MEANT TO BE

Big Sale All January Long!

on January 12, 2015

My publisher has decided that one book on sale in a month is not enough. And who am I to complain??

MTB High ResFor the entire month of January, MEANT TO BE, book 1 in the Anchor Island Series is on sale for the low-low price of only $1.99. That makes this a great time to jump into the series from the very beginning. Especially if you joined the fun with a later book and never got around to the first. Now is your chance to get a great deal on this one.

 

But wait, there’s more! (This does sort of read like an infomercial, so why not go all the way, right?)

Osburn_HometoStay_front_cvr_FINAL

HOME TO STAY, book 3 in the series, is ALSO on sale all month, and this one is just $2.00. (Why the extra penny? No idea. Still a great deal.) This one is for those who started with the series but never got around to the later books. (Totally understand. I do this ALL the time. If only there were more hours in the day. Sigh.) 

So that’s TWO books on sale for $2.00 or less during the month of January. Crazy, I know, but a good kind of crazy.

Music Monday and Cheap Books

on November 25, 2013

Let’s get the business out of the way first. MEANT TO BE, the first book in the Anchor Island Series is the featured Kindle Love Stories title all this week, which means it is currently on sale for the low low price of just $0.99. That’s a full length novel, that so happens to be a former Amazon #1 bestseller, for less than a dollar.

If you haven’t read it yet, now is the perfect time. (And don’t forget to tell your friends!)

Now on to the music.

I heard a new song a couple weeks ago on our local alternative station, and thought I’d found a new band. Kiddo promptly informed me these guys are not new, but they’re new to me and I’m guessing will be to most of you.

Arctic Monkeys are a British Indie rock band that’s been around for more than ten years, and quite successful across the pond. I’m not sure how to describe their sound, but there’s a hefty bluesy tone to everything I’ve found, which I adore. A solid beat with amazing vocals provided by a voice that doesn’t sound like anyone else (kudos to lead singer Alex Turner.) They’re sort of a laid back Fall Out Boy with a hint of Justin Timberlake experimentation.

Whatever it is, I like it.

 

 

What do you think?

Not Always Meant To Be

on June 4, 2013

Warning: I’m going to begin this blog with an overused pop culture reference. Apologies in advance.

This one time at band camp, some friends and I played with a Ouija board. Since this was a Catholic high school band, this an even stranger event than it seems on the surface. If you’ve never played with a Ouija board, I’ll give a brief description. The board is covered in letters, numbers, and some short words (think yes and no) and there’s a small plastic triangle with a round window in the middle. Two people lay their fingers lightly on the sides of the triangle, someone asks a question, and allegedly the spirits move the plastic to answer.

So what did a bunch of 13 year old girls ask? Well, about boys, of course. (I know. You’re shocked. Stay with me, it gets better.)

When it was my turn, I asked, “Who will I marry?” The plastic triangle moved over the initials D and O and I spent the rest of the day trying to think of what last names started with an O so I’d be prepared for the new moniker.

Two disclaimers. I was not moving the little plastic piece, nor did it feel as if my friend on the other side were doing so. And I did not know a boy with the initials DO. However, nine years later I would move to Nashville on a whim and within 48 hours of arriving, meet a man by these initials. Just over two years later, I would marry him.

*cue Twilight Zone music

I’m not writing this blog to back up the validity of a game sold in the toy aisle as something mystic. (Though I also see no reason to temMeant To Bept fate and welcome such a thing into my house these days.) My point here is that I asked the wrong question. What I should have asked is “With what man am I meant to be?”

Okay, I wouldn’t have asked with proper grammar, but whatever. You see, DO wasn’t my meant to be, and in my debut novel, Beth Chandler is engaged to a man who is also not her meant to be. But she does find him by the end of the book. Actually, she finds him in the first chapter, but it takes a couple hundred pages for the truth to hit them both.

I often wondered what the board would have told me if I’d asked the right question. It was pretty accurate on what I did ask, so I can’t help but think the answer was right there, at my 13 year old fingertips, and I missed it.

Have you found your meant to be? If so, how did you do it? Every played with a Ouija board? Would you?

ONE WEEK!

on May 14, 2013

Sharlene pictureI realize there has been a pattern of increased panic and whining in my recent blogs, but oddly enough, one week before my debut novel goes on sale, I’m incredibly calm.

Who’d a thunk this would happen? Certainly not me.

A great boon has been the wonderful reviews I’m getting on Goodreads. I cannot thank these readers enough. They’ve taken a chance on a new author and truly gotten the story and loved my characters. And best of all, they’re telling their friends!

We authors talk a lot about marketing and publicity, blog tours and placement ads. But there is no better way to sell books than by word of mouth. By one reader loving your work and telling a friend. It’s something you can’t pay for or arrange, it just has to happen.

