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

Friday, September 9, 2011

Books To Be Bought

For every holiday, I usually get a gift card for Barnes & Noble or Amazon. (What can I say? Everyone seems to know what I like!) So, today, instead of doing revisions, I've picked out a few books I might get with my new gift card I hope to get for my birthday in just over a month (you know, the big 4-0!):

These 2  are possible buys. They sound interesting.

These 2 are definites since Cat is my friend and conference roomie...
 And Laura is my favorite suspense author!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lies, Matt Damon And The Deal With Myself

One of my FANTABULOUS CPs gave me back chapters 1-5 of Tell Me No Lies quite a while ago. I am still working on her suggestions and my own tweaks. I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE already because the necessary changes aren't earth-shatteringly difficult.


If you've been following me for any amount of time you know that my favorite actor is Matt Damon. Tomorrow the latest movie with him, Contagion, comes out. I have money left on a gift card from a generous friend for the theater. I specifically held onto this card so I could see this movie on its opening weekend.


I made a deal with myself that I will not go see the movie until my revisions for chapters 1-5 are completed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Stuff

Well, my part time job will be ending between now and the end of the month. While I'm sad about that, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work there for as long as I have. I'm already scheduled to be a substitute teacher so I can go back to doing that, but of course I'd rather get out of it. I'm spending more time each day now looking for a job when I really wish I could be spending that time on my writing.

Tomorrow marks 10 weeks since I sent my requested manuscript to the editor. I'm really trying not to think about it. Heaven knows I've got enough to think about!

I did manage to get my butt in gear and start back on the revisions (from 1 of my CPs) for Tell Me No Lies. I swear the revisions (so far- in the 1st 5 chapters) aren't earth-shatteringly difficult so I really should be done with them soon. But I REALLY, REALLY want to be done with it all by October so I can focus on the current works in progress. (Of course, if an agent or editor has some other plan in mind for me, that would totally be okay!).

Speaking of an agent, I submitted a query to an agent after she requested them on Twitter. The response time is 2-4 weeks. It's only been 1. I don't spend a lot of time searching for agents because technically I don't need one to submit and sell to Harlequin, but since this woman requested them and I like her, I thought, "Why not?" Plus, I plan to make writing my career and it will be wonderful to have someone else to discuss that with.

I'm now reading The King of Lies by John Hart. I LOVE this guy's writing! I have only read 1 of his books so far, but I have 3 of his 4 (the newest just came out in hardback). I bought the first one I read, Down River, on a whim with a gift card. I actually kept looking at it, putting it back on the shelf, looking at it, putting it back. I went to shop in the romance section and all I could think about was this book so I went back and got it.

Oooh! I almost forgot! Next Tuesday is the start of the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest! I can't wait! I'm sure I'll blog about that in the next couple of days too so stay tuned....

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Did you do any labor today?

I went to the gym, watered plants, finished Jill Shalvis's Simply Irresistible (loved it, as I love all of her books!), and picked out another book to start tonight after dinner and before the Season Finale of The Glades.

Writing work? There's always tomorrow....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Writer Contests

Mills & Boon is having their New Voices Contest starting 9/13. For more details, visit

Ruby Slippered Sisterhood is also having a contest on their blog toward the end of the month. For more details, visit

I'm entering both. How about you?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy September!

September 13th is the birthday of my favorite fictional character, Jason Bourne! I'm thinking I might celebrate somehow. I'll keep you updated. (He'd be 41, by the way.)

RWA National has elections. I take my time and read through all the information for the candidates. I don't make it a popularity contest. A fellow Celtic Heart, Kerri Nelson, is up for Chapter Liaison. Consider voting for her if you think she sounds like the right candidate!

I'm 5 weeks into a part-time receptionist job, which has relieved some of my financial difficulties and has allowed me time to work on my books. I'm now going to start looking again for another part-time job or a completely different full-time job. If I can avoid going back to substitute teaching, I'd be so much happier.

9 weeks since I submitted my full manuscript that was requested. I know the publishing world is traditionally slow, but it doesn't make the waiting any easier. I'm about ready to start pulling out my strand at a time. To keep myself from doing that I'll be hard at work on revisions this month for 2 different manuscripts.

10 weeks into my diet and I'm down exactly 15lbs. I'm still hitting the gym several times a week (between 9 &13 classes a week). The big motivation to keep going is how much better I feel, how my clothes are too big and how much my physical appearance has changed, at least to me.

My twitter fascination hasn't become an obsession yet. It's been interesting, though, because I'm following several editors and agents. It's neat to see a bit into their lives and personalities. I'm sure I'll add more to my current list of 10. I'm @AlexaBourne if you want to follow me!

Plans are coming along for my 40th birthday party in October. I'll keep you updated!

September is also the start of the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest! This is the 2nd year for the contest. I'll be entering again, this time with a romantic suspense manuscript. To find out more about the contest, visit the New Voices website. Basically people post their 1st chapters and anyone who wants to can comment. I'll be blogging about my experience, no doubt!