Monday, May 26, 2014

Crazy Busy or Busy Crazy?

It's hard to tell if I'm a little crazy in the head because I'm so darn busy or if the business is a result of crazily committing to too many things... I'll bet if you're a writer or blogger or a mommy or a passionate reader, this kind of crazy is a familiar concept to you!

This is my first post as a Romance Trooper. I'm so happy to meet you all. To introduce myself, I'll tell you what I'm up to and why I'm so crazy busy:

1. Birthday celebration

My son just celebrated his third birthday! He requested chocolate cake with blue frosting, marshmallows, and carrots on top. I don't own cake pans, but anyone who knows me knows I'm crazy about cupcakes. In fact, my critique group is called The Cupcake Crew, LOL!

So I made the boy cupcakes yesterday, and he loved them! So did the whole family. Success!

One item checked off my to-do list!

2. Box set

Last month, I was invited to participate in a box set of 10 sizzling contemporary romances. Not only was this a great honor, but it's been a whirlwind of making new friends, learning even more about self-publishing, and gearing up for a huge promotion push as our Passionate Kisses team hopes to land on a big bestseller list with this exciting set that will be perfect for summer beach reading.

Don't be shy. Mark Passionate Kisses "To Read" on Goodreads, and the good folks at GR will remind you when release date (June 23rd) comes around. Or you could subscribe to my newsletter, and I'll kindly let you know when pre-ordering begins.

3. Redecorating

I painted my son's room for his birthday and ended up with some kind of weird injury to my neck and shoulders that manifests in a constant tension headache. I suspect all the time I spend slouched on the couch (aka my office) using my laptop isn't helping. I'm planning to squeeze in a chiropractor visit this week to see if an adjustment will help. With my luck, it'll be a series of adjustments that are needed, and I will have to find the time for these in between my mommy and writing duties.

The things we do for our little ones, LOL!

There's also a big kitchen remodel on the horizon for my family. We are LONG overdue for a new kitchen. I'll probably be the one handling the remodel since I'm home with the kids, but I'm nervous. It's a lot of money, a lot of permits, etc., and a lot of time. But I'm so excited at the same time. I just hope I can fit the remodel in without having to sacrifice too much writing time.

4. Kindergarten graduation

My daughter is soon-to-be five years old. She is an adorable sweet pea and has just graduated from K4. I took time away from the laptop to go to her graduation. It was so fun. The kids all sang (kind of terribly), and everyone got at least one award (Sarah got 3 for being helpful, doing all her homework, and having a picture perfect smile:-))

5. Awarding Prizes for a giveaway

I have a new release out, The Wolf and the Highlander. It's the second in my Highland Wishes series and features a kilted wolf-man with an enormous axe (and he knows how to use it). Feel free to read between the lines on that little metaphor, LOL!

I just wrapped up a giveaway in which three winners took home free ebooks and gift cards. I love doing giveaways. I get to meet so many wonderful people and I always get new newsletter subscribers. To peek at the prizes and winners of my latest giveaway, hop over to my blog.

David and Goliath illustration
by: "David and Goliath by Robert Temple Ayres"
   by Fried Dough , Flickr
 

6. Keeping up with the news

In my pre-writer life, I was a communications major and an audiologist. As part of my communications training, I learned to love the news. I like knowing what's going on. Not a day goes by that I don't read the paper or watch the news on TV so I can be informed about what's happening around the world and in my not-so-little town (Seattle).

In today's Seattle Times, there's an article that I found fascinating not only as an author but as an independently-published author with Amazon. Here's the link to the online version of the article if you'd like to check it out. It's a little scary, a little anger-inducing, a little overwhelming.

Essentially, Amazon is throwing its weight around my making it difficult (read impossible) for customers to buy the latest releases from Hatchet Book Group. This includes JK Rowling's new release published under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

I confirmed Seattle Times's claim that you can't pre-order the hardcover of Rowling's latest, The Silkworm. It's true. Here's the link to The Silkworm's Amazon product page, and here's the link to it's Barnes&Noble page, where you can pre-order The Silkworm with the click of a button.


