Real Life and Priorities

Are you a writer? A new writer? An aspiring bestselling author? Or a reader, curious about the writer’s life?

Have you ever said to yourself, Ugh, I hate when real life gets in the way or I had to deal with real life today…?

See, I used to say that stuff, too. There was always this idea that the writing wasn’t real. It was something that came second to everything else, no matter what that was. The writing was the first to go when life went through an upheaval.

But sometime in the last year or two… [and I think it started during my contracted writing hiatus!], I stopped thinking about everything else as real life.

Writing is Real Life. And you know what? Sometimes I let stuff get in the way of Real Life…

After reading a few articles in the past week, including this one, HERE, part of me was like. Yeah. That’s right. Writing is the important part! If we’re not writing, there’s nothing to sell. Which led me to think about how much I write and when I write and how I’ve made it a priority. This article, HERE, was a good reminder of how social can often take over my life. Even when social media feels like Real Life, it’s not. Not the promotions, not the family photos, not the political debates,…that ain’t real, people! Get off it and write.

Tuesday was supposed to be my big start into editing Book 4. But I spent the day helping the husband get ready to take a trip [not really helping, but just doing all that weird busy stuff that doesn’t seem to matter when the day is said and done!]. Wednesday, I had a board meeting for an organization I belong to. Tomorrow, I made plans to have a get together with friends. You know what? [I love all of those things. But I haven’t written anything this week!]

It’s time to get back to Real Life. The job. The goal. The dream. It’s okay to do those things…as long as I’m also taking care of my career. And that is true for the writers…and doctors, and cosmetologists, and …everyone.

What about you? What keeps you from getting the work done? From writing that next chapter? From submitting to the next agent or editor?

Post a comment for a chance to win a copy of Cindy Skagg’s new release [out today!!], Survive by the Team! Book Three of the Team Fear Series. <3

Happy Writing!

Beth

Mandi Gault never met a man brave enough to openly date a mortician, so when a good-looking man with twelve-pack abs invites her to coffee, she’s not asking any questions. Too bad he’s trying to kill her.

Danny Gault died in a conspiracy threatening Team Fear—his defunct military team—so when Gault’s sister winds up in the hospital, former teammate Stills is forced to leave the safety of the team’s compound. He recognizes her attacker as a member of a rogue military unit with orders to eliminate Team Fear. Now they’re on the run while they unravel why Team Echo wants her dead.

As the danger escalates, they share a wild night of down and dirty fun that would put a blush on a corpse, but Stills made it clear it was one and done. Now he must decide if he’s brave enough to forget about vengeance… and live.

Military trained, medically enhanced, designed to kill. The surviving members of Team Fear are out of the military and in a world of secrets, lies, and cover-ups in this fast-paced romantic suspense series by Cindy Skaggs.

 

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.

Character Driven Stories

The topic came up in our forum recently, and then I was thinking about it as a started reading a new book because there was a certain disconnect as I read through the first chapter.

So, as I thought about it, I noted two things.

One from my reading:

The conflict created unnatural reactions in the characters. When it came right down to it, I disliked the heroine for her bitchiness in the first scene…but mostly, it seemed that her thoughts [as the author tried to ‘show’ the story] and her actions weren’t realistic. She was stuck in a Russian blizzard, needing rescue! Why is she thinking she should try to bring up a past and resolve anything? Why is she thinking at all beyond, ‘Thank God. You rescued me. Please don’t hate me too much to save my life.’ So there were a few other instances where the author was trying to maintain sexual tension by NOT having the couple hook up too soon, and created conflict. But again, it just felt off, especially since the characters were both young, healthy, attractive, sexually active, and ‘hot for each other’. As an author, reading this book, the conflict felt too contrived.

This is where characterization can play a huge part! Because if even one of those characters wasn’t the horny, sex-impulsive type, then…I could have believed they were holding back as a natural occurence!

Two, from my own writing:

Last week I finished revisions on Book Three of my Hawk Elite Security series, and it’s the first full-length novel that has no sex in it. Before I started revisions, this book had the expected 2-3 love scenes. As I went through on the revisions, the sex kept NOT happening. Believe me, I wanted it to happen! I understand the satisfaction of seeing a couple through even this very private part of their relationship. It’s what romance readers are looking for… emotional connections. But no, I had a character. And do you know what my character’s nickname on the teams is?

Fr. John. Because he’s conservative in his dating life, because no one is quite certain if he’s had sex or not… is he a virgin? Does he even date anymore? He hasn’t–in a long time–and that’s what made his story. So, wouldn’t it be odd to have him suddenly be a lady’s man? a Don Juan? I think it would. It wouldn’t be in character.

I had a heroine who was ready to go, and she did her own pondering on why this guy wasn’t going to have sex with her. But even my heroine had been living alone for a few years, sort of in hiding from herself and the world. So, even for her to jump right in would have been a little off-reality.

I write romance, and I know the possibility of disappointing readers with a book that has no sex in it. But, I just couldn’t get beyond my characters. John was raised a certain way. He’s not perfect. He’s NOT a virgin [cuz, hello, college is a bed of sowing wild oats and living a little rebelliously], but he’s celibate, and has been for a few years. Because he knows, he wants the whole thing. All of it, and he isn’t going to settle for less, or cheat the next woman he’s attracted to by leading her on.

If you get a chance to read Strike Zone, please come back and tell me what you think. Part of me loves this story, because the sexual tension is so darn high. Part of me wishes I’d left the sex in there because it’s satisfying…

But in the end, I left the tone of the book up to the characters.

And if you like things a little hotter, stay tuned for book 4, Strike Force. Oh boy. That’s a different story completely!

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.

From Fake to Forever Sale!

Hi, all! Jennifer here with a brief announcement.

