Posts Tagged ‘contemporary romance’
I’m trying to spread the word on Facebook about Ember’s Fire (Book 2 in the Standish Clan trilogy), and you can help! Just share the pinned post at the top of my Facebook author page. Everyone who shares will be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of Ember’s Fire and a pretty beaded bookmark.
Find the post here. It’s the top post.
I’m giving away ten (10) copies of Promise Me the Stars, Book 3 in the Standish Clan trilogy. Hop on over and enter for a chance to win! It’s open to readers in the US, Canada and the UK.
I’m giving away ten (10) print copies of A Fall from Yesterday on Goodreads. Enter for your chance to win! Not a member of Goodreads? You don’t know what you’re missing! Here’s a link that tells you a bit about it, and how to use it. Once you’ve joined, you can check out this and other giveaways of print books. There are tons of them! Obviously, there are always lots of people vying for the free books, but you in the words of the inimitable Steve Forbert, you cannot win if you do not play.
I’m thrilled to announce that I have a new contemporary series launching. The three books in The Standish Clan series are under the Hearts of Harkness umbrella. More series are planned.
Here are the books with links to excerpts and pre-order links:
Book 1 – A Fall from Yesterday
Read an excerpt here.
Book 2 – Ember’s Fire
Read an excerpt here!
Book 3 – Promise Me the Stars
Read an excerpt here.
I have a treat for you today – the awesome Kathy Altman. Kathy writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and (in her words) “the occasional ode to chocolate”. She’s published by Harlequin Superromance, and contributes to USA Today’s “Happy Ever After” blog. And she does this on top of her day job as a computer programmer for the Air Force. (Told you she was awesome. She’s not just a Super woman, she’s a superwoman!)
Take it away, Kathy!
KATHY ALTMAN: I’m so happy to be hanging out today with the fabulous Norah Wilson! She’s ultra-talented and uber-generous, and I’m hoping some of her romantic suspense savvy will rub off on me.
At the same time, I can’t help but wonder why I thought it would be a good idea to invite readers into my writing space. Said space tends to be…dusty. And, shall we say, less than tidy. The disorder is usually easy for me to ignore, until the whole post-a-photo thing comes up. Although really, I should be celebrating rather than cringing, because not only do I get to visit with Norah and her peeps, but after some mad action with a dust cloth, a trashcan and the vacuum cleaner, I get a clean workspace! For a day or two, anyway…
But I’ll ’fess up and show you the reality first. So here’s my writing space in all its dust-ridden glory, tucked into the corner of my bedroom. Note the comfy, sturdy, high-dollar office chair. Yeah, I hurt its feelings on a regular basis by choosing to kick back with my laptop in a recliner in the opposite corner.
The stack of books on the far left of the desk are releases I’m getting ready to read and review. I always feel so special when I receive an Advanced Reader’s Copy! The gorgeous lavender mirror leaning up against the file cabinet (because I haven’t decided where to hang it yet) was made by fellow Superromance author Jeannie Watt, and it reminds me that everyone has hidden talents. Some are better hidden than others. Like my flair for speaking Italian and scoring free trips to Venice. Still waiting for those to make an appearance. Here’s a closer view of some of my favorite items:
The ceramic cat sits on top of the filing cabinet. My critique partner, suspense author Toni Anderson, gave that to me for Christmas the year my sweetie and I lost two of our kitties. No way you can look at that little guy and not smile. Beside it is my special Happy Ever After mug, a gift from USA Today blog curator Joyce Lamb. The perfectly pink message reminds me why I write. The timer helps make sure that I do. The paperweight keeps me going when I want to slap the laptop closed (it reads “Never Never Never Quit”). And that magnificent, tumbled rock-encrusted candle holder prompts me to remember that it’s not all about the writing—my nephew Stephen made that for me, so of course it brings to mind all the fun times we’ve had together, and how I’d better hurry up and have some more before he turns 13 and doesn’t want anything to do with me.
When I feel the need to stand (which isn’t anywhere near as often as it should be), I perch my laptop on top of the television in the den and type away. How handy, that I can watch Gilligan’s Island reruns while I type! (Just kidding. I wouldn’t get any work done that way, right? Although there are always exceptions. Like Castle. And Leverage. Maybe Person of Interest. And let’s not forget Rizzoli & Isles or Army Wives or…well, you get the picture.)
