Saturday, May 31, 2014

IF I BREAK by Portia Moore

I am pleased to be in on my friend Portia Moore's release festivities of IF I BREAK, her New Adult Contemporary Romance. In addition to that I've talked her into giving us a sneak peak into her writing process and life in general. AUTHOR INTERVIEW=BONUS! For even more awesomeness to add to this one post, Portia is giving away some sweet prizes...check the end of the post for the Rafflecopter widget.

Look at this fabulous cover!

What happens when happily ever after is the hard part...

Lauren Brooks wants to do three things: Escape the small town she grew
up in, get accepted to her dream school in Chicago, and graduate
without drowning in debt. Now she’s working her ass off to do just that.

With a full course load and a waitressing job at one of the hottest
night clubs in Chicago, she does not have time for distractions;namely
ones who only want to get into her pants. She’s been burned before.
Only a fool goes for a second round.. With just two semesters left
until graduation, everything’s on track.

Until she meets Cal. Enter distraction.

At six-foot-two, with ebony hair, deep grey eyes, and a smile that
could only hide an agenda, she knows he’s trouble. And for the first
time in her life, a little trouble might be just what she needs.

No. What she wants.

It isn't like she’d ever marry the guy.
Until she does.

What she thinks will be her happily ever after, is only the beginning.
Cal has a secret. One that makes loving him come with a price, and being his wife cost more than she bargained for.


Now, let's get to know Portia a bit, shall we?

KH: Is there music or television on while you write?

PM: I tend to play music before writing to set the mood and turn it off once I actually start.

KH: Outside of your own, what's your favorite book?

PM: At the moment Hopeless by Colleen Hoover.

KH: As an author, are you a planner (outline) or a pantser (by the seat of)?

PM: I usually am a panster but once I get to a certain point where I have a feel for the characters I'll write out main plot points I want to hit.

KH: Would your MC want hang out with you and vice versa?

PM: No, because I'd probably have pretty inappropriate thoughts about her husband whenever I saw him. That's not good!

KH: Phobias? Do your phobias ever work their way into your writing? 

PM: BUGS! All aside from spiders because they kill other bugs. Maybe a spider will one day.

KH: Which authors inspired you as a young adult?

PM: JK Rowling and Omar Tyree.

KH: Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?

PM: No. I'm a strong believer in lust at first sight lol. Lust can be powerful enough to get you to stick around for love.

KH: What is one characteristic about yourself that you love?

PM: I really don't harp on negative things. I'm pretty forgiving and not one to hold grudges. It makes family fights a lot easier to get over.

KH: Where is your favorite place to write?

PM: In my back yard when the weather allows.

KH: Why did you decide to write the genre that you do?

PM: Initially I didn't really decide to. I wrote the story I wanted to tell and it happened to fall into the New Adult Genre. I'm 26 but I still feel like I'm just getting a hang of adult hood and it's still very new to me.

KH: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

PM: Write the book you want to read. That way if no one else wants to you'll have at least one fan:).

Where to buy IF I BREAK:

Where to find Portia:

 go check her out!



Now for the fun stuff... GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 12, 2014

Life's Seasons

It’s storm season.

Some of us living in the large swath of the US dubbed 'Tornado Alley' dread this time of year. Others look forward to it. They love a good storm and hope to see some real 'action' from one if the many super-cell storms which will likely crop up before the season has run its course. There are even a few folks who will actively 'chase' these storms in hopes of getting video footage or collecting data from tornadoes that may drop out of the ominous clouds. Terror carried on the wind.
When I was a pre-teen, my family and I watched in horrified awe as a funnel cloud came toward our
home. We lay in the bar-ditch at the bottom of the hill atop which our house sat. Rain pelted us, stinging our skin and running into our eyes. My parents covered my sister and me with their bodies to protect us from the hale dashed to the ground from the sickly green sky. We got a blessing that day. Our home was spared.

This morning the radio announcer forecast storms for this afternoon, some possibly severe. I have a tendency to walk the floors when a bad storm hits, and I have to remind myself not to worry this is just a season. It’s the storm season. It will pass. When it does, we'll be dunked into a different season.

Each season possesses its hardship and its beauty. Storms can be frightening yet fascinating. Lightning, though deadly, is mesmerizing to watch.

It occurs to me life is much like this; full of seasons. Some pass more quickly than others. Certain seasons are foreseen and welcomed. Others come out of the dark clouds on the horizon, taking us by the scruff of our necks, picking us up from our safe surroundings to toss us about on raging winds. 

No matter the season, I must always keep in mind that it will pass. The good seasons should be soaked up and enjoyed to the fullest extent possible. During the less-than-stellar times, I must grit my teeth, pray hard, and push through the storm, knowing every moment brings me ever closer to the end of that season, nearer to the sunshine once again.

How do you handle your storm seasons? 

Monday, May 5, 2014

#DFWCON: Totally Worth the Hangover

Most of us want Sundays to last forever, so we never have to get up and face another Monday. This week was the same as always for me, though the reason I wanted my weekend to go on and on is a little different.

I attended the DFW Writers' Conference over the weekend. There are so many things I learned and so much I want to pass on I will have to do it over several blogposts...but for now, I'll give you the highlights of my weekend. Over the next few weeks, I'll take a little more serious look at what it was really like.

I drove to Hurst, Texas, the day before the conference.
Can you tell? I was a little excited.

Met some VIPs first thing.

Me on the elevator, right after I met Laura Zats, the agent at the top of my pitch list.

