TEDTalks Thinks I’m a Slut

Okay, that might be a little strong, but not by much.

Have I mentioned the computer I have at the day job? Imagine a habitrail. The hamster snoozing in his wheel represents my computer’s RAM. On Friday, I was working on an InDesign file. Seven pages, two photos per page. Two. In order to work on the file, I had to break it into seven files, one page per file. Want to guess how long it took to print a page? Go on, you know you want to. Twenty minutes.

In order to do anything with one of these files, I had to close everything else. Everything. No Spotify, which isn’t a loss since I was trapped in a never-ending loop of Don’t Stop Believin’. No chat. No database to manage. Nothing.

With a lot of time to kill. I thought about pulling out my laptop, which does not run off of hamster power, and doing some of a lynda.com class, but that wasn’t going to go over well. And no obvious texting at work, so no chatting with Reunion Guy for me.

Chatting with Reunion Guy is a challenge. He knows things. Smart things. I have to work to hold up my end of the conversation. And I love it because I spend a lot of my day waiting on the hamster in my computer and working with people who do not use me to my full potential. But apparently Reunion Guy has a day job too. It comes with an impossible To Do list, better tech and not a lot of time to spend amusing me. I think it’s time to rewrite his job description, but whatever.

So what to do while I’m waiting… After the online class idea, I considered watching the last episode of Angel on my iPad. Do not mock. I was busy having kids when Buffy and Angel were on originally, so I’m playing catch up. But I can’t really talk my way around that if I’m caught. Also, I actually have to watch that show.

That’s when I remembered TEDTalks. It’s not like you have to watch them. They’re talks. Some guy on a stage talking. The iPad doesn’t even have to be facing me, so no worries there. Ha! A plan. And seventeen minutes before a piece of paper kicks out of the printer. So I bop over to TED on the iPad and scan the mix of stuff on the main page and come to… Christopher Ryan’s Are We Designed to be Sexual Omnivores?

Okay, yes it’s a great title and I was intrigued. It was pretty engaging and thought-provoking. Happy day. My last awake brain cell was being challenged. You know what happens after you watch a TEDTalk? It suggests other talks you might enjoy. You know what you can’t do when you’re trying to look busy waiting for a printer to print? Scroll through the complete list of talks. So hey, they have a suggestion, I might as well watch it.

And their suggestion? Helen Fisher’s Why We Love, Why We Cheat. After that, it was a lovely French woman explaining what kills desire in long-term relationships. The funny thing is, with her accent, she made it sound great. Are you sensing a theme? Is there something TED is trying to tell me?

All I did was keep playing their next suggestion for me. Which is how I, the romance writer and firm believer in happily-ever-afters, listened to an hour of psychologists, anthropologists and scientists tell me that humans are not meant to be monogamous, the many reasons people cheat, and what our significant other can do to be more appealing to us.

I choose to believe TED wanted me better prepared for my next relationship. Or better prepared to torture my characters. Either one works for me.


A Chat with Regan Black

There are times when you need to call on a friend. Saturday, when I slipped and banged into both a wall and the refrigerator (hey, if you’re going to do it, do it right), and messed up my hand and shoulder, I called my best friend and a favorite author, Regan Black.

The timing, it turned out was perfect. I was lamenting not being able to type for a few days, and she was looking for guest blogging opportunities. Because I can lose a weekend to her storytelling, it seemed perfect. We could chat (with her doing all the heavy lifting, er typing), and you’d all get a chance to meet a fantastic writer of romantic suspense with paranormal elements.

So, grab a cup of coffee (illegal in one of her futuristic series), and join us!

Tell us about your newest book.

Bulletproof, by Regan Black
Bulletproof, by Regan Black

Bulletproof is the result of a perfect storm – a brainstorm that is – between a highly accomplished romantic suspense author and a paranormal romance author searching for some overdue direction.

From the back cover:  A soldier is nothing without his honor.

To avoid a dishonorable end to his decorated military career, John Noble made a deal with the devil. He gave up his name, endured harrowing training, and accepted every mission thrown at him for one purpose: redemption.

