Posts tagged with: new release

Ruby Tuesday – Liz Talley

Hello everyone! Welcome to October’s first Ruby Tuesday!

*On the first Tuesday of each month, we will spotlight a Ruby by interviewing her about her books/life or both. If there are any new releases or events going on for a Ruby during the rest of the month, they will post about it on Tuesdays as well.*

Join me in welcoming Ruby Slippered Sisterhood author, Liz Talley!

Hi Liz! Can you tell us about your new book coming up?

Absolutely! Room to Breathe features two point of view characters – a mother and a daughter. Daphne is an almost 40 year old children’s author who is two years’ divorced and ready to get her sea legs in the dating world. Ellery is a twenty-two year old recent college grad who, well, faces some disappointments for the first time in her golden life. She missed out on the perfect fashion internship and must slink home for a “gap” year working retail and assisting her mother. And, there are complications which include, of course, men. There’s a too-young-for-Daphne hot contractor, a sexy bartender Ellery can’t resist, a self-involved fiancé, and a seasoned but handsome vineyard owner. I’ll offer up my selling logline for the project as a summation –

Whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, these gals still have wine!


This book would fall into the Women’s Fiction genre, a departure from your small-town romances. Why the change?

I needed to to stretch myself and try something new. The timing was right for me. I had started my career with Superromance, which were layered, emotional reads, so I knew I could dig deeper than my light-hearted romantic comedies. After writing Come Home to Me, my 2018 flirtation with Women’s Fiction, and receiving some strong critical feedback, I felt I was on track to write a bigger, more female-focused book. There are several authors who’ve made the same move, namely authors like Kristan Higgins, Sonali Dev, Barbara Samuels, and listening to them and seeing their success really inspired me to stand on my tiptoes and reach for something more.

Did you find it difficult to steer away from romance being the central focus of the plot?

Not really. It seems like it would be more difficult, but barring the sexual tension, relationships can be boiled down to the essentials – what each person wants and what each person can’t have…at least for most the book. For many women’s fiction books, the story is about the journey of the woman, but I focused more on the relationship, the push and pull of a mother trying to let her daughter go, and a daughter learning that she has to stop leaning on her parents to fix her world. It’s about growing up – for both women. 

Do you think the trend will keep shifting more toward Women’s Fiction?

I’m not sure. I think it’s pretty saturated at this particular moment. I foresee some shifts toward lighter, humorous women’s fiction. In April I have another book releasing called The Wedding War. In this one, a somewhat campy but still emotional story, I lessened the angst and increased the high concept factor. I’m not going to lie. I’m SO in love with that book. It was pure joy to write, and my homage to Steel Magnolias. Spring can’t come fast enough!

What do you think about the term “Women’s Fiction”? There is no “Men’s Fiction” out there.

I think that’s because for so long men dominated the world of fiction. All fiction was aimed at men, except for the sentimental paperbacks reserved for housewives <rolls eyes> But I think there are plenty of guys who like women’s fiction. Women’s fiction puts a woman/women in the spotlight and the story belongs to her, not that men and other characters aren’t important. But, yeah, she gets to hog the spotlight. I have no problem with the term. I’m not big on labels anyway. My book is fiction. I don’t care who reads it. I care about the story.

Thanks so much for answering our questions, Liz! And now for the blurb and how to buy your fabulous new book!

Well, the absolutely best news is that if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get Room to Breathe a month early and FREE! This book is part of Amazon’s First Reads program (which I’m insanely thrilled about). If you don’t do Prime, you can grab it on November 1st. Since it’s an Amazon Montlake imprint, it’s in Kindle Unlimited, but you can still get it from other major retailers like Barnes and Noble and Target. It just might not be on the shelf. I hope you all get a chance to meet Daphne and Ellery. Thanks for hosting me, Heather.

Do you read Women’s Fiction? Why or why not?


How to Prepare for a Book Release

Hello Ruby Readers! Hope you had a fantastic holiday weekend if you were lucky enough to have Monday off. Even though I went to the beach with friends and family, my mind was ticking away on all the promotion details I need to remember for my upcoming book release.

The first book in my new Highland Roses School series, A ROSE IN THE HIGHLANDS, comes out September 24th! I’m so excited about this new series. It deals with women empowerment in a time when women were often abused and/or treated like powerless chattel. But at the Highland Roses School, English sisters, Evelyn and Scarlet Worthington, are determined to teach their students how to stay educated, elegant and alive.

