Monday, May 21, 2018

Homebody

I’ve become a homebody. I spend most of my days in my house writing or editing or working on something having to do with my books. While I venture out for errands or the occasional lunch with friends, in general, the confines of my house have become my world. It’s comforting and quiet, interspersed with the occasional spouting of noise from the teenager.

This summer, though, it will be even quieter. Both girls will be away for the entirety. That hasn’t happened in a couple of years, so needless to say, my husband and I are looking forward to it. Usually, he announces to the world that he and I are going “to party like it’s 1998”—as in, do all the fun kinds of things we did before we had kids.

Well, if you take a look at the planner calendar he created for us to fill up with all of the “fun, 1998 things” we’re going to do...I think it might be more like 2038. Because while we have a few “dinners with friends” on there, for the most part, it’s chores and organizing and things that no pre-kid couple would ever want to do.

In other words, I think we’re doing it wrong. 

Now, when he reads this, he’s going to come rushing over and argue that I’m the one who put most of those boring things on the calendar, so to preempt that—HE’S RIGHT*. I DID. But it had to be done and we’ve been trying to get to some of these things forever. And hey, the couple that cleans the garage together stays together, right?

I’m hoping we find plenty of time to get out and do fun things. And if not, I suspect that by the time summer is over, I’ll be dying to get out of my house and maybe I’ll even venture to Starbucks for the day. 



*This admittance that he’s right is a one-time only aberration. It should not be mistaken to mean that he’s “always” right. And while things put up on the Internet are there forever, I now never have to make any other public admittance of this, since I’ve done so already. J

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Author: Casi McLean

Narrators: Amy Deuchler

Length: 8 hours 10 minutes

Series: Lake Lanier Mysteries, Book 2

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Released: Mar. 26, 2017

Genre: Time Travel Romance


Piper Taylor concedes she’ll never fall in love, until a treacherous storm spirals her into the arms of the handsome Nick Cramer. Unrelenting remorse over a past relationship haunts Nick, but he can’t deny the mysterious connection and hot desire Piper evokes. The allure of a secret portal hidden beneath Atlanta’s Lake Lanier tempts him into seizing the opportunity to change his mistakes. But his time slip triggers consequences beyond his wildest dreams. Can Piper avoid the international espionage and terrorism of 2001 New York, find Nick, and bring him home before he alters the fabric of time, or will the lovers drift forever Beyond the Mist?

Award winning author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul with romance, suspense, and a sprinkle of magic. Her writing crosses genres from ethereal, captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, mystical plots, and sensual romantic suspense, like Beneath The Lake, WINNER: 2016 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence for BEST Romantic Suspense. Casi's powerful memoir, Wingless Butterfly: Healing The Broken Child Within, shares an inspirational message of courage, tenacity, and hope, and displays her unique ability to excel in nonfiction and self-help as well as fiction. Known for enchanting stories with magical description, McLean entices readers in nonfiction as well with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can't put down. Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires then fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. Ms. McLean weaves exceptional romantic mystery with suspenseful settings and lovable characters you'll devour. You'll see, hear, and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You'll swear her time travel could happen, be mystified by her other worldly images, and feel heat of romantic suspense, but most of all you'll want more.

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Narrator Bio Amy is a Chicago-based voice artist and actor specializing in audiobook narration, e-learning, and radio or TV commercials. Amy is professionally trained in commercial and narration voiceover and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Marquette University and a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In her spare time, Amy also enjoys reading, painting, designing lights and scenery for theatre, and biking. She lives with her boyfriend and their two cats and a dog just north of Chicago.

