Tag Archives: Lauraine Snelling

Marriage Madness: 3 Ways to Celebrate

j0227558My friend Kathleen told me recently that she likes the way I like to celebrate everything. This past month has put that aspect of my personality front and center as I worked to get my second book published.

When I finally finished editing Unexpected Superhero, I threw my hands in the air and high-fived God! 😉 Then I made something delicious for dinner, opened a bottle of wine, and squealed when John came home.

Then I worked another couple of days to get the Kindle version of the book ready and for sale on Amazon. More good food – chocolate was involved this time – more squealing and celebrating.

First cover for the novel Unexpected SuperheroIt took me another week to get the print version out. (It just came out on Saturday! Woo-hooo!) Margaritas, baby! More celebrating.

I’ve been working full-time-plus on this book since March, plus many, many many months of work before that. If I had waited until Saturday to finally begin celebrating, I don’t know that I would’ve had the strength and energy to keep up so many long days in a row.

And that’s just a book! It takes a lot more energy to live with and love another person every single day for 40 or 50 or 70 years! So here’s my recipe for adding some positive energy to your marriage.

1. Celebrate Small Victories and Accomplishments
Al
l those steps above, and many smaller ones, got some kind of recognition and celebration from me. And my wonderful husband usually joined in, if only with a “Good job, baby, I’m proud of you!” It gave me energy to keep going. Marriage needs that, too. 

Maybe it’s making the final payment on a credit card and making a ceremony out of cutting up the card and promising each other never to use it again. Maybe it’s unpacking that last box, or finishing the unfinished basement together. There is so much never-ending work in life, we need to add in some fun.

Do you need to spend all weekend doing lawn work and spring cleaning? When you’re done, make s’mores in the fire pit, or put up your beach umbrella in the back yard and listen to the radio and dance together.

Getting ready for a garage sale? Decide to take $40 of the proceeds and go out alone together doing something you both like to do – a favorite restaurant, a musical event, even if the $40 only covers the babysitter, you can go for a hike or a bike ride or something else that you like to do together.

2. Celebrate Big Victories and Accomplishments
Th
is one might seem obvious, but when you’re going 100 miles an hour, you often feel you only have time for gassing up in the pit stop, and new tires will have to wait. I don’t watch NASCAR, but I’ve seen segments where a car’s tire blows and the driver knows he’s lost his edge. You can minimize this in your marriage, just like a great NASCAR team can minimize this in a race.

51aTy5leOkL._SY300_My friend Kathleen brought up my tendency to celebrate often when I asked how she was celebrating her third book coming out, and what is she going to do to celebrate finishing her contract on time, even though the fourth book wouldn’t be out for a few months yet. (No Ordinary Owl, book 4 of The S.A.V.E. Squad series, by Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Wright, comes out September 1. You can buy the whole set for your pre-teen in time for Christmas!) Lauraine and Kathleen and I went out to lunch together and make a big deal of it. I think it gave Kathleen a boost of energy to work on her next book.

These examples are to remind you of what you can be celebrating right now in your marriage. Anyone get promoted? Miss the lay-off? That’s a good reason to celebrate! Another month or another year of being cancer-free? Celebrate! The anniversary of the day you decided not to get divorced and work this thing out? Celebrate that day as well as your wedding anniversary.

3. Celebrate each other (and other people)
Some days I just feel like making John feel like the most special man in the world. No particular reason why. I want to eat whatever he wants, do whatever he wants, spoil him in whatever way I can. (Foot massages are often called for here.) Sometimes he looks at me suspiciously and asks me why. No, I’m not buttering him up to ask for something. 😛 I just want him to know that I’m very grateful he’s a part of my life.

John and I also try to make a point as often as we can (and I too often feel I don’t do this enough with enough people) to celebrate our friends’ victories. Our friend Doug just bought a new house – yay! Our friend David just got promoted to detective – yay! Our friends Sean and Catherine are starting a new adventure in Virginia soon – yay! And those are just the things we celebrated this weekend!

Life is hard. We need injections of positive energy and gratitude to keep us going. Keep your eyes open and you’ll find all kinds of things to celebrate about each other and with each other. Without trying to dissect the biological and spiritual reasons why, the fact is that gratitude makes life better, easier, and more fun.

So find a reason to celebrate – and do it together!

