Heartbeat Braves FREE January 26-27, 2019

Next weekend Heartbeat Braves is going to be free!

If you or a loved one need a book about sexy urban Indians, your problems are solved.

This is Book One of Four.

When I started, I intended to write four stand-alone romances with a minor background story connecting them. That got away from me. There are unresolved story elements in this book.

Book Four will be out in late spring and wrap up all open storylines.

Here’s the blurb:

There’s never a dull moment at the Crooked Rock Urban Indian Center.

Rayanne Larson knows firsthand the struggles of native people. Working at Crooked Rock gives her the chance to do good work for Indians living in the city. She has high hopes for the Center’s progress until its new leader hands her special project over to his underachieving–and distractingly sexy–nephew.

Henry Grant’s life is going just fine. Though he knows rez life, he’s always been an urban Indian. He has no interest in the Indian Center job his uncle pushes on him. That is until he meets Rayanne. She’s attractive and smart, and like no woman he has ever met.

Rayanne is determined to keep her distance but when the Center faces a crisis, the two of them are forced to work together, and she can no longer ignore the sparks between them.

Here are the purchase links:

Kindle | Nook | Apple | Kobo

The Apple Tree is Finished

This is a before photo of the apple tree. The apple tree was neglected for years. We started getting it pruned and magically, more apples came. They never tasted that great and they weren’t pretty, but I made applesauce every year and we were in compost heaven

The tree has looked a little poorly lately and I fretted about it a bit so this wasn’t a complete surprise. During the ice and snow I had an eye on it but you couldn’t tell from the house. You had to go outside. Fortunately, it didn’t destroy the fence.

Our neighbor wanted the applewood so we gave him some cash and he hauled it all off.

I’m taking it hard. Fruit trees are going into the ground, soon. Maybe.

I have finished a very not-pretty first draft of book #2 this afternoon. It’s due at beta readers in a month so I will be working like crazy to whip it into shape.

Technology Has Been Having Its Way With Me Lately

Last weekend my desktop computer died. It took its time going about it and I wasted most of my writing day trying “one more thing” to get it back up to speed.

I use multiple back-up methods so that wasn’t an issue, although one of the troubleshooting things was to remove Chrome and I was in such a hurry I neglected to save my bookmarks.

New machine arrived and I was able to get up and running on it fairly quickly until I opened my Scrivener document of my work in progress and it was empty. Again, I am good with backing up and I was able to figure out what happened and where to find a back up that was about 98% current but all this technology froofing around has wasted a lot of my measly writing time. I am behind.

I think I said early spring for Book 2. HA!

Pushing it back to early summer. I’ve learned that it’s not that I can’t write that fast. But I can’t that fast without letting down in every other area of my life: friends, family, health, household, work. Not a good plan for the long run.

Meanwhile, this is today’s sourdough loaf. It’s the prettiest loaf I’ve done in awhile. I’ve written posts about how I make bread at my other website. Part 1 and Part 2.

Happy New Year

I keep a haphazard record of all the romance books I read. This is a separate list from all the other books I read. I don’t have a great system for differentiating what is romance and what isn’t. The lists overlap in places. Why even separate the lists, you ask?

Good question. I understand why I do it in my head but I can’t explain it.

I also keep a list of authors or books I want to try because of good reviews or friend recommendations. That list is down to three authors so I’m either on the ball or falling behind on the job.

I’m not the best resource for discovering new books because I’m always behind and reading books that I bought years ago.

According to my list, I read 32 romances. Of those I DNF 6. I’m not sure how accurate that is because I don’t always keep track of the DNFs. Also my rating system is wishy-washy so unless I’m doing backflips about the book or the book doesn’t work for me at all, they’re mushy in the middle.

After that long introduction, these are a few of my favorite books I read last year. If I had more energy I would link but I’ve got about 30 more things on today’s To Do list. You know how to find them.

Nalini Singh — Angel Blood I finally started the Guild Hunter series and loved the first one. I’m so happy that I have so many Nalini Singh books to look forward to.

Kristan Higgins — The Best Man I loved this one, too. I was upset about one scene that I thought was uncharacteristically mean-spirited, but I’m looking forward to reading more from KH, too.

Lisa Kleypas — Secrets of a Summer Night In my list I leave myself notes to help me remember what the story was about. This one I wrote “scene in the train foundry.” I like contemporary better than historical but I loved these characters.

Tessa Dare — A Night to Surrender Another historical but I fell in love with these characters, too, and I loved the humor.