When he accepts his latest orders, providing personal security for a reporter in trouble, he bargains hard to guarantee it will be his last job for the shadow agency he knows only Unknown Identities.

An ambitious reporter, Amelia Bennett, is about to break the story of her career, if she lives long enough to tell it. Caving to her boss’s demand, she hires a bodyguard and soon it is obvious John Noble is the only obstacle standing between her and certain death.

Just when John believes he has found someone he can trust and love, who loves him unconditionally for who and what he has become, his orders are amended: Amelia Bennett is to be terminated.

Introducing Unknown Identities: an alternative for elite soldiers and spies facing criminal charges… if they can survive the program.


I’d like to say Bulletproof was something in my idea file that I knew I would write someday, but the truth is far more fun. This book, the entire new series, sprouted over the course of several ‘what if’ phone calls covering everything from plot, to character, to career with my mentor and friend, Debra Webb.

Debra: “What if… you try writing romantic suspense?”

Me: “What if… I miss the paranormal, supernatural stuff?”

Debra: “What if… you weave that in too?”

Me: “Hmm…” And then I’d run off to write.

A master storyteller, and brilliantly quick with an idea, Debra and I had a fabulous time dreaming up increasingly dire consequences for John and Amelia as Bulletproof came together. I learned so much in the process of this book and the experience of working so closely with someone as accomplished as Debra was exactly what I needed.

It’s my hope readers will feel that passion and excitement as they read Bulletproof, Double Vision, and the stories that will soon follow in the Unknown Identities series.

What motivates you to write?

The notion of two children in college is a pretty good motivator for any smart businesswoman. But well beyond the profit and loss stats, I want my children to see how consistent effort, perseverance, and dedication to a goal pays off.

What’s your next project?

Along with Bulletproof, Double Vision, and Sandman will debut at the end of October so readers can enjoy a few adventures in the Unknown Identities and really get a full escape into that world.

As readers enjoy those three UI stories, I will be working on expanding the series with a short story adventure which will be included in an anthology entitled My Evil Valentine which is set to release in February 2014.

And I’ll let you in on a secret, the fourth novel in the UI series stars an assassin referred to as End Game. His adventure will be a tough one, but I can’t wait to see where he leads me.

Will you share an excerpt of Bulletproof?

Sure! This is the first time Amelia and John are face to face:

Reclaiming her usual confidence under fire, she looked him dead in those exotic green eyes and issued a reprimand. “You’re late, Mr. Noble. Nine o’clock, that was our agreed upon meeting time.”

“I’m here now.”

Flustered that he blew off the infraction without even an apology, she placed her hand in his. His grasp was firm, his palms rougher, more calloused than she’d expected. Frankly, nothing about him was what she’d expected. He was extraordinarily good looking in a dangerous sort of way and made her uncomfortable on too many levels to analyze just now.

She gestured up the block. “I’m running behind. We’ll take my car.” She hit the clicker to unlock the car and reached for her door, but he beat her to the handle. Water slipping down his beard-shadowed jaw, he opened the door and waited as if he had all the time in the world.

Definitely odd. “Thanks.”

He gave her another of those negligible nods.

That instinct she trusted above all else railed at her to snap out of it. “Just a minute.”

She hesitated before getting into the driver’s seat and dug around in her purse. Didn’t matter that it rained steadily on them both. She pulled out her cell and snapped a photo of John Noble.

She flashed a perfunctory smile and dropped behind the steering wheel.

While he closed her door and then walked around to the opposite side, she sent the photo to her boss with a text explaining that this was the bodyguard, John Noble.

She shoved the key into the ignition and started the engine while Noble settled into the front passenger seat.

“Why did you take a picture of me?”

Amelia fastened her seatbelt and checked the street before shifting into Drive. “The truth?” Might as well see if he could take her straightforward approach.


“If I disappear and they find my body,” she eased out of the parking slot, “the authorities will have a description of you to go on.”

His attention remained fixed on the street ahead of them for endless seconds before he responded. “If I made you disappear,” he said, his tone dark and ominous, “your body would never be found.”