In preparing for this release, I have a list of promotional should-dos. Every author develops a list of actions to be ticked off the closer their release date comes. Today I am sharing my list with you. Feel free to use it yourself, adding and subtracting from it as pertains to your book release.

Book Release Should-Do List

    1. Decide on your budget for promotional ads, free copies of the book, materials, and swag.
    2. Create publicity graphics for FB, Twitter and Instagram (I use Canva, a free, online graphics generator). My publicity team at Entangled Publishing sends me graphics of the book and background with and without text. Then I can post their graphics and create some of my own by putting in teaser quotes.
    3. Order post cards with the cover on one side and a brief blurb on the other with room for addresses. I will mail these out 2 weeks before release to my paper mailing list.
    4. Order swag for prizes that have something to do with your book. Ideally, the swag should be something a reader can use everyday and has your book and name on it (post it notes, calendar magnets, pens, mouse pad, playing cards). But I’ve also ordered sgian dubh (black daggers) letter openers and tea cups and rose-scented soaps that have to do with my book.
    5. Order print copies of the book as soon as it is available. Luckily my publisher has made them available to me so that I will have paper copies on hand for release day. Don’t use them as prizes at first as it may stop someone from buying the book, but it is nice to have one to hold up to show.
    6. Consider Reader Events around the time of your release. I’m attending Shameless Book Con in Orlando in October. 

      Shameless Book Con

    7. Sign up for local author events. I’m attending a book festival in the town next to mine and I participated last month in a library author event where I talked about my upcoming book.
    8. Keep your eyes open for free advertising places through other authors and networking sites. You can list the book on Book Bub for free.
    9. Submit ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) to those who have reviewed your books before or online reviewers.
    10. Make sure you have an Amazon author account. Add the new book and any reviews you’ve already received.
    11. If you use Pinterest, make sure to clean up your board for the new book. I keep mine “secret” until after the release. To keep generating enthusiasm, open the secret Pinterest board so readers can glimpse what inspired the story.
    12. Contact other authors in your sub-genre about swapping new book information in your newsletters. Write and schedule a newsletter for release day.
    13. Be active on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), but make sure not to bombard with promo pitches. Just be yourself and talk about life most of the time. Leave the big promo pitch for release day.
    14. Sign up to blog around release day so your name, face and book are out there.
    15. Ask your local libraries to order your new book. My library has a form online to request this.
    16. Make sure your web site is up to date.
    17. Post a countdown widget on your web site. Luckily, my publicity team creates this for me, and I just insert it.

18. Set up a Facebook party for release day. I’m planning to host (for the first time) a FB tea party and will live stream a segment on the day.
19. Have fun on the big day and capture it in pictures or live streaming. On my last release day, I wore a tiara while doing errands around town and took pictures with local people. I think I might do the same this time, but I’ll also ask them to hold my book. And then I’ll live stream my tea party.

Whew! No wonder I’m tired! And I still have so much to do on this list. So, what have I missed? Please add your advice and tips. Have a wonderful, mark-everything-off-your-to-do-list kind of day! Heather


For more information about Heather, please find her here:



How Do You Find Your Characters

Many years ago, I was like a shaky legged fawn stepping into the world of writing. I had written before, for myself and for my school newspapers, but this new world was totally different and scary as hell. I knew if I was going to survive I would need a strong man by my side so I began my search for the man I knew whose name was Hudson Alan Mitchel.

I searched every store, every street corner, and every office I entered, but I was always disappointed. Yes, there were plenty of men in all those places but none were Hudson.

This went on for months, during which time I began to write his story. It came to me like I was listening to his dreamy baritone voice over the radio. (Yes, at that time there was no podcasts or You Tube channels). Taking long walks and listening to him like we were connected by our cell phones, I learned what he liked and didn’t like. I discovered all of his dreams from childhood and on. I felt his angst over the burdens and problems he carried as a major league ball player. I became aware of whom he trusted and who would put a knife in his back because of his fame. And he revealed to me his most personal desires. He wanted a woman just like me. (Yes, when he told me that, it was a sigh worthy moment.) But sadly, I was blissfully married to my own hero and being the decent guy he was Hudson said he would always be my friend.

