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A Million Thanks

After so many years of blood, sweat, and tears, my first published novel, The Summer Before Forever, is being released today!

In these past weeks and months leading up to this day, I have been OVERWHELMED by the amount of support and kindness from not only my friends and family, but from complete strangers who have reached out to me via my Facebook Author Page and Twitter. I cannot begin to express how unbelievably awesome and lifted up it makes me feel to receive these kind notes of celebration. (Moriah Chavis, you are my new favorite person!)

I thanked a handful of people in the acknowledgements of my book, but I am SO thankful, that I want to share those thanks here again and add some more to the list. (It was like pulling a tooth trying to whittle down the first list to a reasonable page count.)

I am so lucky to have gotten Heather Howland and Kari Olson as my editors extraordinaire on this book. Without their wonderful advice and gentle shoves, this book wouldn’t be close to what it turned out to be. Thanks and appreciation don’t begin to cover it!

Melissa Montovani is a seriously hard worker, and has graciously answered every one of my billion questions through this process. I appreciate her beyond measure!

Samantha Harris was essential in my research of dyscalculia, and Ella Cain kept me from making a few embarrassing mistakes since it’s been a few *ahem* years since I’ve been a teen.

My special friend and fantastic author Jessica Calla has held my hand through this whole process, showing me the way to releasing a first book, and I’m actually not sure what I would do without her.

My “writing husband” Greg Howard has encouraged me, literally on a daily basis for six years now. Golden.

Tom Amirante, Victoria Austin, Courtney Beisner, Rhonda Celsor, Jan Cook, Melanie Dukes, Wendy Egli, Jenny Fuller, Cathy Gibson, Ray Gibson, Jeanne Hardt, Gina Kelley, Andy Norris, Lori Odom, Rae Ann Parker, Laura Santini, Tricia Swaney, Regina Turner, Tamara Waters, Charissa Weaks, Amy Willis, and Maria Wolfgang all played parts in encouraging me very early on in my writing path to publication, and I will never forget their kind words and support.

So many sweet friends have helped me celebrate this book, but ones who have been over the top awesome are Kali & Trey Cain, Melanie Dukes, Kristen & David Kovach, Holly Mathis, and Mike Haynes.

My critique partners over the years helped me get to the point that I was ready to submit and get a yes! Those helpful people include Lindsey Anderson, Jessica Calla, Ellen Hairr, Greg Howard, Anna Landry, Laura Trentham, and the precious Jackie Ivey who I was lucky enough to get as a contest judge years ago and basically showed me how to write.

And finally, I am the luckiest wife on the planet to have the love and support that I do from my wonderful husband, Jody Chambers. He encourages me in everything I do, and he makes sure I have the time to do it. I really couldn’t ask for more from him.

I know I’m forgetting people, so I’ll apologize for that now. But I could not let today pass without a big out shout out. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are all appreciated beyond measure!

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Available Now! Read the first chapter here!

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Retreating

My friend (soon to be Harlequin author) Victoria Austin and I meet up at least once a year at a conference to learn, but mostly to hang.

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View from our room at the lodge.

This year, we decided to take a brain break and just get together for a straight up writing retreat. We met in Cadiz, KY, which is a tiny little town in Southern Kentucky. It’s home to Lake Barkley State Park, which is beautiful.

 

We spent Friday night talking NONSTOP. We don’t talk a lot throughout the year, so when we get together, the floodgates open. We’re both writing industry nerds to the max, so we get each other caught up on all the workshops we’ve done, the people we’ve met, the books we’ve read, and the progress we’ve made. We’re both hoarse by the time the weekend is over.

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Victoria’s bags of stress.

Every time we meet up, I show up with a cooler full of drinks and food (made Pad Thai noodles this time!), and my bags are packed with dark chocolate almonds, Chex Muddy Buddies, Cheez-Its, bagels, Kind bars, and anything else I can stuff in there. This is what Victoria packs (see photo to the left). She laid about eight craft books on my bed for me to “take a look at” and I hid under the bed with my dark chocolate almonds until she kindly removed them.

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The pigs of Cadiz

 

We spent Saturday morning walking around the lake and chatting, and then we headed into town. We went down to the business district of Cadiz which was so precious. All around the town, they had these little pig statues. The Cracker Barrel we ate at even had one out front. I bought a shirt at the cutest little gift shop called Broadbents, and I bought a necklace at an antique shop that was made out of an old silver fork. The artist had molded it into an elephant. I wear it like every day.

