April 11, 2012 at 3:03 am | Category: blog
You can find the items I’m donating here:
$50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card (One Day Auction)
Another $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
April 11, 2012 at 2:56 am | Category: blog
I want to share this information about best selling romance author LUCY MONROE’s 2012 Reader Fitness Challenge. It’s a great idea and you can win prizes, too! Full details are available at her website.
The Lucy Monroe Reader Fitness Challenge
April 1 – June 23, 2012
Sign up and tell your friends!
With weekly drawings for FREE workout DVDs and books by Lucy Monroe and other authors!
Names will be drawn from among all registered participants
in the Lucy Monroe Reader Fitness Challenge and prizes
will be shipped to the address given on the
original registration form ONLY.
2011 was my wake-up call to get healthy and I’ve been working hard to improve my lifestyle with better eating and exercise habits to help me become healthier, stronger and happier. I kicked off the year by joining my local Hillsboro Fitness Challenge in January.
Not only have I lost weight and inches, but I have lots more energy and enthusiasm than I’ve had in years! Because you are all such a big part of my life, though for the most part we’ll never meet, I wanted to share this experience with you all – and thus the Lucy Monroe Reader Fitness Challenge was born.
I really can’t wait to share my “after” picture with all of you in June. Know that I’ll be pulling for you and working right along with you as we all do our best to get stronger and healthier in time for summer!
Hugs and blessings on all our endeavors,
Grand Prize for Most Weight Lost*
Nook Simple Touch
First Runner Up for Most Weight Lost
Prize: The Hardback Collection by Lucy Monroe
& Barnes & Noble gift card
(Gift cards provided courtesy of Becke
Martin, Bronwen Evans & Lucy Monroe)
Second Place for Most Weight Lost
Prize: The Children of the Moon Collection
including an ARC of Dragon’s Moon
as soon as they are made available by Berkley.
Third Place for Most Weight Lost
Prize: The Mercenaries Collection
NOTE: Lucy is happy to announce that duplicate prizes for First Runner Up, Second Place and Third Place will be given in each category with original weights of 250 lbs plus, 200 to 249.9 lbs & 199.9 lbs or less.
There are more prizes, too – go to Lucy’s website to get all the details, and join this fabulous challenge!
March 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Category: blog
My friend Kelsey Browning (of Romance University fame) recently hosted a writing prompt contest at her Brain Candy blog. The contest is still running if you want to give it a shot!
Of course, I couldn’t pass up a chance to play with another writing prompt. The entry had to be 250 words or less, not including the word count of this prompt:
Rhona stared at the grave mounded with fresh dirt. Was it true only the good died young?
Here’s my entry:
Having experienced her step-sister’s torment for years, somehow Rhona doubted it. Pammie Sue wouldn’t know good behavior if it bit her on the ass.
Dying at sixteen sucked, but it was hardly a tragedy. The pastor mumbling platitudes over Pammie Sue’s grave had clearly never met her.
“Ding dong, the bitch is dead,” snickered Stephie, Rhona’s best friend. “We should’ve put a stake through her heart to make sure she stays that way.”
“Shhhh!” Rhona shot a quick glance at Terrible Trudy, Pammie Sue’s grief-stricken mother.
Stephie had a point—with her luck, Pammie Sue would be back as a flesh-eating zombie, trailing cemetery dirt through Rhona’s bedroom window in the middle of the night.
Rhona’s dad glared at her.
“Step on my toe, hard,” she whispered. “My dad’s watching. If I don’t shed a tear or two I’ll be grounded for life. Trudy’s almost convinced him I’m possessed by demons.”
Stephie snorted. “What does your father see in her, anyway? Besides the obvious.”
They turned in unison, taking in Trudy’s gargantuan gazongas.
“Men.” Rhona shrugged. “I can’t believe Pammie Sue is dead.”
“Death by toxic hair dye fumes—now that’s a dumb blonde.”
“She left the dye on while was in the closet, talking to lover boy on her cell,” Rhona explained. “In priiiii-vate.”
No need to mention that lover-boy was Rhona’s crush. Or that Rhona had accidentally sat in front of the closet door for half an hour, blocking it.
January 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Category: blog
I’m blogging at Wordplay today – my topic is “What Would Agatha Say?”