Relocating to the den means walking past my inspiration wall. Stephen painted this when he was nearly five, and when I asked him what he planned to call his masterpiece, he answered promptly, “The Promised Land.” Great name, right?! Every time I walk this hallway, I admire his creativity and energy and allow myself to ponder—why isn’t this kid selling paintings so I can write full-time?
Behold the view from my bedroom window. If you look closely, you can see a kitty under the willow tree. Peaceful scene, isn’t it? It’s also deceptively alluring. Believe me, I’ve tried the whole up-against-a-tree thing. Okay, that sounds naughty but what I mean is, I’ve tried writing outside. Sitting at the base of a tree, bellying up to a bistro table on the deck, kicking back in a webbed lounge chair in the shade—all epic fails. Ants, mosquitoes, sunburn and moss stains on your jeans are unpleasant enough. No doubt you’ve already attempted to balance both a laptop and a cat in your lap? How about when the cat is longhaired and your arms and legs are bare and it’s ninety degrees outside and you’re sweating enough for five people? You end up looking like Sasquatch and nothing but a shower can cure that itchy feeling. Which provides the perfect excuse for going back inside.
This is what my desk looked like the ninety seconds it was clean. So much for that!
Thank you so much for hosting me today, Norah! And to anyone who might like a copy of my recent release, Staying at Joe’s, please leave a comment. I’ll pick two names at random to receive either a digital or softcopy version. Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your being here today!
Thank you for the tour, Kathy! That was a blast. BTW, I have also tried the outdoor writing, and it was a bust for me too.
To learn more about Kathy, find her online here:
Okay, to the fun stuff! Giving away two copies of Kathy’s book. It’s hot off the press – just published yesterday! As ever, comment for your chance to win. Here’s a blurb.
A deal she can’t refuse!
Allison Kincaid can make a great sales pitch. But showing up at Joe Gallahan’s motel asking for a favor is her toughest challenge yet. A year ago they were more than just colleagues at a big PR firm. When work came between them, Joe put the blame on Allison…and his opinion hasn’t changed.
She’s shocked, however, when Joe agrees to help. Even though she doesn’t love his terms, she accepts them because she’ll get what she needs. If striking a deal with him means donning a pair of coveralls and swinging a hammer, so be it. Working side by side with Joe again, they might be able to repair the past. They just might get a second chance, too!
My run of awesome Montlake Romance authors continues! This week it is my pleasure to welcome Barbara Longley. Barbara writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Her latest Montlake book, a contemporary romance titled Far From Perfect, sounded so delicious, I snagged it for my Kindle. I hoped to have read it by now, but life sort of got in the way. Welcome, Barbara!
Barbara Longley: First of all, I have to apologize because I’m a lousy photographer. I did try several shots, and this is the best. Sad. I know. This is where I work. I don’t own a desk. I have a laptop and an ottoman. Everything I need is close by, including my reference books.
Having an office is a relatively recent development for me, and all of the furniture is new except the futon. Yep. My office does occasionally turn back into a guest bedroom, which is what it has been since my two children flew the coop. Now that I’m writing under contract, and I have deadlines, I figured I’d better get more professional about my writing. It is really nice to have everything in once place. I feel so much more organized. I work a full time day job, so I really need to be organized. That’s my challenge this year—learning to manage the demands of my day job with the demands of my writing career. I’ve made my deadlines for both, so I’m getting it down. I do run into the occasional wall of overwhelmedness, though. And that’s when I take my little dog for a long walk, or watch a cheesy movie on the Hallmark channel.
I’ve included a picture of my writing buddy, Sophie, a basset hound/cocker spaniel mix. If she’s not snuggled up on the couch next to me, she’s gazing up at me as I write. I also have a cat named Fred. He also likes to keep my lap warm, which is tricky when I’m trying to write.
