The hubs and I live in a city. You expect a little riff-raff now and again but the oddest things always happen to me when I'm alone.
A guy singing his heart out to me? Check.
Following my dogs around, guessing their names? Check.
Someone asking me to help buy underwear for them? Yup.
Aggressively asking for money and insisting I give them my credit card? Also check.
But my Monday started off in the most dramatic fashion.
I thought my car was stolen.
It wasn't-- and for the sake of not embarrassing myself too much, let's just say I parked somewhere unusual and forgot about it. So, I'm already running 15 minutes late (due to crying about the 'missing car') and cheer in delight when finally I spot it. I hustle to it, but someone else is running in my peripheral vision.
Hm, this guy must be running late too! I'll give him a sympathetic smile. I turn. I smile.
Mistake. I made eye contact with a vagrant and he now stood right to my car on the other side. He wanted me to take him to the bank. Like, he tried to get in my car and have me cash his check at the bank.
It was the most bizarre proposition I've experienced. I believe my words were along the lines of hell to the no. He got the picture and thankfully I never felt threatened, but weird, uncomfortable, confused? Yes. All of those things. He walked away and I sped out of there and made it to work only ten minutes late.
In conclusion, it was the most Monday of all time and I'm glad today was much better. Cheers to a happy hump-day tomorrow!
One of my main goals for 2018 was creating more of an online platform and updating my website--and it's finally done! I'm almost at the one-year mark since entering the publishing world (which is crazy to think about!) and with the awesome help of my husband, I made some necessary changes.
First-- I created a newsletter sign up. If this interests you, see the link to the right of this post. I promise I won't spam you!
Second--I have an awesome book banner as my headers across all social media! My amazing husband created it for me and I just love the look of it. He did a phenomenal job. I have to say, it was quite amusing to see him researching all types of romance book banners.
Third--I've been upping my social media game and have included my recent Instagram link on the top right. I held off on getting it for the longest time, but now I"m obsessed with it. I mainly post pictures of my dogs or drinks, but hey, I love it.
I've learned so much during the process of essentially 'rebranding' myself and will only continue to learn more. This writing adventure can be bleak, rewarding, and fascinating at all once so thank you for joining me!
I'll be the first to admit-- I refrained from getting Twitter back in college when ALL my friends got it. I still struggle with social media. I sort of have an Instagram, had Snap Chat for a week or two then deleted it, and fought getting a Twitter. Its 'just another thing to learn.' I also sound significantly older than I am, but its just my preference. But ever think about writing?
Grow your social media platform. Even if its awkward. Twitter is a huge resource and platform to meet other writers and get awesome tips. (If you're looking for agents-- they post tips all the time)
This list might be weak but its just a list of # or events on Twitter than I found extremely helpful.
#MSWL Manuscript Wish List --> agents, editors, and publishers use this for concepts they want
#Askagent--> ask a question and hopefully, an agent answers
#Askeditor--> same goes, for an editor
#RWChat-- Romance Writers chat on Sundays 4PM PST, 7PM EST --> connect with other romance writers with various prompts
#chance2connect --Writing group of all genres for writers to connect on the first Tuesday of the month
#CPmatch-- want a critique partner? beta readers? Follow this thread
#Carinapitch-- pitch your hook to editors at Carina Press, an online imprint of Harlequin
#Pitmad--pitch your hook to agents on set dates-- if they like it, submit your query
#WIP (Work in Progress)
As I said before, this is just the surface of the Twitter world but it has helped me tremendously. I'm learning how to navigate in this publishing world and I wish I would've known about the benefits of Twitter years ago.
Know of any others and care to share?
Want to connect on Twitter? @jaquelinesnowe
I'm going for it this year. 2018. The year of the woman and the year I write down goals-- attainable ones-- and stick to them. I've tried, and failed, at keeping resolutions. I'm sort of a "go big or go home" type of person and I burn out. If I want to start working out again, I'll go too hard the first week and make myself sick, so I stop. If I plan to go to bed early, I'll fall behind on things which means waking up earlier and thus, getting the same amount of sleep. Forget giving up chocolate. I'll go three days without it and then have a low moment and accidentally eat an entire bag of M&Ms. As you can see, I'm not consistent. I'm a mess.
