Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Procrastinator’s New Year’s Resolution

The Procrastinator’s New Year’s Resolution

Okay, I suck at New Year’s Resolutions.  I can’t really think of one thing I’ve accomplished based on some yearly promise.  Of course, I know why this is… I’m a procrastinator and I give myself a whole year to get my resolution done.  Yeah.  Not a good idea.  Things change – work gets crazier, kids’ needs fluctuate unpredictably, priorities shift.  It’s easy to dismiss an unspecific goal, with a good enough reason, over the course of 365 days!

“Unspecific goal,” about that:  Taking one of the things I’ve learned in my many years in Weight Watchers, goals are important, but staying motivated is even more so.  As a writer, it’s kind of funny to spend so much time with my characters goals, motivation, and conflicts, but not enough on my own.  However, I’ll save that tangent for another day.

Goals are important, but if it’s something like “I want to save $20,000 this year,” without following it up with a plan, nothing will magically make it happen.  Instead, motivation dwindles and it seems impossible.

I know all this, but still get myself caught up in the same cycle, and it’s becomes a “maybe next year.”  This year, there are so many things I want to accomplish, and right now I am extremely motivated, so I am striking while the iron is hot!

A recent conversation with a friend brought up the merits of planning days in advance – like a calendar at work, but making sure to allot time for all your goals.  Example: Write from 8:00-9:00 – or even just 15 minutes, as long as time is devoted to the goals each day.  So I am going to give it a try – after all winging it hasn’t helped.

I’ve also realized I have too many things vying for my time and it can be overwhelming.  Passing thoughts, like; clean out nightstand, look up romance beat sheets, pick up highlighters.  In order to keep track of all these tasks coming to mind randomly throughout the day, I’ve dedicated a small notepad to keep track of them and clear up some mental space.  We’ll see how it goes!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Panster to Plotter

I never considered myself much of a plotter.  The word "outline" brought up visions of high school English and Roman Numerals, and those memories were enough to send me running in the opposite direction.  I proclaimed myself a panster and reveled in the freedom of flee flowing words... that went nowhere.

I have finally admitted, my pansting is the reason I have way too many half finished stories begging for attention.  The reason I spend hours writing, yet take years to produce a single work.  Well, that, and my full time job, raising two kids, etc.  Come to realize, it's exactly because I have limited time pansting isn't working.

Since I tend to look at things academically, I started to research plots and plotting and found as many different methods as there are genres of literature.  Everyone has an approach and it has lead me to believe it's highly individual and one shouldn't rely simply upon adapting a single method.

For me, I had started doing what made sense to me... Once I had an idea, I wrote what I imagined to be the back blurb of my story.  Then started expanding and expanding upon this, filling in details with each expansion, until I had my characters fleshed out a bit and part of the plot.  Still there was something holding it back from being truly useful.

Then I came upon the Snowflake Method and a light bulb went off.  It has the basis of what I had done on my own, but it's a far more orgaized method focused on character and plot in a useful format.  It also goes beyond the free flow of ideas and takes it a step further into plotting scenes.  I'm not going to go through all the details (I don't think that's legal!), but if you're interested, I suggest you check it out here.

Anyway, the point is, if you're a panster struggling with direction in your story, struggling because your conflict isn't strong enough, I'd suggest you try fleshing out your story in a manner comfortable to you.  Find what works and finish that book. 😘

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Back to Basics

Every year I vow to keep this blog up to date... sorry about that. Everyone says a writer needs to blog. Well, thankfully, it's not an absolute requirement. Otherwise, I'd be in serious trouble!

So what am I up to - Parenting, writing, day job. Basically the usual. What I haven't been doing, and I know this is going to shock many of you, is reading! 

I've been so busy with the day to day stuff, and devoting any surplus time to writing (or, sadly, procrastinating), that I've neglected my impressive TBR pile. It kind of sneaked up on me - after all it hadn't been a conscious choice to not read, it just happened. As with anything I've forgotten, slipped or skimped on, eventually something started to feel off. This may sound unusually dramatic coming from me, but everything seemed dull. Going through the same motions everyday, my energy toward writing dragged... something was missing. Then I glanced at my bag of books, from the last writers' conference I attended, and realized it was reading. I hadn't been fueling my passion, or taken enough down time in the evenings. 

