Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve

As my last post for 2011, I thought I'd highlight the events of my year:

I began the year in my favorite place in the world, Edinburgh
I began teaching online classes. (I taught 4)
I got a request for a full from an editor (that I'm still waiting to hear back from)
I got a new part-time job (that I love) tutoring and a great 3-month review
I lost 18lbs and won the fitness challenge at my gym
I gained some of the weight back :(
I added more freelance editing gigs to my resume
I turned 40
I got back in touch with several friends from my childhood, including my 1st BFF
I applied for tons of "real jobs" while I continued substitute teaching
I moved out of my condo
I wrote 1 1/2 novellas, 2 full-length romantic suspense stories and revised another
I signed my 1st writing contract 

Tomorrow I'll post my goals and hopes for the new year. For now, I'd like to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. If you are celebrating the arrival of 2012, I hope you celebrate wisely and safely.
See you next year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lazy Day

I sent my Round 1 Edits back to my editor last night. (I think I finally understand how to use Track Changes!) Today I plan to be lazy! I've had 2 cups of tea so far, have visited & commented on a bunch of blogs, and I've watched 2 episodes of Supernatural. At the moment, I have nothing pressing and it feels SOOOOOO good! For the rest of the day I plan to clean a bit, watch English soccer, finish reading Sworn to Protect, watch Iowa play OU tonight and anything else I feel like doing. Tomorrow I'll get back to business. I'll be posting my 2012 writing and life goals to share with you.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

You Know You're A Suspense Writer...

You know you're a suspense writer when you see a glove on the ground in the middle of the highway and you think a) is there a hand still in there? and b) where's the rest of the body?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Revisions-Round 1

I had planned to do my revisions on Friday and yesterday. Then I got sick. The lesson I learned through this is get busy as soon as possible in case something unexpected pops up and puts a dent into my revision schedule.

Now, the revisions haven't been overwhelmingly difficult so getting sick didn't put me behind by much. I'll still have the story back to my editor on time. But what I wanted to mention was that they still have taken me longer than I expected. I honestly think part of that is due to this being my first time revising with an editor, and part of it is due to my learning how to work with track changes. I worked for about 4 1/2 hours yesterday. I still want to review everything one more time and I have another content concept I need to work into the book, but I'm hoping I can get it finished today. I'll let you know!

1:10 PM: I'm done! (After another 2 hours) But I'm going to leave it alone while I do to one of the day jobs, reread bits after dinner, write comments to my editor and then email it back tonight.
8:35 PM: Just emailed my editor with the revisions and comments (after another hour). Now to play for a bit!
9:15 AM (Wed): I got my edits back. Apparently I misunderstood part of the editor's directions. I have an extra round to do. No worries. Won't be so bad. I'll send the book back tonight. It's more an issue with me and Track Changes rather than me and my book.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Win-Win Proposition Review

A Win-Win Proposition is a fun story written by Cat Schield. Now, yes, I'm a bit biased since Cat and I have been friends for years, but this story is good in its own right!

Missy Ward has spent 4 years as Sebastian Case's assistant, 4 years falling in love with him, a man who needs to be in control of his world. Sebastian doesn't see Missy as anything other than an assistant...until they go on a business trip to Las Vegas.

After being dumped by her obnoxious boyfriend just before her 30th birthday, Missy decides to make some changes. She gets a makeover, quits her job and places a bet with her boss: if he wins, she'll stay on as his assistant. If she wins, she gets one night with him. Missy wins the bet and enjoys every single moment of her night with Sebastian. But she's not foolish enough to believe he'll suddenly welcome her into his personal life with open arms. She feels she doesn't belong in his world and that he could never commit to a girl like her. But Sebastian is hard to resist.

Sebastian's feelings for Missy make him crazy and take him totally out of his own comfort zone. But he wants her in his life and in his bed and Sebastian Case will do whatever it takes to convince Missy they belong together.

I found myself laughing and swearing at Sebastian and turning pages faster as the chapters went by. Cat has created complex and lovable characters. I could feel Missy's pain and insecurities. Sebastian is the perfect romance hero. He's annoying and stubborn, but he's got enough charm to make me want to root for him. I couldn't wait to see him recognize his love for Missy, to see her recognize her own worth and to watch their romance blossom. I'm so looking forward to the next book in this series!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends who celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas full of love, laughter and happiness. Take time this weekend to be thankful for what you have, and know how much I appreciate you being part of my life.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Beneath The Starry Sky Review

Beneath the Starry Sky by Jessica E. Subject is part of Decadent Publishing's 1 Night Stand Series. Both the hero and the heroine have suffered physical ailments that influence their belief that they can ever find someone to love them for the way they are. In this short novella, we see Josh and Tamara experience each other and learn to accept a happily-ever-after.

I enjoyed Jessica's story, although I wish it had been longer. I liked seeing Josh and Tamara deal with their own insecurities and learn to value themselves and each other. If you get a chance, definitely pick up this story!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Change In Plans

So, I heard back from my editor again yesterday. I was surprised because I honestly didn't think I'd hear from her until at least the weekend. She had great things to say, which obviously made me feel good. (It's always nice when other people in the industry like your work!) and she pinpointed the exact content problem I was having when I finished the draft. I haven't looked at the manuscript and her specific page by page comments yet, but I am now expected to get the revisions back to her in one week.

Getting them done won't be a problem. I'm not really worried about them and I'm pretty confident I'll be able to get them done sooner than next Wednesday. But I hadn't expected to have to work over the holiday weekend. As I mentioned earlier this week, I'd planned to finish the rough draft of my next novella. (That's coming along...slowly.)

So, I'm out finishing up my Christmas shopping today. Then tomorrow I plan to spend the entire day working on revisions. I expect I'll do some work over the Christmas weekend, but I'm not going to push it. Then Monday I'll spend the entire day working and hopefully finishing my revisions.