So thank you to those readers who have spread the good word about my book. I’d give you all a hug if I could. No matter what happens when this book is released, I’m already blessed with happy readers. Two, five, or twenty, it doesn’t matter. They enjoyed the book and that’s all I ever wanted.

Hold On Till May

on May 1, 2013

MTB PROMO CARDHow could it possibly be May already? I’m not ready for May. It was April 1st just ten minutes ago. I had well over six weeks the last time I looked at my watch. Now I have less than three until the release date for MEANT TO BE and I’m getting that same overwhelming feeling I had when giving birth to my daughter was imminent.

Thankfully, this birth will be less painful (even if the labor lasted more than a year rather than 14 hours.) Then again, I had really good drugs for the last one. Is there such a thing as an author release date epidural??

Maybe I will pick up that bottle of cake flavored vodka tonight. I don’t actually drink, but anything cake flavored is worth making an exception for.

Oh, this just gave me an idea. Someone should throw a new book shower for authors. We could register at places like Staples and Vistaprint, then guests would just fill the orders and we’d have all the pens and notepads, magnets and doo-dads we’d need. Who’s going to throw me a shower? Anyone? Bueller?

Fine. So it’s May and I have guest blogs to write and interview questions to answer and today kicks off a new giveaway over on Goodreads. Between now and release day (May 21) you can enter to win one of five signed copies of MEANT TO BE. No purchase necessary, just click and you’re in. Easy peasy.

Mustn’t forget our newsletter winner for the month of April. Thanks to Random.org, Rebecca Rankin is the lucky winner of a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed ARC of MEANT TO BE. Congratulations, Rebecca, and if you didn’t win, there will be more chances to come. I’m giving away another $25 gift card for May, along with a signed final copy of the book. Then I’m thinking June will be jewelry. (I’ve been on Etsy today. Good stuff!)

I’m going to apologize now as there is no doubt I will be completely useless, and possibly highly annoying, by the 21st of this month. My brain (or what’s left of it) has already taken off for warmer, less stressful climes. Don’t even mention the stress eating. On a good day, I float through on a sea of denial. On a bad day, I want to crawl out of my skin and burst into tears.

Here’s hoping for more good days than bad days. (As I’ve yet to receive my first review, it could go either way.)

PS: This title of this blog is for my daughter. It’s the name of an awesome Pierce The Veil song that you should check out here.

PPS: Book 2 in the Anchor Island Series, UP TO THE CHALLENGE, is now available for preorder on Amazon. Release date is Jan 21, 2014. 

Less Than Six Weeks and Contest News

on April 11, 2013

Feels like jusSTRESS EATINGt yesterday the release date for MEANT TO BE was six months away, and now it’s less than six weeks. Know what that means?

Stress eating.

I’m chowing my way through sleeves of Ritz crackers while working on book 3 in the series. Yes, that’s right. I’m writing book 3 when book 1 isn’t even out yet. This publishing thing is a crazy world.

So for fun, I thought I’d share the first line of each book. Mind you, the first line of book 3 is very new, unedited, and subject to change. But here we go.

MEANT TMeant To BeO BE – Book 1 in Anchor Island Series

Why did this godforsaken island have to be in the middle of the damn water?

UP TO THE CHALLENGE – Book 2 in Anchor Island Series

Sid Navarro considered calling a nurse to remove the stick of righteous indignation from Lucas Dempsey’s ass.

HOME TO STAY – Book 3 in Anchor Island Series

Will Parsons stared at the sliver of plastic sporting two parallel pink lines as if it were a cockroach who’d reared its tentacle-covered head and uttered the words, “You killed my father, prepare to die.”

The series in a nut shell.  What do you think?

I want to thank everyone who entered the giveaway of MEANT TO BE over on Goodreads. More than a thousand people entered, with 500 adding the book to their to-read shelf. Could not be more excited and appreciative of everyone over there.

The winners (as selected by Goodreads) are Cristina Arpin of Florida, Erika Kraus of California, and Gaetan C. of Canada. My first international winner! These books will go out this weekend, but never fear, there’s always more to win around here.

I’m still giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed Advance Reader Copy of MEANT TO BE monthly to one lucky newsletter subscriber. Not subscribed? Sign up today on my Home page. (Email addresses are NEVER shared or sold. Ever.) I also like to do random giveaways on my Facebook page, especially on Fridays. Like my page today and you could be a winner tomorrow.

Excerpts and Other Updates

on February 5, 2013

MEANT TO BE, the first in my Anchor Island series, comes out May 21 and that means life is about to get crazy. Okay, so it was already crazy. Crazier then. The cover should be ready for public viewing any day now (can’t wait!), but now we have a blurb up on Amazon and I’ve added an excerpt to my website. Want to read the opening scene to get a taste of the story? Go here.