Immediately, I reached into the bag, and pulled out Tessa Dare's, Do You Want to Start a Scandal. I devoured it, I loved it, I laughed, I rooted for the couple, I recommended it to a friend. All those simple things that make reading a pleasure, and what a difference it made! I'm here after all. :) 

When giving advice to newbie writers, most authors often include reading extensively, I cannot agree more. 

What about you? Have you ever found you haven't been reading and missed it?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Long Overdue Turns Two


It’s been two wonderful years since Long Overdue first came out, fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a published author.


To celebrate, I am giving away a $25 Amazon gift card!


First, a little bit about Long Overdue…





Jill Malone has been looking for love for all the wrong reasons. A reality check has her signing up for a no-strings attached night to simply forget about forever after. The last thing she expected was to know her blind date.


Blake Anders doesn’t need help finding a date, but he’s tempted by 1Night Stand’s reputation of arranging exactly what a person needs. And he needs more. Though doubtful, he agrees to one night and hopes to discover his perfect match. He didn’t count on Madame Eve reaching deep into his past to give him a night with the woman he never forgot.


Fearing another broken heart, Jill works to keep herself from becoming attached, but Blake goes all in to convince her that he wants their long-overdue love to be more than a one-night stand…








“I think there’s been some sort of mistake,” she managed.

“But, we’re here. And I don’t think it’s a mistake.”

Of course, he’d be polite, while wondering what happened to the size zero, with extra-large breasts, he ordered. “I don’t know.” She shook her head and swore disappointment flashed across his face. “I’ll be honest; I am not comfortable.”

“And let me be honest. I’m looking forward to an evening with you.” Ooooh, smooth. Then again, she didn’t expect less, given his tabloid reputation. Still, her legs felt a little less stable.

She faced him. What really went on in his head? “You don’t find it strange that you know me?”

His killer smile set off butterflies in her belly and a warning bell in her mind. “No. In fact, it makes sense.”

“Why is that?”

“Because I used to wonder about you. A lot.”

Jill forgot to breathe. Forgot almost everything. Did he say…?

“Didn’t you ever wonder about me?”

Jill exhaled. “I’m taking the Fifth.” His smile grew. She shook her head, recognizing dangerous territory. “I’m still not sure.” Not sure she’d measured up. Not sure she’d survive with her heart intact.

“Stay for a drink.”

She wavered at his low-voiced offer. Dammit, he’d become even more handsome than she remembered.




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Sunday, June 7, 2015


So, here's the deal... I have no clue how to be one of those cool parents organizing play dates, crafty things, managing childhood conflicts, and all that.  I can't even manage to keep my house in order long enough not to cringe if someone knocks on the door.  Suzy-homemaker I am not.  I'm more comfortable being the 'I'll bring my kid to your kid's birthday party' type of mom. But having two children, of course they want birthday parties, too.

The very first birthday party I threw for my son was in 2010, a couple weeks into his Kindergarten year.  I knew no one, so what better way to meet some parents than having a party.  Boy, was I wrong.  All I was introduced to was the concept of a "drop off party".  I was a little astounded that these parents were like "Hi, I'm so-and-so.  We've never met before, you could be a serial killer for all I know, but here's my kid, I'll be back in two hours."  Try managing 20 kids whose names you don't even know and who were bored of bowling after 5-6 frames.  I didn't even take pictures!  This is from the family party:

Yeah, I swore off parties after that until last year when I figured I owed my daughter at least one party like her big brother had in Kindergarten.  (That whole even-steven thing.) This time I was introduced to the concept of I'm going to bring siblings because, wow - you're having a mini golf party and that's way cool.  (That whole even-steven thing, I guess.)  When I tell you we barely scraped by with drinks, I sweated over having enough cupcakes for the kids (and it was like 95 degrees that day!), and had to pay-off my niece to forfeit her goodie bag to one sibling who was too young to not care about it.  But my girl had a blast!!

I bribed my son not to ask me for a birthday party that year by promising him an iPad.  **Tip for parents, research your bribes first - I really did not know how much it would cost!

This year, I explained to my kids that there would be no birthday parties for a legitimate reason - money.  My daughter just made her Communion (which was a huge expense), we're going camping in a few weeks (they LOOOOVE it and cannot wait), and we're going to Disney in July!!  That on top of day camp and all the summer activity costs that will come - trips to Splashdown, the zoo, etc.  We just can't promise both of them a party (one at the beginning of summer - late June, one at the end - early September) and we can't just have only one either - yep, even-steven.

