Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve

As my last post for 2011, I thought I'd highlight the events of my year:

I began the year in my favorite place in the world, Edinburgh
I began teaching online classes. (I taught 4)
I got a request for a full from an editor (that I'm still waiting to hear back from)
I got a new part-time job (that I love) tutoring and a great 3-month review
I lost 18lbs and won the fitness challenge at my gym
I gained some of the weight back :(
I added more freelance editing gigs to my resume
I turned 40
I got back in touch with several friends from my childhood, including my 1st BFF
I applied for tons of "real jobs" while I continued substitute teaching
I moved out of my condo
I wrote 1 1/2 novellas, 2 full-length romantic suspense stories and revised another
I signed my 1st writing contract 

Tomorrow I'll post my goals and hopes for the new year. For now, I'd like to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. If you are celebrating the arrival of 2012, I hope you celebrate wisely and safely.
See you next year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lazy Day

I sent my Round 1 Edits back to my editor last night. (I think I finally understand how to use Track Changes!) Today I plan to be lazy! I've had 2 cups of tea so far, have visited & commented on a bunch of blogs, and I've watched 2 episodes of Supernatural. At the moment, I have nothing pressing and it feels SOOOOOO good! For the rest of the day I plan to clean a bit, watch English soccer, finish reading Sworn to Protect, watch Iowa play OU tonight and anything else I feel like doing. Tomorrow I'll get back to business. I'll be posting my 2012 writing and life goals to share with you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

You Know You're A Suspense Writer...

You know you're a suspense writer when you see a glove on the ground in the middle of the highway and you think a) is there a hand still in there? and b) where's the rest of the body?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Revisions-Round 1

I had planned to do my revisions on Friday and yesterday. Then I got sick. The lesson I learned through this is get busy as soon as possible in case something unexpected pops up and puts a dent into my revision schedule.

Now, the revisions haven't been overwhelmingly difficult so getting sick didn't put me behind by much. I'll still have the story back to my editor on time. But what I wanted to mention was that they still have taken me longer than I expected. I honestly think part of that is due to this being my first time revising with an editor, and part of it is due to my learning how to work with track changes. I worked for about 4 1/2 hours yesterday. I still want to review everything one more time and I have another content concept I need to work into the book, but I'm hoping I can get it finished today. I'll let you know!

1:10 PM: I'm done! (After another 2 hours) But I'm going to leave it alone while I do to one of the day jobs, reread bits after dinner, write comments to my editor and then email it back tonight.
8:35 PM: Just emailed my editor with the revisions and comments (after another hour). Now to play for a bit!
9:15 AM (Wed): I got my edits back. Apparently I misunderstood part of the editor's directions. I have an extra round to do. No worries. Won't be so bad. I'll send the book back tonight. It's more an issue with me and Track Changes rather than me and my book.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Win-Win Proposition Review

A Win-Win Proposition is a fun story written by Cat Schield. Now, yes, I'm a bit biased since Cat and I have been friends for years, but this story is good in its own right!

Missy Ward has spent 4 years as Sebastian Case's assistant, 4 years falling in love with him, a man who needs to be in control of his world. Sebastian doesn't see Missy as anything other than an assistant...until they go on a business trip to Las Vegas.

After being dumped by her obnoxious boyfriend just before her 30th birthday, Missy decides to make some changes. She gets a makeover, quits her job and places a bet with her boss: if he wins, she'll stay on as his assistant. If she wins, she gets one night with him. Missy wins the bet and enjoys every single moment of her night with Sebastian. But she's not foolish enough to believe he'll suddenly welcome her into his personal life with open arms. She feels she doesn't belong in his world and that he could never commit to a girl like her. But Sebastian is hard to resist.

Sebastian's feelings for Missy make him crazy and take him totally out of his own comfort zone. But he wants her in his life and in his bed and Sebastian Case will do whatever it takes to convince Missy they belong together.

