So What’s Up?

So what’s up with everyone? Is everyone having a good spring?

I’ve been pretty quiet since the release of Ten Good Reasons, but just busy! There was no rest for the weary in there, as my release date of Book 2 coincided with edits due for Book 3. Egads. So I was a little schizophrenic all of April I was finalizing and rewriting parts of Book 3 while trying to write guest posts for Book 2 and getting started on Book 4!

My edits were due in early May, and right after that I had to throw a bunch of stuff together to get ready for a road trip the second week of May. We packed up the car and headed to Montana for my oldest child’s graduation! Yeehaw! It was a beautiful trip, and we also got to bring my second child home for summer, and we really had a great time.

But then when I got home, I started to crash, and next thing I knew, I had the flu!

I think I’m on the road to recovery now, and ready to get back to writing.

How is everyone else’s spring going? Can you believe it’s already June?

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:


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?:


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:

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:


Great Library Event!

Had such a great library event on Saturday!

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

2015-05-02 12.33.24

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!

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