Monday, December 31, 2012

New Beginnings and a Book Giveaway



I'm very excited about the changes we've got in store for Killer Chicks in 2013.

For one thing, I won't be blogging on Mondays anymore.

That slot is now going to be filled by B.E. Sanderson. Be sure to stop by and give her a big Killer welcome next Monday!

On Tuesdays, we'll be featuring teasers from our works-in-progress and we hope you'll post some of your own in the comments.

Sorry to say it, but Wednesdays you'll be subjected to my ramblings.

Thursdays we hope you'll join the discussion about whatever question we're tackling that week.

Clarice Wynter will be taking the reins on Fridays.

Speaking of Clarice....want to win the first in her Spring River Valley books, JILTED IN JANUARY?



I had the opportunity to critique this one and I can tell you it's a fun, romantic read!

Since 2013 ends in a "3" I'm giving away three e-copies. (Sorry, but this is only for those who have a  Kindle, or have downloaded the Kindle reading app to your computer.)

You'll earn one entry in the drawing for doing this:

Comment here (be sure to leave your email address)

You'll earn three entries for doing tweeting this:

I want to win JILTED IN JANUARY by @ClariceWynter from @thekillerchicks http://killerchicks.org

Maximum four entries per person.

Easy Peasy!  Contest runs until 12:01AM January 8, 2013. Winners will be announced 1/9/2013.

I'm also excited that, once a week, starting tomorrow (1/1/13) I'll be sharing a 10 Minute Timed Writing over at 10 Minutes to the Universe. This blog, run by my pal Cynthia Valero provides some interesting insight into the creative process. I hope that you'll not just follow the posts, but try the exercise yourself if you're so inclined.

The Killer Chicks wish you a very Happy New Year! 

(and I urge you to please drink responsibly....or don't drink at all....that's what I'm doing)



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nothing says Merry Christmas like FREE KINDLE BOOKS!

Merry Christmas everyone! Whether or not you celebrate the holiday or the season, I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful day and a very Happy New Year!

The following books will be available free for Kindle today and/or tomorrow [December 25th and 26th]. Enjoy!


Contemporary Romance, Series Romance



Sci-fi Adventure, Erotic Romance, Anthology


Contemporary Romance, Multicultural Romance, Christmas Theme



New Adult, Contemporary Romance



Paranormal, Erotica, Vampires



Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance


Monday, December 24, 2012

Who has Goals/Resolutions?


I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions, but I do love to set goals for the upcoming year.
I looked up the list of goals I put up on jblynn.wordpress.com last January. Here’s what I’d hoped to accomplish…and what I actually did.

2012 Goals
Write 10,000 words of fiction per week – pretty much did this
Blog three times per week – my blog posts have gotten shorter and shorter, but I’m still making the effort to communicate
Run three times per week…race six times this year for the most part I managed the three runs per week, but because of injuries I only managed to race 4 times (but I did complete my third half marathon!)
Practice Tai Chi three times per week  -- EPIC FAIL
Read two dozen books – I forgot to track this, but I’m pretty sure I well-exceeded that number.
Be true to myself  -- this one is a work-in-progress for me. I could have done better, but in the past I’ve done worse.

All in all, not a bad year, but as always, there’s room for improvement. So here are my goals for 2013.

Stick to my writing/publication schedule
Blog about my progress (or lack thereof) 5 times per week
Run three times per week/race six times in year/walk 365 miles
Run with someone other than the dog or Long Suffering two times
Lose twenty pounds
Practice yoga or meditation AND strength training 3x per week
Take a class/attend a conference
Find a volunteer opportunity I actually like
Take a photograph every day (and try to post them)
Banish excuses!
 (If you’re interested, I’ll go into more detail over at jblynn.wordpress.com later in the week.)
For now, you tell me KILLER FRIENDS: How did you fare with your 2012 resolutions/goals? And what do you hope to accomplish in 2013?


Friday, December 21, 2012

Who do you follow?

Just wondering, Tweeters, do you follow a lot of celebrities? Friends? Strangers with similar interests?

I follow writer friends, RL friends and

Will Wheaton    @wilw
Amy Acker     @AmyAcker
Leonard Nimoy @TheRealNimoy
Ian Somerhalder   @iansomerhalder
J.K. Rowling   @jk_rowling
Richard Castle @WriteRCastle
John Barrowman   @Team_Barrowman
Neil Patrick Harris   @ActuallyNPH
Nathan Fillion    @NathanFillion


Yes, I’m a geek.