I found myself laughing and swearing at Sebastian and turning pages faster as the chapters went by. Cat has created complex and lovable characters. I could feel Missy's pain and insecurities. Sebastian is the perfect romance hero. He's annoying and stubborn, but he's got enough charm to make me want to root for him. I couldn't wait to see him recognize his love for Missy, to see her recognize her own worth and to watch their romance blossom. I'm so looking forward to the next book in this series!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends who celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas full of love, laughter and happiness. Take time this weekend to be thankful for what you have, and know how much I appreciate you being part of my life.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Beneath The Starry Sky Review

Beneath the Starry Sky by Jessica E. Subject is part of Decadent Publishing's 1 Night Stand Series. Both the hero and the heroine have suffered physical ailments that influence their belief that they can ever find someone to love them for the way they are. In this short novella, we see Josh and Tamara experience each other and learn to accept a happily-ever-after.

I enjoyed Jessica's story, although I wish it had been longer. I liked seeing Josh and Tamara deal with their own insecurities and learn to value themselves and each other. If you get a chance, definitely pick up this story!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Change In Plans

So, I heard back from my editor again yesterday. I was surprised because I honestly didn't think I'd hear from her until at least the weekend. She had great things to say, which obviously made me feel good. (It's always nice when other people in the industry like your work!) and she pinpointed the exact content problem I was having when I finished the draft. I haven't looked at the manuscript and her specific page by page comments yet, but I am now expected to get the revisions back to her in one week.

Getting them done won't be a problem. I'm not really worried about them and I'm pretty confident I'll be able to get them done sooner than next Wednesday. But I hadn't expected to have to work over the holiday weekend. As I mentioned earlier this week, I'd planned to finish the rough draft of my next novella. (That's coming along...slowly.)

So, I'm out finishing up my Christmas shopping today. Then tomorrow I plan to spend the entire day working on revisions. I expect I'll do some work over the Christmas weekend, but I'm not going to push it. Then Monday I'll spend the entire day working and hopefully finishing my revisions.

Over the years I've heard countless writer friends talk about the sacrifices they've had to make to make deadlines. This is my first experience with an official deadline and I'm actually excited about it! (Okay, granted it's not much of a sacrifice on my part, but I do still have to rearrange some activities.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Editor

I got an email tonight from my content editor! Yay! I'll likely get my revisions the week between Christmas and 2012, which will be perfect since I won't be subbing. In the email, my editor (yes, I'll be saying that A LOT!!!) explained the editorial process in a bit more detail.

I'm thrilled with this email because it starts pulling me out of my limbo. Now I have a direction. I have this week to finish the rough draft of the next novella, I'll have revisions to do next week (and beyond, if needed) and then I'll get an idea of when the book will be released.

(And really, it's only been 3 weeks since I first got the email offering me a contract, 2 weeks since I sent the book in after my Pre-edits. I know the people at Decadent have A LOT of other work to do, so I need to remember that my turn will come when it's supposed to come. I know, I know. Reeeeelaaaax, Lexi!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Books' Settings

Her Highland Champion, the contemporary romantic suspense novella that sold to Decadent Publishing, is set in a place that looks a lot like this:
The second Scottish novella that I started yesterday (and hope to submit in January), Scottish Novella #2, is set here in Edinburgh. (The story has no title yet because I'm still learning what the plot is.)
Now, come on. You know you'll want to read both of these stories with sexy Scotsmen, beautiful scenery, and heroines worth rooting for, right? I'll keep you updated on both!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Different Kind Of Romance!

Today is the release day for Beneath the Starry Sky, a contemporary erotic romance from one of my fellow Decadent authors, Jessica E. Subject. Happy Release Day, Jessica!