January 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Category: blog
This summer, literary agent Janet Reid ran a writing contest – she chose mine as one of her top three!
This was the assignment:
Write a story using 100 words or fewer. Post your entry in the comments column of this blog post. Contest opens on Wednesday 8/3 at noon, runs for 24 hours till noon on Thursday 8/4. If you goof up, you can take a mulligan. The LAST entry is the one that counts.
Use these five words in the story:
This was my entry:
Life was a jelly roll, T-Bone decided.
He drooled a little just looking at it—the damn thing was a fever in his blood. He knew the rule about no table scraps. His master’s voice said it so often the words were a constant echo, giving him a headache.
But was it technically a “scrap” if it was still on the table? Perched on his master’s plate, in fact, while he went for a refill of coffee? He thought not.
“T-Bone! Where’s my jelly roll?”
Jelly roll? he burped. What jelly roll?
January 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Category: blog
I really like writing to prompts – I think they’re great writing exercises because you’re forced to stick to a specific topic and word count.
Here’s an example. At Writer’s Digest, I responded to this prompt:
The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The person next to you turns and quietly whispers in your ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone.”
Here’s my entry – you can add your own at this prompt or others at the Writer’s Digest site.
The plane lifted off the runway and into the air. The Reese Witherspoon wannabe next to me turned and quietly whispered in my ear, “I know I’m supposed to keep this a secret, but I absolutely must tell someone. I’m not going to Vegas to gamble.”
“No?” I knew the type. Ignoring her wouldn’t shut her up. I twisted my lips into an upward curve. “You’re getting married then?”
“Married?” She tittered. “Oh, no, I’m working, actually.” Her drawl stretched the last word into about five syllables.
It took a second for me to realize I was supposed to respond. “Are you a travel agent?” A stab in the dark—she was too wide-eyed to be a hooker or a hotel staffer, and not built to be showgirl.
“If you promise not to tell…” Her squeaky voice dropped an octave. “I’m a reporter, on special assignment to cover FangCom.”
My expression stayed the same as usual—blank. “Do tell.”
“You must have heard of it!” She turned in her seat, facing me. Excitement brought a pink flush to her cheeks, and her breath quickened. My eyes wandered to the blue vein pulsing delicately at the edge of her jaw. “They say there will be real werewolves and vampires there, maybe even shapeshifters.”
“Balls.” The metal armrest bent ever so slightly where my right hand gripped it.
She jerked back. “You’re not a believer?”
“In werewolves? They might have existed years ago, in the far reaches of Europe.” I forced myself to relax. “There are no werewolves today.”
“You sound so sure,” she said, tossing her shaggy blonde hair, “but anything’s possible. For all you know I might be a werewolf. I could show you my claws, if you ask nicely.”
She wasn’t, and she couldn’t.
“Can’t argue with fact. Werewolves no longer exist, and they never did live in North America.” Because shapeshifters abounded on the Continent, and they were territorial cusses.
“Well, if you must be so close-minded,” she huffed, tucking her hair behind her ear. “I might as well read. God help me from people with no imagination.” She dug out the latest issue of Cosmo from her overstuffed handbag.
I had plenty of imagination, that was the problem. With her hair pushed aside, her carotid artery throbbed temptingly close to my mouth. My lips stayed firmly sealed as I ran my tongue over my lengthening incisors.
Pointedly ignoring me, she thumbed the pages slowly, her eyelids drifting shut. Finally, her head dropped against her chest.
The flight was half empty, the air hostesses bored and inattentive. We had hours to go before Las Vegas. Temptation beckoned, and restraint was such a boring virtue.
I leaned over her sleeping form, licking my lips. “I’m supposed to keep this a secret,” I whispered in her ear, “but I feel I should tell you. It’s true—werewolves don’t exist.” I brushed my fangs against her luscious artery. “But vampires do.”
Angling my head, I bit down.
