Writer Wednesday: Three Steps to #NaNoWriMo Success #IARTG #amwriting

Happy Wednesday, readers and writers! October is just around the corner, which means you have just over thirty days to plan your Halloween costume, and finalize your NaNoWriMo plan of attack.

Plan NaNo now, you ask? Why, it’s still September! Yes, yes it is, but believe me that in order to win NaNo–in other words, write 50,000 over the course of the 30 days in November–you need to plan, plan, and plan some more.

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a huge fan of NaNoWriMo. In fact, two of my currently published novels, Changing Teams and Gallowglass, were both written during NaNo. However, last year’s NaNo was an epic fail on my part, and it was all due to poor planning. I had my story idea, and I’d done a bit of outlining and research, but not nearly enough. It wasn’t long before the story had gone so far off the rails there was no way I could fix it in 30 days. You can read all about that disaster here.

But this year will be different! I’ve done my homework, and I expect that even if I don’t have a finished story by November 30, I will at least have my 50,000 words. Here are the steps I’m taking to stack the deck in my favor:

  1. Research – Then do some more research, ask a librarian for help, and maybe book a trip to visit any real-life locations. Really, you’re not going to get too much information so go all in.
  2. Outline – A nice detailed outline is key. One incorporating the classic three act structure would be ideal, but you want a strong map to follow. Think of it like you’re downloading the newest map software onto your Garmin, as opposed to using a paper map printed in 1952.
  3. Character Profiles – Who’s the protagonist? Antagonist? What do they want? What are the stakes? What will happen if they don’t get what they want? Again, you cannot have too much information.

Next week, I’ll share some of the research I’ve done for my NaNo 2017 masterpiece. Okay, pending masterpiece. In the meantime, click the links below to learn more about my two most successful NaNo projects. Happy reading!

Learn more about NaNoWriMo (and sign up!) here.

Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.

After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.

In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.

As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.

Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?

Britt Sullivan, part time model and full time aspiring artist, is sick of living alone in the city…

Taking lame jobs just to make ends meet is leading Britt nowhere, and she knows something has to change. She needs some excitement, and when she meets blue-eyed Midwesterner Sam MacKellar at a photo shoot, she realizes he’s perfect for her in every way—well, except for the fact that he’s gay.

A devastating childhood trauma turned Sam’s whole life into a lie…

Sam came to New York City to escape an existence that had become unbearable, and when his job as a photographer’s assistant leads him to Britt, he realizes he’s finally met someone who sees him as he really is. But plagued by nightmares and trapped by his own deception, he doesn’t know how she can truly be part of his life.

Friendship leads to a passionate encounter and hidden dangers…

Britt comforts Sam though his nightmares, and they begin to explore their mutual attraction, but the tables are turned when Britt faces unwelcome attention from a manipulative art instructor and Sam must come to her defense.

Sam is terrified to reveal the source of his nightmares, sure the truth would shatter his complicated relationship with Britt, but when she suffers an unspeakable trauma of her own, only Sam can help her pick up the pieces.

When Britt learns the magnitude of Sam’s lies, will his reasons and the depth of their feelings be enough to allow her to forgive him? Does she have a future with Sam, or does his deception also include the reality of changing teams?

Writer Wednesday: The Award and Preorder Edition #fantasy #romance #boxedset @InDTaleMagazine @limitlessbooks

Big news – The Virgin Queen has been nominated for a RONE! Voting in that category begins May 1st, and you must register here to vote. And if you haven’t yet read The Virgin Queen, the ebook is currently on sale for 99 cents across all platforms!

virgin_queen_final-draft_text2   Amazon –> http://amzn.to/2oLpi6m

B&N –> TVQ@B&N








Voting runs until May 7th, so be sure you cast your vote early!

The Changes series is now a boxed set! You can read all about Britt and Sam, Astrid and Donnie, and Cindy and Sean in one handy package. The preorder price is 99 cents, but it will increase to $5.99 after the May 2 release date. Get your copy now, and save $5!

Changes Series PREORDER

Preorder here —-> http://amzn.to/2p3DbPC

That’s all for now – and don’t forget to vote!


Friday Fun: New Covers For #Changes #fridayfun #teamlimitless #romance #NA @limitlessbooks

It’s no secret that the publisher of my contemporary romance series, Limitless Books, is awesome. Since the third installment, Changing Fate, will release on March 28, they thought it was a fine time to update the covers.

Without further ado, here they are:


I think they look great! What do you think?



Writer Wednesday: NaNo Check In, And Release Dates for Changing Fate and Gallowglass! #WriterWednesday #NaNoWriMo #goals #amwriting

It’s Day 16 of NaNo! If you’re writing your 1667 words per day (the minimum daily word count to stay on track to reach 50k by November 30), by now you have written 26,672 words.

My current word count is 16,998. I’m not exactly killing it this time around.

That low word count begs the question, what’s going on? I win NaNo EVERY year. Usually, I hit the 50k mark around the three week mark, and gloat like a gloatasaurus rex all over the internet. To call this situation is perplexing is an understatement.