But I didn’t have an idea of what he looked like. I knew his heart but not his face.

He assured me that we would meet and soon.

I wanted to meet Hudson so much, face to face, and touch his cheek and let him know that I would do anything to find the woman of his dreams for him. I wanted him as happy as I was. Then, I thought why not start the search for Hudson’s dream woman right away. It would be so great to be the one to orchestrate their cute-meet.

One sunny afternoon, I sat on my patio, flipping through a catalog when Sileen Wright caught my eye. She had long, nutmeg brown hair and dark eyes like I did, but she had a cute button nose like Sandy Bullock and a body I’d need to exercise like ten hours a day for a year to achieve. But physical beauty wasn’t all Sileen had going on for her. Her smile reflected her warm heart and her witty sense of humor. She had a look that told you exactly how she was feeling.

I felt privileged when she told me about her family and her dreams to work for NASBO (National Association of Small Business Owners). However, I picked up on the sadness when she spoke about those dreams. She hid the sadness quickly and I didn’t pry. I knew who could help her figure out her problems­~the man who I trusted. They were perfect for each other.

Maybe a month after, Sileen and I met, I attended my first big writer’s conference at Penn State’s main campus. For three days, I learned more about the craft from great writers such as Merline Lovelace. ~I love Merline’s work and not because she gave me such great advice. Her writing is wonderful.~ Anyway, my critique partners and I stopped at a local café and while we enjoyed Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (I know, I know about the Creamery now!) Hudson appeared. It was love at first sight. Yes, I mean me. But at last, remember I was married. So, it was love at first sight for Sileen and Hudson and their story took off in my imagination.

After years, their story is now going out into the world and you all are among the first to know how Sileen and Hudson’s love affair started.  Perfect Fall is up on all venues for a preorder price of $.99 now.  It will release in four short weeks on July 18, 2017 at $4.99. Grab your copy today and if you feel like sharing the information with your friends, please do!




I Books


To me the story is all about characters. Finding a picture of my characters and interviewing them is usually how I begin to learn the direction and theme of my stories. Where do you start? Do you just dive into write and learn about them as you go?  Do you use character charts?



Autumn Jordon is an award-winning, sneaker wearing Ruby. She loves writing both contemporary romance filled with chuckles and romantic suspense/mystery meant to keep you on the edge of your seat, guessing. Visit her website for information on all her works and to join her newsletter.

Tips For Writing Faster

Happy Monday! And Happy Release Day to the first book in my new Scottish Historical Romance, Highland Isles series! THE BEAST OF AROS CASTLE is about 65K words, and I wrote it in two months. I wrote the sequel in two months also, with Christmas thrown into the schedule.

Do I live alone, with only a fish to feed once a day, and eat frozen meals? No. I have three very busy kids, a hubby who works late, so I do all the cooking, and six animals that the kids said they’d look after. (Yeah, right!) I feed, walk, clean and love (okay, they help with the love) all six of those fuzzy creatures.

So how did I get 65K words written in two months without locking myself away?

One word at a time.

I’m not here to tell you it’s easy, although it is for some. I’m not here to tell you it’s crazy hard either. What works for me, may not work for you. As writers, we each must tap into our creative process in our own unique way. Although, there are some strategies that can help across the board. Here are my top five.

1. Identify if you are a long-stretch writer or a small-chunk writer. Do you like to go hours without interruption to get your words in? Or do you like to write in thirty minute increments and prefer taking breaks?

You would think that the long stretch writer would be the one who gets the most words in, but that’s not always the case. Often, the long stretch writers can’t get any words down because they can’t find an uninterrupted stretch of time. Whereas the small chunk writers will take every 15 minutes they can find.

I am very fortunate to not have to work outside the home, so theoretically I have large stretches of time to write. But I have found that I do better writing in small chunks, thirty minutes to an hour, and then I check FB or my e-mail or walk the dog. My mind and muse need a breather, even if it’s just two minutes.

Collage for CRIMSON HEART – 3rd book in the Highland Hearts series

2. Keep inspiration and information front and center. I’m terrible at remembering details like character eye color, the heroine’s horse’s name or where exactly the hero has that sexy scar. If I have to look it up in my manuscript, I lose at least five to ten minutes, searching, reading, editing, instead of getting those words down. So, I keep my book information close by, either pasted into a collage with notes written in, or on Notebook on my computer. I jot down those important details, knowing I’ll forget and need them again.

