Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Musings: The Hats I Wear

Am I the only one who feels like they’re being pulled in a million different directions? I can’t be, can I?

Sometimes I get so caught up in all of the different roles I play, all of the different hats I wear, that I lose sight of myself. Of the things that I need in order to meet my goals and stay true to ‘me’.

How many hats do I wear? Let’s see…

Bookkeeper (let me add this one is for 6 different companies)
Tax Preparer (ok, so it’s only at year end, but hey, it’s on my mind right now)
Dog Groomer
Parts Gopher
Taxi Driver

There’s probably more, but you get the idea. Just looking at that list makes me think of the old saying ‘Make time to stop and smell the roses.’ I’d love to, really I would. But sometimes, there are too many hats to fit on my head at once. And the one that most often falls off? Unfortunately that would be ‘Writer’. *sigh*

If your list looks like mine, and it most likely does, how to you balance them all? How do you find the time to stay true to yourself? I’d love to know. 

Sarah Grimm
where dangerously sexy & happily-ever-after collide 
Blog / Website

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writer Wednesday: It ALL Began with Tom Jones

LOL. It's true! And this is my story.

My girlfriends and I were returning from one of our fun trips to see my sister in Tulsa. We were tired, and our conversation had died to mumbles. One decided to spark things up with her version of Car Games. Simple, really. She'd ask a question and we'd answer. No brainer.

Question: Pick one--Tom Jones or Englebert Humperdink. I picked EH because he was more romantic. The other three picked TJ because he is wild.

A few more rounds went by, and then she asked, "Write the opening paragraph of a book, using the word window." My insides sunk to the floor because deep down, I wanted to write. And she knew it. (She's never said if she asked this question to jumpstart me or not, but it did).

The others said something. I was afraid to. Afraid what I'd say would be stupid. So I had nothing. And since I was holding things up, they said I could email them something later on. Whew!

Once home, the regular stuff of life hit and I didn't get to the computer for a couple of days. In the back of my head, I knew I had to do this because they wouldn't forget. Just like the proverbial elephant. So I opened a word doc and holy moley, my fingers flew. They didn't stop. I went back and back and before I could *snap*, I'd written eight chapters.

Still, I had to show my friend. I copied it on to a disc, met her for lunch, and gave it to her. We met a few days later, she passed the disc and said, "Keep going."

And I haven't stopped.


From sassy writer Vicki Batman comes three romantic tales with a dash of humor: Little Birdie Who… and Other Stories

"This is NOT Working": One of those days at a new job when nothing is going right until the new boss steps in.

"Check Her Out": Gum: it’s a sticky situation, especially between the store manager and Auntie Caren when her nephew has to pay for the package he stole.

"Little Birdie Who… ": A new town, a new friend, a new beginning. Who would have thought a little bird could bring two people together?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Musings: Swag

I'm attending the RT Booklovers Convention this year - and signing at the BookEXPO, yay! - so I've spent a lot of time lately brainstorming, creating and ordering new promo swag. I always try my best to come up with something fun and unique, something that pertains to the book but that readers will enjoy. From the feedback I've received, I usually manage, however I still feel the need to ask...

Are there any promotional items that you LOVE to receive?
What about those items you don't bother taking or keeping?

Sarah Grimm
where dangerously sexy & happily-ever-after collide 
Blog / Website

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Character Quickie: Justin Harrison

20 quickie facts about Justin Harrison:

Birthday? August 27
Favorite color? Red - like the highlights in Paige’s hair.
Nickname? None that I’m aware of.
Birthmark or scars? A round scar at my left shoulder from a .38 and another on my left side from the surgeon.
Siblings? None
City of residence? San Diego, California
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? Cinnamon
Occupation? Homicide Detective with the San Diego Police Department
Hobbies? Sex
Favorite song? You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC
Name one item in your refrigerator right now? Moldy Cheese
Your greatest fear? That I won’t be able to protect Paige.
Most treasured possession? 1969 Pontiac GTO ‘The Judge’
Special talent? When bad things happen, someone needs to help restore order, solve the puzzle and uncover the identity of the bad guy. I’m very good with puzzles.
Cat or dog? Dog
Pet peeve? I have no stomach for people who take advantage of others weaknesses or misfortune for their own gain.
Unforgettable moment? The first time Paige told me she loved me. Although I could have done without the Beretta pressed against her ribs at the time.
Spicy or not? Spicy
Favorite guilty pleasure? A frosted mug of beer and a cigarette (which I was forced to give up).
If you could ask your author one question, what would it be? Was the Beretta really necessary?

