Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bang Bang!

So 2017 is done and gone—for better or worse, depending on how your year went. Time to stop dwelling on any perceived failures or reveling in the successes.

2018 is a blank slate, a fresh start, and there's nothing but potential in front of me.

As is tradition, I've made a New Year's resolution. This year, I'm focusing on my spending. Flynn will have another oral surgery to remove more teeth, and I want to rebuild my savings that were used for medical costs. So I will try my best to stop spending money on things I don't need. No more splurges on lunch at the office or impulse buys when I stop at a store for necessities. I allowed myself to indulge too much in 2017, because I was dealing with a lot of stress, and I will rein that in this year.

That being said, I have some big plans for the whole year, and I'll be starting off January with a bang. This Sunday, I'm going to my first ever NWHL hockey game! The Connecticut Whale are playing the Buffalo Beauts at the Lemieux Sports Complex here in Pittsburgh. That's any item I can cross off my bucket list, because I've been wanting to attend a game since the NWHL's inception.

Then, at the end of the month I'm setting off for Dallas, Texas!

I'm finally gonna explore the setting for my series, and I'll get a firsthand experience of the city. (If any readers are from the area, I'd love some suggestions of places I just have to visit.) I've been wanting to take a research trip since the series took off, and this is the year it's happening.

While there, I'll be taking in a Dallas Stars game—with three fantastic hockey romance writers and friends: Aven Ellis, Samantha Wayland, and Stephanie Kay. Seriously, I cannot wait to hang with these ladies and have an awesome time!

The stress of the holidays is over, and life is thankfully returning to normal. In fact, today will be Flynn's first day back on just kibble instead of a wet food/kibble combo, since he seems to be favoring it. Flynn is a total carby kibble junkie—just like his cat mom, who can't get enough carby treats of her own. This also means poor Anna will be limited to just kibble as well, since she's used to scarfing up whatever canned food Flynn leaves behind.

Of course, I'm planning to write so much this month, too, despite all the hockey fun planned. And I have a ton of author stuff planned over the coming months, like chances to win free tickets to my upcoming signings and signed books. Members of my Reader Group will get first crack, so you'll want to make sure you join so you can get in on the action!

Follow me on any of my social media accounts to get regular updates about what I'm up to and all things about my Comets.

Happy reading!

Friday, December 15, 2017

End-of-the-Year Stress Fest (and a Cover Reveal!)

Uh, how is it the middle of December already? Seriously, I'm not sure how it happened! I took one week off from writing, to deal with a myriad of stressful things that had popped up (the end of the year is always the most stressful time for me, because of work and personal obligations), and now all of a sudden, Christmas is less than two weeks away and the end of 2017 is just around the corner!

The biggest thing that's happened is poor Flynn, yet again. He stopped eating, of course due to ongoing mouth issues. He has stomatitis/gingivitis. Stop me if I've explained this before, but basically his body is rejecting his teeth. He had his teeth cleaned in June, but he had a flare-up at the end of September and then at the very end of November.

What do you do when your body is rejecting your own teeth? You remove them from the equation.

So earlier this month, we began the process of extracting his teeth. My vet recommended removing them in stages. We started with his left side, since it appeared to be the most inflamed. He had them taken out last week, and his appetite appears to waver.

Which means not only was I worried about the procedure itself, but I'm still worried about him as he recuperates.

What can I say? I fully admit to being a crazy cat lady; my cats are my babies, and I am obsessed with them. In fact, I can't wait til Christmas because they are getting some great new toys.

Besides that, though, the end of the year is always a crazy time. The office I work in is so busy, since our clients are trying to get a lot of things done before the end of year. So that's 40 hours out of my week that's spent working pretty hard. For me, it's tough to get into a good mental space to write when all my brainpower is spent at work. Between work and Flynn, I took last week off from writing, as I mentioned, to give myself a bit of a break. But that doesn't mean I've stopped working.

In fact, I've got a COVER REVEAL for you! Below is the newly designed cover for Comets book #5, Dump and Chase:


Tell me what you think! Personally, I love the yellow.

As I continue with the story, I'll be sure to give updates on its status and when it'll release. Members of my Facebook reader group, the Jay Birds, have been getting snippets and tidbits before I've made them public, so it's a great place to be. Join in on the fun!

Meanwhile, it's time for me to get back to work. I'm attending a fun sci-fi event at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History tonight that I'm really looking forward to. I hope you all have great weekends, too!