What does your Twitter feed tell people about you?

You can follow me @ClariceWynter. If you let me know you're a Killer Chicks reader, I'll follow you back ASAP!

Monday, December 17, 2012

If only there was a Nike FuelBand for Writer

So I'm not usually a gadget person, but I must admit I get the appeal of the new Nike FuelBand.



Basically, the bracelet-like device measures the wearer's activity of the day. (Not just the person's formal exercise, or steps, but ALL of their activity.)

The owner can set a goal and then track their progress to see how they're doing.

I wish there was a version for writers....something that not only tracks your word count, but also research time, thinking time, promoting time, etc.

Tell me Killer Friends: How do YOU measure your progress? Do you have any tools that help? 

(I'm big on calendars and Write or Die.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Last Day

Image courtesy of www.public-domain-image.com
For years now we’ve been hearing how the world is going to end on December 21, 2012 because that’s when the Mayan calendar ends.

Personally, I think they just got tired of making calendars.

I’m an optimist when it comes to the end of the world. It’s been predicted so many times and it hasn’t ended yet – so the hype doesn’t do much for me anymore. If even once, one of the doomsayers had been right, I’d sit up and take notice [supposing I still existed, of course], but since they’ve all been wrong so far, it’s a little difficult to muster the wiggins as far as I’m concerned.

I’m sure you all have nice plans for December 22nd this year. It’s a Saturday, right before Christmas [as usual], the middle of the holiday season for a lot of people. There are parties, last minute shopping, decorating, baking, present wrapping etc. But let’s just suppose the Mayans knew something we don’t and their ‘Let’s just quit all this silly calendar making’ really means ‘No point in making calendars if time is going to stop, right?’

If I knew for sure the world would end on December 21st, I’d probably not worry about eating all those Krispy Kreme donuts my husband brought home last weekend, in fact I’d probably organize a road trip to go get more and then I’d head to the beach [preferably one in a much warmer part of the world] and plan to ring out the end of the world with my family watching the sun rise and set over the ocean. I’d probably try gel nail polish too – I’ve been meaning to do that, but it’s just too darn expensive.
  
How would you spend December 20th if you knew for sure the world would end the next day?

*Note: I could have saved this post for the 21st, but I figured...just in case...
  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reading Reviews

I'm big on reading reviews whether I'm getting ready to invest in a computer, buy a pair of socks, or watch a movie, so it should come as no surprise that I read book reviews.

Sometimes the reviews are for books I'm thinking about reading, sometimes they're for books I've never heard of, and sometimes (okay, obsessively) I read the reviews of my own books.

I read reviews of my own books for a couple of reasons.

1) I'm looking for quotes I can use in my marketing efforts.

2) I'm curious as to whether things I thought were cute/clever/engaging resonated with readers.

3) I want to be a better writer, so I study the reviews to see if multiple readers are pointing out the same issues. If they do, I consider whether I want to change my approach with the next book I write.

While I read my reviews, I know other writers who don't read any of the reviews for their books, and still others who only read reviews that appear in trade publications, none from general readers on sites such as GoodReads, Amazon or B&N.

What about you? Do you read reviews before reading certain books? Do you post reviews or ratings of your own?  If you're a writer, do you dread reviews? Or do you look forward to them?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Introducing Clarice Wynter...the Next Big Thing?

I was tagged by JB Lynn to participate in The Next Big Thing series. The Next Big Thing is a blog circle where authors tag each other, giving fellow authors an opportunity to share their current Works in Progress (WIP).
  
10 Questions:

What is the working title of your book?
The title for the first book in my new series is JILTED IN JANUARY. It’s the first of 12 stories to be released monthly in 2013.  


Where did the idea come from for the book?
I literally woke up with the idea for the series one day last December and I’ve been working on it ever since.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
I think I’d want unknowns to play may characters, star celebrities cost too much!
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A jilted bride finds true love wasn't waiting at the altar after all. [I'm TERRIBLE at one-sentence synopses.]

