Thursday, October 30, 2014

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

Every November for the last few years I've participated in National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. For those of you who might not have heard of it, here's a brief description from their website:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

I finished the first year, but the last few I fell behind. Although, my novels were all completed after the deadline and some went on to publication. Even though I didn't finish during the 30 day marathon, I did complete a good chunk of the story to keep me satisfied.

This year, I'm doing things differently.

I want to finish!

At heart, I'm a pantser. That means I write by the seat of my pants with no idea where my characters are taking me or what scene will unfold next. Typically, I enjoy this writing style since when I begin writing my story, I feel like I'm also a reader eager to learn what happens next. The bad side of this is when inevitably my characters start to wonder what happens next, too. When they don't know, I don't know. And then I'm stuck. Every time this happens, I usually set the story aside for a bit, confident that my subconscious will send me some communication to help me resolve whatever issues my characters are facing. This could happen within days or sometimes weeks. For some stories, it might be months.

Difficult to keep to a deadline when I'm at the mercy of my subconscious. I think my muse might have ADHD. She likes to bounce around from idea to idea a lot.

There have been times that I have the good fortune to have a nearly complete outline already filled out in my head. On those rare occasions, I write out all the information I know about the characters, plot, scenes, conflict, anything and everything I know. Then on my writing journey, if my writing starts to falter, I can easily check out my notes to find out what happens next and I can take off again from there.

That happy incident occurred in January of this year. It was a dream-inspired story. I filled in a few gaps and got to writing. I wrote 36,000 words in one week! Since my normal word count on a good day is about 2k a day, that was an amazing feat for me! By the end of 3 weeks, I had the rough draft completed.

I sang! I danced! I celebrated!

And then I had to take a month off from writing to clean my house since I had completely ignored all the household chores in my obsessive drive to write that story.

I'm crossing my fingers that I can accomplish that magnificent feat twice in one year.

In preparation, I'm giving my house a thorough cleaning to get ahead of the mess that is to come. Unlike some other fortunate writers, the members of my household don't pick up any of my slack, so if I don't do it, it just doesn't get done. Yes, I've tested this theory by just not doing the dishes. After the cupboards were emptied, and still no one bother to lift a finger to clean anything, I knew it was a hopeless case. If I want my husband to help out around the house, I pretty much have to move out so I don't see the horrible mess that remains in my absence.

Okay, back to preparation.

The actual preparation of my novel is pretty much the same as I've done before. I write down every little detail that I know about the story and the characters. As much as I can. It doesn't even have to be in order. Sometimes I write notes on the middle first, then the ending, then the beginning. I hop around randomly as I fill in my notebook. After its all written out, then I can go back and try to rearrange it to make sense of it all. Sometimes I add a few lines of dialogue or maybe a line or two of description that pops into my brain. If I need to do some research about anything, I add what I'll need to find out. If its important to the story, I'll start researching right away. But if it pops up during the actual writing, I'll make note of it and complete the necessary research later. I don't want anything to take me away from my writing, no distractions, no browsing the internet in search of the correct make and model of a car my character might own. I'll figure that stuff out later.

Some authors use the Snowflake Method or Save the Cat to accomplish this sort of pre-writing preparation. Sometimes I like to use the Hero's Journey to work out the journey of my characters. Just google 'hero's journey' and a ton of links will come up. Or you can check out Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Joureny: Mythic Structure for Writers. It's a great book!

I admit, if there's an outline or some manner of road map to follow, it does tend to make the writing of the novel easier.

Here are some other posts I've seen recently with some tips on how to prepare for NaNo.

NaNo Prep via NaNoWriMo
11 Last Minute NaNoWriMo Prep Articles via Dariel Raye
How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo: To Outline or Not to Outline via Writer's Digest
Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo via Steve Shepard

And if you haven't read this book, you should. It's very interesting and inspirational for those of us who want to write faster. Rachel Aaron's book 2K to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love. It's currently priced at $0.99.

And another here's a site with some free motivational badges for NaNo participants. Something fun to add to your website or blog to brighten it up and let everyone know what you're up to this month. 

For those writers participating...Good Luck! And Happy Writing!

The Merriweather Witches ~ #ParanormalRomance Howloween Blog Hop

This October has been a very eventful month. Lots of things happening in both my personal and professional life. But I'll skip the bad news for another day and share with you some good news. My newest book is going to be released in early 2015! The Witch's Kiss will be available in both digital and paperback format. As this is the 4th book in the series of The Merriweather Witches, new readers have a chance to catch up with the adventures, love and drama of this family.

Here's a brief description of each book:

The Witch and the Wolf

Lord Jeremy North's curse is to become a werewolf during every full moon, turning into a bloodthirsty monster that kills with no remorse. When he finds a woman nearly frozen upon his doorstep, his sense of honor compels him to help her, even at the risk he might kill her himself.

Lillian Merriweather hadn't planned to get caught in a blizzard while traveling the English countryside. Nor had she planned on finding refuge in a house full of secrets. But Lillian has secrets of her own. And what she's running from is not far behind...

