Visit with Lauren Blakely – NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author!

I’m super excited today to be hosting a new idol of mine. She’s a self-publishing phenomenon and a mom. I was so excited to meet her over at Goodrreads (if you’re writing books and you’re not using Goodreads, GO. NOW. Wait, no, read this first, and then go!)

Read on to learn more about Lauren, author of Caught Up in Us and the sequel – Pretending He’s Mine (releasing on Friday!)

caughtupinusHow has the success of Caught Up in Us changed your life? 
My pets now have more respect for me 🙂 But seriously, I’m simply delighted that readers seem to be enjoying Kat and Bryan’s story, and I’m grateful that enough readers enjoyed it that I’ve been able to write a second novel in the series! And, I was able to turn down some work on the ghostwriting/day job side of my life so I can devote more time to novel writing, so that’s a good thing in my view!

What inspired you to write New Adult romance? 
NA is a genre that readers are truly embracing and driving right now, and with good reason. Romance is something that, frankly, most of us like! And I think new adult romance is tapping into the time when we are all trying to figure out what we want in life and love. NA, more than any other genre, is leading the charge with these new explorations of love in the modern age, and readers are clearly saying they want more. I’m a natural fan of romance, so I wanted to write something that would resonate with this passionate group of readers.

What do readers have to look forward to in Pretending He’s Mine?
Ooh! My favorite subject! I’m really excited about this book because it features scenes with Kat, Bryan and Jill from Caught Up In Us, but also introduces a new couple to readers in Reeve & Sutton. Their relationship and their challenges are different from those of Kat & Bryan – I like to say that while Caught Up In Us was about falling in love, Pretending He’s Mine is about “falling in like.” One of my early readers described Pretending He’s Mine as “sexy with some sweet thrown in!” It’s a bit edgier, but a lot of fun, in my view.

How do you keep it all together, managing kids and writing? (I have ulterior motives here… I struggle handling my own life, let along dealing with running a home, managing two small boys and a “real’ job!)
I installed an intravenous line that pumps caffeine into me 24 hours a day! But seriously. I am naturally a fast writer, so that helps. I also love books and the whole writing community from bloggers to other authors, so the “marketing” side of this is just so fun to me. And then, when it’s time to pick up the kids and take them to their activities, you just have to shut it down for a few hours and play the mom!

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a few projects, some of which I can’t talk about yet, but hope to share details soon! I do plan on writing Jill’s story in the Caught Up In Us series and want to release it in the summer.

Thanks so much for your time, Lauren! I wish you the best with your next release, and can’t wait to read it!

Find out more about Lauren Blakely and her books at her blog!

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Inspiration for Through a Dusty Window

Last week I was honored to be featured on a great blog tended by genealogist and historical fiction fan, Julie Goucher — Angler’s Rest. Head over to check out her book reviews and much more (the blog is kind of like wandering into a quaint antiques shop in a small town on a fishing coast…)

The interview we did provides some background on the stories featured in Through a Dusty Window.

And if you haven’t read TADW yet, and would like to do so for free, please drop a comment below and I’ll email you a smashwords coupon for a free copy (until March 1st)!

Time Management (Or Writing with Children)

Since I’ve taken tiny steps up the ladder toward publication (and ultimately, world domination! Mwahahahah! Okay, not really.), people who know about the books deals I’m working on have asked one question often. “How do you find time to write?”

It’s a valid question. I am married, and we have a house. So that means I spend a decent amount of time spraying and wiping things, running the vacuum, doing laundry, cooking and grocery shopping. We also have two small monkeys that live with us. I’m told they are actually children, and those who seem to know assure me that they are mine. They’re cute, so I have decided to accept this situation in the hopes that it will improve in do-ability as their chronological ages increase. In the meantime, this means that a lot of my time is spent doing all of the above-listed things much more often than I feel I should have to. Add in wiping other peoples’ butts, picking up other peoples’ socks, wracking my brain for new methods of reverse psychology that can be employed in getting the younger monkey to: put on shoes; put on a jacket; walk to the car without having a nervous breakdown; eat something… you get the idea. A lot of the time left after I’ve done all of that is spent driving the monkeys around to activities and school.

I also work 50% for a management consulting firm. This is mostly an arrangement that I’ve devised in order to justify my shoe habit. If I didn’t have to get dressed up to go to an office, my lovely pumps and platforms and wedges would never get out. And they might conspire to murder me in my sleep. The closet is right next to my bed. And I can’t risk that. Oh, and they pay me, so that is good. I do some freelance editing and corporate comms writing as well, so that fills in gaps that would otherwise be unfilled and might be construed as “free time.”