Over the years I've heard countless writer friends talk about the sacrifices they've had to make to make deadlines. This is my first experience with an official deadline and I'm actually excited about it! (Okay, granted it's not much of a sacrifice on my part, but I do still have to rearrange some activities.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Editor

I got an email tonight from my content editor! Yay! I'll likely get my revisions the week between Christmas and 2012, which will be perfect since I won't be subbing. In the email, my editor (yes, I'll be saying that A LOT!!!) explained the editorial process in a bit more detail.

I'm thrilled with this email because it starts pulling me out of my limbo. Now I have a direction. I have this week to finish the rough draft of the next novella, I'll have revisions to do next week (and beyond, if needed) and then I'll get an idea of when the book will be released.

(And really, it's only been 3 weeks since I first got the email offering me a contract, 2 weeks since I sent the book in after my Pre-edits. I know the people at Decadent have A LOT of other work to do, so I need to remember that my turn will come when it's supposed to come. I know, I know. Reeeeelaaaax, Lexi!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Books' Settings

Her Highland Champion, the contemporary romantic suspense novella that sold to Decadent Publishing, is set in a place that looks a lot like this:
The second Scottish novella that I started yesterday (and hope to submit in January), Scottish Novella #2, is set here in Edinburgh. (The story has no title yet because I'm still learning what the plot is.)
Now, come on. You know you'll want to read both of these stories with sexy Scotsmen, beautiful scenery, and heroines worth rooting for, right? I'll keep you updated on both!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Different Kind Of Romance!

Today is the release day for Beneath the Starry Sky, a contemporary erotic romance from one of my fellow Decadent authors, Jessica E. Subject. Happy Release Day, Jessica!

I'm sharing this with you because this story's premise is close to my heart. The heroine is not your average heroine. She has an autoimmune disease that causes her hair to fall out. While I don't have this specific disease, I was extremely sick as a child and for a long time I wondered if I could ever find love despite my physical scars. Now, I haven't read this book yet, but I just bought it and I will be sure to give you my review once I finish it. If you're so inclined, feel free to learn more about this book, take a chance on a new-to-you author and share your thoughts. You can buy it here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Consoling Angel by Denise Alicea

Consoling Angel is a fun, YA short story from new author Denise Alicea. Ms. Alicea has found an interesting way to share her own fascination with James Dean in her story dealing with loss.
Mira is a high school student who has lost her father and thinks keeping herself busy will keep her from grieving. The story opens with a description of New York City and Mira’s memories of fun times with her father, which included watching movies of their favorite actor, James Dean. When Mira gets home, she gets dizzy and falls into a deep sleep in 2008. When she wakes up, she’s in 1952 where she meets the real James Dean. Through spending time with him, Mira learns that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed and that that is the best way to honor her dad’s memory.
Ms. Alicea has given us a cute story that anyone who has lost someone or anyone who has ever loved a celebrity can relate to. If you’re interested in a quick, sweet story, pick up Consoling Angel!

Who Am I? What Am I Doing? Where Do I Go From Here?


Okay, I'm feeling better. A little. I'm suffering from too long in limbo. I've got lots of irons in the fire, personal and professional, but now I've got to wait. And I am NOT a patient person. So, I'm going to write because that always soothes my soul. I'm going to work on a new idea I keep coming back to, another Scottish novella. I might give myself a few days to see if I can pull anything together. If not, I'll throw myself into revisions on another story. And wait some more.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Review of Laura Griffin's Snapped

Snapped is another winning Tracers novel from Laura Griffin. It is a great story with an interesting plot and a nail-biting ending. Don’t miss this book!

Sassy Sophie Barrett, receptionist at the prestigious Delphi Center, wants more out of life so she's attending college part-time. While on campus to register for classes, Sophie witnesses a gunman shooting at random people, including a pregnant woman close to Sophie. The gunman eventually takes his own life, and the press and the police rule the case closed, but Sophie is convinced there is an accomplice and she's determined to get people to pay attention. Unfortunately, she also gains the attention of the accomplice who intends to silence Sophie once and for all.

Detective Jonah Macon isn't about to let Sophie deal with this on her own. At first, he tries to get her to drop her amateur investigation until her theory begins to make sense. Fueled by his attraction to her, Jonah risks his career to keep her safe and to keep investigating. He wrestles with his feelings for Sophie as more clues unfold, but Sophie is beautiful and determined and amazing and Jonah can only resist the chemistry between them for so long. But will he be able to focus as a professional as the killer hunts Sophie down?

Once again, Ms. Griffin weaves romance and danger perfectly. She's created a couple to root for- a kick-ass heroine, and a tenacious, hot hero. I found myself on the edge of my seat more than once as the danger increased and the twists in the story unfolded. Ms. Griffin also brought in some other previous characters from the Tracers series as well, which felt like catching up with old friends. Jonah and Sophie have quickly become my second favorite couple of Ms. Griffin's. I'm already looking forward to the next book! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Burn, Baby, Burn!

I'm hoping to have a rejection burning party at my brother's house while we celebrate my niece's 10th birthday. I always kept my rejections, printed them out if they were emails, and vowed that once I sold I would burn them all and never save another one again. It will be an amazing feeling to put each one in the fire pit. Of course, I'll count them before I do it so I can have an official account of how many I received before I got my 1st contract. I'll let you know later today! And maybe I'll take some pictures!

