Head Above Water

Today’s music Monday is brought to you by Theory of a Deadman and my current story, Bewitching Ways. This song is one of Avalynn’s favorites. It is a good one and of course, I do like TOD so it helps. Hope you enjoy. Feels kind of perfect for a Monday too. Bonus!

I’m going to get back to writing. Have a great week everyone!

First Lines Friday

Openings to books can be so difficult to get right, and as an author you feel satisfied with those first few lines, well…that is worth celebrating and sharing. Here are the first few lines to the book I’m currently working on, Bewitching Ways.

Avalynn hated the dead.

Their souls called to her. It was nothing personal against them. She hadn’t known most of them during their lives. It was the audacity of those beyond the grave wanting to communicate with her that she loathed. Yet even with her discomfort in dealing with the dearly departed, she often found comfort in the cemetery. Go figure.

Flirting with Debora Dennis!

Oooh I am so excited! I’ve known this lovely lady for a few years now and I have to tell you, she is definitely a bright spot along this crazy writing journey. Whether you know and are familiar with her work or not, you are in for a real treat! Help me make her feel welcome!

Moira: Hi Debora! Why don’t you pull up a chair and get comfy. I am so glad to have you visiting today. I hope you are staying warm. Can I offer you a drink? How about a little something for dessert?

 Debora: Coffee and a piece of chocolate cheesecake and I’m set to go!

 Moira: You are in luck. I happen to have those on hand. Now that we are settled in, let’s break the ice! If you were stuck in the middle of the apocalypse and you had three people to help you survive, who would they be?

 Debora: Wow, talk about throwing me right into the fire. I think I’d definitely need Dwayne Johnson and Robert Downey Jr (as Iron Man, of course!) to protect me. Then, because I am always challenged in the kitchen and I’m assuming during the apocalypse I’d be even more up the creek than normal, I’d have to tap Rachel Ray to make sure me and the “boys” are well fed! :)

 Moira: Very good choices. Since you have Dwayne with you, I think I’m going to come along…you know, to make sure he’s well taken care of so he can be effective at protecting you. Now that we know how you intend to survive, tell us a little more about yourself so my readers who haven’t had the privilege of curling up in bed with you—I mean with one of your books!Displaying MuffinsandMistletoe 200x300.jpg

Debora: I’m a native New Yorker and have been an avid romance reader since I first discovered Barbara Cartland on the shelves of my Junior High library. Since discovering romance novels a parade of characters and plots have been marching through my head on a regular basis. Now, many years later, with a supportive husband and family I’m finally free to indulge my fantasy and let all those characters out of my head and onto pages of their own. I don’t believe in sticking to one genre and my stories stretch from spicy time travels to lighthearted contemporaries. Always the optimist and firm believer in love conquers all, every story I write celebrates romance. I can usually be found writing at my computer early in the mornings or late at night with a mug of coffee and a bag of Lindt chocolate truffles keeping me sane.

Moira: Truffles and coffee, I knew there was a reason we got along so well. Any deep, dark, and/or dirty secrets you’d like to share? Trust me, my readers can keep a secret.

Debora: I have a weird obsession with lipstick. I have 5 different shades in my purse all the time, no matter how much I try to rationalize that I will only wear one color at a time, it makes no difference. I also put my lipstick on in the car – always. It’s the first thing I do when I get in the car.

Moira: I’m obsessed with lipgloss so I can totally relate. Shall we talk about why we’re really here? BOOKS! I love books. Can’t seem to get enough of them. So I must know…if I were to buy you a book for your birthday, or just because I’m made of awesome sauce and a good friend, what genre would I need to scour?

 Debora: I’m easy…a romance! Make me swoon and I’m a happy girl.

 Moira: Don’t worry, we’ll keep the easy part under wraps. ;) In this business everyone needs a great support system. So who are your biggest cheerleaders?

 Debora: My family and my awesome critique partners are my biggest cheerleaders.

 Moira: Not that I’m biased or anything, but the awesome critique partners…I totally have to agree with. I’ve heard some authors say they have a love hate relationship with the process. So, tell us what part do you love? What part do you hate?

Debora: I love new beginnings, fleshing out my characters, and plotting…yes, I love the plotting process! I hate revisions and editing, necessary evils I know, but no less painful for me to finish.

 Moira: I love the premise of Muffins and Mistletoe. How did you come up with it?

 Debora: My muffin-making matchmaker started as a very small character in a novel I was working on and put on the back burner for a while. I knew I wanted to develop her character, but I didn’t want her to ever be the main character. Muffins & Mistletoe simply grew around the idea of a bakeshop and gingerbread muffins.

