Dawn Montgomery

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

USA Today Happy Ever After Recommended Read TWICE

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Hey gang! *Edited for spelling errors LOL! I was, apparently, really excited*

Today Deep Cravings made the USA Today Happy Ever After Blog as a recommended read!

Here’s a screenshot with today’s news (and right next to LKH’s ad!)

USA Today Blog

The last time this happened was May 31, 2013 when Ditter Kellen and I made the list with Haunting Melody St. Claire:

USA Today Happily Ever After Blog Recommendation

I’ve made their recommended read list twice in one year! Surreal! Click on the images to go to the Happy Ever After Blog to find more fantastic books on the list.

In #amwriting, Write Talk on December 20, 2013 at 6:31 am

Write TalkA quick Q&A. I get a lot of comments about writing multiple books at once and the fear of making them all sound the same. I figured I’d share what you guys wanted to know here.

Q: Are you crazy? Who writes in seven books at a time? 

A: LOL! Promise, most of these books are relatively short so the plot development is not nearly as intricate. It makes it easier. Sane? I think sanity is overrated. If you don’t push your limits, how do you know what you’re capable of…well, that’s what I tell myself, but the truth is, I kind of got myself in a bind. Angel’s Masquerade, Silver Tongued Devils, the Sex and Magic books, and Dragons Never Lie are my priorities. The first two are obligations. The last two are series I must work on. If I don’t write the other books this month…it really is okay.

Q: How do you write in them and not sound the same? I’d get the characters/story/villains confused. 

A: Using Spotify, graph paper, index cards, some quick work in excel, Cold Turkey, and a timer  I did prep work prior to doing this insane final race of 2013. Let me explain:

  1. Spotify is an app/program I use to stream music. It’s a wonderful tool for me as music is the heartbeat to my scene writing. I see all my scenes as parts of a movie…and what movie would be complete without a soundtrack, right? I normally set up a soundtrack for each book with ten to twelve songs. This time, however, I knew I’d be jumping from one book to another so I set up mini soundtracks for each book. At a minimum, I I had, in order, the hero’s song and the heroine’s song (the songs I felt represented their personalities at the beginning of the book) and the song that represented the story. I might add two more songs. One that represented their romance and one for the villain. That was it. I’ll explain my process later, but for now, this is how I prepped with Spotify.
  2. Grid/Graph/Quadrille Paper: I use writing notebooks that have ruled paper on one side and graph paper on the other. I set up one sheet for each book. I divided the number of words needed to complete the book by the number 250, and then drew that number of boxes. Angel’s Masquerade, for instance, needs to be around 26k (minimum). I needed, therefore, 104 boxes. Keep in mind, I love this kind of hands on stuff, it helps me focus. This isn’t for everyone. So I drew out 104 boxes at 8 x 13 (with spaces in between so it looks neater to my eye). Each column, therefore, represents 2k words. So now, as I write, I can mark off a box when I get the next 250 words. Giving me a visual helped tons. There’s something so satisfying about marking a big ‘ol X in a square. LOL. It also gives me a way to eyeball how much more I need to have done to reach my goal.
  3. Index Cards: Index Cards serve two purposes in my prep. The first is character card creation. I set up a character card for EACH character in that story (keeping extra index cards at my desk is important in case a new character pops up while I’m writing). The second purpose is scene card creation. I set up primary scenes and their emotional followup. I set up primary scenes with a Goal, Conflict, and Disaster and followup scenes with Reaction, Dilemma, and a Decision. If you want a more detailed analysis about how it works, check out Scene and Sequel HERE. I don’t set up scene cards for the entire book, rather, I set up scene cards the night before so I know what I’m supposed to be doing in the next writing session.
  4. Excel: I have a word count tracker to keep me focused and evaluate, honestly, how I’m doing for the week. I only check my total for the week on Sunday so I don’t get disheartened if it’s too low or lazy if it’s higher than I expected.
  5. Cold Turkey: An app/program I use to block sites that distract me from writing. Facebook, Pinterest, all the other sites and programs I adore spending tons of time on.
  6. A Timer: I use e.ggtimer.com or online-stopwatch.com. This is important to keep me on track while I’m writing.