LATER: 63 rejections burned, no pics, but I did have a couple of beers to celebrate! The earliest rejection was dated September 1999.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Killer Openings Class Coming Up

January 2012 (4 weeks January 3rd thru 31st)
Killer Openings

Instructor: Alexa Bourne

Many people browse through a bookstore, pull a book off the shelf and read the first page. They decide right then whether or not they'll buy the book. Killer Openings dissects those all-important elements. Students will learn the importance of a good opening and gain a better understanding of what makes a "killer opening." Students will study examples of good and bad openings and discuss why they do or don't work. Students will also submit their own opening lines/paragraphs/pages and receive a critique.

For more information, visit Celtic Hearts.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Paperwork. Lots And Lots Of Paperwork.

In addition to the Pre-edits I told you about on Sunday, I also had a few other documents to work on for the publisher. 1 was an author info form, which is basic stuff of my contact info, my author bio, the book title, word count, etc.

Then there was the blurb/excerpt form, where I share what I think would make a good blurb and a good excerpt for the book. The blurb, I'm told, is the single-most important tool in marketing my book. (Yeah, no pressure there, right???) I was actually quite surprised how quickly and easily (in the grand scheme of things) the blurb was to write.

Then came choosing the excerpt. Ugh. I had a bit of a hard time coming up with this because I tend to focus on the suspense and my 1st choice for an excerpt was a suspense scene. But then I thought I should probably find an excerpt that showcases the chemistry between the hero and the heroine. I think I did a good job choosing. We'll find out.

The other form I had to fill out was a cover form. It was neat because I got to give quite a bit of information, way more than I thought I would. I had to describe the characters, the setting, write whether I wanted people or things on my cover, and add anything other suggestions I wanted to give. I also got to put my blurb on that form so the artist can get the gist of the story. I'm excited to see what they come up with!

Although I enjoyed every aspect of this work so far (except the brief panic I had about technology!), filling out all these forms did take me longer than I first expected. I imagine that's because I wanted to do a great job and I wanted to be proud of what I was sending back to my publisher.

Yes, I'm still smiling when I say my publisher or my editor. I imagine I will be for a while. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011


The contract's been signed and sent back to the publisher. Now the work begins. I started getting a little overwhelmed when I realized all the things I'll actually have to do before (and after) this book hits the cyber shelves. But, as always, I'm taking things one at a time.

Today I decided to do the pre-edits required of me before my editor starts working with me on the content. I can best describe the pre-edits as formatting and simple grammar edits. I had to check the font, the spacing etc, and then I also had to do basic grammar check for typos, consistency, POV, "Show, Don't Tell," and the like.

When I got up this morning, I figured I'd finish my pre-edits today since the grammar edits are basically the things I have to find & correct with my CPs. This afternoon I had trouble with the technical aspect of my pre-edits because I have a desktop with Microsoft Word 2003 and a laptop with 2007. Since I'm such a technophobe, I panicked, asked for help of some techie people and then fumbled my way through.

But the pre-edits took a lot longer than I expected. I just finished. I didn't get done half the things I'd planned for today (or yesterday now).

Tomorrow I'll tackle my "To Be Done" list and then work on the other 3 forms I need to fill out for my publisher. (And yes, a smile still comes over my mouth with those last 2 words!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Yes, it's true! I received a contract for my sexy Scottish romantic suspense novella, Her Highland Champion!! I'm so excited! It will be epublished by Decadent Publishing. Here are the details:

"THE CALL" EMAIL:  I left the house yesterday morning about 6:30 and didn't get home until about 7:30 last night. I still had NaNoWriMo words to finish, I was exhausted, but I decided to check my emails before I jumped in to win NaNo. I saw the email from Decadent Publishing and thought, "Damn, ANOTHER rejection!" I almost didn't open it right then because I wanted to be happy and focus on my NaNo words. But I did open it, read the words "would like to offer a contract" and immediately teared up. My first call was to my mother and then I started emailing and texting other family members and close friends. I almost couldn't focus to finish my NaNo words, but I did. I choked up quite often whenever I got a response from someone or when I thought about my story hitting the cyber shelves. I STILL can't believe it!

THE STORY DETAILS:  Her Highland Champion began over 12 years ago, when I first decided to try my hand at writing a suspense set in my favorite place on the planet, Scotland. The story had so many flaws, but I've always loved the premise and the characters and always figured I'd rewrite it at some point.

My friend Camryn Rhys suggested I submit something to her publisher because they had this new series starting called Honor Guard, with alpha heroes in international settings. Since I'm a traveler and can put local details in my stories, she thought this was perfect for me. So, I took that beloved story, revised it and submitted it. Now my fictional Scottish Highland village has a home!

AND NOW: I had always vowed to blog about every step of the publishing process, from the moment I got THE CALL right through to the book's release (and beyond). So I hope you'll continue to follow my journey and get an inside look at one woman's dream coming true.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm A Winner!

At the weekend I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish on time. I was at 37,834 words on Saturday. But the people around me kept saying, "Oh, you'll do it." For them, for myself, for my characters I did.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Amazing Family

Today as I worked on my Nano words, I found out that my hero DOES have a sister!

See, woman A was going to be the heroine for the oldest brother and I thought woman B was the sister. BUT then woman B made sure to let me know she was NOT the sister. She will be the heroine for one of the other brothers. Great. I loved it and the chemistry I could already feel between that couple made me excited for their eventual story. And so I kept writing and figured woman A would eventually be the heroine for the oldest brother. They've had some interaction, but there's been no chemistry. BUT today, woman A revealed to me that SHE is the sister to this family of 4 brothers.

Clear as mud? No worries! Here's the most important part: I now have my family of 5 siblings and each of them will have their own story. I LOVE each of them and these stories will be explosive!

Now, I'm off to continue my Nano words. I've got tonight and until midnight tomorrow to finish about 4200 words!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Think I Can...I Think I Can.....

