And Then Life Happened…. Lynn Lorenz

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know I’m in the middle of one of the top life events that cause major stress.
It’s not death of a loved one, or marriage or divorce, but moving.

I’m moving. I can say that with a little less trepidation than, say, three weeks ago. I’m getting to the part where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not on-coming traffic.

It’s an almost empty house. Except it’s not at all empty. Yet.
It’s the yet part that’s stressing me. I want this over and done. My hubs declared “I’m done!” about a week ago, when the wall oven we ordered, and paid a small fortune for, didn’t fit. That’s right. It didn’t fit. Yes, they are standard sizes. Now. Back when our house was built in 1999, the cabinet depth was…shorter. Ovens were shorter. Today’s ovens are…longer.

I did not know that. And it seemed, no one at the store knew it either.
So for almost two weeks, the oven, out of it’s box, sat on our kitchen floor in all it’s stainless steel glory. In front of the cook top, so we couldn’t access that either.

That’s when hubs threw up his hands and made his declaration of independence.

I can’t blame him. He wanted to just burn the place to the ground rather than move. I believe he’d just rather not have spent the money it took to get us this far. Spend money to make money. So we hired a handyman to get the oven to fit. He did a great job and in only a few short hours, the oven was installed.

Hubs made another declaration. “We shall not now, or in the future, use this oven and destroy it’s pristine existence.” So, yeah, no oven. But we can get to the cooktop now, so there’s that.

Now we’re on hold, waiting for the auction house to come and pick up our entire house of stuff. Everything, except what we’ve already packed and moved into a 5′ x 10′ storage unit. (Thanks, kids! I knew I had you both for a reason.) But we’ve been here for 16 yrs and we have accumulated a lot of stuff. A. Lot. Of. Stuff.

And it’s all going. As I told my kids, it’s only stuff. We will buy more stuff. New stuff. But much much much less stuff. We will embrace minimalism. We will learn to live with less. And in return, we will be more mobile, more sleek and shiny and able to travel at the speed of “Hey, let’s go there!” So, we’re giving up what used to be our dream – owning a home, having lots of stuff to prove our “worth”, and that glory of glory, subdivision life, for a new set of dreams.

We’re reinventing ourselves. We’re going to be homeless from April to August. Live out of suitcases and in hotels. We’re going to get in our car and drive to places we’ve never been before (cooler, less hot, places, hubs declares) and see some of our country while we can still drive, and our kids will still sit in a car with us for an extended period of time.

It’s a big change for them. They’re young and only really remember this house as their home, even though we lived in two other houses and an apartment before landing here. This has been home for them, true. But they have seen change! They have seen their mom (me!) start an entirely new and different career as an author while keeping the old corporate career and finally retirement and full time writing. They’ve seen their dad go from manager of a business to stay-at-home dad, to owner of his own business and then to retirement. No strangers to change, these kids.

And we always spoke of change to them. That things change. Stuff changes. Houses. Cars. Schools. Jobs. Even friends. But never our family. Our family is the one constant in their lives. Our family is HOME. Where we live makes no difference. House. Apartment. Hotel. Those are just places. Our family being together, loving each other, supporting each other – that’s where home is.

Sure, it’s a little scary. But in each of our own ways, we’re looking forward to this new change. To the travel. To the new apartment that will be our home for the next 4-5yrs. To being in the same town again so we can hang out, if they want to, or just have lunch or dinner together to reconnect. The kids have tasted independence and they love it. I love it. Hubs loves it. But we also love being together every now and then.
Being home.

Forget the crap of life that we gathered along the way. Letting it all go has been freeing to all of us and has made us all realize, that despite all the crap that goes along with unloading our stuff, our possessions, and willowing through it all to pick and chose what is most valuable to each of us, we’ve got a better, more focused, understanding of how little physical things we need, and how important our family is to us.

I hope that everyone out there who reads this has a place they call home. Has people who are home.

Who is your home?

Let the blog hop begin

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The Road Leads Back is available for Pre-Order Click on image

I am so excited, guys!

Monday I am kicking off my The Road Leads Back Blog Tour. This book is very close to my heart (wait, I say that every about every book, don’t I? Well, it’s always true!). I am beyond thrilled that it is almost time to spring it upon the world.

I’ll be making several stops at some of my favorite blogs to share stories, blurbs, excerpts, and contest information. Want to win a signed copy and some awesome swag??