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Antique shop in Cadiz

Much of the merchandise in these little shops is locally made and cute enough to make a road trip to check out. There are few things I love more than an adorable little country downtown.

 

But I’ve got to say, one of the coolest moments happened before the weekend even got underway. I arrived first and went to get ice for my cooler in the main building. I had been to this lodge with my family once before when I was in the eighth grade. My sister didn’t come for some reason, so I brought a friend with me. She and I met these two boys who were from Lexington. We spent much of the weekend hanging out with those two boys at the pool and at the arcade in that main building where I went to get my ice. There were no romantic connections with these boys, but it was different, meeting boys who knew nothing about my awkward eighth grade year. They didn’t know about the boys who tortured me on the bus every single day of that year, and they didn’t see me like those kids who I’d been going to school with since kindergarten and knew all the ins and outs of my whole elementary and middle school history. Meeting these boys from another world was fresh and exciting and such an ego boost for a thirteen-year-old girl who desperately needed one that year.

When I walked into that arcade, those memories rushed back into my brain like lake water spraying off a jet ski. I stood there by myself grinning like a total idiot, having a moment with thirteen-year-old Melissa that I won’t soon forget.

Best. Retreat Weekend. Ever.

🙂

The Boyfriend Bet & The Summer Before Forever Cover Reveal!

The Boyfriend Bet & The Summer Before Forever Cover Reveals

Let us know what you think of the covers for The Boyfriend Bet by Chris Cannon and The Summer Before Forever (Before Forever, #1) by Melissa Chambers!

The Boyfriend Bet (Boyfriend Chronicles, #2) and The Summer Before Forever (Before Forever, #1) both release on August 22, 2016

These cover reveals are brought to you by Entangled TEEN, YA Interrobang, and YA Books Central!

The Boyfriend Bet

About The Boyfriend Bet:

Zoe Cain knows that Grant Evertide is way out of her league. So naturally, she kisses him. Out of spite. Not only is Grant her brother’s number-one nemesis, but he has zero interest in being tied down to one girl. She’s shocked—and secretly thrilled—when they start spending more time together. Non-exclusively, of course, but that doesn’t mean Zoe can’t change his mind, one PDA and after-school detention at a time.

Zoe’s brother claims Grant is trying to make her his “Ringer,” an oh-so-charming tradition where a popular guy dates a non-popular girl until he hooks up with her, then dumps her. Zoe threatens to neuter Grant with hedge clippers if he’s lying but Grant swears he isn’t trying to trick her. Still, that doesn’t mean Grant is the commitment type—even if winning a bet is on the line.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains multiple PDAs, after school detentions, and gambling on the side. Warning: Betting on a boyfriend is bad for your health.

Want to Read More? Pre-order The Boyfriend Bet (Boyfriend Chronicles, #2) Today!

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About the Author:

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Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or romantic comedies.

Find Chris Cannnon Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Newsletter | Goodreads’ Author Page | Entangled Author Page

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About The Summer Before Forever:

Some boys break your heart. Others teach you how to heal it.

Chloe Stone’s life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs.

Landon’s mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way.Problem is, Chloe is everything he didn’t know he wanted, and that’s…inconvenient.Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend,and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity.

But there’s more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something—something he knows will change how she feels about him—and she’s hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there’s a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again…

Want to Read More? Pre-order The Summer Before Forever (Before Forever, #1) Today!

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About the Author:

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Melissa Chambers writes contemporary novels for young, new, and actual adults. A Nashville native, she spends her days working in the music industry and her nights tapping away at her keyboard. While she’s slightly obsessed with alt rock, she leaves the guitar playing to her husband and kid. She never misses a chance to play a tennis match, listen to an audiobook, or eat a bowl of ice cream. (Rocky road, please!) She’s a member of RWA including several local and online chapters thereof. She holds her B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee.

Find Melissa Chambers Online:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Goodreads’ Author Page | Entangled Author Page

A July 4th Weekend to Remember

Once in ten blue moons, the stars aline and come together to produce one epic weekend. This past July 4th weekend was that for my family.

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Hubby rockin the mic.