UP TO THE CHALLENGE, book 2 in the series, is almost ready for my editor, but an excerpt of that one is also available on my website. Sid Navarro is the heroine of this book, and she might be my favorite character to write ever. (Not that I’ve written hundreds, but still.) She’s tiny and tough, feisty and ferocious. There’s nothing girly about her, yet she has a heart of gold she keeps hidden under a hard-as-nails outer shell.

Watching (and helping) Lucas Dempsey break through that shell has been so much fun. He had some tough lessons to learn along the way, but like all great heroes, he comes around in the end. If you’d like to step into Sid’s head for a few pages, go here and read the excerpt for book 2.

All very exciting, right? But wait, there’s more!

Thanks to my lovely editor, book 3 in the series now has a title. HOME TO STAY brings a little mystery to Anchor Island.

Willow Parsons, or Will to her friends, isn’t looking for love on Anchor Island. In fact, she can’t even think about a future while she’s still running from the past. But Randy Navarro manages to slip behind her walls and give her a reason to stop running. Until her past shows up and threatens to ruin everything. Does she run or will the family she’s made on Anchor help her defeat the demon ex for good?

Sounds ominous, but there will still be lots of laughs, a Zen master hero who is roughly the size of a barn, and all the characters you’ll have grown to love in the first two books. With a couple new ones added to the mix.

I can’t wait to share this series with readers. If you want MEANT TO BE the moment it’s available, go to Amazon and preorder now. (Just click on the title to go straight to the site.)

Monumental Moment In My Writing Career

on January 25, 2013

UTtC storyboardFor every book I write, I create a storyboard. Around that storyboard, I post inspirational images for the characters, setting, or even a specific scene. I’m convinced I couldn’t write a book without a storyboard, which is what makes last night a monumental moment in my writing career. You see, so long as a book is still in process, the board stays up. I have three of them on my bedroom walls. (The one for book 2 in the Anchor Island series is to the right.)

Make that had.

When you’re a writer and still trying to sell, your books are always in process. You’re always revising or thinking of revising or it’s put away to be revamped in a year. No matter when you get around to it, you’ll need that storyboard. Well, I will. Which is why a board has never come down… until now.

MTB post itsMEANT TO BE will hit shelves in May and as of right now, it’s pretty much done. I get one more pass at it but for all intents and purposes, the book is as done as it will ever be. And that is weird. The picture to the left is what’s left of that storyboard. There are about 40 (or more) post its there. Seems odd to throw them away.

I’ve never had to watch my child leave the nest, but I’m guessing this is how it must feel. Not sure if I’m happy or sad or just nostalgic for the characters. Good thing I get to spend two more books with them (even if in lesser roles.)

From the reader stand point, have you ever gotten to the end of a book and not wanted to leave those characters? (I know many would just dive back in and read the book again, but I’m not a re-reader.) I have felt this many times. Mostly with the families that Nora Roberts created over the years. From Ireland to the Chesapeake Bay to Three Sisters Island. I could have stayed in those worlds forever.

The Book That Will Not End

on January 16, 2013

I’ve been working on this story (UP TO THE CHALLENGE Book 2 in Anchor Island series) since last summer and the end is so close, I can see it shining bright and happy in the distance. But that distance is the problem. The more I write, the more the distance seems to grow.

If you aren’t a writer, you’re probably thinking, “Why can’t she just end it if she wants to end it?” Oh, if only it were that easy. You see, the story ends when it ends and I really don’t have much say in that. Sounds strange, I know. I definitely would have considered a statement like that quite loony before undertaking this writing gig myself.

But this is also good. At least for me. You see, I’m not very good at writing endings. Most writers hate the middle, but I love it. That slide into THE END is the one that gives me fits. I tend to pull my punches, get through the ugly black moment as quickly as possible, have them make up, and BOOM we’re done.

You see the problem here. For some readers, that black moment is the best part. That’s the scene they’ve been dying to reach, the pay off for the time they’ve given to the story. You can’t rob the reader of that angst and heartbreak. At least not too many times before they stop bothering with you at all.

So I’m looking at this as progress. It’s taking this long because I’m not pulling punches and rushing. And in the end, the book will be better if I let it fall onto the page how it will. Still 4 or 5 scenes from the end, all riddled with angst and a couple should induce tears if I write them as I imagine them in my head. (One sad tears and the other happy tears.)

I will hit THE END by Sunday. That is my self-imposed deadline. Which is really non-negotiable since my contract-induced deadline is six weeks after that. In the meantime, the cover for my debut novel MEANT TO BE is under construction. I’ve seen a potential version and can I just say, THIS IS SO EXCITING! As I typed to my editor, “It’s a book. With my name on it. Heh.”