Then I hope you’ll join me along the way. Here’s my schedule:

Monday, March 30:  Rants and Raves by KaLyn Cooper

Tuesday, March 31: Christy Gissendaner

Wednesday, April 1: Sara Daniel

Thursday, April 2: Emilia Mancini (What? I’m totally allowed to host myself!)

Friday, April 3:  Sam Cheever’s Eclectic Insights

Monday, April 6: Lizzie’s Way (Lizzie T. Leaf)

Tuesday, April 7: Jianne Carlo

Wednesday, April 8: Parker Kincade

Thursday, April 9: The Gemini Girls and Sotia Lazu

Friday, April 10: Romantic Imperative with Monette Michaels

“I’ll take Potpourri for $100, Alex”

If you love Jeopardy as much as I do, you know the category – the answers could be anything. So, I felt it was appropriate to use as the title of this blog, because I am addressing a little bit of everything. 🙂

MM_SSI4_StormWarning_300x400First, I’d like to announce the names I chose for the secondary characters in Storm Warning, SSI Book 4, and my current WIP.  If y’all recall, I asked for help a while back and I finally got around to choosing the final names after mulling them over and letting my Muse pick the ones that struck her fancy.

There could be spoilers for anyone who has not read Weather the Storm, so you might want to skip these.  🙂

1. Dept. of Defense Capt. Syd MacLean escapes in the early part of Weather the Storm. He escapes to Rio where he undergoes plastic surgery and then takes on the identity of a reclusive Brazilian import-export businessman that he had set up many years ago.  Of course, his business is a front for illegal trafficking of all kinds. His alternative identity is feared in Central and South America, mainly because of the men who enforce his dictates.

Name:  Sergio Manuel Lazaro aka “Oraio” (storm or lightning) — suggested by Valy Samouillan.

2.  The man who is the front man for Oraio’s Brazilian business is a red-haired Irish-looking male.  He is the man who puts together the hack-a-thon that Tweeter and DJ infiltrate in Belize to gather intelligence for NSA about the reclusive Brazilian businessman who is no longer so reclusive and who is making power moves in the Southern hemisphere. He is glib and personable, but underneath he is a shark.

Name:  Declan O’Riley — suggested by Heather Hand.

3.  The negotiator for Oraio’s business.  This is the guy who is GQ handsome in a South American sort of Latin lover way.  He negotiates from a position of strength and power and usually meets little opposition, but when he does he sends in the business’s enforcer.

Name:  Alejandro Salazar – suggested by Erin Bentley.

4.  The enforcer for Oraio’s business.  He is also Latin American, but he looks like he would eat babies for breakfast.  He is scarred from torture in a Colombian prison. He is ruthless.

Name:  Alberto Rossi aka “the Albatross” – suggested by Heather Hand.

5.  And I needed a name for Tweeter’s alter ego on the Dark Net which he uses to get invited to the hack-a-thon.  I needed both his Dark Net handle and false identity name that he and Keely created with the DIA’s help so he could troll the shadow net for terrorists, drug runners, gun traffickers and the like.  His reputation on the Dark Net makes him the man to beat out for the job being offered at the end of the hack-a-thon.

Dark Net handle:  Phantom/Alternate identity name: Erik Slade– suggested by Valy Samouillan.

THANK YOU  for all the fabulous suggestions.  The winning names will be acknowledged in the front of Storm Warning.

And don’t be surprised if some of the other names y’all suggested appear in a future SSI book.  I am keeping all of them with the person’s name who suggested them and will acknowledge if and when I use them.

11650_mlt_fiber_optic_hair_clip_modelv2_600Second, my Swag bag dilemma. I want to thank everyone who made suggestions, but I decided to stick with the gallon-size Zip-lock bag. I pulled the barrette out of its plastic sleeve and folded the cardboard backer so I could put the barrette into the bag and then added the other goodies.  That worked the best since it would also make it easier for the stuffers to stuff the goody bags and it kept all my swag together.  I am happy to say all the swag is bagged and now boxed and just waiting for April 6th to arrive so my shipment doesn’t get to Texas too early.

If you’re coming to RT in Dallas, you’ll definitely want to attend the Intergalactic Bar and Grille on Friday evening (May 15) for multitudinous swag, munchies and wine, and lots of games in which you can win great loot.  I’ll be there as one of Linnea Sinclair’s crew.

charm bracelet less beadsThird, after all the fun at RT in Dallas, I will be coming home and then almost immediately leaving for Lori Foster’s Reader-Author Get Together in Cincinnati in early June.  I along with six other authors will be manning the Liquid Silver boardroom.  This is LSB’s parent company’s 15th anniversary year, so we are going to have lots of games and prizes.