I also write out the theme of the book and the ultimate destination for the hero and heroine on a sticky note. It sits stuck to my desk where I can see it every day to help keep me on the right track. Otherwise, being more of a pantser than a plotter, I would wander.

3. Have a goal. Some days the words just don’t want to come. It’s like my muse has gone AWOL. A part of me wants to throw my hands up in disgust and yell “If my muse won’t show up, I’m not showing up,” and walk away. But I set myself a goal of 2,000 words minimum per day during the week. It helps me keep my butt in the chair. I took the advice of Roxanne St. Clair and decided I would not eat lunch until I had at least 1K words written.

If I’m editing, I set a goal of 2 hours minimum per day. I check it off in my tracking log when I make it, which is very satisfying to me. Now, if you are more of a free spirit, then set other goals like two days of brainstorming, one day of plotting, one day of writing, etc. But to get the words down, I find shooting for a certain number of words per day gets you there faster, whether it’s 500 words or 4K words.

Tracking word goals in my bullet journal

4. Think Ahead. If you know there will be a snow day, and your kids will be clamoring for hot cocoa and playdates instead of leaving the house quiet to go to school, get up at the normal time and write while they sleep in. If you have to take kids to sports practice or you have doctors’ appointments or a long hair appointment, take your lap top or notebook and write during the waiting times. If you are not a short-chunk writer, just jot down notes about plot or characters, or a snippet of dialogue to use when you have a longer stretch of time to write. But use the short bits of time wisely.

5. Write every day. I read a fabulous quote:

“Write until not writing makes you anxious.” During NaNoWriMo, I made sure to write every single day. After two weeks, I noticed I was writing faster. I was emerged into the world of my book so that I could hop back in each morning. By the end of the first month, I was able to reach my daily 2K goal before lunch. And sure enough, on certain days when writing was impossible with holiday happenings, I felt…off, like I hadn’t had my morning cup of tea or hadn’t done my daily yoga. Something that was part of my happy, normal routine was missing. So, the next day, I sat down to my book and relaxed back into it.

Those are my top 5 tips for reaching THE END as quickly as possible, without losing your mind. Of course, I still needed to edit, but as Nora Roberts once said at a conference I attended – “You can’t fix a blank page.” So, get the words down first, and then go back and mold them into a masterpiece.

Do you have any tips for getting your books finished?

For more information about me or my new release, here are places where I can be found. Have a fantastic day! Heather


Face book:




P.S. I’ll be taking part in the It’s Raining Dukes and Earls Release Party on FB tomorrow, Tuesday 2/21. Stop by for fun and prizes! 




Nostalgic Romance

Nostalgic Romance is my own personal term for any blast-from-the-past romance novel set between 1950 and present day. (Romance Writers of America® now considers 1950 as the cutoff date for differentiating between historical and contemporary novels). Sorry, RWA®, there isn’t much contemporary about a book set in the 60s or 70s when personal computers, the, Internet, and cell phones didn’t yet exist. Still, that period isn’t exactly historical, either. It is, however, filled with nostalgia—a wistful or sentimental remembrance of places, people, conditions, or things belonging to the past.

Our world and gender roles changed dramatically between the end of World War II  and the late 70s/early 80s when the United Kingdom embraced their first female prime minister, Americans elected a movie star as president, disco died, and the Internet was born. Rosie the Riveter’s husband came home from the war and expected her to return to the kitchen so he could have his job back. The Cold War began between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. And only four short years later, the U.S. became embroiled in another military conflict in Korea, which was a war, officially declared or not.

Two years after our soldiers returned from Korea, Rosa Parks valiantly kicked off the Montgomery Bus Boycott with her arrest for refusing to give her seat on the bus to a white man. Soon our soldiers deployed again, this time to Vietnam for another undeclared war that caused great dissension in America. Young men dodged the draft, rock ‘n roll ruled with the British invasion in American music, and beehive hairdos were all the rage.

Blacks and whites alike cried over the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. NASA fulfilled President Kennedy’s vow to win the race for space when the U.S. landed first on the moon during the summer of ‘69 just before rock ‘n roll stars closed the New York Thruway with their three-day concert at Woodstock. In 1973, during the height of the Watergate scandal, our soldiers and POWs finally came home and the country turned its back on the vets who’d served so selflessly.