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
My series will be self-published.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took me 7 days to write the draft of JILTED [it’s a novella], but subsequent books in the series have taken much longer.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is a tough one – since I’m hoping my soapy small-town romance series will help blaze a trail for this type of book.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Part of the idea came from seeing all the long-time soap operas going off the air. I wondered if fans of ongoing stories would enjoy a collection of books about a recurring set of characters with each story leading into the next. I’d like to write add-on stories when the series is done so fans can revisit their favorite characters and check in to see how things are going for them.
What else about your book might interest the reader?
My Spring River Valley Series is light contemporary – I’m hoping readers will enjoy snappy dialogue and romantic love stories that will leave them smiling and wanting more.
 
Mini Excerpt: JILTED IN JANUARY will be available as an Amazon.com exclusive read in the beginning of 2013 – so I’ll be back later with a link where you can read a sample, but for now I can leave you with the Blurb and a VERY short teaser…

Harper Shaw is certain she’ll never live down her reputation as the jilted bride after her fiancĂ© bails on the eve of her wedding and decides to go on the honeymoon by himself.

Grant Addison’s career depends on saving the failing catering hall where Harper’s wedding was supposed to be held. He can’t return her deposit money to her, but his business proposal could help them both stay out of the red.

Their unlikely partnership heats up the cold winter nights in Spring River Valley, and leads them to discover January just might be hottest month of the year.


Since the Title of this Blog is Killer Chicks - here's a snippet that seems appropriate:

“Harper, baby, stop thinking about killing ‘Badly Bradley’ and live in the moment.”
           “You were the one who suggested the machete, and I wasn’t going to kill him. Much.”



Monday, December 3, 2012

The Next Big Thing


I was tagged by the lovely and talented Toni Anderson to participate in The Next Big Thing series. The Next Big Thing is a blog circle where authors tag each other, giving fellow authors an opportunity to share their current Works in Progress (WIP).

And now, on to the questions!

10 Questions:

What is the working title of your book?

BLOOD

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I'm always fascinated by the question: How far would you go for someone you love?

What genre does your book fall under?

Suspense.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Uggh. I can never answer those kinds of questions.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

How far can escaped serial killer Ivan Vogler push single mother Helen Black...and will her ex-husband FBI agent Sebastian Black save her?

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

It will be repped by my lovely agent, Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Forever  and a day.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Another question I can never answer.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Sebastian Black was a secondary character in my book THE FIRST VICTIM. I always wanted to tell more of his story.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

This is a straight suspense novel with none of the humor of my Confessions books (and no talking animals) with a really dark and twisted villain who I find fascinating. 

Mini Excerpt: 


My babies!
            The pain that lanced through Helen was both emotional and physical. It stole her breath and set her pulse pounding. Mother’s instinct kicked in, jerking her upward, her singular intention to reach her children.
            BAM!
            Gasping her surprise and pain, she tried to figure out what had just happened. Her forehead ached where she’d slammed into metal. She was trapped. The small, dark space closed in around her. Terror squeezed her heart, strangling her very ability to reason.
            The last few moments before she’d passed out rushed at her like a tsunami of recollection, obliterating every other thought.


Content might change during edits. Copyright 2012

***
 I'm supposed to tag four writers to post next week, so here goes...
Karen Akins
B.E. Sanderson
Carla Swafford
Clarice Wynter

Friday, November 30, 2012

What will be under your tree this year?

*Note: This adorable photo was taken shortly before I caught him noshing on the wire that connects the tree lights to the outlet. He was promptly evicted from his cozy little nest.

A friend of mine asked me what I wanted to find under my tree this year - and my first thought was, well, I know what I don't want to find. Any surprises left by the cats.

Beyond that, I had to think about what I really wanted under the tree. Books, of course! And new pajamas and some fancy flavored tea...but that's about it.

If you celebrate a gifty holiday, what's on your list this year?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Creating a Character: Armani Vasquez

We hope everyone in the U.S. had a wonderful holiday.

Mine got a great start with Further Confessions making it onto its first Holiday Buying Guide of the year. :-)

In CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN and the sequel FURTHER CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN the protagonist, Maggie Lee, has one co-worker she's friendly with, Armani Vasquez.

A lot of readers comment on how much they like Armani. One recently asked me how I came up with her. I thought the answer might be fun to share with you. Obviously these will make more sense to you if you've read the books, but even if you haven't you can see how I knit together different memories to create a character.

Here's a little insight into my bizarre creative process.


-- Years ago I worked with a woman who was convinced she could slack all the time and bragged about the fact they'd never fire her because of Equal Opportunity. 

