Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Elvis Book Giveaway!


A lot of you know that I love Elvis. I have since I was a little girl and my grandma used to play his records on her record player. I'd sit in the floor next to the speakers and be lulled to sleep by his smooth voice.

When I decided to write a book series set in Memphis, I HAD to tie Elvis in somehow:


In All Shook Up, the main character works at Graceland. The characters even run in the Elvis Week 5K that I run each year!

In Can't Help Falling in Love, one of the characters has some interesting Elvis memorabilia.

Such fun to put a little Elvis into those books!

And since today would've been his birthday, I'll celebrate by giving away a set of books to one lucky winner!

To enter, just leave a comment telling me your favorite Elvis song/movie/story and be sure to leave your email address. I'll choose a winner on FRIDAY, JANUARY 11.




Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Be Present


I struggle each new year to do a proper amount of reflection versus a proper amount of looking forward. And once again, I've come up with a "word" for the year. Actually "words" is more appropriate:

BE PRESENT

Maybe I should call it my new mantra or something, I don't know. But whatever I call it, I know it is how I want to live the next 12 months.

I've spent a LOT of time over the past few years not being fully present in my life. I've spent an awful lot of time thinking ahead to the next item on my "to do" list or being sidetracked by an email or text message when what I should be doing is focusing on the PERSON in front of me. That MUST change.

Looking back over 2012, I have to say it's been a pretty good year.

Highlights:

1. Six book releases this calendar year. It's been a real roller coaster. That I don't plan to repeat. :) Seriously, I've been thrilled with each release, but there has been a price. I'm not going to lie...I burned out. I cried and moaned and complained and swore that I couldn't do it. In the end I did. I learned that sometimes being a "real" writer means sitting at the desk until it is done. Even when it hurts. Even when your eyes go bad and you have to get glasses (which I did). Even when you have to say "no" to a lot of fun stuff. So I learned a lesson. Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD. Note to self: set limits. Life is really not a race.

2. Wonderful times with friends and family. There have been concerts (Willie Nelson, Celtic Woman, Carrie Underwood, The Civil Wars, Huey Lewis and the News) and get togethers. There has been a lot of laughter and a lot of stories shared and a lot of yummy food consumed. I am blessed beyond belief by the wonderful people in my life.

3. I ran 4 races this year and although I'm slow, I'm developing a real love for running. Wonders never cease!

4. I'm back in a marketing role at my job. Pausing here to say that loving your job makes your whole life better...

Goals for 2013 (besides BE PRESENT):

1. Continue to run. I say it every year...but I'm so hoping to do a half marathon. We'll see if this is my "lucky" year.

2. Learn to relax. I take things WAY TOO SERIOUSLY. At least I know it though, right?

3. Travel. 2012 is the first year in a long time that I didn't travel much. (quick trip to Dallas, but that's about it) I am hoping 2013 will be full of new places and adventures.

4. Organize my house. (side note: I am a clutter bug and paper seems to multiply around me)Is it terribly wrong that sometimes I pray that God will let me end up marrying some fabulously organized man who will love to keep me organized and yet still be able to put up with the inevitable clutter I will collect? A girl can dream...

5. Read for pleasure. I miss reading. I just don't get to do it as often as I used to. My shelves are FULL of wonderful looking books just waiting for me to open them.

6. Write something new. And by "new" I mean in a different genre. Not that I'm leaving romance behind...just that I'd love to try something else. I have many, many stories in my head just waiting to come out...and SOON.

So there you have it. My "welcome 2013" post. New years are always a bit daunting to me. Full of wonder. Filled to the brim with the unknown. I have a love/hate relationship with that. Because I know there will be some wonderfully amazing things that will happen this year. And there will also be some horrible, heart wrenching things. Reminds me of Ecclesiastes. There will be a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

And I suppose that is exactly the way it is supposed to be.

Happy New Year, friends. May 2013 be your best year yet!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Release Day for Love Finds You at Home for Christmas


It's release day for Love Finds You at Home for Christmas and I'm so excited for y'all to read it!

There are 2 stories in the book--one historical and one contemporary. I wrote the historical, entitled Sweet Southern Christmas, and the fabulous Gwen Ford Faulkenberry wrote Small Town Christmas.

Our stories are related--the same family, just years apart.