A: Continued…

My process:

Book A:

  1. Break out the character cards and turn on my spotify soundtrack for Book A.
  2. Listen to the soundtrack, making sure I tie the heroine’s song to the heroine’s character card (read it while I’m listening to the song) and attempt to get in their heads.
  3. When the story song comes on, I read through the scene cards I’d prepared the night before, making sure I’m in the zone for that book.
  4. Once the soundtrack ends (see why it’s important to make them small?), I switch to my writing music (no lyrics, sometimes white or pink noise. Whatever I need to stay focused), and then write in 25 minute bursts until I can’t any more, or until the scene cards end.
  5. Once that happens, I mark off each 250 word box on my graph paper
  6. I update the current word count in excel.
  7. Save my documents. Jot down additional notes or, if I’m up for it, work on the new scene cards I’ll need. Close my document. Either way I won’t spend more than thirty minutes on this part.
  8. Then I get up and move around for a while.
  9. Come back to the desk and begin Book B.

I then do everything in order again.

Q: Okay, but how do your books/characters sound alike? 

A: I use sounds and music to get me into character, so to speak. Goes back to my acting days, I guess…even though that was *cough* years ago. By listening to their character songs and the overall theme of the book before each session, I really remember the tone and attitude of each of them. Their dialogue, stuff written and stuff still in my head, comes to me during these character warm ups. The cool thing about writing is that I can stop at any time, click on a part of my book soundtrack and remember the way the character acts, speaks, etc. Trust me.

Check out the heroines of some of my books:

Silver Tongued Devils: Raina-Moonlight Sonata. She can memorize a song or code by ear. The first song she learned to play was Moonlight Sonata and she used the melody as a base her first personal security program. It became far more intricate in the later years, but she hums the first movement when she’s nervous.

Thunder and Roses: Tonya Rose-Tornado by Little Big Town. You’ll just have to meet Tonya to understand. She’s based on a real person who is best experienced as a force of nature rather than understood. It’s brilliant.

Holly Savage series – Lonelyness (from the Naruto soundtrack). Her trek is a tough and lonely one. This song captures her character in her quiet moments. Holly also has Nelly Furtado’s Maneater.

Voodoo Carnival: Erica Rhames-Paint it Black (Vanessa Carlton cover). She’s a former combat photographer with serious PTSD and a need to figure things out from behind the lens of a camera. Her interest in beautiful things turning savage leads her to an abandoned carnival with a dark history. It ends up a lot more twisted than she ever expected.

Dragons Never Lie: Princess Serenity-Principles of Lust: Sadeness/Find Love?Sadeness (Reprise) (Medley) by Enigma. This is a unique choice. Serenity’s a virgin trapped in a labyrinth with a quest to kill a dragon. So the entire song covers her journey.

Q: Doesn’t it take more time to switch from book to book? 

A: I thought it might, honestly, so I’ve kept meticulous records since I started. Strangely enough, that thirty minutes of focus at the beginning of each book session is really making the word counts kick up much higher than before. I also spend less time “taking it easy” since I usually work on two books at a time, and not always on the same day. This focused method is keeping me on track so far. We’re at the 20th day of the month and I’m still doing okay, so it’s working out better than I’d hoped.

Q: The way you do it will never work for me. I absolutely cannot do it. 

A: Cool. As always take what you can from this blog and discard the rest. There won’t be a pop quiz at the end and I won’t be standing over your shoulder telling you what you’re doing is right or wrong. You guys asked the questions. I’m just giving you the answers.

Q: Will you do this again? 

A: I want to say no. You have NO idea how much I want to say the word “No”, but I know myself. So…maybe. LOL.

So that’s it. Questions from you guys answered. Now it’s back to the grind. I’ve got one last day before the kids  are home on winter break so I need to get more words in. See you on Sunday!

Release Week Freakout And Writing

In #amwriting, Goals on December 18, 2013 at 7:52 am

This is a loooong post. Prepare yourself. Go for coffee. Get a bagel. Maybe some eyedrops for dry eyes…LOL!

