on the grind

Great advice: PitchWars and Walking Away #amreading

Friends, check out this post from author Michael Mammay below. I found it to be really insightful on how to walk away from a 1st MS and when you know. Considering I just did the same thing with mine (walk away for about a year and a half, then jumped in and TORE. IT. APART.) I thought I would share. Great advice!


I put out a call for Pitch Wars questions tonight. In this post, I’ll answer some of them. These are off the top of my head answers, not at all researched, and not at all definitive. In almos…

Source: Answer to Random PW Questions

on the grind

Pitch Wars Mentor Pintip Dunn! — Brenda Drake #amreading

Pintip Dunn Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule:…

via Pitch Wars Mentor Book Spotlight with Pintip Dunn! — Brenda Drake

I was moseying along my WordPress reader list and saw this great post on Pintip Dunn, a Pitch Wars mentor. Not only does her book sound great but she’s got a legal background (like me) – gotta support that! Adding her to my #amreading list now!

on the grind

Synopsis haalp! #amwriting #blog

Synopses are the bane of my writerly existence. I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns and several other trite phrases. However!


Recently, I came across a BRILLIANT method that boils it down to a few simple steps.

  1. Choose the main plot points of your story, let’s say 6-8. (I chose 7 because I have an *spoiler alert* epilogue)
  2. Flesh out each point to a paragraph-size (3-5 sentences).
  3. Adjust paragraph length accordingly until you have about a full page.

Boom! One-page synopsis DONE!!


4. Continue fleshing out each paragraph until you have a two-paged synopsis (save as) then a three-paged synopsis (save as, again).

It’s way easier to expand upon these initial 6-8 plot points than it is to reduce from 5-pages of stream-of-consciousness summarizing. Hopefully this helps you writers out there as much as it did me! While I’m still in the process of polishing mine (did I mention I despise synopses?) I feel so much better knowing I have a system prepped and ready.


In between books, on the grind

Today I Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything #BrunoMars #amwriting

Since finishing final draft edits and sending off my precious MS to beta readers, I do not feel like doing a damned thing. Except for binge-watch movies and binge-read the stack of books by my bed.

And you know what?


Giving myself permission to completely re-charge has energized me in ways I haven’t felt since beginning edits back in April. I go on walks, I read, I tweet, I happy hour, I lunch date, and I don’t obsess over revisions. Really! I’ve had pretty much an amazing week, even receiving some encouraging #amwriting news, and it’s all thanks to taking a step back.

Granted I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that unless I had totally exhausted my reserves from the last time chillin-out-max-n-relaxin-all-cool period but this feels warranted as a result.

So go ahead creative person you! Take a load off. Buy some stinky cheese and re-charge. You’ll thank me for it.



on the grind

Winner of Pg70Pit! #amwriting #amquerying

Despite going camping the weekend of the submission window and having to stand on one foot while balancing a s’mores wire hanger to get reception, I managed to enter #pg70pit, the Twitter contest focused on voice.

AND WON! My entry under code name, I Know Right Where I Went Wrong, can be read here by inquiring minds, agents, and curious onlookers: Click me!


The contest is unique in that entries are judged on their 70th page only, on the theory that the plot should be well underway by page 70 and the voice well established. The genius behind the contest is detailed here: contest deets

Out of 140 Adult entries, my Romance Thriller was chosen among the top 14! The manuscript, titled Postcards of Ruin, is currently seeking representation and definitely seeking agent requests.

If you have any comments on my 70th page, feel free to post below. Thanks for reading!

on the grind

Hello, it’s been awhile #writerlife

Hey there! It’s been about two months since my last post and that’s because I’ve been revising like crazy and diving into the world of PDX AT THE SAME TIME.



I know. It’s been peanuts. But so much good has come from this busy period, namely a shiny new manuscript! Lots of love and creativity has gone into this latest version and I’m hoping it pays off vis a vis beta reader reviews shortly.

