A Word of Advice #MFRW

Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • Free e-book for Red Wine & Roses, contemporary romance
  • Swag bag
  • e-book of What We’ve Unlearned: English Class Goes Punk (The Writerpunk Project Book 4)
  • e-book of Holiday Fling, contemporary romance

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

So, even though this isn’t a flash feature,  any comments will still count towards the prizes.

MFRW blog hop week 51 – Advice for new authors. Just one more week to go!

What advice would you give newbies? What advice do you wish that others would have given you when you were a newbie?

Those are the two main questions that I ‘ve been contemplating for this post.  I have to admit, it took a bit of contemplating to decide which tidbits to share. A couple of pots of coffee, a few oatmeal cookies – sugar-free of course, to dunk in my coffee, and my trusty notepad to jot down what came to my mind.

These are the three bits of advice that I wish someone would have shared with me. I hope it helps you if you are an aspiring author.

  1. Decide what you want to write. What genre do you feel comfortable with? What length of work do you feel comfortable with?

There are other options for a writer besides book-length novels. When I first began writing,  I wrote articles for magazines, and for a column in our local paper. The short 1000 word articles rolled off my fingers with minimal effort. But, my dream was to be a published author like my idol Katie McAlister. It is difficult to make myself focus on longer length works,  but oh so satisfying to hit ‘the end’.

2. Schedule time for your writing. Make it a priority. If you write whenever you have time,  you’ll find everything in the world crowding out your writing time. Make an appointment with yourself and KEEP IT! Just as if it were a doctor’s appointment. IF this is what you really want, then make your goals a priority!

3. Stick to one project at a time! (Best advice I ever got from my friend Vicki Locey! Thank you, Vicki!) I’m the world’s worst at having too many irons in the fire, with multiple books in the works. It wasn’t until I made myself focus on one project and stick with it to completion that I got my books published. Notice,  that completed does not mean published. I have five books that are completed but need revisions and editing before they are publishable.  It’s ok to jot down ideas for new stories while you work on your current WIP. FOCUS is a key factor to success as an author. I have to admit my ADD tendencies fight me on this point. I made myself a system of rewards for tackling the current WIP first, before anything else. For instance, when I have my writing time, lately has been in the afternoons because of doctor appointments, I set my timer, and write until the timer goes off. Now I may get up and get a cup of coffee or cocoa,  or run to the bathroom, but during that time I write. Most days I manage about 1200 words. Then I reward myself. Maybe it’s coloring in my planner, it’s one of those adult coloring book planners. Maybe I play a game for a bit or jot down notes for another story. If time allows or if I am really in the zone, I may work on writing for a longer period of time.

If you can master those three things, you are well on your way to success!

You can read other participating authors HERE.

Write on my friends, write on!


NaNoWriMo Prep – The Countdown is On!

It’s Thursday, that means that my post on Eclectic Bard Books is up here.  Go have a gander after reading this post.

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. For those new to it,  it stands for National Novel Writing Month, aka  November, aka 30 days of literary abandon where you write a 50000 word novel in  month.  That  boils down to an average of 1667 words per day, every day, for 30 days. 

This will be my 5th year for doing NANO.  I’ve won some,  and lost some.  But really,  any words down are a win right?  I may not have won the NANO title,  but I won in making my writing a priority.  I won in practicing my craft.  I won in connecting with an amazing group of authors! Speaking of, . . .  a friend of mine posted something in the Nano group online and I asked her if she would mind sharing it with my readers. 

Sharing her words of wisdom,  Lazette Gifford  speaks from the voice of experience.  I shared with you last year  for Nano prep her advice on outlining.  I have been following her plan and it makes the writing so much simpler,  so there isn’t a lot of time spent staring at the screen wondering what next.  You can review that HERE on last year’s post – Tic-Toc nano o’clock.  


Let’s talk a little about doing NaNo the original way.

Back when NaNo started, the goal was to prepare everything (if you prepared at all) and begin on November 1.  A lot of people don’t see the sense in waiting when they get excited about their story and they leap in early.  That’s fine if that’s what you want to do, but I have to tell you . . . you’re missing out on some of the fun.

