A Year of Enjoyment

I had a hard time titling this post, because the trips I’m discussing don’t fall under a single label. This fall I got to take 2 precious trips-small by other people’s standards but big to me-and I wanted to share that beauty with you.

Were they enjoyable? Of course! Relaxing? Definitely! But more than anything, they are precious memories that I savor as I attempt to calm the chaos in my life.


The first was a trip to the Smoky Mountains-a girls’ trip, to be exact. I go every year with these particular women. Since we’re all authors, we write. We brainstorm. Talk shop. Share about our families, what’s going well and not so well.


But we also play board games and laugh, which is good-I don’t laugh often enough. And we try to do something we’ve never done together before just for the sheer fun of doing it. This year we went to an Escape Room (and made it out with 20 minutes to spare!).

Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity
Marrying Mr. Darcy
Marrying Mr. Darcy


As if that wasn’t fun enough, I also got to visit Cade’s Cove this year! I’ve been nearby before, but never made the trek over there. Absolutely gorgeous!



Just a few weeks later, I went with my husband to a cabin on the lake for the weekend. We haven’t been away alone together in many years, so this was a very special treat.



Its so wonderful to discover that after 20 years + we can still have interesting conversations, similar interests, and the ability to simply rest in each other’s presence. It was a quiet, reaffirming weekend.

What’s the most peaceful time you’ve had lately?


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Writers Beware! This is a plotting method book that I’m trying to learn. I was already a plotter (so the pants were already long gone), so I’m hoping to add a little streamlining to my process. The book is quick, but not necessarily easy. If you’re interested in stepping up your plotting process, this book is perfect for you!


I just turned in the proposal for my first Savannah Sisters trilogy, which will start next year with Harlequin Desire! I’ll be working on that, in addition to a short story that I hope to release next year.

Reining in the Billionaire, Dani Wade, Harlequin DesireThe start of my upcoming Kentucky Harrington brothers is now up for pre-order! Check it out on Amazon and B&N.


A Year of…Movement

Making excuses burns ZERO calories per hour…

Fit is not a Destination, it’s a way of life…

I’ve often likened myself to a potato with legs. I’m not kidding. I’m simply a round woman in the middle, but my arms and legs are muscular and strong. Now I’m in my 40s and have fought several extensive health issues for more than a decade. It’s exhausting.

karate, exercise, active author, family
My son and I at one of our karate tests.

I started a karate class a year and a half ago, and proudly reached the level of green belt. I was finally making some headway when my husband got very sick last year and was diagnosed with Crohn’s after several hospital visits and a major surgery.

His care and juggling my family derailed me hard. If you’ve ever taken a break from exercise, you know how difficult it is to get started again. I’ve had quite a few starts and stops, but I have no excuse now not to be moving, except…it’s hard…and hot as Hades here in the South. But I determined to get moving, even if it was just a little at a time. I’m back in karate as often as my children’s commitments will allow (why do middle school football games have to be on Thursday nights??? And why must the band actually attend???). But I’m also doing a few other things:

  1. I have a very sedentary desk job. I used to try to stand for at least an hour per day and lift my keyboard/monitor with boxes. Then we got a new 2 monitor system with very short cords… But I’ve decided that even if I can’t stand for an hour, anything over 5 minutes is better than nothing. So anything that doesn’t require me to be staring at my computer screen is now a standing activity: opening mail, adding checks, checking batches… Some days it might only be 5 minutes, some days closer to 45, but its what I can manage without $500 for the type of standing desk that would lift 2 monitors.
Hoola hoop, exercise, active author
My custom Hoola Hoop!
  1. Hoola Hoop! Recently I got involved in a very unusual challenge. Some author friends and our kids went to a local art community and there was a woman selling hoola hoops. These weren’t just any hoops-they varied in weight and size so you could find the hoop that worked best for you (yes, the woman’s day job is as a research scientist. We have a lot of nerdy types here in northern Alabama.) Just trying it out was So Much Fun! So I splurged and bought one for my daughter and I to share. Now author Kimberly Lang and I are involved in a month-long Hoola Hoop Challenge on FB that you can cheer along HERE. We’ve started at 10 minutes per day and will be working our way up (don’t scoff-have YOU ever tried to hoola hoop for 10 minutes? It ain’t easy!)