Happy reading!
 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Life Is [Hopefully] Finally Settling Down

I like November. It means [American] Thanksgiving is coming—which is one of my absolute favorite holidays ever. And one of my favorite bands has a great lyric: I always believe in futures / I hope for better in November.

I've been waiting for November to roll around this year because it finally means a break in activity. September and October were especially busy for me, and it looks like all my medical business is winding down after I had my gallbladder removed in July.

So what does November have in store for me then? Nothing. And I can't tell you how excited that makes me. Instead of being bogged down with social events and obligations, I'm staying home!

In all honestly, I do have two major tasks on my agenda for November, which is to thoroughly clean my apartment and organize it, and to really sink my teeth into Dump and Chase. I have so many ideas, and I don't seem to have the time to get them all out.

That should all change, starting tonight! I did a lot of cleaning and organizing this past weekend, so that should free up my nights for writing in my office.

For those of you who aren't in my Facebook reading group, here's your first look at the blurb for Dump and Chase:

What happens when a dating pro meets a dating dud?
Ben Holmes has never had much success with the ladies, but that’s okay with him. As a forward for the Dallas Comets hockey team, he has a great life—and an awesome bachelor pad and sweet ride. Finding a girlfriend isn’t high on Ben’s list of priorities until his meddling, match-making teammates finally persuade him into signing up for an online dating site.
Lennox Jones has everything she could possibly want—except a fulfilling, serious relationship. She is the queen of worst first dates and horrible hookups. Her horror stories have been making her friends laugh and cringe for years, and now she’s telling all as the anonymous author of Chronically Single, a blog detailing all of her dating disasters and rocky relationships. But as the number of hits to her blog skyrockets, her romantic hopes plummet.
When Lennox gets a late-night message from a new match with no profile picture or description, she’s tempted to swipe left. However, his admitted inexperience with online dating makes her agree to meet him in real life. Ben is attracted to Lennox’s feisty spirit and relentless drive, and he can’t believe that an accomplished woman like her is still single.
One bad date won’t stop Ben from pursuing the beautiful blogger who, unbeknownst to him, uses their interactions to entertain her followers. He’s ready to ditch his dating profile and get off-line until he finds out that he’s become a popular figure in Lennox’s blog. Can Ben handle having his private love life publicly disclosed on Chronically Single? If so, maybe he has taken Lennox on her last first date!

 And I can't wait to share the cover, too. I hope to make huge progress this month so I can share this story with y'all ASAP.

I have a Chinese order placed to pick up after work, so I can get home, dig into some lo mein, and get right into my manuscript. Hopefully that'll mean that I will have some good news for you come December. ;)

Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Falling into Fall

October is one of my favorite months, and it's almost over! It's going by so fast. Too fast.

Last weekend, I was celebrating my friend's big day: her wedding!
My friend and I with the beautiful bride.
That was the first big event of the month. Next up is my Halloween party. I love Halloween, and I'm going all out for my costume this year. I'll post pics in my Facebook readers' group, the Jay Birds, for you to see.
But most excitingly is the author event I'm doing on the 28th. I'll be one of many authors at the Glass City Author Event (check it out on Facebook and get tickets here).


If you're from the Toledo area, I'd love to meet you!

And in between all that, I'm working on the next book in the Dallas Comets series. I've got a great title for this one: Dump and Chase. Is that not awesome? I'm working on the blurb, and I'll post it as soon as I've perfected it.

As always, stay tuned for updates and more info!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

FALSE START Releases September 28!

Eight months are in the bag for 2017. It's September, which means hockey starts this month! Players are starting to come back to their NHL towns. Training camp starts soon, which means preseason soon after, which means regular season after that!

Plus, fall is starting to emerge in my corner of Pennsylvania, with temperatures cooling and nights slowly getting longer. I love fall!

But I've got more reason to celebrate. I've finally pinned down a release date for False Start, Comets book #4. Right now, the only retailer up is Amazon, but I'll post the others via social media as soon as they go live.

I'm really excited to get Chris and Helene's story out to y'all. This is a different kind of story for me—more in the new adult genre. I hope you'll enjoy!

Each time I share a story, it's like sharing a part of me. And I've worked for a long time on this story, off and on, through bouts of illness. Even when I couldn't write, this story stayed with me. One of the main issues in it is vulnerability, and writers often feel very vulnerable. I guess that's one reason why this story is close to my heart.

Anywho, I have to get back to work. There's a lot that needs to be done yet to get this book out on the 28th!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rediscovering Normal.

