Writer Wednesdays: Favorite Item on Your Desk…

BlogCarnMay6-01Welcome back to Writer Wednesdays. I’ve begun a romance-writer blog party where, once a month, my writer friends and I will all be blogging on the same topic on the same day — we’ll be talking about things all romance writers love to talk about: reading, writing, and romantic things.

Our first one was about our wedding day highlights.

And this one is about a favorite item on our desk.

Hmmm. … First, I’ll show you my desk in general to show how messy it always is:

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I can’t even show you the right side because it’s just toooo messy over there! I just turned in my Book 3 edits on Monday, so things look a little messier than usual. I have my Thesaurus still out and open there above my keyboard. (Probably because I had to look for words to use instead of “nodded,” which I used an embarrassing 127 times in the manuscript.) I have my to-go cup from Wahoo’s there on my right, which is where we went to eat tonight. (It also happens to be the fish-taco place Fin takes Giselle to in THE RED BIKINI, wouldn’t you know?) My mail is kind of overflowing and crazy there in the top right. My Galileo thermometer says 72 degrees, with the 68-degree bulb rising, if you’re wondering how warm it is at 6 p.m. on May 5, 2015. And on the left I still have my flyer that the library made me for my visit last Saturday.

But I’ll zero in on my FAVORITE thing on my desk right now. Can you guess what it is out of the photo above?:

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Yep, it’s the cute little sea lion! He’s sitting on top of my notes for Book 3.

He’s there for inspiration for Book 3, because it’s about a scientist who works at a sea lion rescue place on an island off the coast of California. My little sea lion has been sitting there for a year — ever since the day my husband, my teenage daughter and I went to this place in Laguna to research sea lion rescues almost exactly a year ago (weird!). My sweet hubby bought me this little sea lion toy as inspiration. (He bought my daughter one, too. They both went toward donations to the center.) My sea lion’s name is Moe, which you’ll understand more when you read Book 3!

Hanging above my sweet sea lion are my inspirational pictures for Book 3. That’s hero Elliott on the right, and the three Grant sisters on the left. Natalie Grant is Book 3’s heroine, and she’s the one in the middle. Paige Grant will be for Book 4. (And I haven’t decided yet if she’s the one on the right or the left!)

I find it so helpful to have inspirational pictures hanging when I’m writing.

In fact, I’ll try to take pictures of my desk for each book so you can see all the stuff I put around while I’m needing inspiration.

So that’s my favorite item on my desk right now!

Do you have a work desk? Do you have inspirational items on it? Do share! I love to see/hear what people surround themselves with.

Want to see what all my writer friends have on their desks? Here are the participants. All of us are Golden Heart 2012 Firebirds. You can click on their names to go to their blogs and read:

Fellow contemporary romance writers Tamra BaumannJamie WesleyKat CantrellPriscilla Kissinger | Paranormal romance writers Kay HudsonPamela Kopfler | Romantic suspense writers Carol Post Sharon Wray | Novels with romantic elements Natalie Meg Evans Jean Willett | Faith-based and sweet romance writers K.D. FlemingKristen Ethridge | Historical romance writers Kathleen Bittner-RothWendy LaCapra

Quick plug for one of the writers above:

K.D. Fleming has just come out with her third book this week! It’s a faith-based romance published by an “Inspirational” line. (Some of you probably didn’t even know there was such a thing, right?) Here are the deets:

HerHometownReporterTOBY HENDRICKS HAS THE INSIDE SCOOP ON GINA LAWSON
The reporter is looking for a story that’ll be his ticket out of his small Georgia town. With her political connections, legal assistant Gina Lawson could help Toby realize his aspirations. Their friendship is just an added bonus, but falling in love isn’t part of his five-year plan.  Gina’s devoted to her family and community, and doesn’t plan to ever leave. Though she finds her favorite reporter maddeningly irresistible, she must guard her heart. But when a betrayal of trust threatens to shatter both their dreams, will Gina and Toby learn that they share the same values after all?

Buy links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, HQN

And be sure to come back every month for our Writer Wednesdays! Here’s what’s in store:

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Great Library Event!

Had such a great library event on Saturday!

Here was my view as I was speaking. I asked everyone to wave:

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I talked about my my Oprah moment that started me on my romance-writing journey and my road to publication, offered some tips I learned along the way, shared my “bag of writing secrets,” and answered questions.

My mom brought cookies for everyone, and my SIL Denise brought raffle tickets (we did two raffles, one for The Red Bikini, and one for Ten Good Reasons). Denise also brought a cash box and helped me sell a bunch of books!

Then I signed books and said hello to a lot of friends who came to support me. It was so fun.

Here’s me and my SIL Barbara (my brother’s wife), who helped with photo-taking:

Barbara and meSigning lots of books:

5-4-2015 1-41-09 PMAnd me and a bunch of friends from high school, believe it or not! The library event was very near our old stomping grounds, so had a lot of VHS friends show up with their moms, who I grew up with also. So fun:

5-4-2015 1-45-16 PMI had such a good time!

Keeping Up Appearances …

4-17-2015 3-23-58 PMSo I have appearances this week! I’ll be at the Brea Library this Saturday, talking about writing and publishing. It’ll probably be just me, my mom, a few friends, and their moms, but we’re sure to have a good time! I told my 15 yo son I wasn’t sure what to talk about, and he told me he thinks I should speak entirely in cliches: “Don’t give up. Follow your dreams. There are many roads to choose. Take the path less chosen. …” He made me laugh.

If you’re local, though, I’d love to see you at 11 a.m. at 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea. The best place to park is the underground parking structure accessible from Birch St. The parking structure entrance is located between the Civic Center and the Embassy Suites Hotel. You can park and take the elevator up to the lobby level.

