New short story coming your way!

I just wrapped up edits on One Red Cent, a short story that will be released this summer! It’s in the Miranda Vaughn Mysteries series, but is from the point of view of Sarah Girard, Miranda’s kick-ass best friend! I had such a great time writing this and am really excited to get to share it with you soon!

KillerBeachReads_finalIn the meantime, here’s a snippet from another of Sarah’s bad dates:

I smiled at Christian and hoped that I looked semi-interested in whatever he was talking about. I was pretty sure it was about his job at a mortgage brokerage firm, but I had tuned out the last time the door had opened and I’d seen Eddie waving a chef’s knife at an employee. 

“…my new supervisor thought he’d be changing the policy after he got promoted, but well, that was just the way things were done from the gecko.”

My head snapped back to Christian. “Uh, I’m sorry. What did you say? The gecko?”

He nodded. “Yeah, it’s a saying. You know, like, from the gecko.”

I paused, unsure if he was serious. “I think you mean from the get go.”

He laughed. “That doesn’t make sense. Get go? What does that even mean?”

“No, ‘from the gecko’ doesn’t make sense,” I said. Was I really having this discussion?

“It means from a long time ago. You know, when the geckos ruled the earth.”

“Uh…” I had no idea what to do with this.

Christian nodded, his handsome face quite serious. “They’re, like, dinosaurs.”

One Red Cent will be released in July in the KILLER BEACH READS anthology, by Gemma Halliday Publishing. For updates on this collection, sign up for my newsletter: http://bit.ly/EllieNews

The End!

TheEndAbout two weeks ago, I typed the last two words of Dropping the Dime, book 2 of the Miranda Vaughn Mysteries series!

Well, that’s not entirely true, I suppose. The first draft was complete, but there was still a lot of work to do. Since then, it’s gotten a thorough once-over after feedback from my awesome critique partner, but it’s now about to be sent of to the publisher! For even more editing.

It was great to hang out with Miranda and her crew again, and get to know some interesting new players. Miranda’s back from her adventures in Chasing the Dollar and is trying to find her footing with a new job working for her former defense attorney.

Miranda Vaughn was once accused of stealing millions, now she’s helping others who are facing criminal charges. Being an assistant to her former defense attorney isn’t her dream job, but the scandal surrounding her high-profile trial guarantees that she can’t go back to investment banking, no matter that she was found not guilty nearly a year ago.
She’s eager to prove herself and her first task is a simple one—protect Kathryn, a shy CFO who has turned informant, and help her prove that a popular real estate developer is embezzling millions from his company. But what should be a straightforward assignment is deliciously complicated when Miranda is thrown together with FBI Agent Jake Barnes, the man who saved her life, broke her heart, and then disappeared.
Miranda quickly finds that beneath the neatly plotted rows of tidy tract homes lurks dark secrets, bitter feuds and a whole lot of greed. Nothing is what it appears, even Miranda’s timid client, who is hiding secrets of her own.
Despite her growing distrust of her client, Miranda must protect Kathryn from becoming the target of the FBI’s investigation, protect herself from the real thief—all while protecting her heart from the FBI agent who she can’t seem to resist.

 

Dropping the Dime is set for an April release. For more updates and a sneak peak from Chapter One in the next few weeks, sign up for my newsletter. I promise not to spam you and you can unsubscribe at any time and my feelings won’t be hurt. But you might want to check it out, because I’ll be sharing my new cover, exclusive excerpts, and exciting news about a new project!

Ringing in 2015!

We’re talking New Year’s Resolutions over at the Laffeinated Ink blog today. Do you make them? Do you keep them?

I’ll be trying to move more in 2015. Getting out and walking (even when it’s cold), finding some sort of exercise that I don’t hate and doing more of it.

And write, of course. I have been good about keeping track of my word-count this year and I think I’ll be ending the year with (hold on, let’s check the spreadsheet) more than 130,000 words. I had been aiming for 190,000 words, but I spent a lot of time editing, marketing and doing other things related to the publication of my first book. So I’m cutting myself some slack on not making that goal.