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  1. How did you select your narrator? I compare the search to looking through a ton of oysters to find a pearl. I’m super picky about narrators. I want them to feel the passion and pain in my story and put emphisis where I have it in my mind. The narrator has to fit the tone of the book and know what makes the characters react the way they do. Not an easy task, but I know when I hear the clips.
  2. Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? All of my writing has a piece of me written between the lines, especially my Lake Lanier Mysteries Series. The first time I heard the eerie lore, strange occurances and supernatural sitings, my muse danced. The tales told me what to write, and the pages flowed like water. Now that I live on the lake, I’m inspired every day.
  3. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? I don’t know what I’d do without audiiobooks. After a long day of sitting at my computer, reading, writing, research, promo, and marketing, my eyes blur. I love to read, but my eyes just say enough is enough. Audiobooks take me into the stories I love, while my eyes rest. I listen in my car, shopping, walking, or sitting on my porch. Anytime I need a break I have my stories. I love audiobooks!
  4. Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? Amy nails the tense moments. She reads with the passion and intensity that those scenes need and makes the words jump off the pages with emotion. People can’t always read what the author feels but a good narrator helps translate those feelings.
  5. If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? Obviously, as a romantic suspense time travel author, I love the concept! I would use the power in a heartbeat. I’m not sure what I’d choose as my first destination…and yet, in a sense, I’ve already experienced a time slip with each of my novels. I hope everyone feels that way when they listen to or read my books…after all, that’s the point.
  6. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? I love a series. They give me a chance to revisit characters and places I already love and, as an author, a series reconnects me to readers who loved my stories. A stand-alone is easier. One and done. In a series, you have to find a way to bring your readers up to speed without dumping too much backstory on them. But a series, to me, is more rewarding. I try to make all of my series stories stand-alone, but I make sure some of the previous characters visit in smaller roles.
  7. What's your favorite:
    1. Food: Lobster
    2. Song: Everlasting Love
    3. Book: Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
    4. Television: show Outlander
    5. Movie: Déjà Vu
    6. Band: Anything Motown
    7. Sports: team Atlanta Braves [pro] Georgia Bulldogs [college]
    8. City: Ashville N.C. or Charleston S.C.
  8. Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work? I was inspired by Outlander and Déjà Vu but they aren’t refrenced in my writing.
  9. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors? Learn from those who have walked the path before you, and never give up on your dreams.
  10. What’s next for you? My current WIP is a romantic political thriller, Reign Of Fire, which is the first in my Deep State Mysteries series, and I’m also working on a new supernatural romance series, Ghosts Of Lake Lanier.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

The Basement

After two months, our basement is finally fixed! We have walls (a BIG deal) painted pale green, super-soft carpeting, and now we’re putting everything back where it goes.

Except...

The teen who uses the basement doesn’t want the walls filled with posters that she doesn’t like. Understandable, except...

She seems to think she’s in charge of the basement since she picked out the color of the walls and the carpet.

It’s also the only place in the house where the husband can hang his Star Wars and Phillies posters that don’t fit in his office.

So the two of them are bargaining—who gets what side of the basement (it’s divided by a half wall that’s architecturally pleasing but in reality, a pain in the butt to work with furniture). Dividing the basement in half doesn’t really work since they both use the whole area. He uses it for exercising every day and she uses it to hang out with friends and for messy homework projects. It’s a great space for both of them. And now that the older-than-the-teen TV has been replaced with a brand new one that offers Netflix at the push of a button (apparently, this is a cool thing—I don’t really watch Netflix, and when I do, someone has to start it for me), she and her friends can watch movies downstairs, leaving the family room free for my use. Works for me! 

What’s not quite working for me is putting back all the books on all the bookcases we have down there. I have a whole new appreciation for librarians. Since I didn’t take photos of what was where before we raced to empty them from the flood and for the carpet installers who were moving said bookcases for us, I don’t have a plan to work from. So I’m trying to organize them by genre and author. Not having any spatial abilities, it requires a lot of putting books on the shelves, realizing I didn’t leave enough room and moving the books to different shelves. Multiple times.

At some point, it will all be reorganized, and the teen and the husband will either tire of bargaining or come to an agreement. And hey, it’s better than a flood!

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Strategy

My husband and I have been going out to dinner more frequently lately, and the restaurants we’ve been choosing have been, on the whole, nicer than our typical standbys. Our kids are older—the Princess is in college and Banana Girl is in high school—so we should have been able to do this long ago. But it took us a while to realize we could up our restaurant game, and even longer to realize we could go out by ourselves or with friends and leave any children at home. I guess we’re slow. Or tired.

And I’ve come to realize that going out to eat, and really enjoying the experience, requires a strategy, especially if you want to make it through dessert—and seriously, isn’t the whole point of eating a meal so you can get to dessert?

I’ve always looked at menus ahead of time. My husband is a picky eater, so I always glance at what the restaurant serves to make sure there’s something for him to eat. I’m much easier to satisfy, as I only have three things I won’t eat:

  • Anything alive (as in, it can’t be alive while on my plate)
  • Any type of organ
  • Any type of bug/insect

Beyond that, I’ll try anything once. If it has a sauce, I might even try it twice.

But lately, my eating out strategy has developed further. 

I look at the menu, not just for my husband, but also for me. First, I look at the desserts, because I need to know how much room I’ll need to leave for them. Some places just don’t have great desserts, so I can order appetizers along with my main course. Others have absolutely mouth-watering ones, and in that case I might just get an appetizer so I have plenty of room left over. Yes, I still believe that dessert goes in a totally different part of your stomach than your non-dessert food, but still, there’s only a finite amount of space and I like to have a little wiggle room. 

