Time To Get To Work...

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Following on last week’s post about my trying to do too many things at once, I have had a look at where I spend most of my writing time. I enjoy all of the writing and editing that I do and each serves its own purpose.

PHS allows me to work with ladies I love, writing about topics I love, while networking and building a platform.

This site allows me a place to chat and introduce myself to potential readers, also platform building, but without the large audience I can reach at PHS.

Writing fiction feeds my soul. I am truly happiest when I am exploring the lives and loves of my characters.

None of these is eating up a huge amount of time, but my website does tend to get a bit more attention at times than my fiction. This isn’t really great considering my NWS deadline is creeping closer by the day. 

Because of my need to finish my WIP and synopsis for submission in August, I have decided to relax a bit here. I will continue to post, but more when I have something I want to say or report, instead of every week just because. I will continue doing reviews as often as possible (if not every month than every other), though, because I love reviewing and I hope when I am publishing others do the same for me. 

But until the end of August, when my WIP has been submitted to the RNA New Writers Scheme, I need to focus more on finishing that, so if I disappear here and there or am not posting as often, please don’t worry or lose interest. I’m still here—writing—and striving to have my first book finished by deadline. 

Wish me luck!

Two Rabbits

Saturday, 13 May 2017

I saw the Russian Proverb, below, on someone’s Facebook the other day. I can’t really remember whose. It doesn’t matter; what matters is that it hit home for me.

As you probably already know, I have ADHD. This means that in addition to being a hot mess, I get bored easily and have a very short attention span. I have pretty much the same attention span as a doughnut. It also means that I have at least 3 projects on the go at any one time—and those are just writing projects! And, I have a multitude of crafts that I do.

I write and edit for The Pink Heart Society, I write fiction, I write for my website, I coach cheerleading, I have 2 young children, and I have a full time (rather demanding) job. It could definitely be said that I have taken on more than I can chew.

That’s not to say that I don’t get everything done. I get most things done—in a last-minute, blind-panic sort of way. Lately, though, I have found that I seem to be taking little chunks out of lots of projects (craft and writing), but getting nowhere with any of them. I’m chasing two rabbits. Or more likely 22.

The one thing that seems to get neglected the most is my fiction and with the deadline for submission in the RNA New Writer’s Scheme creeping closer day by day, I really need to fix that. Should that be the rabbit I chase?

The truth is, I will never be able to chase only one rabbit. I’m just not wired that way. I am happiest, not to mention calmest, when I have more than one project to bounce between. If one gets boring, I simply swap! Of course, I can’t keep running between this many projects or I won’t get any of them finished.

It’s time to cut back a bit and get more organised. 

I can’t really drop my job or kids. I can’t quit coaching—besides, I really enjoy it. I think the main ways I can cut back are to limit my crafting. Notice, I’m not saying I won’t craft at all. I’m just not going to worry so much about developing Once Upon a Time Gifts just yet. I’m making things for a fair I’m attending in a few weeks, but I’m not setting up the website or Etsy shop until I have dropped some of my other commitments.

As for writing and editing, I would never be able to give these up— I am a writer, always have been. To stay on top of these commitments, I will have to get more organised. I am going to start scheduling my writing time and most importantly, I am going to assign certain tasks to certain times. For example, If I breakdown how much time I need to spend on each task (and stay off of Facebook!), I should have no problem keeping on top of things.

How about you? Do you have too much to do and not enough time to do it in? Have you found a way to get everything done without losing your mind? I’d love to hear about how you tackle your busy life in the comments below.

His Ex's Well-Kept Secret by Joss Wood

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Single mother, Piper Mills, has a lot on her plate these days. She needs money to buy her family home and keep from losing it to foreclosure. And there’s only one way she can’t get that money. Piper must sell her family’s stash of sapphires to the man she spent a wild few nights with not even a year ago.
Thanks to amnesia from a car accident, Jaeger Ballantyne had no idea what happened between him and Piper in Milan, but meeting with her now he is full of ideas… but he knows he shouldn’t act on any of them. The sapphires Piper wants to sell him may be worth a small fortune—if they are the stones he believes they are-- and he wants them for his business.
When Piper realises that Jaeger doesn’t remember anything about those wild nights they shared in Milan, getting him to buy the sapphires is the least of her worries. Piper has to figure out whether or not to tell Jaeger about her son, his son.
This was a captivating, steamy read from start to finish. Joss Wood has created characters who interact in ways that will make your heart race—even when they are fully dressed! The dialogue between them sparked and the sexual tension seeped off of the pages. Once again, Joss has given her readers everything they could ask for with this sexy read.
Piper and Jaeger’s story is only the beginning. This book, His Ex’s Well-Kept Secret, is the first in the new series, The Ballantyne Billionaires, and you can bet I’ll be on watch for the next in the series!