Very fun!

Romantic Times Book Reviews gave it 4 stars and had this to say: Here is a wonderful book by two gifted authors. Both stories hold a common thread with the Hamilton family and the small-town feel of Arkansas. The book gives the reader a feel for true holiday sentiments, friendship and delightful romances.

To read the first chapter and order your own copy, click here!


Check back soon for the "story behind the story" and for a book giveaway!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Memphis Moments Series News



So last week was Elvis Week in Memphis--always a fun time. For the third year in a row, I ran in the Elvis Week 5K. The race starts and ends at the gates of Graceland. Such fun!

Me, after the race.
Some of you may know that I've written 2 books in what I call the "Memphis Moments" series. The first one, All Shook Up, released earlier in the year. Unless you are a member of the Harlequin Heartsong Presents Book Club, finding a copy has been VERY DIFFICULT. The next book in the series, Can't Help Falling In Love, released a couple of weeks ago. Again...if you aren't a member of the book club, you haven't had the opportunity to purchase a copy. 

I finally have the information on how you can get a copy of your own!! You can call Harlequin Reader Services at  1-800-873-8635 and tell them the name of the titles you'd like to purchase.

I happen to think these 2 books are worth the read...so please call and order your copy ASAP! Here are the covers and blurbs:


All Shook Up: Suzanne Simpson's life seemed perfect--nothing tied her down. A rental home with a yard for her dog, a job at Graceland she could leave at a moment's notice, and a long-distance boyfriend she could turn away without regret. It was exactly what she wanted: no commitments whatsoever.

Until Nick Taggart came along. Suddenly the "safe" guy who wanted no commitments either was the very one she couldn't lot go. But when his past holds him back, she must face her own hurt to discover the life and love she never knew she needed.


Can't Help Falling in Love: For the past few years, Emily Madden has devoted her life to her work as a nurse at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital--partly as a way to lessen her grief over losing her sister to childhood cancer. Love isn't on her agenda. But after she meets Andrew Beckett, the uncle of her favorite patient, she's surprised by how much she enjoys his company.

Andrew isn't in Tennessee for love. He's there to help his niece fight a hard battle against the cancer raging through her. Then he meets Emily and can't seem to keep from thinking of her.

As Emily and Andrew's friendship grows into something more, can they find the courage to face what holds them back? Will Andrew be able to forgive himself for a past tragedy and accept forgiveness and love? And will Emily allow herself to let go of a long-held quest to fulfill her sister's dreams and chase the dreams of her own heart?

Now for the fun! Since it has been so difficult to find copies of these books, I'll give away 3 sets of books! Here's how to enter:

Tell me the most exciting/fun/interesting/happy thing you did this summer! Leave your comment and your email address anytime between now and midnight Thursday, August 23. I'll draw for winners and mail books on Friday!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

On a Break


Arnie has no problem relaxing...even on my laptop!
I'm a huge FRIENDS fan. I own the whole series and still watch even though I can pretty much say the dialogue along with the characters. Remember when Ross and Rachel were "on a break" and that became something of a catch phrase?

Well that's kind of where I am right now.

On a break.

Me and writing. We are on a break.

See, I've taken on too much over the past few years. This year alone, I have 6 published works releasing.

That means I've been on a constant deadline for a very long time. And that was a real blessing--I'm fully aware of that. I've been so blessed to get the opportunity to write those books. I love each of them dearly and can't wait for readers to read them. I've loved (almost) every minute of it, except for those long sleepless nights toward the end of each deadline when I fear that I've lost the ability to write.

But a few months ago, I took a hard look at my life--and I didn't like what I saw. My super wise grandmother told me that she feared I was WRITING about life instead of LIVING it.

Yikes.

And the truth is, she was right.

Somewhere along the way, between working full time for NFT and writing on a constant deadline, I'd become a shell of a person. I regularly missed family dinners and get togethers and reunions with my friends. I rarely went anywhere. My excuse? "I have to work. Sorry. Maybe next time."

Even worse, I realized that when I did get together with my family and friends, I WASN'T PRESENT. Not really. My body was there, but my mind was with my manuscript. The tension that I carried with me, knowing I was running behind (as I always was) on a deadline prevented me from really enjoying those moments.