We started out on Friday night at my hubby’s show. Lots of friends came out to see him, and it was an all-ages show for NotQuiteRight, so there were tons of kids there. My kiddo got to see his dad perform for the first time, which was super-cool to watch.

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Me gettin my float on.

Saturday, we were invited to the lake with some fabulous friends who rented a double-decker pontoon boat with a slide. I hadn’t been on the lake in over a decade. I floated on an inner tube, slid down the slide, and swam in the lake. We couldn’t have ordered up a better day for it.

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My favorite food to go with the best weekend ever.

Sunday, we went to a birthday party at our sweet friends’ house who cooked the most fabulous shrimp and grits with a fried egg on top. We ate birthday cake, and I discovered my new favorite drink: the Dark and Stormy, which is made with ginger beer. Fun facts: Ginger beer is nonalcoholic, has less than half the sugar as soda, and is fantastic. We finished off the evening at our good friends’ house with a night swim in their pool where I did back dives off the diving board like I was back at the country club my family belonged to when we were kids.

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Meat. Good.

Monday, we finished the weekend with a pool party at the same friends’ house who we went on the lake with. We ate ribs, beef brisket, pork bar-be-que, and hot dogs. As my friend’s mom said, “It sucks to be a vegetarian here!” I am not, so it was quite wonderful for me!

We met new friends this weekend and cultivated relationships with old ones. We ate and drank like gluttons, laughed and relaxed, and overall had the time of our lives.

Last night, as hubby and I recounted our weekend, he said to me, “I think this is the most fun weekend we’ve had.” I agreed. But the fact didn’t escape either of us that we are fortunate beyond measure to have been afforded the luxury to indulge the way we did this weekend. We appreciate more than anything:

  • Our healthy bodies and that we are able physically to do all that we did this weekend.
  • The generosity of our precious friends.
  • The people who risk and have risked their lives and who have died to continue to keep our country safe and free.

Happy Fourth of July to everyone! Stay safe this summer, and keep lathering
on that sunscreen!

My Night at the GRAMMYs

My day job offers some cool benefits – one being my membership to the Recording Academy. Every year when I receive my invite and ticketing information for the GRAMMYs, I look at my bank account and toss the invite aside. But this year marked a significant anniversary for me in the music biz, so I figured what the heck. I bought a ball gown, rented my husband a tux, and we boarded a plane to L.A.

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My red carpet moment.

The afternoon started with an enthusiastic Lyft driver who was excited by rather than irritated with the many checkpoints of security and bomb scans we had to pass through to get to the drop off site. We exited his vehicle and stood in front of the Staples Center searching the area for what to do next. The very first person I spotted right in front of us was David Crosby. If you’re under 35, you’ll have to trust me that this is significant. I nudged my husband and said, “Look who it is!” We giddily smiled at each other, still trying to figure out where to go next. My husband said, “Hell, let’s follow David Crosby.” So we did. And he didn’t let us down.

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Me at the GRAMMYs. (What?!)

After I finally pried my husband away from David Crosby’s footsteps, we found ourselves standing in front of the marquee flashing “THE GRAMMYs TONIGHT” which was probably the most surreal moment of the night. I take that back – that’s coming. Anyway, we mugged for selfies, posted our excitement to our Facebook walls, and then headed inside.

FUNNY MOMENTS:
The GRAMMYs are held in the Staples Center which is like any typical arena where sporting events and concerts take place. They sell beer and pretzels, other typical fast food. For some strange reason, I thought inside the arena would be spiffed up for the evening with fancy food and red carpets for the many sets of four inch heels. But to my surprise, it was in the same shape as it would be if you were there to see the L.A. Lakers play. So what you have now is a gaggle of GRAMMY going women in ball gowns standing around shoving hot dogs covered in mustard and relish into their Christian Louboutin lip-lined mouths.

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The GRAMMY stage.

As we were waiting in our seats for the show to start, people kept approaching the usher with questions about their seats, which brings me to the most “surreal” moment of the night. This one guy walks up with his much younger and quite attractive date. I knew instantly only by looking at the back of his head that it was Ron Jeremy, former adult film star and houseguest on one of my favorite reality shows of all-time, The Surreal Life (circa 2005). This may have been my favorite moment of the whole event.