My daughter doesn't understand.  She's had three parties to go to for friends last month alone and another coming up.  She's literally cried every time we picked up a present, and when we've left each party, because she's not having one.  My little social butterfly is sad and I don't like that.  So, I am e-mailing her 3 BFF's parents to see if they can go see Inside Out when it comes out to celebrate her birthday with a movie and pizza.  I hope my baby will be happy.

Oh, and now I'm introduced to the dilemma of whether to pay for the parent's tickets, too, if they want to come.  I figured $30, in the scheme of things, isn't worth the awkwardness.

Any advice would be welcome!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Time Eats - Barley Salad

Once upon a time there was a girl who joined Weight Watchers and she was so committed and motivated she lost 50 pounds! Yay for her - a dream come true, for sure! Then One day the girl gave birth to her second child and was so happy she only had 11 pounds to lose - whoa! But she became content and started slipping into bad habits more and more, until seven years later she realized that 11 pounds would have been a hell of a lot easier to lose than... (hey, a girl has to keep some things a secret)!! 

If you haven't guessed already, yes, that's my story.  

A couple of weeks ago I started prioritizing. See, I have so many things I want to do - lose weight, finish my book, a thousand work projects at my day job, my kids day to day needs, clean out my basement, manage my garden. You get the drift, because I'm sure I'm not alone. Only, I'm not sure how everyone else deals with all the things life throws at them, but I apparently deal with it with my mouth full.

So, back to basics, resurrecting some of my favorite habits from my Weight Watcher days, and no better time than as we approach summer. I may not be a fan of summer (bathing suits, summer daycare costs, and the heat - need I say more?), but I am a fan of summer eats! Throwing on the barbeque, grilled corn, grilled veggies, fresh fruit, cold salads... oh, hold up... 

Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a salad person, but I do love making salads with various grains, particularly barley. Something about barely, more substantial than rice, a little bite to it, it's nutty flavor - yum!! I made one today and wanted to share - though I'm not one for precise measurements, but I think this is very forgiving. 

Barley, Cucumber and Tomato Salad

2 cups pearled barley, cooked 
2 tbls red wine vinegar 
salt & pepper to taste 
2 tbls olive oil

(You can do the above while the barley is warm, but wait till it cools before adding the rest.)

1/2 cucumber - small dice 
1/3 - 1/2 container grape tomatoes - small dice 
1/2 red onion - small chop 
small handful of parsley - chopped 
small handful of cilantro - chopped (Optional - I know it's a love it or leave it thing - I love it!)

Adjust salt & pepper as needed, or add a little bit more vinegar at a time (go slow with that).

One of my habits of old is making big batches of grains and freezing them. Like an entire bag of brown rice, or barley, then freeze 2 cups in ziplocks for separate servings anytime.

Anyway - looks yummy, right?  Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

1-2-3 Author Q&A with Author Kelly Janicello


Today I have, my friend and chaptermate, Kelly Janicello playing Author 1-2-3.  Actually, more like Author 1-2-5 because I just had to ask about the NY Rangers!  LOL.  Anyway, Kelly’s book Remember Me? is on sale for $0.99 right now – only for a limited time.  It’s an awesome story, so don’t miss out!



On Writing


The very first story you wrote down – good, bad, or ugly?


I’ve always written but never finished stories. The very first story I completed that I actually let someone read was I think my senior year in high school. The story was total fan fiction similar to the 80’s movie The Goonies. I got an A on it and my teacher scribbled a note saying she can’t wait to see me published one day. My mother contacted my former teacher and shared the great news. I dust it off once in a while and might edit it one day after I deal with the other people screaming for attention in my head.


The Writer


Are you a procrastinator? What do you do to stay on track?


I am the Queen of Procrastination and tend to work better under pressure. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to get the blood pumping and start complaining about procrastinating. The only thing that keeps me on track is where what needs to be done falls on the priority list.


Bonus Question:  On a scale of 1 to Crazy, how big of a Ranger’s fan are you?  And, ever consider writing a sports romance?  (I know, two questions – but they go together like PB&J.)


11 on the Crazy NY Rangers fan scale. I am the creator of the Headless Ranger.


The Book


What did you find hardest about writing this story?