My October release with Montlake is a small town contemporary romance with military elements. Here’s the blurb:
FAR FROM PERFECT - Noah Langford narrowly survived the roadside bombing in Iraq that killed five of his men and took his leg, leaving him haunted by flashbacks and riddled with guilt. When his stepbrother Matt dies in a car accident, the loss feels like the final blow to Noah’s shattered soul. But then he learns about the girlfriend and baby Matt abandoned years earlier, and suddenly Noah has a new mission… Ceejay Lovejoy was nineteen and pregnant when her boyfriend walked out, disappearing from her life just like her parents did. Since that day, Ceejay has devoted herself to giving her daughter a better life, avoiding any man who could threaten that security—until the day Noah Langford shows up on her doorstep. His gentle spirit has an unexpected effect on Ceejay’s guarded heart, tempting her to take one last chance on love. But when a painful secret comes to light, it threatens to break the fragile bond growing between them…and to destroy a love powerful enough to heal them both.
The second book in the trilogy, THE DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES, is coming out April 23rd. Once lucky commenter will win a $10 gift card for Amazon, which will be delivered electronically. Thank you so much for stopping by.
Thank you, Barbara. That is one sweet dog. Sophie, I mean! The one on your cover is a different matter. That’s a whole lotta dog! Can’t wait to read the book. I love dogs in books.
Now, let the commenting begin!
I am honored to welcome Leigh Michaels on this edition of Workspace Wednesday. Leigh is the best-selling author of more than 100 books, including historical romance, contemporary romance, non-fiction about writing, and local history. A fellow Montlake Romance author, her new Montlake release is The Birthday Scandal, a historical set in the Regency period and featuring the intertwining romances of two sisters and a brother. She’s also just released a self-published sweet contemporary romance, Return to Amberley.
Take it away, Leigh!
LEIGH: Thank you for inviting me to Workplace Wednesday, Norah. I’ve enjoyed (and envied) seeing all the various offices, and the photos have given me all kinds of ideas for whenever I get around to working on mine again. My working space has gone through a whole lot of changes in the 29 years since I was first published, so I’ve had a bit of a trip down memory lane!
In 1988, my office was located in the smallest bedroom of our American Foursquare house – a space that was hardly big enough for a twin bed and a dresser. Here’s a photo I saved for nostalgia’s sake – and also to prove that yes, I really did write more than a dozen books in this room. That’s an IBM PC with a 10-megabyte hard drive and a 14-inch green-screen monitor – and believe me, that was a big step up from my first computer! Off to the right is the state-of-the-art printer which tapped out each letter with a rotating ball, just like those old electric typewriters. I’d start a chapter printing and have to leave the room because of the echo.
The photos at ceiling level are the covers of my first few Harlequin Romances and Presents, and the two shelves at the right of the photo hold what I grandly called the Collected Works – one copy of each edition.
My office was right at the top of the stairs, so all the household sounds resonated and I was much too easy to find. If I closed the door so I could concentrate, I soon ran out of oxygen.
Those are only some of the reasons that we moved into a new house not long after the photo was taken.
This is my office today.
The Collected Works (one copy of each of the editions of my 83 romance novels and 20 non-fiction books) now occupy the shelves at left – that’s 62 feet of bookshelves, if you’re counting. The framed photos have moved to the hallway which leads to my office, where they’re limited to one cover from each language – though we had to stop doing even that when we ran out of wall. A few years ago my husband and I ripped up the carpet and laid the parquet floor. (That’s the sort of job which makes you eager go to back to writing.) And as time has gone on, I’ve added the extra filing cabinets and counters so I can spread out with my various projects.
I now rely on dual 24-inch monitors and a laser printer. I think some of those same reference books are still hanging around, though.
Because I also teach (at Gotham Writers Workshop where I offer online classes in romance writing) and I edit books for our small publishing firm (PBL Limited which specializes in local history books and niche-market non-fiction), I use every inch of the practical desk space. Those piles on the counter are non-fiction book projects and source material, waiting to come together so they’re ready to publish.
Though I’ve moved on from my original publisher – as well as switching from contemporary romance to historical, and from sweet stories to spicy ones – I’m grateful to Harlequin Books for a lengthy and rewarding career. That’s why the one-of-a-kind Harlequin marionette is still a prized feature in my office. He watches over me as I work.