There was always a little piece of me that thought if I wasn't at work, then I should be writing. Or editing. Or working on galleys.

And that piece kept me from being fully present in my own life.

From fully being able to have a good time and live in the moment.

How awful!

So I'm on a break. Sure, I have galleys for two more books that will be due soon, but other than that, I'm taking some time off. Time to live. Time to enjoy life. Time to unpack my house that still has boxes in every room because I haven't had time to unpack even though I moved months ago.

So for a couple of months, I'm on a break. A friend told me recently that I needed to learn to relax. You know what? That is exactly right. I don't relax very well because I always have this idea that there is something else I should be doing.

So I'm going to  take time to smell the roses. I'm going to sit in my backyard and read books. I'm going to watch movies. I'm going to paint my kitchen. I'm taking a tap and ballet class for fun. I'm going to cook new recipes. I'm going to spend more time with my family and see my friends as much as possible. I'm going to stop taking myself so seriously and laugh a little bit more.

And when I come back to my laptop, things are going to change. I'm not going to let myself get overloaded again. I'm going to be more selective when it comes to saying 'yes' to projects. Even better, I'm certain my little self-imposed sabbatical will make my future books better.

I think I'll come back inspired and eager to get back to work. I already have some book ideas brewing in my head that I'm sure will need to come out soon.

But for now...

I'm on a break.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Release Day for Rainbow's End


My newest release is in stores and available online now--including on Kindle and Nook!

Rainbow's End is a fun collection written by four authors (Valerie Comer, Cara Putman, Nicole O'Dell and me) and centers around the Rainbow's End Treasure Hunt, a geocaching hunt that lasts for two months near Missouri's beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. The book contains four stories that run concurrently. Very fun!

Here's the back copy:

It's always an interesting group of strangers who show up for the annual Rainbow's Ed geocache hunt, and the spectacular scenery along the bluffs of the Lake of the Ozarks is just one reason...

Lyssa, hoping she can get over her fears and point folks to the treasure found in Jesus, is startled to find her former college professor among the group. Will he upset her mission?

City girl Madison is annoyed that her sister signed her up and then bailed--but now she's been paired with a complete stranger! Worse, he's one of those outdoorsy types.

Reagan has always played it safe, doing everything by the book. And then she meets her brother's frat brother, a guy who's got his life mapped out, too.

After winning her life-long battle to get fit, Hadley can't wait to meet people who didn't know her "before." But Brad is that species of guy she has no experience with: a player.

God only knows if this adventure in the woods will lead to heartache...or love.

My story in the collection is Beneath the Surface:

When Madison Wallace’s sister signs the two of them up to participate in the Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt, Madison is less than thrilled. She isn’t the most outdoorsy girl in the world, so spending two months traipsing around the Ozarks isn’t her idea of fun. Especially when her sister has to back out at the last minute. Grant Simmons loves the outdoors. He jumps at the chance to participate in the treasure hunt with his grandfather, but when the elderly man’s health takes a turn for the worse, Grant is without a partner. When Madison and Grant find themselves teamed up for the treasure hunt, their differences quickly rise to the surface. Will Madison be able to break through Grant’s walls and get him to open up? Can Grant look past Madison’s polished exterior to see that beneath the surface is a heart of gold? If these polar opposites can find common ground, they might find a love worth treasuring.

To celebrate the release of Rainbow's End, my co-authors and I are over on Seekerville today talking about the process of writing the collection as well as giving away some copies! Hope you'll stop by and check it out!




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Signings and Other Fun News!


I'll be signing books on Saturday, April 28, from 1-3 p.m., at the LifeWay Christian Store in Jonesboro, Arkansas. It should be a great day and they've even put A Wedding to Remember in Charleston, South Carolina on sale for the event!

Please stop by if you live in the Jonesboro area. The LifeWay Store is across from the Mall at Turtle Creek.

In other news, Rainbow's End is starting to ship from Amazon. Four stories, four authors--all centering around the Rainbow's End Geocaching Treasure Hunt. It's such a fun book and my novella, Beneath the Surface, was a blast to write!

As you know...I think a book release is a lot like a first date--I developed that theory when my third book came out. Rainbow's End is my eighth release and I still stand by that idea!

More about Rainbow's End later--it deserves it's own post where I'll confess how my own life served as part of the inspiration for my story.




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