If you are quick enough off the mark on the first full day (Friday, June 5th), you’ll hit the LSB boardroom early to get a chance to be Charmed by An LSB Author. The number of participants will be limited. The early birds will get a bangle bracelet loaded with a silver drop and some beads. Then the fun begins.

This is an “author hunt” game — you will hunt down the seven LSB authors to collect charms for the bracelet. Once the bracelet is completed, i.e., you collect all seven author charms, you will get a chance to win another prize (TBA). Easy and fun!!

Now, I might be prejudiced, but the bracelet itself is worth playing for.  Dontcha think? Again, numbers will be limited.  So, if you are attending RAGT, plan on being outside the LSB boardroom when it opens that Friday morning.

The participating authors besides myself?  KaLyn Cooper (my LL&L buddy!!), Eve Langlais, Wendi Zwaduk/Megan Slayer, Kelli Evans, Maddy Barone, and Lynn Rae/ J.J. Lore. These ladies are fabulous and fun people.

And, last but not least, just wanted to let my fans know that because of my husband’s quintuple bypass surgery in early February, I am way off schedule in writing Storm Warning. As Rosanna and Lynn both so eloquently blogged here at LL&L, sometimes life just gets in the way.

So, I am promising you–I do plan to finish Tweeter and DJ’s story, but I can’t promise when it will be published.  I have to get back into the rhythm of writing. I have not written a single new word since the day my husband was told he needed surgery and that was February 4th.  I have done some hard copy edits and am now transferring those to the computer manuscript as a means of getting back into the story.  And I have, as detailed above, with the help of my fans and friends, named the characters who’d only previously been labeled “bad guy 1”, “bad guy 2”, and so on.  🙂

Good news is — I am dreaming the story again, which means my Muse is ready to get back to to work. I am cautiously optimistic that I can finish the story soon.  Then the revising and rewriting begins.  But every step forward is that much closer to typing “the End.”

Thanks to all of you for your support and good wishes while my husband and I dealt with this very life-altering event — and trust me, it is life-altering.  While he is recovering nicely, he will always have the wires in his sternum (hubby being a pathologist can detail all the potential issues with such) and have to deal with changes in his lifestyle.

I’m just blessed that my soul mate and love of my life for 45 years is still here to, as he always says with a naughty grin, “to make your life wonderful.”  xoxoxo– Monette

Spring Means More Audio Books

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Spring has arrived in Eastern Tennessee

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My spring garden

My daffodils are out. Yea!

My early spring garden is planted. Oh, yeah, look who’s on top of the season.

The grass is growing.

The last statement brings a variety of sentiments depending on your relationship with constantly cutting the green growth. I look forward to mowing because it’s mindless me time when I can get lost in a book.

I am addicted to audio books so I plug in the ear buds to my iPod, hop on the riding lawn mower let someone read to me for the next four hours. I mow about four acres.

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I had a cassette player like this on my car seat

I’ve listened to books for over twenty-five years. Back in the eighties, as the mother of small children and owner of a large advertising agency, I didn’t have time to read. I put a portable cassette player on my car seat – yes, I’m that old that cars didn’t have them – and listened to self-help books between clients and day care. Over time, I stepped up to CDs which were a Godsend while driving the four hours each way every weekend to join my family in Tennessee while I lived in Kentucky awaiting the sale of our house there. It took sixteen months to sell…too many books to count.

Audio books started me on the journey to become a romance author. During the year we built our new house, while hanging insulation, laying tile and painting, I spent endless hours listening to more than 500 audio books. I got hooked on romance, specifically romantic suspense. Then I wrote a book, which I hope will get sold and published this summer.

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I listen to 5-8 audio books every month, more in the summer

Last night I scanned Audible for new books since I have to mow today, and discovered several new listings, which came as no surprise. Audio books are the fastest growing segment of book publishing. Amazon expects by the end of 2016, it will comprise 20 percent of book sales. ACX, a division of Amazon, produces over 1,000 titles every month.

As a reader, that means more choices. As an author, it’s a category of publishing I must seriously consider.

How about you?

Readers – Do you listen to audio books? How often? What are you listening to now?

Authors – Have you turned any of your books into audio? If so, post a link.

An uncluttered space. An uncluttered mind.