I haven’t included a photo of my sitting room, where I leave my laptop set up – it’s another book-lined room, and I retreat there when I need to fall into a story and not be bothered by phone calls or email. I do better at knocking out words when it’s not so easy to page back to edit and fix and continually revise – and that’s made much less tempting when I’m working on a smaller screen.
Sometimes I write in other spots – like the bay window in my living room, where I can watch the white-tailed deer and wild turkeys wandering across the acre of back yard that we refer to as The Garden of Weedin’.
Thanks go to my husband, photographer Michael W. Lemberger, for providing all the photos.
The Birthday Scandal - The wealthy Duke of Weybridge knows that everyone loves a good surprise…and a good scandal. He has bounteous amounts of both for the guests—particularly for his nieces and nephew, Emily, Isabel, and Lucien—at his extravagant seventieth birthday ball. They think his promise to improve their lives means a generous stipend. But he’s got different gifts in mind: finding them the perfect matches. His task won’t be easy, because the Arden siblings have given up on love.
Bachelor Lucien spends more time merrymaking than looking for a proper wife. His sister Emily, broken-hearted when her betrothal ended in disgrace, committed herself to an early spinsterhood. And Isabel’s marriage has been troubled from the moment it began—with a terrible betrayal on her wedding night.
Though witty and strong-willed, the siblings are no match for their uncle’s wily machinations. And as the celebration approaches, his romantic scheming ignites illicit liaisons and irresistible temptations, sparking enough rumors to keep the ton abuzz until his next birthday.
Return to Amberley - When her girlhood crush blossomed into marriage, Andie believed in a rosy future with the man of her dreams – until Todd’s betrayal sent her from the beauty of Minnesota’s winters to Atlanta to begin anew. But just a few months later, Todd walks back into Andie’s life – asking for her help. The stone quarry they jointly inherited is for sale, and a good price would secure the future for both of them, paying Andie’s tuition and buying freedom for Todd to concentrate on his sculpture. They need to sell now, but the prospective buyer believes he can pick up the quarry at a discount while Todd and Andie fight through a divorce. Todd wants Andie to rejoin him at the family home, Amberley, and put a false face on their failing marriage to convince the buyer and sell the quarry. But is Andie risking her heart if she returns to Amberley?
To learn more about Leigh, you can check her out here:
Thank you for that tour, Leigh! I loved the shot of your old office. I can remember learning to use my first computer which had a whopping 10 mg hard drive. I felt so sophisticated when I graduated to one with a 40 mg drive. LOL!
Okay, folks, Leigh has a nice giveaway for us today. She is offering an autographed copy of the ARC of The Birthday Scandal or a print copy of Return to Amberley, reader’s choice. All you need do is leave us a comment. I’m anticipating there might be a few about the 62 running feet of bookshelves. Holy cow!
I met Kim Law when we became sister Montlake authors. Besides being a total sweetheart, Kim is a very talented writer. A multiple Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist, she won her category (contemporary series) in 2009.
Take it away, Kim!
Welcome, welcome to my lovely (messy) office. And thank you for having me on Workspace Wednesday, Norah! I LOVE seeing other people’s workspaces so I’m thrilled to hang out and show you mine. I just wish I could show you what’s in my mind for my workspace instead of what is in actuality. But alas, since I’m currently stuck with it as is, I figured you all should be too!
First, here’s a view from the door. So many of my favorite things! For example, the purple futon. I love purple. Not sure if you can tell, but the walls are a light purple, the curtains are clearly purple, so yes, the futon had to be purple, too. I sit there to write on my laptop sometimes. When I’m drafting, most of the time I do it away from the desktop, so it’s either the futon, my treadmill desk, or propped up in my bed. Those little pillows on the futon are what I use to shove behind my back to keep me sitting up straight-ish so I can actually stand upright when I get up (yes, back issues. *sigh*)
There’s also a mostly full bookshelf to the left with random piles of crap on top, the white board for brainstorming plots (LOVE!!!!) and the mini-fridge hiding in the corner. The fridge contains my…rewards, I’ll say. Mint chocolate M&M’s in the freezer area, and the occasional bottle of wine or two down below. The stuffed animals all came from the husband. The white bear when my very first story got published in a small magazine, and the kissing bears beside it…well, because they kiss. Every romance writer needs kissing bears for inspiration, right?
