Sunday, March 15, 2015

March's Paperback Pick

A lot of you were pretty excited for me when I shared that March's Paperback Pick was Bared to You by Sylvia Day. You all said I would enjoy it.

And I did!

I enjoyed it so much that I started reading it around 10-11p.m. one night and stayed up until 5:30a.m. to finish it.

I instantly enjoyed Day's writing and got swept up into Eva's and Gideon's story. Of course, I had to keep reading their story, so over the following days, I read books 2-4.

I will definitely be reading more by Sylvia Day.

That's all for this month's paperback pick. Until next month...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Writing Update: What's Next?

I haven't written a What's Next post since Nepenthe released in January and since I've gotten my writing mojo back, I figured it's time. I've broken it down between solos and coauthored books. :)

Solos:
Firstly, I've taken a break from the Bracing for Love series (Patrick and Bo were tentatively going to get a book). I hope to write their stories, but they have their lips sealed right now.

Instead, I've been alternating between two works-in-progress.

One features Brittany and Trace and will be New Adult. Brittany has a lot going on in her life while struggling with anxiety. Trace is her former therapist who is now divorced and works at the college she attends.

The other features Haley and Keelan and will be Young Adult. Let me just say that I'm SUPER excited to be returning to YA after last year being full of New Adult and Adult age-categoried books. Haley is a tennis player who learns her family has some secrets after moving to a new town with her mom and stepdad. Keelan is a football player who was adopted and is dealing with his own family issues.

I've been having a lot of fun with these characters when I've been able to work on them.

Books with Mary:
As shown on the Schedule page, Mary and I have three books coming out starting this month. We're wrapping up the Oh Captain, My Captain series.

We have already started our next project. Of course, I can't say much about it yet. We probably won't announce any details until June at least. All I'll say is that we're very excited about and of course, it'll be a series. If all goes well, we'll have a couple more releases this year. That's all I'm sharing! :)

There you have it! That's the full update on what's coming in 2015.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Life Update: Am I Fixed?

Reading is a form of therapy for me. My actual therapist agrees wholeheartedly about this. If I'm not writing and not reading, she gets concerned.

It's probably a form of therapy to you, too. I mean, isn't a point of reading to get lost in another reality separate from our own? We don't want to step away from emotions or troubles, but to step away from our emotions and troubles and reality.

As of today, I've read 22 books this year. That's a huge number for me, especially in a short amount of time. To me, that speaks volumes. There's been something in my reality that I've been desperately trying to escape. I still can't say what that is.

I've been in an all-around funk and it's been weird and sucky. It's been plaguing me for months. Like since Oct/Nov, whenever it was that I finished Nepenthe. It's almost like an I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-myself feeling. Or kind of like a I-have-no-desire/energy type of thing.

It annoys the hell out of me because things have been good. For the most part, I've felt great. But there's something not quite right in the mix of it all and the unknowing of what or why makes me more rattled than anything else.

Usually a reading-binge fixes me, fixes me emotionally and fixes my lack of desire to write. But this funk has been like a veil hanging over regular everyday stuff. We'll consider it luck that it's only truly affected my writing. It's mostly been with my solos because Mary and I have pretty much been writing machines with the exception of this past week. Still, I've felt off.

Reading hasn't helped. Or at least, not in the way I'm used to. My reading-binges consists of three-to-four days of reading every free chance I get. Priorities are tossed to the side unless it's an absolute must. I've been reading more and more lately. I've been trying to escape something I can't put my finger on to identify. That in and of itself is annoying because I like to know what's bugging me. How can I solve a problem if I don't know the problem?

For 22 books, I've been trying to "fix" myself. For the most part, I've been failing. The off feeling is still there when the book ends, which leads me to pick up another and another and another.

But I think I've finally ended my funk.

The other day, I was super excited because I was writing in a solo. I only wrote about 400 words, but it felt amazing because that invested/obsessed feeling was there again.

It left as quickly as it appeared.

So what did I do?

I read three books in three days. I closed off everything else in life and read.

And tonight? I feel FANTASTIC.

Finally.

I feel energized, happy, and ready to tackle all the projects I'm working on.

There's a chance it'll be gone by morning, but I'm feeling pretty optimistic. If not, I have bookcases and a Kindle full of books waiting to be read until something bends in my favor and I can work out my issue. This blog post started with the title of Am I Fixed? That's still up in the air for the long-term, but for the moment, I am. That's good enough for me.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sarcastic Song Shuffle

The Sarcastic Song Shuffle is a monthly feature hosted by The Sarcastic Palmtree. I liked the idea of this, and music is a big part of writing, so of course I had to participate.

All you do is grab your iPod/iPhone/whatever you listen to music on, hit shuffle and list the next 10 songs that show up.

Here's my playlist:

Glad You Came - Wanted
Brokenheaded - Karmin
Drops of Jupiter - Train
Always the Love Song - Eli Young Band
Then - Brad Paisley
One of Those Nights - Tim McGraw
Living in the Moment - Jason Mraz
Rude - MAGIC!
I'm Yours - The Script
Simple Man - Shinedown

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of this list! No too many embarrassing songs on it, except for possibly the first one. Until next month, happy listening! :)

Top 5 Reasons I Enjoyed MY BEST EVERYTHING

When I went to YALLFest last year, I had dinner with a group of bloggers and ended up going home with a few books. One of those books was an ARC of My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp, which is what I'm here to talk about today.

Between the title, the cover, and the synopsis, I was excited to read it. Before I get to the top 5 reasons why I enjoyed reading this book, here's the synopsis.



You say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate.

Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why.


Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.

Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart?

The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?

Now, here's my Top 5:
  1. Set in a small town. I grew up in a small town and there were many instances where I found myself nodding along and agreeing with the things Lulu was saying/thinking. I could so very easily relate to her. There was one instance where she mentions about how she wants to get away from her small town because she feels traps, but how she's also worried her destination won't live up to her expectations. That I can relate to. There was another instance where Lulu comes to appreciate the beauty and realize that there are things she loves about her hometown and that I could relate to as well. The older I get, the more I'm able to appreciate things like that, even though I still want to leave.
  2. The way it's told. So, as it mentions in the synopsis, this book is a letter to Mason. Therefore, she refers to him as "you." It took a little while to get used to it, but once I did, I really enjoyed that it was told like that. The more I got used to it, the more it felt as if Lulu was sitting next to me and telling me this story herself. And that, I really loved.
  3. Her nickname. Fun fact, my nicknames growing up was Lindsay Lu, Lindsay Lulu, or just Lulu. It was really cool to read a character who was called Lulu.
  4. Left me wanting more. Granted, there were a few things I wish were elaborated more, but if a book can leave me wanting more, then I always consider it a good thing. It means I was invested enough to want to know more, see more, and read more. I'm still unsure exactly how I feel about the ending, but I wanted more from it. Just a little.
  5. Favorite Quotes. Keep in mind that the book I read was an ARC, so these may vary in the final copy of the book. The first one made me laugh/smile, and the other, I just really loved.
I could smell your shampoo or deodorant, something clean, mixed in with your sweat and boy smell too. Our olfactory systems are crucially tied in to memories and comfort and physical attraction. It's science.

I was scientifically aware of you as I turned the key and started the engine.
And this one:
I wasn't sure exactly what I'd do, but I'd have options. I'd get to decide what mattered most. Whatever it was, I'd be able to do something that made the world better. Not just swap out one rusty part for another.

You stood up, clasped your hands together above your head. Then turned to me, let me peek inside at what you'd caught. A lightning bug, looking dim, ordinary, ugly, crawled across your fingers. You let it go, and then it shone bright.

There's my top five reasons! Be sure to add the book to your Goodreads! It releases on March 3rd!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Oh My Captain: Ashton Campbell

At last, we've reached the fourth captain, Ashton Campbell. This book was really fun to write and I think Mary will agree that the kids had us cracking up sometimes, like with this excerpt.

When we make it to the living room, I tell Reed to show Sadie where all the extra pillows and blankets are, so we can fix a makeshift campout on the floor for them. Lexie helps me get them situated before we take a seat on the couch behind them. I throw a blanket over us and reach over to hold Lexie’s hand under it. She smiles and interlocks our fingers. The previews seem to be taking forever, the current one featuring a talking baby in an animated movie, releasing soon.

Sadie looks back at Lexie and suddenly asks, "Mommy, can I have a brother? A girl at school said her mommy is giving her a brother, and I want one too."

Lexie glances at me, like I could help her out, but she’s on her own. "Um, I don't know,” she begins carefully. “I need to a daddy to help me have a baby, like I had your daddy to help me have you."

