Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where I Am Right Now...

ONLINE CLASSES:  I had 2 online classes scheduled for February. Both got cancelled for not enough participants. I'm not too broken up about it. I figure I can use the time I would've spent on the classes on learning promo options for Champion.

BOOK PROMO: I'm very excited about my education so far. I've got some great ideas for my book's release, and I've been securing guest blog/interview spots on various blogs. I am learning, though, that promo does take an AMAZING amount of time. I've had author friends tell me this, but I don't think you can truly understand it until you're doing it yourself. And I'm not even doing much yet!

UK TRILOGY BOOK #2: Fractured Paradise is TOTALLY coming along. In fact, I might actually be able to submit it a bit early. I'm LOVING it!

REAL LIFE: I've lost 3lbs in the month of January and I wasn't even trying very hard. But that changes tomorrow. I signed up for the 40-day fitness challenge at my gym, from February 1st to March 11th. I'm already tired, but I'm looking forward to pushing myself. It works out well because it will end just before St. Patrick's Day & my release.

SO....tonight's dinner is courtesy of one of my brothers & sisters-in-law. They gave me a gift card to Olive Garden for Christmas. I'm going to eat something really bad for me, sort of like the last fattening supper!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Have A Release Date!

Her Highland Champion, a contemporary Scottish romantic suspense, will be released March 23rd!

It'll still be a while before I can share the official blurb & excerpt, but for now:

She needed a hero.
He had no courage to be one.
But danger from her past will force them to find courage in themselves...and each other.

Mark your calendars so you can pick up this splendid story in just under 8 weeks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Time Crunch!

It's January 24th. (Where did the first 3 weeks of the year go?????) I've got to buckle down and get busy.

I've got a completely new class that I'm teaching in February to write lessons for
I've got a 2nd class I'm teaching in February (1 I've done before) to prep for
I'm sure I'll have edits from the line editor for Champion
I've just decided to switch the submission plan for my next 2 novellas. Basically I have 1 I've been writing that's set around New Year's. I've decided to submit that one later so that if it gets accepted it can come out around New Year's. So, I'm putting that rough draft aside to focus on revising what was going to be my 3rd one. I want that one ready to submit by the middle of February.

And of course I'm still hunting for a "real job."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Interview With Tami Dee!

Today I'm sharing time with author Tami Dee. Tami's in Celtic Hearts with me and we've been online friends for quite a while. I've read her AMAZING Viking books, which are bestsellers for her publisher Desert Breeze Publishing. Recently Tami branched out and wrote a Scottish historical romance, Innocent Deception. I'm excited to read this book because Tami's a great author and Scotland is my happy place, no matter the time period! So join me in learning more about Tami Dee!
LEXI: You've written stories about Vikings. What made you switch to Scottish historicals?
TAMI: As you know, I belong to Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, an RWA loop that is all things Scottish. I just love the Scottish 'feel' its history and my current CHRW warm friendships and support. Not to mention, I ADORE reading Scottish Historicals. What could be easier, or more fun, than writing my own?

LEXI: What was the most difficult part of writing this story? The easiest?
TAMI: Hardest: Picking a year and learning that year's history!!! Oh, my goodness, when I started out, I was like, 'I can do this, I've read thousands of Scottish Historicals" then, when I really got started...... oh, boy, the hardest thing I have ever written. lol. Seriously, knowing that so many who love Scottish Historical really KNOW their stuff, made me really try and get my story's FACTS right. hahha. I had to turn to my CHRW more than once for advice and crash course of history lesson! But, in the end, after I typed those last words, I felt really good about the story. I hope readers feel the same. *grin*

Easiest: The story of Innocent Deception itself. I let my story drive itself, and my hero and heroine went places that were full of adventure and love.

LEXI: What is something not a lot of people know about you that you wish more people knew?
TAMI: Most people don't know that I have dyslexia. Don't ask me to call a long distance phone number or I will be pushing wrong buttons all day before I get them right! I do okay when reading words, but when writing words, my brain, eyes, get all mucked up. I can spell the same word (wrong) six different ways, and not 'see' that it's wrong, or different than the last time I spelled it wrong. It gets sooooo frustrating and makes even fun things, like interview questions or chatting on a loop, difficult and sometimes embarrassing when the people you are writing to are so smart and bright. But, you know, I have so much to say, that I just plow on in and say it, hoping for the best and a bit of understanding from those I am writing to. :) Needless to say, I rely on my editor a great deal when it comes to the final edit of my books.

