Saturday, May 10, 2014

For Better Or Worse

Recently, my friend and fellow "chick" over at Chickswagger posted about her experience at a marital retreat.  It was a hilarious post (you can read it here) that got me thinking about a similar experience I went through with my husband.  It was by no means a marital retreat, but it was an experience my husband and I will never forget.

I should mention this happened a number of years ago.  Five or six, I believe.  And spoiler alert: everyone lived.

My husband and I wanted to get away for our anniversary, which is something we'd never done before without our children.  At least not since they were born.  So we left our two kiddos in my mother's capable hands and drove five hours to our destination.  We had rented a gorgeous two-bedroom log cabin in the middle of the forest, surrounded by a chain of lakes with cinematic views and an abundance of wildlife. 

I even surprised my husband by arranging for the restaurant's gourmet chef to leave a decadent chocolate cake, decorated with edible flowers, in our cabin before we arrived.

Our "Lover's Package" (yep, they actually called it that) included a huge Jacuzzi tub in our room *wink wink*, a picnic basket prepared by a gourmet chef (wine included), a romantic horse carriage ride, and a fancy white-linen candlelight dinner. 
Over the weekend, we went fishing, horseback riding, swam in a man-made lake with fun, fast-moving slides that flung you out into the deep water, soaked in a large grotto-style hot tub, swam in the pool around water-spouting palm trees and a rock formation waterfall, made out in a hidden cove, and sat by a campfire while drinking wine and eating s'mores.

Such a romantic, fun-filled weekend, right?

Until...we made the worst mistake ever. 

We rented a canoe.  DON'T DO THIS.  SERIOUSLY.  JUST DON'T.  From the moment we put the canoe in the water, our marriage was in trouble.  I honestly believe that if we hadn't already had such a strong marriage, our romantic weekend would've ended in divorce. 

Here's the thing.  Canoeing is like marriage.  It's all about working together and settling into a rhythm that keeps you moving forward instead of turning circles.  You can learn a lot about yourself and your partner just by picking up that paddle.  For instance, I learned that my swinging arm needs some work, and my husband learned how to duck.  Yes, it was THAT bad.

Of course, it could've had something to do with us canoeing on a lake filled with very large alligators.  Lots of them.  More than once we saw gators (at least ten foot long) enter the water.  The same water we were steadily gliding across.  And trust me, once was enough.  I was absolutely terrified and borderline irrational.  Can you say Lake Placid?  Yeah, I totally went there in my head.  Not only was it the first time I'd ever been in a canoe, but every little movement my husband, who wasn't the least bit frightened, made rocked the boat, causing me to unleash an obscene string of profanities that impressed even him.

We argued the entire time we were in the canoe.  I'll admit I'm a bit of a control freak.  In fact, I'm surprised he didn't knock me out of the boat on purpose and save his sanity.  Thank God that man loves me.  From that point on, I have whole-heartedly believed that the way to know if someone is your soul mate is by canoeing with them.  Because if you both make it back alive, it's obviously meant to be.

Thankfully, we made it out okay.

It might not have been funny at the time, but since then, we've learned to laugh about it and actually have fond memories of our anniversary weekend.  Most of the weekend was indeed pleasant and allowed us to reconnect in ways that we hadn't in years.  Also, we enjoyed making up later.  *grin*

NOTE:  By the way, we later found out that the man-made lake with the fun slides that we had been playing in also had gators in it.  The receptionist's response went something like, "Oh, they won't hurt you.  They stay away from our guests." 

Funny, I hadn't realized that gators were so considerate.  Stupid me.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

My very sweet friend, Jodi Linton, has invited me to participate in the "My Writing Process" Blog Tour.  Jodi is another Entangled author whose book, Pretty Reckless, debuts later this month.  To learn more about Jodi and her release, visit her website.  You guys are going to love her!

By the way, my romance, Rules of Protection, is also debuting with Entangled Publishing and will be released Summer 2014!  To learn more about me or my work, follow me on my social media networks.

Website  /  Twitter  /  Facebook  /  Newletter  /  Email

 Now, onto the questions...

1.  What am I working on?
Rules of Protection is the first book in my Tangled in Texas series and will be released Summer 2014.  So I'm currently working on my second book in the series and am about halfway done with the first draft.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write fast-paced, sexy contemporary romances that are laugh-out-loud funny.  For me, it just seems that sex and humor go hand-in-hand.  Both are major factors in my stories. 

3.  Why do I write what I do?
I love writing hot scenes, but also love funny stuff.  And there's nothing better than someone fanning themselves after reading one of my sex scenes or laughing at something I wrote.  I'm not sure which one makes me smile more.  But my absolute goal is to be as entertaining as possible.

4.  How does my writing process work?
I've noticed that my writing process has varied with each book I write.  I outlined Rules of Protection in twenty-four hours and then wrote it in two and half months (from start to finish).  My current WIP is not cooperating exactly how I'd hoped.  It's only half written at this point, but I've had to skip scenes and start back at the beginning more times than I care to admit.  I know it will get there, but it's definitely making me put in the work.

Okay, guys, that's a wrap!

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my writing process.  I am passing the Blog Tour torch over to three of my writer friends, and on Monday, March 17th, you can visit their blogs and read all about their writing process.  Their information is below!

Thanks for hanging out with me!

Elizabeth Hayley


Elizabeth Hayley is actually "Elizabeth" and "Hayley," two friends who love reading romance novels to obsessive levels.  This mutual love prompted them to put their English degrees to good use by penning their own.  The product is Pieces of Perfect, their debut novel.  They learned a ton about one another through the process, like how they clearly share a brain and have a persistent need to text each other constantly (much to their husbands' chagrin). "Elizabeth" lives with her husband, one and half year old daughter and nutjob of a dog.  "Hayley" lives with her husband and their own crazy dog.  They are hoping to adopt a newborn soon.  Elizabeth Hayley's writing motto is best captured by the words of Patrick Dennis:  "I always start with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind."
Website / Blog:



Kelly O'Dell Stanley


A little quirky and a whole lot frazzled, Kelly O'Dell Stanley is a writer and graphic designer.  Her book, The Art of Praying Upside Down, will be released by Tyndale Momentum in 2015.  In the meantime, she continues to wrestle with doubt and with faith, maintain a calendar that fills up way too fast, and enjoy these crazy moments with her husband as her kids (20, 17, and 13) grow up way too fast.

Website / Blog:



Ella Martin

Ella Martin is a prep school survivor and a Southern California native. She writes books about spunky teenagers who are way cooler than she ever was, and she totally believes in love and happy endings. Her debut, Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? will be out Summer 2014 from Astraea Press. She likes sunny places and is terrified of snowy winters, so she now lives in Florida with her husband and son.

Website / Blog:


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pure Bliss Street Team

Hey, everyone!

I am currently building my Pure Bliss Street Team and would love for you to be a part of it!
My street team members will be entered in awesome member-only giveaways, earn special prizes, and participate in fun contests!  They'll also be privy to insider information and get a chance to sign up to read my books BEFORE they are available to the general public!

The tasks I assign my street team will be very simple and never take up much time.  If you have any questions, please read more about my street team by clicking HERE.

Otherwise, consider this your personal invite to join Pure Bliss Street Team and become an official member.  At any given time, registration may close to the public without warning, so sign up today.  I have lots of fun stuff planned ahead, and I hope you'll join me! 

Sign up in two easy steps by clicking the link below and then clicking the "Join" button.

Yes, sign me up!

Thanks for all the support!