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My interests are varied and I'm likely to write anything from funny to poignant to informational, so my blogs are organized by topic. Just choose your favorite topic on the left. I'd love to hear from you in the comments section or go to Contact and email me privately if you like. Thanks for coming by!page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
5/21/2016 12:50:56 AM
What I'm working on: Mysteries AND Romances?
Well, as you know, if you've read my books, I can't resist romance. Even in my mystery series I have a romance that develops over several books between Rika Martin and Nick Owen.
However, once I started the Martin and Owen series, the various secondary characters started inspiring me to write more romances. LeeAnne needs her own romance, for instance, since she's a great friend to Rika, but was in an abusive marriage before the Martin and Owen series starts. And once I started writing Dead Men Don't Eat Quiche, I realized Rika's aunts each need their own romance stories. They've both been scarred by their life experiences--especially the fact that Rika's mother, their sister, was abducted and murdered. I have a great idea for Nick's sister, who is mentioned in Dead Men Don't Chew Gum, but doesn't appear until later.
But the romance I was inspired to write immediately is for Rika's cousin Sofia. One morning I was lying in bed, not feeling like getting up, and I started mulling over her story. The next thing I knew, I was at my computer and I'd written 2,000 words and the next day, I wrote over 2,000 more.
Since that romance takes place just after the events in Dead Men Don't Eat Quiche, I've decided to keep writing the two books simultaneously--I currently have about 22,000 words in Quiche--and release Sofia's romance just after Quiche.
It's possible Sofia's story will be a novella instead of a novel. I never know for sure until I write the book. I had no idea, for instance, that just after writing No More Mr. Nice Girl (70,000 words), I'd write my first mystery--Dead Men Don't Chew Gum--and it would turn out to be 100,000 words.
So far, I have no idea what the title of Sofia's book will be or what the cover will look like, hence the question mark cover above. A title usually comes to me while I'm writing the book, if not before.
Of course, I already have the title for Nick's sister's book, but I love it too much to give it away yet. I think her romance will be the next one after Sofia's.
So, for those of you who were concerned I was switching genres completely, like Kiki in Not Dreaming of You, I, too, live my life for love, and I can't resist writing about it. Besides, there's an undeniable attraction brewing between Nick and Rika within the mystery series itself and that attraction will explode with a bang. It has to, if I make my readers wait through several books to experience it.
Meanwhile, if you're not on my book release notification list, please sign up by clicking the box and filling in your email. It's also the second group I go to when I'm looking for beta readers (who get the book free before anyone else sees it) and reviewers (who get the book free in exchange for honest reviews). The first group I go to is my Nina's Inner Circle who also repost, retweet, etc. for me. If you are interested in joining this group, let me know through my Contact page.
4/20/2016 10:45:41 PM
Why Audible is Awesome
I’ve been a member of Audible.com for several years now, and I love it.
(If you want to know what audiobooks in general have done for me, read my 10 Reasons Women Should Be Listening to Audiobooks post.)
Technology has changed audiobook listening and you no longer have to buy super-expensive physical tapes or CDs or check them out of the library. In fact, Audible has made listening to audiobooks a wonderful experience. Here’s why:
1. Sales and deals. In addition to the special low member pricing I get, Audible is always offering me ways to get more books and save money. First, they have frequent Members Only sales. I’ve gotten audiobooks for the price of an ebook at these sales, and I didn't have to kick, punch or trample anyone to get them. Also, if I finish a book and have no more credits left, Audible offers me the chance to purchase additional credits at a discounted price. This all happens quickly and easily, which brings me to the next reason.
2. A great app. My Audible app is one of the most user-friendly pieces of technology I’ve encountered. It’s like they realized I’m barely able to turn the ringer on and off on my phone and (like Mr. Nina does with my website tools) they created something a monkey could use. It’s super easy to purchase audiobooks and listen on your phone or other device.
You’ll find recommendations on your store home page based on other things you’ve purchased and you can keep a wish list. It’s also easy to search using an author name, title, or even a narrator name (for when you’ve heard a narrator you particularly like and want to hear more of.)
It’s simple to check your library to see what you already own. Some books are so enjoyable, I listen to them more than once.
I use my phone’s speaker, earbuds, noise-cancelling wireless earphones, or my car speakers, depending on the situation. When finished with a book, I can choose to store the audiobook in the cloud to free up space on my device. I’ve done this back and forth from the cloud a number of times. It’s simple and fast.
3. Channels. There’s a new feature Audible has added called “Channels” that’s included with your membership. Channels has all kinds of things to listen to, from TEDTalks to comedy to short, scary stories. It’s in beta, so I’m just starting to explore, but the first TEDTalk I happened onto was awesome and could easily have kept my interest while driving around or doing laundry.
Now you want book recommendations? Jeez, you're demanding!
Okay, here are some I've enjoyed:
No More Mr. Nice Girl (romantic comedy) by me, Nina Cordoba- I can't read my own finished works because I always find something I want to rewrite, but the actress/narrator Susannah Jones did such an incredible job, I keep wanting to listen over and over again.
Rock Chick series (funny, sexy, action-packed romance) by Kristen Ashley. This is how I knew Susannah Jones was the narrator I wanted. I'd had trouble finding narrators who did the comedy and accents I needed, but here she was in my Audible Library.