For the first time this month I'm thinking I might actually be able to make the 50,000 words needed to be a NaNoWriMo winner! I'm exhausted and I'm bleary-eyed, but I've managed to write 8,681 words in the last 2 days. Send good vibes so I can get my last 5500 words done in the next 2 days!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Catchin' Up

Hello! I spent Thanksgiving with family and no computer so that's why I haven't been updating. Not much to tell you. My move was successful. (I'm updating this blog at my new place.) I'm still behind on my Nano word count, but I have been writing some and I'm DETERMINED to finish the last 10,500 words I have by the November 30th deadline. I wrapped up my latest Killer Openings class before Thanksgiving and got some GREAT compliments from my participants. I'm LOVING my current hero and heroine a bit more each day. I'll keep you updated on my NaNo progress over the next few days! I'm off to keep writing!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Coming Up For Air

I survived the move to my new digs! I've still got a TON of crap to do to make it livable, but that can all wait until after Thanksgiving. I need the next 4 days to relax and do as little as possible! I'm WAAAAAAAY behind on Nano again (about 4000 words), but I am DETERMINED to make it to the end. I'm jotting down a bunch of story ideas before I go to bed so I have somwhere to take the characters (until they take me!). I've got at least 3 hours of writing time tomorrow (and many hours over the holiday weekend) so I plan to use it wisely!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Will Be MIA

Lots going on here! I thought I'd pop in to give you a heads-up. I'm moving this weekend, working hard to keep up with my NaNoWriMo words (I'll be caught up tonight!), finishing up an online class, and prepping for Thanksgiving. So I may not be online much in the next week. Of course, if I have anything major to tell you I'll be here. But other than that I'll catch up to you during the American Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halfway There???

So today is the halfway point of NaNoWriMo 2011. Technically, participants should be at 25,000 words by the end of today. Will I be? No.

At first, this was bothering me because I HATE being behind. I know I'll catch up eventually (as long as my characters work with me) because I've "won" NaNo the 2 times I've done it and I'm NOT about to lose now. But also, I've been thinking about it this way. I'm almost at 21,500 words. By the end of today, I expect to be around 23,000. And you know what? 23,000 words in 15 days isn't too shabby!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Release Day!

Happy Release Day to my friend Jessica Scott! Folks, this woman has worked hard to get here and she's got one great story here! Trust me, I know. I've read it! Congratulations, Jess, and may this be the first of many! Find out more about Jess on her website:!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another Week Begins

I'm now loaded with boxes so I have lots of packing to do this week! I start moving next weekend.

I'm making AWESOME progress on my NaNoWriMo word count and I'm hoping to be caught up sometime this week.

In writing this NaNo novel, I've been learning a lot more about my hero's family. At first, I tried to subdue the others so I could focus on Zack & Jamie, BUT then I realized that each and every scene I write, whether it ends up in this novel or a future one or on the cutting room floor, helps me to get to know my characters better. Today I've been working on scenes where Zack & Jamie go to a Christmas party with all of his brothers and some other friends. Learning how they all interact with each other is a great eye-opening experience and I'm psyched!

Of course, I've also figured out whose story is next. That brother and his heroine already have sparks flying and they've hardly had any scene time in this book! Yikes! Can you say, sizzling??????

Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring Veterans

To all the men and women who serve our country, keep us safe and allow us the freedoms so many of us take for granted: Thank you for your service.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I was so excited about submitting my Scottish suspense novella to the epublisher, I sent the query off with a typo in the very first line.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The First Verdict Is In

Squeeeeee! I got my first comments on my Scottish suspense novella today from my fantabulous beta reader who ALWAYS tells me exactly how it is. Ahem...and I quote:



such a fast read - very very good -I'm breathless

great job
Isn't she GREAT for my ego????? Hopefully the editors will like it as much!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quick Update

The novella is gone. I got the confirmation today that they received it. I should hear a yay or nay between now and December 18th.

I'm WAAAAAAY behind on Nano, BUT I am determined to get busy and kick ass! I'm already falling HARD for my hero, Zack. YUM!

A friend of mine offered to rent out her 2nd floor apartment to me for a bargain price! It could be an answer to my prayers!

Some sickness is trying to subdue me, but I WILL NOT GO QUIETLY!

My Killer Openings class is going GREAT!  I LOVE teaching it!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


The novella has been sent! I just hit the send button on the email for the epublisher!  YAY!  I could've spent another day on the query, but it was good enough (hopefully). I'll get a confirmation email within 24 hours and then I should hear a response within 6 weeks.  I'll keep you updated!

Now it's back to Jamie and Zack and their lives.....

Friday, November 4, 2011

Almost Time To Celebrate!!!!!

I'm pretty much finished with the novella, Her Highland Champion!  I pulled an all-nighter last night and pushed on to the end. I'm thrilled with the way it's shaping up. I've got one snag to still work out sometime tomorrow. Then Sunday I'll reread the entire thing out loud, make any other corrections I want, and then I'll hit the SEND button Sunday night!

Whoohoooooooooo! THEN I'll be able to focus totally on Jamie & Zack. Sigh, I love Zack even when he's acting like a jerk, which is MOST of the time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Progress Report

NaNoWriMo- I've been able to meet the 1667 word count each day so far. Yes, I realize it's only been 3 days, but it's already a struggle for me.(Actually, it's 2 days. I haven't written today's words.) That makes me sad because I was so looking forward to Zack and Jamie's journey. Still, maybe when less crap is going on I'll be able to focus more.

Novella- I do declare to all that read this that the novella will be submitted to the epublisher by the time I go to bed on Sunday night. I didn't have a sub job today (LOOOOOONG story), so I was able to pretty much finish the latest draft. I have a couple of things to still work out (like the crappy 1st chapter & the epilogue I haven't written yet), but there's no reason for this to wait any longer. SUNDAY OR BUST!