Meanwhile, I am acquiring all kinds of Portland knowledge. Namely places to eat, drink, and visit as this city offers an amazing variety of activity. You want museums? Check! Dozens of breweries? Double check! Foodie-level delicious eats? Checkcheckcheck! It’s been a blast and I have absolutely been balancing work and play. My favorites so far are Mediterranean Exploration Company and Fat Heads Brewery. Om nom nom.

Now, turning my sights back on publication – it’s time to find out if the masses agree my work ethic has been balanced….

on the grind

A month of crazy #CampNaNoWriMo #winning #Maythe4thBeWithYou


Boom baby! I went nuts and joined Camp NaNoWriMo a week late of the month-long contest. Despite that fact, I managed to knock out 50,000 words in three weeks. Granted, about 15% of that was edited work from my first draft, but that’s a LOT of sleepless nights.

Point blank, I took a hard look at my first shelved manuscript and pinpointed the ways it needed improvement. Namely, the stakes. A suspense (of any kind, even a romantic suspense like my first MS) needs identifiable, HUGE, jaw-dropping stakes to keep the reader and characters going.


Okay, not necessarily jaw-dropping – but compelling! As compelling as possible while being plausible and consistent.

The month of April later, I took a breather and realized the stakes needed revising AGAIN.


I’m thankful I caught this issue while I was only 2/3 of the way finished but more revisions of my freshly edited MS are a major bummer. I was so looking forward to having nights after my day job devoted only to wine, making dinner, and Game of Thrones once more.

Le sigh. Updates and funny, frustrated GIFs to come!

May the 4th be with you.



on the grind

My WOW! Women on Writing interview #flashfiction #amwriting

After placing 4th out of 250 entries in last Fall’s flash fiction contest, here is the published interview!

Thank you to the team at Wow! Women on Writing for including “The Bataclan” as a top pick and to agent Marie Lamba for choosing it as her #4.

To everyone else, please take a read and feel free to leave comments below. Now I’m off to celebrate with edits and cookies. Happy Tuesday to all!!


on the grind

GUSH / Your next Good Read #amreading #goodreads #CPlove #romance #Swoon

It’s here! The cover reveal of my friend Sophie Lira’s debut novel, Safe With You!!


All of the important info is below, including this awesome book giveaway:

But the real stuff, the best stuff, is finally being able to gush how much I love this book and telling everyone I know to pre-order it for $2.99 now.
Ever since I read the first chapter I’ve been head over heels in love with the male main character Kyle’s strength and hilarious dude conversations with his best friend, Cam. Olivia as the female main character draws you in immediately with her vulnerability and the way she crawls out of the black hole that everyone has occupied at one time or another – not to mention her dynamic with her amazing bff, Natasha! This book has had me guffawing out loud and also in tears. Do not wait! Pre-order now for a slice of New Orleans and an incredible love story!
Safe With You by Sophie Lira
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

O​livia Simon is starting over in the Big Easy. Her new job as a yoga instructor means she gets to pursue her passion, while giving her the motivation she needs to get back on track. But she’s scared. Really scared. Scared her abusive ex-boyfriend will find her. Scared of all things that go bump in the night… and day.  She knows her ex will have a claim on her future happiness unless she can find her own peace. Which starts with Kyle.

Kyle Avery, a former college baseball player on the brink of going pro, is also starting over. His dream since Little League was shattered when a jealous rival went too far in a pre-season game. After a few surgeries, all Kyle is left with are a few rods in his leg, a rebuilt knee, and no idea who he is without baseball. But when he trades center field for a yoga mat, he finds solace in a way he never imagined. Kyle knows there’s something about Olivia. Something he needs to move forward.

But Olivia loves to run, and it’s too soon for her to be playing house. Olivia and Kyle want to invest in each other, but the secrets they’ve kept take a dangerous turn when Olivia’s past returns with a vengeance. Devastated and helpless, Olivia wonders who she can really trust, and Kyle questions if he was ever able to keep her safe

(Amazon listed the book cover early, however it has not been advertised or posted anywhere else)
Sophie is represented by Julia Weber & will be publishing her first novel, SAFE WITH YOU, on 04/26/2016, by Swoon Romance