Thanks, Regan for stopping by. Because I like you all, and want you to ignore your families for a day like I’m ignoring mine, here are the links for Bulletproof.
Barnes & Noble
Apple iTunes


2013 Resolutions

Before I get to the real post, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for making me an Amazon Best Seller! A Season For Romance topped the charts as the #4 Best Selling Short Story Collection. We hit #2 in Germany!

And now, on to our regularly scheduled blog…

Hi, my name is Kim and I’m a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie addict.

It’s normal to watch the same Hallmark movies over and over, right? I mean, you’re all doing it too, right? Looking at each one and saying things like, Oh, it’s The Shop Around the Corner meets Shall We Dance? Right?!!?

I never used to do this. But this weekend I’ve read two Regency romance novels (thanks Sabrina Jeffries, for the lack of sleep) and tonight alone I’ve watched two Hallmark specials.

I’d say I need to step away from the remote, but the fact is, I’m sitting down in the morning and figuring out my next characters and plotting their story. So I’m immersing myself in romance.

I’m also plotting my own life. For the past several months I’ve been putting my life on hold while I tried to figure out where I wanted to settle down. But the thing is, that’s nine months I could have been doing things. And didn’t.

So, although my life is still up in the air, I’m not waiting any more.

Seems like the perfect time to go back and look at the 2012 resolutions and see how I did. If this were the Hallmark Channel, there would be happy music and a guy would wander into my living room, looking lovingly at me. Alas… anyway, here’s the list:

Lose 15 pounds: I gained 10. On the other hand, I’ve lost 10.5 inches overall in the past eight weeks because I finally found a workout that my back can handle. Special thanks to Regan Black for leading me to DDP Yoga. I was losing weight in December, but then went to California for Christmas, and I’m pretty sure I drank my weight in wine while I was there. So, losing weight, or at least getting into better shape remains on the list, but I feel better than I have in forever with this workout, so I’m on the road to success.

Getting more active on social media. Build a following. Adding pages to the website. Writing a book or two: I wrote a holiday novella and published a new book. I go with fits and spurts on social media. I figure if I don’t have much to say, I should keep quiet and not clutter your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/blog feeds.

Conquer Italian: Not so much. I go back and forth with it, working at it for a few days and then getting caught up in life. Can’t decide if this one is carrying over into this year or not. I just can’t decide how important it is to me right now, which I guess says a lot.

So, for 2013:

Write books. Yes, multiple books.

Continue getting in shape and lose some of the weight. I’m not putting a number up here because the reality is if I dropped a clothing size, I’d be really happy and a healthy size. And since I’m working on building muscle (which weighs more than fat), I’m not sure what the number on the scale should be right now.

Get out more. Last year I joined a trivia team, which has been fun. I look forward to getting out of the house on Tuesday nights. But I need more going on in my world, so I’m going to try to find different groups to try activities with, one a month. We’ll see how that goes since I live in really small town America.

Either land a day job I love or become a communications strategy consultant. One way of the other, I need some steady income, because in case you hadn’t heard, the income stream of an author is not steady. It’s a check every six month sort of thing, which is hard to budget on.

So, those are my thoughts for 2013. 2012 was tough on a lot of us, but I choose to believe 2013 is my year. And yours too! So, what are you resolving to do next year?


Torturing a Writer

I spend my days torturing my characters. Want to know how to torture a writer? Sure, bad reviews will hurt, but every writer has a stack of rejection letters, so we’re used to negativity. In my house, that guarantees dinner out and a glass of wine.

If you really want to torture a writer, give her a hand injury. I’ve spent the last eight weeks in a brace of one sort or another, and fully expect to be in a cast next week when it becomes obvious that I’m not so good about staying in the brace. Here’s the thing: in a brace, half of the keyboard is off limits.”L” is a thing of the past. “N”? Not a chance. There are THREE vowels on the right hand of the keyboard. All of which I should be able to reach since my thumb is what’s screwed up, but I can’t.

