Five Things You Don’t Know About Me

I’m tired today. It’s been a long week for some reason, I think because the kids had a long weekend because of a snow day last Friday, and they have another one this weekend, and I’m just tired.

I decided to do something a little fun today since I’m struggling to keep my head off the keyboard. Hopefully this will get me writing! If only I had one of these…

But since I don’t have a CREATE button on my keyboard that magically does things for me, I’m trying this!

I’m a pretty private person. I don’t like to talk about myself because, honestly, I don’t think I’m that interesting. I’m normal. I’m not anyone special, no more than the next person. So I figured there were probably a few things you didn’t know about me. I wanted to share some of them with you.

  1. I’ve been to 24 states in the US. One of my life goals is to visit all 50 states. I’ve only lived in two of them (South Carolina and New York), but I’ve visited 24 of them. And no, I don’t count it if I drove through but never stopped and did something there, which is why Kentucky isn’t on my list. I’ve been through it a bunch, but never *went* to Kentucky. One day. I’ll hit them all one day.
  2. I used to be a wedding planner. It was short-lived, but after I planned my wedding, I decided I wanted to do something like that for other couples. I enjoyed working with people, but it wasn’t an easy job, and I didn’t love it. I quit after a very short time, but it helped inspire me to write the Opposites Attract series. Who doesn’t love a wedding!
  3. I’m not a morning person, and even worse, I don’t drink coffee. I’m a night owl. Always have been. When I was young, my brother and sister would have to sit in front of the Christmas tree for hours before my parents would let them wake me up. Even the enticement of new toys from Santa (yes, this was that long ago) didn’t get me out of bed early. I went to afternoon kindergarten because my mom knew she’d never get me up for morning. Now, I get up at 5 am most days to get work done before my kids are up, but I don’t love it. If I drank coffee, I think it would be better, but the caffeine from one cup in the morning makes it hard for me to fall asleep at night so I gave it up years ago. I suffer through, and it isn’t always fun!
  4. I still use a paper calendar. I’m a visual person, so a digital calendar never worked for me. I tried, but it frustrated me that I couldn’t see everything that was going to happen. For my family, I hang a paper calendar to a file box and color code everyone’s activities so I can see at a glance who has what going on. For work, I have a desk calendar for each month and a wall calendar for the year. And yes, they’re both color-coded, too!
  5. I started listening to country music because of a boy! I love country music. If you’ve been here a while, you know that. I have it playing right now (I love Music Choice on my TV – no commercials!). When I was in middle school, I had a huge crush on my friend’s cousin. He liked country music and listened to it all the time. I started listening to it, too, because if he liked it, it had to be good. I found I liked it. My high school friends used to tell me their parents listened to the same music as me, but I didn’t care. I loved it. And 25 years later, it’s still the music I primarily listen to.

Did any of my ‘secrets’ surprise you? Did you know all this about me?

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Order vs. Chaos, opposites attract

Order vs. ChaosSometimes we need someone who’s just like us. A friend who shares our thoughts, or a coworker who will fight by our side. But in any relationship, I think it’s good to have someone on the opposite side. Someone to challenge you when you’re being stubborn. Someone who will say the things you need to hear instead of just what you want to hear.

That person isn’t always easy to find. You tend to drive each other crazy at times. But if you can get past the differences, opposites really do attract!

Excerpt from Order vs. Chaos

“What happened?”

“What do you mean?” she asked, finally meeting my eyes.

“You winked at me before the wedding. We had plans to get together Monday night. Now it feels like you’re blowing me off.”

“I’m sorry,” she sighed. “I heard whispers today about us.”

I glanced around and saw more than a couple pairs of eyes looking our way. I didn’t know why she cared so much. I wanted to kiss the shit out of her and tell them all to fuck off, but she’d be pissed if I did that. Instead, I nodded and took a step back.

“I apologize. I’m not trying to push things you’re not comfortable with. You had to figure they’d know something when we went to lunch every day.”

She nodded. “I know. And I’m trying not to let it bother me. I like you, Sawyer. I’m looking forward to getting together Monday night, but I’m not up for anything tonight.”

I smiled. “I was just going to wait around and make sure you got out of here. I wasn’t trying for anything else.”

She sighed and grinned. “Thank you.”

“So, do you want me to stick around?”

She glanced around and shook her head. “You go. I know you’re as exhausted as I am.”

“I am,” I admitted, “but I’d stay here without a second thought.”

“Thank you,” she said again, her eyes melting. “It’s going to take some getting used to that you’re a nice guy.”

I smirked. “I’m not always good, Kiana.”

She trembled, telling me she was as turned on as I was standing a few feet apart and unable to touch each other.

“Monday, Sawyer. If Monday goes well, we’ll tell everyone.”

“I’m gonna hold you to that.”

She grinned and winked. I walked away, knowing if I didn’t leave, I’d blow our secret wide open. It had been more than twenty-four hours since I’d had my lips on hers, and I wasn’t going to be able to resist much longer.

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Breaks are a good thing

Well, mostly. Broken bones aren’t great, but giving yourself a break is. That’s what I’m doing.

If you’ve been hanging out with me a while, you know that I’ve been writing like a crazy woman. I had a revelation this year that almost knocked me on my ass. Yeah, it’s only been a week since I proudly declared my goals.

Guess what? I’m changing them already.