December 3, 2011 at 4:33 am | Category: blog
- 2011 – THE GODDESS OF MICHIGAN AVENUE gets an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Weta Nichols Fiction Writing Contest
- 2010 – NIGHT VISIONS finals in the STAR 2010 Launching A Star contest, Romantic Suspense category
- 2009 – RUBY STILETTO BLUES places Third in OVRWA’s Enchanted Words contest
- 2008 – FINDING DAISY takes Second Place in the Indiana’s Golden Opportunity contest, Romantic Suspense category
- 2008 – OVER EASY comes in Second Place, OVRWA’s Summer Sizzle contest, Spicy category
- 2008 – OVER EASY Ties for Second Place in the Charter Oak Romance Writers’ 2008 Excellence in Writing Contest
- 2008 – OVER EASY Places Third in the 2008 Show Me the Spark! Contest sponsored by the Heartland Romance Authors
Note: OVER EASY was my first story, a contemporary romance with magical elements. I wrote it between December 11, 2007 and January 6, 2008. It needs a lot of revision, but I hope to go back and clean it up one of these days.
The others? Haven’t finished FINDING DAISY, and my critique partners (Rosie, especially) have been after to me to get on it soon.
RUBY STILETTO BLUES, NIGHT VISIONS and THE GODDESS OF MICHIGAN AVENUE are all in various stages of revision. Like OVER EASY, they’re “finished” but not, in my opinion, really complete yet. I’m working on it!
December 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Category: blog
Round about November 11th I realized I had to take a break from revising my current Work-in-Progress.
As a change of pace, I decided to write a Christmas novella, a spin-off of one I wrote in December 2009. (You can read that one on my Books & News page.) I completed it just before midnight last night – I even cut 2,000 surplus words and had one of my critique partners vet it. I’m now in the final round of edits – wish me luck!
Here’s a teaser for LET IT SNOW, a contemporary romance, just under 15K:
Sam Bellamy is a father—give the man a cigar. His baby is fourteen years old, but, hey, he didn’t even know his first love was pregnant when she left him high and dry. Going through his late father’s papers, Sam finds a contract that sends him hightailing from Texas clear to Fair Meadows, Ohio, smack in the middle of a blizzard. A little snow won’t stop him from getting answers, or from finally meeting his kid.
Grace MacAlister made a deal with the devil to save her father from jail. The contract comes back to haunt her, in the tall, tanned form of Sam Bellamy, the man whose daughter she carried. His father insisted she break off all communication or the deal was off. Now Merrie is growing up, and Grace’s tales of an absent father have gone the way of the tooth fairy. The last thing she needs is for Sam, bigger than life, to show up in Fair Meadows, set on claiming his daughter.
Sam wants to make up for lost time and be a good dad to Merrie. All Grace has to do is marry him, and they can head back to San Antone, one big happy family. Being a single mom has toughened Grace up, and she’s not about to fall for Sam’s sweet talk. If he wants to be a father, he can do it in Fair Meadows, on her terms. A Christmas compromise is the only way this star-crossed couple will come together—too bad they’re both too stubborn to budge.
October 22, 2011 at 1:54 am | Category: blog
Okay, if you’re thinking “Debbie Does Dallas,” you’re on the wrong blog. This is a whole different kind of story.
When my daughter was a teenager, she was madly in love with the Backstreet Boys (especially Howie). I could relate, since I felt the same about the Beatles when I was growing up (especially our Pauly). My husband and I never made it to a Beatle concert, so we made every effort to take Jessica, and sometimes her friends, to see BSB in concert. My son, almost four years younger than she is, talks as if he really suffered when we insisted he come along, but we all had a great time.
We did BSB tours of Lexington, KY and Orlando, FL. We brought Mother’s Day flowers to Howie’s mom and met his dad – he passed us on the highway later and honked and waved. The guys in BSB were great, and my husband and I became almost as big fans as Jessica was.
She also liked ‘N Sync, especially Justin Timberlake, and I accompanied her to one of their concerts. On the other end of the spectrum were two friends of hers (whose mothers were friends of mine), who were as crazy about ‘N Sync as Jessica was about BSB.
Jessica and her best friend Brittany were also into fan fiction, especially BSB fan fiction. They knew I was interested in writing, and showed me the sites online. Believe me, those girls (and sometimes boys) were NOT writing G-rated stories!
I was intrigued by the idea and started writing a fan fiction starring Jessica and Brittany and the Backstreet Boys. By the time I finished, it was a novella. I had it printed and bound and gave it to her as part of her 16th birthday present.
And then I sent one of the bound copies to my garden editor as a joke. She received the package at 10:30 in the morning. I got a phone call within the hour.