In trying to follow doctor’s orders, that has meant no typing. No writing. No fun. And with no relief in sight, I’m $200 and one  more doctor’s appointment away from buying that Dragon speech recognition software so I can work again in some reasonable amount of time. I haven’t typed this badly since junior high. Thank goodness Zork! didn’t need big commands.

And I can’t play Epic Mickey, which the kids hooked me on after we thought I was better six weeks ago. Oops. Turns out Wii remotes aren’t good for hand injuries — especially when you have to use two of them. So Mickey has to wait.

But writing can’t. I’ve missed the blog, and the Kids have spent a ton of time in the kitchen, so there are entries there, waiting to be written. I’m tired of waiting to write them. For God’s sake, I have entries to write about the perils of dating.

So the blog’s back. Regardless of what I learn on Wednesday. Because I’ve lost patience. They may not be long, but they’ll be here. Stay tuned!


Writing Wednesday: Drastic Measures

I tried. I really did. I took a great plot and tried to write the book. The problem? I hate the plot.

Not a little dislike. I hate the plot.

I hate it so much that over the past six weeks, I’ve stripped wallpaper, redecorated my daughter’s bedroom, sewed things, looked for work, looked for clients, planted a garden, weeded it twice, cleaned the carpets, taken a group of girls to the zoo, and today I’m about to go out and spray poison ivy. On a side note, it’s only taken me this long to realize that the stuff that will kill the poison ivy will also probably kill the weeds… The denial has to be pretty strong when you don’t want to obliterate weeds with a simple spray.

There’s a point where you have to face your demons. Today, in honor of Writing Wednesday, I am killing the book. I have to. It all started with a princess. Well, turns out, I really don’t want to write about her. While the idea was great — is great — on index cards, every time I sit down to write this story, a voice in my head (the hero) says, “No. Seriously?!!? We’ve talked about this. She’s not for me.”

Now, usually that’s what they both say on paper and we all watch in fascination as the story proves the couple wrong and they live happily ever after. But this time, I think he’s right. She’s not for him. Or she’s not for me. There aren’t very many things I’m not willing to write about, but it appears princesses are currently on the list.

I’ve tried re-plotting it twice now and I can’t break the cycle because I’m too close to the story. Usually I can walk away for a few days and strip wallpaper and have inspiration strike, but on this one, I’m pushing too hard. I know it, the characters know it, my critique partner must know it, so I’m accepting it.

The book is part of a trilogy, but lucky for me, they don’t have to be in a particular order. In fact, at one point I thought this book would be the last, not the middle in the series. So this week, I get to find out why Joe is in the coffee shop (actually, I already know that one), and figure out why he’d fall for the girl who walks through his door.

No, that’s not a spoiler. It’s part of the Heiress at the Door series. I suppose she could climb through his window…or maybe the princess will do that in book three. If she’s still a princess.

Welcome to the joys of writing. In college I painted my room to avoid a paper. As you can see, not much has changed. I’m headed out to obliterate the poison ivy and mull over my new idea. What do you do to avoid the unavoidable?



What Happens on the Van…

So, I spend two hours a day commuting to and from the day job. When I started taking the vanpool I thought those would be two hours a day that I could write. I mean, I’d heard about our vanpools.

People don’t talk on them. Ear buds in, low enough that nobody else can hear them. Laptops open. No talking. Written rules. Did I mention no talking? So it seemed like the perfect place to write a book every day. Two hours a day with no internet, no kids, no dogs. Perfect.

I didn’t take one thing into account. I didn’t get one of the lame vanpools. I got the party bus. We have rules. We even thought about writing them down. But in order to come up with the rules, we would have had to keep minutes. And that breaks rule number two: what happens on the van, stays on the van. That’s right, we’re mobile Vegas.

What’s rule number one?

No pictures on the van. That one popped up because in the early days we were kind of quiet in the morning and some people would fall asleep. And some of us might be just slightly evil enough to think that pictures of people drooling in their sleep would be good blackmail material.