LEXI: Favorite vacation spot? (Where you've been or want to go)
TAMI: Lol, that's easy, Scotland!!!! I don't know if I will EVER get there, but oh I want to go so bad. The place I do get to, somewhat often, is Half Moon Bay, San Francisco. It is a perfect day trip and just being by the ocean takes the pressure of everyday life right off my shoulders.

LEXI: What do you wish you'd known before you got published?
TAMI: I wish I would have known how much support other authors gave to one another. I wish I had known that editors can unravel what my dyslexic brain tries to convey. I wish I had known how completely worth the effort of writing those happily ever afters could be. If I had known those things years ago, I would have started writing so much sooner than I did.

LEXI: What's next for you?
TAMI: A lot, actually! In June 1, 2012, my very first book, Under A Viking Moon, will be offered as PRINT ON DEMAND. I am sooo excited, and I hope I am not the only one who will 'demand' a print copy. hahhahhaa. Then, in August 21, 2012, I am co-writing the first in a series with Lynette Endicott, a fellow Desert Breeze author. The series is entitled Time after Time Saga, book one is Animal Instinct. This series is a fantacy romance, with ancestral memories sprinkled in the mix. Then, in October 1, 2012, my English Historical, Love's Fragile Embrace, will be released. (I am waiting to hear from my editor, the release date may be moved to a sooner date) I am super excited!

LEXI: And if you have any questions you wish someone would ask you in an interview that you want to answer....
TAMI: I would just like to thank you again for your support, you're the best of the best, my friend!

You are MOST welcome, Tami! Thanks for joining me today. Folks, you can find out more about Tami and her books (and where to buy this book!) by visiting www.tamidee.com. If you like Scottish historicals, take a chance on Tami! I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Awesome Visit to My Happy Place

I spent a good chunk of my day today working on Fractured Paradise. I buckled down and got busy. And you know what happened? My muse joined me. My characters came to life. My setting came to life. All was well in Edinburgh. In fact, it went so well that I'm going to be bold and say that I will have the rough draft of this story completed by Sunday night.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Back Your S**t Up!

So, I was doing an editing assignment on Tuesday morning. I was 5 pages from being done when I had to stop and go to one of the day jobs. I shut the computer down. As the lights went off I thought, "Hmmm, maybe I should put that manuscript on my flash drive." I didn't bother. When I got home from work and wanted to finish those last 5 pages, my laptop wouldn't work.

Of course I was beating myself up about it. I emailed the client and explained why I wasn't sending the manuscript back. Then I panicked because that has become my lifeline. I do everything on that laptop- apply for jobs, search for jobs, accept sub jobs, research my books, visit blogs & websites, send and receive email, and write my own stories on there. (Which makes me wonder why I still have a desktop...)

For a while I even wondered if this was the universe's way of getting me to sit down and actually write that 2nd Scottish suspense novella. :\

Luckily, things will work out. The client was extremely unerstanding (even when I told him it wouldn't be returned today either). I'm able to use my friend's computer (dowstairs from me) for emails and posting here. I took the computer in to get it fixed and it started right up for the tech. (Of course!) I left it with him to have a cheap "tune up" since I bought it about 2 years ago and I've never done any kind of maintenance on it. (He talked about cookies, browser, defragging and a whole bunch of other terms I don't really understand. He assures me what they're going to do will make it work better.) I should get it back within 72 hours. I did manage to get the client's manuscript put on my flash drive before I handed the computer over, but the computer I'm on now has no place to plug it in. (Seriously, it's got a spot for a floppy disk, though!) So the client will have to wait yet another day!

Lesson learned. BACK UP EVERYTHING!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Cover Faux Pas

SO, you've all seen the AWESOME cover I have for my book. You've heard me rave about it. Some of you have commented on it. Now here's the story about the screw up...

When I first signed my contract with Decadent Publishing back in the beginning of December, I was over the moon and eager to get busy. I wanted to be a "good student" for my new publisher so I filled out all the paperwork and sent it back within the 1st week. There were some things I wasn't sure about, but I filled it all out as best I could. I was under the impression that the papers would be reviewed later on in the process.

This paperwork included the cover questionnaire. I filled it out as best I could. There was a question about the title and series if applicable. Well, I knew I submitted to the Honor Guard line, but I wasn't sure if that meant I should put Honor Guard Series on it. (I know. It seems obvious now, but at the time it wasn't obvious to me.) I checked the website to see what other types of series they had. I didn't worry about it since the paperwork would be reviewed later.