COOL MOMENTS:
We weren’t planning on attending the pre-show, but we arrived fairly early (I was worried to death about L.A. traffic), so we decided to go in just to see what it was like. It just so happened one of my favorite bands Highly Suspect was taking the stage. It was so weird seeing them play all serious-like for this room of fancy pants, stoic people compared to their show I saw in December at the Swanky Sweater Jam in Downtown Nashville which was full of energy, madness, and ugly Christmas sweaters. But I’ll take a Highly Suspect performance any way I can get it. (Congrats on your noms, guys!)

As we entered the building, along with our programs we were handed these clear bracelets that looked similar to a fitbit and asked to wear them. We were told they would flash when it was time for the show to start. But come to find out, the bracelets were programmed to flash in multiple colors to the beat of Taylor Swift’s song, lighting up the arena, which was super cool and made me feel like an important part of her show. Me and the other thousands of attendees…but still. There was also something really cool about watching her go from ending her performance to walking straight to her seat in the front row center and popping a squat like the rest of us.

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Handsome husband.

Lady Gaga. I know you saw her tribute to David Bowie, but I need you to know she sounded so much better in person than on t.v. (we caught her performance again when we got back to the hotel). I absolutely reveled in her energy, but if I’m being honest, the performance that really took me by surprise (haters please don’t throw tomatoes) was Justin Bieber. This performance live was loud with a raunchy sound from Skrillex – another performance that television didn’t do justice for.

SWEET OFF-CAMERA MOMENTS:
After the Eagles’ performance, the executive producer of the show came out as they were going to commercial and told the guys to stay on stage. He reminded them (for the benefit of the audience) that they had missed the GRAMMYs the year they were up for album of the year for Hotel California, which they won. Apparently they never got their award, because he presented their 40-year-old GRAMMY award to them right there on stage during commercial break.

I also really enjoyed seeing the off-camera hugs from collaborators as they made their way off the stages. The one between Ellie Goulding and Andra Day seemed particularly heartfelt and touching.

Overall, the afternoon/evening was star-studded and full of glamor and glitz my mundane life doesn’t typically lend itself to. I’m so glad I finally let my wallet take the hit and went. It’s a once in a lifetime experience my husband and I will keep close to our hearts. But most importantly, I BREATHED THE SAME AIR AS THE BIEBS!!!!!

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My after party.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW – D.B. Seiders

In Romance, I typically read contemporary stories. But when I learned of D.B. Sieders’ book about a mermaid who kills with her beautiful singing voice, I was hooked. The gorgeous cover didn’t hurt as well.

This tale, while so precious it made my cheeks hurt from smiling so much, was also full of depth and darkness that spanned deeper than the ocean floor…or in this case, the Cumberland River. 🙂

 

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Her beautiful voice once cost a life. Still, music is her passion. What’s a mermaid to do? Run off and live vicariously through mortal musicians!

Unfortunately, gorgeous rocker Vance Idol almost succumbs to her siren call after his show in Nashville. Not that Vance cares—not since his girlfriend’s fatal overdose left him with a supersized death wish. Lorelei makes it her mission to undo the damage and help this talented and charismatic man on the eve of his band’s big break.

But saving a mortal man is a dangerous proposition. Lorelei could far too easily lose her heart, and quite possibly her immortality, during her American holiday. Bad boy Vance might be worth the risk.

Can their love survive his attitude, her fins, and an evil Pixie with a grudge against them both?

 

Please welcome to the blog, author of Lorelei’s Lyric, D.B. Sieders!

Tell us a little about yourself — who you are and what you write?

Thanks so much for hosting me! I’m a biomedical researcher by day, so I really enjoy exploring my creative side as a writer. My scientific life deals with logic, facts, and evidence. Exploring fantasy, myth, and legend when I use my writer brain serves as a nice balance. I mostly write fantasy/paranormal and urban fantasy romance and a bit of contemporary on the side. I tend to favor unlikely heroes and heroines who face a healthy dose of angst as they strive for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves.

What kinds of research did you do into legends of mermaids and elemental creatures?