It was a time of dissension, an era of protest and conflict, not only in the world, but at home between men and women whose gender roles were rapidly changing. Women decided if black men could be liberated, then why not women. Suddenly, daddy was washing bottles and changing diapers while mpow-mia-braceletommy hopped on the Affirmative Action bandwagon, symbolically burned her bra, and pursued a career, demanding equal pay.

While in high school, I, like a lot of people my age, wore a POW/MIA bracelet. My heart wept for these soldiers and their families who were separated for up to nine years while the men were physically and mentally tortured. Some of our GIs never came home. Others returned to grown children who saw them as strangers, some discovered their wives had moved on to other relationships, and far too many came back as hollow shells of the carefree young men they’d once been.

I’ve never forgotten those families and felt compelled to write some of them happy endings, which resulted in my first novel, The Memory of You, the Prequel to my Return to Redemption series. The stories in that series all feature characters who live in the fictitious small town of Redemption, Pennsylvania.

I’ve just released The Wonder of You, another blast-from-the-past, returning Vietnam POW story, however, it’s NOT set in Redemption. It’s the Prequel to my new, spin-off series called Beyond Redemption. Readers will still get to visit with old friends from my previous books in this new series because it will star characters who have friends or family who live in Redemption. After all, the entire world can’t live in one town, now can it?

the-wonder-of-you-cam-smallerlThe Wonder of You

The Love of You series—Book 2 & The Beyond Redemption series—PREQUEL
Her child’s happiness, or her own? A choice no woman should have to make.
Six years ago, Julie Danvers’ husband was declared missing in action. A single tipsy night of indiscretion left her pregnant, guilt-ridden, and still uncertain whether she’s a widow or a wife. When she learns the love of her life, Rick, is actually alive and coming home, she’s both overjoyed and terrified. Now she’ll be forced to choose between her war-ravaged husband—who may be unable to accept her daughter, a sticky-faced reminder of her infidelity—and her child’s father who wants to make them a real family.
The only thing that kept POW Rick Danvers—also known as Ben—sane during his hellish Hanoi Hilton vacation was the dream of holding his beautiful wife again. During Operation Homecoming, he eagerly returns home to discover his entire world has changed. His country doesn’t respect him, he’s lost his parents, and his so-called best friend has already provided Julie the baby Rick ached to give her before Uncle Sam drafted him.
If that’s not bad enough, while Julie was burning her bra, his aging uncle came out of the closet and appointed her president of their family construction business—a position she has no intention of relinquishing. Rick’s now a visitor in his own home, forced to live with a bossy preschool princess who resents him and has hijacked his faithful dog’s affection. Nevertheless, the passion between Julie and Rick burns hotter than ever. He refuses to give up the woman he still loves—or his business—without putting up a damn good fight. He didn’t survive hell only to lose everything in the end.
The hero in The Wonder of You is a talented singer who loves music and is an avid Elvis fan. Throughout this story many songs from the Vietnam War era are mentioned—some you may remember and others you may not be familiar with. Therefore, I’ve created a YouTube playlist of all the recordings for your listening pleasure.   

Read a sample of The Wonder of You

The Wonder of You YouTube Playlist  memories-3d-smaller

BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL!  From today through Saturday, you can get my boxed set, Memories, containing both The Memory of You and A Little Bit of Deja Vu, absolutely FREE at Amazon! 

Do you have a Black Friday special coming up or a current book promotion? If so, please let everyone know about it in the comment section!


Fangirl Friday – May 6th Edition

Happy Fangirl Friday!  The day when we gush about new books and give you a heads-up on great deals.  As always, feel free to share your own book news (releases & sales!) in the comments but please be courteous and do not repeatedly re-post the same material.  Thank you! 

And now… to the BOOKS!

New Releases:

Diane_AgainstAgainst the Paw by Diane Kelly

Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner are on the lookout for a convict who has been unleashed. . .