I'm sharing this with you because this story's premise is close to my heart. The heroine is not your average heroine. She has an autoimmune disease that causes her hair to fall out. While I don't have this specific disease, I was extremely sick as a child and for a long time I wondered if I could ever find love despite my physical scars. Now, I haven't read this book yet, but I just bought it and I will be sure to give you my review once I finish it. If you're so inclined, feel free to learn more about this book, take a chance on a new-to-you author and share your thoughts. You can buy it here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Consoling Angel by Denise Alicea

Consoling Angel is a fun, YA short story from new author Denise Alicea. Ms. Alicea has found an interesting way to share her own fascination with James Dean in her story dealing with loss.
Mira is a high school student who has lost her father and thinks keeping herself busy will keep her from grieving. The story opens with a description of New York City and Mira’s memories of fun times with her father, which included watching movies of their favorite actor, James Dean. When Mira gets home, she gets dizzy and falls into a deep sleep in 2008. When she wakes up, she’s in 1952 where she meets the real James Dean. Through spending time with him, Mira learns that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and that that is the best way to honor her dad’s memory.
Ms. Alicea has given us a cute story that anyone who has lost someone or anyone who has ever loved a celebrity can relate to. If you’re interested in a quick, sweet story, pick up Consoling Angel!

Who Am I? What Am I Doing? Where Do I Go From Here?


Okay, I'm feeling better. A little. I'm suffering from too long in limbo. I've got lots of irons in the fire, personal and professional, but now I've got to wait. And I am NOT a patient person. So, I'm going to write because that always soothes my soul. I'm going to work on a new idea I keep coming back to, another Scottish novella. I might give myself a few days to see if I can pull anything together. If not, I'll throw myself into revisions on another story. And wait some more.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Review of Laura Griffin's Snapped

Snapped is another winning Tracers novel from Laura Griffin. It is a great story with an interesting plot and a nail-biting ending. Don’t miss this book!

Sassy Sophie Barrett, receptionist at the prestigious Delphi Center, wants more out of life so she's attending college part-time. While on campus to register for classes, Sophie witnesses a gunman shooting at random people, including a pregnant woman close to Sophie. The gunman eventually takes his own life, and the press and the police rule the case closed, but Sophie is convinced there is an accomplice and she's determined to get people to pay attention. Unfortunately, she also gains the attention of the accomplice who intends to silence Sophie once and for all.

Detective Jonah Macon isn't about to let Sophie deal with this on her own. At first, he tries to get her to drop her amateur investigation until her theory begins to make sense. Fueled by his attraction to her, Jonah risks his career to keep her safe and to keep investigating. He wrestles with his feelings for Sophie as more clues unfold, but Sophie is beautiful and determined and amazing and Jonah can only resist the chemistry between them for so long. But will he be able to focus as a professional as the killer hunts Sophie down?

Once again, Ms. Griffin weaves romance and danger perfectly. She's created a couple to root for- a kick-ass heroine, and a tenacious, hot hero. I found myself on the edge of my seat more than once as the danger increased and the twists in the story unfolded. Ms. Griffin also brought in some other previous characters from the Tracers series as well, which felt like catching up with old friends. Jonah and Sophie have quickly become my second favorite couple of Ms. Griffin's. I'm already looking forward to the next book! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Burn, Baby, Burn!

I'm hoping to have a rejection burning party at my brother's house while we celebrate my niece's 10th birthday. I always kept my rejections, printed them out if they were emails, and vowed that once I sold I would burn them all and never save another one again. It will be an amazing feeling to put each one in the fire pit. Of course, I'll count them before I do it so I can have an official account of how many I received before I got my 1st contract. I'll let you know later today! And maybe I'll take some pictures!

LATER: 63 rejections burned, no pics, but I did have a couple of beers to celebrate! The earliest rejection was dated September 1999.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Killer Openings Class Coming Up

January 2012 (4 weeks January 3rd thru 31st)
Killer Openings

Instructor: Alexa Bourne

Many people browse through a bookstore, pull a book off the shelf and read the first page. They decide right then whether or not they'll buy the book. Killer Openings dissects those all-important elements. Students will learn the importance of a good opening and gain a better understanding of what makes a "killer opening." Students will study examples of good and bad openings and discuss why they do or don't work. Students will also submit their own opening lines/paragraphs/pages and receive a critique.

For more information, visit Celtic Hearts.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Paperwork. Lots And Lots Of Paperwork.

In addition to the Pre-edits I told you about on Sunday, I also had a few other documents to work on for the publisher. 1 was an author info form, which is basic stuff of my contact info, my author bio, the book title, word count, etc.