Work- I've subbd 3 days this week, have a sub job tomorrow, I worked 7 hours tutoring and I had a 2-hour editing job.

Real World- I had a chat wih my financial adviser today (my logical stepfather) and I now have a plan. I will be moving out of my condo before 2012. I'll be renting out my place and moving into an apartment, which means I'll have even less time than I'd planned for NaNo & other writing activities. At least I'll be forced to toss out a bunch of crap I no longer need rather than haul it off to the shoeboxes of cassette tapes from high school, the birthday cards from my twenties, the tons of books I'll never read again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Let the insanity begin! Have you joined NaNo? Are you psyched? I'm so excited to write my next bounty hunter story, I Dare You. It's about a fun-loving, baby of the family whose choices bring danger to the door of the one serious, shy woman he can't charm into his bed.

If you've taken on the challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November, let me know and I'll put you on my buddy list! Good luck and get busy! For those of you not enjoying the challenge, I'll update you with my progress on here throughout the month.

Veterans' Day

To all the men and women who serve our country, make us safe and allow us the freedoms so many of us take for granted: Thank you for your service.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Epic Fail, Part II

This is me.
The novella is not done.It's close, but there aren't enough hours in the day so it has to wait. Jobs that are paying me money now need to be priority. Maybe I'll get to a little of the novella tonight. Of course, then tomorrow starts the insanity that is NaNoWriMo. I considered not attempting NaNo because I don't feel I'm in the right frame of mind for it, but I REFUSE to let my "real world" infringe on this writing activity that I absolutely love. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Last Draft?

Okay, I'm awake, I've had caffeine and now I'm buckling down to get busy with draft 5 of the novella! I have just over 2 hours to get a huge chunk done before I have errands to do and a movie to see (Moneyball). I debated whether or not to go to the movie at all since the novella is so important, but I think I can do it! If I can get at least 1/2 of the draft done before, I can do the rest tonight.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

And We're Off!

Novella? Check
Coke? Check
Celtic music? Check
Story timeline & miscellaneous notes? Got 'em!

The push for completion, for the chance to type THE END, begins now! I'm going to work for an hour, then get up for 10 mins, work for another hour and then play for 10 mins. Hopefully my muse, my hero and my brain are ready to work together. I'll keep you updated!

2:33 PM:  Making progress! LOVING this story! Just hit 14,000 words.
6:10 PM:  Still at it! Just over 17,000. 
6:34 PM:  Yikes! The hero just called the heroine by the wrong name.  :-O 
8:39 PM:  Just over 18,000! Whoohoo! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.... 
10:54 PM:  I'm over 20,000 and having a blast BUT I'm thinking I might have to have another draft just to make sure it's the best it can be. I'm hoping to finish this draft (4) tonight. 
12:23 AM: DONE! And I've outlined what needs to be done in draft 5 tomorrow when I'm more awake.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Am In Charge!

I had a nice little chat with my hero this morning. I told him that we had to work out the kinks to his story today so that I can finish the novella tomorrow. He was skeptical, but he did listen.

I subbed with a 4th grade class today and when they had independent work, I pulled out my notebook and worked to compromise with my hero. He appreciated that and decided to work with me.

So now I've got next to nothing to do for the rest of today and all of tomorrow. I'm cautiously optimistic that I might actually...sorry, WE (he's very pushy!) might actually get this story done! Wish us all (because we can't forget his heroine) luck!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Grand Morning?

I've got work this afternoon only so I thought I'd get up early and work on the novella and get a HUGE chunk of stuff done on it.


However, the day is not over. I can still salvage a few more hours of work after the day job. Hopefully I can make up for some lost time. Maybe. If I can focus.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Get Out The Dancing Shoes!



Monday, October 24, 2011

My Kilted Man Is Kicking Butt!

So, this guy is definitely the one I keep going back to out of the lot on my previous post. Yum! I picture being between those arms, with my back to the wall and...{{sigh}}}!

Okay, I'll calm myself.

I've been hard at work for 2 solid days (well, in between a few other errands & commitments) and I'm TOTALLY loving this Scottish suspense novella! I'm going to be so bold as to say that I will have draft 3 done by Wed AND I'm aiming to submit it via email on Sunday! 

In revising (rewriting) this story, I'd forgotten how much I miss writing about Scotland, since it is my favorite place in the world. I'm hoping this novella will sell so I'll be able to bring readers more of my contemporary Scottish heroes!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Draft Two Is Done!

Whoohoo! I just finished draft 2 of the sexy Scottish suspense novella! Tomorrow I'll think about starting draft 3. For now, I'm celebrating with these lovely pictures. I hope you enjoy them too!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Goal Met

Some of you have followed me since I chose to leave my teaching job in June 2010. I thought I’d share the revelation I uncovered a few days ago:

Lately, I've had to cancel my cable/internet/phone, my RWA membership, my Scottish Life magazine subscription. Other sacrifices will be coming as well. I can't plan any vacations, not even to see my brother & sister-in-law in Houston. I've searched for a roommate and talked to a realtor about renting out my condo and finding me another place to live.

And you know what?

I'm okay because my reason for quitting was to focus more on my writing. By the end of 2011, I will have written and revised Tell Me No Lies (which was my 2010 Nano book) and it will be ready for submission soon, I've written the rough draft of my 1st Inspirational suspense story, I will write the rough draft of my 2nd bounty hunter story during NaNo 2011, I will have revised and submitted my 1st novella and I will hopefully have written/revised the 2nd novella. 

Are things perfect? Of course not.
But it seems I have reached my goal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't Believe It!

The meter on the right says I'm only at 11% for my Scottish novella. DON'T believe it! I've been slaving away at the story all week so far and have made TREMENDOUS, EXCITING progress. I'll update you and the meter next time I'm on the computer!