I’m a huge author fangirl. There are some authors who drive me crazy with buildup on a story’s release (a year lead-up of excerpts and teasers) and others who hit me upside the head when it happens with a “oh yeah, btw” post.

To bypass my freakout, I’ve set up my favorite vendors with newsletter/email updates on my favorite authors. Super easy to do. I’ll show you the Amazon one, really quick. Find your favorite author’s page (click on the image below to go straight to mine) and on the right hand side you’ll find the email options. As another option, when you find a book you like and want to see more from the author in the future, hover over the author’s name to have a popup window offering to send you to their Amazon page. Right under that link is the option to subscribe. 🙂

AmazonEmailNotifications

I thought it was something relatively unique to me as a person prone to panicking if I miss my authors’ newest releases. But the coolest thing happened at 3 AM today (how often can you say that?), I received the most incredible Facebook message from a fan who told me how excited she was to have my latest books. And how she received an email from Amazon two days in a row about new books available this month (Hidden Confections popped up on Amazon the day after Deep Cravings went on preorder).

Dude. Someone has signed up for email notifications at Amazon for MY BOOKS? I had to read it three times. She was also, my friends, a person who had never communicated with me before.

😀 I have no idea what to say except that is SO COOL!

[updated to add] Another fan told me her book downloaded at 12:03 AM. I am over the moon!

Pre-order is so surreal.

Deep Cravings is a story that I had with a different publisher for a while (under another title). I pulled it for one reason or another and thought I’d made a huge mistake because it was one of my best selling titles with them. There were some serious problems with the original, though, glaring ones that killed me to read and reread, much less recommend to anyone. So I pulled it. And polished it. And sat on it for ten months. Finally, I submitted it to Ellora’s Cave. Since this was a tongue-in-cheek erotic romance, I wasn’t sure what my editor would think.

I didn’t expect a resounding yes. Nor did I expect a request for more in the series.

(Series? Panic! What series? Btw, I’m working on a series proposal as we speak.)

All of this good news is amazing. It was a tough year for a lot of reasons. One of the hardest in my life. The last two years, if I’m completely honest. Since May, however, it’s taken an impressive rise.

Despite all this…the upturn to the end of the year, the amazing response from people who told me they’d pre-ordered it last week, the authors who have gone out of their way to help share my books this month, and the fact Deep Cravings had already been released a long time ago…I suffered from serious pregame jitters.

It’s predictable enough that my husband is prepared. Two days before release, I start researching alternate jobs, new genres, other pen-names. I mean, what’s up with that? Why do this to myself? At first I’m not even aware that it’s my pregame routine. I get restless and slightly short-tempered. Bless my family for figuring this out and distracting me with hilarity and ridiculous foodstuffs.

That night, I’ll barely sleep. Or write. Or think. I will bury myself in some mundane thing and not emerge until I’m exhausted after the sun rises. By then, however, I realize…it’s RELEASE DAY. *cue Psycho shower scene music*

I suddenly realize why I was freaked out the day before. My husband, who is used to this by now, leads me through the paces. He makes comfort food and reminds me that I’ve done this before. “No it’s not okay to just quit writing.” “Yes, I know what tomorrow is. You’ll be fine. The book will be fine.”

LOL.

I make it through the day and night and, strangely enough, the world doesn’t explode on release day. Once I see that it’s available, I can stop panicking, and just inform everyone who’s interested in picking up a copy.

Pre-order eased so much of that anxiety. I was shocked and amazed by how much easier my heart handled the morning’s release day information.

With the exception of the two days of non-productive writing, let’s see how I did so far this week on my writing goals.


#ROW80 update


ROW80Logocopy

Goals for the rest of 2013: 

  • Angel’s Masquerade (working title) submission 30 December 2013 (25k minimum, shooting for an April release)
  • Holly Savage 1 Finished and off to edits (14k remaining, shooting for a January release)
  • Silver Tongued Devils (Tall, Dark and Alpha boxset, releases 8 March 2014) halfway done by the end of the year (15k by the end of the year)
  • Dragons Never Lie (WTF Dragon 3) a chapter per weekend (shooting for a February release)
  • *A Devil’s Bargain done and submitted by 30 December (15k remaining)
  • *A Pirate’s Bride done and submitted by 31 December (4k remaining)
  • Final edits for Thunder and Roses (releases 28 January 2014)

* represents any leftover time I might have. LOL! Like I’d really have any, but you never know.