On my return trip to the ground floor, I shared the elevator with Annie Nybo, Simon and Schuster editor. 

Then I met up with my new friend Charlotte Levine-Gruber. We'd only ever met online.

I'm on the left, and of course, the beautiful Charlotte is next to me.

 At dinner Friday evening, prior to conference, I met some lovely authors. As we ate, we caught a glimpse of some agents and editors at a table nearby. Try as I might, it was hard not to look at them. I tried acting cool...yeah, um... I'm not so good at that. Though I did avoid winking at them, as hard as that was.

Then there was the Pre-conference Mixer organized by the brilliant Sarah Bale.
Mingling with other authors always gets me happy and excited.

Got to bed late.

Got up early so I could fix my hair.
Wanted to look like this:

Most likely looked like:

Made it to the conference center.

Opening remarks were great.

Then I had to prepare myself for  my 10 AM pitch session with Laura Zats.

Thank goodness, Laura was wonderful and put me at ease right away.
She even ended up asking for the first 50 pages of SECRETS I KEEP.
So yeah, I was all:

I went to a few classes.

Really enjoyed Pitching by the Numbers led by the fabulous Jessica Sinsheimer.
Of course, being me, I stuck my foot in it and wanted to 

Not to worry, after class I caught her and apologized. She was quite gracious. 

The legendary Donald Maass did a class called Beyond Setting. He left the attendees in an awed daze.

I got to know some really neat people, too.

Margaret Bale, agent with Inklings Lit., is just fantastic.
She made me feel so comfortable--and is so cool, I want to be "real life" friends. I didn't even pitch my book to her. (The ONLY reason I didn't pitch Margaret is because her colleague at Inklings currently has my FULL. Querying two agents at the same firm, at the same time, is frowned upon.)
Wish I'd thought to get a photo of us together.
'cuz, you know, she's nice enough, she'd probably have done that.
Alas, I did not.

The Gong Show Saturday evening was fun to watch, yet painful as well. 
I was so glad my query wasn't chosen. It was sort of like watching this:

Immediately following the Gong Show there was a mixer of sorts.  The agents and editors were available to whoever could make it through the throngs of other authors to meet them. Though I will talk to just about anyone, I am NOT good at pushing my way in. So I stood on the sidelines, feeling like a weird stalker, waiting for my chance. 

I pretty much hung out at the fringe of the party, looking silly and probably uncomfortable.
I did get to talk with Jessica Sinsheimer, who proved as gracious as she'd behaved earlier in the day when I stuck my foot in it. Although, I didn't pitch Jessica because she has the FULL for my first book.

Margaret Bail also chatted with me, so I didn't feel so alone. Thank you, Margaret. I also had a chance to visit with Sarah Negovetich, who is quite funny. She doesn't rep NA, so, nope, didn't pitch my MS to her either.

Basically, the mixer was a  bust for me getting any requests for SECRETS I KEEP, but it was still fun and I am glad I went.

Sunday arrived.

I was determined to do my best to get at least ONE MORE request.

I started the day by taking another class led by Donald Maass. It was all about adding micro-tension to your book to keep the reader turning the pages. By the end of the class I was running out to the Barnes and Noble table to purchase Don's book, The Fire in Fiction.

The line was long and by the time I got to the register I felt like:

I had to get back to the room and get him to sign it before he left and I missed my chance.

I made it.

I had a 10 AM consultation with Amanda Rutter, editor with Strange Chemistry (Angry Robots). She was wonderful and helpful and gave me some great advice on where she saw the YA market heading in the near future. Thank you, Amanda, you are DA BOM!

Then there was lunch. The food was good, but dessert was even better,
all the cakes.
I was all:

The powers-that-be very nicely tried to help those of us still waiting to pitch agents and editors. They set up the lunch tables by genre. Then they encouraged said agents and editors to get around the room to chat with all of the authors. I had yet to speak with Candace Havens of Entangled Publishing. She'd said, at the opening of the conference, she was looking for NA. So I seriously wanted to chat with her, even if only for a few seconds. I waited until she got close enough.
Trying to contain my excitement to chat with Candace.

Then, at the first opportunity, I tried to get her attention.

She was just really lovely. She came over, sat down with me, and told me to tell her about my book.
She asked questions. She smiled. She was interested.

I got all nervous and tried not to do this:

But I held it together. I was calm. Then she asked for my FULL manuscript.

Inside I was all:

But I did manage to wait until she walked away before doing this:

 The guy sitting next to me, one Joshua Carpenter, who I'd literally just met minutes before, was very cool and, upon seeing my excitement, gave me a high five. 

After that I was pretty much like:

I attended one more amazing class, on creating unforgettable characters, led by Don Maass. Can you tell who was the star of the conference in my book?

It was almost over.

We all assembled one last time. They thanked the staff, the speakers, and the volunteers. They gave away some door prizes.

Donald Maass gave the closing remarks, bringing a good part of the room to tears with his uplifting stories and encouragement. When he finished speaking the crowd went a little wild.

I came home and did this:

Today I am exhausted. My brain is tired and my feet are killing me.
I seriously feel a bit like I have a hangover... but it was totally worth it. Every second. 

Thank you, DFW Writers for putting on such a magnificent conference and making my weekend spectacular. If you are anywhere within traveling distance, this conference is more than worth your time and money to attend. There will be another next year... you really should come on out.

Did you attend this year?
What were your favorite moments of the conference or the weekend in general?
Tell us about it in the comments.

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