Then there was the blurb/excerpt form, where I share what I think would make a good blurb and a good excerpt for the book. The blurb, I'm told, is the single-most important tool in marketing my book. (Yeah, no pressure there, right???) I was actually quite surprised how quickly and easily (in the grand scheme of things) the blurb was to write.

Then came choosing the excerpt. Ugh. I had a bit of a hard time coming up with this because I tend to focus on the suspense and my 1st choice for an excerpt was a suspense scene. But then I thought I should probably find an excerpt that showcases the chemistry between the hero and the heroine. I think I did a good job choosing. We'll find out.

The other form I had to fill out was a cover form. It was neat because I got to give quite a bit of information, way more than I thought I would. I had to describe the characters, the setting, write whether I wanted people or things on my cover, and add anything other suggestions I wanted to give. I also got to put my blurb on that form so the artist can get the gist of the story. I'm excited to see what they come up with!

Although I enjoyed every aspect of this work so far (except the brief panic I had about technology!), filling out all these forms did take me longer than I first expected. I imagine that's because I wanted to do a great job and I wanted to be proud of what I was sending back to my publisher.

Yes, I'm still smiling when I say my publisher or my editor. I imagine I will be for a while. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011


The contract's been signed and sent back to the publisher. Now the work begins. I started getting a little overwhelmed when I realized all the things I'll actually have to do before (and after) this book hits the cyber shelves. But, as always, I'm taking things one at a time.

Today I decided to do the pre-edits required of me before my editor starts working with me on the content. I can best describe the pre-edits as formatting and simple grammar edits. I had to check the font, the spacing etc, and then I also had to do basic grammar check for typos, consistency, POV, "Show, Don't Tell," and the like.

When I got up this morning, I figured I'd finish my pre-edits today since the grammar edits are basically the things I have to find & correct with my CPs. This afternoon I had trouble with the technical aspect of my pre-edits because I have a desktop with Microsoft Word 2003 and a laptop with 2007. Since I'm such a technophobe, I panicked, asked for help of some techie people and then fumbled my way through.

But the pre-edits took a lot longer than I expected. I just finished. I didn't get done half the things I'd planned for today (or yesterday now).

Tomorrow I'll tackle my "To Be Done" list and then work on the other 3 forms I need to fill out for my publisher. (And yes, a smile still comes over my mouth with those last 2 words!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Yes, it's true! I received a contract for my sexy Scottish romantic suspense novella, Her Highland Champion!! I'm so excited! It will be epublished by Decadent Publishing. Here are the details:

"THE CALL" EMAIL:  I left the house yesterday morning about 6:30 and didn't get home until about 7:30 last night. I still had NaNoWriMo words to finish, I was exhausted, but I decided to check my emails before I jumped in to win NaNo. I saw the email from Decadent Publishing and thought, "Damn, ANOTHER rejection!" I almost didn't open it right then because I wanted to be happy and focus on my NaNo words. But I did open it, read the words "would like to offer a contract" and immediately teared up. My first call was to my mother and then I started emailing and texting other family members and close friends. I almost couldn't focus to finish my NaNo words, but I did. I choked up quite often whenever I got a response from someone or when I thought about my story hitting the cyber shelves. I STILL can't believe it!

THE STORY DETAILS:  Her Highland Champion began over 12 years ago, when I first decided to try my hand at writing a suspense set in my favorite place on the planet, Scotland. The story had so many flaws, but I've always loved the premise and the characters and always figured I'd rewrite it at some point.

My friend Camryn Rhys suggested I submit something to her publisher because they had this new series starting called Honor Guard, with alpha heroes in international settings. Since I'm a traveler and can put local details in my stories, she thought this was perfect for me. So, I took that beloved story, revised it and submitted it. Now my fictional Scottish Highland village has a home!

AND NOW: I had always vowed to blog about every step of the publishing process, from the moment I got THE CALL right through to the book's release (and beyond). So I hope you'll continue to follow my journey and get an inside look at one woman's dream coming true.