Thus, the list. I'm holding myself accountable. Ten things I'm working on this year. No excuses.
1. Practice Mindfulness. I've read quite a bit about it and it sounds fascinating.
2. Hydrate. I read women are supposed to drink around 91 ounces a day. I've had 34 and it's dinner time. No more-- 2018 is the year for more water.
3. Hiking. I love in the southwest and don't take advantage of the beautiful trails. I want to go 10 times this year. 10.
4. Join a writing group. This idea terrifies me (strangers commenting on my work-- yikes!) But its good to surround yourself with people who know the craft.
5. Finish 3 romance manuscripts (at least the first draft. A MS can take anywhere from 4-10 drafts)
6. Italian. I started learning in two years ago and I stopped making time for it. I want to get back to it.
7. Exercise. I won't commit to anything crazy but I need to make a valid effort to walk, jog, or run three times a week. I had a career change and won't be on my feet as much and staying active is a must.
8. Reading four books a month; 1 outside my comfort zone. I read at a pretty quick rate and can knock out the amount of books each month easily-- its the challenge reading outside what I love. (I'm a sucker for YA, thrillers, and romance.)
9. Finish a MS without romance. No one has to read it, but I want to challenge myself.
10. Better skin care routine. I know that sounds weird but I need to take better care of my skin. (Side note-- if you know any secrets or products that work great, let me know :) )
Well, now that its on the internet its forever. I must complete them, then. What about you? Do you have any New Year Resolutions?
The first to find the pickle gets the extra present. It meant a full-out war between my brother and I growing up. I am naturally competitive and hated the thought of losing anything, but the motivation for that one extra present was enough to have me get up early on Christmas day and search the tree for the pickle. The present wasn't extravagant. But it meant winning. I can't recall when we stopped doing the pickle, but at some point, it faded and now it's just a fond memory. Recently, I found out the pickle is a German tradition. If you don't believe me, read about it here.
Family traditions are fun because they are so different. One of my favorite traditions as a kid was hunting to find the perfect Christmas tree. My entire family would drive to a tree farm, play hide-and-seek through the lines of pine tress, and spend hours finding the one. There were always turkeys at the tree farm (and I have no explanation as to why they were there- but we expected it year after year) and we would all practice talking to the turkeys. To this day, I can do a pretty fantastic (and embarrassing) impression of a turkey. I blame this tradition.
I wanted to share one more tradition I was told about this week. At work, we got paired up with colleagues for an end of the year meal and we had to share crazy things our families did at the holidays. He shared the coolest idea. His parents would cut a ring from the bottom of the tree every year. They would each write out all the amazing things or milestones that happened throughout the year, the date, and then hang them up around their home. He said they had been doing it for 50 years- 50 wooden rings filled with memories all over his parents house! It blew my mind. That is such a cool, quirky tradition.
Do you have any crazy, sentimental, or fantastic traditions? Please share. Christmas is my favorite time of year.
I started reading romance in high school. Both my grandma's had stacks, bags and bookcases full of different romances and I was fortunate enough to share a passion with them. It wasn't weird to swap books. It was a unique situation where I could chat with my grandma about the characters, the emotions, the ending, and the quick escape into another world. I am a huge fan of lists. I make them all the time and as I'm making my way into the romance-writing world, I decided to create a list of the top 10 reasons I (and others) should read romance.
Because romance is more than just "smut."
I knew what a therapist would tell me-that I used sex and exercise as a way to cope with something I would never get over. I already knew that. I didn't need to waste time going to talk to somebody about my issues. Not when the women were willing and more into it than I was. I wasn't a goddamn idiot. I knew why women slept with me, and I didn't care. If they wanted to say they'd slept with me before I made it big, then sign me up. It was easier than thinking... No. I preferred not to think about the past. Honestly, I preferred not having feelings. And most days, I didn't.
My life had two purposes: protecting my mom and Kate, and football. Everything else was just details.
I showered and felt an inkling of regret when I found Kate setting up her room without her normal energy. She'd always been one of those annoyingly happy people. She smiled too big, too often. And she was a ray of sunshine. And that sunshine was dimmed. Because of my issues.