Goals for next Sunday (color Coded for my own needs):

  • Angel’s Masquerade: 20k (note, these are the numbers I want the book to be at, not the total to write this week) – I need to work extra hard to make my goal here. It’s due soon, and I want to have it finished before I get Thunder and Roses edits since it’s for the same publisher. 
  • Holly Savage: 7.5k – Holly slips to the wayside because she’s a self-pubb’d title in a new genre (non romance related). I can cut out the word count here if I need to make goals elsewhere. 
  • Sex and Magic 2: 2.5k – 1k into this. It’s in the same world as Deep Cravings
  • A Devil’s Bargain: 2.5k
  • Silver Tongued Devils: 2.5k – No words on this so far this week. 
  • Pirate’s Bride: 1.5k – I’m at 1k now. It’s a very short story so I think I may knock it out today to bury myself in work. 🙂 
  • Dragons Never Lie: 5k – 2k to go on this one.

I expect to receive Thunder and Roses edits around Christmas. They’ll be rough, but necessary. It’s 94k after all…LOL.

I’m also going to post a Q&A so those who keep asking me questions about my writing this month can check it for the hows behind this process.

I’m part of a great motivational writing group known as A Round of Words in 80 Days. Click here to find out how other did this week and here if you want to become a part of it!

Deep Cravings

In Publishing News on December 18, 2013 at 4:03 am

deepcravings_198DMAuthorSite

The Vamp Life sucks if you’re the only female vampire in the world allergic to chocolate. When a wizard with a penchant for kitchen magic arrives, however, things can take a delicious and sinful turn. Especially when he puts himself on the menu.
Chocolate goes well with…everything.

Rachel Karrin is at her wits’ end. The benefits to vampire life look pretty grim when her new powers come with limits on her favorite food. Chocolate. The rare allergy is unusual enough to gain the interest of the Kitchen Witch Society.

When the sexy, brooding Ryan Shepard shows up, there’s more than chocolate in his repertoire and his temptation is far more than she can take in her world of blood and sex.

A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published elsewhere in 2009 under the title Decadence and has been extensively revised for EC.

Ellora’s Cave | All Romance Ebooks | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

My Attempts to Shut Down the Net Worked…Mostly

In #amwriting, Goals on December 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm

First of all, Red Velvet Christmas: Hidden Confections is now available at All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Changeling Press website (buying from Changeling enters you into a contest to win free books for 2014’s releases!). Click on the links to go straight to the purchase pages.

Liam Merriman has one goal… draw the sexy Mia out of hiding and back to the spotlight where she belongs. He knows why she disappeared all those years ago, and he plans on picking up where they left off. Naked. In his bed. 

Deep Cravings is available for Preorder at Amazon! My first ever preorder!

The Vamp Life sucks if you’re the only female vampire in the world allergic to chocolate.  When a wizard with a penchant for kitchen magic arrives, however, things can take a delicious and sinful turn. Especially when he puts himself on the menu.
Chocolate goes well with…everything.

PWCicon2Working this week was wild. Like a rollercoaster beyond the limits of my imagination. LOL! It had its highs, like those days where I slammed home the word count and then some. Then, on the other hand, I had those days were I was absolutely frozen in panic, wondering why I was even doing this. Those days are fewer and farther between, but they still come out of nowhere. You’d think after ten years it wouldn’t happen anymore, but I’m chalking it up to a hazard of the job and trying to have a battle plan for it.

Total number of words completed this week: 21,388 over five books. Deadline city, man.

How did I manage the word count jump? Cold Turkey, an app that locks out your most distracting websites and programs. It’s now been revamped, so check it out if you’re so inclined. They also work on donations so if you can’t make the jump because of the holiday season, you can start using it today for free. I ended up donating after a month’s use because I wondered how I’d ever written without it.