And I will never understand restaurants that don’t list their desserts online. Seriously people, that’s often the whole reason I’m coming to your establishment! 

Once I’ve determined if the restaurant is a dessert place or not (and if not, if there’s a good ice cream place nearby), I move onto the main course to get an idea of what I want to eat. I also balance that out with what appetizers they serve. If the appetizers sound more appealing, I’ll skip the main course and just order an appetizer and a salad. Then there’s totally enough room for dessert and my night is made. 

Having figured out what direction I’m going in, it’s now time to go to the restaurant, where my entire strategy can get thrown out the window if the chef offers an intriguing special, or the dessert display is visible. 

And people wonder why I include so much food in my books…

Monday, April 30, 2018

How Being A Romance Writer Ruined Movies For Me

My husband and I went to the movies this weekend. I won’t tell you which one, but it was a big one. And the movie was great. However, afterwards, while my husband was fan-geeking all over the place about it, I started thinking about how my opinions of movies has changed now that I’m a writer, and a romance writer in particular.

The key to romance, the definition, really, is the “happily ever after” or “happily for now” ending. It is a requirement of the genre. If the story doesn’t end with either of those, it’s not a romance. There doesn’t have to be sex, but the story has to end with an HEA or HFN. Romeo & Juliet? Not a romance because the hero and heroine die in the end.

While I don’t exclusively watch romance movies, I enjoy movies that have some sort of relationship in them. And depending on how the relationship plays out can influence how much I enjoy the movie, although I’ll say that as long as the relationship is believable, I can be pretty understanding.

But it’s more than the ending of the movie that determines whether or not I enjoy it. Since becoming a writer, I look at the structure as well. Is there conflict? Are there character arcs? Is there a plot?

The last Bourne movie I saw was one long car chase. There might have been a vague plot to it, but honestly, car commercials have about the same amount of story in them. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the adrenaline rush, but the movie doesn’t tell a story. The Marvel movies usually have about 30-45 minutes in the middle of the movie that sags. The first crisis has been solved, but then there’s another issue they have to fix. As much as I enjoy these movies, they remind me of an infomercial—but wait, there’s more! Even romances don’t usually last long enough for the growth of the relationship to be believable.

My husband is a lawyer and doesn’t enjoy watching legal dramas due to the errors that are often included. I never used to understand that, but I’m starting to now. It’s not that I don’t like watching movies, I do. But it’s harder to turn off my “story brain” and let myself just get taken over by the movie.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dipping My Toes In the Water

Have I told you I’m self-publishing one of my backlist titles? I may be repeating myself, so if I am, my apologies. Keep reading anyway. ;)

Anyway, my previous publisher, Rebel Ink Press, is shutting its doors in June. I published four books with them: A Heart of Little Faith, Skin Deep, The Seduction of Esther and Miriam’s Surrender (please note, NONE of the books I’ve been publicizing for the last year are with this publisher). Since they’re going out, I’ve been getting my rights back so that those four books will no longer be available unless I do something else.

The questions is what to do? Well, self-publishing is a growing industry and hybrid authors (those who do a combination of self-publishing and traditional publishing) are on the rise. The stigma around self-publishing is gone. Because the four books I mentioned have already been released, I decided to look into self-publishing.  

I’m starting small, only working with one of those books—A Heart of Little Faith. The first thing I did was to give it to an editor. No matter how many times it’s been looked at, it can always benefit from someone other than me looking at it. A writer friend I know is also a freelance editor. She edited the entire manuscript and oh boy, there were a lot of changes she recommended. I took a deep breath and made them, and wow, the book is SO much better. 

Then I sent the manuscript to a copy editor. Because again, I always miss the little things and those are the things that end up embarrassing me (Random Reader: Did you know you spelled that word wrong?). I know someone who is phenomenal at copyediting and she found lots of things that would have been embarrassing if they had been published. 

Whenever a book is re-published, it needs a new cover. So I hired a cover artist, who designed a beautiful cover. 
Now all that’s left is formatting it for publication and putting it up on Amazon. I’m only publishing it in e-book version this time around. And I’m using this as a test run to see what happens. I know how much I spent and I’ll see how much I make in sales. If it works, I’ll self publish the others. If not, I’ll hold onto the rights for a while and see what, if any, other options I have. 

Look for the re-release of A Heart of Little Faith this summer!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Last Chance for a Giveaway!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. I’ve teamed up with 20 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of steamy contemporary romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! You can win my novel FIVE MINUTES TO LOVE, plus books from authors like Kendall Ryan and Michele Arris—just by following me and other great steamy contemporary romance authors on BookBub! Enter the giveaway by clicking here:  http://bit.ly/steamyromance-apr18.

Good luck and enjoy!