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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

And Now We're Complete...

So here I am, sitting at my desk and feeling a big sigh of relief.  Why?  No, the construction is not done on my house.  My weasel of a builder is sort of playing an annoying game of text-tag with us and we've yet to get an answer from him on how they are going to fix the problem that they made worse!  But I digress...

So today is the release day for "Stay With Me"/"More of Me" duo.  This now means that ALL of the Montgomery books (that have been written - wink, wink!) are available in paperback AND ebook!!  YIPPEE!!!  I love seeing them all on the shelves together.  I love that more people are reading this series than before!  And if all goes as planned, the audio versions will be out this summer!!

The next book in the series won't be out until December and it will be Zach and Gabriella's story.  If you've read "Meant for You" then you should know that these two are ready for a book of their own!!  And I have to tell you, out of all the Montgomery books, I honestly think that Zach's story is my favorite.  I know it's not right to pick a favorite amongst your babies but there it is.  :)

We're working on cover ideas now for that one too and as soon as I have one, you know I'll be sharing it here!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

But how will it end???

When I get an idea for a new book, the ending is really a no-brainer.  They live happily ever after.  But I don't really consider that the ending.  For me, the ending is really those last 10,000-15,000 words where our hero and heroine have their black moment before they can reconcile and have that happily ever after.  Sometimes it's easy.  Others?  Not so much.

The road to happily ever after is never easy in a romance and if it is - and this is just my opinion - the story is boring.  I don't want to invest hours of quality reading time into a story where everyone is happy and in love from the first page to the last.  I need emotion.  I need drams.  I want to feel SOMETHING!!  But writing that road is sometimes a huge struggle.

So the thing that's changed for me
the most since I stopped indie publishing is that I now have a team of people who read my work and pretty much review it and say "yah" or "nay" to what's there.  I have the option to over-ride their suggestions but for the most part, I take their advice.  The problem I'm having with the story I'm working on is that I had a very dark black moment planned for this couple.  And yet as I was writing, I could hear my editorial team in my head already telling me it's too dark or too much or not right.

I hate when that happens.

So which way do I go?  Do I give this story the dark moment and then have to rewrite it or do I try to find a way to tone it down and hope that it doesn't get changed?  I just don't know!  I literally am about 8,000 words away from my goal word count as of right now.  Which means that I'll go over in order for the story to play out without feeling rushed. 

And that's another pet-peeve of mine - I hate a rushed ending.  When an authors puts so much time and effort into creating a beautiful relationship within the pages of a book and makes the reader fall in love with the characters and you build up to the agonizingly emotional dark moment, don't wrap it all up in three pages and a happily ever after.  That makes me crazy!!!  If you spent 80,000 words crafting this story and giving us all of the emotion and turmoil, how can you possibly wrap it all up in a thousand words or less??  It's not right and it's not fair to the reader!  Wouldn't life be great if everything just got resolved that quickly???

So I want to do justice for this couple.  I want to give them their moment, their emotion, their redemption. 

Now it's back to sitting and staring at the wall in hopes for inspiration...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

She's totally not impressed...

In case you didn't know, I am the proud owner of a pug.  Maylene.  She is sassy and adorable and pretty much thinks that she rules the home.

And she kind of does.

I love this dog like I never thought I would love a pet and the cruel irony in it all?  She is totally NOT impressed at all.  I love on her and pamper her and just seeing her makes me smile and this is the response I usually get:

Not even looking at me.

Oh, I called her name.  I blew kisses.  I whistled.  I even spoke in a firm, commanding voice like the trainer taught me to.  And this was what I got.  This was the next response:

Looking just beyond me.  I know pugs are a bit stubborn but...come on!  Why won't this dog look at me???  You know when she DOES look at me??  When I'm working and typing and completely in the zone.  Then she sits next to me and just stares.

Either she's completely clueless or she's some sort of evil genius.  I haven't decided which.

Friday, April 17, 2015

All that remains is the need to breathe...

So remember a few weeks ago when I talked about the construction going on in my home?  Well...what a nightmare!!  After NINE days of being covered in dust and plastic, they work crew claimed to be done.  The only problem?  They weren't.  And if anything, they made matters worse.  I don't even know how that's possible.

The ceilings look WORSE than they did before and there was a thick coating of dust on just about every surface in my home even though they had covered everything.  So the builder sent in a cleaning crew and got at least that taken care of.  Now we have to decide what to do with what we were left with construction-wise.