I suppose it’s fitting that this post should follow Jianne’s post about work spaces yesterday. I looked around my writing space today (our spare bedroom), lamenting that it had grown cluttered again, and I realized it needed a good spring cleaning.

Oh, it’s not dirty, but like so many spare bedrooms, it tends to accumulate the junk we haven’t yet put away. So there are piles of old kids’ clothes on the bed, waiting for the next charity pick-up truck. There are stacks of bills and papers that need to be filed. And don’t even get me started on my writing items. I have notebooks and papers on just about every surface.

It’s no wonder my recent manuscript has felt a bit stalled lately. I can’t think while surrounded by chaos.

I’ve always been of the opinion that an uncluttered space leads to an uncluttered mind. At heart, I do enjoy a good purge. I love throwing old things away. I’m like my mom that way. She hates trinkets and knick knacks and seeing things laying about, and so do I.

And I will admit, when I have allowed my environment to get messy, my life seems to follow suit. My writing definitely reacts similarly. If I’m surrounded by junk, so is my story. In order to see clearly, sometimes we need to remove the refuse from our path. Call it the feng shui of writing. Call it whatever you want. But in my case, a regular purge does appear to help. When my home is tidy, I feel better and I sleep better and I write with ease. When my home is messy, I feel a burden. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to create when I can’t stop thinking of all the chores I haven’t done.

For anyone who is currently stalled in her writing process, I would urge you to look around. Does your writing space need a little spring cleaning? If so, take a few moments and dust off that dust rag. You might be surprised at how it affects your writing for the better.

Would We Work Better … With No Offices at All?

1024px-CubeSpaceMost of the LLL ladies (with the exception of Monette and our recent retiree, Lynn) work the Evil Day Job (EDJ).

I do, except that I really do love my day job. Lucky for me, I’m a virtual worker. Though I have to see clients on a regular basis, I can determine when and where. I haven’t had to battle ‘rush hour’ in years.

Why an I introducing this topic?

Because I read a recent OZY article entitled — Would we work better with no offices at all? The argument intrigued me. Here’s the bulk of it:

Office space is expensive — In San Francisco, companies dole out as much as $100 per square foot.

Commuting — The census shows average American commute time is around 25 minutes, but add to that the hustle of getting yourself or kids out of bed, fitting in a half-hour at the gym, attempting to cram a healthy breakfast down your piehole … oh, and don’t forget commuting’s adverse impact on marriage, health and women’s participation in the workforce.

Transparency — With  today’s technology we have full transparency now. You can see the trail of technology — when you called, who you emailed, which conference call you jumped in and out of. We know exactly what you’re doing. Who cares where you’re doing it from? Who cares, indeed, since apparently the panopticon is now officially inescapable.

Of course, the advantages of the physical office, everyone agrees, are essentially twofold, and obvious enough: Casual chitchat begets both good ideas and a brain break for the weary. Plus, sometimes you really need to get away from your kids, or spouse, or roommates. Which is why in some cases, you need to beam down to real life — and  arrange a physical meeting space for creative work.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Not much for me, because I am a virtual worker. But most of my author friends do the commute to an office and work at least part-time. Imagine the exponential increase in productivity if they could work from home? Not to mention the reduction in stress.

What do you think? Is it time, in most cases, to abolish the office as your permanent workspace? Could you do your job from home?

Cheers,

Jianne

Parts of this blog are taken from an OZY article—Read more: OZY – Smarter, Fresher, Different

When Life Happens by Lynn Lorenz

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know I’m in the middle of selling a house, finding a place to stay temporarily, dealing with packing, college kids, and last and certainly least right now, writing.

For the last month or so, as the time to actually move approaches, my writing has fallen more and more to the background. It has to right now. And as much as I would love to just close the world of “this move is happening” away, I can’t. So either it drives me nuts (and I’m well on the way down that road, thanks to hubs, who hates everything about moving and selling a house) or I can just tell myself, chill. You’ll write again once you are in the hotel. For months. *sigh*

So, for me, I’m chilling on the writing until there is less drama/stress/crap in my life. Hopefully, once it all calms down, it won’t take me long to fire up all the writing engines and get going again. So, my advice is “Don’t feel guilty because you can’t write. Sometimes, there are more important things to do.”

I do have two new books out. Here’s the covers and buy links. They are short stories and center around a Houston gay BDSM club and the doms and their subs. Quick, hot and happy!


Copyright Law 101

In case you’ve missed the posts on Facebook, a new book has been released. Okay, okay, we see a lot of those. But this isn’t just any book mind you– this one has a cute little picture of Justin Bieber right on front. And lots of quotes from his song, “Boyfriend.”