-- Long Suffering and I play a lot of Scrabble. The tiles seem like modernized tea leaves. 

-- I have a close friend who is a strong believer in psychics.

-- I went to see the Ice Capades when I was seven. We had front row seats and I was terrified of the Zamboni machine. 

-- I had a neighbor whose kid was named Armani who was always sticking her arms/legs through the outdoor railing which left her in danger of losing a limb. 

-- The last name of Vasquez came about simply because it's got such a high Scrabble point value.

If you're a writer, how do you cobble together characters?
If you're a reader, who are some of your favorite characters and why?

And for everyone: What do you think should be on the shopping lists of everyone this holiday season? (doesn't have to be books)



Friday, November 23, 2012

My Favorite Non-Holiday

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Now it’s the day after and there should be turkey leftovers in the fridge, a pile of dirty dishes in the sink and, if you’re like me – a half assembled Christmas tree on the living room floor.

I am not a Black Friday shopper. To all of you who got up at 3:00 AM and were on line at the nearest retail store at sunrise, I wish you the best of luck. I just don’t have the fortitude to battle the crowds for bargains. I’d much rather sleep in and enjoy the holiday that isn’t really a holiday.

Black Friday, for me, is more like Red and Green Friday. That’s the start of the Christmas season for me, so you’ll find me rooting around in the basement digging out the ornaments and untangling strings of lights. I’m hanging wreaths and putting new batteries in the electric candles and tying garland to the banisters.

My husband thinks I’m crazy and he spends most of the day shaking his head and sighing [the sighing gets louder when I ask him to help me drag boxes decorations up from the basement and send him on the annual hunt for extension cords]. By the end of the day I’m exhausted but I usually feel like I’ve accomplished something. My next project is to prepare for Cyber Monday – when I actually do most of my Holiday Shopping.

So how do you celebrate Black Friday?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday Stories & Disney-size Dreams courtesy of Misty Evans


Today we're welcoming back Misty Evans, who is going to talk about her novella THE SECRET LIFE OF CRANBERRY SAUCE. Some lucky commenters are going to get the chance to read this little gem!

*** Note from JB ***

I had the opportunity to beta read this fun, bite-sized treat of a story. It's a great, calorie-free morsel to indulge in this holiday season. 

Please give a Killer Welcome to Misty!

Holiday Stories & Disney-size Dreams 
by Misty Evans

Why do we love holiday stories? Well, I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s a little more fairy dust floating around during the holidays. The possibility that Santa is real and wishes do come true. I let my inner child dream Disney-size dreams, and often find small surprises are even better. Big things come in small packages, right?

From Halloween on, I read holiday stories to get me in the mood. Stories are like those big things that come in small packages. Those innocent little stories allow me to believe in miracles. I can believe snowed-in couples will find true love during a blizzard. That fictional families will survive the zombie apocalypse and celebrate Thanksgiving. That the fireman pretending to be Santa at a charity gig will run into his high school sweetheart and ask her to a very special New Year’s Eve party.

My latest culinary romance novella, The Secret Life of Cranberry Sauce, is a holiday story and I had way too much fun writing it. I took a couple from high school – Joel and Aurora – and threw them together during a blizzard the night before Thanksgiving. Aurora’s job is on the line and Joel’s heart is as well. Mix in holiday stress, the stranded-by-snow element, and just to make things really interesting, I tossed in Joel’s ex-girlfriendSecret High School’s Most Popular Cheerleader—to give them both some angst.

Since Aurora was the girl voted least likely to succeed in school, she considers herself to be a lot like traditional cranberry sauce…the side dish no one cares about. Until she discovers that Joel does care about her, and even if he didn’t, she realizes during the course of the story that she has a career and a family that make her Most Likely to Love Her Life. She has Disney-size dreams and a plan to make them come true.

And Joel? Well, he’s is the special ingredient in her cranberry sauce life, adding a delicious new flavor to her side dish.



So tell me what you love about holiday stories…is the possibility that the impossible can happen? The winter settings? The happy endings? Anyone who comments and includes their email address will receive a free ecopy of The Secret Life of Cranberry Sauce!


Misty Evans is the award-winning author of four series. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not cooking or writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and their twin sons. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter at www.readmistyevans.com. Like her author page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Buy links:
B&N