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Reasons Five, Four, Three, Two, & One You Should go to 10MinCon

I owe you reasons…

In review:

Reason TEN – real snacks

Reason NINE – Focusing on one WIP (work in progress)

Reason EIGHT – Being immersed in writing

Reason SEVEN – meeting Katharine Grubb, the one who started the group 10MinuteNovelist.

Reason SIX – James Scott Bell

Reason FIVE you should go to 10MinCon – Janice Hardy. She will be speaking on PLANNING YOUR NOVEL IN TEN EASY STEPS. Who wouldn’t want 10 surefire steps to planning a bestseller? This alone is a VERY GOOD REASON.

Reason FOUR you should go to 10MinCon – Spending three sessions hearing Donald Maass talk about FIRE IN FICTION. Discussing how to make a book great, he will lead a workshop, an intensive, hands-on workshop for advanced fiction writers.

Reason THREE you should go to 10MinCon – Get to hear from professional editors, Sarah Wright and Rachelle M. N. Shaw, about how we can make those first pages stand out.

Reason TWO you should go to 10MinCon – Get to meet other writers and build those connections. Writing can be lonely. Come make friends.

And … drumroll …

Reason number ONE you should go to 10MinCon – I’ll be there.

You should come.

Here’s where you can find the info: http://www.10MinCon.com

10MinCon – Reason SIX you should go

It’s Tuesday. You know what that means? Tomorrow is Wednesday, AND it’s time for Reason SIX.

Just to sum up:

Reason TEN – real snacks

Reason NINE – Focusing on one WIP (work in progress)

Reason EIGHT – Being immersed in writing

Reason SEVEN – meeting Katharine Grubb, the one who started the group 10MinuteNovelist.

 

And the reason you’ve been waiting for since last night …

Reason SIX you should go to 10MinCon … Getting to hear from James Scott Bell. James will be giving the keynote address on Thursday, August 9. Here’s a blog post that talks more about Mr. Bell.

Tick tock! July 15th is the deadline to register. Check out 10MinCon for more info!

10MinCon – Reason SEVEN you should go

I know y’all have just been holding your breath, waiting for the next reason. Just to add a bit more anticipation, let’s recap.

Reason TEN – real snacks

Reason NINE – Focusing on one WIP (work in progress)

Reason EIGHT – Being immersed in writing

Reason SEVEN you should go to 10MinCon – You’ll get to meet Katharine Grubb, the one who started the group 10MinuteNovelist. (A side note: If you enjoy romance novels, I highly recommend her book, Falling For Your Madness. It’s quirky & fun and in my list of favorites.)

Tempting, isn’t it? The deadline is approaching! Check out 10MinCon for more info!

 

10MinCon – Reasons EIGHT & NINE you should go

Somehow Saturday swallowed time. So, today. I’m giving you TWO reasons to go to 10MinCon.

Reason TEN was the snack table (and other fun eating and drinking opportunities), but today I’m turning my attention away from food.

Reason NINE – Focusing on one WIP for a weekend. If you are like me (and thankfully, not everyone is) you have multiple stories playing in your head and multiple WIPs. One thing I’m looking forward to about the conference is choosing only one WIP as the focus that weekend. While the skills I learned will permeate all my writing, I’m excited to give one WIP undivided attention.

And that leads me to Reason EIGHT – Being immersed in writing. I’m looking forward to being around writers, talking about writing, and learning to make my writing better. Writing can be solitary; this is the opportunity to make connections within that community. If you are more of an introvert and the idea of talking to people face to face makes your palms sweat, have no fear. You can hang around and just listen to other conversations or come find me.

Convinced yet? Come back tomorrow to read about Reason SEVEN.

10MinCon – Reason Ten you should go

How long have you been writing? Is it a hobby? A part-time job? A full-time job? A dream? Do you want more from your writing? What is your goal for the year?

Imagine three days immersed in the writing community—three days set aside for improving your craft, building community, making connections. Sound interesting?