My romance From Fake to Forever is now on sale for 99 CENTS until Sunday, May 7th. So grab me at ITunes, B&N, AMZ, or KOBO while you can!

Here are what a few nice people have said:

5 STARS  “Great writing, incredible characters, and a storyline that touches your heart make this one a perfect lazy afternoon read. I highly recommend it.” -Bette H., Goodreads review

5 STARS  “Jennifer Shirk has written a beautiful sweet romance which made me laugh plenty of times.” –Anniek, Goodreads review
5 STARS  “This was my first read by Jennifer Shirk and I’ve been missing out.” –Isha Coleman, Netgalley reviewer

5 STARS  “This story is filled with captivating characters, lively banter and a touching romance.”–Rosemary, Goodreads reviewer

Here’s a little bit about it:

Sandra Moyer’s preschool is struggling, so when her sister suggests allowing a super-famous actor to research his latest role there, she reluctantly agrees. Except the actor turns out to be Ben Capshaw—a playboy who’s never serious, always joking around, and who knows zero about kids or being a parent. Case in point: his involvement in the untimely death of the preschool’s class pet…

Ben is enjoying teaching more than he thought he would, but that doesn’t mean he’s looking for a permanent position. Sure, he’s ready for more serious movie roles and less goofing off, but the buttoned-up, beautiful Sandra and her young daughter are more than he bargained for. Plus, Sandra still won’t trust him—what if it’s all an act, research for the role? As the lines between make-believe and reality blur, Ben will have to decide if love is worth casting aside the role of his life for a new role…that could last a lifetime.

Hope you check it out!

Have you read it?

 

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. Check out her latest sweet romance: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

Sexy Space Men…

This month I’m releasing a serial, Ruby Robbins’ Sexy Space Odyssey. It’s in three parts, part 1 and 2 released over the last couple of weeks and the final part releases on the 17th.

As you might guess, the serial is set in space. And it’s the story of Ruby, a shy accounts clerk who gets to save the universe and meet a couple of gorgeous space pirates along the way. It’s part of Entangled Publishing’s Scorched imprint (Beyond your Wildest Fantasies!) When I was asked if I’d like to write something for the line, I thought long and hard, as it would need to be hotter than I was used to writing, but in the end, I decided to take a look at a few of my own fantasies and write a sexy space opera.

Since I fell in love or the first time at the age of eleven, (his name was Han Solo and he was a space pirate!) I’ve had a soft spot for men from space, and here are a few who have had a lasting influence on me…

 

  1. Han solo of course. Han is still my favorite, but then you never forget your first love.
  2. Captain Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly—serious competition for Han. Firefly is probably my favorite TV series ever. I’ve watched it so many times.
  3. Doctor Who. I’ve been watching Doctor Who for as long as I’ve been watching TV. Growing up, I wanted to be Doctor’s assistant, and he would fall in love with me, and we’d travel the universe in the TARDIS and…
  4. …following on from Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Captain Jack. Even if I’m not exactly his type.
  5. Avon from Blake 7, another of my favorite TV shows growing up. Avon was such a baddie with a wicked way with sarcasm.
  6. Zaphod Beeblebrox from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – he had two heads. How cool is that?

How about you – who are your favorite sexy space men?

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

Freebie Friday!

Hi, all! Jennifer here!

Guess what? It’s Freebie Friday on our Facebook group page!

Through Heart-Shaped Glasses

 
Have you joined yet? We chat books, life, men, food, movies–whatever!
 
Sometimes we even do giveaways. 

Today I’m giving away ONE free ebook (winner’s choice) from a list of 5 books in my TBR pile.
Answer the question I ask and be entered to win! (Easy peasy)

Here are the list of choices you’ll have if you win:

My little Facebook disclaimer: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering, Entrants agree to a complete release of Facebook.

Giveaway runs until tonight 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. Check out her latest sweet romance: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

How Do I Find Books to add to my TBR List?

Hi, all! Jennifer here!

Lately I’ve been seeing some great questions posed on social media. But one in particular really had me thinking about what I read, when, and how.

Are you on GOODREADS? Well, if you aren’t you’re missing out on a great way to organize books you see. Especially if you want to read it but need to put on the back-burner because of time–or the fact that you already have a stack of books to read!

But anyway, after some careful thinking and analyzing, I can now share with you my process.

How I Find Books to Add to My TBR List

  1. Goodreads  When I check into Goodreads, I see lists of books my friends have read and reviewed. If I see a 4 or 5 star review with major gushing in their review, I automatically add that book to my TBR list.
  2. Instagram and Facebook Ads  Well, believe it or not this is true. If I happen to see eye-catching ad, I will click on the link. If I read the blurb and the books sounds interesting, yes, I will either buy it or add to my TBR list.
  3. Recommendations from my Critique Group We obviously don’t just talk writing. We talk books as well. And we usually check in and share what we’re reading. If a CP looks a particular book, I will definitely add it my list.
  4. Amazon  Yes, I’m one of those people who comb the best-seller charts. If it has a good rating, a good price, and the blurb interests me, I will buy it or add to my TBR list to see what the hype is about.
  5. Award Winners  I’m one of those readers who actually DO pay attention to award-winning books or even RITA nominated books. Again, if the blurb interests me, I will add it.
  6. Bookbub  Well, sometimes there is a sale on a book I’ve had my eye on, but sometimes if the cover and blurb look good, I might just snatch a new book up and add to my TBR pile for the heck of it.

Anyway, that’s how I find books I want to read.

What’s your method? How do you find books to add to your TBR list?

Do you use your library? Bloggers? Twitter?

I’m interested to know!

Until next time,

Jennifer 🙂

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. Check out her latest sweet romance: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

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