Sarina Bowen — Understatement of the Year and The Fifteenth Minute I finally finished the Ivy Years series. Those were my most reliable books when I needed something I could disappear into quickly. I’m sorry I’m done with that series. She’s got plenty of new stuff so I expect I will read more in 2017.

I also haven’t managed to get to Courtney Milan — Hold Me yet. That’s high on my list, too.

My favorite non-romance books were The Expanse books by James S.A. Corey. I read the first 5 in 2016. I have #6 sitting here and then I have to wait for new ones with everyone else. I also loved The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. Why haven’t I read her before? I’m thrilled to have a huge backlist from her to look forward to.

But first, my main job (besides my day job and keeping the house from falling apart) is to get Crooked Rock Books 2 and 3 out before the end of the year. I set some ambitious goals. We’ll see how I do.

Finding Cover Art

park

I’ve already admitted in the book’s endnotes that the models on the cover are not indigenous. That’s standard stock art.

For my original plan, I envisioned hiring a photographer and taking photos for the first four planned books all at the same time. I had a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and an emergency plan and they all fell through. Most of the problem was finding models.

I had some connections but apparently young people hear “romance novel” and don’t come running forward to get involved.

I figured I could make do with stock photos. If you’ve ever search through stock photography (for example: istockphoto) for indigenous people the selection is not wonderful. Just checking right now, it looks better than the first time I checked. There are great family type photos but after the first screen or two you start getting non-native people dressed up in headdresses and stereo-typical buckskin garb that makes my head hurt to see that even exists.

I had booked the cover artist months in advance so I had to make a decision so we went with the present photo. Holly did a fantastic job. The final project looks great. I was afraid I would be disappointed with it.

I am actively looking pro-quality photos of cute native couples. I’ve you’ve got something, get in touch via the contact form. I’d love to work with you.

These Are All The Things I Need To Do

dahlia0816

  • Finalize manuscript
  • Update the front page
  • Update the FAQ
  • Update everything about this website
  • Remember how to do a newsletter
  • Send out a newsletter
  • Implement early promotion ideas
  • Keep lists of other things as they come up

There have been enough setbacks on this project that I’m tempted to think it’s jinxed. But I’m not going to.

I should fun stuff to share soon.

Any intensive updates to this site are going to have to wait as I am suffering from too much screen time.

Don’t give up. Something soon.

We Have First Draft (Almost)

garden

Garden report: This is the back garden which is loaded with pumpkins because I composted a big bowl of pumpkin seeds. Right now the yard is filled with gold finches who love the sunflowers. I have a couple of green tomatoes about the size of a grape. The beets are ready. We had company today and I made a huge potato salad from backyard potatoes.

I guess I forgot to post last week.

That’s probably because between job, drafting and life I am working about 70 hours a week and I’m frayed around the edges.

The first draft is at 71,000 and I need to go through about 8 more chapters plus check on one story thread before it goes off to the beta readers.

I *still* don’t have a title but I have a few ideas. I also still don’t have cover models but that’s a completely separate problem that I may elaborate on later.

I’m looking forward to hearing from my first readers and finalizing this draft and getting it out in the world.

I’m still on target for mid-October.

Another Three Minute Update

yellow

A question for the FAQ: How old is Shelly?

35

I have been a writing machine. My poor husband saw me once yesterday at the dinner table. Once the draft gets off to beta readers I will have lots of updates. (If you’re interested in beta reading send me a note. I might need one or two more.)

How Do People Do This?

chicago

I was in Chicago last weekend to celebrate a friend’s wedding.

I am full speed ahead on the first draft of the next book which is still without a title.

I even wrote during the wedding weekend.

I can’t spare three brain cells for anything else. I haven’t even read a book in a month.

Updates will continue in this pitiful fashion until the book is done.

Working Titles

rose

It seems like either I have a great title right away or I can’t think of a title to save my life.

When I don’t have a title or a character name I use a place holder. For example, Season of Us was referred to as Save the Dog which is a callback to a popular screenwriting book called Save the Cat.

I do this even with short stories and story ideas so I have zillions of folders on my computer with names like “Scary Monster Thing” or “Auntie gets Lost.” Even if I eventually change the title and the story is published, I keep it the placeholder name in my computer.

I don’t recommend this practice because there are times when I need to find an older piece of writing and I can’t find it because I can’t remember the working title.

I generally don’t have a hard time coming up with names for characters but sometimes I use the name of a person I know as a placeholder. I once was about to submit something when I realized I was still using a real person’s name. And she has a somewhat unusual name and the character had a few similarities with her. I had to come up with a new name fast.

I’ve started the next book. Let’s pencil in mid-October for a release date. More details when I have them.