I didn’t necessarily have hard time writing this story however, once I finally got it back to my publisher I started to question if it was a good time for it to be released. It takes place in New York City and since it is Romantic Suspense the hero is an NYPD Detective. Even though clearly I am writing fiction, I was concerned on how some readers may react to some of the content given certain events during the last few months not just in NYC but other cities across the country.


Another Bonus Question: One of your reviews states the twists and turns kept the reader “guessing and anticipating from page 1 to the OMG surprise at the end.”  How did keep track of all those twists and turns?


I honestly can’t say how I keep track of my twists and turns lol. They kind of just happen and I say Oh OK and go with it or I just have a twisted mind. I wish I could say I have a process. I don’t. I am a 95% pantser. Generally I throw things on paper and see what sticks. I remember I was about 75% through the book when I e-mailed, I might have even called fellow author / friend Kat Attalla and told her (spoiler alert) “so as it turns out Ryli has a baby sister.” A baby sister wasn’t on the radar but she came to me in the midst of researching guardianships. Once she was there she was there. When nearing the end of a book, Post It notes will liter my laptop screen because point A must get to point B then C etc. No loose ends.




As a child, Ryli Madigan witnessed a heinous murder burying it deep in her mind. Years later as a rookie police officer she takes down an armed suspect in a convenience store and finds herself assigned to the Detective's Division. She must work with the veteran detective shot during the robbery she thwarted. Ryli clashes with Brody McKenna, who pursues her on a more personal level despite his deep-seated mistrust of women. 

While tracking a serial killer Ryli is plagued by haunting nightmares. The stakes grow higher as she and Brody uncover a cold case involving her family concealed by one of their own. Brody suspects her terrifying dreams are really flashbacks. Their personal attraction raises the stakes in their pursuit of the man responsible for a murderous spree. Will Ryli remember her past before it's too late? 




Brody rolled the driver's side window down and lifted the night vision binoculars to his eyes. There she was. Without tearing his eyes away, he felt around the passenger seat for his radio turning the volume up for a listen. They didn't need him for this operation. He could see the van, and two unmarked units parked in close vicinity to his rookie. He should have known she was the chosen one. Only four had filtered in. Two men, and another woman, who looked more like a man than the other two baby faced ones.


Yeah, if they'd used that woman, she'd actually look like a man dressing like a woman. Now his rookie…stop thinking of her as your rookie. He didn’t like where his mind wandered off to. Those stilettos were something else though. Added five inches to her short legs, on view for anyone to ogle, in what he wouldn’t call a skirt on a good day. If she could run in that disguise he'd promote her in a second.


An hour later he finally pulled the binoculars from his face, rubbing at his forehead to stall the headache building between his eyes. After scrutinizing the last two takedowns, he grudgingly had to reverse his skepticisms. His only misgiving at present? His inability to stop himself from watching her the entire time from the cover of his vehicle, and super zooming the binoculars like a damn Peeping Tom. Off limits Brody. Off limits. Time to make his presence known. Time to stop looking at her legs, ass, ti…..He climbed out of the truck, popped his ear bud in and clipped his radio to his back pocket.


"Okay Ryli, we are going to wrap this up for the evening. Five johns in the pokey are better than none. Good job."


Tim Cleary's voice rang through his ear so loud Brody almost ripped the bud out of the canal. He adjusted the volume and kept walking in the direction of the operation. He had to give it to her, his rookie did well. Their last encounter had concerned him. Her flying through the air like an acrobat without a net was the only memory not distorted by shock and blood loss.


"Ya know Pimp Daddy, five is such an unlucky number. Let's go for number six. He looks ready to party."


Her little retort squelched painfully in his ear. Nails on a chalkboard, a needle tearing across a vinyl record. Brody stopped in his tracks. From where he stood, he could see her on the sidewalk without the benefit of lenses. He didn't see number six looking to party.


"Ryli, this is your first rodeo. Last time I checked, I was running this op. L.T. will bust my ass if something happens to you. Do not do that again. Next time I say wrap it up, you wrap it up. Copy?"


"Understood, Pimp Daddy but this one looks way too easy."


He looked again, even glanced over his shoulder. He saw no one. She was talking about him. God damn overeager rookies. She just disregarded a direct order to terminate the sting, proving his point. His fervent complaints of using an inexperienced, unpredictable rookie had simply bounced off the walls of Bardzell's office. Brody wished Bardzell was sitting with him right now to see the precise reason he'd argued with his superior to begin with. He kept walking and pulled his ball cap lower. Way too easy? He'd give her way too easy.