I was more of a storm cloud, and I owed her an apology. I knocked on the door frame, getting her attention. "Hey, can I come in?"
"Would you like a tour?" She pointed to the closet with her middle finger. Subtle, Kate. Real subtle. "This is the closet. I hung up my five outfits. This is my bed."
I couldn't help myself. I laughed. "Looks nice."
"Shut up, Grody." She blasted the music louder, some pop band I'd heard on the radio. She went about emptying her suitcase and eyed me. "Can I help you...or you just going to stand there like a creeper?"
"I came to apologize." I squeezed the back of my neck. Finding it hard to say sorry was in my blood. I didn't think I had ever heard my mom use those words in my life. Kate didn't help the situation. Her mouth fell open, and her pale-blue eyes widened as she dropped everything in her hand.
"Color me shocked. You have my full attention." She perched on the edge of the bed, the trace of a smile on her lips. The little shit's enjoying this.
"I shouldn't have been a dick about Brenden. I still can't talk about it." I joined her on the bed, and she put a hand on my shoulder. Her tiny hand barely registered when she squeezed me, but the thought was nice. "Would be real shitty of me to have our first night as roomies fighting."
"We aren't fighting. I don't think it's healthy you can't talk about somebody we both loved. But I won't push it."
"So, we're good?" I gave her a hopeful smile.
"Yes, Brody. I'm not going to throw away sixteen years of friendship over a small, albeit real, case of you being an asshole." She patted my shoulder one more time and stood. "Now, get out. I need to shower the plane off me."
"Yes, ma'am." I headed toward the living room. It had a small desk where I spent zero time. Maybe Kate would use it. Itching to head to Natalie's, I busied myself with work-out plans.
Four hours a day. Stretching and yoga. Core and muscle building. I loved the hell out of working out, but it worried me. Could I handle it? The fear of not making the fifty-three-man roster in August terrified me. I didn't know what happened after. I never thought about it. My agent gave me two things to work on this summer before training.
Work out as much as you can to build stamina. The training camp broke some of the strongest men.
Befriend the players when working out. It'd shocked me when he'd said it was like any other job. That who I knew and got along with played a role. It was easier to cut a draft pick if they were a party of one. It was a hell of a lot more difficult when they had a team around them, a bond.
I had gone to the gym almost every day since being drafted in late April, but I had yet to meet any of the veterans. I had to try harder. It was already June. Lost as I was in thoughts of how to be more goddamn friendly, Kate's voice broke my focus.
"Grody, sorry to be a pain. But do you have food here, or should I go pick up something?"
I lifted my head from my half-assed notes and pointed at her Cubs shirt. "Wrong team, blondie. How you going to convince your new place of work you're a fan?"
"I am a fan of baseball. I appreciate the beauty and romance of the sport. I also realized I have zero Diablos shirts. It's on my list to buy some tomorrow."
"Good call." I stretched. "I think I have some food. I can cook us some dinner?"
"Yes!" She did a weird-ass victory dance. "I totally forgot you could cook. I just got a hell of a lot more excited about living here."
"Yeah...we all know what happens when you get in front of a stove. I'm surprised you're not the size of a balloon. All you eat is takeout." I tugged the end of her hair when I walked by her. She smacked my hand away.
"Rude. And true." She followed me and perched at the high-top table I'd recently purchased. I didn't give two shits about furniture, but it did tie the kitchen together. "I run a lot."
"Be careful if you go in the heat. Bring water and let me know before you leave." I raised my voice. "I'm not being overbearing. People underestimate the heat-"
"Brody, I grew up here."
"And you've lived away for a while."
She sighed, but her blue eyes crinkled at the sides.
I cooked us a simple protein-filled dinner and fought a laugh the entire time we ate. She shoveled food into her mouth, groaning into the seasoned chicken breast. She'd been known as "the disposal" growing up, with how she devoured food, and it fit. She caught me staring at her and raised an eyebrow. "You eat with so much enthusiasm."
"That was the nicest way to say I don't eat like a lady." She smiled, a little food on her mouth. "I haven't had a home-cooked meal in ages. Forgive me for forgoing manners. Oh, and I've seen you lick someone else's toothbrush as a prank."