Oh, and my need to breathe.

That's right, thanks to this bang-up job I have developed asthma!  At my age, that is just one big annoyance!  I can't breathe.  All I do is cough.  And none of the meds and inhalers (with the exception of the steroids) seem to help.  I'm a mess.

And angry.

I mean, all I wanted was to have my ceilings be smooth and flat like every other ceiling on the planet.  That's not too much to ask, right?  Obviously it is and now my builder is ignoring me.  He doesn't answer my calls or texts.  Clearly he doesn't know who he's dealing with.  I am the QUEEN of writing complaint letters to corporate offices to get results.  I hate to rat the guy out, but he's kind of not leaving me a choice.

This may end up in a book at some point - he'll be the weasely contractor that gets fired and a new, HOT contractor comes in to sweep our heroine off her feet?  What do you think?  Actually, we have a hot contractor coming up in August in the first Shaughnessy book, "Made for Us".   Aidan owns his own construction company and he is obsessive about the quality of craftsmanship he and his crew put out there.  Zoe is a decorator working with him who has the same kind of work ethic and yet they clash a lot on the job site.  It makes for a very fun (and sexy!) relationship with some great bantering.  But in the real world - or at least in my current world - that is so not the case!!  Although, I'm married to my own sexy contractor and that does tend to make things a whole lot better.

 And who can forget the very sexy Sawyer from "A Touch of Heaven"?  He was very yummy.  And he was also very conscientious of his quality of work and making sure the homeowners got what they wanted.  Why don't guys like this really exist in real life???  Where is my Aidan?  Or my Sawyer??  Meanwhile, my poor husband is having to clean up the mess these guys made of our home and he's not happy about it.

Neither are my lungs. 

Any nightmare contractor stories?  Ever been stuck in a mess like this?  Any home remedies so I can breathe again?  I'm open for all suggestions!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A New Addiction

I'm addicted to chocolate.
And I'm addicted to Coca Cola.
Hell, I've even been addicted to love. 

But lately, it's something else.  Something new.  It''s...PicMonkey.

Yes, you read that right, PicMonkey.  What is that, you ask?  It's a photo-editing site that not only allows you to edit your photos, but it's a GREAT place for spazzy people like me to create promos for books and collages and that sort of thing.  It's crazy!  I'm seriously addicted to it.

So what do I do with it?  Well, here are just a few of the things I've done lately:

Pretty, right?  So bold.  So colorful!  So. Stinking. Cute!!

I got a little more creative with this one.  I inserted the picture and the text on the note pad.  And believe me when I tell you, I cannot figure out things like Photoshop.

Not a great one, but I had to try.  And that's the thing...they're not all masterpieces but to me - because I'm normally so clueless with things like this - this is awesome!!

I'm almost giddy at this point and doing victory laps around my desk!

Last one.  I promise.

So there is hope - people like me who are scared of the computer!  You can do it!  It can be done!!  Don't get me wrong, when the graphics department with my publisher wants to do some work for me, I am certainly NOT going to say no.  But in the mean time, I am having a blast!!

Any favorites??

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fictional Father Issues...

Interesting conversation the other day - my father was visiting with my sister for Easter.  He lives in Florida and she's here in NC with me but three hours away.  So he got serious with her and asked her if she noticed that all the fathers in my books are really bad people.


So she comes for lunch the other day and tells me this and I burst out laughing.  Why?  Because I know he's read a LOT of my books and I know that I have written some pretty bad/unloving parents, but not in all of my books!!  So I decided to make this post about the fictional fathers and see how it really plays out.  Are you ready?  Here are the books - in order - and let's figure out this mystery together!

1.  Jordan's Return:  Jordan's ex-husband is an abusive man (which is why she's no longer married to him) and he does opt to give up custody of his children.  Score 1 for bad dad.

2.  The Christmas Cottage:  Every father in the book is loving and supportive and really quite secondary to the overall story.

3.  Ever After:  Not a whole lot of mention of fathers in this one except in the same capacity as the Christmas Cottage.

4.  Catering to the CEO:  Supportive dad to Cassie and her siblings.  Adam's father was absentee and kind of a jerk but he got maybe one paragraph of storyline so I'm not counting him.  BUT...I'll be fair and give the point.  Score 2 for bad dad.