You can customize and tweak as needed. I blocked off from 8am to noon and 2pm to 5:30pm as non distraction time. No Facebook, twitter, World of Warcraft, etc. I can’t change it. And…the best part…last Sunday I scheduled the distractor blackout.

Monday I grumbled when I was cut off from Facebook mid post. And again when I was logged off WoW at the end of my lunch break.

Tuesday I was irritated when I got started, but my word count kicked butt.

Wednesday I was frustrated with my book by 2pm and just wanted to waste time doing something else. I forced my way through another 2.5k.

Thursday and Friday were non-productive for the most part. That whole panic mode I had. I worked through it by Saturday. On Saturday (I think it was Saturday, my days run together) I created a visual graph of what I needed to accomplish with check boxes for every 250 words completed. It helped give me something to reach for instead of arbitrary numbers. There really is something satisfying about checking off a column of boxes in one writing session. I have a column of 10 boxes, so each one is 2.5k. Easy, right? I don’t care if it goes above, because once it reaches the next 250 words, I mark off the next box.

Saturday was extremely productive and I have the checkbox visual to thank for that. Today I plan on knocking out the admin work for the week and getting right back into it. 😀

So now for the update.


#ROW80 update


ROW80Logocopy

Goals for the rest of 2013: 

  • Angel’s Masquerade (working title) submission 30 December 2013 (25k minimum, shooting for an April release)
  • Holly Savage 1 Finished and off to edits (14k remaining, shooting for a January release)
  • Silver Tongued Devils (Tall, Dark and Alpha boxset, releases 8 March 2014) halfway done by the end of the year (15k by the end of the year)
  • Dragons Never Lie (WTF Dragon 3) a chapter per weekend (shooting for a February release)
  • *A Devil’s Bargain done and submitted by 30 December (15k remaining)
  • *A Pirate’s Bride done and submitted by 31 December (4k remaining)
  • Final edits for Thunder and Roses (releases 28 January 2014)

* represents any leftover time I might have. LOL! Like I’d really have any, but you never know.

How I did this week: 

  • Angel’s Masquerade: 13k (up from 2k). I didn’t reach 15k, but I’m still close enough to make my submission with ease.
  • Holly Savage: I’m at 5k on Holly. She’s giving me issues, but I expect it at this point
  • Silver Tongued Devils: Less than 1k on this one this week. I was at my mental limit by this point. LOL.
  • Dragons Never Lie (WTF Dragon 3) 2.5k. Chapter one done. YAY!
  • *A Devil’s Bargain: Did nothing on this one this week.
  • *A Pirate’s Bride: 692 words. Less than 3k left!
  • TOTAL NEW WORDS: 21,388

Goals for next Sunday (color Coded for my own needs):

  • Angel’s Masquerade: 20k (note, these are the numbers I want the book to be at, not the total to write this week)
  • Holly Savage: 7.5k
  • Sex and Magic 2: 2.5k
  • A Devil’s Bargain: 2.5k
  • Silver Tongued Devils: 2.5k
  • Pirate’s Bride: 1.5k
  • Dragons Never Lie: 5k

I expect to receive Thunder and Roses edits around Christmas. They’ll be rough, but necessary. It’s 94k after all…LOL.

I’m part of a great motivational writing group known as A Round of Words in 80 Days. Click here to find out how other did this week and here if you want to become a part of it!

Winning NaNoWriMo and Recovery

In #amwriting, Goals on December 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

It’s been a minute fellow writers. I had revisions dropped in my lap in the middle of NaNoWriMo. Plus some sharp curves on a story I had hoped was on track (but wasn’t). Here’s where I stood on my final for NaNoWriMo:

NaNoWriMo 2013

My two boys tried their best. The youngest won though his story isn’t *quite* finished. I had to derail the Familiar Kiss train (again) and get contract work done. Not a bad thing, but it’s frustrating. Am I ever going to get that novel done?

I’ve all but disappeared from the ‘net for about three weeks now. With 25 days left in the year, I’ve got a slammin’ list. Ready for it?