As for what’s impeding my progress, a few things happened. I had to reevaluate the publishing timeline for my Parthalan series, and complete a massive re-edit ASAP. That took up the first week of November, which put me behind in my word count but moved my series forward. All in all, that was a good trade.

Having put out that fire, I got into my WIP…and right around the 6k mark, the plot went off the rails. It didn’t deviate all that far, and it’s definitely fixable. This story is one that I’ve wanted to write for years, and I will definitely see it completed. Could I fix it and still hit my 50k goal? Probably. But, then something happened.

Something kind of awesome.

Out of the blue, I was hit with the most fricken’ amazing idea ever. It’s a YA, and I never write YA, so that in itself is exciting. It takes place in Ireland, and there are mermaids and lost cities and surfing. I haven’t had this much fun writing in years, and even though I’m 10k behind, I don’t care. I am going to finish this story, and then I’m going to edit and revise it to perfection. Who cares if it doesn’t hit 50k by November 30? No one, that’s who.

My confidence is bolstered by the fact that my previous NaNo projects have fared well. My 2014 NaNo, Changing Teams, released last November, and the third in the series, Changing Fate, will release on March 28, 2017. And my 2013 project, Gallowglass, will release on June 6, 2017.


To sum up, keep working on your WIP, no matter where you are in your word count. To steal NaNo’s motto, the word needs your novel.

Have you encountered some NaNo setbacks? How did you work around them? Tell us in the comments!


Get Changing Teams here: http://amzn.to/2f5PDcZ


And the sequel, Changing Scenes: http://amzn.to/2giKSPC

Writer Wednesday: It’s Time To Talk About NaNoWriMo #writerwednesday #amwriting #NaNoWriMo

Here we are on the last day of August, with summer winding down and the kids returning to school. Right now I’m looking ahead to November, specifically NaNoWriMo.


I’ve written about NaNo before, but here’s a description in a nutshell: You write a first draft of a novel (50,000 words, which breaks down to 1,667 words per day) in 30 days, during the month of November. Hence, National Novel Writing Month = NaNoWriMo. Sounds daunting, right? Actually, it’s totally doable, and I should know. I’ve been participating in NaNo for years, and I always make my word count. My personal best is 66k in 19 days, but there were a few extenuating circumstances there: I didn’t pay my cable bill, and I had no internet for half the month. It was a wonder Facebook survived without me.

Lesson the first: reducing/eliminating distractions has a positive effect on word count.

The other tip I can’t stress enough is getting all of your pre-work out of the way before November 1. What is pre-work? Well, your outline, for one. Also, if your story concept needs any sort of research–be it places, dates, obscure languages–do it now. when November 1 hits you want to hit the ground running, not get bogged down reading semi-factual Wikipedia pages.

Lesson the second: research now, write like the dickens later.

Something else I do to keep me on track is engage a NaNo buddy. Your buddy can help you by critiquing plot points, helping you out when the story hits a rough patch, or just by commiserating and sheering you on. My NaNo buddy this year is Barry *waves* and we’ve already had a few chat sessions to talk about our projects. He’s working on a horror novel with a fricken’ AWESOME concept, and I’m going to cobble together a retelling of Medusa and other Greek myths. Which means that our projects will never, ever be in competition for the same venue. Side benefit!

Lesson the third: get a support group/person/houseplant. There’s no need to go it alone!

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is tough, but any serious writer can make this goal. If you feel like you need a challenge to get yourself back on track, or just want to revel in writing something new, I say give NaNo a go. You might surprise yourself.

afe12-frontOh, and that 66k I wrote in 19 days? It’s a real book – Changing Teams! Check it out here!


See that, if I can win NaNo, and get the resulting project published, you can too 🙂


Are you planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Tell me in the comments!



What People Are Saying About Changing Teams @LimitlessBooks #Romance #Contemporary #NYC

Now available

This week has inundated me with great reviews for Changing Teams! Here are a few of my favorites:

From Cutting Muse Blog Review – Laura and Makayla Redmon: “I really enjoyed reading this story! I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading anything like it, which makes it unique in my book!”

From Suzanne Talkington: “Overall, I found this book a lot of fun. I laughed, wanted to yell and almost cried at some points. Character build was great as well as the story’s flow. The side characters are amazing. Solid 4 ½ stars!!”

From Bella’s blog: “The characters were well developed and quite engaging .I really enjoyed the point of view the way it was split in two ,because it totally defined everything really clearly . And it was easier for us the reads to get the inside story of both of those characters ,specially their thoughts and motivations. The chemistry between these two was instant and it just continued to grow until it sealed them together”

Have you gotten your copy? http://amzn.to/28SmFGO



CHANGING TEAMS – #Free Today only! #romance #Kindle #ebook


Click to purchase: http://amzn.to/1SL28UF

That’s right, the contemporary romance that started it all is free today only! Get your copy before the price goes up.


What if you met the man of your dreams… And found out he was living a lie?

The sequel, Changing Scenes, available now: http://amzn.to/23ALhLL