Fall Colors

If you like the way the foliage changes color in some areas of the world, you’ll love this video of New York City’s Central Park changing colors. It’s extraordinary!

I have lots of other interesting things to tell you, but I just started my annual writer’s retreat with Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Damp Wright, so I need to see when I can make time to write to you as well! 🙂

Little Miss Lovesick Is In Print!

Finally!! LOL!!

I have been looking forward to this day for years! And now it’s arrived! You can buy a print copy of Little Miss Lovesick now by going to my CreateSpace store page on Amazon. It will take a few weeks for it to filter through to other web sites, but it’s available now in my store. Yay!!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some silly trivia with you about the book. 🙂

  • I came up with the idea in 1998 when I was chatting with an editor from Tyndale House Publishers about some upcoming anthologies they were getting ready. I sent them the first few chapters, and they liked my writing but chose someone else’s story.
  • I tweaked the idea when I went to my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) regional conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1999 or 2000, and pitched it to an editor at Silhouette Books. By the time I had the proposal ready for her, she’d moved on to another publishing house.
  • I tried working on it again when I was at a writing retreat with my friends Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Damp Wright. They responded neutrally, which was the kiss of “boring” to me. Then Lauraine asked me if I’d heard of “chick lit,” which was still rather new. We went out to a bookstore and I nearly screeched, “This is what I would write if they didn’t tell me to write ‘their’ way!” I was so excited! That was the beginning of me relaxing and writing the way I want to write. I think that was a turning point for both me and Kathleen. 🙂
  • On that same writing retreat, I rewrote the first chapter and read it to Lauraine and Kathleen again. This time they were cracking up. Score! Lauraine called her agent that day and asked her to read it. A few months later, I’d signed with her and felt like my career was finally getting some traction.
  • I took a research trip up to Ontario, Canada, where I planned to set much of the book. My mom came with me and we had a great time, saw so many interesting things. More than I could’ve ever put in one book. 😉 I’ll have to use some of that later. In fact, I had to move the heroine Sydney’s fly fishing vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan instead of a few hours north in Canada. There were several “logic” issues that weren’t working for the story if Matt was in Ontario.
  • I wrote the rest of the book at night, on the weekends, and at lunch time in the NBC cafeteria in Burbank where I worked. I sent it to my agent in the summer of 2004, and she sent it to several editors at the big name publishing houses in New York. Best. Day. Ever.
  • But just as I was figuring out what my “voice” was, the publishing industry began to feel chick lit was on the way out and they didn’t want to buy any more. The same summer that it seemed everything was beginning for me, everything seemed to end.
  • The next few years I tried to figure out what to do with my newly discovered writing voice now that people were telling me that that style of writing was no longer popular. This was not a good time for me. I almost quit several times, and once I did quit. But within a few months, I couldn’t help myself, and I started writing again. 🙂
  • Then we moved to Sydney, Australia, for John to work on Happy Feet. I put this book on the shelf and wrote the first draft of Unexpected Superhero. (Look for it in 2013!) I loved it, but my agent didn’t think it fit in the current market.
  • We moved back to California. I started and stopped a couple different projects, but I couldn’t find something that interested me that also interested my agent. Eventually, we parted company as friends. I mentally wiped down all the white boards in my mind and started again with a blank slate. What was I going to write? And what would I do if no one wanted to read it?
  • We moved back to Sydney again for Happy Feet 2. (Note: a lot of moving and packing and waiting months for your things to arrive is not an easy way to have a home-based business.) I applied to graduate school and was accepted into the Master of Arts in Creative Writing program at University of Technology, Sydney. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to go to grad school – since I was a freshman at University of Pennsylvania and met a grad student who worked with microwave technology. I know, weird. LOL!
  • I wanted to go to UTS over other writing graduate programs because it sounded very hands on, very creative, and the program seemed to be aimed at taking you to the next level in a writing career, not just studying Shakespeare. I was disappointed that on the one hand, it was just another academic program. We didn’t delve deeply into the nuances of writing that really make your work stand out from others. And it seemed that I knew more about how to get published in a global market than most people. (Thanks to the Romance Writers of America! They are all about teaching their members how to have a career in writing.) On the other hand, I’m still glad I went. I have a better credential now for teaching, which I love to do. 🙂
  • The morning after my last grad school class, I flew from Sydney to New York to attend the annual RWA conference. I told myself that if no one was interested in my romantic comedies, I was going back home to Sydney and publishing them myself. No one was interested. I went back home and published Little Miss Lovesick as an ebook! Yay!
  • Then we moved back to California. Then we moved again. Then my mom died. This has not been a good year for getting work done.
  • Finally – I don’t know what happened – everything in my world lined up so that I suddenly started getting a lot of work done! (Thank you, God!!) I finished Unexpected Superhero and sent it to Harper Voyager. I wrote a book proposal for a romantic suspense book. And John and I got to work on the time-consuming process of turning Lovesick into a print book.
  • John did the cover design, and created the template I used for the interior. He did a great job! I received the hard copy “proof” on Friday (I about exploded from excitement when I held my first book in my hands!) and went through it looking for errors. None! So I hit “approve” on the CreateSpace site and voila! A book was born!