 

7. Writing new stuff

This is the thing that keeps getting shoved to the back burner. It's also the thing that keeps me sane. I should make it more of a priority, especially since I have fans waiting for Highland Wishes book 3 (Which I have a pitiful two chapters written of).

So now you know why I'm feeling a little crazy these days. Kids, home improvement, writing, publishing, promotion... There is a lot on my plate. But you know what? I'm having a blast. I wouldn't change a thing about my life.

So what do YOU do to keep yourself sane when your to-do list gets out of control? Leave a comment so I can meet you and chat.

Thanks for reading!

To learn more about me and my books, visit my website or blog.
 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Joys of Being an Aunt

I’ve been a mother for fourteen years now.  I’ve interacted with a lot of children in my life experiences.   I’ve even been like an Aunt to my cousin’s children and her with mine.   Yet, until that day my niece arrived I had never been an official Aunt.   It is a different kind of relationship than being a parent. 

When your kids are small, you often don’t notice the passage of time until it has already left a mark.   Karen Kingsbury expressed this so well in one of her children’s books which talk about a child’s last of things in life.   If only she had known it would be his last time curling up in her lap, how she would have savored that moment just a little more.   It always makes me tear up to read because it is so true.   No matter how much we hold them, they grow up right in front of us.  

However, when you become an Aunt or Uncle you are aware the next time you see the child they will have grown just a little bit more.   They will have developed just a little bit more intellectually or developmentally.   So you use your time with them to really enjoy the moment.  You may read to them a little longer at nap time and linger to watch their little sleeping face.    You happily sit through another viewing of Little Mermaid for the third time in two days because they are sitting in your lap snuggling and talking about their favorite Disney princess.  

There are things you were sometimes just to busy to enjoy as a parent that you take the time to do with a niece or nephew because this time you know your time is limited.   When you see something adorable for them at the store you feel less guilt throwing it in your cart.   You don’t have to mentally debate if this is spoiling the child, because that’s for their parents to worry about.   When they are throwing a fit you just hand them back to your sibling with a mental grin.   Didn’t we all have these moments growing up where we wanted to “get them back”?   Now you can.  Spoil their children and hand them back screaming.   Oh, the joys of being an Aunt.

You love them unconditionally without the worry of how to raise them.   There’s a certain carefree attitude you can suddenly adopt with this child that was different than your own.   Are they using all of their manners?   Watching too much television?  Are they reading, talking, playing, and learning age appropriately?   It doesn’t matter this time.   How do you discipline them? You don’t.  

I rather like this Aunt business.   Don’t ask my little brother to grade me on it, though.   He might not give me an A.   I just remember how he spoiled my son rotten and release the guilt for spoiling his little girl right back.   This time I know how he felt when my son arrived.   I know why he always tries to do something special with him or get him a little trinket.  My brother has known for a few years before me the joys of loving someone else’s child so much.  

I can still remember the Aunt that has influenced so much of my life.  She’s no longer on social media but I remember she always seemed to know when I was having a bad day.  She’d randomly write an “I love you” on my wall with my little girl nick name.   I cherished every one of those posts.   My parents tried to punish me once when I was a young teenager for getting caught smoking by not letting me go to her house when we visited my grandparents.   She showed up while they were gone and escaped with me anyway.   She was willing to risk their wrath to have her time with me.   She loved me like an Aunt.  


I’m glad my family is close enough we can enjoy our roles in our children’s lives.   I am so blessed. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

RT 2014!

Whew! I've been home from RT 2014 for not quite two days and I am far from recovered. I'm exhausted! It's a good exhaustion--one that comes from spending days with other authors and readers, talking about the things we love: books, writing, booze.  The energy at conferences always works both ways--you feel energized and excited, and at the same time, you are being drained by all the events, chats, and parties.