I also try to get to the gym five days a week and take a ballet class on Fridays.

I get up at five most mornings and usually succeed at packing anywhere between 1500 and 2500 words into the hour before the monkeys arise. Sometimes I find an hour at night, but I’m not good at writing at night. Especially if we’re involved in a riveting season of something on TV. (Game of Thrones, anyone? Downton? Vampire Diaries?)

The point of this rundown is not to get you to say, “wow, look at that stuff you do.” We all have lives packed full of stuff to do. The point of me showing all this stuff is to answer that question that I get asked often as more people learn that I am striving to be a writer – when do I find time? And I guess the answer – not terribly original – is that I don’t. I make it. I get up early, I neglect my children sometimes, I neglect my husband a lot of the time. But this is the one thing I want more than anything else. And when I look back at all the free time I squandered in the days when I had it… All I can think about now is how much I could have accomplished! But that wasn’t my time. THIS is my time, and so I will make the time I need to follow my heart and my dreams.

And the big point on droning on and on about it is this: If I can make time to pursue my dreams, then SO. CAN. YOU.

What goal have you set for yourself? How are you going about reaching it? How badly do you want it?

This week I’m going to feature an interview with another writer who has been navigating the tricky waters of time-finding, juggling family responsibilities and a writing life. I hope you’ll be excited to read about uber-successful indie author Lauren Blakely, whose book Caught Up in Us is a NYT and USA Today best-seller. She’s a mother and wife as well, about to release a second book, Pretending He’s Mine. Stay tuned!

 

Gearing Up for Girlfriends of Gotham!

I know I’ve been a one station radio these days, going on and on about Through a Dusty Window… And I’m still so excited about that collection of stories and the idea behind it. In fact, there’s a blog tour coming up where I’ll be talking about it a LOT more, and there is still an opportunity to get a free ecopy to read – just comment here that you’d like one and I’ll send you the code (until March 1st!)

BUT, as things gets closer to final over at Swoon, I’m getting ready to start talking about my New Adult series, Girlfriends of Gotham, which will see its first release this June. The series is a collection of eNovellas about a group of friends exploring work, sex and friendship in New York City in the late nineties. I’m so excited about this series — it might have something to do with the fact that I lived in New York City in my early twenties, worked in the Internet industry, and met an amazing group of women who taught me so much about life, love, and about myself. So it’s possible that Girlfriends of Gotham might be somewhat autobiographical. Maybe. A teensy bit. But even though my own life was fairly exciting during those years, the girlfriends in the GoG series go through things together that my girls and I never really did. The ladies I knew and loved then (who are still my best friends!) are the inspiration for the characters in the series, but the stories aren’t really ABOUT them. That’s the beauty of fiction, and that’s why this series has been so fun to write — I get to base the plot lines and characters on things that are so close to my heart, but I get to make them far more exciting than they really were — or far more horrible!

I can’t wait for everyone to meet the Girlfriends of Gotham… soon they’ll even have their own website! The first installment is titled Men and Martinis

I know I’m gushing. But I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been working. A lot. And if you have read much of the New Adult genre, this may be right up your alley.

Pretty soon, Swoon will be revealing the cover. And I can’t tell you how much I’m in love with it. (I’ll admit to being worried when I knew it was in the works… but my concerns were totally for nothing!) Check back here as we get closer to June…

In the meantime, I’ll try to find other less self-absorbed things to share. 🙂

Do you like me?

Hee hee… it’s very unlike me to ask something like that. 🙂

So, I’m about to embark on a blog tour for Through a Dusty Window and am trying to build some momentum publicity-wise. With that in mind, I’m asking a couple favors of my followers.

The first one is easy. Could you head over to my Facebook page (if you use FB) and hit “like”? Not a big deal, but it would be a help to me! Click here to head over.

If you’ve read Through a Dusty Window, could you take a moment to go to Goodreads and Amazon and give it a star rating? It’d be even better if you could write a quick review! I know it’s a lot to ask, and I really do appreciate it.

Lastly, if you haven’t read the book, but think you’d like to, I’d be happy to send you an e-version free for a limited time! If you comment on this post (leaving your email address when asked — it won’t be visible to anyone but me) before March 1st, letting me know that you’d like a copy, I’ll gift you a free copy on Smashwords. My only request is that you be willing to go leave a review when you’ve read it.

Thanks so much for all the support!

Do You Feel Inspired?

Well, I don’t know if you feel inspired. I’ll admit that in the midst of a broken garage door, kids who teeter constantly on the glimmering brink of rationality but never quite make it there, and a house that seems to self-generate dirt, laundry and single socks, it is sometimes difficult for me. That said, it has been an inspiring year, and much of that is thanks to the incredible wealth of guidance and information that I’ve found online as I struggle to figure out how the publishing world works and where my work and I might fit into it.

