Who's Up for a Scavenger Hunt?

We're kicking off the Omnilicious Twitter Party, happening on Twitter tomorrow, May 31 at 7 - 9ish EST, a little early with a Scavenger Hunt at the participating authors' websites. The prizes will be ePacks of the authors' romance books, including a Young Adult ePack, New Adult ePack, Contemporary Adult ePack, and Paranormal Adult ePack and they'll be given away throughout the Twitter party.

All you have to do is follow the links to the blogs listed below and collect the numbered letters that will spell the secret word. Don't forget to pick up the letter in this post before you go:

As soon as you’ve worked out the word, enter both the word and your Twitter handle into the form below.  Good luck!

Ready, set...GO!

Author Blogs:


Get Healthy

Today is the Get Healthy Bloghop hosted by Stephen Tremp, Alex J. Cavanaugh, L. Diane Wolfe & Michael Di Gesu.

The Objective:
Share with everyone something you have done that affected your health in a positive way. 

I don't think anyone's going to be calling upon me to write a health manual anytime soon, but I do have a couple things to share for this blogfest - simple things I do to keep a stint on Survivor from being totally out of the question should I ever get the call from Mark Burnett. 

Thing #1: Substitute: I like to eat. Sometimes I like to eat a lot. I've found that simple substitutions of healthy foods for certain unhealthy ones - most of the time - allow me to keep on eating while still feeling good. I first gave up french fries when I was pregnant and wanted to make sure the weight I gained was good weight, and I'm still perfectly happy subbing with fruit, coleslaw, or a small salad on the side of my tasty burger. Instead of chips, I use sliced cucumbers, and instead of dip, I'll usually have hummus or salsa. Whole grain bread instead of enriched, couscous instead of white rice, sweet potatoes instead of white, water instead of soda, you get the picture. Still looking for a decent substitute for red wine though...

Thing #2: Keep it doable: the most important thing about an exercise program is to keep it up, so don't over-commit yourself to an unsustainable exercise routine that will fall by the wayside once you've hit your goal weight, or worse, before you do. It's better to do shorter workouts that you'll be able to reasonably maintain going forward. I rarely let a workout go on for more than thirty minutes, but you know what? I've kept up an exercise habit of 4-6 days a week since I was seventeen years old. I know myself, and these days with being pulled in so many directions, if I knew I had to give up an hour to a workout, I'd be skipping them more often than doing them.

I'm looking forward to gaining more totally do-able tips when I visit the others on the hop. Click here for a list of participating bloggers, and thanks for hosting, Stephen, Alex, L. Diane & Michael!

And hey, if you're going to be near Twitter this Friday evening at 7pm EST, look up #Omnilicious to find me & a bunch of my Omnific Pub sisters - we're going to be talking all kinds of smack & giving out prizes.


Random Acts of Kindness

This is my entry for the Random Acts of kindness blogfest sponsored by Wayman Publishing. It's all about celebrating the kindnesses in life that help to make it all bearable.

Several months ago, author and blogger Jennifer Lane wrote a post in promotion of Poughkeepsie,  a novel by Debra Anastasia about a homeless man and the girl who smiles at him every day in the train station. In the post, Jennifer recalled something she learned while interning at a homeless shelter---her director explained that when we encounter homeless people on the street, whether we give them money or not, the "one thing we should do is show respect by looking them in the eye."

The statement really struck me. Because as simple as it seems, I realized that at those times when I didn't give money, I avoided eye contact, mostly out of my own guilt and discomfort. Whatever the reason, the result was that I completely ignored  a human being who was just a few feet away from me. I never thought about how it must feel for them to spend a good portion of their lives with others just walking by as if they didn't even exist. So now I think about it. 

A few weeks ago I was making my way through the streets of Chicago to catch a train when I spotted two homeless people sitting on the sidewalk, holding up a sign, asking for money, I presumed. But I was in a rush and decided that stopping to open my wallet on the darkening city street wouldn't be the best idea. The old me would've flicked my focus in another direction, but now I know better, and as I walked by I simply looked at them and smiled, and this time I got proof that even such a small gesture has meaning---the woman's face lit up and she pointed at me, saying "Thank you for the smile, sweetheart."

I think the thank you was the bigger act of kindness, because my smile lasted all the way to the train station, and the warmth of having made that tiny connection is still with me. There is power in a smile and a thank you. And that's all kindness is, really, treating other humans like humans, recognizing our fellowship on this giant spinning rock and doing what we can to make our stays here just a little warmer and fuzzier.  


Who's that Man in the Ray-Bans?

Sighted on the streets of Chicago, a pair of genuine 1980s Ray-Bans! Even better, they were on someone you might know - and if you don't, click on the picture to be taken to his fabulous blog. I'm sure he's got lots of interesting things to say, whereas I...don't. I think I yammered it all out of myself on Monday to the guy in the pic when we met for our annual birthday lunch. Ah, but next week I'll have much to say during these two great blogfests below. There's still time to join if you're not already signed up:

Wait, one more thing! Sometimes the most frustrating thing about tragedies like what happened in Oklahoma is wishing there was something tangible we could do to help. The ladies at Literati Lit have put together a wonderful fundraiser, the proceeds of which will go 100% to the American Red Cross. Lots of writers have pitched in to offer up prizes for those who donate. 


