Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Frustration IS the Process

I recently read two very different books that both emphasized one very similar point -

Stress, frustration, feeling stuck or lost...this is the creative process.




It's something you have to go through to get to the good stuff. We all want to find an easy, step-by-step process for creativity and art. But it doesn't exist.

A solid process is great for the act of research, scheduling your writing time, and goal setting, but when it's just you and the work, it's pushing through the questions and uncertainty that lead to creativity.

 So don't give up. None of us have this figured out. We're all in it together. Keep working.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How to Focus

It seems so easy, doesn't it? You need to write that term paper, edit the chapter of the novel you're working on, or finish your taxes. It has been on your to-do list all week. But things keep getting in the way. You get busy, someone interrupts you, or you sit down to work on it and you just get stuck. What do you do?

1. Use the timer on your phone. Tell yourself you're going to work on it with complete focus for 5 minutes. Don't allow yourself any distractions for the full five minutes. If the doorbell rings, ignore it. Turn your phone off. You can do anything for five minutes, right?

2. When the timer goes off, congratulate yourself. Getting started is by far the hardest part. You did it!

3. Do you have another five minutes in you? Yes? Reset your timer and do another five minutes.

4. You hit a point where you feel that tug that tells you to stop. You want to check your Facebook, refresh your email, get a snack. You have an unexplainable urge to google the song lyrics you've been wondering about. Take a deep breath and identify what triggered that feeling. Did you just run into a question you couldn't answer? Are you experiencing self-doubt? Once you recognize what's causing you to want to quit, it has less power over you. If you have a pen and paper nearby, write it down.

5. Keep going. Can you press through the rest of the five minutes despite the resistance you feel? Yes! And every time you overcome this resistance, you're making it a little easier to overcome the next time.

6. Do you think you can do more? Reset your timer for 10 minutes or 15 minutes, but try to keep the intervals short enough that they seem easily attainable. We want your brain to think - Pshaw! That's easy. I can do that. Not - Whoa! Let's go watch those cat videos on youtube again.

7. Keep going. You've got this.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Making a To-Do List

To-do lists are great. Writing down our plans for the day is useful, but is it enough?

Have you ever made a to-do list and then only accomplished the easy stuff, leaving the two or three big, important tasks untouched.

Here's one tip for a good to-do list:

Make your list the night before. Make sure you put some kind of limit on each item. If it's small, like paying your electric bill, you can complete the whole thing. If it's editing your novel, you'll need to put a limit on it such as, spend 30 minutes editing or edit one chapter. Make it small enough that you can do it in one sitting. If you need to, sprinkle several of these smaller tasks throughout the day.

Then number your list in the order you plan to do it. Do this the night before. We tend to be more optimistic about how we'll feel the next day and will put the more important tasks up front. If you wait until the next day, they easily get pushed further down on the list. Make sure to mix some easier tasks in with the bigger, more difficult tasks to give yourself a break.

The next day, you don't have to come up with the willpower to convince yourself to work on the important stuff. Just start working on your list in order.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Release - The Wedding Barn

I'm excited to announce that book #2 in the Taste of Texas series is now available:
The Wedding Barn Cover
In book two of the Taste of Texas series, Julie Jarnagin invites you to slow down and experience life on a rural Texas ranch. And fall in love, all over again…
Paige Morgan’s career is in shambles. What kind of wedding planner gets left at the altar? So when a job planning parties on a ranch in rural Texas comes her way, she jumps at it. So what if the cowboy who runs the place isn’t happy she’s there?
Rancher Nick Reid risked his heart once… and lost. Who needs love? He’s got a great life on the family ranch—so long as Paige Morgan and her city ideas don’t ruin it all. If only his family didn’t need her help to save their livelihood. And if only he wasn’t so darned drawn to the woman. But no sooner does Nick start to believe in love again, than a socialite shows up looking for Paige. Asking her to plan an elaborate wedding. Back in the city.
Both Paige and Nick need a second chance at love. But what will it cost them to take it?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy 2016!