“I just came out of a meeting where we were told to look for authors who could write with a teenage voice.” She paused. “How would you like to write a book about ‘N Sync?”
I was speechless. (No, really!) “You did see my story was about the Backstreet Boys, right?”
I could picture her nodding vigorously. “Yes, but we already have a book about them. We need a book about ‘N Sync. Do you want to write it?”
“I don’t know a whole lot about them. Can my daughter help?”
And so it began. ‘N Sync was so popular at that time, they were doing interviews by conference calls open only to select journalists. (New York Times, Rolling Stone, that sort of thing.) Even with a big New York publisher behind me, I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to talk to them one on one. So what next?
What came next was a major learning experience. I was advised that previously published interviews can be quoted, with source references, as long as the quote was under a specified number of words. To be safe, we cut that word count by a third. I wasn’t happy about it, though – I wanted our book to be at least somewhat original. Only one drawback – we had less than two months to write it.
It was 1999, but Jessica and Brittany already knew their way around the internet. They set up email loops, contacting fans on all the ‘N Sync fan sites they could find. We put together a questionnaire for any fans who were interested in participating, asking them about their close encounters with the band, their ‘N Sync tattoos and all kinds of random things. We got a huge response, but we wanted more.
Next we spread the word at the high school that all serious ‘N Sync fans were invited for a pizza party at our house. They arrived loaded with ‘N Sync magazines, some imports, some really obscure, and let us pick their brains. We tossed out ideas for quizzes for the book, and tried to come up with questions that hadn’t been used in other books or fan magazines.
The two friends I mentioned earlier turned out to be a great source of information. These fans were hard core (they’re mentioned in the acknowledgements) and they put us on the right track. We were ready to go.
The publisher had its own photo library, and they Fedexed a couple hundred pictures. At that stage no one knew which they were going to end up using, so we had to write captions for them all. Jessica turned out to be more of an ‘N Sync fan than I realized – she could look at a picture and tell at a glance which concert venue it had been shot at. The task of writing captions went to her. It was a lot of work, and my editor agreed to put Jessica on the cover as a co-author. My publisher had just been purchased by Barnes & Noble, and for a brief time Jessica, at age 16, was their youngest author.
I immersed myself in everything ‘N Sync. I read every book, every article, every blog and web interview I could find relating to the band. Finally, right on deadline, we were ready to go.
Somewhere during that process, I had to select a pen name. My real name was on my garden books; this book was COMPLETELY different. I wanted a fun, funky name with a young feel to it. After many, many false starts, I settled on Lexi Martin – using my husband’s first name as my pen-surname. (You may notice I did that trick again when I started to write fiction…)
Long story short, the book came out and it was a success. I was paid a flat fee (and paid Jessica an agreed percentage of my check). It was less than I made from the garden books, but we had so much fun pulling it all together, I didn’t even care.
The highlight for the girls (Jessica, Brittany, and the two friends who were hard-core ‘N Sync fans) was when we were all invited to be on a local TV morning news show. Johnny Bench was in the green room with us prior to the show, and one of the girls’ fathers poked his head in. “Johnny Bench!” The dad was practically speechless. “You don’t understand–this is Johnny Bench!” (He was very nice to us, in spite of the fact none of the girls had ever heard of him.)
We got our pictures in the paper. The high school library and the local library featured copies of the book – and the girls and I all autographed the copies in the school library.
Since I was paid in advance, I never saw the sales figures. A friend in the marketing department told me the book was published in 10,000 copy print runs, and reprinted five times. That sounds like a lot, and I have no idea if it’s true.
The book came out in 2000. Jessica is all grown up now, and has her own blog: Don’t Call Me Jessie. Justin Timberlake is more famous than ever, but most people have forgotten the names of the rest of the band. (Not me!) The Backstreet Boys are back (sort of) and Jessica just bought Howie’s new release.
And here’s a surprise: ‘N Sync by Lexi Martin and Jessica Davis is STILL IN PRINT. You can buy it at Barnes & Noble for $8.98.
Hmmm. Maybe they really did print 50,000 copies…
August 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Category: blog
My son is participating in the Chicago Susan B. Komen Chicagoland Area Run for the Cure fundraiser. His page is here.