Alice, ADHD, & Adulting

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Alice in Wonderland is one of my all-time favourite books. I love the story with its quirkiness and colourful characters—the Cheshire Cat has always held a special place in my heart, but there is more to it than that. I envy Alice, and not the eating and drinking everything in sight bit that has been spotted on a meme floating around Facebook. I tend to eat and drink everything in my path anyway. That’s why going to the gym hasn’t been as effective as I had hoped.

I envy Alice’s ability to get away. You see, I, too, long for an escape. I’d give just about anything to fall down a rabbit hole and get away from the ‘real world’. I am struggling at the moment. I am desperate to write, but I can’t seem to find the words. There is too much noise around me right now. I can’t escape to the nonsense where I find peace.

I feel a need to create, so I will be starting some Alice in Wonderland bits for Once Upon a Time Gifts soon, but the fact remains that I need to finish my story to send in to the NWS. I have a story that I am working on. Recently, I sent a chapter to a dear friend and she was very complimentary, making me think that I am on the right track.

The problem is that I can’t figure out how to stay on the damn track. For the first time I can remember, I cannot fight my ADHD. Having ADHD means being distracted by everything—every sight, every sound, everything. Up until now, I have been able to block out the distractions, to filter things down and hold on to just what is important. 

Right about now, work, family, life in general, really, has been more demanding than ever. The past few months have been overwhelming at best and somewhere in the three-ring circus that became my life, I misplaced my filter. I am unable to block out distractions right now and find myself quickly in sensory overload. 

Probably the hardest thing about all of this is trying to still carry on with everything—work, being a grown-up… I sway between two reactions to the overload, no, not flight or fight, more like nap or no. I either find myself too overwhelmed or too tired to even start tasks. But carry on, I must.

I have finished the rough draft of over half of my NWS WIP and the first quarter of it is in a second draft state. Tonight, I am sitting down to start moving the second quarter to a second draft. Technically, I know I should have rough drafted the whole thing and then gone back to edit, but the project has taken a major turn, so I need to go back and fill in some holes to find the road forward. I am considering sharing a scene of it here…

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

I love being a Mills & Boon Insider!!

A couple of days ago, I came home from work to find an envelope with what felt like a book in it. I haven’t ordered any books, so I was intrigued and ripped into it to find a surprise from Mills & Boon—a shiny copy of The Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Turning into Your Mother! I was so excited! I love these books and this felt like a very special Mother’s day gift. One that my little ones (or Dear Hubby, for that matter), would never think to get me.

I was first a fan of the Ladybird books for grownups, and was thrilled to hear that Mills & Boon was coming out with a similar series. M&B have definitely raised the bar. These Modern Girl’s Guides are thicker, beautifully styled, and sport the sort of glossy cover you would expect from M&B. Quite simply, these books are pure class.

As for this particular title, let me go ahead and say it: This book is brilliant!

I have laughed my way all the way through it. The pictures are circa 1940s and reminiscent of the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire era, my favourite era even though I’m not really old enough to know all of these—honestly, I’m not! Wanna see my birth certificate?! This makes the hilarious text accompanying each picture that much funnier.

As the mother of two brats  little darlings, I found that every single page is horrifyingly, hysterically relatable (even if you don’t want to admit it because you are one of those Pinterest mums). So grab a box of wine, a copy of The Mills & Boon Modern Girl’s Guide to Turning into Your Mother, and relax knowing that you are not the only one who struggles with motherhood. 

Not a mother, but have one? Head over to Amazon and order a copy for your mum for Mother’s Day. It’s on Prime. You can have it by Saturday. Come on, people, I posted early to give you enough time AND linked it HERE! Go order a copy now!!

I've Gone Pink!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

I am ever so excited to announce that I have joined the team at The Pink Heart Society! The Pink Heart Society, or PHS, is a blog that has been going from strength to strength for the last 10 years, much through the blood, sweat, and tears of editor, Ali Williams.