For the next ten days, leading up to the registration deadline [JULY 15], I’ll be spotlighting reasons to attend the first-ever 10MinCon. (Disclaimer: Reasons are not necessarily in order of importance.)

Reason TEN –

A real snack table! For one weekend, we can skip over the virtual food and partake of tangible snacks, boxed lunches, free made-to-order breakfast (if you are staying at the Embassy Suites), and maybe even adult beverages during Happy Hour.

What snacks will you bring?

Check back tomorrow for another reason to come to 10MinCon. If you have any questions, click the link or shoot me a message.

 

Making Your Own Sunshine

Saturday morning, the sky was gray. It was too warm for November, and misty rain hung in the air, frizzing hair and adding a heaviness to the already gloomy day.

Once I wrangled myself out of bed, I texted a friend. We met up and spent the day shopping. We started at the Boerne Homemade Market, and she showed some great places in Boerne: Vintage on Main, Cielo, and The Dienger.

In one of the shops was a small bag that said “Sometimes you have to make your own sunshine.” I think that perfectly summed up the day.

I bought a few things. The star looks great above my fireplace, and that framed tin will be a fun addition to my craft room.

By the afternoon, we saw glimpses of the sun, and the rain moved on. That night, my sweetheart and I went dancing. It was an all-around great day.

Y’all, there is so much to be said for making your own sunshine. Grab a friend and find a place you love. San Antonio is full of wonderful spaces to enjoy. Or, if your friend is busy, grab a book. I can give you a few suggestions.

Fiction Friday – Mismatched

 

A short unbelievable tale.


Emotions swirled as Kent peeked over a newspaper, waiting for his twin brother, Brent, to pop the question. Kent had bought the ring and convinced his brother to woo Miranda—the love of Kent’s life.
Brent reached across the table and clasped Miranda’s hand.
The sensation of touch–and all the emotion it brought with it–flooded over Kent.
Her brow pinched, and she straightened her shoulders as Brent slipped his hand in his jacket pocket while making declarations of love. Tiny frowns dangled at the edges of her smile. Her unhappiness stung.
Kent grabbed his phone, awash in guilt for his selfishness. He tapped out a quick text to her: I think about you all the time. Will you give me another chance?
She let go of Brent’s hand, looking at her phone. Her fingers danced on the screen.
Kent held his breath.
Her reply stunned him: I love you, Kent. Always.
He slipped out of the restaurant as Brent flagged down the waiter, giving them time unobserved to break off the relationship.
A block away, Kent ducked into the alley as Miranda hugged Brent. Kent felt it, but only for an instant.
His back pressed against a building, eyes closed, he savored the lingering sensation, the last moment of feeling her arms around him.  He loved her but only felt her when she touched his twin brother.
Love meant sacrifice. Kent exchanged the feel of her for the look of love in her eyes. Being with her, making her happy, erasing the frown became his singular focus. He stayed where he was for several minutes, then felt lips pressed against his. Confusion mixed with jealousy. Why was she kissing Brent again?
Kent opened his eyes, Miranda smiled at him, her lips hovering over his.
“I can feel you.” His chest pounded.
Her eyes widened. “What?”
He’d never told her the truth. “I put Brent up to it.”
“Did you? There was always a magic, a spark in his touch until our goodbye. When I hugged him, I felt it disappear.”
“I love you, Miranda. Being with you, making you happy is what’s most important to me.”
She tangled her fingers with his, and he stared at their joined hands.
“I couldn’t feel you before. Only when you touched Brent.”
“I know. I’ve known all along.”
“What changed?” He brushed his lips against hers. “Why can I feel you now?”
“I guess sacrifice, selflessness broke the spell.”
Brent shook his head as he walked up to them.
“I’m sorry.” Kent winced.
“I’ll get over it.” Brent turned to Miranda. “I thought you hated peppermint.”
“Can’t stand the stuff. My twin sister ate it non-stop. I don’t even like the smell. Why?”
“You smelled like peppermint when you hugged me. Please tell me she’s not married.”
“She’s not.”
“I think we’re destined to meet.” Brent winked.
“Please tell me you only have one sister.” Kent pulled Miranda closer.
“And three brothers, triplets, but they’re married.”
They all shuddered and laughed.