I started with the Greek myth about Sirens. I had a rock star hero who, in spite of an amazing voice and the ability to seduce a crowd with his charisma, is about to give up on the eve of his big break. Who could challenge him, who would be most appalled by his path of self-destruction? Well, someone who wanted desperately to sing but can’t. Hence, the Siren. In spite of their association with mermaids in modern times, Greek Sirens were actually described as bird-like women, which left me with a bit of a problem (I’m a stickler for accuracy). I was still drawn to mermaids, mythical creatures with powers of both destruction and healing – a fascinating dichotomy! I stumbled on the legend of Lorelei, a siren-like enchantress from the Rhine whose beautiful voice lures sailors to their deaths by way of shipwreck. This legend, along with the legends of Melusine, the Warsaw Mermaid, Wagner’s Rhinemaidens, and the legend of Ondine, provided some rich source material.

Vance is a rock musician and songwriter. Do you have a playlist for this book or a handful of songs that provided inspiration?

One of my inspirations for Vance’s intensity, passion, and stage presence was Scott Weiland, who we sadly lost just last month. Adam Levine was another. Lorelei brings to mind Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” when it comes to Vance. As far as other songs, I found inspiration from Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight” to Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” from Sting’s “Fields of Gold” to “What Might Have Been” by Little Texas.

What’s your favorite trait of Lorelei’s? What’s her worst habit? (I loved her, by the way.)

Lorelei is loyal and fiercely protective of those she loves, which is one of her best qualities. Her worst habit is that she’s way too hard on herself, especially when it comes to her past mistakes. Vance helps her come to terms with that.

What authors or series of novels would you say your writing style is similar to?

I definitely aspire to write characters the reader will root for, crisp dialogue, humor to balance all things emotionally heavy, and stories that will make you laugh/cry/think, often in the same chapter. I would love to reach J.R. Ward’s level when it comes to wounded, angsty heroes. I strive to capture the quirks and charm of the South like Charlaine Harris, and I would LOVE to be as funny as Darynda Jones someday!

What celebrities would you cast in the roles of Vance and Lorelei?

Oh, I could totally see Adam Levine as Vance, and Liv Tyler would be perfect as Lorelei!

What is your writing process? Do you plot everything meticulously or do you dive in headfirst without a rope?

I’m a total pantster! However, I recently generated a sort of roadmap for three more books in this series. We’ll see how that goes…

Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you currently reading?

Too many favorite authors to count! For paranormal/fantasy romance, some of my favorites include J.R. Ward, Jeaniene Frost, Darynda Jones, and Laurell K. Hamilton’s early Anita Blake books. I also love Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series and Lexi George’s Demon Hunting in the Deep South series. I’m currently beta reading an awesome Thriller and Paranormal Romance, and reading some great Sci-Fi from Jody Wallace and Contemporaries from Savannah Kade for promised reviews, which is always a treat!

When will we get to see book two featuring Ilsa, Lorelei’s temperamental but good-natured sister?

So glad you asked! Crosscurrents (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 2) will be coming out this spring. Here’s the working blurb: Freshwater mermaid Ilsa is heir apparent to the kingdom of the Rhine, though no one believes her worthy. Including Ilsa. So instead of embracing her role as river royalty, Ilsa opts to extend her holiday in the New World. Avoiding responsibility and frolicking with mortals has always been her M.O. until she answers a distress call from an endangered species in the waters near Chattanooga. When her close encounter with a motorboat threatens to expose the world of elemental guardians, Ilsa partners with biologist and unlikely ally, Paul Pulaski, to throw them off her tail. Worlds collide and sparks ignite between Princess Ilsa and her diamond-in-the-rough skeptical scientist, Paul. But can they survive monster hunters, a rival scientist with a grudge against Paul, and a dark elemental force that could destroy mortal and elemental alike?

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about LORELEI’S LYRIC?

Howdy readers! Looking for some unconventional fantasy romance featuring strong heroines and the heroes who strive to match them? Please come visit the world of Southern Elemental Guardians! I want to take readers on adventures in fantastical worlds hidden in the nooks and crannies of our reality, where heroes and heroines face extraordinary circumstances and find out what they’re made of.

 

DanaD.B. Sieders was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent her childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, wading barefoot in creeks, and chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. Her family loved to tell stories while sitting around the campfire. Those days of frog chasing sparked an interest in biology. She’s a working scientist by day, but she never lost her love of telling stories. Now, she is a purveyor of unconventional fantasy romance featuring strong heroines and the heroes who strive to match them. Her characters face a healthy dose of angst as they work for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, two children, three cats, and her very active imagination.