Next is the wall on the opposite side of the room. It currently holds the book I just turned in. I plot out my books in a similar but condensed fashion in Excel, but sometimes when I’m struggling in the middle of the story, I need to see the whole big picture, so this was created a couple weeks ago to help me figure out where I needed to weave a bit more of the threads into my story. Behind it is the closet where I’m soon going to install shelving and organized storage space. It’s going to be awesome!! It’s currently a mess. I won’t show you.
You’ll also see part of a framed poster behind the right section of the pretty sticky notes. I asked the husband to get this for me for Christmas the year I started writing. It’s a lighthouse entitled VISION, and says: We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by every passing ship. I wholeheartedly agree with this! Do not worry about everybody else, or compare yourselves to them. Figure out what you want and make your path and go get it! In front of the poster is my basket of receipts for 2012 taxes. Yeah, I’m behind in getting those organized.
Next is my desk. And no, sorry, I didn’t clean it up for this visit. This is pretty much how it typically looks when I’m writing. To the left are spreadsheets and notes on the story I’m working on (along with misc receipts my husband gave me to log yesterday), my many pads of sticky notes, and a pencil cup you can just barely see that reads “My Spreadsheets Kick Ass.” A plotter friend of mine (who totally gets my need to spreadsheet everything) got it for me. On the right is the arm band I sometimes wear for my “mouse” (i.e. tennis) elbow. And if you’ll notice my mouse, it’s on a little shelf above the keypad of my keyboard. This is much better for you elbow and shoulder than having the mouse out to the side. Trust me. Three months of physical therapy on the elbow is not fun. Also, note the monitor sitting up on that pretty round box. It was the perfect size to make the top of the monitor even with my eyes. This helps to keep from overstraining the neck. I’ve already had issues and I figure I’m going to be doing this for years to come, so I had to make some adjustments!
And finally, the messy corner. The shelves hold how-to and reference books, articles I’ve collected for ideas, and printouts and notes from workshops I’ve taken. And a shelf of wine glasses. If you were a Harlequin book club person in the mid nineties, you likely got a lot of those purple wineglasses too. Since they’re purple, they are in my room. J I also have a coffee mug on that top shelf representative of my 2009 Golden Heart group of finalists. We’re the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood. It’s the black mug with the red high-heeled shoe on it.
In the floor is an odd assorted of writing related things that need to be filed/stored somewhere, but that I just haven’t gotten around to doing yet. There’s also a really old typewriter because I think they’re cool so my mother-in-law gave that to me. Again, I haven’t found a good place for it, so it goes in the corner.
And if you want to see my treadmill desk (which is in another room), here’s a shot. I have a monitor mounted on the wall (I don’t want to strain my neck by looking down at a laptop all the time), I built a custom desk to fit across the handles, and I have a shelf on the wall to the right that holds another computer. Yes, that make three different computers that I may use at any given time to write. Also, there’s a timer to the left of my keyboard. I can’t edit very well on the treadmill, so I try to use that time only to vomit out words. The timer helps me to stay focused and do this better.
And that’s it! Hopefully within the next month or two a lot of those piles will magically disappear and the space behind those closet doors will become a personal little organized heaven.
Today I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner! Thank you all for stopping by, and thanks again for having me, Norah!
Sugar Springs is book one in my small-town contemporary series that released from Montlake on December 24th. It’s also my 2009 Golden Heart winner, so I’m really stoked to finally see this one out there!
Lee Ann London thought she’d seen the last of Cody Dalton when he hit the road years ago. Now he’s back and looking to make amends…and he just might find the family he never knew he wanted.
Caught on Camera is a sexy contemporary, and was my debut novel. Don’t you just love that cover?!?! Also note that this book is currently on sale for only $1.99 for the Kindle version!
When a beautiful videographer haunted by scandal catches the eye of a handsome and charismatic politician, she must choose between continuing to play it safe and finally taking a chance on love.
Thank you for the tour, Kim. That was awesome! Also awesome? Those covers! I especially love the Sugar Springs cover. It’s so warm and inviting. I can almost hear the crickets singing. But Caught on Camera blows me away too, in a totally different way.