The con hotel was a Marriott, meaning mileage may vary. lol. For me, it was the BEST Marriott I've stayed in, service-wise. Every single staff member I interacted with was kind, attentive, and happy. I can't begin to tell you how much that impacted my stay. Here's the view from my room:
The party I enjoyed most was the Mardi Gras party at Mardi Gras World. The event was sponsored by several publishers, including Ellora's Cave. We got our own float and we tossed beads as attendees came in. So much fun! Here's a photo (me in the black and white stripes):
The pub crawl was fun, too. We had a list of ten pubs (each sponsored by a publisher or author group) and each one handed out beads. You needed to collect 7/10 of the beads and return to pick up your prize (a super-cool RT shot glass).
And of course the food was amazing! I really enjoyed NOLA!
Conferences can be a lot of fun--especially for readers. If you haven't been to one, check out your local area--there's likely a small conference nearby. Other reader-friendly cons are: Authors After Dark (in Charlotte NC this year), Romanticon, and GayRomLit.  I will be at all three this year!

thanks for reading my post-RT post!

Kerry Adrienne

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What Harlie's doing or not doing!



I'm so boring right now.  Between baseball games/practice, getting my 3rd grader to not have an anxiety attack over a state mandated test and life in general...yes, I'm boring.

I used to not be boring.  My 20's were wild as hell.  A sometime marvel at how I manage to survive them at times.  At 47, I look back now and realize that my 20's were a romance book.  But without the HEA...just a HFN.  Some people have asked me to write a book about it but I promised my brother that I wouldn't until after our parents are buried.  They don't need to know just how wild I was.  I was considered the good kid.  Never got in trouble, went to church, taught Sunday School, never missed a family event.  Underneath all that, yep, I was wild.

The stories I could tell about hanging out with the regional rock bands of the 90's in the Dallas music scene.  Yes, ladies and gents...it would make your toes curl.  Plus, just not at this time.  Yes, hanging out with Zak Wyde from Ozzy's band, watching my friends from Drowning Pool finally make it and then the lead singer and friend of mine dying of a weak heart.  The stories I could tell you about Pantera.  Yep, lots of stories.  Great guys but I couldn't hang.  LOL!

Why am I telling you this right now?  Well a couple of reasons.  The biggest is that I'm writing again.  I know, shocker.  I'm taking the summer off from reviewing (still blogging and promoting) to finish some stuff that I've started.  This is what I have to finish:

1.  An anthology call for a publisher.  Its a Bad Boy story at least 5k.  So far, I've written 2k and my hero/heroine haven't had sex yet.  Word count limit is 12k.  Woot!  Oh and the hero might be a "bad boy" but the heroine is the one that takes the lead in the bedroom.

2.  Finish the outline to a YA/NA crossover series.  I've outlined book #1 (YA/high school).  Book #2 is the college based book (mature YA) and then the NA after college story.  Need to finish the last one and polish the second one.  Hint:  these books are semi-autobiographical.  At least the first one is and the characters are based on real people that I grew up with.  *sigh*  Nothing worked out, so this is my way of making it work out.  LOL!  But I will tell you, the hero and heroine stay the same.  Each book will be able to stand alone.

3.  Finish a short romantic suspense w/paranormal elements.  I've waited too long to NOT finish it.  Think Andrew Dice Clay (don't judge) as the hero as an angel.  Yes, as an angel.  But he doesn't smoke (much) or treat women like dirt.  ;)  But he does drive a 1985 Black Trans Am with t-tops.

4.  If I have time, write some on the small town contemporary that has some people interested.  This one is a tough one for me.  It deals with my uncle's death and the fallout but with different occupations.  I've already cried during one scene.

So there you have it.  What I planned for the summer in terms of writing.  Yes, reviewing has to take a backseat.  I can't be put under that much calendar restraint right now.  I don't have an assistant anymore, just me so it was a decision that I had to make.