* * *


Ryli's mouth was always two steps ahead of her brain. Instead of saying an Amen to end the evening, she’d turned into an arrest greedy glutton. In for a penny…Her aching feet sent sharp signals up her legs, threatening punishment later. How could anyone prance around in hooker heels all night long? She had to give these girls some credit, the narrow boots began pinching a half an hour after hitting the pavement. Her poor toes were screaming in agony, each step more unbearable than the last. She should have unzipped the black faux leather and hauled it to the van barefoot when Tim said cut. With her luck, she'd probably require a tetanus shot or a more potent vaccine if she ditched the boots.


A pathetic limp replaced the sashaying, enticing, glide she’d mastered and flaunted hours before. Her new "gentleman" still approached though, crossing the isolated street. She bent over and yanked the stockings up––again. Leaning against the side of the brick building, she adjusted her red wig and eyed the stranger closing in on her location. As he drew nearer, for a fleeting moment she had a sense of déjà vu. Why did he look so familiar? She pasted a smile on her face and snapped the gum in her mouth. "Looking for someone, Sugar?"


Holy crap, he had to tower over her by at least a foot. In comparison to the previous weasel-like, scrawny, specimens of men––now guests in the city lock-up, he was Paul Bunyan minus the blue ox. The combination of the ball cap pulled low over his brow and the dark scruff covering his jaw, gave him an ominous appearance. Why didn't she make for the pimp mobile like a good little subordinate? Bad Ryli, bad.


"As a matter of fact I am. Are you working tonight?"


Yeah, in more ways than one.


"Well the boss man wanted me to escort him to a private party, but he won't mind waiting a bit if the price is right." Oh my God she so had to stop watching the Game Show channel.


"Is this where we negotiate the price of what's behind door number one?" He folded his arms across his wide chest. The action pulled his black t-shirt taut, outlining his pecs beneath the cotton fabric. Why in God's name did this guy need to pay to get some? He was a fine representation of the species. He could probably crack walnuts with those guns. Her brain niggled at her again. Where did she know him from? Had she arrested him? The streetlight flickered off, encasing them in total darkness before slowly humming back on. An eerie foreshadow of what could potentially happen? She'd have her hands full fending this guy off if this went south on her.


"Well I've always been partial to door number three. Better prizes," she teased with another snap of her gum.


White teeth gleamed out from the dark beard. "So door number three…is that the entire package then?"


Okaaaay, he flirts with hookers. Her minute experience with this gig did not draw men who manifested from a studs and spurs calendar, nor did they try to flirt with her. They twitched nervously, their eyes darted all around, and they pretty much asked outright the cost for the particular act. Usually the lewdest act they could come up with, including a few she had never heard of up until a week ago, ones she questioned the legality in a few states.


"Door number three is in fact the whole package, handsome. Would you like to bid on door number three?"


"I think with you." He rubbed his scruff as if considering her faux assets. His voice dropped several octaves lower taking on a sexy drawl. "Door number three would be worth at least three hundred."


She winked up at him. "That will be our little secret from the boss man."


He grinned again flashing those pearly whites. "I won't tell if you don't tell. Twenties acceptable?" His hand dug into the right front pocket of his faded denims extracting a wad of cash.


"Jackson's are good," she replied as he handed her the bills. "You always carry that much cash on your person?"


He didn't release his hold on the bills. Ryli looked up in confusion to find his dark eyes narrowing on her as the air thickened with tension. "On my person? You a cop, Red?"


Oh shit. "I —"


"Ryli, you're made. Go!" Pimp Daddy's voice sounded alarmed. She turned to bolt, not needing to be told twice.


Rough hands yanked her arms behind her back and she heard the distinct snick of cuffs manacling her wrists. Stiffening in shock, her earlier déjà vu came to fruition and she knew without a doubt Brody McKenna just shackled her. "Ummmm, Pimp Daddy, I think we have a problem —"


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Author Bio:


Kelly Janicello is the alter ego of a staid corporate worker. After years of writing for her own pleasure, she finally joined the ranks of other men and women privileged to call themselves authors. Kelly and her dog live in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York. When Kelly is not writing she is spending her time with family and friends, cheering for her beloved NY Rangers, and inventing the perfect man in her head. Kelly loves to hear from readers.


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