The Witch and the Vampire

Melora Merriweather is searching for a fellow witch to protect her from a scheming uncle with plans of marriage. When her carriage overturns on her journey, she is rescued by a mysterious man whom she learns is the very person she seeks. But, he's not the witch she thought he was...

Sebastian Collins should have left for London days ago. Now a snowstorm has trapped him with a woman who has come seeking protection, a woman who intrigues him like no other. And with each passing hour, his hunger for her grows...hunger for her kiss, her caress, and her blood.

The Witch's Thief

To save her sister’s life, Julia Grey seeks a spell hidden somewhere within Merriweather Manor. Her position as a lady's companion affords her the freedom to search the house. But time is running out. The necromancer she's bargained with is growing impatient. And an unexpected appearance of a man from her past makes matters worse in an already complicated situation.

Basil Merriweather returns to England after ten years abroad to discover his childhood sweetheart living in his home. But, he's no longer the carefree man of his youth and she's hiding something--deadly secrets Basil vows to uncover even as he hides a dark secret of his own.

While neither Basil nor Julia will trust in the other, their hearts speak a truer language.  In a grand attempt to save Julia's sister and Basil's life, the two must finally confess sinister truths. Will their admissions help or hinder any future they may have together? Or will the necromancer destroy all in a vile attempt at revenge.

And Coming Soon...

The Witch's Kiss 


Marianne Grey is a ghost. But, she's not dead. Cursed by a necromancer, Marianne searches for the elusive spell need to merge her spirit with her physical body. She's not alone in her search. Her neighbor and best friend, Sage Merriweather, has vowed to help her break the curse.

Sage suffers from his own demons. Literally. After surviving a horrific attack, a demon has bonded with him, mutating Sage's magic so he can only conjure fire. Until he can break the bond, he is a danger to everyone near him, including those he loves. 

From the glittering ballrooms of London to eerily dark graveyards, Marianne and Sage battle forces of evil destined to claim their souls for eternity. Though their newfound love for each other may be the toughest battle of all. 

To celebrate the Halloween season I'm giving away a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to check out all the other great blogs on the Hops with Heart blog hop!
October 30-November 1


Monday, October 27, 2014

Ghosts ~ The Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year! A spooky time filled with magic and mystery and all the things that go bump in the night! Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, demons... Although I enjoy reading stories about these supernatural creatures all year round, I really like reading the scary stuff around Halloween.

What do I like to read most?

Ghost stories!

These are my favorite! And there are lots around. Why do I like reading them? Because I grew up in a haunted house and I'm pretty sure I'm living in one now.

When I was little, I lived in my grandmother's house. It was huge, especially for a kid. And it was fun to play in with all the rooms and the nooks and crannies where my brother and I could play hide-and-seek. Often while we played, I'd see things move from the corner of my eye. I also never felt alone in the house. There was always the feeling of someone watching me. Surprisingly, it wasn't a bad feeling. Or maybe I just grew used to it since I lived there for so long. And at night, after everyone had gone to sleep, one of us would wake to hear people talking downstairs. My grandmother would scold my aunt for forgetting to turn the television off before going to bed, but she'd go downstairs only to discover the TV was already turned off!

Now I live in my own house. Don't get me wrong. I try to think of any explanation for the noises and strange things that happen here. It's an old house. Over 150 years old. Lots of strange noises come from old houses, right?

My husband and I hear the footsteps most often. We heard them on the first night we moved in. As we lay in bed, we heard distinct footsteps walking from the living room into the kitchen. Thinking it might be an intruder, we went downstairs to investigate. But there was no one there and all the doors were locked. While we stood in the dining room trying to figure out what could have made such a noise, we both looked up when we heard the footsteps walking along the upstairs hallway.

It was creepy. And exciting! I always wanted to live in a haunted house! Probably because of growing up in one. That night, we went back upstairs, but the sound of the footsteps moved back to the first floor. As we went back and forth, up and down the stairs, I got the feeling this was almost a game to see how much we could tolerate. But it was late, and since we couldn't come up with any real explanation for these noises, we just went to bed. The footsteps stopped. But every once in a while we can hear them. They seem to stay upstairs on the second floor and even in the attic now.

As the footsteps and other noises continued on and off over the years we lived here, it wasn't until my daughter was born that I was really shocked by something new. My daughter was about 1 or 2 years old when we were sitting in the kitchen having breakfast. She stopped eating to look into the doorway leading to the dining room.

"Who's that man?" She asked.

Well, it was just my daughter and me in the house at the time. My husband was at work and her older brothers were both at school.

"Where is the man?" I asked.

She pointed to exactly where she stared at the doorway.

I was a little stunned. I didn't see any man standing there. But she did. She didn't look scared, but curious. I tried asking her what the man looked like, but couldn't get much out of her. A moment later, he was gone and she went back to eating breakfast like nothing happened.