Meanwhile back in Lindale...Only 3 more weeks of regular baseball and then the month of June is All Star baseball.  Yes, baseball takes over from February until the end of June.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Total Control and Perseverance

Being out of work for the past couple of months has been both very productive and challenging. Productive because I have found the time needed to focus on my writing and am a lot closer to finally publishing ,and challenging because I am so not used to living off my disability payments as opposed to an actual pay check.  Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed having the time to dedicate to my writing, and I can’t tell you how exciting it is to finally see myself complete and submit my work.



My book was to be finished last year but due to a major setback I had lost eight chapters and had to start all over again. The loss was devastating but thanks to some of the amazing friends I have met along the way I was given some advice and pushed to go on. I am so grateful for all I’ve been blessed with and the many role models I can also call friends. It was the support system I obtained that motivated me to continue and for that I shall forever be grateful. MY RT friends and authors are the best and I shall always be there to return the support and kindness they so freely gave me.  

During this setback I took the time to read, and learn what to look for and possibly avoid as you can never be too perfect, but educating yourself and researching a lot about what you are writing about is of utmost importance. As the saying goes, “you are never too old to learn something new.” It was this saying and true perseverance that got me here and I shall never take another step back. I have two more books I have started and never saw to completion and I also intend to write a sequel to my latest and soon to be released, “Modern Day Love.”

I will keep everyone posted as to when you can expect to get your own copy but for now I have attached a small teaser which I had recently added to my Blog and I truly hope you enjoy.   



Susan
"Always a Writer, Always a Tale"




Twitter @ one2recognize2



Monday, May 12, 2014

Too Many Projects. Not Enough Time. But I'm Not Complaining. Oh and a Cover Reveal!

What's that saying? If it's not one thing it's another.

That's how it feels around my neck of the woods lately. Let's see we can start with how our refrigerator began leaking a couple weeks ago. We thought nothing of it or maybe we had spilled some water in the floor. No biggie, right? So we cleaned it up and went on our merry way. A few days later more water was in the floor slipping all the way down the bottom of our cabinets. (May I add that this is almost brand new flooring) Anyway, sure enough it was our refrigerator. What's funny is we were just looking at new refrigerators and thought "we'll just wait," yeah we see how fate laughed at that one. So we ordered a new Whirlpool refrigerator and lucky ran into no issues getting it installed. It's beautiful. I love it. I wish it would have waited but oh well. Now the hubby wants to get a new stove and a new microwave so pretty much everything matches. Go figure. 

Next, hubby has decided to have some paint work done to the house. We are having the kitchen painted along with both girls rooms and all the cabinets. Since we got new flooring in the kitchen everything looks more yellow than anything so we are having the kitchen pained in light gray around the top and dark around the bottom. My girls room is going to be pink on two walls and brown on the other two and the teenager picked a light sky blue for her room. I still think the light blue is a bad idea but hey, it's not my room. All the kids got new bedding recently too so now it looks more their age. 

We're having the painting done while we go on vacation. Finally, we are headed back to the beach and I could not be more ready for some sun, sand, and the ocean! I never feel more at peace than I do at the beach. I'd love to live there if it wasn't for hurricanes and the sand gets old after awhile. lol. 

Lastly, I decided since the rooms were being painted that I would completely clean out my girls room. That was an all day process and they don't have a huge bedroom by any means! I cleaned under their beds and omg at the crap underneath there. I'm surprised I didn't find a raccoon had set up shop under there between all the lost toys and paper under there. Geez. That didn't even compare to what was under their dressers when we moved them! Tons of lost little toys, earrings, backs of earrings, paper, tape, crayons, I mean you name it and we found it. And omg at all the lost socks I found! The dryer didn't eat them all, they were all hiding underneath the beds and the dressers! Mystery solved! So now the girls room has been completely cleaned out and we'll probably put the bunk beds back together soon to give them more room but for now here is the finished product.....



And since yesterday was Mother's Day my little minions decided to match for me for the day. (They don't care to do that much.)


I hope all the mom's out there had a fantastic Mother's Day yesterday!

OH and last but not least! I've got a new cover for my upcoming contemporary romance Scarlet Beginnings! I wanted to share it with you all first!

