That's right! The proposal for the next Mill Town Millionaires is in the hands of Awesome Editor and I'm taking a break from it to get an editing round in for Nate and Sara's story before it goes out to Beta Readers. So Excited!!! Book 4 in the Backstage Pass series has finally been titled: GOIN' OUT SOLO. I'll be sharing snippets on FB and Twitter, so don't forget to tune in! (Hopefully some cover love going on soon, too!)
#MySexySaturday – Beneath the Surface
Welcome to my version of My Sexy Saturday's Sexy Me Down blogs! I knew Emma and Colin were perfect for this week...I hope you agree! Enjoy this excerpt from BENEATH THE SURFACE, Small Town Secrets, Book 1. “Emma,” he breathed, the word almost a groan. He moved as if to reach for her but then dropped back, sliding his hands into the hip pockets of his jeans. “Emma, you have every right to hate me. I can’t tell you how many nights I lay awake, kicking myself because I left you like that. I made a stupid mistake, based on youth and wrong assumptions. If I could take it back, change it, I would.” “Why?” she asked, surprised at the words coming out of her mouth. But the injustice of his actions, her own hurt and pain, pushed her forward. “Why did you do it?” He didn’t pretend not to understand. As he spoke, the heaviness of that night hit her hard. “I made a mistake, Emma. A mistake I’ve been sorry for every day since then. I wish I had walked right in and beat the hell out of all of them. Instead I turned my back on you. Not for long, but a lot could have happened before I walked back in that door. A lot did happen.” As if she were back at that time, she saw the boys surrounding her. Five of them, all grown to man size without the maturity to match. She’d thought she was going to a party, a party she’d been told Colin would be attending. Instead the party had actually been a private one, where a group of boys expected to get something a lot deeper than dancing and a few drinks. When she’d realized what they were after, she’d been appalled. Fear had quickly set in when they’d made it clear they expected her to follow through. Colin’s appearance had been a welcome relief, but he’d taken one look at her in the short skirt and skimpy top her sister had loaned her and turned away in disgust. Her voice came out a husky whisper. “You came back?” Available at: Barnes & Noble Amazon Add it to your To Be Read shelf on Goodreads! Sign up for my author newsletter for news, upcoming releases, contests, AND a free novella, SNOW BOUND (which happens to be part of the Small Town Secrets series too!)! Join today! DON'T FORGET to find more delicious sexy goodness on the other My Sexy Saturday blogs! Click here for the list.
A couple of weeks ago, I packed my bags and headed out of town. No hubby or kids. No girlfriends. No fellow authors. Just me, my computer, and my characters for 4 days. Like a writing retreat, but solo. At first, it always feels a little weird. But I've spent so many years writing out by myself or with author Ella Sheridan than I'm used to it. To feel the complete silence of the hotel room, and know that I wouldn't be interrupted was a relief. I've been pushing pretty hard over the past year, through working with kids in the room, scribbling notes at the day job, pushing through to write in short periods of time where its hard to immerse myself in my characters. Yeah, relief was an understatement. I took Nate and Sara's novella with me. My goal was to finish it, which I didn't. But I made really good progress. Even more important, I was able to sink into the characters and reacquaint myself with them. Spend time thinking about what they would do and say, without the pressure to finish before someone needed something. I think this is a great way to refill our creative well. I talk often about "refilling the well" in terms of renewing our energy, etc., but this is about the creative part of our lives. It reminded me to find ways to reconnect with this part of my life also, which will improve my writing, and also my enjoyment of my writing. That was a happy thing! [caption id="attachment_1061" align="alignleft" width="150"] I wish this was my hotel room. Wouldn't that have been atmospheric?[/caption] Another happy thing is going on today! I'm sharing on 2 other blogs and I hope you will join me. I'm over with the Nice Girls talking about, guess what, refilling the well. :) And my latest hero, Jacob Blackstone (The Blackstone Heir), is being featured on the USA Today Happily Ever After blog with some other chivalrous heroes. What's your happy thing today? Dani
Sorry about the mix-up with the blog posts today! And of course I couldn't fix it because I can't get my phone to do the admin stuff here on Wordpress. But better late than never, right? I do hope y'all enjoy my little treat below! I went on a little writing retreat last week near Nashville, TN (more on that in next week's post). While I was there, I took a little side trip. I'd always wanted to visit Belle Meade Plantation, which is an historic plantation that reached its peak in the horse racing industry. As I learned when I was there, all the thoroughbreds who have run (and won) major races over the last ten years or so can be directly linked to the bloodlines of this farm. How cool! I love this type of thing, especially houses, so the trip was extra fun! My pictures aren't nearly as good as the ones on the website, but here's a bit of what I saw on this cool, windy spring day: [caption id="attachment_1053" align="alignleft" width="300"] Belle Meade Plantation-Main House[/caption] The tour of the house lasted about an hour. What was really interesting was that our tour guides (yes, more than one!) all dressed in period clothing. Each set of rooms had it's own tour guide--all of whom were super knowledgeable and personable. I truly enjoyed listening to their stories about both the house itself and the Harding-Jackson families. [caption id="attachment_1054" align="aligncenter" width="300"] One of the carriages on display in the original stables.[/caption] There were quite a few carriages and sleighs on display in the stable house, with descriptions of how they were driven and what their purposes were. [caption id="attachment_1055" align="alignright" width="224"] This is the dairy on the plantation, which was actually the second largest source of income, behind the thoroughbred stables.[/caption] Touring the grounds allowed me to learn about the dairy business (they were one of the major suppliers of butter and milk to Nashville), one of the original slave cabins, and the mausoleum. The Jubilee project on the grounds chronicles the lives of the 130 slaves who worked the land, and almost half of them that stayed as paid servants after the Civil War. [caption id="attachment_1056" align="alignleft" width="224"] The doll house where children of the family played.[/caption] The grounds had some of the largest magnolia trees I'd ever seen. Considering all the storms we have around here, I'm amazed none of the ones still standing have been split. I bet they are gorgeous in full bloom. [caption id="attachment_1057" align="aligncenter" width="224"] The back entrance to the dairy.[/caption] I also enjoyed the complimentary wine tasting. Though I'm not much of a wine person, they had a couple that I enjoyed, including a blackberry wine that was deliciously sweet. While I enjoyed the tour itself, I almost enjoyed my drive over there more. Because of where my hotel was situated, Google Maps took me through some back roads and quiet neighborhoods to get to my destination. The houses along the way were So Awesome! Both old and new houses were all unusual and fancy. Gorgeous architecture that created scenery all on its own. I just regretted that I had no one to drive so I could take pictures. :) I hope you enjoyed my little trip as much as I like sharing it with you. Have you visited any historic homes? Places you particularly enjoyed? I'd love to hear about them! Dani
We have some unusual weather here in the southern US recently. Our winter storms usually consist of 1 to 2 inches of snow that shut the city roads down for a day or so. This past week we got 8 inches of snow! Once it started coming down, roads were impassable in about an hour. Schools closed – even my evil day job closed (which never happens). Was I excited? Yes! About the snow? Well, it was pretty, so yes. But I was more excited about the time off. Now, I know moms and dads in different circumstances weren’t as happy. My hubby, who has days off during the week, wasn't nearly as thrilled about more time spent with family. Poor thing, he's born the brunt of bad weather and sick children lately. But to me, the snow days were a gift. Here's why: 1. First and foremost, I hate driving in bad conditions. Closing everything down removes the worry that I would miss any more work because I was afraid to drive on the snowy roads. Not good, for my nerves, or for surrounding vehicles. (Aside rant: People who complain about Southerners not driving in snow should be thanking their lucky stars instead! Do they really want to be on the icy roads with someone that inexperienced and scared?) 2. I get some unexpected SPACE to play with my writing. Whether it's catching up on words or just thinking, brainstorming, I can do it. Without guilt. Guilt comes in all forms and from all sources – evil day job, kids, hubby, family, etc. even from a dirty house. 3. It serves as a reminder to do fun things with my kids. We don't do a lot of “playing”. Most days, I work; they play. But with this unhindered time, I do extra things like take a long walk in the snow with my daughter, or build a horrible rendition of a snowman with my family. [caption id="attachment_1029" align="aligncenter" width="225"] It's a Reader Snowman![/caption] That's just a few of my southern writerly thoughts on Snow Days. What about you? Yay! Or boo! Dani
Musical Blast from the Past
Music provides a large amount of inspiration for me. I listen to music a lot, and often wake up with a song playing in my head. (I just hope it's one that doesn't annoy me. Nothing worse than a bad ear worm!) Every one of my books has a theme song or playlist. I use them to zero in on a particular character’s motivation or state of mind. Music also sets the mood for certain scenes or conversations. Recently I ran into a snag with Nate's book (Backstage Pass Book 4) and realized that the heroine, Sara, didn't have her own song. So I started going through my music. Usually, I'll run across something that will just click, and I know it's right. But nothing came up for Sara. Then one morning, I woke up with a song running through my head – one I hadn't heard in many years, but I instantly knew it was Sara’s theme. http://youtu.be/bhWEI6-_w9E Love this! Not slow or sad. Even though Sara’s past has granted her the right to be those things, she chooses to focus on the present. Working hard and enjoying life – preferably with the man who has treated her like a little sister for years. Here's hoping she gets him for an eternity, not just the weekend that he's offering. What's your favorite "old school" song? Dani
This time I’m torturing straightlaced, uber planner Jacob Blackstone has his life mapped out… His detour with impulsive KC Gatlin was a wild aberration…until he found out that she gave birth to his child. #bookrelease "I WANT MY SON." When Jacob Blackstone sees his former flame holding a baby with the Blackstone blond curls, the Southern millionaire knows the child is his. But why would down-on-her-luck bartender KC Gatlin keep Jacob's heir a secret? Now the bachelor who wanted a family on his own terms must rush to convince the fiercely protective beauty he's daddy material. KC must tell Jacob the truth about why she kept his son from him or risk losing her beloved baby. When the gorgeous mill owner suggests a trial run at domesticity, she can't resist. But is true love part of this baby deal? Follow the journey of the founding family of Black Hills, South Carolina. Amazon B&N Harlequin
Beat Stress: Take a Virtual Vacation
Sis and I were having a texting meltdown after she'd had one of THOSE days. You know the kind. When everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Yeah, THOSE days. These conversations make me feel kind of helpless, because there's not much I can say to help – and I feel like I should help. Without thinking, I finally told her to go online, and look at pictures from the place that she was vacationing at later this year. To imagine herself being there, and how much she was going to enjoy it. [caption id="attachment_1003" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Dani in Dublin, Ireland park[/caption] It wasn't until then that I realized I've been doing exactly the same thing for a month. I got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted to go on a little weekend writing retreat, all by my lonesome, sometime this spring. While hubby was completely agreeable, the decision will rest on the same thing it always does – finances. So I have no idea if I will get to go, but I've been searching online for hotels, places to eat, walking trails – and with each picture, I feel calm and happy. That may be sad to some, but I consider it to be self–medicating — without the happy pill. I can take that trip any day. :) [caption id="attachment_1004" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Store in Dublin, Ireland[/caption] If you could take a virtual vacation anywhere at all, where would you go? Dani
I’m not hooked on a lot of television series anymore. Between jobs and dreaming up stories, I just don’t have the time to watch a lot of tv. And I don’t let myself take the time because, frankly, I love it. J I could spend all my free time watching other people’s stories. But there are a few series I’m still hooked too. I try to watch them on Netflix when I can fit them into other things. I’m in love with Criminal Minds, with that smart team and sexy heroes. I’ve also been roped into Supernatural, thanks to Book Worm. The thing I love about series is the recurring characters—it gives me a chance to know more and more about them. I love the same thing about book series. I’ve written 2 Indie series now, which still have books in the works. I started my first with Harlequin last August, the Mill Town Millionaires. The second will release in a few short weeks. THE BLACKSTONE HEIR is the story of Jacob Blackstone, and the son he didn’t know he had with the woman he thought was all wrong for him. Boy, does he learn differently! I’m also working with my editor on Jacob’s twin, Lucas Blackstone’s book. Can’t wait! Do you have a favorite book or tv series you’re obsessing over right now? Share (I could always use a new obsession!). Dani THE BLACKSTONE HEIR, Mill Town Millionaires Book 3 Available for Pre-order Now. "I WANT MY SON." When Jacob Blackstone sees his former flame holding a baby with the Blackstone blond curls, the Southern millionaire knows the child is his. But why would down-on-her-luck bartender KC Gatlin keep Jacob's heir a secret? Now the bachelor who wanted a family on his own terms must rush to convince the fiercely protective beauty he's daddy material. KC must tell Jacob the truth about why she kept his son from him or risk losing her beloved baby. When the gorgeous mill owner suggests a trial run at domesticity, she can't resist. But is true love part of this baby deal?