, trying to meet the demands of having several books contracted, trying to keep my diet perfect, and feeling horrible doing it all.
When I started inching back to center and added in eggs on a more regular basis, I dropped eight pounds out of nowhere. It appears somewhere along the way, vegan wasn’t working as well as it should. My fault. I was no longer spending hours upon hours in the kitchen or making healthful, clearly thought out choices.
It is a choice.
So, I chose to relieve myself of the anxiety of traveling ANYWHERE (know how hard it is to find vegan food at a conference in Kansas City?), and the daily stress of how many animals had to suffer for my sustenance, and just allowed EVERYTHING.
But, allowing everything didn’t mean I ate everything, but it did allow me the freedom to say “I do what I want!”, which as humans, I think we all need to say. (Apparently, human beings need to behave like three-year-olds sometimes.)
I also started eating fish, quickly learning a little goes a long way. I ate turkey and confirmed that while it kept me full for a while, it did mess with my digestion. I ate eggs and realized that while they are yummy, too many at 5g of fat each (eep!) and I begin to creep on the pounds. Along with cheese, which I rarely have in the house for the same reason.
Now I’m open and starting to implement both what I learned being vegan with what I knew to be healthful eating. Eating meat is not something I do often because it doesn’t make me feel very good. But if I want a bite of my husband’s chicken wings…okay, I ate the entire wing…I’m having it. And I’m not going to drag myself to vegan confessional because I did.
Like I said, I’m coming back to center, seeking balance and following no one’s rules. What you put in your mouth is your business (take that however you like…)
And that goes the same for mine.
I’m looking forward to revamping my Friday Feast section which sorta went quiet for a while and sharing my favorite tips and tricks from the kitchen. After all, if you’re gonna eat, it may as well be AMAZING.
That’s it for now,