By the way, congratulations on having Caught on Camera selected to be part of the 100 under $3.99 January promo at Amazon! With that special $1.99 pricing and that cover, it’s going to be FLYING off the cyber-shelves!
Before I turn it over to comments, I’ll just give you some of Kim’s coordinates, so you can get to know her a little better.
- Kim’s Website
- Kim’s Author Page on Facebook
- Kim’s Twitter
- Kim’s Author Profile on Goodreads
- Kim’s Author Page on Amazon
Okay, on to our giveaway! Comment for a chance to win Kim’s $10 Amazon gift certificate.
I haven’t known Nancy Naigle long; I met her when she became a fellow Montlake Romance author. But frankly, it didn’t take long, even though the “getting to know you” stuff was all electronic. She’s very warm, funny and interesting. Just like her books! Since I’ve mentioned the Montlake connection, here’s Nancy’s current Montlake title, Sweet Tea and Secrets, which is charting very nicely in Romance > Series and Romance > Contemporary. Go, Nancy!
With that intro, here’s Nancy!
NANCY NAIGLE: Hey y’all, when Norah invited me to drop in and share my writing space I was so excited. Then, as I fell in love with each space Wednesday after Wednesday, I realized everyone else is way more organized (and neater) than I am!
I live in southern Virginia on a goat farm with my husband and two labs, so it’s probably no surprise that I write love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.
My office is kind of like me – all over the place, and I learned a couple funny things about myself in looking at my office through these pictures. You’ll see what I mean here in a second.
For example, I never noticed until I took these pictures that it’s pretty darn clear that I’m right-handed. Notice the piles of stuff on the right end of my desk? Good thing I don’t work on a boat, I’d tip over for sure!
The dresser in the background is a white mahogany dresser that was my granddaddy’s. I couldn’t bear to part with it so I stained it to match my desk and cowboyed it up so it would fit in nicely with my décor. It’s filled with marketing stuff for my books. Giveaways, and tear sheets, you name it. And YES, that is goat hide on the bottom three drawers of that chest of drawers. I also used my dremel to carve brands into the sides of it. It was a really fun project.
I treated myself to the Pottery Barn desk six years ago and I love it today as much as the day I realized I had to have it. The huge desk top gives me lot of room for stuff, and I usually have lots of notes and lists all around me.
The funny thing is I never realized how close to the edge, even hanging off my desk, I work until I took these pictures. I guess maybe that desk isn’t quite as big as I’d really like it to be. And yes, the little stool under the desk is so my feet have somewhere to land. I’m a shorty-girl.
A cool tool: Earlier this year I discovered these adorable cherry bleachers at Levenger.com. It’s one of my favorite websites to window shop. As you can see, it gives me a chance to scribble notes on cards and pop them into the bleachers to help keep myself on track as I work on my book.
These Kathy Ireland bookshelves neatened up my act considerably earlier this year. It’s been great to have twelve running feet to store all my favorites (see Mary Alice Monroe’s book face out on the top left shelf) and craft books.
But there are some days when I really need to get down to work. When the words just aren’t coming, I swivel my office chair toward the window, kick it into recline position, and write with my laptop in my lap. Those always end up being super productive days. It must be a feng-shui thing because it doesn’t work unless I turn the chair toward the window.
The bottom line is as long as I have my laptop I can make it happen. I really like that flexibility.
I have two giveaways for readers. Just leave a comment below for a chance to win either:
- A $10 Amazon gift card; or
- A set of autographed Keeper Kase™ Cards. Don’t know what Keeper Kase™ cards are? Lordy goodness, check this out. http://www.nancynaigle.com/efans.htm
Thank you, Nancy, for that fun tour! I think you might win the prize for the most original piece of furniture with that “cowboyed up” dresser!
I also wanted to mention Nancy’s next Adams Grove Novel Out of Focus, coming in August 2013.
Okay, folks, you heard the lady. Let’s have some comments!
Today, I am delighted to have MJ Fredrick as my guest for Workspace Wednesday. MJ is another member of my Wet Noodle Posse (writers who finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart® contest in 2003, and who have hung together ever since).