Pretty isn't it?!

I can't wait to share this story with everyone! It's been a story in the making for almost a year now and I'm so close to the finish line!

So that's what has been going on around here. On top of trying to write, publish, and oh yeah the day job. lol.

Thanks for reading and catching up with me! 
JJ


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Quiet Your Mind



Quiet Your Mind is one of my favorite Zac Brown Band songs. These are the lyrics:


I hear the waves
Sun beatin' down on my shoulders
It's a near-perfect day
Wishin' I wouldn't get any older
They say that it's gone 'fore you know it now

Quiet your mind
Soak it all in
It's a game you can't win
Enjoy the ride

I feel the change
Goin' on all around me
It's strange
How I'm taken and guided
Where I end up right I'm needed to be

Quiet your mind
Soak it all in
It's a game you can't win
Enjoy the ride

At the end of the water
A red sun is risin'
And the stars are all goin' away
And if you're too busy talkin'
You're not busy listenin'
To hear what the land has to say

Quiet your mind

I hear the waves
Sun beatin' down on my shoulders
It's a near-perfect day
Wishin' I wouldn't get any older
They say that it's gone 'fore you know it and
Soak it all in
It's a game you can't win
Enjoy the ride




There is much more to the song that a beautiful melody, great lyrics, and Zac’s sexy voice! I find great comfort in the meaning to this song. Quiet Your Mind.

Whenever I’m feeling a bit stressed over deadlines, book covers, plots, appearances, or daily living (dishes, dinner, dust, laundry, bills, remodel, kids… the list is endless), I play this song. I repeat the words Quiet your mind over and over in my head. Sometimes I say them out loud to give them more power. I’m a firm believer in that you bring about what you think about.

If I’m over stressed, I’m not listening to any of the sweet sounds going on around me. I don’t hear the birds chirping or the sounds of the little neighbor kids outside playing. I don’t hear the breeze as it caresses the grass and trees. I don’t feel the sun or the beauty that is life. This happens to all of us at one time or another. For some of us, stress is a daily occurrence and for whatever reason, we can’t quite get rid of it.

When we’re stressed, we miss out on so much. We miss out on those near perfect days, those near perfect moments that life has to offer. We can’t see the forest for the trees.

I believe we need to take time for ourselves, even if its just a few minutes a day, to take a deep breath and quiet your mind. I know it can be next to impossible at times, especially when you’re a mom. I remember the days of not being able to pee without an audience or someone banging on the bathroom door wanting to know what I’m doing.

But that is life. Its chaotic, beautiful, aggravating, sweet, trying, lovely, tiring, and wondrous. And in any given day, if we’re paying attention and take those few precious moments to quiet our minds we can see the beauty, the sweetness, the loveliness and the wonder in the midst of all the sanity. It can be difficult, but it is necessary if you’re going to keep your sanity. Even if you have to play the parental version of Hide and Go Seek with your kids (you have them hide and you only pretend to look for them), take those few moments every day and listen.


Listen to what your heart is telling you. Listen to the birds, the breeze, children laughing… listen to life.

Its much cheaper than a day spa.


Quiet your mind and listen to the near perfection that is taking place all around you. You can hear it, see it, feel it.


Life is a blessing. Even the crazy, chaotic, noisy moments. Its those moments that can make us appreciate those quiet, still moments. Soak up those peaceful moments and use them as a shield against negativity and stress if you must. I hoard those moments like the crazy lady across town who collects cats. They’re more precious than gold and can cure nearly every stressful moment that comes along. The quiet moments - not the cats. :D




