Donovan Darling Takes Third Place in The Catherine

Donovan Darling won Third Place in Paranormal Romance in The Catherine awards, an international contest for unpublished authors.

I’m still elated over Donovan’s Dare being named a finalist in the Daphne last week.

Thanks so much to all those who’ve supported me along the way – OCC RWA, my CP’s, the loveliest betas ever, and all my tweeps (you know who you are).

Confessions of an Online Class Junkie

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I had a goal at the beginning of the year to complete five online writing workshops, mainly focusing on craft at this point. I have since become an online workshop “junkie” thanks to the convenience of being able to study and finish assignments whenever I have time around my work schedule.

The goal was 5 this year. I’ve finished 5 in two months. 

Thanks to OIRWA, FFP (Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal) RWA, and Kiss of Death RWA online chapters I’ve gotten some amazing courses with experienced teachers. I’ve learned so much and have had those ah-ha moments where things finally sink in instead of rolling right past me.

Here are the highlights:

Psychics and Ghosts and Magic, Oh My! Putting the Paranormal in Your Suspense and Mystery taught by Silver James, offered by Kiss of Death in January.  My non-craft workshop that still had writing craft lessons. This one was simply hella fun.

Synopsis Bootcamp taught by Susan Palmquist, offered by OIRWA. This two-week class was capped at 10 people. Week one you learn to write the dreaded synopsis without tears or guilt issues because you’ve drunk all the wine or eaten yourself into a sugar coma in avoidance. Week Two, I completed two drafts (one short and one long) and got valuable feedback on both. This one is offered again in Nov 2018.

The Mystery of the Flesh-Eating Blurb– Presenter: Sorchia DuBois, offered by FFP. What’s worse than writing a synopsis??? Writing a mother-fricking blurb that’s marketable back cover copy. I have lawyer brain, not sales brain. I can analyze and summarize and argue, but ask me to boil down 90,000 words to less than 200 – mind blow. Less now. I drafted blurbs for my manuscript, got peer review and instructor feedback, and got a second shot.

Getting Deeper with POV Part 1, taught by Laurie Sanders, offered by OIRWA. I wasn’t so sure about this one when the class took the lessons in a whole different direction. I actually skimmed about half of the month-long class. But then Laurie brought it all back around and hit a home run with the last two lessons. So much so I signed up for Part 2 and contacted her about an editing workshop she offers that sells out six months in advance.

Great Beginnings, taught by Susan Palmquist, offered by OIRWA. Those first few chapters in your writing? So important. I DNF’d two books this week because I just could not get into them. A writer has about 15 pages to hook me because while I’ll happily drop the money on a shiny new book if the sample catches my attention, my time is the greater investment. Susan went over the do’s and don’t of first chapters with a series of lessons.

As for upcoming plans, I’ve already ridden the crazy train straight into March and signed up for 3 or 4 more. Why not when they’re affordable, helpful, and work around my schedule. I’ll keep y’all posted.

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Lisa Cron – Story Genius

Lisa Cron gave a great talk to our Orange County RWA chapter about writing with emotional connection. She’s written two books full of information about why it’s the story that matters more than beautiful writing. Not that she suggests writing with poor grammar or lousy descriptors, but she teaches to start with the story as the basic building block.

I highly recommend her TED talk to get started with her concepts. Click here for that.

She has a library of FREE resources for writers. Click here for that. My favorite are her articles on how to hack your reader’s brain. I highly recommend you take a look.

Here are links to her two books and where you can find them in whatever format you love:

Want to visit her site for more information? Click here.

Happy writing!





Save the Date: Romance Author Day – Anaheim Library

Saturday, February 17 Romance Author Day

Central Library from 1 to 4 pm
Readers will find plenty to love as Anaheim Public Library hosts their second annual Romance Author Day on Saturday, February 17. The free book fair event will feature more than 20 Southern California romance authors on hand to discuss their books and the writing experience. An author panel will inspire fellow writers, and fiction readers will discover a wide variety of subgenres and new trends in the romance realm. Each of the authors will have books available for purchase, and guests will have the opportunity to spend time with the writers and have their books signed until 4 pm. Contact the Central Library for more information at 714-765-1880.


Favorite Podcasts for Writers from 2017

Podcasts are amazing when done well! L.A. gridlock traffic makes it imperative to use your time in the car wisely and oh so very calmly. Podcasts have trumped blogs for me in the past few years as the media has changed, and commutes have given me plenty of time to listen to some of the very best – and the very worst – of podcasts for writers.

I’ve included links to their podcasts and Twitter wherever possible because ain’t nobody got time for digging for all that.

Here are my top few:

10 Minute Writer’s Workshopicon_497562871-83d762f65baab8c7e178e39bafbedbc7d45df206-s400-c85

It’s short, sweet, diverse, and NPR quality. You can always find time to hear an author’s ten-minute interview to hear what’s harder: that first line or the last? The interviews include tips, insights, and more.

DSUFXXxXkAEFvzwThe Creative Penn Podcast

Joanna at The Creative Penn produces her own podcast about writing, publishing, and marketing. In her 300+ episodes, she covers topics from time management to intellectual property to overcoming the pressures on creativity with interesting interviews. Joanna is on Twitter here.

The Well-Storied PodcastThe Well-Storied Podcast

Kristen produces a podcast along with running her community and the #storysocial chat on Twitter. She covers topics like traditional and self-publishing, plotting a series, character motivation, and more.  Find more about Kristen at her Twitter feed.

Write Now with Sarah Werner

Sarah produces a podcast for writers about passion, inspiration, and motivation for creating. Her “Coffee Now” episodes feature honest and often touching interviews with creative people to help fuel your own journey.  Sarah is over on Twitter here.

And my absolute favorite “can’t wait to hear the next episode” pick:


Smart Podcast Trashy Books by the ladies of Smart Bitches Trashy Books

Twitter @smartbitches

They talk about all of my favorite fan girl things and keep the topics varied and upbeat as they interview different authors, independent bookstore owners, and all-around great awesome people. They’re like the cool girls’ book club you always wanted to find.

Any recommendations to add to my playlist?

2018 Personal Writer Goals

With the last day of 2017 upon us and a new year’s beginning, I like to take the time to do three things: reflect on the good that has happened over the past year and what I can learn from the not so good, be thankful for those who have helped me along my path, and set goals for 2018.

Not resolutions. Goals. Measurable, likely attainable, big reach-for-the-sky goals. I do it in all areas, but sometimes it’s easy to forget writing as that’s my passion. Why set goals for a passion? Because passions can quickly get out of hand if they don’t have a path to follow.

So here are my 2018 goals for writing in addition to the normal write a lot, edit even when I don’t want to, and maintain active membership in my current writing groups:

  1. Finish drafting the next two books of the Donovan urban fantasy romance series about witch sisters who are part of a special FBI task force. Finished stories for Zaida and Kemina will complete the series other than two smaller stories I’ve been spinning.
  2. Join two specialty chapters of RWA – Kiss of Death & FFP 
  3. Take at least 5 workshops as you can’t get better without learning new things
  4. Attend my first National RWA conference (a huge step for an introvert)
  5. Enter at least three writing contests including the Golden Heart Award

What are your goals? Care to share?