If you wait, there is an entirely different feel to NaNo.  No matter where you are in the world, as the clock ticks closer to 12:00 AM November 1, there are people sitting, just like you, watching the time inch closer to the start of NaNo.  The feeling of thousands of people preparing to write their first word just as you are preparing is something you will not get anywhere else.  There is no other intellectual challenge in the world like NaNo, and waiting with all the others for that moment when we all reach the GO GO GO stage is incredibly fun.  There are chat rooms all over the internet where you can sit in with others as they get going.   And even if you can’t start at midnight, you will find others who are joining in about the same time as you and rushing to get their 1667 words for the day (or more if that’s what you enjoy).

Over in Forward Motion we have a NaNo Chatroom where people gather, especially as the first hour nears.  This is usually fun for the US group.  The East Coast starts, Central joins in, Mountain a bit later, the West Coast — and finally even Hawaii if we have anyone that year.  Many of us stay as long as we can to see at least the group after us get going.  We come back often over the next month to continue to cheer each other on.

Zaphod -

Zaphod – one of Lazette’s furbaby.

The final word count for November isn’t as important as two other aspects.  First is to have fun.  NaNo is not anything to get upset about if you don’t do well. Second is to learn something about you and writing.  That might be that you don’t like the way you approach writing for NaNo and never want to do it again. That’s all right- NaNo is not for everyone and it certainly isn’t required for you to become a published author.

You might find out that you need at least a little plan to stay on target.  This is really helpful if you intend to submit to a traditional publisher.  If they like your work, chances are very good that they’ll want something more and you will be on a deadline to complete the work.  Learning to work to a deadline before one is forced on you will do wonders for your career.

I’m preparing for the November 1 starting line.  I might not be there at midnight, but I will still enjoy the feeling of joining all the others in that month-long intellectual sprint of writing madness.

So whatever you do, be sure you enjoy taking part!


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Lazette Gifford is a prolific author, photographer, and sometimes cover artist who lives in the wilds of Nebraska with her husband, several cats and a small but entirely useless dog.  She writes every day and has done so for decades, and soon will be working on her 100th novel.

After several years in the small press publishing world, Zette has moved to the exciting life of an Indie published author, with several novels and short stories released and often well-reviewed.  You can find links to her work on her personal website at: http://lazette.net

A collection of novels written during NaNoWriMo can be found here:


I”m excited  to do NaNo again, there is just something about the atmosphere . . . and the volume of words on virtual paper whether I reach 50000 or not.  

Remember,  go read Eclectic Bard Books HERE.

Write on my friends,  write on!



Interview With Lorraine Nelson

Today is the first in a series of author interviews for my Wonderful Women Wednesdays!  I will be interviewing published and aspiring authors, getting their take on the current market,  what they’ve done to achieve their success, and what advice they would give aspiring authors.

Lorraine Nelson has agreed to be my first guest!

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am mother to three wonderful sons, grandmother to four grandsons and two granddaughters. I enjoy reading, writing, baking, gardening, and spending time with my family.
2. What genre do you write?

I write mostly contemporary romantic suspense.
3. How did you get started?

I’ve always enjoyed writing and used to write mainly poetry and children’s stories. In 2008 I developed a bone infection in my thumb. It was amputated in October that year. In an effort to get the hand functioning again, I started typing. I soon got bored with typing tests and such. I’d always planned to write a romance one day, so when the germ of an idea invaded my mind, I started writing and have never looked back.
4. Describe your writing routine.

Routine? I’m supposed to have a routine? LOL

I write whenever I can. I have a home office with a desktop PC where I do most of my writing and Promo. If I’m out, I usually have pen and paper handy. I hate laptops, but I’m thinking I may have to get one.
5. How do you manage writing with the rest of your life as wife, mother, grandmother, employee and/or any other hats you wear?