Writing Playground, Hoola Hoops,  exercise

Once it cools down here, I can get back on the elliptical machine. I love it, but the garage is over 100 degrees during the day right now. But I know, as well as y’all do, that the more activity I can get in, the healthier I will be. It also helps calm my overactive brain, helps me focus and sleep better, and relieves stress better than anything else!

So what kind of exercise are you into? What keeps you the most motivated to move?


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What I’m Reading This Month

Hold You Against Me, Skye Warren, erotic romanceHold You Against Me by Skye Warren

Ah, the author who makes me like First Person Perspective.  🙂 I’m really not a first person reader, but I read one of Skye’s books for a book club and I’ve been hooked ever since. Her books are sexy, edgy, and make you holler “Oh, no he didn’t!”.  Dark, but exciting enough to make you gasp. Not for the faint of heart.

What I’m Writing This Month

Expecting his Secret Heir, Mill Town Millionaires, Harlequin Desire, Dani Wade, PassionThis month has been a hodge podge of administrative tasks (I’m getting ready for EXPECTING HIS SECRET HEIR’s release in September, plus the start of a promotional push for my Backstage Pass books the same month.), finishing up the draft of my first Savannah novella, editing REINING IN THE BILLIONAIRE, and writing on REIN’s sequel (currently untitled). So yeah…a little of this…a little of that…

A Year of Change

The only person you are destined to become is the person you

decide to be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

This summer, I turned 42, so I guess I was due for my midlife crisis.

Not that the dissatisfaction is new, but for some reason my birthday brought it to the forefront for me. My life is in utter chaos, overcrowded and exhausting. I looked around at the hundreds of things wanting my attention and thought – I simply don’t want to be here.

That’s sad. I mean, I have a loving husband, two great kids, a nice house, a steady day job, and I get to write too? What’s wrong with that?

All the “other” stuff that went along with the good things and my own perfectionism that has pressured me into rushing and pushing myself – now the well of my soul is bone dry.

Butterfly, romance author, creativity, refilling the well
Since I’m not the type to run away with the circus…or Channing Tatum… I decided to take the bull by the horns and actually carve a life out of my existence instead of letting it run me into the ground. I know this isn’t going to happen immediately…it’s a process that will happen over time and with deliberate action.

Why am I sharing this on the World Wide Web?

~Well, this is my page and I choose to be authentic here rather than putting on a fake, happy face.

~As an author, I process things by writing about them. I try to write morning pages (see Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way), but I also like sharing what I learn. Maybe I can help someone else along the way.

~But also, it will mean some changes around here. I’ll only be blogging once a month, putting out a newsletter quarterly and probably producing fewer Indie books. That doesn’t mean I’m not around—just check out my Facebook page to realize I’m still hanging out—but I want you to know the WHY. Authors aren’t superhumans—I’m not Supermom, Wife Extraordinaire, and I can’t juggle a million things successfully. I’m just me.

I’m working on a lot of changes and I hope to share some of the inside I gain with each of you. Thanks for your support and continuing to hang around.


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What I’m Reading This Month

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert, Creativity, Reading, Book Lover

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve listened to the podcasts associated with this book on iTunes and started following Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook. I find her posts deep and insightful and hope this book will encourage my creative live. So far, I’m really enjoying it! Recommended for creative types!

What I’m Working on This Month

quill, writing, romance author

Edits for the first Kentucky book— now titled REINING IN THE BILLIONAIRE—will arrive any day now.

I just finished a proposal for Kentucky Book 2! Woot!