That said, it seems that jcmarcx over at “A Blog About Nothing” has found something inspirational in my blabber… he nominated me for the Liebster Award! liebster1In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve elected to drop in the most Valentiney Liebster badge I could find. So, the internet doesn’t offer much in terms of the origins of this “award.” But from what I gather, it is an honor bestowed upon relatively new bloggers with followers of fewer than 200. The rules are as follows:

1. You must thank the person who gave you this award (Thanks jcmarcx!)
2. You must display the Liebster heart on your blog (Done)
3. You should nominate 3 to 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 subscribers (Kinda hard to know how many followers people have…)
4. Each person must post 11 random things about themselves (see below)
5. Answer the questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you (Also below)
6. Create 11 questions for those you nominate to answer (Below!)
7. Notify your nominees and provide a link back to your post.
8.  You’re not supposed to do “ping-backs”

Okay, so. First things first. 3-5 up and coming blogs. Some of the other posters who have written about this award say 11, but I’m lazy and strapped for time, so I’m gonna stick with this ruleset. 🙂 I nominate the following folks:

Jacqueline Trotter at jacquelinetrotter.wordpress.com

Francis Guenette at Disappearing in Plain Sight

Michelle Proulx at michelleproulx.wordpress.com

Molly at Wrapped up in Books

My 11 Random Things:

  1. I cannot stand when a popsicle stick or corndog stick touches my teeth.
  2. I have a brother who is a rocket scientist.
  3. I’ve never seen The Godfather.
  4. I eat McDonald’s french fries once a week.
  5. I love video games but have had to swear them off to write.
  6. My favorite color is pink.
  7. Raisinets are my go-to movie food.
  8. I once had a pet rabbit and two pet rats. And a bunch of mice that had babies and then ate them. Rodents are gross.
  9. I love gardening.
  10. I sometimes oil paint.
  11. I’m a little obsessive about cleaning. (and maybe some other stuff, too.)

Okay, the questions posed to me:

1. What are you currently reading?

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare, a book of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Winemaker by Noah Gordon, A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso, and Fall of Giants by Ken Follett – yes, I always read lots of books at one time. No, I don’t find it confusing.

2. What is your all-time favorite book?

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – at least that is my answer today!

3. What is your favorite genre of book to read?

Probably historical fiction… or paranormal set in a historical setting. I will admit to devouring every single one of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, too. 🙂

4. Do you have any designs to be a novelist?

Um. Yeah.

5. Do you watch television?  What is your favorite show?

Oh, yes, way too much, though since we unsubscribed from cable, I’ve been better. Weird how my writing career sort of began when we got rid of TV… but there’s always the internet… I watch Grey’s Anatomy, Downton Abbey, Parenthood, Game of Thrones, Entourage, Gossip Girl and the Vampire Diaries.

6. Do you write in silence, or do you need background noise?

I need silence mostly, though I am getting better at working when there’s low level chaos around me.

7. Do you speak a second language?

I speak Lunchbox semi-fluently. (Lunchbox is what we call our youngest. He speaks what sounds like a mix of Arabic and crazytown, but I can make out most of it. He’s three. I’m hoping he’ll learn English soon.)

8. Have you ever met anyone famous? 

Joe Peschi. I’ve seen Tim Robbins rollerblading in Chelsea… and saw Ralph Fiennes at PJ Clarkes (I think that was where we were)… Oh, and Ethan Hawke. Also in NYC.

9. Do you prefer an urban home, a suburban home, or a rural home?

Suburban. The best of both worlds.

10. What type of music do you prefer?  Who is your favorite artist?

Right now it’s Mumford and Sons, but I’m loving Florence and the Machine and Ed Sheeran.

11. Aside from writing, do you have any other talents that you would like to share with the world?

I’m a decent ballet dancer and can crochet tiny sweaters, hats and boots like nobody’s business.

The 11 questions for those who take the challenge after me…

  1. Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
  2. Who is the most important person in your life?
  3. What most influenced the person you have become?
  4. Where were you on 9/11?
  5. Are you good at math?
  6. Describe the shoes you are wearing at this moment.
  7. Are you writing anything interesting?
  8. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
  9. What is your favorite word?
  10. What is the scariest thing you’ve done?
  11. What about your best friend makes you love them?

There you have it!

Thanks again for the nomination and for the fun challenge. If you haven’t, please do go check out A Blog About Nothing. (It’s actually about lots of stuff).