 Moira: Well who doesn’t love a great bakeshop with a side of romance? Tell me, who is your favorite character in Muffins and Mistletoe and why?

Debora: Bitty Crane is my muffin making matchmaker, she’s a secondary character and maybe it’s odd that she’s my favorite, I mean, should my hero and heroine be my favorite? Bitty is fun to write, she’s opinionated and has her nose in everyone’s business, she’s also what holds my series together, she the constant in every story, so maybe it does make sense that I have a certain fondness for her.

 Moira: Make perfect sense to me! Tell us a bit about your latest release and share an excerpt. Pretty please? I have more cheesecake and chocolate! (I’m not above bribing to get what I want)

Debora: Welcome to Starlight Hills! Mountain views, small town charm, and one little bake shop, where romance is always on the menu.

 Christmas is the best time of year to be in love in Starlight Hills. Cold nights perfect for snuggling, plenty of mistletoe to be caught kissing under, and an abundance of gingerbread muffins for sharing under the stars. But when Corinne Mackenzie turns down a proposal from the man she loves at the Thanksgiving table, it could be the worst time of year instead. Convinced the only way to fix the biggest mistake of her life is to enlist the help of the town’s resident matchmaker, she’s got a plan to make this the best Christmas ever.

 After his proposal is rejected in front of family and friends, Jimmy Crane knows his only chance of surviving the holiday is to avoid the woman who stomped on his heart. The only obstacle to his plan is his matchmaking mother and Corinne’s knack for getting him under the mistletoe.

Excerpt:

Corinne stood under the fresh pine roping that hung from the arched entrance to the main hall and took a deep, lung-filling breath. Fragrant real trees stood tall at each side of the arch, glittering with tinsel, white lights and red glass ornaments. She pulled off her gloves with a relieved sigh, letting the scents of Christmas surround her. She was determined not to give in to her personal despair and allow it to squelch a festive holiday mood. After all, she had a plan.

 Mrs. Crane’s blue eyes danced with merriment as she held out the signature yellow bag and gave it a shake. “Good morning, Corinne. Fresh from the oven—I know how you love them warm.”

 ”You do know my weakness, Mrs. Crane.” Corinne tried not to let her mind race ahead and think what a wonderful mother-in-law Bitty Crane would be. Then Corinne thought about her waistline and decided she might be better off without the permanent supply of the woman’s irresistible carbs.

It was hard enough walking by the Itty Bitty Bake Shop every day on her way to work with the tantalizing smells of muffins wafting through the air—having it in the family would be way too tempting.

On the other hand, maybe it was all those carbs that gave Bitty her boundless energy. Always bobbing here and there, dark brown curls framing her cherubic face, her cornflower blue eyes filled with mischief and love. There were no frown lines on her sixty-year-old face, only laugh lines that reached up to her eyes when she winked.

Everyone agreed the annual Preservation Society Holiday Gala would never be the most talked-about event of the season if it weren’t for Bitty Crane and her exuberant dedication.

Corinne looked away from the woman whose eyes reminded her so much of Jimmy’s. While Jimmy had inherited his six-foot-one height from his father, there was no doubt those dancing, all-seeing, soul-searching eyes came from his mother.

She let Bitty take her by the elbow and lead her into the ballroom. “There’s been a slight change in setup plans and so much to do before the gala tomorrow night.”

“That’s why I’m here,” Corinne said with a sigh, trying not to smile as her little white lie slipped easily past her lips. She popped a bite-sized morsel of gingerbread heaven into her mouth while she followed Bitty to the stage. It was difficult to keep her mind off Jimmy when she was so close to his mother, and her mind raced in search of a way to get her to intervene.

Surely his mother had the power to make him listen, didn’t she?

Corinne pulled another piece of muffin from the bag while Bitty pointed to her left. “The rest of the ladies will be here any minute, but why don’t you get started moving these tables off to the side to make room for the—oh, good, Jimmy, you’re here!”

Corinne turned her head so quickly it felt like her neck snapped.

She blinked and he was there, every tall, dark and sexy inch of him, and all she could do was stare. Her inability to speak was thankfully masked by her mouth being stuffed with gingerbread.

Though this was exactly the scenario she’d hoped for, she was grateful her mouth was full of muffin since she couldn’t find the right words anyway. It wasn’t every day one groveled for forgiveness.

Moira: Having read the book and touted it’s awesomeness to friends and family, I’m left with a burning question that I just have to know the answer to—What is next for Debora Dennis?