Fiction Friday – The Attic

 

This is one I wrote it for a 1000-word challenge. The prompt was to write a story using 1000 words or less that was an unbelievable tale.


 

Coffee in hand and a half-eaten bear claw on a plate, Gavin paged through the paper, scanning the classifieds. When calls for work evaporated, he resorted to answering ads. He set down his mug as he read the request printed halfway down the third column.

Wanted: A man to help an old woman clean out her attic. Must be single, hardworking, and ready for adventure. Rewards will be great. 555-0123

He chuckled and picked up his phone. Cleaning an attic, he could do, and the lady that posted the ad sounded like a hoot. “Hello. I’m calling about the ad in the paper. You need help with your attic?”

“Ad? Oh my! Has it been sixty-five years already?” Her voice sounded dream-like. “1515 Story Lane. But I won’t know if you are right for the job until I meet you.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll be there in a half-hour.” He ended the call, shaking his head. What criteria did she have for cleaning out an attic? Sixty-five years? What was that about? He finished off his pastry and downed the rest of his coffee. As he darted past the display case in front, the fruit-topped tarts caught his attention. Maybe a sweet treat would make him right for the job. He ordered two, then asked for another to be added to the box.

He drove across town to the well-kept Victorian. Before making his way to the front door, he stopped to admire the ancient structure. Flowers that despite the nip of fall in the air bloomed brightly along the walkway and in pots on the porch. He glanced up at the dormer, where he presumed the attic awaited its cleaning. Curtains moved.

Gavin hurried to the door, afraid the older woman had started without help. He rapped three times and waited, the box of tarts growing heavy as his anticipation mounted. He had to give the old woman credit. She made something so mundane as cleaning an attic seem exciting, almost daring.

The door opened, and a woman well into her eighties with the eyes of a twenty-year-old smiled. “Thank you for coming.”

“I brought you a little something.” He lifted the lid to show off the pretty treats.

“You are perfect for this job. Come in.” She shuffled out of the way, a cane clutched in the hand he hadn’t seen. She hadn’t been in the attic. “Carry those into the kitchen for me.”

He followed her through doorways surrounded in carved wood moldings and across richly colored rugs laid over wood floors. “Your house is beautiful.”

“It makes me happy to hear you say that.” The sadness in her voice contrasted with the words she spoke. “I’ll be moving soon, and this home deserves someone who appreciates its beauty.” She pointed to the refrigerator as they stepped into the kitchen.

He tucked the box of sweets into an empty spot. “I’m ready to get started.”

The woman touched his cheek. “The minute you climb into that attic, your life changes. Are your really ready?”

He inched backward, unnerved by her touch and her words. “How do you mean?”

“In every box in that attic is a treasure. You must find the one that calls to you. When you accept it, it is for life. And this is where you will live.”

“Whoa. I thought I was here to help you clean.” Gavin spun on a heel and started toward the front door.

“Sixty-five years ago, my Nathanial stood right where you are, his hand on the doorknob, ready to flee because what he’d heard sounded unbelievable.”

He glanced up the stairs. “What made him change his mind?”

“I’m not sure he ever changed his mind—until the day he died he called it unbelievable—but he listened to his heart. You brought three tarts.” She rested a hand on his arm. “Once you choose her, she’ll call and place an ad to run sixty-five years from today.”

“How do I get into the attic?” He set aside the ridiculousness of believing such a tale and hoped maybe love waited behind that moving curtain.

“At the very top of the stairs is a small door.”

He breathed in deep before trusting his weight to the well-worn stair. The creak caught him off-guard, but whatever hid behind the dormer pulled at his curiosity. One more step, then another, and his pace quickened. He raced up the last few stairs and bent low to get through the miniature door. The sunlit space held boxes and trunks. What had he expected to find? In every box is a treasure. He scanned the room, unsure how the process was supposed to work. He opened the box closet to him. Inside sat an ornate hand-held mirror. He peeked into another bin which held a pair of heels, the color beyond description. Next to the front dormer, sat an old steamer trunk. Like the pull of a magnet on metal shavings, he moved toward it. Faded stickers from ports of call all over the world adorned the outside. What treasures lay within? He knelt in front of it and lifted the lid. At the bottom lay a treasure map and a small music box.