As I revamp my business plan, I’ll post my writing and publishing plan for the next year. But first, I’m going to take advantage of this fresh cup of coffee and a nice quiet house and I’m going to write some more words. Maybe I’ll be able to finish the year with 132,000 words.

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve! Be safe and stay warm while ringing in 2015!

Ever closer to being a published author

Near San Simeon July2014
California coast near San Simeon, June 2014.

Well, hello! I have been working and not stopping in here to say hi. But that involuntary hiatus is over now. Here, have a pretty black and white photo of the beach. Better now?

I just finished reviewing the edits on Chasing the Dollar and it wasn’t painful at all! I had been sort of dreading getting the comments back. My imagination is active and creative and I was pretty sure I’d get a manuscript back with all sorts of problems flagged. That did not happen. The editor had great comments and suggestions to make the book better, but they were easy fixes and I agreed with most everything. And then I caught a couple writing tics that I have and excised those crutch words that I rely on way too much.

So, I’m another step closer to being a published author.

*takes deep breath*

*then another*

*flails madly anyway*

Now I can focus on my new WIP, a holiday novella featuring Miranda Vaughn again. After re-reading Chasing the Dollar twice in the last few days (or three times, but who’s counting?) I am back in her head and her POV is coming naturally. I have a couple weeks away from the day job, so I hope to get this finished by mid-August.

Then I get to get back to the full-length sequel to Chasing, which is outlined and just sitting there, tempting me. There’s also a pile of books, uh, in my Kindle, that’s also tempting me. At the top of that metaphorical pile is Broken Elements by Mia Marshall, which I started last month before the day job consumed my life. Guys! This is so good!

Go find a good book of your own and enjoy your weekend. That’s what I’m going to do.

Something to Celebrate

Well, hello! It’s been a while since I’ve actually written anything here, but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing.

Despite this obstacle, I am writing.
Despite this obstacle, I am writing.

I have finished another book–a fun, thrilling, romantic mystery that was so much fun to write. It was my first time writing a first-person POV. The book is tentatively titled Payback. Here’s the blurb:

Miranda Vaughn was just found not guilty of fraud, putting an end to the worst year and a half of her life. And now the trouble really starts. Determined to find who set her up, Miranda begins her own investigation—leading her to Macau and Belize, and into the arms of a sexy FBI agent who has his own agenda.

I may have posted this previously, but now the book is really done! It’s been through beta readers, I’ve made some changes, and now I’m just polishing before sending it off to my editor. *big sigh of relief* It was so much fun writing Miranda’s story, I wasn’t ready to let her go. So I have a full outline for her next adventure and I’ve written the first two chapters, including a scene that still makes me laugh when I think about it.

Since this is my 200th post, I feel like I should celebrate somehow. But since I’m anxious to get back to my manuscript, I’m just going to say thanks to anyone who stops by and reads these irregular updates on my writing progress. Now I’m going to push the cat off my desk and get back to that.

Here be technicolor dragons

I meant to post something this week, but, well… life happened. I’m blogging twice a month at Laffeinated Ink now, but I don’t want to neglect this space because I’ve been here for… hold on, let me check the archives–almost three years. Yikes. That’s a while.

Writing is going well. I’m just wrapping up revisions on the last few chapters of the untitled, but now under contract, romantic mystery. I’ll have more news on that front soon, I hope.

In the meantime, enjoy this friendly guy who I found in Las Vegas of all places. I’ll be back soon, I promise. But in the meantime, stop by Laffeinated Ink, where I’m hanging out with a lot of talented writers.

Vegas Dragon

The most romantic of Valentine’s gifts

Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate, I brought my honey something better than chocolate, flowers, or gooey cards (well, I did buy a gooey card). But I also bought him beer. I know my man. Maine 15 (1)

Since I’m still neck-deep in editing, I’ll just re-post one of my favorite photos recently. It’s the love locks in Portland, Maine.

Have a romantic holiday, or at least enjoy the abundance of good chocolate available at a discount tomorrow.