I know "normal" is a relative word. What's normal to me isn't normal to someone else. And what used to be normal for me has gone flying out the window. So now I begin the search for my new normal.


On July 21, I had my gallbladder out. Within a week, I was feeling great! I was off the pain meds, could stand up and sit down as good as ever, and was starting to experiment with what foods to eat. I've been able to to eat pizza and fries again! No more nausea and vomiting! Even better, I've gotten back some of my lost energy; last week, I was able to go grocery shopping and then come home and put everything in its place! And yesterday, I did laundry and put it all away in the same evening. Yes, I'm definitely feeling more energized.

So I'd chalk the surgery up as a major success.



I will continue to experiment with my diet to see what works for me and what doesn't. I still have IBS, so I have to learn what foods to avoid, what foods to limit, and what I can go hog-wild on! Oh, JK. Those days are over! Moderation is essential from here on out.

I'm loving the extra energy most of all. I didn't realize that my poor digestion was affecting me as much as it was. What a reminder to keep your body in its best shape to maximize what you can get out of life!



I have a lot of chores to take care of around my apartment; so much went by the waysides while I was recuperating from surgery. My mountains of dirty laundry are eroding into hills. I can see the surface of my dining room table again! My fridge and freezer are stocked with fresh foods and homemade, prepped meals instead of Lean Cuisines and nutrition drinks.

And this also means I can spend more brain power on False Start. Although I can't make any release-date promises, I'm hoping it'll be as soon as next month. Updates will follow as soon as I have them.

As as I work toward finding/establishing my new normal, I'm trying to establish good writing habits again. Getting my butt in that seat and spending time with my fingers fluttering over the keyboard. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Nashville Antics

 In June, I met up with Lisa B. Kamps, Michelle Monkou (and her daughter), and Julia Canchola for a writer's retreat in Nashville, Tennessee. That week turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

Get ready for my virtual slideshow!


  • We ate delicious food and had some amazing drinks:
 (Bavarian Bierhaus, in Opry Mills Mall)

(Jack's BBQ, on Broadway)
(Sangria at Rock Bottom on Broadway)
(Happy Gilmore at Nelson's Green Brier Distillery)


We had a great time sightseeing, visiting a lot of the places that make Nashville, well, Nashville.

  • We went honky-tonking, my favorite place being Nashville Palace. The grilled cheese with ham was to die for, as were the apple pie moonshine margaritas that Lisa insisted we try! Josh, our server, was the more adorable introduction to the great Tennesseans we encountered.


  • On Friday, June 23rd, we went to the Grand Ole Opry to for the radio show.



  •  On Saturday, we hit some of the big attractions in the city. We saw Bridgestone Arena, where the Pens got to lift the Stanley Cup this year as back-to-back champs! We walked along Broadway, where all the honky tonks are. It was busy, even before noon—and it was packed before 5:00pm! We toured Nelson's Green Brier Distillery and tried some bourbon during at a tasting. We hung out at the Parthenon, a one-to-one replica of the one in Athens. And we toured Music Row, where recording artists lay down the tracks for their albums. We saw the famous RCA Studio B, where some of the biggest musicians have recorded their hits.










  •  And I got some great pictures of travel on the way back:
(Statue of Liberty)

(Manhattan)
(Downtown Pittsburgh)









  •  We went shopping at the Opry Mills Mall, and I bought the cutest boots that I've been wanting forever! They're classic-looking cowboy boots with some great accessories. I had almost given up my search when Lisa showed me these. Even better, they're comfortable! I love these boots!
 



 There's more, of course, but this trip to Nashville was more than a chance to relax and visit Music City (although I did feel completely refreshed after a week away from my everyday life). It was a writer's retreat, which meant this was a working vacation. 


 I made some major headway with False Start, and I got a lot of other stuff done too. All my books are now available via Google Play. I have a production schedule in place through 2018 and new covers in the works for next year's planned releases.
 I learned so much from my fellow writers. They were encouraging, supportive, and always ready to help with their insightful anecdotes and advice. Above all, I learned a lot about myself and my process as a writer. That week was invaluable to me, and I can't thank Lisa enough for inviting me and including me!

 Nashville was a great way to end the first half of 2017; there's still so much yet to come this year, and I feel ready for it all! July itself is shaping up to be a busy month, and I'm trying to ride the wave of productivity from Nashville while back home in PA.

 Here's hoping y'all are enjoying your summers! If you want to tell me about your vacations, feel free to do so in the comments. Otherwise, happy reading!