Debora: 2014 will see two more in the Starlight Hills Holiday Novella series. Cupcakes & Cupid will be out for Valentine’s Day and Wishes & Wedding Cake will be a summer release.

Moria: Fantastic! I can’t wait. Starlight Hills was a lot of fun to spend Christmas in, so I’m really looking forward to spending a few more holidays there. Anything else you care to share before we take this cheesecake and run?

Debora: I love to hear from readers and to connect via social media.

 Visit me online:

 Website: http://www.deboradennis.com

Blog: http://deboradennis.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DeboraDennis

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deboradennis.author

Join the newsletter club to be the first to learn of new releases, enter subscriber only contests and more:

http://deboradennis.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=cb7fea1ab3d5d9671407f704e&id=c948a5fc05

Purchase Muffins and Mistletoe at one of these fine retailers:

Amazonhttp://amzn.com/B00GAMRVV8

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/muffins-mistletoe-debora-dennis/1117267300?ean=2940148802419

 Thanks for stopping by Deb, it’s been a lot of fun! Any questions you’d like to ask Debora? Feel free!

Whiskey

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you are all looking forward to a great week. Me? Well I have Debora Dennis here later this week for a Friday Flirt and that is going to be fun. I love when my critique partners are able to join me on my blog. If you didn’t see the news on Facebook, I contracted another book. Yay! A Soul to Keep was contracted by a new publisher, Hearts Desire Press. I’m really excited about working with them. Other than that, I’m just listening to the music that inspires me to write more stories! Like this one that was introduced to me by the lovely Molly McClain last night. Give it a listen.

2013 In Review

Yes, it is that time again to look back on the year and see how I did against my goals and plan for the new year. This has been a year full of challenges and some serious soul searching with my work and the direction I wanted to take with my writing career. I’ve allowed other things keep me from doing what I love in the past and this year I really struggled to find that work/writing/life balance. Have I figured out the magical potion to make that all happen? Unfortunately, I must answer no. However, I do know that I managed to accomplish a few things that are nothing short of wonderful in my writing career.

  • Published Frost as a holiday novella after expanding it from a short 1500 word story.
  • Finished the first book of the McGregors series and have a contract with Astraea Press.
  • Just finished (literally) the first book in my Saints and Sinners series, A Soul to Keep. This will be heading out to the publisher this evening.
  • Have request for submission for Bewitching Ways which was pitched to Astraea Press during a pitch contest. Very thrilled to potentially have a home for it.

When I look at my short list, I can’t help but feel pleased at what I’ve accomplished this year. It feels like I’m on track. Heading somewhere with this dream. To keep it moving forward, I have to set new goals. Plan for the new year. So what am I looking at for 2014?

  • Finish Bewitching Ways
  • Write the second Moonlight Series book (yes, I realize it is long overdue).
  • Write the second McGregor book. Ian’s story is up next!
  • Write second holiday novella for the Holly Chronicles for release by end of year.

Yes, there are only writing goals on this list. I have specific stories I would like to see completed by end of 2014. If I can achieve more…fantastic. However, as a writer, if I’m not writing then who am I? These are the goals that will help push me forward (well the goals along with the readers and critique partners). What do you have planned to accomplish in the new year?

‘Tis the Season for…

The World Series, Birthdays, Halloween, edits, NaNo preparation (aka plotting), writing, reading, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and dare I say it… one must fit sleeping into the schedule somewhere!

This time of year is always a bit hectic in my world. For some reason, fate had my sister and I having all the kids from the end of August on. Apparently, we like a busy fall and winter. Along with the birthday bashes that will be occurring, we have the World Series coming up and this girl loves some baseball!

      

A Red Sox vs Cardinals Smackdown. Love it! I have some friends in St. Louis who’ve made the playoffs real fun to watch as I swear I’m rooting for the team opposing them (though between us, I’m not. I’m a Rangers fan and they lost the fight so I just watch for the love of the game now).

There are two more weeks and National Novel Writing Month kicks into full gear. The countdown is on for prepping one’s self for this month long marathon. I need to clear my desk. Focus my mind. Harness my writing chi. Plotting must occur, which is a huge undertaking for a writer who typically flies by the seat of her pants when she puts her fingers to the keys. Still, to survive Nano, which I’ll admit I’ve yet to do, one must be prepared.

