O.M.G. Kittens!

Get ready for the cute.

I have a bag that says “One cat short of crazy cat lady.” I have surpassed that mark. I am officially a crazy cat lady.

My family got a new kitten. This makes two cats and two dogs in my household. It’s ridiculous and yet… I can’t imagine life without them. She sleeps with my youngest daughter. She climbs up on my chest and kneads me, purring madly. She’s adorable and wild. And we feel so good that we’re able to give her a forever home.

However, one member of the household isn’t as thrilled as the rest of us. Meet Farrah Pawcett–my first cat. She’s pampered and sweet. She never scratches or bites.

Except now, she walks around growling menacingly at the kitten, and swatting her away if she gets too close. Now, I know that if Farrah wanted to hurt Harley (that’s the kitten–my kids named her Harley Quinn and I thought, “Why not?”), then she would. She’d scratch or bite her.

She doesn’t do that, but she is agitated by this new addition. I’m hoping she’ll start feeling more comfortable with the kitten, and less annoyed, and maybe they can coexist, like in this last picture. (Farrah was asleep when Harley snuck up to sleep beside her.)

I’ve been asking everyone with any cat experience if there’s anything I can do to help this process along. Do you have any advice? Or funny stories to share about your pets? I’d love to hear from you!


Want to find out more about my cats (and my books)? Sign up for my newsletter here.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Self Care During Nano

We all do it.

Roll out of bed, park ourselves in front of the computer, hair not brushed and still adorning our favorite pair of pjs or sweatpants, coffee in hand as we pound out the words to our next novel. Maybe we brushed our teeth, maybe we didn’t (this is a judgement free zone). We cringe when we pass by a mirror, wondering if we were body snatched.

I’ve done it. Plenty of times. #noguilt #bedheaddontcare #pajamadayeveryday. Eventually though, I have to do something that allows me a mental break. I need a moment to reset or I fizzle out (and I was specifically ordered by some of my Nano-ing partners in crime that there will be no fizzling unless it involves a beverage).

Seriously though, if ever there is a time that we, as authors, should pay attention to ourselves, it is during the lovely month of November. We push ourselves to the bring, pulling our hair out, putting in the time and the words to hit that magical 50k+ in a single months time. Every man, woman, and child participating will need to take a step back, regroup, breath, and let themselves focus on something else for even a mere fifteen minutes.

My own personal take on self care probably varies from the many pieces of advice floating around. I tend to look at things I don’t typically allow myself the time for during even a low key writing month or work day. Here are my ideas for self care…

  • Read a book. I’m often so busy writing or dealing with family shenanigans that I don’t do this enough. It’s nice to read a book. It takes your mind on a journey not of your creating. You don’t have to think, you just go along for the ride.
  • Bubble baths. #luxury! I love a good bubble bath. As a parent, you are often lucky to find a single solitary moment in which you can have a peaceful moment in the bathroom, which is why this is a self care luxury in my book.
  • Go get a massage, manicure, or pedicure. Letting someone else do the pampering for you….you will feel like a king or queen for a day.
  • Take a hike. No not in the mean get the hell out of here sort of way. Literally go for a hike. So many great spots out there where one can convene with nature. I’ve found some great ideas from hanging out with ol’ Mother Nature.
  • Go have a girls or guys night out. Sometimes, just hanging with the friends is just what the doctor ordered.
  • Follow the family dog or cat’s lead and curl up for a little afternoon snooze. I don’t do this often, and I will admit to sometimes taking it so far that I wake up feeling a bit groggier than when I put my head to my pillow, but man when I manage a simple power nap, I come back refreshed!

I have many more things that go on my list, but these seem to be the ones that always seem to get my mind working again…and sadly they are also the ones I usually avoid like the plague. However, this month I am planning a #nanoselfcaresunday journey. Every Sunday, on my Instagram, I will post a selfie of how I am indulging in a little self-care.

How do you take care of yourselves during this month of endless writing, yelling at the blank screen, and overall writing chaos? Join with me on my Instagram journey…who knows, maybe we can make it habit and it will just become part of what we do from here on out. I’m game.

About Kinsey Corwin

Kinsey Corwin, a contemporary romance author who really is drawn to small town stories, beaches, and cowboys (I know, that is quite a mix). She is a single mom of amazing boys, a fan of kitchen experiments, a lover of country music, and a dreamer.

5 Super Fast Dinners during #NaNoWriMo #amwriting

Hi, all! Jennifer here

I am not participating in NaNoWriMo this year, but wish everybody who is GOOD LUCK.

I know writing is your focus right now, so I thought I’d share some really easy and fast dinners you can make this week so you can afford to squeeze in more writing time. These are all recipes I have tried and have made more than once, so you KNOW they’re yummy.

  1. Greek-Style Shrimp Scampi  Want to make it gluten-free? Instead of pasta, use spaghetti squash!
  2. Cheesy-Penne with Broccoli Super fast! And low fat, too.
  3. 20 min Chicken Enchiladas So quick because it uses rotisserie chicken!
  4. Sloppy Joe sliders Not only done in 20 min but kid friendly too. Serve with a side salad!
  5. White Bean Soup with Kale and Chorizo  I make this with smoked Kielbasa instead of smoked chorizo and it was YUM

Are you hungry now?

Hope you try a few of these recipes!

(But first, get your word count in!)

Until next time,

Jennifer

XOXO

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

The Path You Get #amwriting #NaNoWriMo @pawf1067

The Path You Get

Not that long ago, I got a book deal, my first. I couldn’t tell you the excitement I felt. I had reached my dream of being a published (fiction) writer. Finally, after multiple hours of writing notes and chapters in spiral notebooks, then typing it all in, I’d sold my first book. Someone appreciated the story that I’d spent countless hours constructing and reconstructing in my head. I knew I’d arrived…until I saw my book cover.