5. Eye of the Storm:  Another absentee dad who walked out on his family and again, only a paragraph or two of storyline.  Okay...maybe I'm seeing a pattern.  Score 3 for bad dad.

6.  Wait for Me:  William Montgomery is the best father EVER.  No points on this one, dad!

7.  Trust in Me:  William Montgomery is back and STILL awesome.  No points.

8.  Stay With Me:  William Montgomery for the triple play.  And Gina's father - though absentee - loved his daughter and stayed away to make her life better and in the end they had a great reconciliation.  No bad dad points here either!

9.  A Touch of Heaven:  One father had passed away and no bad storyline to go with it and the other dad was funny and charming.  No bad points again!

10.  The Snowflake Inn:  Both fathers had passed away and no history to them.  No bad dad anywhere in the story!

11.  Mistletoe Between Friends:  Both families were friends and loving and supportive.  No points this round!

12.  More of Me:  The Montgomerys again.  Nothing happening in the bad dad category here.

13.  The Baby Arrangement:  The baby's biological father was a player who didn't know he had fathered a child and he opted to walk away.  Okay, bad dad.  Score 4.

14.  Baby, I'm Yours:  All the dad's here were good.  Even Josh, who didn't know he was a dad until his daughter was 3, once he knew he was the best.  No points happening here!

15.  Baby, Be Mine:  Um...father to twin newborns.  Steps up to the plate.  That's a good dad!

16.  Exclusive:  I know Taylor's mom is a single mom but I don't even remember giving her father a history.  Just that he's not there.  So nothing bad to report.

17.  Moonlight in Winter Park:  Both sets of parents were gone so really, no issues.  No points.

18.  Return to You:  Yes.  I will give him this one.  Selena's dad was the WORST.  Score 5 for the bad dad theory.

19.  Meant for You:  Sort of.  Robert Montgomery is not as nice as his brother William and he's a little overbearing.  I'm not going to say that he's the worst but I'll be generous and give the point.  Score 6.

20.  Duty Bound:  Harper's dad was a good guy and so was Levi's.  No points.

21.  Honor Bound:  Sebastian's dad was a manipulative control freak and Ali's dad was weak. So okay, bad.  Score 7.

22.  Forever Bound:  No bad parents in the bunch.  We don't discuss them much.  So no points there.

23.  Home Bound:  Yes, Cole's dad was a jerk who deserved the bad things that happened to him.  Fine!  Score 8.

So let's say about 30% of the books have a bad dad somewhere in the plot.  That's not completely horrible, is it?  And really, their badness is never a major plot-point or contributing factor.

It's just funny how different people look at the books and see different things or will focus on different things.  Odd...

Friday, April 10, 2015

North Shore Author Signing

So tomorrow I'm going to be in Boston for the North Shore Author Signing.  I'm super excited about it and am really looking forward to meeting some amazing people - readers and authors!  We'll be at the Peabody for the event and if you're in the area, stop by and say hello!!

Here's the link with the info:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Observations of a Writer...

In my mind, I've been a writer my entire life.  Well, maybe not my ENTIRE life, but pretty darn close.  The reality is that I've been recognized as a writer only within the last four years.  Since that time, I've witnessed a lot of weird, unusual and sometimes offensive behavior from people around me - and only some of it have I used in a book!

Here's just my top ten:

- Everyone you know or are related to will automatically assume that someone in your book is them.  This happens particularly when the character is heinous in some way.  And they won't come right out and ask me, but they'll speculate amongst themselves until someone just comes out and asks.

- Everyone is suddenly an aspiring author.  Only they don't want to actually write.  They have ideas.  Oh, boy, do they have ideas.  They just want to tell them to me and have me write them down and make them into something.

- Most people who are supposed to love you, will not buy your book.  They want it for free or they find excuses not to buy them.

- They won't write reviews either.

- And the ones who are SUPER excited for you and tell you they love you 47 times a day start to creep you out with their affection.  And believe it or not, sometimes they just want to actually BE you.  Trust me.  It's happened.

 - I honestly don't talk about my books to my family or friends while I'm writing them.  And to be fair, hardly anyone asks.  All I say is "I'm working on a book" and they're like, "Okay". 

- It's super cool when readers love your characters as much as you do.

- My husband still smirks (and occasionally chuckle) when he reads the blurbs or the tag lines on any and all of my books.  Such a boy!