#ROW80 update


ROW80Logocopy

Goals for the rest of 2013: 

  • Angel’s Masquerade (working title) submission 30 December 2013 (25k minimum, shooting for an April release)
  • Holly Savage 1 Finished and off to edits (14k remaining, shooting for a January release)
  • Silver Tongued Devils (Tall, Dark and Alpha boxset, releases 8 March 2014) halfway done by the end of the year (15k by the end of the year)
  • Dragons Never Lie (WTF Dragon 3) a chapter per weekend (shooting for a February release)
  • *A Devil’s Bargain done and submitted by 30 December (15k remaining)
  • *A Pirate’s Bride done and submitted by 31 December (4k remaining)
  • Final edits for Thunder and Roses (releases 28 January 2014)

* represents any leftover time I might have. LOL! Like I’d really have any, but you never know.

Other things that may or may not have anything to do with extra writing this month: 

  • The last week of December Ditter Kellen and I will be having a meeting of the minds to go over plans for book 2 to the Thunder and Roses universe. The beginning of the year will be focused on finishing up Silver Tongued Devils and the cowriting projects I have going on (there are three, so far).
  • My editor has asked for a proposal to continue the Kitchen Witch Society series. She wants the first three chapters and synopsis of the first book, plus synopses of the next books. I have to get to work on that ASAP.
  • Another publisher wants FoxFire and the next two books so I have to get that finished and ready to submit (Ditter and I pulled FoxFire for the duration of the consideration).
  • Did I mention that I still have series that need to close out? (The Hunger universe and the WTF Dragon world).
  • Oh, and the free read that was supposed to be done forever ago? No such luck. Still have to work on it.

I’m wearing myself out, man.

Things of note for this month: 

So let’s break down my goals by this week, shall we? 

  • Angel’s Masquerade needs to be at 15k by the week’s end.
  • Holly Savage needs to be through the third murder by the week’s end (it’s easier to think of this book that way than by word count).
  • Silver Tongued Devils needs to be at 2.5k by the week’s end.
  • Dragons Never Lie through chapter three by next Sunday.

I’m going Cold Turkey a lot. A LOT, a lot! No internetz for me during the day as it is a huge distractor.

There were cover reveals and releases this week. 😀 Crazy, right?

I’m back with a bang, baby!

I’m part of a great motivational writing group known as A Round of Words in 80 Days. Click here to find out how other did this week and here if you want to become a part of it!

Cover Reveal: Tall, Dark and Alpha

In Coverart on December 7, 2013 at 1:23 am

Silver Tongued Devils, part of the Tall, Dark & Alpha box set will release March 8, 2014.

Once they have her, they’ll never let her go.

Once she’s theirs, nothing will ever be the same.Tall Dark And Alpha Final

Red Velvet Christmas: Hidden Confections

In Publishing News on December 6, 2013 at 1:32 am

Red Velvet Christmas: Hidden Confections is available now from Changeling Press! My contribution to this year’s holiday releases is a fun and sexy story involving kitchen witches, second chances, and a little delicious fantasy or two. Not to mention a wonderful recipe included (and developed!!!) just for the Red Velvet release. Better Than Sex Cupcakes, included for your own personal recipe collection.

DM_RV_HiddenConfections_289A showdown between chefs like you’ve never seen before…

One Christmas Eve, Mia Devyne of Devyne Pastries went underground and closed up shop for good under scandalous rumors of bewitching red velvet holiday cakes designed to skyrocket your sex drive. Her disappearance sparked a worldwide search for her sensual seductions cookbook.

Four years later, a rival pastry chef has arrived on the scene with his own version of the cakes, and Mia can’t stay away. For a Christmas present to herself, she wants to try just one bite of the Better Than Sex cupcake, and then she’ll disappear back into the shadows. If she gets to kiss Liam again, well, that’s just an added bonus.

Liam Merriman has one goal… draw the sexy Mia out of hiding and back to the spotlight where she belongs. He knows why she disappeared all those years ago, and he plans on picking up where they left off. Naked. In his bed.

Changeling Press All Romance Ebooks Amazon Barnes and Noble Kobo

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