So what’s the big deal, Em?

Well, this writer has not only used a photo of the Beebster (which I seriously doubt she took), she used lyrics to his songs (which I seriously doubt she wrote) within the book itself.

Again, what’s the big deal, Em?

The big deal is this entire thing is a lawsuit waiting to happen. One which I kind of hope does. Not because I’m vindictive, but because people need to start paying attention to copyright law and respecting other people’s hard work.

You cannot…absolutely CANNOT…”borrow” song lyrics, artwork, lengths of text, poetry, or any other original expression that does not fall within fair use.  (Didn’t Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke just get their balls handed to them for this?)

The person(s) who own the license to the photo on this book cover are the only people who may use it unless they give permission. The license holder(s) on “Boyfriend” are the only ones who have the right to reproduce those lyrics for monetary gain.

If someone is going to write a book, there are certain things they must understand–grammar, character development…and the law.

As an editor, I come across this quite a bit, so this actually happens more than one might think. However, I have never come across someone who so blatantly relies on another artist to carry their work. Not only did this author put a photo of Justin Bieber on the cover, she included his song lyrics to write a book.

So, here it is… A break down of Title 17 Section 107:

1. Don’t steal other people’s work. 2. Unless you are quoting for educational or as a critique, don’t quote other people’s work. 3. Until someone has been dead for 95 years, their work is still copyrighted…and it still could be copyrighted if someone else owned the license, so you better do a copyright search before quoting someone’s work.

Bottom line. You are an author. You create. So create. If you need to refer to a song or a poem, do so without actually quoting the words. You can do that. You can reference, you just can’t quote unless you are using the quote as a critique or for educational purposes.

Will the wrath of the law come crashing down on you if you do? Not likely. Not unless you make the bestseller list, anyway.

Will the wrath of the law have the right to come crashing down on you? Absolutely, even if only one other person buys your book.

Does copyright infringement make you a jerk? Yup. Yup, it does. So read it. Learn it. Understand it. Don’t violate it.

Public service announcement over.

Have a great weekend, e’rybody!

Em

The Confounding Dilemmas of Swag Bags

11650_mlt_fiber_optic_hair_clip_modelv2_600I’m heading for Romantic Times BookClub convention in Dallas in May.  And convention time means promo time which in turn, in this instance, means swag bag time.

This year I will be a Table Captain at the Intergalactic Bar and Grille — for my lovely friends, Linnea Sinclair and Stacey Kade.

Now, if y’all know Linnea and have been to her Bar and Grille party (scifi romance, kids, in case you didn’t catch the “intergalactic” part), you know Linnea loves her blinkie, glowie, and sparkly things.  I mean she really really likes them and her party has become famous, or infamous, for such.

So, I began my search for blinkie/glowie/sparkly things and after much angsting decided on what is pictured above.  A tad bit pricey per piece, but it was what I wanted to put in my swag bags. Plus, I wanted one (or two).  🙂

I  ordered (click on the pic and you can see where I ordered from – this place is freaking amazing and is all about the blinkie and glowie and sparkly).  My order came promptly.  the box contained the correct items and in the correct number — BUT … and isn’t there always a freaking BUT?

BUT — they were packaged lengthwise on cardboard backing and in plastic.  I mean, long, really long, lengthwise. I’m not sure why I thought they would be curled up in a nice manageable size bag, but I did and I was wrong, wrong, wrong!!

As my friend Robyn Peterman would say “Jesus Christ in a boob tube,” how was I going to put this swag into a bag along with my other swag so as not to break, damage, or destroy the blinkie, glowy, sparkly thinginess of them?

Dear Readers — This is the dilemma of an author and her swag bag.

However, I came up with several options:

1.  Send them back and order something nice and small.  NOOOOO!!  I wanted the hair thingies.  They’re pretty and sparkly and float about the hair like something alien.

2.  Leave them in their original packaging and attach a sticker each one with my author name identifying me as author of the Prime Chronicles series and ship in the box that they came in from the manufacturer and label such box as “1 of 2” and send another box properly labeled as “2 of 2” with my other swag in the smaller baggies. The problem with this is one of the boxes could get lost “in transit” and only half my swag shows up and I look like a chintzy piker.