Transported by a book

Well, hello! It’s been a little while since I’ve had time to update here. That’s because I’m neck-deep in edits of Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer (still a tentative title) and trying to fit in some time to work on an as-yet-untitled WIP. The edits are going well, I think, though I had to go buy a copy of The Elements of Style, that indispensable bible of writing. The writing was going fine until I ran into a small hurdle that may require that the third act take place in a different country. Not an insurmountable hurdle, but this requires a little more research. So I’m still about three chapters from the end, but I’m confident I’ll be able to wrap up that WIP by the end of February.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I have a couple minutes to relax, I’ve been reading a delightful book, Italian Summer, by Maria Grazia Swan. It’s a lovely cozy mystery that transports me back to Italy every time I pick it up and I’m really loving it. It inspired me to dive in my archives to find the photos from my trip there and holy doodle! That was in 2003. I really need to return.

And I just learned that another of the author’s books is on sale for 99-cents. Gemini Moon starts at the Ponte Vecchio! I was there! (Don’t you love that feeling when you’re reading a book and recognize the landmarks?)

So, in short, my life is writing, reading, and questioning my previously held beliefs on comma use. And wondering where my passport is and whether I could pull off a European vacation this year.

2013 Resolution Update — How did I do?

Before I dive into drafting my 2014 Resolutions, I wanted to take a look back at 2013 and see how I did on my last year’s resolutions — or how soon I abandoned them.

To be fair to myself, I actually did quite well on my goals.

1.  Keep a monthly word-count calendar.
Done! This was not a difficult task because I love creating spreadsheets and tracking incremental progress toward a goal. Especially if there are charts involved. Man, I love charts. This year, I think I’m going to use a different type of spreadsheet. This makes my inner accountant ridiculously excited. I had a goal of writing 180,000 words in 2014 and I came fairly close to that with 156,000 words. I’ll do a separate entry dissecting what I wrote last year and what I learned from that.

2.  Finish and edit Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer
Done! It started as a novella. It ended about 120,000 words later. The the painful editing began. Seriously, this book convinced me to learn more about plotting, outlining, writing the ending first — all sorts of tactics that might have helped me rein in my out-of-control story.

3.  Finish draft of PDT
OK, this didn’t happen. I do have a full outline for it, and I’ve written about 10 chapters. I will get back to this standalone romantic suspense novel. But probably not right away. I do love the characters and the premise. Maybe I’ll add this to the 2014 to-do list.

4.  Finish You, Again
Again, this didn’t happen. Once I realized that I need to rewrite the first three chapters, I lost some steam on this. But I do know where I’m going and have a good idea how to get there. It may just take a heavy revision of the 76,000 words written.

5.  Submit something.
Done! And then, done again! I submitted a chapter to a contest, got great feedback and was invited to submit a partial manuscript. And then the rest of the manuscript. That went out on December 1, so this item can be crossed off my resolutions list.

6.  Professional development
Still not networking with other authors, except online. I still haven’t joined RWA or attended a conference. I do have an awesome critique partner and nobody listens to more writing podcasts. (Nobody! I have a long commute.) But I would like to do more in real life, not just online. This will go on the 2014 list.

7.  Write something in first-person POV
Done! Sort of! My new project is in first-person POV and I’m loving it. It’s been really fun and so far, I have received some nice comments about my voice in this WIP. It’s a little more than half-finished.

8.  Outlines for next WIPs
I have many more outlines filed away now — including a couple standalone novels, two in the Trust Me series, and one and a half in a new series of novellas. I did the outline for my first-person WIP in a spreadsheet, so you know I loved that. I had intended to write the outlines for books two and three that follow Trust Me. I have a fairly sketchy one for Jude, but I still have no idea why there’s a dead body in the first chapter of Fiona’s book. But I do have books 4 and 5 outlined.

So overall, I’m pretty happy with how well I stuck with my 2013 goals. I think doing a monthly recap helps me keep on track, so I’ll keep doing that in 2014. Next up, what do I want to do in 2014? It’s time to make that commitment.