Megan has her sights set on finding a convicted burglar who’s broken his parole, and she has the perfect partner to help sniff him out. Unfortunately, her shepherd-mix Brigit’s dog bowl is already full. A Peeping Tom has been spotted in an affluent Fort Worth neighborhood―and concerned citizens are looking for a few good watchdogs…

To catch the creep, residents start enlisting volunteers to beef up their Neighborhood Watch group. Which is fine with Megan. She needs to focus on catching a burglar who’s still at large. But when the Peeping Tom patrol grows into a virtual vigilante mob, Megan and Brigit have to jump in paws first―before some very angry people take the law into their own hands…

Amazon :: B&N




MMPFREE for 5/6-5/7 only! Courting Trouble, the most recent release in my Reality Romance series (a series which includes two 2016 RITA Award Nominees for Best Mid-Length Contemporary Romance). FREE from Amazon.

The first book of the series, Marrying Mister Perfect, is also free wherever ebooks are sold:

Amazon :: B&N :: iBooks :: Kobo


Discover THE DRAGONFLY CHRONICLES by Heather McCollum – Four powerful sisters, hidden through time, fighting for love and a chance to save the world. Books 1-4 bundled and on sale for only $7.20 from 5/3-6/3 on Amazon! The world-shaking series conclusion, SACRIFICE: Book 5 was just released!

Heather_Prophecy Heather_Magick Heather_Masquerade Heather_Surrender



Set off the gorgeous Georgia coast, Turtle Island is the perfect destination for fun in the sun—and for finding love when you least expect it. A delightfully lighthearted series of romantic tales from award-winning author Kim Law, the Turtle Island novels feature spirited and charming characters who have survived life’s tougher trials only to find their happily-ever-after against a backdrop of sea spray and warm sands. These heartwarming stories of sweet and sexy getaways are filled with laughs and love.



Autumn_ObsessedFrom award-winning author AUTUMN JORDON, comes this fun romantic contemporary with a dash of suspense set in the small town of Mule Post, Texas where the nights can get hotter than the summer days.

Isobel Trinidad vows no man will rope her into the humdrum life of a housewife and take away her dreams of becoming the National Barrel Champion like her father had done to her mother. Her mind is set, until a handsome Yankee comes to Mule Post, Texas and upsets everything she has believed about herself.

A rash of arsons brings State Fire Marshal Warner Keyson to the small Texas community, where a wildfire of a woman stops him in his tracks. Intrigued by Issy’s fire, he contrives ways to keep her close while conducting his investigation. What they create, which neither of them bargained for, is the blaze of a lifetime.

Obsessed By Wildfire is available at all major retailers for the bargain price of $ .99 (Regular Price $3.99). Grab your copy today before the sale ends.

Amazon Link:

Don’t forget to join Autumn’s newsletter at and receive a free read.



Poor, plain spinster Mary Wilkins has no business falling in love with Viscount Parkhurst. They may have been best friends in childhood, but he’s the wealthy, powerful lord of the manor now, and everyone knows he’s bound to marry a beautiful local heiress. Mary tries to resign herself to a life of hopeless yearning, but when she and the viscount find themselves entangled in a stand of wild blackberry vines, unexpected passions flare.

The viscount can’t seem to keep his hands off her. But is he planning to make her his wife—or only his secret mistress?

Buy it on Amazon.



What are you reading this week?

Quick! Write a Book!

Today is a momentous day for me! SACRIFICE, the fifth and final book in my paranormal romance series, The Dragonfly Chronicles, has released!Sacrifice_w10212_750


Amen! The first book in the series, PROPHECY, came out in 2009. Ugh! Really?

So I had some hang-ups in the last seven years, which delayed each book: three busy kids, taking in a crazy golden retriever rescue, spending two years fighting ovarian cancer, etc. Plus each book weighs in at about 350 pages and took mountains of research (five different time periods) and intricate planning to create a complete story arc over all five individual stories. So yeah – seven years. And although I’m exceedingly proud of the books, and they’ve earned lovely reviews (one of them was a finalist in the Golden Heart), I haven’t sold enough copies to bring in decent royalties. Sigh…deskhead

I’ve tried blog tours, networking, social media platforms, better author branding, giveaways, etc. Not really working. So what do I need to do to sell a book?

After reading posts and conversations between my Ruby Sisters, I’ve concluded that I have to write more books, faster. Yes, that sounds obvious, and I can say, “Great, I’ll write more books faster.” But I need a realistic list of action items to help me reach my goal.