Dear readers, I can’t believe another year has passed. It was a wonderful year full of blessings, which included finding new readers and writing new books!
2015 Highlights
2016 Excitement
  • The Wedding Barn will be released later this month
  • I’m working on a brand new series
2016 Goals
  • Learning to spend more time being still and quiet
  • Getting better connected with You, the readers
  • Reading more
  • Spending more time outdoors with my family
I hope this has been a great year for you. I’m praying for blessings and good things to come to you in 2016!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sweet Christmas Kisses 2

SXK2 Blog tour graphic
Welcome in the holiday season with 19 heartwarming and wholesome novellas from New York Times, USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 takes you from the Smoky Mountains to Florida’s sun-drenched beaches, from the Italian Alps to Paris, France, and even to a quirky little town in Arizona. The Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 collection features all-new, stand-alone stories that are sure to make you laugh, sometimes bring tears to your eyes, but always put you in the Christmas spirit. Foreword by New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne.
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Mona Risk Christmas PapaChristmas Papa by Mona Risk Living for three years in her stepmother’s respected house helps Monica forget the horror of her youth and reform her wild streak, and even dream of a normal life, similar to her stepsisters’, with a loving husband and children. Geez, she’s pretty enough to attract any man she wants, but to keep him is a different ballgame. The moment they learn of her past or meet her adorable twins, they feel the urge to move two-thousand miles away. Until Michael kisses her…
Cover_Gingerbread_Kisses_by_Beate_BoekerGingerbread Kisses by Beate Boeker Carol spends Christmas at the luxurious Hotel & Spa “Dolomitissimo” in the snowy Alps of Italy where she’s busy creating gingerbread men as name cards for her younger sister’s wedding. When things start to go wrong, she finds help in the form of Tom, the attractive hotel manager, but then, her sister manages to create havoc and Carol has to fight for her happiness.
Boycotting+Chirstmas_Melinda+CurtisBoycotting Christmas by Melinda Curtis Bachelor Nick Santolli needs someone to help him give his niece a Christmas to remember. Back in the day, no one did Christmas better than Joy Encastle. But times have changed and Joy would prefer to boycott the festivities this year.
Devine Christmas Remember FRONTA Christmas to Remember by Denise Devine Katie McGowan is returning home from a business trip when a blizzard forces her to take refuge at Lakewood Resort and miss celebrating Christmas with her family. The resort is overflowing with people, including Ryan Scott, an avid snowmobiler who’d come to Lakewood to escape the holidays. Ryan and Katie join forces to help others in need and learn the true meaning of Christmas.
AnAngelforChristmascoverRaineEnglishAn Angel for Christmas by Raine English Alexa Stevens needs a job, or she and her daughter might wind up living out of the car. Blake Collins needs a nanny to help with his spoiled ten-year-old. What seems like the perfect match turns out to be anything but when the two girls and a rambunctious mutt create havoc at Christmas.
The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride by Aileen Fish When veterinary student Tara seeks shelter in a snowstorm with handsome rancher Dylan, she quickly writes him off as boyfriend material since he’s more temperamental than an unbroken horse. Thanks to a job lined up half a state away, she’s not even tempted by a friend’s request that she move to White Oak, until she learns what has damaged Dylan’s spirit. Will a sickly calf and the magic of Christmas help her heal Dylan’s heart?
LuckyBreakChristmasSecondHoneymoonLucky Break Christmas: Second Honeymoon by Patricia Forsythe Lily is convinced that her new marriage to Marc is cursed because of a string of fiascoes. Marc knows she’s wrong. It takes the intervention of three body-building wedding planners and most of Lucky Break to change her mind.
Beach Walk by Grace Greene - Cover for IndieWritesBeach Walk by Grace Greene Twelve years earlier, Kelli, a teenage runaway, was taken in by a kind woman named Margie who gave her a home, and safety and security. When Margie dies, her long lost nephew and only blood relative, arrives with plans of his own. Kelli loves her life at Emerald Isle, but how far will she go to keep it, or will Christmas bring a change of heart?
An Irish Christmas Blessing_COVER RustandAn Irish Christmas Blessing by Roxanne Rustand When Eve travels to Ireland to run an old friend’s quaint village bookshop over the Christmas holidays, the trip is a dream come true—all the more because of the beautiful Irish countryside and the quirky locals in the village. And then there’s the charming, enigmatic stranger who just might steal her heart…
ChristmasWedding-MScott-Ebook-LGChristmas Wedding by Magdalena Scott Jim Standish is ready—right this minute—to marry the love of his life, but Melissa Singer wants the day to be one they’ll look back on forever. Planning and execution time: 25days. Will it be possible to create the perfect Christmas Wedding?
finding+you+at+christmas+500x750Finding You at Christmas by Kristin Wallace After years of looking out for everyone else, preacher’s daughter Janie Worthy is ready to get a life of her own. A stalled car and a stranger on a motorcycle puts that plan in a tailspin…and leads to the best Christmas present she could ever find.