When I got my cover art package, I wondered why the final cover didn't have Honor Guard Series on it. (I had seen one other cover for the Honor Guard series and those words were on the actual cover.) So I sent an email to the lovely woman who answers all my questions and asked. I thought maybe the book had been rerouted and would not be part of that series. In her responding email, sh told me that my cover questionnaire didn't mention the Honor Guard series so the artist wouldn't have known to include that.


I apologized and claimed newbie excitement and status as my excuse for not including it on the paperwork. I haven't heard anything else since. I'm sure this will not be the last of my mistakes as I go through this process, but I know for next time!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My (Perfect) First Cover!

It's here! It's here! It's here and I LOVE it! Thank you to the Decadent Publishing Artist who put this FANTABULOUS cover together!
Now all I need is a release date!
So, what do you think?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Next Classes

Because my life isn't busy enough with searching for a "real job", working several part-time jobs, writing and learning to promote my book, I agreed to teach TWO classes next month! Please feel free to forward these details to anyone who might be interested:

Finished Now What
Presented by Alexa Bourne
Date: February 1 – 29, 2012
Deadline: January 28, 2012
Fee: OIRW Member $20
Fee: Non-Member $25
Course Description:
Finishing a manuscript is a major accomplishment and it should be celebrated. But what happens when the celebration is over and you become overwhelmed with how much more is involved in getting published?
“Finished…Now What?” will give students real options for what to do once that manuscript is completed. They will understand the point of the submission package. They will also research industry professionals to query, learn about prepping and mailing their submission and realize the importance of getting busy immediately with the next book.
Instructor Bio:
I’ve been working toward publication for several years and have submitted 8 different manuscripts to several industry professionals. I entered my first contest in 2002 and have since finaled or won in 21 RWA contests with 7 manuscripts. (Most of those contests focused on the 1st few pages or the 1st chapter.) I have a Bachelor’s in English Literature and a Master’s in Education. I’ve been an English teacher for children and adults, and I have written various articles for RWA chapter newsletters.

Title: Contests: The Basics
Instructor: Alexa Bourne
Date: January 30 – February 24, 2012
Fee: CRW Member $20
Fee: Non-Member $25
DESCRIPTION: Students will explore reasons to enter contests, how to find the right contest for their work, how to follow the “rules,” how to deal with the results/feedback of contests, and finally choose contests.
BIO: Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romantic suspense writer by nights, weekends and all school holidays. She recently signed her first contract with Decadent Publishing for a contemporary Scottish novella, Her Highland Champion. When she's not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. To learn more about her, visit http://www.alexabourne.com/ or http://alexabourne.blogspot.com/ or follow her on Twitter @AlexaBourne.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cover Coming Soon!!!

As I took a tea break from working on Fractured Paradise, I opened my emails and found one with the mock cover for Her Highland Champion. It is GORGEOUS! I can't wait to share it with you! Of course you know I will do that as soon as possible.

Back to novella #2!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On My Way

Whoohoo! I've got the correct title, the right theme song and the perfect cast in mind for my latest Scottish novella, Fractured Paradise! AND today I figured out the plot! SOOOOOO.....now I can get busy with finishing the rough draft!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Caught Offside

Caught Offside is a great story by Liz Crowe. It is part of Decadent Publishing's 1 Night Stand series. If you like soccer and romance, this is definitely a book for you!

Ramon Castillo is a soccer star who's had a career-changing injury. Instead of dealing with his situation, Ramon is holed up in his family's hotel so that he doesn't have to deal with the outside world.

Gillian Winter is the banquet manager for a major Las vegas hotel. She is a former soccer star herself and she has a young son. Gillian has thrown herself into her work and into raising her son so she doesn't have time to deal with the emotions of being a widow.

While in the lobby of the Castillo Hotel, Gillian's son flips out when he sees Ramon, his soccer idol. Gillian arranges, through Ramon's cousin, for Ramon to spend some quality time with her son. What she doesn't expect is that she may be the one who enjoys the time with Ramon more than the boy.