First – What is my main goal for my next series? To publish two books together and then subsequent books every three to four months. <Big Breath> I still have three busy kids (without drivers’ licenses) and a crazy golden retriever, along with a lot of ovarian cancer awareness events. So…what steps am I going to take to achieve this goal?

1. Don’t get cancer again : ) Not that I can actually control this, but I do need to make room in my day for exercise and healthy eating.0 to 1

2. Shorten my books. When I look at a number of successful romance authors, their books run about 250 – 280 pages in length, about 100 pages less than mine. So these will be faster paced books, without so many subplots. They will follow a more straight forward path to the conclusion. My paths are usually very convoluted, so this will be a challenge.

3. Chart out my plots and try to stick to them. Sometimes tangents take me to fabulous places, but often times they do not. If a tangent looks crazy-promising I will of course check it out, but I will try not to write in circles.

Collage for MASQUERADE: Book 3

Collage for MASQUERADE: Book 3

4. Keep a story series bible from the start. I’m terrible at remembering where scars are located and the color of eyes and little details that might pop back up in another book. I spent way too much time finding these details in earlier books to keep consistent through the series. With a story bible, I’m writing all this down on One Note (an electronic story bible) and/or in a collage for each book.



5. Track my word counts. I’ve done this off and on through the years, but just like with counting calories while dieting, counting words written per day can really push me toward success. If I can write 10K words a week, that’s just 2K words every work day, I’ll finish a book in about eight weeks. That should still keep me on track for a three-four month release. So despite my kids needing rides, spring break, cancer awareness talks and events, walking the dog, cooking dinner and cleaning up after my wonderful yet messy family, I will get in 10K words per week.



Repeats with gusto – “I WILL get in 10K words per week!”






6. Implement Take-Out Tuesdays and freezer to crockpot dinners twice a week. I tend to make dinner each night for my family. I still want to save money and7-Crockpot-Soup-Freezer-Meals-In-Two-Hours provide healthy food for my family, but I can make a bunch of freezer meals once a month, to pull out twice a week. Here is my favorite site with freezer to crockpot recipes. And anytime I do make dinner, I make a double batch and freeze half, from hamburgers and meatballs to BBQ chicken and marinated pork tenderloin, making extra takes only a smidgen of extra time.

7. Maintain my quality by keeping reference material and web sites within reach. I won’t lower my quality, but I will make sure to keep my history books on my desk and my etymology and Gaelic translation sites open on my computer. My series sound track will play in the background, while my muse will type away as I sip my Chai tea latte.


So this is my initial plan. What do you think? Do you have other tips on how to create fabulous books in a shorter time frame?

Oh, and I have a giveaway going on in honor of my new release! Check out my web site to enter for a chance to win a $10 gift card to Amazon, signed copy of the first book in the series, and a dragonfly gift pack! Enter here:

Release Party: Bared to the Viscount by Lara Archer

Break out the champagne, it’s Lara Archer’s release party. Happy book birthday, Lara!

Wait, who is this Lara character, you may ask? She’s a long-time friend and incognito Ruby who also writes under a different pen name. And today I’m happy to announce is her historical erotic romance debut with Bared to the Viscount.

Let’s get right to the good stuff, shall we?

Bared to the Viscount by Lara Archer

Poor, plain spinster Mary Wilkins has no business falling in love with Viscount Parkhurst. They may have been best friends in childhood, but he’s the wealthy, powerful lord of the manor now, and everybody knows he’s bound to marry a beautiful local heiress. Mary tries to resign herself to a life of hopeless yearning, but when she and the viscount find themselves entangled in a stand of wild blackberry vines, unexpected passions flare.

The viscount can’t seem to keep his hands off her. But is he planning to make her his wife—or only his secret mistress?

Available Now at

Find out more at Lara Archer’s website


Location, Location, Location!

When it comes to real estate prices, it’s all about location, location, location. But in your novel location becomes all about details, details, details and which ones you choose to focus on. Can your readers imagine the locale of your story, smell the flowers, or hear the birds chirping?

As many of you know, my husband and I recently relocated from Pennsylvania to Texas. We knew this move was coming for a few years now, so I decided to set some of the books in my upcoming spin-off series Beyond Redemption in . . . you guessed it—the great state of Texas.