OR,

3.  Remove the outer plastic, fold the long cardboard in half (thus leaving the barrette attached to its backing which has the crucial instructions on operation and battery replacement) and place in a large baggie into which I can put the other swag.  The fiber optic fronds curl nicely and so far with the one I am testing in a bag, said fronds spring back and still work.  🙂  Of course, there  is nothing else in the baggie and the baggie is not sitting at the bottom of a box of lots of other similarly packed baggies.  So, will the weight break the fiber fronds?

See my dilemma?  What to do ?  Help please! I will entertain other suggestions.

Please note, these boxes have to be shipped by April 24th to a general delivery service in Dallas which will then take the boxes to the convention hotel. Only proper labeling and a shit load of luck will get said boxes to the team of elves that work with Jo Carol to stuff the big-ass goody bags for the Bar and Grille.

Just think of all the loot.  I mean, I am not the only Captain, kids.  Lots of lovely swag for anyone attending this party on Friday evening of the con. Plus lots of games for fabulous prizes and I heard wine and munchies mentioned also.

And I’d like to thank my good friend Pauline Jones, who laughed at and with me over this dilemma (when I e-mailed and whined to her) and said I should blog about it.  She said readers needed to know what we authors face when approaching swag and promo for conventions.  Such angst! But Readers are worth it!!

Cover Reveal

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Conquered in Cancun Coming April 2015

Sharing my new cover with you today.

Conquered in Cancun, novella 1.5 in the In Cancun series, will be released in April.

I actually found the artwork for this cover while searching for the Christmas in Cancun cover art. I had already started what was supposed to be a short story—that has ended up pushing the limits of even novella—and had the first sex scene written which takes place in a beach palaya so when I saw this picture.

I knew it was right.

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Christmas in Cancun Now Available

For those who read Christmas in Cancun, no this is not Luke and Lilly’s story. Luke was destined to reunite with the woman he’d ditched in flight school. Lilly has a different future….with a “Madman”.  Captivated in Cancun should be out in August.From the start, I wanted all the covers to have the same color scheme of Caribbean blues and white. Since readers see the covers so small, I wanted to be sure it was visible in thumbnail. Also, covers are getting so detailed that they often look jumbled on the screen. The former graphic designer in me prefers a clean and clear message.

Blurb:

After a deployment romance ends disastrously, Lieutenant Commander Caroline Hodges vows never to trust another man. Joining her roommates for some fun in the Cancun sun, she runs into Luke Thorstad, the lover who dumped her in Navy flight school. Could her luck get any worse?  But the more time she spends with Luke old feelings resurface. A fling could be just what she needs to ease her heartache.

Luke Thorstad had been thrown into the limelight, and the arms of dozens of willing women, in flight school when he’d become an unintentional hero. His biggest regret, ever, was leaving Caroline Hodges in the shadows. Finding her in a Cancun night club was his chance at redemption, and maybe the future they’d been denied years ago. But he’ll have to break down the fortress she’s built around her heart.

Although you don’t need to read them in order, you may enjoy meeting Luke when he plays an important role in Christmas in Cancun. 

Links:

Print 

http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Cancun-Volume-KaLyn-Cooper/dp/1503004236

 eBook

When the words just don’t come.

Sometimes life overwhelms us.

When things get tough, writers can rally. After all, for an author, sad times can provide a wealth of inspiration for future stories. We can often use the emotions raging in our souls. In fact, I’d say we need to.

And then, at other times, life just makes us numb. It’s during those moments that the words just don’t come for me.

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When families experience trials, something my family is dealing with right now, writing has to take a back seat. As much as it feeds and nourishes me, there are times when I stare at the blank page, wishing for paragraphs to miraculously appear. Hoping those night-time elves will scribble in my notebook when I’m asleep.

It doesn’t quite work that way.

I’ve learned there are moments when a writer must put the pen away, when she must bid her characters adieu, knowing she’ll see them soon. It isn’t easy but it’s important.

And like so many writers who are forced to take a break to deal with real life, I often beat myself up, wishing I could write through the struggle. That I could forge ahead, even if only to put the next chapter heading on the book.

We shouldn’t chastise ourselves for taking a breather. Stress is difficult in any profession, but deadly to a writer. You can’t create while filled with anxiety. And while I try to put a brave face on things, I need to remember that I’m only human and that tomorrow is another day. As my friend author Cameron Lincoln wisely reminded me, “Words can wait.” Very good advice.

And so, for now, I will put my words away and breathe. I will connect with family and support those who need it, while asking for support when I need it. Trusting, all the while, that my words will be there the next time I go looking for them.