It’s hard for me to admit when I was wrong. I’m not sure if that’s a female thing, or if it stems from having two kids who think they’re always right. Which means I’m always wrong. My kids are great kids, but I think hubby and I did too good of a job teaching them to think for themselves. They challenge everything we say, and like to argue and tell me I’m wrong, even when they’re trying to agree with me.

Anyway, I was wrong.

That was tough to say. But it’s true. I decided to write eight books in 2018. One release every six weeks. For months I’ve been debating backing off a little. Releasing fewer books. Giving myself more time to do all the little things that come along with writing (you know, like marketing and editing and cover design, little things like that). I resisted because I was scared.

You know I’m a big chicken.

I’m getting personal here. I hope you don’t mind.

In 2015, I was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Six months, six rounds of chemo, a bone marrow biopsy, and lots of stress later, I finished treatment. Two years later, I’m a year in remission, but I haven’t stopped living with the fear.

Fear of death. Fear of life. Fear of not having enough time. Fear of not finishing what I want. And yes, fear that it’ll come back and somehow I won’t notice. Again.

I’ve been writing like crazy to try to get everything done. I didn’t want to miss out. I didn’t want to leave this Earth with stories left to tell. I’ve learned that’s likely to happen no matter what. But a new fear has started to take over.

I’m watching my life fly by. I’m not living it.

I push myself. I take on too much. I rarely say no. Unless it’s to myself. I’m really good at telling myself no.

So I’ve decided to tell myself yes. Yes, I’m going to focus on my health. Yes, I’m going to take weekends off. Yes, I’m going to enjoy watching TV at night with my hubby. Yes, i’m going to enjoy snow days (like today) with my kids.

So I’m backing off. I’m giving myself a break. I’m still going to release new books. But after May 1, they will be eight weeks apart instead of six. And I won’t release anything around the holidays.

As always with me, this could change. I might decide I hate it next year, but I’m feeling relieved about it right now. I already feel less stressed out. If only it was that easy to lose weight!

What are you going to give yourself a break about this year?

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Order vs. Chaos, new beginnings

Order vs. ChaosIt’s a new year, and last week I introduced a new series. I hope you’re enjoying Order vs. Chaos if you’ve already picked up your copy. If you haven’t, I wanted to entice you just a little more.

Sawyer moves to Hawaii to settle down. He’s always loved the area, but he’s traveled so much for his work that he never felt like he belonged anywhere. Hawaii is the one place he always felt could be his spot though. So he moves from Winterville to Ke’aloha on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Things don’t exactly go as planned though.

Excerpt from Order vs. Chaos

The soft, white sand felt as good as it looked. The curvy beauties enjoying the late afternoon sun didn’t hurt either. The water wasn’t warm, but I expected that. January in Hawaii was much nicer than January just about anywhere else, especially Winterville, New York where I was from. I’d take eighty degree water over three feet of snow any day.

Which was the other part of why I moved to Hawaii.

I swam out into the water far enough that I could enjoy the view of the beach. It felt good, free. No one really knew where I was. My friends knew I was staying in Honolulu for a couple of days, but that was all I told them. I could do anything I wanted.

When the sun dunked into the ocean, I swam back in. The beach was almost empty, and I was too tired to go looking for any fun. Tomorrow was another day.

Another lonely day, apparently. How did I not know that everyone went to Hawaii with family or friends? I climbed Diamond Head and went back to the beach. I ate alone. I spent the day alone. And fuck me, I spent the night alone.


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Looking Forward to 2018

Every year, I set goals. Personal goals, professional goals, even family goals. I feel like setting goals is a roadmap for my year. I choose a word for the year and set goals and move on from there. I love it.

My word for 2018 is productive. Maybe that seems like a weird word, but I have a lot going on in 2018. A lot that needs to get done. Which means I need to be very productive in order to make it all happen. I also need to be organized and focused and not procrastinate.

Aside from writing, which I hope to move forward, I’m an officer for my local writing chapter, co-chairing a contest, and always have personal stuff going on. Setting goals allows me to keep things in order.

So what are my goals?

  1. Publish 8 novels and 2 boxed sets
  2. Pay off debt
  3. Eat, exercise, and lose weight
  4. Publish audiobooks and app
  5. Develop 3 workshops
  6. Stick to a budget
  7. Save

The first one is fairly easy for me. I know I’m going to do it. I still have it on my list because I always want to make sure I’m paying attention to how much I’m putting out there.

We all have debt, right? My husband and I struggle with long-term money. We’re quick to spend, not so quick to save. So items 2, 6, and 7 all work together. Pay off debt, stay on budget, and save. If only doing it was as easy as writing it down!

Speaking of not so easy, I think losing weight is always on my list. My husband joked that he’s going to make one of his New Year’s Resolutions to gain 50 pounds. I said I should do the same because then I’ll be more likely to lose weight since I always do the opposite. I still couldn’t bring myself to put it on the list, but I thought about it!

Audiobooks and an app. Are you getting excited? My app is mostly done with a few tweaks and changes. Audiobooks are a whole new adventure that I’m looking forward to.

I’ve been thinking for a while about teaching workshops. I have my first two this year, but I want to develop more to include that option in my offerings. I want to share what I know and what I can do with other authors. I’m really excited about it!

I know more will happen, more will come up, in 2018, but these are the things I will focus on. The biggest things for me. The most important things. The things that will help me get the life I want to have.

Do you set goals? Any you want to share?

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