Until edits arrive, I’m playing with the fun novella that I hope to release some day as a group of 4. They’re set in Savannah – one of my favorite places. You can see my inspiration on my Savannah Pinterest board and my #SaucySaturday post today over on the NGWN blog about Savannah as a sexy setting. And yes, this is a step in having and enjoying my life. My life will always include writing, but I need some writing that doesn’t have a ton of pressure. That’s why this one is for “fun” and has no deadline.  🙂 I’ll keep y’all updated.

Pinterest: Yay or Nay?

I adore pictures. Sometimes I love them more than words, because they inspire a multitude of stories and ideas in my writer’s brain.

I resisted joining Pinterest for a long time. First there was the whole legal, copyright issues. Then I convince myself that I didn’t need the time suck (I knew what to temptation it would be, from the beginning.)

Pinterest, author fun, pictures

Then I saw one of my author friends, Andrea Laurence’s, Pinterest boards for her books. She creates them the same way I do bulletin boards for my stories – and even better, the links can be submitted to my publisher with my art fact sheet for help with cover creation and ad copy.

So I created my Dani Wade account, and I found it both fun and inspiring. Contrary to my earlier worries, I don’t spend a huge amount of time there (because I simply don’t have it to spend) but when I’m plotting or looking for inspiration, I’ll create new boards and have a flurry of new pins.


It’s fun. Sometimes, in the pressure to perform as an author, it’s a relief to have something that’s fun and relieves stress, rather than creating stress.

Same with the rest of life, huh? So what about you? Yay or Nay? Are you a visual person? What media inspires your thoughts and fantasies?



#amwriting 2 books at once

I’m in the home stretch of 2 projects—which is making sleep a rare commodity around here. Both are drafts.

#amwriting, romance author, first drafts


BEHIND THE SCARS, Small Town Secrets Book 2, which I’ve been promising to my beta reader since November…before life intervened.

DUET 1, working title for my next promised Harlequin project. I’m well over halfway on this one and making steady progress, which is good because it’s due at the end of the month.

writing, fireplace, staying warm

Oh, and production for the release of BEHIND THE SCARS and the upcoming BACKSTAGE PASS ANTHOLOGY is moving right along!

So bear with me, dear readers, and pray I finish with at least some hair left on my head…


Cold Weather Soup Recipe

It’s finally cold here in Alabama. 🙂 Perfect soup weather.

Now, I love creamy soups, but usually have to skip them because of loads of white flour for thickening that doesn’t play well with my health issues.

But while hubby had to be on his liquids only diet, I searched for a cream soup I could use to make cream of vegetable soup for him, and found this one on FoodNetwork.com that is thickened with potato!

It’s really good, but if the flavor of onion bothers you, you might want to cut the amount used in half. Use it to make any veggie soup you like! It makes a great broccoli and cheese soup. Or add more potato for a creamy potato soup. Sometimes we just add bacon and cheese. 🙂

cream soup, winter, keep warm, vegetable soup
3 TBS unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 cups water or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups steamed vegetables, i.e. carrots, broccoli, spinach, or peas
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender without browning. Stir in diced potato and liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer until potato is tender. Stir in your steamed vegetable of choice and return to a simmer. Puree the soup in batches in a blender and return to saucepan. Leave 1 cup of vegetables not pureed if a chunkier soup is preferred (this can also be achieved by using a stick blender). Season soup with salt and pepper and finish with heavy cream. Serve warm with french bread and a salad.

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchens

What’s your favorite soup for winter?


Sneak Peek: Kentucky Hero #1

I love it when a new year just happens to coincide with a new book. I’m starting a new duet series for Harlequin about two brothers who receive an unexpected inheritance, and are determined to start their very own racing stables in Kentucky horse country – and the women who stand in their way.

The first story features the younger Harrington brother, and boy, do I have some yummy inspiration for Mason:

Harlequin Desire, sexy man, stable, Kentucky horse farm, Dani Wade


sexy man in bath, Harlequin Desire, Dani Wade, Kentucky horse farm

Now I just need pictures for EvaMarie, the debutante he lost after her father discovered her with Mason – who wasn’t good enough as the ranch hand. This song is perfect for him – then and now.

Hot, huh?