Here’s the thing – every time I read one of MJ’s books, I think, “Damn, I wish I’d written that!” She writes the kind of fast-paced, sexy romantic suspense/adventure that really floats my boat. The kind I try to write. She can also write a straight contemporary (like Bluestone Homecoming) with the best of them, a skill I envy.
She is also one of the few bloggers I follow religiously. I think I learned everything I know about blogging/social media best practice from watching MJ. I don’t do it as well as she does, but she embodies what we all should be doing. She shows us all the facets of her life, not just her writing. Besides being a damned fine writer, she’s a teacher, an avid reader, a wife, a mother, a cat-lover, a talented crafter, a Supernatural fan, a TV and movie aficionado, etc. Basically, she’s the kind of all around awesome person you want to feel connected to. I recommend you check out her blog and subscribe to her newsletter so you don’t miss anything.
Okay, now that I’ve spilled all that syrupy lurve all over the place, I’ll turn you over to MJ while I clean up the joint.
MJ FREDRICK: I tried, really I did, to have an office. When I first started writing on a computer, I had one, the third bedroom in our old house, with an old XT my uncle had put together, with an amber monochromatic screen. After my son was in bed, I’d go in there and write for a couple of hours while my husband watched TV in the living room. I eventually finished my first book, but it took me months.
We replaced the XT with an old PowerBook we got for $300, with a modem that screeched. No more writing in the bedroom next to where my son was sleeping, so I started writing and surfing in the living room in front of the TV. We replaced the PowerBook with the first generation of iMacs, and it was also in the living room. So I got in the habit of writing with lots going on around me.
BUT I didn’t feel guilty, because I was still a part of what was going on, if you get me.
We moved into this house, a four-bedroom, 13 years ago. I tried several spaces as my “office,” the bedroom off the kitchen, the mud room area next to that, which looked out on my backyard, the middle bedroom (which has since become Craft Central). NONE of those worked for me. I’d get up a million times to go see what was going on in other parts of the house. Eventually, we parked the iMac in the living room and that was my workspace.
And then…I got a laptop. Oh, the freedom I had with a laptop! I wrote outside, I wrote in my big comfy chair, I wrote EVERYWHERE!
Now, I live in Texas, and the past two summers have been crazy hot, even early in the morning, so I don’t write on the patio. But this house is blessed with a sun room, and that is my favorite room in the house, especially since my baby brother helped me rearrange it a couple of years ago.
I have a big comfy couch and a big comfy chair that we bought when we moved in. They’re a little worse for wear, but did I mention comfy? (Also, excuse the cat hair. I AM the Crazy Cat Lady, but getting cat hair off chenille is a PAIN!)
In the morning, as soon as I finish eating, I unplug the laptop and curl up on the couch in the sun room. (This is what it looks like in the summer. When I’m teaching, it’s dark dark dark, with only the light from the screen.) Note the Diet Coke–a staple in the early mornings.
I usually get a cat or two curled up with me, no matter what time of day. Here you see YaYa beside me and Stormy on the floor.
My exercise bike is right there, taunting me. This summer I’ve had to leave my little area when the boy wants to exercise, which would make me mad if he wasn’t moving out this week.
I prefer this view, though because of the drought, there’s not a lot to see.
In the evenings, I join the family in front of the TV, but I’m usually still working on SOMETHING. This is my corner, complete with a blanket, because the AC works pretty well.
The bonus is, my baby kitty thinks it’s his mama.
So I don’t stay in one spot and I clearly like to be comfortable. Also, I like green chairs and cats.
Thank you, MJ! Loved the tour of your space! I am so in awe of anyone who can work with a laptop primarily. After all these years in admin support, I’m a desktop kind of gal.
MJ Fredrick is the author of 17 books, including this one, Guarded Hearts, published by Lyrical Press.
Now it’s your turn. Do you remember modems that screeched? Did you ever have an XT? Ever meet an author who didn’t even pretend to maintain an office, whilst she wrote in various spots around the house? Have you read one or more or MJ’s books? You know the drill – a comment will earn you a chance to win today’s prize, which you’re going to want. It’s a $10 gift certificate from either Amazon or B&N, at the winner’s call.