Not Dreaming of You by Nina Cordoba
Always Dreaming of You by Nina Cordoba
Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid, narrated by Jennifer Grace
Yes, Please written and narrated by Amy Poehler
Madigan Again (Comedy Show) by Kathleen Madigan
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, narrated by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne (Also great by Gillian Flynn, Dark Places and Sharp Objects)
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Husband Trap, The Wife Trap, The Wedding Trap by Tracy Anne Warren. Narrated by Bianca Amato.
4/20/2016 9:46:43 PM
10 Reasons Women Should Listen to Audiobooks
Studies have shown that if you have a job, a husband or a child, your brain needs a vacation every 6 days. If you have all 3, that number drops to every 2 days.
Okay, I made all that up, but I’ve had jobs, husbands and kids, and I think it’s pretty accurate.
Unfortunately, I can’t take a vacation every couple of days, so I take a lot of what I call “brain-cations” with audiobooks and, I have to say, they are the best (non-alcoholic, non-pharmaceutical) attitude adjusters I’ve found.
Here are some times I’ve used audiobooks to keep me from losing my (easily lost) mind.
1. Waiting. I can’t stand it. I’m type A and, if you’re a mom, you can spend all kinds of time waiting in afterschool car lines, sitting at soccer practices, etc. But with audiobooks, you can just stick earbuds in your ears, click the Audible app on your phone, and still appear to be watching little McKenzie kick the ball into the goal. (Or, in my case, watch little Sisi stand waaaay back on the field and never get near the ball, even though she insisted she wanted to be on the team until after I paid for the enrollment, the cleats and the shin guards.)
2. Commuting. When I was a single mom in the middle of a divorce, I ended up teaching English as a Second Language at 2 different schools, one of them way, way across the city. Audiobooks took the stress out of the commute and kept me from thinking about traffic, lawyers, and my angry ex. You really can have a commute that feels like a nice break, instead of a miserable chore. I did.
3. Air travel, road trips. If you have to travel distances to work or fly, audiobooks are awesome! You can plug your phone into the Aux port in your car, or use the Bluetooth function, and be surrounded by the story. Or, on a plane, you can put on your noise-cancelling earphones, close your eyes, and pretend you’re not sandwiched between the snoring business man on your right and the compulsive talker on your left.
4. Loathsome activities. For me, it’s being in the kitchen. In my childhood fantasies, when I grew up, I lived in a huge house alone in L.A., except for a cook/housekeeper I saw occasionally, and I never set foot in the kitchen. As a teenager, I liked to design layouts of my future, quirky house. Looking back, I realize I never included a kitchen in my “blueprints.” Nowadays, when I’m making dinner, I find myself getting angry. Yes, angry. I have no explanation for this, but I do have a remedy. Listening to audiobooks keeps me from turning from kindly Dr. Jekyll to “say something about my food and I’ll stick a fork in your eye” Mr. Hyde. Do you have a loathsome activity or is it just me?
5. Exercising. (For some of you, this may come under the previous category. Sometimes it does for me.) I’ve listened to audiobooks while running on the treadmill and time passes much more quickly than it does when I’m listening to music, even though I love music.
6. Migraine mode. A lot of women suffer from migraines. These monster headaches leave me almost completely incapacitated, since I’m blinded by light, sick at my stomach, and in terrible pain. Audiobooks actually help distract my brain and give me something to do other than stress about all the things I’m not getting done because I have a freaking migraine!
7. Research and Learning. Whether you want to be more successful at work or learn how to handle personal finances or (like me) keep up with what’s happening in the genre you write in, audiobooks are awesome because you can get your learning done even when you can’t stare into a book.
8. General Type A. As a Type A personality, I constantly feel like I’m wasting time doing things like folding clothes and sorting socks when I should be writing or reading or multi-tasking in some way. Audiobooks can make you feel like you’re multi-tasking and take the annoyance out of mindless chores by engaging your brain in something more interesting.
9. Mood Issues. I don't want to be mean to my family, but sometimes I'm just exhausted and frustrated. I’ve found comedy shows and other fun stuff in audio form. Sometimes, I even listen to certain authors before I start writing to get my brain into a loose, funny mood. If you need a mood boost before facing your boss, your kids or your husband, this way is even faster than pharmaceuticals, and definitely safer than happy hour if you’re driving.
10. Need a reward. Sometimes when the writing is going slowly, I feel frustrated and want to quit for the day (often at 11 a.m.). I tell myself, if I finish writing the scene, I get to listen to an audiobook chapter while I eat lunch. Or, if I’m feeling hermitty and don’t want to leave the house to pick up necessities, I remind myself that while I’m in the car, I get to listen to the audiobooks I’m “reading.” By the way, I can see you right now through your electronic device and you really look like you could use a reward. You deserve it.
(I’m a Type A overachiever. You didn’t really think I could stick to 10 did you?)
11. Validation. Sometimes I just need to hear that other women are having the same thoughts and struggles that I’m having and it’s truly not just me and my character flaws that make life hard. For this, I like books written and performed by female comedians who are often working while wanting to be awesome wives and the best moms ever and feeling they are falling short. Maybe you don't need this because you are soooo organized and awesome and you've got it all together. If so, imagine me sticking my tongue out at you right now.
I guess I can honestly say audiobooks have changed my life. I feel like I get to go on a brain-cation for at least a few minutes every day, stepping into a different place and time without the dangers I’ve often encountered with actual time travel. (Okay, that’s really Claire from Outlander, also available in audiobook, by the way.)
Here are my books that are available in audio (so far):
To learn other advantages to being an Audible member, like secret sales (Shhh!), go to my Why Audible is Awesome post. I had no idea about all the member advantages until I actually joined, but I’ll gladly spill the beans to you.
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