ChristmasLaurel-Amazon (1)Christmas Laurel by Christine Bush. Female army veteran Laurel Covington and her retired bomb dog have retreated to a cabin in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains. She’s dealing with PTSD and a mind full of ugly war memories, and wants nothing more than solitude, quiet, and an escape from the clamor of Christmas. But then she meets the tall handsome mountain man who shares the mountain, and who has his own ghosts from the past to put to rest. Sometimes, the true meaning of Christmas can bring both healing and love when you least expect it.
Lois Germain CoverCountry Christmas by Lois Greiman Emily Kane was tossed into the deep end of the foster care system years before, making her cautious of love and commitment. Securing her dream job at the Lazy Windmill, a working farm turned guest ranch, has begun the healing process. But the past can’t be shut out forever. Will familial reunions cause her to bolt back into hiding or will the magic of Christmas heal her heart and allow her to find her happily ever after?
The Christmas Crusade S. HatfieldThe Christmas Crusade by Shanna Hatfield Levi Clarke is on a crusade to create a merry Christmas for the patrons of Center for Hope community center. He’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen, even if it means seeking a sponsorship from Kat Kingsley, the woman too stubborn to realize she’s still in love with him.
Christmas Charm.inddThe Christmas Charm by Susan R. Hughes Gemma and Chris were childhood best friends until their lives took separate paths, both leading to heartache. Fifteen years later, a surprise reunion at Christmastime offers them a second chance at happiness.
Jarnagin Cover Evergreen RomanceEvergreen Romance by Julie Jarnagin. After giving up her plans for college to care for her ailing grandmother, Jillian Rogers has a shot at being promoted to project manager at the local nursery, but the owner’s son comes back into town and tries to take the job. Monty Nelson spent the last five years playing triple-A baseball after college but never made it into the major leagues. Now, he has returned to Lakota, Oklahoma, driven to show his parents he can succeed, but they stick him with running the Christmas tree lot with smarty-pants Jillian Rogers. When old sparks reignite, Jillian and Monty must determine whether their romance will wither or if they’ve found everlasting love.
ChristmasCupcakeMy Christmas Cupcake by Shaleen Kapil. Clare thinks she is doomed to spend the holiday alone managing her new cupcake bakery until a handsome stranger appears just as she is closing up on Christmas Eve. Despite an instant attraction, Starfish Beach is a tourist town, and Clare has learned to be wary. How can she tempt Garrett, a university professor, to move to her small town when all she can offer are cupcakes?
Christmas+SparkA Christmas Spark by Ciara Knight Sara Foster blames herself for her failed marriage. On Christmas Eve, she hides away in the family cabin, the same place her father abandoned her twenty years ago. Dalton Scot is unable to face the family holiday after his divorce and discovering he can never have children of his own, so he chooses Christmas Eve to fix his buddy’s cabin. Both search for a secluded spot to mourn their Christmas pasts, but instead are snowed in at the cabin for the holiday where they discover the power of the Christmas spark.
Cookies decorated with pink and blue snowflakesSweet Blizzard by Milou Koenings. He’s an ex-con, she’s a socialite. He saves her life when a blizzard strands them together, but she could make or break his. Will love make it all right in time for Christmas?
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All 19 authors in this boxed set write sweet/wholesome romances and are members of Sweet Romance Reads, a group of authors whose books contain no sex, violence, or strong language. While the emotional stakes are high as the characters’ relationships grow, lovemaking is not described in these stories. Think movies rated G or PG. Therefore, Sweet Christmas Kisses 2 can be enjoyed by romance readers of any age. Pull up a chair by a cozy fire, pour a cup of hot chocolate and allow these bestselling and award-winning authors to bring the holiday season alive as they warm your heart. Purchase the book at your favorite online retailer: Amazon: http://indi.uno/1i9UeJv B&N: http://indi.uno/1JsnLXM Kobo: http://indi.uno/1ErAkUy iTunes: http://indi.uno/1NFPAA5 Google: http://indi.uno/1Ep9cp2 Connect with the Authors at Sweet Romance Reads: Website/Blog: http://SweetRomanceReads.com Facebook: http://facebook.com/SweetRomanceReads Twitter: http://twitter.com/SweetRomanceRds Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/donnafaz/sweet-romance-reads/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/123223-sweet-romance-reads Or connect with each of the Sweet Romance Reads Authors individually: A tireless traveler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Mona Risk, writes contemporary romance, medical romance, and romantic suspense novels, all simmering with emotion, sprinkled with a good dose of humor and set in the fascinating places she visited— or in Florida, her paradise on Earth. Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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Beate Boeker is a USA Today bestselling author with a passion for books that brim over with mischief & humor. She writes sweet sophisticated romantic fiction and mysteries, many of them set in beautiful Italy. While ‘Boeker’ means ‘books’ in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’, what else could she do but write novels with happy endings? Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today bestselling author. She writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet, light-hearted romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”. Melinda also writes the sweet romantic comedy Bridesmaid series, and fun, traditional romances. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “...Wonderfully entertaining.”
