Sunday, March 29, 2015

Trip's House - Author's Inspiration Board - "Risking Ruin" in Memphis

Magnolia Mound is a real street in Memphis.  It sits in the gated South Bluffs neighborhood, which is close to downtown, near the trolley line, and has amazing views of the Mississippi River.  Trip Brannon's house features more prominently in "Surviving Bitsy" than it does in "Risking Ruin."  So, I think about it often.   Here are a few pictures of houses on Magnolia Mound that serve as my inspiration in imagining Trip's home.  

Can you imagine yummy Trip fixing his bikes in a garage here?  I certainly can.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Work-life Triage - Forgetting Balance

As most of you know, I'm far from a full-time writer. 
 I'm a mom and a wife and a lawyer and a writer.  

 For me life-work isn't about balance.  It's about triage.

I have a preschooler.  My husband works full time  We both volunteer with non-profits and sit on a few boards. We have pets.  Other than a bi-weekly housekeeper, we don't have any household help.  I work odd and long hours.  No nine-to-five for me.   And that is my saving grace.

For the past 8 days I have been completely lost in lawyer mode.  Little mommy-ing or wife-ing and absolutely no writing.  However, yesterday my lawyering came to a full stop for a few days and I have mommied hard core.   I sorted out old toys, hosted an impromptu sleepover party, snuggled on the sofa in front of a Disney movie, made pancakes from scratch, and facilitated crafts.   With my child off at preschool, I've got a few hours of writing to sneak in before I move to wife-mode and book past-due medical and dental appointments, make a dry cleaning run, swap out moldy fruit from the fridge for fresh from the grocery, and cook a dinner that doesn't involve a microwave.    Wish me luck!   And with further luck, perhaps I'll be able to make some substantial writing progress this weekend.

So, no, there isn't any balance in my life.  No neatly drawn lines at certain hours of the day.  I can't keep all the plates spinning in the air at once.  "Multi-tasking" isn't my strong suit.  I haven't figured out how to wash dishes while taking a conference call.  I certainly don't make play-dough creatures while crafting legal arguments.  I float from one 'crisis" to another, focusing on what needs to be done and when I find that task, I'm in it as close to 100% as humanly possible.  

I don't feel balanced, but I enjoy the binge.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Romance novel tropes - Strangers Across a Crowded Room

I've been thinking lately about common tropes in romance novels.

Strangers drawn to each other across a room always resonates with me.

This has happened to me twice in my life and I didn't fall in love with either of the men.

The first was at a very swanky party at the Ambassor's residence.   Two days later he invited me out for drinks and kissed me midsentence.  I literally forgot what I was saying.

The second time was on a softball field.  I was watching from the sidelines with a beer in hand. He was playing second base.  I was too flummoxed to speak with him even though a mutual friend attempted an introduction at the end of the game at his request.   I saw him about ten years later across the room at a charity event.  We were both with our spouses.  I couldn't quite remember his name, but I remembered him.  And from how our eyes caught, I know he remembered me.

I don't know what this says about me as an author.   I know these things happen.  I've experienced them and I can recall them vividly.

Do you have a "Strangers Across a Crowded Room" story?  What's your favorite romance novel trope?  Any that make you cringe?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Surviving Bitsy - Sneak Peek! Get your Trip Brannon fix!

Need a Trip Brannon fix before 

Surviving Bitsy is released in August?


Well, ask no more.   Here is an excerpt.   

I've tried not to spoil the ending of "Risking Ruin," but come on -- it's a romance novel -- you know Marisa and Trip figure out a way to get together, right?    Send me your thoughts!

From "Surviving Bitsy"