The focus of PHS is romance novels and the contributing team consists of editors, authors, and romance junkies. And now me! I am an editor, writing columns each month, creating graphics for the site, and promoting via social media. It is an awesome gig. The kind I always wanted. Of course, it’s volunteer, so I won’t be giving up my day job just yet, but still.

One step closer…

After an update, PHS relaunched on March 8th (just in time for International Women’s Day) with a gorgeous new site and lots of fresh, exciting content! This month, we have a special on International Women’s Day (obviously), At Home With Jane Porter, from Tule Publishing, and loads more, including my fashion piece (check it out HERE).

So, pop over to The Pink Heart Society and let me know what you think. I love it.

In search of magic...

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Recently, my nine year old started reading the Harry Potter series. So, of course we had to buy the last three movies (we already had the rest) and, of course, all of the conversations I have had with him lately surround wands and spells and magic.

I can't even begin to explain how pleased I am that he has taken an interest in reading them-- I was given the first by my cousin a few weeks before my wedding and I was immediately hooked. And, as you know, I have a healthy obsession with reading (and writing), so it makes me very proud to have passed that on to both of my children. (The little one is learning to read now!) But that isn't the only reason that I am happy he has picked up Harry Potter. He could be reading anything. The reason I am happy he chose Harry Potter is for the magic. 

The real world can be scary, draining, and downright mean. Especially for a kid who doesn't always fit in with the rest (he got that from me, too). It's so nice to see him completely enchanted by the magic in these books. Whether he's asking me about his patronus or running through the house swishing a wand and shouting spells from the books, he is knee deep in imagination and wonder. That's the real benefit here.

Last year he learned the truth about a certain man in a red suit and I watched as his innocence started to slip away. With this new-found interest in the work of witches and wizards, he may just be able to hang onto it for a little longer.

I, too, love magic. That's why I am such a lover of fairy tales, why I started reading magical realism, and why I have begun to try my hand at writing it. I want magic to be real just about as much as my son does. Magical realism gives me that. It isn't a fantasy world where is a way of life (not that there is anything wrong with that, it's just not my cup of tea); it's a normal world where the touched by the tiniest bit of magic which has existed for so long that people have begun to accept it as 'just the way things are'.

So, if you want to try a little magic in your every-day, curl up with a magical realism tale, a cozy blanket, and a cup of tea. Need some inspiration? Check the list below for some of my favourite books and authors.

Magical Books for Crisp Spring Nights 
(or any other time you choose)

Fairy Tales-- anything by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson

Anything by Sarah Addison Allen-- my favs are Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen 
Anything by Alice Hoffman-- my favs are Practical Magic and The Probable Future 
The Sparrow Sisters: A Novel by Ellen Herrick
The Secrets of Ghosts by Sarah Painter
The Secret Ingredient of Wishes: A Novel by Susan Bishop Crispell
Second Star to the Right by Mary Alice Monroe
The Dress Shop of Dreams: A Novel by Menna van Praag
The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen
The River Witch by Kimberly Brock

Book Reviews

Friday, 24 February 2017

As part of the Mills & Boon Insiders, and part of the vision I have for my writing going forward, I will be doing more book reviews. I am aiming to do one a month. Not only will I be looking at new titles from some of my favourite authors, I also want to visit a few of my favourite books which aren't so new. I do love a backlist!

Spring is on its way...

Saturday, 18 February 2017

It's time to freshen up for Spring!!
Please bear with me while I do a little much needed
spring cleaning on my site.

Mills & Boon Insider

Saturday, 4 February 2017

I am excited to announce that I have been chosen to be a
Mills & Boon Insider!
Get ready for a boatload of reviews on some brilliant books!

Thank You

Saturday, 21 January 2017

I really wish that I could have marched today, but I couldn't fit it in while playing Mom's Taxi. I want to thank all of you who did-- women, men, children. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

RNA New Writers Scheme

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The New Year has brought a few surprises into my world. One of which it is… I am honoured to announce that I have been chosen to be in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writer’s Scheme!
I could not be more pleased. I will be submitting a manuscript for evaluation to the NWS by August 2017. I thought I had figured out which to submit, but in recent weeks, I have had a change of heart. That means I need to pick up the pace with my writing to make sure I have the best possible draft to turn in. Wish me luck!

Christy Kate McKenzie

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Small town tales of love & magic...

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