It was terrible. Truly terrible.

An attractive looking woman in a dark orange sweater and blue jeans stood winking at the camera. Behind her, a guy nuzzled her neck as he cupped her boobs. This would be the first thing people would see when they saw my title.

My work. My creation.

I sat there, staring at the screen shaking my head and talking to no one. With utmost certainty, this was not my story..at all. Not one stinkin’ thing about that cover reflected anything to do with what I’d spent hours creating. Along with the worst cover in the world, my name had been placed across the front of this woman’s crotch in dark red letters. You couldn’t even see my name!

After the shock wore thin, I had a complete meltdown, the likes of which my poor husband had never seen. Truly, I’m surprised he didn’t run to the airport and catch a one-way ticket to New Zealand. I talked to a writer friend who said I would have little pull being a brand new writer, but to talk to my editor about my very valid concerns. So I did.

Her response was, “Tough. This is the cover you’re getting or you can take your book elsewhere.” She followed that up with, “Oh, and we’re just going to print your book as is. No edits.”

No. No. No. No. NO!

Now, this is the part I want you to listen to very closely. When someone is so unbending, when someone isn’t listening to anything you are telling them about your book, when someone tells you they aren’t even going to edit your story because “it’s good enough”, run. I don’t care if it’s your first book deal or tenth. Run.

I did.

As a writer, you work is your face. Your image. Your craft. Don’t spend hours, weeks perfecting a chocolate cake and allow someone to pour gravy all over it and tell you it’s fine. Don’t let your worry of never getting another book deal ever cloud your good business judgment. Yes, I know you want to make that sale, we all do. If you’re writing in NaNoWriMo, of course you want to see results from all the hard work you’ve put in, but don’t allow your desperation of wanting to be a published author get in the way of a saying no to crappy book covers and awful editors. Every published author I’ve ever talked has at least one horror story like mine. Whether it was a dreadful book cover or bad editing or simply a bad business deal, stand back and think.

With a lot of tears, I canceled that contract and pulled my book. Not long after that, authors talked about bounced royalty checks and within the year, the publisher went into bankruptcy. Even after hearing of the publisher failing, I worried I’d never get my book sold, but I kept writing and writing and writing and finally in 2012, I sold my first full length book to Soulmate Publishing.

Since then, I’ve published four indie books set in Texas and contracted another two with Soulmate. To add to that, my book Burning with Desire from Tule Publishing, came out in April 2017 and just this week, I signed a three book deal with Tule to develop a medical romance series. When I received that first book deal, this isn’t where I thought I’d be. It’s not the path I assumed I’d walk, but it turned out better than I imagined.

Keep moving forward friends. Keep writing.

Patricia W. Fischer is an award-winning romance writer who loves telling a good story. After spending a decade in the ICU and ER’s, she turned to writing full time. She’s the host of Readers Entertainment Radio and has a monthly book picks TV segment on San Antonio Living.

You can find her at www.patriciawfischer.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Be sure to check out her books!

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

Want a Free Holiday Book? #freebiefriday #fridayreads

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

My fellow Entangled Bliss author, Barbara White Daille has a new release coming out next month!

She has graciously given me TWO ebook ARCs to giveaway! How special am I?

Here’s a little about the book

 

One Week to Win Her Boss

 

Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It’s a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she’s the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…

 A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude. 

 Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she’s looking for. 

Find the book:

Interested in reading?

Sign up HERE!

 Winner’s will be chosen by November 9, 2017 11:59PM EST

Good luck!

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

Shamed

I’m not one to post pics of my kids on the blog, typically. But this kid–holy moly–he has put me through the wringer today.  And when the end of the day came, I could’t help get a bit introspective. I’m not a helicopter parent, by a long shot. I like being able to hear my kids outside, but I don’t ever feel like I need to be right there “handling” things, resolving fights, or just making sure everyone’s playing nicely. I like the kids to learn a bit of autonomy, and I definitely want them to learn to fix their own problems. You’d be surprised at how conflict resolution happens when adults aren’t there to mediate.

All that being said, my little guy went missing today. We were all relaxing and hanging out at the house. Windows were open and sounds could be heard wafting in. Knowing my husband was downstairs and around and getting lunch, I slept for a wee bit–maybe 30 minutes. When I woke up, I took stock, went next door to check on the kids, as I knew my daughter was over there and assumed my little guy was too. But he wasn’t.

And that funny panicky feeling started in my chest. I looked through my house, every room and closet and even the bathrooms. Back outside, I started calling for him, thinking he might have gone to play with another neighbor friend. My friend across the street started helping right away. And I started knocking on doors. I was freaking out about the “back to [fucking] nature” area behind the houses. What if he’d decided to take a hike? It seemed unlikely, he hadn’t been one to wander off so far, but there was just no guarantee!! This might have been his first time. I went back in the house and looked again–every closet and every corner. Outside, my circle grew…and another neighbor guy joined in.

Until about twenty minutes later, I knew I was going to have to go back to the house. I needed to call the police. Walking back, I continued calling his name, but by the time, I got back to my street, my voice was silent. My friends, next door and across the street, were standing in the street. And then my husband walked out of our house.

“I found him. He’s under Virginia’s bed, sound asleep.”

I cried. In the street.

I’m not a helicopter parent. But for the first time in a long time, as this day ends, I keep seeing the “unconcerned” people from the other next door. They’re new to the neighborhood so maybe that’s why they just sat out back while I frantically searched. There was a funny feeling in my gut, though. One I’d never had before…

Shame.

They were judging me.

It felt like it.

And though I’m still not going to be a helicopter parent, I’ll probably be a sheep dog parent for a while, circling around.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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