But there are a couple of us who are morning people, and a couple of us who just enjoy having adult conversation, and the group grew, and now I give a speech to the new folks who join the van. It’s pretty short.

“If you were looking for the quiet van where you could work, this isn’t it. Rule number three is no talking about work. We try to keep to it, but some days are better than others. Conversation runs from Disney-rated to not-even-close. If you want to not hear anything sit up front; if you want Disney sit next to her. Do not sit next to us. We apologize in advance.”


We tried reining it in once or twice. It didn’t work. The reality is, if you want peace and quiet, you quickly find another van. One that doesn’t have parties. Or cake.

So, I know, you’re wondering. If what happens on the van is supposed to stay on the van, why can I write about it? Seriously? I’m a writer. There was an unspoken exemption. Okay, it wasn’t so much unspoken thing as them looking at me and saying, “no writing about us” and me laughing out load and saying, “right, how about no names?”

So I pretend that I’m going to work on the van. I bring my laptop. I even open it. And then I hear about everyone’s lives and get material for my books. But no names. I promise.


Facing a Blank Page

There are days when you sit down to write and you just start typing and hope for a great idea. Any great idea. Because anything is better than staring at a blank page. And you hope that if you type enough, you’ll come up with something better than talking about the ankle you sprained getting out of your car yesterday, or Scout Son being upset about having to dance in PE.

Given the choices, the blank page is beginning to look better. But there’s a theory that if you just keep typing, even if it’s just “I don’t know what to write,” that eventually you’ll get bored with writing that and you’ll start writing something interesting.

And if you do that one sentence at a time, you end up with a book.

Writing romance novels means putting up with a lot of nonsense and misconceptions. You’ve got people who think anyone can write a book. You’ve got the funny folks who make cracks about spending all your time doing “research.” The people who think that every book is the same simply because you have a happily ever after ending. But nobody says that about a murder mystery, and someone has to die for that book to be written.

The thing is, writing romance novels can be harder than a lot of other books – yes, I am biased – because everyone knows how a romance novel is going to end. So there has to be another plot that keeps people turning the pages in addition to the romantic plot, or else nobody wants to read the story. Because we know how that story is going to end.

So we type. We fold socks. We talk to ourselves. And then, even if we don’t know what comes next, we write. And trust that the ride will be worth it. That something will shake out that is true to our characters and the story we’re trying to share.

Because the other option is the story about how I sprained my ankle. And who wants to read about that?


A Day of Rest…or Not

New rule: no blogging on Sundays.

Turns out Sundays are the days that I get everything done. If Saturdays are the days I play (and clearly they are), then Sundays are the days I grocery shop, clean the house, do 52 loads of laundry, pay bills, contemplate the taxes, ask about homework…

I finally sat down with the intent of blogging at 10:00 last night, which is when I’m supposed to be going to bed. After Boy Scout paperwork, I was fried. That great idea I had while doing planks on the living room floor? Toast. The one I had while making coffee cake? Deserted me.

The thing is, I write these the day I post them. Yes, I should have a whole litany of these things saved up so I can preset them to post automatically. But if I do that, I won’t write every day and part of the deal here is that I’m supposed to be writing every day and dealing with whatever comes out of it.

Because, the one thing I have figured out is that keeping all my emotions bottled up until I have time to deal with them (two years later) is probably not the healthiest way to live. There are good days and bad days and going have mad days (thank you Jimmy Buffett), but apparently giving myself some distance was good because I’m not overwhelmed by emotions. I’m even enjoying the not so fun ones because now I’m feeling something.

Maybe it’s because the kids are older now and I don’t have to worry so much about them. Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong, I have to worry about the big things now, drinking, stupid friends and cars, boys. But I don’t have to worry so much about getting them to school on time, is everybody’s lunch made and the daily stuff that eats up your time.

You’d think not worrying would have given me time for my first Linux lesson with my father yesterday. Sorry, Dad. Let’s try for Tuesday night. This generally makes me ill, (the Linux not my dad), but if I’m going to update this site, I need to know some of the basics. Besides, with this knowledge I can pick up computer geeks. See, it’s a win-win!