There it is, the whole story. If you have any friends who like funny love stories, or friends who live in Michigan who would enjoy a book set in Traverse City, you might be able to check a few more people off your Christmas shopping list now. 🙂 Maybe you want a copy for yourself, too! I hope it makes you laugh. Then I’ll know I did a good job. 🙂

Thanks for sharing my adventure! More adventures ahead!

New Books to Read – YAY!

Today I have a fun post on creative breakthroughs over at Routines for Writers. You might enjoy it for yourself, or just to see how excited I got over a colorful business plan. LOL!

Speaking of creative breakthroughs, I wanted to share some new books by a few great friends of mine. My friend Mona Hodgson has been writing children’s books since before we met (she’s one of my first writer friends!) and has published over a dozen of them. But she wanted to write adult books, too. In 2010, her dream came true. Two Brides Too Many, the first book in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series, was released by WaterBrook MultnomahToo Rich for a Bride followed in 2011, and The Bride Wore Blue came out in May of this year. On October 2, the fourth and final book, Twice a Bride, will be released.

Today Mona is celebrating the release of her very first book trailer! You get to be among the first people to see it! The trailer is beautifully put together. You’ll want to visit these four sisters yourself. Celebrate with us by picking up a copy of Two Brides Too Many, or finish where you left off if you’ve already started the series. I think you’ll enjoy it. Congratulations, Mona, on your wonderful series and the beautiful book trailer! I can’t wait to see what your next series will be!

You can visit Mona at her web site www.monahodgson.com/ and on Facebook at Facebook.com/Author.Mona.

A few weeks ago, I started my friend Lauraine Snelling’s new Wild West Wind series. Valley of Dreams is book one, about a young woman who is a trick rider and sharpshooter (like Annie Oakley!) who has to start a new life when everything suddenly falls apart. Whispers in the Wind, book two, just came out a few weeks ago.

I also started her new contemporary book, Reunion. I’m only on chapter one, but I like it. Lots of family drama and family secrets.

You can check out the rest of Lauraine’s books on her web site www.laurainesnelling.net and chat with her on Facebook at Facebook.com/lauraine.snelling.

The other series I started and for which I have been eagerly awaiting the next installment is by my friend Janice Cantore. Janice is a former police officer and she writes great books with a female police officer as the lead character. Her newest series is the Pacific Coast Justice series. I read the first book, Accused, as soon as it was released in February. I wrote a review about it here. Abducted is book two and it just came out last month. Avenged is next in the series and will be released in April of 2013.

You can learn more about Janice and her books at her web site www.janicecantore.com and see what else is new at her Facebook page Facebook.com/JaniceCantore.

I hope you found some new books to read here. If you’ve already read some of them, which ones did you like best?

Romance and Writing and No Sleep – Oh My!

I’m off to the annual Romance Writers of America National Conference in less than 48 hours – YAY! I’m really excited, deep down inside. But as always at this time of year, what I’m thinking about right this second is – how much of that pile of laundry needs to be done in order to pack? What clothes look good enough on me after a few months of American living (more calories and less exercise)? How many suitcases can I wrangle alone? How many business cards should I take? How many empty bags should I bring to carry all the new books home??

Yes, these and many other questions are at the forefront of my mind today. Once John drops me off at the Anaheim Marriott, I’ll have much more brain space to relax and get back to being excited.