UPDATE:  It's halfway through the day and I've updated the meter! Yay, 27%! BUT I'm not done. I've got a couple hours of tutoring work and then I'll be jumping into the story again. I'm hoping to be at 50% of the 2nd draft before I go to bed tonight. I'll let you know!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Scottish Highlands & Sexy Scotsmen!

This past Saturday I finished the rough draft of my contemporary Scottish suspense novella, Her Highland Champion. When I started working on the 2nd draft Sunday, I panicked a little because I thought I started to see that a lot more work needed to be done on it before I could submit it and I was hoping to send it off in about a week.Today I started playing with the scenes that were frustrating me and I FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT! I was trying to keep the events in the order and location that I had them instead of letting the characters guide me through their story. Just because I created these characters well over 10 years ago doesn't mean I know what's best for their new (and better) story. So, I tossed out some more "favorite" scenes, started working with my characters and you know what? It's all flowing again! Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to submit it as planned.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Killer Openings


Registration Deadline: October 31, 2011
Class Start Date: 11/01/11
Class End Date: 11/23/11
Instructor: Alexa Bourne
Fee: $10/HHRW members, $20/others

Class Description:
Many people browse through a book store, pull a book off the shelf and
read the first page. They decide right then, based on the 1st line, 1st
paragraphs and 1st page, whether or not they’ll buy the book. Killer
Openings dissects those all-important elements. Students study good and
bad openings and discuss why they do or don’t work. They also submit
their own opening lines/paragraphs/pages and receive critiques from the

For additional information, contact

Instructor Bio:
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romantic suspense writer by
nights, weekends and all school holidays. When not traveling around the
world or crafting thrilling romantic suspense stories, she spends her
time reading, watching brainless TV and thinking about exercising. She
has a Bachelor’s in English Literature and a Master’s in Education.
She has finaled in or won 21 RWA contests with 7 manuscripts. (Most of
those contests focused on the 1st few pages or the 1st chapter.) To
learn more about her, visit


Sunday, October 16, 2011

You Know You're A Suspense Writer.....

You know you're a suspense writer...

when you walk into a bank, it's deserted and you wonder if everyone is held at gunpoint in the back.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Week Later....

Hi-ho, hi-ho!  I'm still here. I've been visiting with the family, working and....WRITING! I finally cancelled my home phone (got my cell though), cable & internet in the house. Right now I'm using the internet at a friend's house who only lives a few doors down to me. It's been different without all that in the house, but I can't believe how much time I'm saving. I've been able to get back to the business of writing, which is so important if I actually want to sell something! 

I'm so excited about my current story. It's the novella with an American woman and a Scotsman set in modern day Edinburgh and the Highlands. At the moment it's called Her Highland Champion and here's my latest blurb for it:

She needed a hero.
He had no courage to be one.
Can her love renew his confidence and make him her Highland champion?

Yes, I know that blurb isn't the best, but I'll be revising it as I get closer to submitting the story. I'll be sharing more about the story in the next couple of weeks. I expect to finish the rough draft tonight and then have it all ready to be submitted by the end of next weekend!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

Hello! I've had an amazing weekend! My family dinner was fabulous on Friday-good food, good drinks, good company! Everyone sang to me when they brought out a cookie & ice cream for me. Then yesterday was fantabulous! Okay, my Texas Longhorns CLEARLY did not get my memo that I needed them to play well, but other than that it was a good day. I got some gift cards (1 for Barnes & Noble!!!), a beautiful necklace, some money (always helpful, especially since my RWA membership is up for renewal), a happy birthday hat, Bunco game (I've heard it's fun) and some other neat things. Today we had some much needed rain in TX. I had leftover birthday cake & tea for breakfast, lunch with 2 of my brothers, my niece & 1 nephew, then dinner with the British relatives & the parents. Now I'm just reading birthday wishes on Facebook and emails.

If you have a free minute, you could give me a birthday present. The Mills & Boon New Voices Competition ends tomorrow. I'd love some more comments on my entry!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Let The Party Begin!

I worked a 1/2-day sub job today and now I'M FREE TO PARTY!  I've got my family b-day dinner tonight, then a bright and early start to my birthday party day. My Texas Longhorns (okay, they're not mine. I don't own them, but...) are playing the Oklahoma Sooners in the morning and then I've got friends visiting to celebrate with me!  We'll be hanging out, listening to music I've loved over the last 4 decades, looking (and giggling) at pictures of me over the last 4 decades, eating, drinking, swimming and being merry!  Then Sunday, my actual birthday, I'm having a nice breakfast, recovering from Saturday, hanging by the pool, then going out to a favorite spot for drinks at sunset.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Slow & Painful Death

Tell Me No Lies, my entry in the Mills & Boon New Voices Competition is now around 154 out of 624 entries. I've received 1 comment in the last week and a half and that was from my FANTABULOUS CP. I know the ratings don't really make a difference and I still don't have any illusions that I'll make the top 20. I really only entered to get comments & feedback, which I did. I'm thrilled with the reactions I've been getting. I really feel like I'm doing something right!

BUT I'm soooooooo ready for this competition to be over. I spend lots of time tracking comments on all the manuscripts, reading some entries (I'll never get through them all!) and obsessing with my own. Monday, the last day to enter, can't come quick enough. Quite frankly, I need to get back to actually writing my current novella so that it can be done and submitted before NaNoWriMo & my next bounty hunter story!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October So Far...

No writing on the sexy Scottish contemporary, although I think about it quite a bit
Many beers have been consumed...I blame it on the visit from the English relatives who are here to celebrate my birthday.
No word from the Chinese recruiter (about a teaching job in China)
No rejection yet after 14 weeks on my last completed manuscript
I'm back to being a substitute teacher (but so far I'm managing to work only in the "good" school district)
Tomorrow I start training for a new PT job, tutoring with a well-known company
Still in the Mills & Boon Competition, managing to stay within the top 10%-20%, but haven't gotten many more comments since last week. Thank goodness it's now less than a week before it's over!