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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Denise Devine is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic comedy and she also writes inspirational fiction. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at thirteen and has been writing ever since. She writes about true love, happy endings and stories that touch your heart.
Website | Facebook | Twitter
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USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romances, as well as hotter paranormal and Gothic romantic suspense. She lives in New England with her family and her French bulldog, Bailey. Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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USA Today bestselling author Aileen Fish is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren’t enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her “to do” list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. Her books include The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series. Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Patricia Forsythe grew up in a small copper mining town in Arizona where she had the opportunity to observe a great many interesting people who have since turned up in her books. She has written many romances for Harlequin books (as Patricia Knoll), as well as indie-published books and enjoys creating the kinds of stories she hopes people want to read. Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Grace Greene writes novels of romance, mystery and suspense. A Virginia native, Grace has family ties to North Carolina. She writes books set in both locations. The Emerald Isle, NC Stories series is set in North Carolina where “It’s always a good time for a love story and a trip to the beach.” Or travel down Virginia Country Roads and “Take a trip to love, mystery and suspense.” Website | Facebook | Twitter
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USA Today bestselling author Roxanne Rustand is the author of thirty-five traditionally published novels, plus four indie novels. She was a Golden Heart finalist twice, and a Golden Heart winner in 1995. She has won two RT Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and was nominated for an RT Magazine Career Achievement Award. Her earlier books were secular, but she now writes sweet indie romance, and inspirational romance for Love Inspired.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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USA Today bestselling author Magdalena Scott writes sweet romance and women’s fiction with small town settings. She invites readers into her world to find out what’s hidden just below the surface of those tiny dots you can barely see on the map—mystery, romance, and the occasional unexplained occurrence.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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Kristin Wallace is a USA Today bestselling author of inspirational, contemporary and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith.” Her popular series include the Covington Falls Chronicles and Shellwater Key Tales.
Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Christine Bush is an award winning author of many sweet romances, mysteries, and novellas. When she’s not writing, she can be found teaching Psychology at a local college, working as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice, or (mostly) spending time with her twelve grandchildren.
Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Lois Greiman is an award winning author who has penned more than 50 heart-warming, laugh out loud novels. She currently lives on a small farm in Minnesota with her best friends, some of whom are human. Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen one story at a time. Her bestselling sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with characters that seem incredibly real. Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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Susan R Hughes writes contemporary and historical romance novels set in Canada. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and three children. Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of sweet and inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched, but these days she lives in a not-so-big city with her husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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Shaleen Kapil is new and upcoming author. Her first book, None But You, debuted in 2014. Her latest stories are built around the Emerald Coast of Florida, a favorite vacation spot. She created the Starfish Beach series to allow readers to enjoy a taste of romance in a laid-back beach setting. Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Ciara Knight writes ‘a little bit of edge and a lot of heart’ with her bestselling sweet romance and young adult stories that have topped the Amazon charts. When not writing, Ciara enjoys her own happily ever after with her husband and three sons living in suburbia, GA.
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter
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Milou Koenings writes heartwarming romance novels because she believes sweet stories with happy endings are like chocolate – they bring joy to the world and so make it a better place. She’s lived all over the world, working as an editor and newspaper columnist, but loves staying home with her family most of all.
Website | Facebook | Twitter