She doesn’t respond right away, which worries Lexie, judging by her anxious sneaky looks to me.

“Mr. Ashton is a daddy,” Sadie adds, glancing at me. “He could help you, Mommy. Please? I really want one.”

Lexie is mortified. I kind of am too. The poor kid doesn’t know what she’s really saying.

“Hey, could I have a brother too?” Reed perks up. “Are you and Mom going to give me a brother one day?” Oh, no. This just got worse. Reed turns to Sadie and grins like he has a bright idea before turning to me. “If you are a dad and Ms. Lexie is a mom, does that mean you could give me and Sadie both a brother?”

My mouth opens and closes numerous times, but I can’t manage to say anything.

"I…” Lexie tries before finally thinking of something. “Why do you two want a brother?"

"Our friend at school said she would have someone to play with all the time. I want someone to play with all the time,” Sadie explains.

“Me too,” Reed agrees.

“You already have that. You have each other because you’re best friends. Y’all play together all the time,” Lexie points out.

Sadie smiles at Reed. “Yeah, he is my best friend. I guess we don’t need a brother.” A movie about a dog previews next.

“What about a puppy?” Of course. “Could I have a puppy? A boy at school says he has a puppy and that they play fetch. I want a puppy too, Mommy.”

“If Sadie gets a puppy, I want one too, Dad.”

God, what is wrong with them? At least we’re moving the topic away from babies. “That’s something you better talk to your mom about, Reed.”

“Well, do I get one?” Sadie asks again.

“I don't know. A puppy is a lot of responsibility. Maybe we should think about a fish instead,” Lexie suggests.
Sadie’s eyes light up with excitement. “Like at the aquarium?! That sounds even better than a brother or a puppy! Can we get a fish?”

“Oh!” Reed exclaims. “Can I get a shark then?”

“No.” This conversation needs to end soon. Thankfully, the movie finally starts. “Be quiet, the movie is starting, and I don’t want to miss anything.” Running my thumb over Lexie’s knuckles, I lean over and whisper, “I’m thinking they should be homeschooled from now on.”
Our muse for Ashton is TJ Oshie, a player for the St. Louis Blues.  He seems to be a good guy, good player, and that fits the bill for Ashton.

Be sure to add the series on Goodreads and enter the giveaway below! Good luck!
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oh My Captain: Carson Lee

First, it was Hudson King, then Brody Ross, and now, Carson Lee from the Oh Captain, My Captain series. Who can resist a bad boy? Carson Lee is more than meets the eye and Kinley Wright is the perfect chick to keep him in line.

As per usual, here's an excerpt before we get to the muse and giveaway!

“Why?”

"What do you mean ‘why’? I have the means to do so and the kids enjoy it. Why wouldn’t I?” Seems pretty simple to me.

"Have you looked in the mirror? You’re Carson Lee. You’re the bad-boy of hockey. Nowhere on your resume does it say, ‘good samaritan’.”

"That’s not who I am to them and there’s a reason it’s not on my resume.” Conversations like this for example. Who I normally am wouldn’t coincide with the guy who visits kids in hospitals anyway, so it’s good that no one knows. It’s no one’s business either. “I do something good, shouldn’t you be happy about that? Just smile and say, ‘That’s nice of you, Carson. I’m surprised, but it’s still nice.’ Or smile and keep your thoughts to yourself. That works too.” I try not to be snappy, in part because I do hope she’ll smile. So my voice is as nice and casual as I can make it. I even smile at her.

"If you’re trying to get me to smile, it’s not working. Although, I am surprised, didn’t think you had it in you. May I ask who Gracie is?”

"No,” I answer curtly.

"Oh, okay.” She drops the topic for a moment. “I’m still surprised that you have a good side.”

I shrug. “Well, I do.”

"And all this time I thought the only thing you did good was have sex with all of Alabama.”

"Good is a huge understatement when referring to sex with me. If good is all the women are saying, then I’m slacking,” I say seriously.

Kinley smiles and cracks up in a laugh but quickly covers her mouth.

"That’s one!” I point at her, grinning. “It should count for two since you laughed.”

She gazes at her drink before looking back at me. “You must have slipped something into my soda, and it’s one, not two.”

 
Our muse for Carson is Tyler Seguin. Seguin is a young hotshot player for the Dallas Stars and like Carson, he has tattoos. What's not to love?

Be sure to add the series on Goodreads and enter the giveaway below! Good luck!
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