More later.....

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Yes, it's true! My 40th birthday is this month and I've decided to start celebrating right from Day 1!!!! How am I celebrating? I'm cleaning the house, grocery shopping....WAIT! No, that was last month.

This month I'm working on a brand new series of novellas. I'm hard at work on the 1st one, Her Highland Champion, which is set in modern-day Scotland. The hero is an operative in an international organization and the heroine is being hunted by her ex-fiance.  When she has no one else to turn to, she relies on the hero. Too bad his choices put her in more danger. (For more information about the rest of the series, visit my Manuscripts page on my website!)

Other than that, I have English relatives coming in for 2 weeks to help celebrate my birthday. (Finally figured out where to have my family birthday dinner!) I foresee MUCH celebration in the next couple of weeks!
And now, I'll share with you a picture of me when I was about 4 or 5 from the 1st house I lived in. I LOVE this picture and used it for my party invitations.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Release Day For a Friend!

My good friend, Jane Sevier released her novel Fortune's Fool today! Fortune's Fool was a Golden Heart Finalist. It's available on Kindle. She's got a GORGEOUS cover, a unique setting and a FANTABULOUS story! Go, purchase, read!  Come on, show Jane some love!

Visit her here.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I have completed the rough draft of my manuscript Unbroken!  Whoohoo! Time to celebrate! rest for the wicked! I'm plunging into the revisions for a sexy novella called Treasures, set in modern-day Scotland.  Yes, there's suspense in it, but this time I'll be focusing WAY more on the romance. My goal is to have it ready to submit by the middle of October. MUST get busy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Have An Urge

I have the urge to break something....
 I think I'll go work on a book.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday, Monday

Well, I made it to 9 gym classes last week!

I started cleaning my house.

I wrote just over 4506 words on Unbroken.

I did cut down my time on the New Voices website. I'm still visiting, just not as much. (I'm still doing pretty well too!)

I have not picked up any reading for fun.

I didn't go to any temp agencies by choice. I decided to wait and go this week since this is officially my last week at the law firm.

I've spent some serious time on my writing detour-revising a very old and dearly loved manuscript for a completely new project. (More on it as I work on it.)

I've worked on finding the place for my birthday family dinner-haven't figured it out yet. (Ggggr. Don't ask.)

I entered the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood 1st line contest with 2 1st lines. The 10 finalists will be chosen & posted at 12:01 tonight! (Wish me luck!)

AND for this week I MUST:
Figure out where to have the family dinner!
Finish my rough draft of Unbroken
Visit 2-4 temp agencies
Complete a rough draft of the new novella (writing detour)
Finish cleaning the whole house
Hunt for a job
Hit 9-12 gym classes
Read and comment on at least 1 New Voices entry per day

What about you?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Progress and a Detour

Here it is Wednesday, and I thought I'd update you on my progress this week:

I've been to 5 gym classes since Sunday so far (got 3 tonight!) and spent about 30-45 minutes with a trainer too (one of my prizes from that gym contest in July). Tomorrow's my next weigh in.

I haven't spent much time at all on the New Voices site. I'm not sure if it's because I got my 1st negative comment, I haven't gotten any more comments or because I burned myself out with all the hours I was on it last week. Honestly, I don't think it's the negative comment. I mean, come on. I've been submitting and getting rejections for over 10 years. That 1 comment isn't going to crush me.  Plus, I did manage to get something positive out of the comment so that works for me! If you feel the urge to go read my entry, Tell Me No Lies, and give me some encouragement or constructive criticism, please do so!

I've written over 3000 words on Unbroken. Just under 4000 left to finish the rough draft!

I haven't even picked up John Hart's King of Lies. Sorry, John. It's DEFINITELY NOT you!

Cleaning???? What's that????

DETOUR:   A friend of mine suggested I consider writing a short story (novella????) for her epublisher who is starting a new series of books that will be right up my alley. I'm pretty sure I'm going to revise my very first suspense, set it Scotland, and submit it.  I'm just trying to figure out how to fit it in with my b-day, finishing up Unbroken, taking revision notes on Witness, the job hunt and resting up for NaNoWriMo.

I'll catch you later this week!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Week, New Plan

This week I hope to:

SIGNIFICANTLY cut down the amount of time I spend on the New Voices Contest website

Increase the number of gym classes I attend (Last week I only went to 1.)

Figure out where my birthday family dinner will be

Visit at least 2 temp agencies concerning work after my current job is eliminated (I REALLY don't want to go back to substitute teaching.)

Read at least a chapter a day of John Hart's King of Lies

Read and start to take notes on revisions to an earlier manuscript

Write at least 3,000 words on Unbroken

Clean the house

What about you?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wanna See What They're Saying?

I am spending WAY too much time following the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. I'm obsessed with reading entries, commenting when I can and searching out comments on my own manuscript, Tell Me No Lies. Seriously, it's a HUGE time-suck and I'd forgotten about that.

BUT... who can walk away from comments like these?

1.    I absolutely love the idea of these two working together!  They already make a great pair, and all the little details and actions you've incorporated make them seem that much more real. Looking forward to reading more, I hope, and good luck with the competition!

2.    Really really really good. Made me laugh with the line 'crushing her... assets'. You left the chapter on such a great hook, I definitely want to read chapter 2.

3.    Wow. Wow. My absolute favourite story so far, this really resonated with me. Grady is a brilliantly portrayed hero/bad boy and I adored the last line of his POV: Rock. Hard place. His ass caught in between. Heroine is definitely a perfect match for him. I really hope you make it to the next round as I would love to read more. Well done and good luck!