Understated much? Do you read for the black moments? The blacker the better? Is the happily-ever-after as satisfying if the heartbreak isn’t dark enough?

PS: Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to be in the drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. I’m giving away one a month now through May. (Can only win once and card delivered electronically.) Sign up on my Home page.

Next Big Thing Blog Hop

on November 28, 2012

I was tagged by the lovely and talented Kat Cantrell to participate in The Next Big Thing series. Last week she posted about her debut release, MARRIAGE WITH BENEFITS, which you can read about here.

The Next Big Thing is a blog hop of sorts wherein someone is given the opportunity to answer ten questions about their current WIP. They then tag four more people, who will post about their respective WIPs the following week and pass this invitation on to four more writers to keep The Next Big Thing going.

I’ve invited the following people to participate (I too had difficulty finding four)–Joan Kayse, Tina Glasneck and Marnee Bailey. And now, on to the questions!

What is the title of your book?

MEANT TO BE

Where did the idea come from for the book?

As usually happens, the lead characters of this story showed up in my brain just as I was nodding off to sleep one night nearly five years ago. The hero showed with his full name and let me know he was attracted to the woman engaged to marry his brother. I think this was shortly after I’d seen Dan In Real Life so that movie played a part, I’m sure.

What genre does your book fall under?

This book is a Single Title Contemporary

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Luke Danes - Scott PattersonI’ve never been able to find an actor or model who really looks like my hero, Joe Dempsey, but his character was greatly inspired by the character of Luke Danes on Gilmore Girls. So I guess Scott Patterson would have to be cast in the role. (Joe wears the flannel but not the backward ballcap.)

 

Evangeline LillyBeth Chandler is the epitome of the all-American girl-next-door so finding the right actress was hard. But this picture of Evangeline Lilly is perfect. Beth has green eyes instead of hazel, but the hair and face are almost exactly how I picture Beth in my mind.

 

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
Life gets complicated when Beth Chandler takes a seemingly innocent trip to meet her future in-laws and ends up falling in love with her fiancé’s brother. (I should add here that I’m terrible at this sort of thing!)

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

My book is represented by the Spencerhill Associates literary agency and will be published late spring 2013 by Montlake Romance.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The rough draft of this one took seven months then the initial revisions took just over two months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.
I’m terrible about making comparisons with my book because it feels almost sacrilegious to even consider my work in the same category as my favorite authors. But if I have to, I’d have to go with author styles instead of specific books. Kind of Jodi Thomas meets Susan Elizabeth Phillips with a hint of Jill Shalvis minus the uber-sexy alphas.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The characters are always my inspiration. They walk into my life and in no time I begin to care about them. I want to take this journey to love with them. To help them reach their HEA. It’s a ride with definite ups and downs, but I’m always happy I came along.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

This story takes place on fictional Anchor Island, which is completely based on a real place. Ocracoke Island is located at the base of the Outer Banks off the North Carolina coast. The lighthouse, the street names, and most importantly the charmingly simple lifestyle on display in the book are exactly what you’ll find if you ever vacation on Ocracoke. You will not find the Dempsey family, but you will find the restaurant that inspired Dempsey’s Bar & Grill. So if you decide to take an east coast vacation and you’re looking for a quiet, out-of-the-way destination, book a stay on Ocracoke and be sure to visit Howard’s Pub while you’re there.

You never know. You might find a hunky fishing boat captain of your own.

And as a little something extra, here’s a blurb:

Lifelong people-pleaser Beth Chandler will do anything to make a good impression on her future in-laws, including defy her fear of boats to make the ferry crossing required to meet them.  Lucky for her, a lovable mutt and his tall, sexy, blue-eyed owner provide enough distraction to subdue her paralyzing panic attack. But Beth’s human tranquilizer turns out to be her future brother-in-law, Joe Dempsey, and their instant attraction is both unwelcome and undeniable.

Joe expects his brother’s fiancé to follow the materialistic, blond-bimbo stereotype that is Lucas’ usual fare. Chestnut haired, sweet natured Beth doesn’t fit the part, but she does fit him and his island better than any woman he’s ever met. Though the men haven’t been close for years, Joe would never put the moves on his brother’s fiancé. That means Beth is off limits, no matter how much he wants her.

When a demanding case pulls Lucas back to the city, Beth begins to realize her fiancé is already married – to his work. Are solitary nights and mind-numbing dinner parties really what she wants for her future? Torn between loyalty to Lucas and her growing feelings for Joe, Beth begins to rethink her choices and consider a future different from the one laid out before her. One that includes an island, a dog, and a man she can never have.