                 By Friday, Marisa was exhausted.  Her interactions with some of her partners had been chilly since Tuesday’s arduous meeting.  Wonder when the chill will thaw?  When I lose the business?  When I marry Trip?  As soon as the thought passed into her awareness, she shoved out of her head.  Too fast.  Go slow.  This is not a race. Just enjoy where we are.  Focus on work at work.  Focus on work at work.  Marisa repeated her new mantra all day.
                “Need anything?” asked Jane, Marisa’s assistant, sticking her head into Marisa’s office, as the sunlight began to turn golden.  “That FedEx from Connecticut that you’ve been waiting on is here.  I’ve had the receptionist keep an eye out for me and she just buzzed and said you got a delivery.  I’ll bring it around.   I’d like to head out a little early to beat traffic.”
                “I’ve been waiting on that Palmer stuff all day.  Thanks.  I’m glad it’s here.  Otherwise, I’m good.  Have a great weekend,” said Marisa, waiving her hand and turning to her computer.
                “Marisa,” said Jane a few minutes later.
                “Just toss it on a guest chair.  I’m in the middle of a thought,” called Marisa over her shoulder.
                “Hhhmm.  I’m not tossing this anywhere.”  Marisa swiveled and found her assistant’s legs growing out of a large crystal vase overflowing with fragrant white Asiatic lilies.
                “Woah.  That’s not a FedEx.”
                “I seriously don’t know how I haven’t dropped this or run into a wall.  It weighs a ton.   Where should I put it?”
                Marisa swept aside a pile of papers on her desk and took the arrangement from Jane.  “Are you going to make me guess who they are from because I only need one guess,” teased Jane.
                “No, no guessing and no gossiping about this either.”
                “You don’t have to tell me, but that ship has sailed.  All of the staff is in a flurry over you.  You’ve been quite the topic of gossip all week and this just caps it off.  Have a good weekend with the hottie client.  I’m out of here.”
                Marisa extracted the card from the envelope fastened to the vase’s neck with a simple peach ribbon.  Please have dinner with me tonight, Trip.
               Well this is excessive, thought Marisa.  Lovely, but excessive.
                She fished her cell phone out of her purse and dialed Trip’s direct line.  “Trip Brannon.”
                “It’s Marisa.  Thank you for the flowers.”
                “You are very welcome.   Are you available for dinner tonight?”
                “I send flowers and I get a ‘sure’ out of you?  I’ve got to step it up,” teased Trip.
                 “Let me amend my answer.  Dinner would be wonderful.  What were you thinking?”
                “About you, naked.”
                “Well, I teed that one up for you, didn’t I?  Let me amend my question, as well.   What were you thinking about for dinner?”
                “I stand by my original answer.  You, naked.”
                Marisa pinked and shifted her weight from foot to foot.  “You are naughty, Mr. Brannon.”
                “Not any more.  I’ve made an honest woman out of you and we’re going to have a very nice dinner in a very public place.”
                “Trip,” groaned Marisa.  “I think we’ve already ticked that box at Folk’s Folly.”
                “Can you trust me not to paw at you through a dinner?”
                “Not really,” said Marisa, packing her purse to leave.
                “Okay, based upon history, that’s a fair statement.   Nevertheless, I’ve booked us a table at Flight.  I’ll even sit across from you rather than next to you, if that makes the offer more appealing.”
                “So now you’re ready to negotiate, but you haven’t heard any of my demands.  Flight is fine.  I like wine bars, as long as I can order the chocolate cake and do not have to drive home.”
                “Hear me out, Mr. Brannon.  You may not like the other terms of my proposal.”
                “Please, enlighten me to your proposal.”
                “I signed up for a 5k race tomorrow morning that I intend to run.  I will be sleeping in my own bed and will not be drinking to excess.  You will pick me up from my condo at seven.  You will drive or we will take a taxi.  We will not be asking George to drive us around on dates.”
                “Okay, any other requirements, Miss Tanner?”
                “One.  I don’t intend to be sleeping alone in my bed.”
                “Those are some imposing conditions.  You’re driving a hard bargain.”
                “Well, I’ll throw in a pot sweetener for you.”
                “What’s that?”
                “No panties.”
                “We have a deal.  I’ll see you at seven.”
                A huge smile was plastered across Marisa’s face as she ended the call, placed her purse on her shoulder, and swept up the ridiculous floral arrangement in her arms.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Paperback giveaway - Thank you & Promo Code extended for one week!

Thanks, Y'all!

Over 600 people entered a Goodreads giveaway for a copy of Risking Ruin!

The lucky winners' books will be in the mail this week.   

Want a paperback, but didn't win?

As a thank you, I'm extending the the $2 off promo code for one week

Buy Risking Ruin through CreateSpace and save $2 through Saturday, March 7, 2015.  
Use code DFDZACA6.  

Note: discount code only works with Createspace purchases.  It does not work for Amazon purchases.

If you buy (or have bought) a paperback copy through Amazon, you now can get an e-copy for *free*! Check out Risking Ruin's Amazon page for details. 

Risking Ruin continues to be part of Kindle Unlimited, if you own a Kindle or are a member of Kindle Unlimited, please check it out!   

As always, I love feedback -- Leave a review.  Write me an email.  Message me on Goodreads.  Tweet me @maewoodwrites