Lorelei’s Lyrics is available on Amazon.

You can find D.B. Sieders on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Hello from Atlanta!

Greetings and salutations from Atlanta, GA!

Thursday, I grabbed one of my writerly besties and headed even farther South for the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight and Magnolias conference. The long weekend has been full of workshops, plotting new stories, making new friends, eating (so much eating), chocolate (so much chocolate), and finishing edits on another book. To say it’s been productive is to say Melissa sort of likes Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Among the events of this fabulous weekend was a two hour long class with Candace Havens – Fast Draft and Revision Hell. Basically, we learned how to write a book in two weeks and revise in the next two weeks. I plan to put my money where my keyboard is and do this thing. I’m taking a week to get some contest judging and beta reading done for a friend (I’m getting to you, K!), but starting next Monday, it’s on.

Note: If you see me rocking back and forth in a corner mumbling incoherently any time in the next month, please don’t be concerned. It’s all just a typical part of the writing process.

 

 

Who Played It Best?

Happy Friday morning, y’all!

This morning driving to work, I was listening to one of my favorite Black Rebel Motorcycle Club songs, which also happens to be my favorite The Call song from the late 80s. I could NOT decide which one I liked better. As much as I adore my first love, all things 80s pop/rock/alternative, I really love my current rock/alternative music. Since I’m so biased in both directions, I’ll let you decide. Who played it better?

The Call “Let the Day Begin” 1989

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “Let the Day Begin” 2013

Mothering to ImpeRfection

I write this post today from the second floor of Whole Foods, my pulse racing, sweat beading on my brow.

Let’s just something straight. I’m into rules. I like them. They give me a structure to work within. Less questions for me to have to ask. I like to know them, and I like to follow them.

So when I got the email last night from the Whole Foods kids’ cooking class that said I needed to have my kid at class BEFORE 10:00 this morning, I thought, “Cake.” I thought wrong.

This particular Whole Foods is about 25 minutes from my house…20 if I sail through green lights. We leave the house at 9:30 and make it to the area the store is in at 9:45. I am golden. My child will be the first to arrive. Star pupil potential.

I sit relaxed at a red light and leisurely glance at my child in the back seat who smiles casually back at me. A sweet moment between us. He loves cooking. I’ve found this cooking class for him. He’s going to make breakfast, and in honor of Mother’s Day, a “surprise guest” *ahem* will join him to eat the breakfast he has made.

My gaze averts to his flip-flopped feet propped up on the seat back, and a flashback from last night’s email from the cooking class folks fills my brain. I gasp. “I think you were supposed to wear closed-toed shoes!”

Now, most of you out there are going, “What’s the big deal? He’ll be fine in the flip flops.” This is where I remind you of “the rules.” I follow rules. I rarely break them. And I have a fear that he will not be permitted to the class without the closed-toed shoes on.

We happen to be right in front of Macy’s. A sign! I’ll run in here and buy him a pair of shoes. I wheel us into the parking lot and find a space right by the door. Another sign! However, it’s 9:45 in the morning, so probably not that karmic.

We do that nerdy looking fast walk (because we’d be breaking a rule if we ran) up to the boys’ department. As we frantically glance around, looking for anything resembling shoes, a sales clerk kindly stops helping the customer she is with and asks if she can help us, clearly sensing our frantic situation. She informs us that Macy’s doesn’t carry boys’ shoes (??) and that the best she could do is a size 7 in men’s. They would be big, but they would work! Luckily, my nine-year-old has huge feet.

We fast walk through the store, down two escalators, a poor guy moving aside so we could rush past him, and arrive at the men’s shoe department. No sales clerk. I finally get the attention of one in another department before I realize she’s helping another customer. What are all these people doing at Macy’s before 10:00 anyway? She proceeds to ditch the other customer and look up on her computer six different shoes, looking for a size seven or anything close. Nothing. The regular shoe department sales clerk shows up about this time and informs us that he has nothing smaller than an 8.5.

I decide we are screwed. I’m pretty sure I say as much to my kid. I ring my husband, thinking he could bring some shoes, knowing this is a Hail Mary, him being a half hour away and class starting in mere seconds. And then I see the women’s shoe department. I can surely find some women’s shoes that will work, can’t I?