If you just want to meet up virtually, I’m also over on the Harlequin Junkie blog this week, telling my very favorite scenes from TEN GOOD REASONS. (Can you guess what they are?) Come check the excerpts out and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway if you wish. Just click here: Lauren Christopher on Harlequin Junkie.

Hope to visit with you all soon!

How to Write an Amazon Book Review

So here’s an interesting thing I’ve learned: Amazon reviews for new authors are Super-Important. (See, I even gave it capital letters, there.)

Rumor has it that the number of reviews is what determines how many Amazon algorithms you get into, and results in the number of “recommended buy lists” you get on (like the “…if you like this book, you might like this one…” variety).

So it’s Super-Important. (There are those caps again.)

And it’s especially important for newbies like me, because … well, we’re newbies, and we don’t have a whole lot of fans yet! So no one is buying our books. (Except you fine, good-taste people!)

So, if you want to help me out (and other newbie authors), and get an author you like out there for the world to see, once you read a book you like – whether you buy the book on Amazon or not – please leave three or four sentences about it and however many stars you want.

Here’s how to write an Amazon book review, if you’ve never done one before:

  1. Go to the book’s page on Amazon.
  2. There should be a square, gray “Write a Customer Review” button at the bottom of the existing reviews.
  3. Click on that, and you’ll be brought to the review page. You can create a “reviewer name” in the top right corner. (You can review under a name other than yours. On Amazon, my reviewer name is “Readermama.”) Then type in your review and the number of stars.
  4. Stars go from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), so:
    • 1 Star – This book is horrible.
    • 2 Stars – This book is bad.
    • 3 Stars – This book is okay.
    • 4 Stars – This book is good.
    • 5 Stars – This book is excellent.
  5. Possible things to write about – remember, you only need three or four sentences minimum. (Of course, if you like writing, you’re welcome to write much more.) Here are some things people like to read in reviews to help them decide if they should get the book or not:
    • Was it a page-turner? Did it keep you up at night to finish?
    • Did you like any of the characters in particular? Why?
    • Did you have any favorite lines? (You can share them.)
    • Did you like the setting? Did the author transport you there?
    • Did any part make you laugh/cry/relate?
    • Did you recommend or buy the book for anyone else?

So that’s it! If you write one for me, I thank you for helping me out!

Writer Wednesdays: My Wedding Day Highlight…

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We’re starting a new thing! I’ve begun a romance-writer blog party where, once a month, my writer friends and I will all be blogging on the same topic on the same day — we’ll be talking about things all romance writers love to talk about: reading, writing, and romantic things!

Our first one is about our wedding day highlights.

We picked this topic because our friend Kat Cantrell has TWO books coming out at Harlequin this month, both involving weddings: From Ex to Eternity and From Fake to Forever. You can see them at the bottom of this post, plus check Kat out here.

And now … Here we go: My wedding day highlight. …

Here’s us on our wedding day:

wedding day 1989

Dang, we were young. I had a beautiful wedding day. I really did. We got married in November because I love the cool crisp air in November and the normally sunny days. It was Thanksgiving weekend, 1989, and kind of the cusp of the holidays. Our colors were black and red, and everything looked gorgeous and holidayish. But the highlights of my wedding day — wouldn’t you know — were things you can’t plan at all. The highlights were things people said, a dance with someone special, my guests getting along in a “worlds colliding” way. Plus there was this guy:

scan0002J.R. Taylor was the best man in our wedding, and — like in the photo above — he was cracking us up all day.

He was Chris’ best friend. He’d flown in from Montana, where he’d been living after finishing his stint in the army as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. At the wedding, he brought a flask for Chris to calm his nerves (a spirit they’d enjoyed as buds in the past), gave a great toast, danced with the prettiest girls, and just all-around had a great time.

At the end of the wedding, we had done a crazy complicated car-switch because my dad had ordered us a surprise limo (Yay, Dad!) from the church to the reception. So some of us were without cars at the end of the night. And J.R. didn’t have a way home from the reception, and he’d come alone. So somehow we offered to give him a ride. Yep, in our “getaway car” with the windows all decorated “Just Married!” Problem was, Chris and J.R. were smashed by the end of the reception. And I hadn’t drunk at all. So I was voted the designated driver.

So … yes, me in my full-skirted gown and my ’80s headband veil, driving the getaway car out of the reception at 2 a.m. with what looked like TWO grooms. …

And then as we started driving, my two drunkards started complaining that they were “huuuuuungry, Laurie, huuuuuuungry,” and they wanted to go to In-N-Out. So I laughed and pulled into the one in our home town. Which is like the ONLY In-N-Out in Southern California that isn’t a drive-through (because of an old no-drive-through rule in Placentia).

So the three of us piled out of the car and walked in and ordered hamburgers — the bride (yep, still with her veil on!), and “two grooms”! We got a lot of attention at In-N-Out. But we had so much fun. And that will forever be my wedding day highlight.

(Want to read more about J.R.? I wrote a post about him here.)

Want to see what all my writer friends wrote about their wedding day highlights? Here are the participants. All of us are Golden Heart 2012 Firebirds. You can click on their names to go to their blogs and read:

Fellow contemporary romance writers Tamra BaumannJamie WesleyKat CantrellPriscilla Kissinger | Paranormal romance writers Kay HudsonPamela Kopfler | Romantic suspense writers Carol PostSharon Wray | Novels with romantic elements Natalie Meg EvansJean Willett | Faith-based romance writers Karen FlemingKristen Ethridge | Historical romance writers Kathleen Bittner-RothWendy LaCapra

Come back every month for our Writer Wednesdays! Here’s what’s in store:

Writer Wednesday List

And here are Kat Cantrell’s wedding books from Harlequin this month! Kat’s one of the Firebirds, and a great writer!

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