- Some of the most generous people who encourage and support me are people I've never met.

-  Everyone - and I mean everyone - thinks that they are an editor.  And I don't mean that in a good way.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Meant for You" is HERE!!!

Seriously, it's here!  It's live!!  And I'd write more but I am running out the door to sign some copies in the stores!!

Hope you pick up your copy of "Return to You" today and please leave a comment and let me know that you loved it!


Monday, April 6, 2015

And the countdown is on...

You know what's funny?  I've been writing/publishing books for almost four years.  To date, I have twenty-one contemporary romances on the shelves (so to speak) and yet the waiting for release day is suddenly new and different.  Why?  Because I am actually IN stores!  It's the weirdest thing!  Before when I was e-publishing, it was just a matter of hitting "publish" and waiting for it to pop up on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  But now?  It's a whole new world!

Tomorrow when "Meant for You" is officially released - rumor has it that it's already on the shelves in a LOT of stores - I will hit my local Barnes and Nobles and Walmarts and go and see where they are on the shelves and take pictures.  It may sound silly but it just makes me so happy to see them there!

So if you're in Central North Carolina tomorrow and cruising around the area bookstores, look for me!  I'll be the one taking selfies with the books!  LOL!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's all about the pug...

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I have a pug. 

And I love her to pieces!!!

I got her by default.  You see, she was my son's dog.  He bought her as a puppy, he trained her, he loved her, but he just couldn't take care of her the way she needed.  So because I had fallen completely in love with her at first sight, it was only fitting that we adopt her when the time came.  She is my sassy sidekick, my pretty girl and - more times than not - my biggest headache.  Have you ever heard how noisy a pug can be?  Sheesh!  That dog snores louder than my husband and that's saying something!

But...snoring aside, my little Maylene brings me a ton of joy.  So it was only fitting when I wanted to include a pet in "Meant for You" that I let that honor go to my girl.  She may not realize the honor I've bestowed upon her, but it makes me smile. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Wicked Reads: Wicked Reads Reviews – Return to You by Samantha C...

Just wanted to share this wonderful review of "Return to You"!!  I love when people enjoy my stories!

Wicked Reads: Wicked Reads Reviews – Return to You by Samantha C...: She will never forget their past... He can't stop thinking about their future... James Montgomery has achieved everything he'...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All of my babies are home...

And by babies, I mean books.

Yes, I have children.  No, they don't all live at home.  Pretty much whenever that happens it's more like a drive-by than an actual visit.  He comes home for the weekend and it's over super fast.  So, no.  Those are not the babies of which I speak.

I'm talking Montgomerys.


Yesterday was the BEST UPS delivery ever.  Although to the driver it was just another delivery, I almost hugged him.  He backed away slowly as I did a happy dance at the sight of the boxes. 
Inside those two boxes were my copies of "Meant for You" and the "Stay With Me/More of Me" duo.  So you know what this means right?  All of the Montgomery series stories are now in paperback and on my shelves!!!  And soon to be on book store shelves all over the place too!!

Yeah, heads up Barnes and Noble - I'm coming to multiple locations next week and taking pictures again and screeching like a fangirl over my own books.  Warn security.  Maybe have Starbucks on alert with a muffin and a tall hot chocolate (no whip!) ready as a distraction.  Just sayin.

I love looking over at this bookcase and seeing it full with these books.  I can't describe the feeling to you.  When the first two books came to me, I cried.  Like a big, sad, ugly cry.  My husband and 15 year old son sort of looked at one another awkwardly as they tried to figure out what the heck was wrong with me. 

And then wanted me to pose for a picture!  Without fixing my makeup!  Men!

I know I write.  I know I publish.  But for so many years my books have been something that you can SEE on your Kindle, your NOOK, your iPad and whatnot.  But to hold them in my hands??  Well, that really was something amazingly emotional.  And while I admit I do cry easily - and sometimes at completely inappropriate times - the emotion here was real.

The only problem with that picture you see?  You'll note the three white spots on the wall.  In reality it looks like a lower-case 'n' and an exclamation point and yes, it's left over from the construction.  No, the walls aren't finished.  The ceilings aren't finished.  And no one has come back.  I have a feeling that is some kind of message on the wall that the painters and drywall guys were using to communicate with one another that I'm a crazy person.  What do you think?