Cruisin' with DL

Good morning! Today I'm over at the marvelous DL Hammons' Cruising Altitude 2.0 blog to tell you what I learned from WRiTE Club & offer up a short excerpt from Divine Temptation for critique. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 


One Mother of a Blog Hop

This is part of a group post about mothers (or grandmas/mother-figures/fictional mothers) and their support of and/or influence on our writing. If you'd like to do one of your own, write it up & link at the Omnific blog on Thursday, May 9, or simply visit the blog that day to read more entries.

In tribute to my amazing mum on this upcoming Mother's Day, I'm giving her the George Bailey treatment and reflecting upon how things might be very different in my writerly life if she wasn't exactly who she is:
  • Without her indulging me and buying cat food & flea collars for Sugars, the stray cat who frequented our backyard and whom I considered a pet, I would never have been inspired to write Alley Cat, which won me a poetry award in the 5th grade and gave me my first inkling that I might be okay at this writing thing.  
  • Without her doing all the work around the house so my siblings and I could focus on our studies, I might never have become comfortable spending hours and hours doing quasi-intellectual things while remaining happily oblivious to all the work around the house that needs doing.
  • Without her wonderful laugh and strong faith, I may never have learned to not take this life too seriously, and if I took this life seriously at all, I never would've let myself shirk other duties to write the Harry Potter fanfiction that made me know I couldn't stop writing.
  • Without her genuine conviction that her children are the most marvelous creatures to ever inhabit this Earth, I might not've been instilled with enough confidence to say yes to this publishing thing.
This list could go on and on, but I'll end on this note...
  • Without her reaction to the sexy scenes in Three Daves, I may never have come up with a topic for my first ever blog post, and therefore, I may never have started blogging...and therefore, I may never have met you.

Thanks, Mom, for being fabulous you!

P.S. On Monday, Janie Junebug posted her review of Divine Temptation. I'm still smiling. :) (see?)


Oh, Sweet Mother

On an e-mail thread with some of my Omnific Publishing sisters, we got to talking about how great our mums are, and we cooked up the idea of doing a group post next Thursday in honor of Mother's Day---just a short post from each of us about how our mom, grandma, mother-figure, or a mother character, either from one of our own books or another, has supported or influenced our writing in any way. And you're all invited to join us!

It's super casual (so caszh we didn't even make an icon, imagine that) so all you have to do is write up your mother post, post it, and then mosey over to the Omnific Publishing blog next Thursday, May 9, and enter your link into the Blog Bounce before hopping around for some heartwarming mother love.  We're unofficially calling it One Mother of a Blog Hop.

Here are a couple Tweetables, if you are so inclined:

What are you giving your mom this Mother's Day? How about a blog post especially for her?  http://ow.ly/kF4zJ

How has your mom (or gramma or fictional mom) influenced your writing experience? Tell us next Thursday, May 9. http://ow.ly/kF4qW

Speaking of sweet mothers, the sassy and all around wonderful mom-among-other-things known as Janie Junebug has had me over for a two-part interview at her blog. She's read my latest release, Divine Temptation, and so she's asked some great specific questions without giving away spoilers. Here's Part I of the interview, and here's Part II. Her review is coming soon. :)


Do Readers Even Care About Editing?

I guess this is more of a concern than an insecurity, but it seems like an appropriate topic for the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex. J. You-know-who-I'm-talkin'-about Cavanaugh.

We writers talk a lot about the importance of editing and spend countless hours polishing our pieces and seeking knowledgeable feedback before editing and polishing some more. And that's just to get it ready to be considered for publication. Before it makes its way onto Amazon, most of our manuscripts will be subjected to further scrutiny by a professional editor.

What I'm wondering is---is all this editing a colossal waste of time as far as readers are concerned?  I mean, sure, for our own satisfaction we want our work presented to the world in its most polished form, and there will certainly be other writers and critics with their eagle eyes upon it, but does the average reader even notice or care? I'm kind of thinking they don't.

If they did, how would books like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Fifty Shades of Grey become such consistent best sellers? It seems that once enchanted by a plot and/or characters, most readers are either willing to put up with or don't even notice that a book is in sore need of another hefty round of edits. They'll overlook repetitive phrasing, inconsistencies, and awkward, often incorrect, sentence structure so long as the story itself has pulled them in.

So if readers don't care about editing, why should I? Why should any of us? 

BREAKING NEWS: Hey, as you're bopping about the hop today, be sure to stop by Stephen Tremp's new place. Mean ol' Google erroneously shut down his blog & now he's got to start from scratch! Let's all give him a follow, eh?  Oh, he's also announcing a great Get Healthy blog hop.