We rush through the department, scanning the heels and loafers, and my gaze locks on the most perfect sight I have ever seen. Converse! Those are unisex, right? (Right? Please tell me that’s right.) I snatch up a white one and hold it up just when another precious, busy Macy’s employee says, “Can I get you a size?” Shout out to all the very helpful Macy’s employees who made this day possible!

While he’s in the back, I scan for socks and come up empty, but I do see something that I think may work – those footy things. You know, the little panty hose they keep for women to try on dress shoes? Score!

So I outfit my nine-year-old boy in the panty hose and women’s converse, and for the first time in my life, take a pair of shoes to the register not having a clue what they cost. I scan my card, and we are off.

I could keep going here with more about how the door was locked on cooking class, and we interrupted a very serious “classroom style” situation with way more people than I expected, and how mortified I was by that, being the rule follower I am. But I’m running long, so I’ll just sum up here.

As I realized we were going to be a good ten minutes late (good time considering what all we went through to get there), I thought and said out loud, “It’s not the end of the world if you are a few minutes late to cooking class.” And it wasn’t. He’s in there now, cracking eggs, stirring batter and learning how to cook a full breakfast. (Did I mention candied bacon is involved?) That’s what he’ll remember about today, not my panicked quest for closed-toed shoes.

So all you moms out there, give yourself a break. You have screwed up and you will keep screwing up. And thank God for it, because there is nothing worse in this world than a perfect mother.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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SLOW AND STEADY RUSH

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to Laura Monroe, the winner of the free ebook of Slow and Steady Rush!

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So, as I’ve mentioned before, a common thing us writers do is judge contests, which is a fabulous way for us to connect to other writers whose work we adore. Such was the case with Laura Trentham. I had only the first twenty pages of a historical novel she had written, and I knew there was no way I could end my relationship with her writing at that point.

Laura has since landed multiple book deals and has more novels coming out between now and next summer than I can keep up with — the first of which released this month!

She’s here today to tell us what we can expect out of Slow and Steady Rush and to offer a free digital book to one lucky commenter!

 

Slow and Steady RushShe lives by the book—and is still searching for her happily ever after.

Darcy Wilde has tried hard not to live up to her last name. As a librarian in Atlanta she lives a fine life far away from the football-obsessed town of her childhood. But when her beloved Grandmother needs help, Darcy takes a leave of absence and heads back to the home and past she left behind.

He knows how to play the field—and is in no rush to settle down.

Robbie Dalton knows a thing or two about painful pasts. After bouncing around in foster care and the Army for years he is finally ready to move on and make a home for himself in Falcon, Alabama as the newest high school football coach. Sparks fly when the sexy new coach and the sharp-tongued librarian meet, but neither of them is looking to make ties.

But when it comes to love, sometimes you’ve gotta throw away the rule book to cross the finish line…

Everything changes when Darcy falls in love, not only with the gruff, protective, and smoking hot man who’s sharing her days and nights, but also with the complex tapestry of people who weave Falcon together. Could this be where she belongs — and who she belongs with?

 

Laura, what should readers expect out of Slow and Steady Rush outside of romance?

Besides a smoking hot romance, readers can expect the town of Falcon, Alabama, to be a fully fleshed out world full of secondary characters that play a huge role in Darcy and Robbie’s relationship–from Darcy’s grandmother, her cousin, and her best friend to the football players Robbie coaches and the troubled youth he crosses paths with. The town and the characters will ring true for readers. Hopefully, you will want to return to Falcon for a visit. Book 2, Caught Up in the Touch releases in July and Book 3, Melting Into You releases in November.

 

To toss your name in the hat for the free digital copy of Slow and Steady Rush, leave a comment on this blog. Any comment will do. We’ll pick a winner at random on Tuesday, March 24th.

Slow and Steady Rush is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or iBooks.

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Visit Laura at www.LauraTrentham.com, Facebook, or Twitter

 

I Laurawas born and raised in a small town in Northwest Tennessee. Although, I loved English and reading in high school, I was convinced an English degree equated to starvation! So, I chose the next most logical major – Chemical Engineering – and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years. Now I live in South Carolina with my husband and two children. In between school and homework and soccer practices, I love to get lost in another world, whether it’s Regency England or small town Alabama.