Some of the things I’m looking forward to include –

  • talking to the PubIt reps from Barnes and Noble about what I can do to increase sales of my book to Nook customers
  • going to more workshops than ever on the business of self-publishing
  • staying up too late talking with my friend and roommate Lauraine Snelling about, you know, everything (since we’re girls!)
  • and even running down to Disneyland in my “The Running Company – Bondi Beach” running shirt so I can take a picture and send it to my friend Chris, the store owner (Camy Tang, want to run to Disneyland? We had such a great time running in Central Park last year!)

Remember, if you can get to Anaheim, California, Wednesday night, there will be an autographing session at the Anaheim Convention Center with over 400 romance authors with the proceeds from book sales going to literacy charities. And the best part is, it’s free and open to the public.

It should be an exciting week. I can’t wait! But right now I have to go do laundry.

Retreat to Move Forward

I had the best week!!! My friends Lauraine and Kathleen invited me to a writing retreat, just the three of us, and we had a great time!!

We brainstormed until our brains hurt. We helped Lauraine work through a new idea she came up with, adding some really cool twists to it. We helped them both finalize the storyline for the third book in The S.A.V.E. Squad series, and it’s gonna be fun! (Check out the web site! The first book, Dog Daze, came out March 1.)

We also went through my ideas for Love at the Fluff N Fold and made it into both a better book and a far better series than it had been. The series name is The Strays of Loon Lake. Every book will be a romantic comedy where a man and a dog both get rescued, and all the characters are connected. I can’t wait for the first book to come out!

When we were too tired to do any more brainstorming, we did a few fun things. Kathleen read aloud to us one night the first few chapters of Dog Daze. It’s great to hear a book read by the author with all her inflections!

Sometimes we went down to the Lazy River and walked or floated around and talked about whatever. But every time, we’d end up brainstorming again because of something that caught our attention. For instance, on our last poolside trip, we ran into two characters from The Strays of Loon Lake! 

Kathleen elbowed me and said, “Hey, isn’t that Danny standing there?” I looked over her shoulder and, sure enough, this guy was exactly Danny from Love at the Fluff N Fold!

Then as we were going around the Lazy River and waiting to get a second peek at him, we started talking to Tabitha, who will be in books 1 and 2, but will have her own story in book 3. The Tabitha in the pool is from Oregon and I’ve already forgotten her real name – because she’s Tabitha!

Another day we needed a brain break, so we went to Staples. Lauraine has this amazing notebook system from a company called arc. You can pull the pages out of one section and put them in the other section without having to unclasp any binder rings. Just pull up and push down. She loves it so much she offered to buy one for me and Kathleen, too. I LOVE IT!! I used it all week and my three books are totally organized instead of having stuff from all three books all jumbled up in one section. Here it is in a picture of my workspace at the dining room table.

We spent quite a bit of time writing in addition to brainstorming. Lauraine worked on A Place to Belong, book 3 in her Wild West Wind series. Book one of the series, Valley of Dreams, is already out. Kathleen finished the final edits on The Great Cat Caper, book 2 in The S.A.V.E. Squad series. It will be available in September. And I finished the edits on a short story called “Hero in Disguise” that’s set in my superhero world. It’ll be published in an anthology later this summer.

Brainstorming about marketing was more difficult. What works? What doesn’t? How can you tell? I know I have to do a lot more to help romantic comedy readers find Little Miss Lovesick. It’s not only hard to figure out what to do, but how to balance your time between marketing and writing. This week was a writing week, though, so I worked on the second draft of Love at the Fluff N Fold. As a writer, it feels good to write! 🙂

On the last day, we went out to The Cheesecake Factory for my birthday! It was so good. (It’s always good there!) But better than the chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, better than the complimentary hot fudge sundae with a candle and the waiters singing “Happy Birthday” for the whole restaurant to hear, the best part is hanging out with friends you love, who love you back. 🙂

It was an amazing week! God was so generous in every way, blessing us all with so much love and laughter and fun – and helping us get lots of work done!! (Thank you, God!!) I’ll let you all know when Love at the Fluff N Fold comes out. And if you’d like to read more of Lauraine’s and Kathleen’s books, you can go to Lauraine’s web site or The S.A.V.E. Squad web site where Kathleen hangs out, or follow Lauraine on Facebook or Kathleen on Facebook. You know you can click the button on the top right to follow me on Facebook. 😉

P.S. Guess what?! Lauraine’s book, Ruby, the first in her Dakotah Treasures series, is free on Kindle right now! I just downloaded it. Yay! If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app to your phone or tablet or computer. Enjoy!