Sometimes that can be really difficult. My son moved back home last year, complete with girlfriend, baby girl and German Shepherd. Quiet time now is usually after nine PM and I sometimes write into the wee hours of the morning. I’m on medical leave from my day job, so my time’s my own, but family takes priority.  I often play chauffeur for my 82 year old mother and her 84 year old sister. Life never gets dull.
6. How long did it take you to have your first book published?

I started writing for adults in February, 2009. My first book, Zakia and the Cowboy, was released in October, 2011. Although my English and comprehensive skills have always been excellent, I had a lot to learn. It’s been a busy few years, but I’m loving it.
7. What method did you choose and why?

Like every aspiring romance writer, I aimed for Harlequin. I entered pitches and contests, won a couple, but publication still evaded me. I had so many stories written by then, that I decided to shop them around elsewhere. In my opinion, print books will never die, but ebooks are selling strong right now. Evernight is a great publisher to work with. Very efficient. To expand my reader base, I now have contracts with Breathless Press and Ruby Lioness Press.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I think Michelle Styles, who writes for Harlequin Historicals, says it best:

“It takes desire, determination, dedication, discipline and perseverance.”

Might I also add patience and a thick skin? You also need a good critique partner or partners, someone who will give you an honest critique of your writing, whether you’re ready to hear it or not.

And be ready to promote. Build you fan base now to help reduce stress later.

9. Who are your favorite authors?

I love Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins-Clark, John Grisham, and James Patterson, just to name a few.
10. Here’s a sampling of Lorraine’s work.

Available from Evernight Publishing:


Zakia and the Cowboy, Book 1 in my Thunder Creek Ranch series,

available in ebook form from online retailers, and now available in print. https://www.createspace.com/3831841

Covert Mission: Undercover Cop, Book 2, Thunder Creek Ranch series

Trouble Brewing in Thunder Creek, Book 3, Thunder Creek Ranch series

A Cowgirl’s Pride, Book 4, Thunder Creek Ranch series

Hawk’s Woman, a western historical short, is my contribution to Evernight’s Virgins Behaving Badly anthology.

Book 5 in my series with Evernight, Cameron’s Quest, is in the works. Cameron Manning is part owner of the Thunder Creek Ranch and has returned from his travels abroad. His is a story that includes family secrets, lost love, and murder.

Books 6-10 are hazy, but a distinct possibility.

And then there’s the possibility of: Thunder Creek: The Next Generation.

As long as the characters keep talking and my readers keep wanting more, I’ll keep writing. There is definitely a world of possibilities in Thunder Creek.

I have two self-pubbed Christmas Titles on Amazon:

His Christmas Wish: http://www.amazon.com/His-Christmas-Wish-ebook/dp/B005V0T88O/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1337969623&sr=1-7

Mistletoe & Mr. Hoe: http://www.amazon.com/Mistletoe-Mr-Hoe-ebook/dp/B00687HWUK/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1337969623&sr=1-6

Coming soon from Breathless Press:


Her Unlikely Bodyguard, releasing June 15th.

Blessed Homecoming, releasing July 13th.

Love on the Rocks, releasing August 10th.

Finding Baby J, September 7th.

Coming soon from Ruby Lioness Press:



 Bad Boy Blake, releasing November 2nd

Benjamin, The Hudson Brothers, Book 1, part of the Clearwater, WY, series

Gabriel, The Hudson Brothers, Book 2, part of the Clearwater, WY, series

Nathan, The Hudson Brothers, Book 3, part of the Clearwater, WY, series

No release date as yet for the Hudsons.

Blurbs and excerpts can be found on Lorraine’s website, listed below.

Lorraine loves to hear from readers. You can keep up with her releases by visiting the following locations:

Website – http://lorrainenelson.weebly.com

Blog – http://lorrainenelson.wordpress.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LorraineNelson.Author

Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/lornelca

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lorraine-Nelson/e/B005XMAYFQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Or email your comments to: lorrainenelson_author@hotmail.com

Do you have any questions you’d like to ask Lorraine?

Thank you Lorraine for being my first guest in my women writer series!

NOW,  get out of the house and go have some fun people!  Write on my friends, write on!