I really enjoyed this story. I think part of the reason is I love soccer so much, but I also thought Ms. Crowe did a great job showing how the characters changed through the story. Gillian and Ramon are attracted to each other from the start, but their personal, internal pains make them both reluctant to engage in any type of romantic encounter. The emotional journeys they go through and the relationship that evolves make the story believable and heart-warming. It is a fast read and a perfect way to spend a raining afternoon. This will definitely not be the last story I read from Liz Crowe!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lessons From The Voices In My Head

So, I'm still on the rough draft of my latest Scottish novella and I've been struggling with it for the last few days. It's good so far, but something was missing. Today I figured out why.

As I drive around town, I often hear Without You by David Guetta with Usher. I LOVE THIS SONG. When I first heard it I was working on one of my bounty hunter stories and it instantly became the "theme song" for the hero and heroine of a future story, a story that is currently scheduled to be written during NaNoWriMo 2012. Every single time I hear it I get a rush as I think of that couple, of the explosive chemistry I'll be able to explore later this year. And I always smile.
Today, as I came home from the day job, the song came on and it finally hit me. My Scottish novella isn't working because there's no chemistry between the characters. It's a great story and the characters are interesting, but there are no sparks between them. Obviously THAT'S not going to work for me writing a ROMANTIC suspense! So, this weekend I'll be hunting for new characters to complete the kick-ass story!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hump Day

I'm over my bout of doubt for now. It only lasted Monday. I've got a great story and it deserves to be shared!

Since then my editor has sent the manuscript up the totem pole to the Line Editor. There may be a couple rounds of revisions depending on what she suggests. I don't know how long it will be before I hear from them. It depends on what the Line Editor has on her plate.

While I wait for the response, I have plenty to keep myself busy. I'm still working on the rough draft of the next contemporary Scottish novella, Coming Home. I'm hoping to have it completed by the end of this weekend. Then next week I'll start draft 2! And of course I'm spending plenty of time each day learning about how to promote my book and me. Any suggestions?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Edits, Round 2- An Emotional Roller Coaster Ride

I started my day feeling a little down. I had no sub job planned and few jobs I could apply for online. I figured I would spend the day working on Coming Home, my 2nd Scottish novella & prepping my lessons for my online class that starts tomorrow. THEN I got my 2nd round of edits for Her Highland Champion from my editor. So I switched modes and focused on the edits. They weren't terribly difficult. For the most part it was just accepting what suggestions she'd given me. But then in her email she also mentioned that I should be super careful because she would not be reading the entire manuscript again and this would be our last time working on it together for a while. After she goes over the changes I make, she'll be sending it up the chain to the Line Editor.

As I finished the revisions, I found myself feeling less competent and confident. Again I thought, "Seriously? Somebody believes in this story enough (besides me) to expect people to pay money for it?" I completed the edits quickly, but then I decided to reread the entire thing to make sure it flowed like I wanted and to catch any other typos or "bad" word choices my editor and I had missed. Of course, she'd already done a fantabulous job so I had little to worry about. But the rereading took a lot longer than I thought. (Granted, part of that might've been because I was watching the Rose Bowl game too. Yay Ducks!!) Well after dinner time I emailed the round back to my editor.

My low confidence continued because I also had to ask her what the heat level of my story is. I've spent so much time writing my full-length romantic suspenses that focused more on the suspense than the romance, and Her Highland Champion is so much more focused on the romance than I'm used to. Again, I was feeling out of my element. It didn't matter that after talking to my editor I realized my 1st guess for heat level was right on target. I still felt somewhat incompetent. I also started examining this whole writing business as a business again, something I'm still getting used to.

I imagine I'll go through roller coaster emotions throughout this process from contract to cyber shelf  and I've decided that's okay. This is ALL new to me. I'm supposed to need guidance. And, smart woman that I am, I'll keep asking questions so I can learn.

So now, at the end of my day, I feel better, more confident. (Of course, getting picked as Teacher of the Month at my part-time job didn't hurt either!) I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but I can't wait to find out!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

With a new year comes a list of goals. I'm a MASTER at making lists and revising them when
 something doesn't work out exactly as I'd planned. So without wasting time, here's a
condensed version of what I expect/hope to accomplish in the next 12 months!

1. See my first book published (You'll know the release date when I do!)
2. Sell at least one more novella, if not 2
3. Sell my 1st full-length novel
4. Make it to at least 1 conference
5. Visit my family & friends I haven't seen in 2 1/2 years
6. Find a "real" job
7. Look into and possibly "go back to school"
8. Get back to being healthy again
9. Get down to my goal weight & keep it (or most of it) off
10. Learn to be a PR guru
11. Build my critiquing/editing business
12. Read a book a week

So, there's my list. What's on yours?