Justin Harrison is the hero in Sarah Grimm's award-winning romantic suspense, NOT WITHOUT RISK. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Breaking the Process By Sascha Illyvich

Most writers have a set process they use to write stories. They either plot meticulously (yo!) or they fly by the seat of their pants. Some set word count goals (again, yo) others do what they can when they can.

The creative process differs for all of us but the habits we establish help shape our careers, our futures. If we're diligent about work habits, success can be ensured. If we're persistent, if we're downright employing the concept of Kai Zen, the art of continuous improvement, then our processes get refined so much that every day seems the same, yet different.

Except when it doesn't, you find your editors are screaming at you because you know better about becoming a lazy editing author. Or when your agents are calling you with news that your last project needs another round of revisions but editors like the storyline…

It's maddening. Especially when you realize the reviewers are all saying how much they love your books, sales of your novels are steady but not as good as they could be, what then?

The one thing I'm evaluating in my career as of this writing is the process. Before, I pulled up the plotter pad my mentor gave me, filled out most of it, came up with some basic character descriptions, then just wrote. I wrote more and threw everything I had into that first draft, kept a rigorous schedule even when life got in the way.

It affected my health. I had to cut back on my hobbies, then cut back on how late I stayed up just to make or exceed word count. But the stories still had deadlines and I still had a life outside of publishing. The stories I've put out in the last few years have suffered not because they were poorly written, if that were the case they'd never have sold. But because they could have been longer, with more character development time spent. I was trained to write with my heart, but also with the idea that more is better. The more releases, the more the gravy train could keep rolling.

One year I was listening to a video interview from Rammstein, the German industrial metal band and the frontman said in translated German that "Rammstein has always been about militant structure. In this album (I think it was Rise, Rise) we broke free and let loose" or something to that effect. You know what? His statement about previous albums described me to a T.

Over the years I've realized I needed a change, a different structure. I needed something that flowed better with the emotional depth I put into my novels, while allowing me more downtime. I needed my readers to see I was capable of writing longer stories. I needed readers to understand me better and realize I screamed not just for me, but for them. But if I were to proceed in my usual militant way, I'd be dead and burned out before you finished reading this blog and obsessing about me. (Hint, you obsess about me, the bad boy of romance!)

Having a looser schedule allows me to begin breathing once again as a writer and more fully develop my characters while keeping my focus on the larger prize.

A little bit about Sascha:

Proclaimed by the Publishing industry as the Bad Boy of Romance, I started writing thirteen years ago. My erotic romances have been listed under the Night Owl Romance and Road to Romance’s Recommended read list, as well nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio.

Find me at


Monday, March 11, 2013

The Charm of the Oldies

There's a standing joke at my  house: any movie in black and white is referred to as an "Amie movie". Why? Because I love all the Cary Grant, Doris Day, and Rock Hudson movies. Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and the Tonys--Randall and Curtis--and of course, Marilyn Monroe. There is a certain charm in these films, an innocence and a standard that we don't have today. I'm not necessarily talking about the sex. Black and white films have their share of sexual innuendo. But any actual hanky panky had to be behind closed doors. No, I'm talking about the nothing-left-to-the-imagination scenes in today's movies. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it seems to me without 15 to 30 minutes of heavy petting, the movies of yesteryear had to rely on witty dialogue and well-dressed, well-coiffed glamorous stars in order to move the story forward.

Next time you have a minute sit down and watch His Girl Friday or Some Like It Hot. The dialogue is amazingly witty and zaps with humor and sarcasm. The clothes are fantastic, the actors talented, and the innocence charming.

Zinging humor and fun plots are just some of what I try to bring to my own novels. Of course to keep them up with today's time, I have to update the fashion and make the heroines a little more...liberated and the heroes a little less...gallant. And then pray like all get out that some of that old fashioned charm worked its way into my writing.

So when my husband sees an old film and immediately calls it an "Amie movie" I take it as a compliment.

Oh, and don't tell my mom, but I secretly have a crush on Gary Cooper. She thinks it's weird. LOL

(One last confession--I laughed until I had tears in my eyes when I searched for the picture of Tony Randall and Jack Lemmon in Some Like It Hot. And the shot of Cary Grant? It's from Arsenic and Old Lace. You know a movie is a classic when you see the image and know immediately what movie it's from.)

Happy Monday!

A Yankee and a Southern Belle with very different writing styles who bonded one day while tweeting.