Gavin cradled the small wooden box in his hand and wound the key on the underside. He opened the lid and watched the dancer spin around as a tune from his dreams echoed through the attic.

A hand touched his shoulder. He squeezed it and turned to see the dancer in front of him.

“You came.”

Gavin pulled her into his arms. “And I brought you a treat.”

Fiction Friday – Could Be

Here’s a fun little read for your Friday. I wrote it for a 500 word challenge. (I didn’t win.) But I like this story. What do you think?


 

 

At six o’clock, Lisa pushed open her door and paused. Instead of her apartment, she faced two doors, labeled Is and Could Be . Shaking her head, she glanced from door to door, and reached for the Is door, half-expecting the other to disappear as soon as she touched the knob.

It didn’t.

The Is door creaked as she pushed it open, only a sliver. Peering through the gap, she spotted her table, her couch, her cat. What stopped her from rushing in, returning to her routine was the mystery behind the Could Be door.

She wrung her hands, her gaze glued to that door. Summoning courage, she touched the knob and breathed in deep. She twisted the handle, and the door swung open.

“That you, love? Dinner’s in the oven.” A husky voice called from somewhere out of sight.
Excitement danced in her chest. She tiptoed toward the voice. “Hello?”

Tall and chiseled, the man standing in the kitchen padded toward her, his jeans dragging around his bare feet. “How was your day?”

“Good.” Lisa scanned the room, searching for any hint of his name. A mechanic’s shirt draped over a chair rescued her. “Thanks for making dinner, Blake.”

He wrapped her in a hug and kissed her forehead. “It won’t be ready for an hour.”
Lisa’s cheeks warmed at his tone and implication.

He reached for her buttons, giving her a clear view of the ring on his left hand that matched the one on hers. “That enough time?”

“Yes.” Eagerness raised her voice an octave.

He carried her to the bedroom and laid her down on crisp cotton sheets. Goosebumps rose to meet his fingertips where they brushed her skin. He stretched out on top of her, catching her lips in a tango of desire. Lisa moaned, her dreams becoming reality.

 

***

Birds chirped outside the window, waking Lisa from the best night’s sleep she’d ever had. She hesitated, not wanting to open her eyes, afraid the entire evening had been a conjured dream—a satisfying, delicious dream.

Whiskers pressed against her shoulder. “Morning. I need a shower. Mind grabbing the paper?”

Lisa rolled him onto his back and slid on top of him. “I thought last night was a dream.”
He drew hearts on her back with rough and calloused fingers. “Good one, I hope.”

“The best.” She tasted his lips before slipping out of bed and pulling on her robe. “Be right back.”

In the hall, she picked up the paper, then turned back to the door, which hung open a sliver. She pushed it open and paused in horror.

The cat meowed, welcoming her back to her old life.

Her taste of what could be had vanished.

Swiping at tears, Lisa called the first garage listed in the phonebook. “Hi. My car’s making a funny noise. I wanted Blake to look at it.”

Working down the list, she repeated the call until she located a mechanic named Blake.

She grabbed her keys and raced across town.

Cover Reveal: Finding Kate

Covers for the Hill Country Secrets series are inspired by the setting. The photo from the cover of Finding Claire was snapped while on a walking trail not far from my house. It’s a snapshot of the Texas Hill Country.

After writing one particularly heart-pounding scene in book two, I knew what I wanted on the cover of Finding Kate. The bridge pictured crosses a creek along the Leon Creek Greenway and offers a glimpse of hope at a critical point in the book.

Finding Kate releases July 24, 2017.


For those interested in helping me get the word out about my books and staying in the know about what I’m writing, I’ve started a new group on Facebook. Join my inner circle and become a virtual resident of Schatzenburg, TX. Send me a note if you want to join.