4.    Pretty sure I'm crushing on Grady lol. As someone else said there are some great asides here, and I'm liking the romantic tension you've already set up. Very easy reading. Good luck with the competition!

This is why I entered last year and entered again this year- for the feedback. To hear your friends and family tell you that you write well is one thing. To hear it from complete strangers is amazing!

Now, seeing how much comments mean to the writers, won't you consider visiting the contest and commenting? I'm not even talking about my entry (although if you want to that's okay with me!), but about the entries of some of the other 143 writers who have entered. Go ahead. You know you wanna.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Voices Competition!

It's that time of year again. Mills & Boon have opened their 2nd annual New Voices Competition! It's where unpublished writers post the 1st chapters of their books and receive comments from anyone and everyone who wants to comment. It doesn't cost anything to enter and registering doesn't take long. They accept entries for a month, people comment and rate entries, and then in October the list gets whittled down to 20 entries that go onto the 2nd round.

I have entered this year in the romantic suspense category with my manuscript, Tell Me No Lies. Feel free to read it, rate it and comment!  I entered last year and had a blast even though I didn't make it to the 2nd round. The comments were helpful and the compliments were amazing! (To have your family and friends tell you they like your writing is one thing, but it's totally humbling when it's complete strangers telling you how much they liked your entry.)

Even if you don't enter, I urge you to go to the website and support other writers. Rate or give constructive criticism. Last year some people had very few comments and sometimes the comments were downright cruel. If you want to read and comment or rate, you will need to register, BUT it takes less than a minute. The website is Make your voice heard! (And if you enter, let me know so I can cheer you on!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jason Bourne!

According to his files in the Bourne Ultimatum, today is Jason Bourne's birthday! Why am I celebrating? Because he is, without a doubt, my favorite fictional character!

There were three movies:
The Bourne Identity, 2002
The Bourne Supremacy, 2004
The Bourne Ultimatum, 2007
Although I love them all, if someone made me choose only one to watch for the rest of my life, I'd have to choose Identity. (I think it's because of the romantic elements in it!)

Now, he was born in 1970 as David Webb, but changed his name when he joined that evil group who convinced him he'd be saving American lives. (We all know he was actually killing for them, sometimes even killing American citizens!) Yes, that's right. My favorite fictional character is an assassin. But what a tortured hero, huh?

To celebrate, I thought I'd share some of my favorite shots of him...

 This one is from The Bourne Identity, when he's escaping from the American Embassy.
This, of course, is him with Marie, after they realize they're wanted and before she finds out he's a killer.
 This the movie poster of the 1st movie.  I would LOVE to have a copy of the original movie poster (or a duplicate...I'm not picky!) to hang in my office someday!

 This is one of my favorite pictures. I have a copy of it posted to the cork board above my computer to inspire me as I write my suspense scenes.

To celebrate, I thought about having a drink, but I think it would be more fitting for me to write a suspense scene in Jason's honor! I'm off to do that now!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Letter To Matt Damon

Dear Matt Damon,

You don't know this, but everyone in my world does: You are, without a doubt, my favorite actor.

I'm sorry I was not able to see your latest movie on opening weekend. I made a deal with myself that as soon as I finished my manuscript revisions I would go see Contagion. I had even saved the money on my gift card specifically for this movie.  I had hoped to see it this past weekend. I made the deal in hopes of motivating myself to get my work done, but sadly it didn't happen.

Please know this is not a reflection on how much I do or don't love you. It turned out my revisions were way more agonizing than I had anticipated. Even now, Monday morning, there are still a few sections that need work.

I thought that maybe I could go see the movie one day this week after work, but even that isn't looking too promising. Not only do I have this manuscript to finish, I have another I also have to prep for submission AND I have a contest to enter tomorrow. (Mills & Boon New Voices contest. Feel free to read and comment on my story starting tomorrow if you'd like! It's called Tell Me No Lies and it'll be in the suspense category.)

Again, I am terribly sorry I wasn't able to see your outstanding performance in Contagion during its opening weekend, but I do promise to see you in action by next week this time. Take care and keep busy making great movies so I can keep seeing you on the big screen.

Love your #1 one fan,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Cannot Forget

I've been deliberately avoiding any of the TV shows focused on the anniversary of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. Honestly, I'm afraid to watch any of the coverage because I know I will be upset. But the men and women who died that day and the men and women who have fought for our freedom and to keep us safe since deserve my attention this day:

On the morning of 9/11, I was in my tiny classroom and only a few weeks into my first year of teaching. As our students were preparing to switch classes, our principal came in and pulled me and two other teachers out into the hallway. He looked distraught and said, "Y'all, the US has been attacked." Even typing this gives me the chills, as I can still hear his voice as clear as if he stood next to me now.

Our school had only about 50 kids and 7 staff members at the time. We were a family. None of us wanted to be inside a building and none of us wanted to work. Our secretary fielded phone calls like a seasoned pro. We teachers took all the kids outside to play while we tried to decide what to do with the kids and how much to tell them. We were all on cell phones calling our own families and telling them we loved them. I borrowed the 1st grade teacher's phone to call my mother who, at the time, worked in Massachusetts. While I was on the phone with her, my brother called her on another line.

As a staff, we decided to sit the kids down (the 2nd through 6th graders) and explain what had happened in simple terms. And then we went back to work, to make it feel like a regular day to children who were already spooked.

As a country I know we are not perfect. We are not always fair. We are not always kind. But that morning and for several days after we joined forces to help each other and to show the world that the senseless act of terrorism would not break us.

And on this day, 10 years later, I will say an extra prayer or two for those who suffered that day and in the days since in the struggle to keep our country safe. We are the United States of America, the land of the free, the home of the brave.

God Bless America