"Shit." I let out a ragged laugh. "Eddy, right?"
"Yup. He deserved it, but you can't make fun of me for 'eating with enthusiasm' when you've done weirder things." She took another bite, crossing her eyes.
"Fair enough." I slid the key I had for her across the table. She nodded at me but otherwise gave it no attention, food her only priority. I ate in record time. Family dinners growing up had been on the go between sporting events-I'd learned to eat a full meal in ten minutes. "You're on clean-up duty."
"I figured as much." She leaned back and patted her stomach. "Best part about this is you only eat healthy shit. My body and I thank you."
I shrugged one shoulder. "Glad to help. I have some work to do before I head out later. You need anything?"
"Nope. I have a ton of shit to do too. Thanks for dinner." She smiled, the warmth in her eyes coming from years of comfort between us.
I spent the rest of the night emailing my agent and learning the names of the other guys on the team. It was the first step. At twenty minutes to nine, I couldn't wait to release the tension that had built up all day. Kate remained at the desk, notes and pens and papers all around her.
"I'm heading out. You good here?"
"Oh, I'm good. You go enjoy yourself." She shuffled some of those papers. "Use protection, my friend."
"I might be going to get ice cream. You don't know," I stupidly replied. She wasn't an idiot; I cringed.
"You'll get cream all right, that's for sure."
I burst out laughing. Same old Kate. Same old humor. "Bye, KZ."
"Don't wake me up when you stumble back with your walk of shame."
I chuckled, locking the door behind me. She was always so damn chill about my hookups. This could end up being a hell of a summer. I just wished my dates were as easy to hang out with as Kate.
Excerpt from Take a Chance on Me
Get it HERE!
#newadult #contemporary #romance
This one is personal.
My newest book, Take a Chance on Me, started out as a way to cope with losing someone I knew to suicide. When I started writing this story, I was thousands of miles away and was never able to grieve. The need to write about it took over. I never stopped until Kate and Brody's story was done.
Suicide is a tough topic to talk about. Often, it is spoke in whispers or low tones out of fear of upsetting someone. In the story, the two main characters are still dealing with the suicide of someone they loved five years later. They are both strong, stubborn, and desperate to do anything to help. We see them struggle through their shared past and work together to really make a difference when it comes to mental health. If I could pick a couple of phrases that my main characters would define as the 'motivating' quote to begin a charity, it would be these:
You don't tell someone with a broken arm to “change their mindset”
You don't tell someone with food poisoning to “make an effort”
You don't go around the hospital and tell people to “try and not be sick”
So why would you tell such things to someone with a mental illness?
Take a Chance on Me is a heart-wrenching journey between two best friends who have to fight to find joy. There is laughter, tears, and some steamy scenes and I can't wait to share it with you all!
Remember those people who use "like" in sentences to the point their speech is distracting? It happens to me frequently working with teenagers. Here is an example sentence:
"Like, did you see what he was wearing? It was like, too skater-y. He's like so not a skater."
"Yeah, but like, he looked good."
The 'likes' are unnecessary (and cringe-y if I'm honest) but I found that while writing, I have the same problem.
And I hate it.
I use the word "that" so many damn times, I have to go through each manuscript and search to remove them one by one. It is beyond frustrating because the word is used so naturally. But if I focus on not using it when writing the first draft, it affects the story.
The best advice I got about writing though was to not write and edit at the same time. Complete the first draft without re-reading it or going over it. Then, after the story is told, go back and begin the edits.
I live by this quote to help when the editing part becomes difficult.... because a glass of wine never hurt anyone.
The time has finally come.
My husband and I are "that" couple.
Yup. We are going to a Halloween party as a pair... together... for the first time in the ten years we've known each other. We are going as Bob and Linda Belcher, from Bob's Burgers. If you haven't seen the show, it's an animated show that makes us laugh our ass off for stupid, stupid reasons.
Honestly, I'm so excited though. We both had to buy wigs for this-- and it's going to be great. We're carrying spatula's around and are going to quote the show as often as possible.
The only issue is: we hope people know who we are or we'll look really, really stupid.
Happy Halloween Weekend!