So far, in preparing for this upcoming whirlwind of writing, I’ve managed to decide what book I will be working on (kind of huge piece of the puzzle), started to loosely plot (and I do mean loosely), worked on finalizing Frost for release, and I’ve worked on getting some pre-edits done on Anything but Safe so I can send that back to the publisher. What will I be focusing my NaNo efforts on? The second book in the McGregor series of course. Yes, I’m fully aware that several readers were hoping for the second Moonlight book and their hearts sank a little. No worries. The second installment of the Moonlight trilogy will be coming, it just takes longer for me to work through than the McGregor books.

Now I’m off to get some work done before I must leave for the day job. There is lot’s happening behind the scenes over here in Moira’s world. ‘Tis the season for a lot of different things. What is on your plate as we stat to kick of the season of food, family, and fun?

Happy Dance!

 

What can I say – I just opened my email and Harry Black gave me some of his lottery winnings. That’s the fourth email I’ve received in the last few days telling me that someone has come into money or left an estate that they wish to share with yours truly. Can’t possibly be a scam right? No that is not really the reason for my post and yes, I really have received those emails.

However, I am doing a happy dance. And yes we are doing this again my lovely Facebook followers. I’m sorry, but how can I not continue the celebration? As an author, finding out a publisher and/or editor gets my story is huge. Even better? When they are as excited to see it reach publication as I was when I wrote ‘The End’. There is an emotional high that follows writing those two little words and it is reignited after hearing back on my submission and it results in a contract offer.

I can honestly say that when I was offered the contract for Anything but Safe, I believe I pulled a full on Calvin and Hobbes happy dance (at least mentally) and didn’t stop until my head hit the pillow. Then it resumed the moment I woke up and is still going on in the back of mind. What’s going on in the front of my mind? Well the next stages of course. Editing, cover art, paperwork, marketing, and writing the second book in the planned series.

In the end, we should see four McGregor books come into existence. Anything but Safe is the intro to only a small part of the family and focuses on Wallace McGregor. He has three siblings and each one of them has a story that is screaming to be told. So, while I keep you informed of all the happenings behind the publication of Anything but Safe, be on the look out for updates on Ian’s story because his story is underway.

In the meantime…join me in the happy dance!

 

 

 

Testing…Testing…

Yes it has really been that kind of year. If you look at the long gaps in my posting, you will see that I have not been very active on my blog. Hopefully, that is all about to change. My little zombies have been feeling a little like mom has little time for them, so I had to take a break to re-connect with what was important. To realign my priorities if you will.

Well, it is still a work in progress, but we’ve worked out a deal of sorts. With school back in the swing of things, when they do homework, mom writes. When they decided that it is time to watch Duck Dynasty or Storage Wars, mom breaks out the tablet to sit with them while they watch television…and I write. When they go to bed…mom writes and gets up early to get some work done as well.

So far, it seems to be working. Slowly, I feel like I am getting back on track. Oh and I pulled out an old young adult vampire book I’d been working on and encouraged to finish, so watch out! Stayed up a little too late last night working on that one and man…yawn…am I tired! Excuse me. Good news is…one work day down and we are already at Hump Day! Whoo hoo! So, Happy Wednesday and here’s to getting back on track!

Through Heart Shaped Glasses

This is a new group blog where eleven very talented ladies who write in different genres of romance come together to share stories, successes, and trials. The blog idea was hatched in my critique group, The Passionate Critters, and it is now live as of … well yesterday.

Each month we will have a theme in which our posts are centered around. To kick off our first month at THSG, we are rolling with the ‘First’ theme. My blog day will be on the 5th of every month and every other day there will be a post from one of my fellow lovely crit partners or even a guest spot. You will want to stop in often to see what craziness we are up to or what we are sharing, but better than that, you will want to stay in tune with the blog because there will also be a monthly give away sponsored by one of our members.

We all see the world a little differently, but we see it through…

and in the end, we are more than just critique partners, we are friends who come together from different walks of life and share a common passion for the written word, coffee, chocolate, and cupcakes! Just click on the little button and be whisked away to a new blog and new adventure. I promise you won’t be sorry!

 

Glass~

I’ve had a contemporary western story that I’d been working on for the better part of a year. It was a give and take book on so many levels. Last night I had the pleasure of typing ‘The End’ and feeling quite pleased with the story I wrote. Now comes the fun part. The polishing and subbing process. Trust me, I will keep you posted of what happens to Wallace’s story and where he ends up. In the meantime, enjoy one of the songs that provided a little inspiration to this tale. Glass by Thompson Square. There is a scene in the book where Cheyenne is listening to this very song and I love the lyrics. And stay tuned because Wallace has three other siblings with stories that need to be told. Hope you enjoy!