You know what they say. Write what you know. Well, I’ll be ready to write book one later this year, so I figured I’d better start researching it. I want to use something other than the popular ranch setting and cowboy hero that Texas set books are so well known for. So after a bit of research, I decided to place the story at an old family vineyard and pecan orchard in the Hill Country (west of Austin) where the heroine will probably also breed and train thoroughbreds. (I mean, if the story is in Texas, ya gotta have horses, right?)

What I learned is in order to grow pecans or grapes, you need LOTS of water. Something the Texas Hill Country doesn’t have a lot of. Pecans grow best in the loamy soil along riverbeds and my grapes will need irrigation (from that river).

While scouting for a location to set my story, my husband and I took a ride from Austin, northwest to a large lake (Buchanan) fed by the Colorado River (it’s not THE Colorado River that formed the Grand Canyon, which everyone outside of Texas is familiar with.) We then circled around through Fredericksburg, and Johnson City and back home. We saw lots of vineyards during our auto tour, and my previous research told me there are several pecan farms in that area. (I’ll be touring a pecan orchard later this year to learn about growing them first hand.)

I could’ve gotten all of this info from searching the Internet, right? Maybe.

What I couldn’t get from the worldwide web, however, were the details. Details like how when you’re looking at Lake Buchanan from a distance, the fields of Blue Bonnets (Texas’s state flower), look almost like water.

Field of Blue Bonnets

I also wouldn’t have known how picturesque the back roads in that area are and how profusely the wild flowers grow there. When I left Bucks County, PA, which I thought was one of the most beautiful places in the country, I believed I would miss the green rolling hills.

Back Roads

Unh-uh. Spring in Central Texas is gorgeous! The interstates are lined with dense patches of blue bonnets, pink evening primroses, Indian paintbrushes, black-eyed Susans, buttercups, and daisies, to name a few.  I’ve never seen so many flowers in one place. It takes my breath away. Here are just a few of the shots I took during our drive.

Flowers along the interstate  More Flowers

Flowers  Lots and Lots of Flowers

Do you think I’ve gathered enough inspiration for describing my heroine’s property? My story will definitely HAVE to be set in the month of April, and my hero and heroine will most likely make love on a blanket in a field among those flowers. There’s no way I’m going to pass up this kind of beauty for my readers.

When I absolutely can’t visit the local in my story, I will resort to the Internet and travel magazines and brochures. I also try to find people who’ve been to the location to interview them on their impressions. However, if you get firsthand info, you also be able to deduct some of the expense from your taxes—like the mileage for a nice day out with your hubby.

What about you? Do you try to go to wherever you’re setting your story? What are some of the ways you get information when you can’t?

Sin City Seduction Digital Cover

In the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing my next L.L. Kellogg  red-hot, romantic comedy, Sin City Seduction (Yes, I forced my hubby to take me to Vegas to research that one. 🙂 ) If you leave a comment, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for a free digital copy when it’s published.







The End… And What to Do When It’s “Over”


Because I enjoy things with layers, like onions and ogres, this post about “the end” has many meanings for me. First, some insight into why I’m thinking about “the end”…


  • Yesterday was the official release day for my romantic suspense novel, END GAME. I wrote “The End” on that book a few weeks ago, and it has caused all kinds of issues. (More about that below.)


  • END GAME is the final book in a six-book series, called The Mindhunters series. While each book has its own happily-ever-after, the SSAM agency ties them together and there has been a mini-mystery running through them: who killed Damian Manchester’s daughter twenty years ago and will the monster be brought to justice? This book solves that mystery, so it’s the conclusion of the series.


  • The end of the year is upon us, which typically encourages reflection and a type of mental and physical exhaustion all its own. In addition, it has been an intense year for me, both with family and personal issues and with writing, which makes December another kind of ending all together. After putting out roughly a book a year since 2011, END GAME is my third (and last) release of 2014. I tripled my output this year and really felt it.
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The Latest Comments

  • Autumn Jordon: Everyone of these cover designers is so talented. I wish I had their eye for detail.
  • Autumn Jordon: I totally agree, Kate. I think it takes a certain eye to make an awesome cover.
  • Autumn Jordon: They did a amazing job answering my questions, didn’t they. I also learned a lot.
  • Darynda Jones: What a great interview! Thanks for taking the time, guys. This is so informative and timely. I love...
  • Kate Parker: Thank you so much for this timely interview. I’m indie and getting ready to recover the first in...