Monday, May 5, 2014

BDSM Misconception #1

I was having a discussion with someone the other day, and the topic of BDSM came up and misconceptions people on the outside have, and sometimes on the inside.
A lot of people equate BDSM to abuse.
There is one word which places these two practices on opposite sides of the spectrum.
CONSENT
If two or more consenting adults agree to a scene, or a dynamic or a relationship what happens inside that relationship is consensual.
That one aspect changes it from abuse.
You may not understand it, but that doesn't make it any less valid.
It's no different than a couple who cuddles every night before they fall asleep.
It's just a VERY different form of cuddling.
It might not be for you, for the people on the inside of that bubble want it, some might even need it.
The same misconceptions can happen even on the inside.
People fully involved in the lifestyle can make judgments on others involved in a scene. Most scenes are fully negotiated for before, during and after a scene.
It's just one more case of letting people have their own space and NOT JUDGING!
:)

My latest BDSM novel in the Members Only series is below.
***WARNING***
It's REALLY REALLY REALLY dirty. :-P


Victoria’s been called frigid by every boyfriend she’s ever had. Having never gotten off during sex with even one of them probably has something to do with it. But none of them knew how broken she really is. She not only hasn’t gotten off having sex, she’s never orgasmed…ever.
Then she sees an interdepartmental memo for a university study that claims it can help with her little problem. Once she signs her name on the dotted line, Dr. Hotlidge, finds all the right buttons to push.
He’s been looking for the perfect subject for his grant study, but something’s been missing from each of the women he’s questioned so far. Everything changes when Jane Smith #129 steps into his exam room.
It’s supposed to be anonymous, clinical research and nothing more. But when he finds her inner submissive hiding just below the surface, they both find more than they bargained for.
A Romantica® BDSM erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Buy Links
Orgasm University on Ellora’s Cave
Orgasm University on Amazon

The other books in the Members Only Series can be found here...


Jennifer Kacey is a wife, mother, and business owner living with her family in Texas. She sings in the shower, plays piano in her dreams, and has to have a different color of nail polish every week. The best advice she’s ever been given? Find the real you and never settle for anything less.

Website - http://www.jenniferkacey.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.kacey.7
Twitter - https://twitter.com/JenniferKacey
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6941549.Jennifer_Kacey

Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/jenniferkacey/

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Grateful and Thankful to be a Stay at Home Mom

It's May.... wow. Where has the year gone?

Life as a SAHM doesn't really go any slower than working full-time. I think somehow I thought that by staying home things would just magically slow down and be easier. HAH! FAT CHANCE! "High Five" to all you stay-at-home-moms. I just didn't know until I joined the ranks, LOL.

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't go back to working full time unless we were going to starve. I so appreciate my husband and how hard he works so that I can be at home. I LOVE being at home with my daughter and it's exactly where I need and want to be.

She's doing so great with her PPCD class at school. We hear new words every week. She's growing up so fast. Her teacher is a Godsend. Monday I go in for her ARD (it's a fancy acronym for something I can't remember, LOL, has to do with her goals) Isn't that sad. I was a public school teacher for eight years, don't have a clue what ARD stands for. Anyway, in addition to her class, I've also implemented a ABA Therapy curriculum that will hopefully help her start noticing some social behaviors she doesn't comprehend yet. Its going really well and I'm so proud of her. We started learning our letters and sounds too and she is doing fabulous. I'm so proud.

It's a lot. Being a stay at home mom, especially a mother of a child with special needs. I'm often overwhelmed and would very much like to drown myself in a box of Godiva truffles some days. Ok, maybe more than just one box, LOL, especially after a major meltdown where I just can't seem to figure out why she's upset. Those are the worst. If she could just tell me what was wrong. I WOULD move heaven and earth to fix it. Thankfully, hugs usually soothe away her frustrations and we can move on. But the frustration lingers for me, because I couldn't solve the problem because I couldn't identify it.

She is the sweetest child on the face of the planet (yes, I am biased) and I love her so much. I wish I had been able to stay at home with her from the beginning, but I'm making up for lost time now and we are developing what I hope will be a long-lasting bond. Some of my favorite moments every day are her coming into my room and climbing in to bed with me in the morning to snuggle. She tells me "good morning" and pats my head and I just thank God for such a gift. She turned 4 last month and I look forward to as many years of "morning snuggles" as I can get.


Krystal Shannan 
Putting Magick in Romance One Soulmate at a Time
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