She saw the man only one or two times after that, but he hasn't made an appearance since. I've heard that young children sometimes have the ability to see things that adults can't. I never really believed it until then. She's 4 now. The man hasn't appeared within the last year, so I'm afraid she might have outgrown her ability to see 'things'.

Except for her imaginary friend, Anna.

Anna is still around. My daughter talks about her all the time.

Unless...maybe Anna's not really imaginary?

The Snarkology Blog Hop runs from October 27-31!

I'm giving away a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card!

 And be sure to check out
all of the other blogs participating in the blog hop!
Lots of great prizes!

Happy Halloween!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cover Reveal for The Witch's Kiss #Regency #ParanormalRomance

And here it is...

The cover for my upcoming release!

As of right now I don't yet have a release date to announce, but be assured it will be soon! However, I can let you know about what the book is about. The Witch's Kiss is book #4 of The Merriweather Witches.

Other titles included in the series:

It's not necessary to read them in order, but many of the characters and events that occur in The Witch's Thief are tied closely with this book, so I'd recommend reading that one first at least. Like I said, it's not truly necessary, but when I read a series I always like to know these little details.  

Blurb: Marianne Grey is a ghost. But, she's not dead. Cursed by a necromancer, Marianne searches for the elusive spell needed to merge her spirit with her physical body. She's not alone in her search. Her neighbor and best friend, Sage Merriweather, has vowed to help her break the curse.

Sage suffers from his own demons. Literally. After surviving a horrific attack, a demon has bonded with him, mutating Sage's magic so he can only conjure fire. Until he can break the bond, he is a danger to everyone near him, including those he loves.

From the glittering ballrooms of London to eerily dark graveyards, Marianne and Sage battle forces of evil destined to claim their souls for eternity. Though their newfound love for each other may be the toughest battle of all.

208 pages 
Published by The Wild Rose Press

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Spotlight: Spooky Sojourn by @AshleyLadd

Title: Spooky Sojourn
Series Name (If applicable) N/A
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary Erotic male-female contemporary paranormal romance
Book Length: 50,000 words

Official Blurb:

Someone’s trying to kill Deanna, but is it the ghosts she doesn’t believe in, the rich socialite who might be a murderess, or someone else with a beef against The Gilroy Hotel and Resort that Deanna has just been hired to manage?  The Gilroy’s owners want the ghosts, or whoever is causing the trouble at the hotel eliminated, and they are pressuring Deanna to do the job as quickly as possible. Harry DeVeaux, paranormal investigator comes highly recommended to do the job and against Deanna’s better judgment, she hires him.

Although Deanna thinks Harry’s crazy for believing in ghosts and Harry thinks Deanna has a closed mind to the possibilities of ghosts and they highly annoy each other, sparks fly. Deanna can’t help but fantasize about Harry and inspired by a romance convention visiting her hotel, writes her fantasies in a private blog that Harry finds, hacks, and reads. Ooh la la!



Deanna reread her fantasy, barely able to believe she’d penned it, wondering if she should delete it. Did she really want to make out with Harry, a perfect stranger, on a public beach? Did she really want her words on the Internet, even in a supposedly private blog under a make-believe name?

Well, it was confidential, right? As long as she didn’t give anybody the web address or password or tell them about it, it would remain secret.

Enough fantasizing! She had to get back to work. Dragging the files out, she familiarized herself with the ghost sightings as well as Lynette’s and Grant’s history. By the time she finished, she knew how they’d died and the theories about their suicides-slash-murders. She also knew that everybody was afraid to point fingers at the now very influential and powerful Roxanne Cambridge-Anderson. Could Roxanne be behind the haunting nonsense? Did she want the hotel shut down? But that made no sense. The rumors portrayed Roxanne as a murderess. It wouldn’t be in her best interest to keep their legend alive.

Deanna’s temples began to ache the harder she thought about everything, so she decided to go to sleep. Hopefully she’d awake if any hijinks took place in the bowling alley.

About three a.m., deafening booms awoke her. Light brightened lane fourteen and all but one pin lay scattered on the wooden floor.

Groggy, Deanna tried to gather her senses. She looked around then, to her horror, she saw an iridescent figure of a man on lane fourteen picking up a glowing ball. Collecting her presence of mind, she grabbed her webcam, pointed it at the ghostly shape and turned it on. Shaking, she tried to hold her computer steady. Not believing what she was seeing, she knew there had to be a rational explanation. Perhaps some machine was projecting the image onto the lanes. Perhaps a real person stood in front of her in glowing phosphorescent powder.

Whatever or whoever it was, picked up the ball, and knocked down the spare pin. Then the ‘apparition’ bowled three strikes in a row.

Unexpectedly, he turned and glared at her, fire shooting from his eyes. Pins flew from all the lanes at her. Her heart racing, she ducked under the score table.

Buy links:

Author Bio:

Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, cats, and playing on the computer.

She's often incorporates humor and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.

How you can contact Ashley: