Epic Team Achievement

…a study in perseverance and teamwork…

I’ll admit that these days, unless it’s a milestone birthday, I don’t go all out for my kids “special days”. I’m a working mom with two jobs, a dirty house, and kids’ activities coming out my ears. They usually have a small sleepover, a family dinner, a store-bought cake, and the presents. (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this…)

But this year, my daughter caught me with her 16th birthday. We started planning but there were some things I wasn’t thinking about. Namely – the cake.

In my naïveté, I thought we’d order a pretty, usually yummy, cake from the local grocery store like we normally do. But Book Worm had other ideas. When asked about the cake, she sent me a YouTube link!

Let’s just say, it took me an hour to watch all of the videos associated with the cake she wanted made. And in her defense, she offered to make it by herself (but we all know how that would reflect on me, her mother – that just wasn’t an option). In the end, I offered to let her assist.

I feel kind of bad, because readers on my Facebook page were like, Great Job Mom! But this really was a team effort. Even my husband pitched in by going to get more ingredients from the store when we needed an emergency extra batch of icing. It took two days, but the final result did not qualify for a Pinterest fail board. Thank you, God!

birthday cake, cake au lait, Book Worm, coffee cake, Italian Buttercream

Lesson learned: Italian buttercream is awesome tasting! But epic birthday cakes are not on my list of things to be repeated – they make my feet hurt too much!

birthday cake, cake au lait, Book Worm, coffee cake, Italian Buttercream

Book 2 in my Small Town Secrets series is about to go live for pre-order! If you haven’t visited the small town of Cadence, TN, try it for free HERE with my novella, SNOW BOUND.


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.

Dublin, Ireland, Dani Wade, vacation
Dani in Dublin, Ireland park

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.  🙂

Dublin, Ireland, Dani Wade, vacation
Store in Dublin, Ireland

If you could take a virtual vacation anywhere at all, where would you go?



Writing and Motherhood

Summer is tough for me—not in the same it was when I was a Stay At Home Mom. Instead of going stir crazy at home with my kids, wondering what they’re doing, how can I arrange for them to have more fun during the summer, and always, always—have I made choices that are shortchanging my kids?

balance, family, writing, romance author, choicesI’m never with them during the weekdays anymore, so I have to ask other people to watch them (which doesn’t always equal fun). I feel guilty for asking other people to take them places, do things with them. When I’m not at the Day Job, I’m trying to write, which is also not fun for them. Though sometimes I take them to things and write while they’re occupied. I try to say “yes” to weekend activities, then feel guilty when I get zero writing done.

Motherhood isn’t just tough, it’s a tug of war.

I never thought I’d resent having to leave someone else with my children every day—I also never understood the guilt that accompanies having no choice but to do that.

What do I give up? Where do I cut back? What does that mean in terms of my writing career? I’m already slow to release my books because of my other obligations.

No one said parenting would be easy. It’s the hardest, most emotional investment I’ve ever made. In the end, the question of whether I’ve made the best choices can’t be answered. Maybe after they’re grown and gone and its too late for me to change anything. But as a counselor friend of mine once said, “The fact that you question yourself makes you a good mother. Some mothers never do.”

What’s the biggest thing you question as a mom?


Take 2 Thursday: Yin Yang by Ella Sheridan

My sister, author Ella Sheridan, posted a blog that echoed mine from April 7th. (Both posted on the same day, with no collaboration–imagine that!) But if my remarks about perfectionism and balance resonated with you, hers most definitely will. Check out The Yin Yang That is My Life.

perfectionism, WIP, yin yang, balance, romance author, Dani Wade, Ella Sheridan

*Above picture courtesy of DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Not Fast. Good.

I’ve gotten in a big rush lately.

It makes sense. My life is chaotic and my To Do List never ends. Sometimes you get in that mode of pushing through to the next task, desperate to simply have something completed. Checking things off a To Do List can be oddly addictive when the tasks seem neverending.

But I recently realized quantity doesn’t equal quality. Or rather, I was reminded.  🙂  I’d forgotten in the mad rush to “complete” things.

That frustrates me. As much as I want Daniel’s book on the virtual shelves, rushing to complete his book won’t result in a good book—a book I can be proud of. My most recent Harlequin, Book 2 in the Mill Town Millionaires series, took longer than I anticipated to finish. To do it (and Daniel’s book) justice, I have to put off releasing the next Backstage Pass book, Settling the Score, until later this Spring.

I’m trying to remember that my current chaotic state won’t last forever. I’d rather please my readers with a good story, rather than a quick read. (Hopefully my readers will agree.)

These are all decisions that have to be made as an Indie writer. Harlequin sets my deadlines for their books. And I know Awesome Editor would put me through another round of revisions if he wasn’t happy with the story. I can do no less for books of which I alone serve as author, publisher, and promoter.

But to make up for the wait, I want to give you a peek at the cover! My newsletter subscribers have already seen it, but they’re the only ones. I’m so thrilled with it! My cover artist, Elizabeth Wallace, has done a fantastic job. The cover echoes the opening scene of the book, when Daniel finally let’s go of years of control and shows Becca exactly what she’s been missing.
Settling The Score, Dani Wade, Backstage Pass series, sexy contemporary romance, rock star heroes, cover reveal

Pretty sexy, huh? I’ll be releasing an excerpt in a few weeks, again first in my newsletter, so be sure to sign up to catch the first sneak peek! And watch here and my FB/Twitter pages for first news on the rescheduled release date.


Takeaway: What’s one thing where you prefer to have quality over quickness?

Take 2 Thursday: Is Your Life Out of Control?

We’ve all been there: dishes are piled up, kids are calling, laundry is growing, and the writing isn’t done… Life can get out of control in the blink of an eye. The question is, what can we learn from it?

Author Kristen Lamb addresses this topic with a cool perspective in Is Your Life Out of Control?


RWA Nationals Preview

Next week is the Romance Writers of America National conference, the ultimate conference in the US for romance writing professionals. It’s THE place to learn, socialize, meet industry professionals, and network. My first RWA National conference was quite a few years ago in New York. I was both nervous and exhilarated at the same time. Five conferences later, that hasn’t changed. Though I feel those same emotions for different reasons.

This year I’ll be meeting my Harlequin editor for the first time, assisting with the RITA awards production, putting faces to the names of my fellow Desire authors, and helping my little sis celebrate her Golden Heart final. I’ll also get to attend as a PAN (Published Authors Network – recognition of an author achieving a certain level of professional sales with her writing) member, my debut year after making PAN with my first Harlequin contract.

But I’ll also get to meet up with authors I only get to see at conference (like my Ruby Slippered Sisters) and hopefully get to go to a workshop or two on topics that aren’t widely available at chapter meetings.

Though attending conference means 4 1/2 days of constant people, along with the stress of being “on” all the time, and even the good stress of catching up and meeting people, these times navigating crowds and learning to pull myself out of my comfort zone have been some of the biggest growth opportunities of my life. They’ve helped this introvert develop better people skills, more confidence, priorities, and learn to accept not being perfect. By Sunday morning I’m exhausted but happy.

So next week I’ll be silent (because I’ll be prepping, then gone), but I hope to return with many, many happy memories and some pictures to share!

Until then, share with us your most exciting/exhausting growing experiences. If you’d attended Nationals, what’s your favorite memory?