A Weekly Writer’s Schedule


A Weekly Writers Schedule

I previously talked about “How To Be a More Productive Writer”. In that article I listed 6 basic steps that help you attain the productivity needed to make your writing career a success. I briefly touched on the wonders of making lists and schedules. Today I want to talk more about…

A Weekly Writer’s Schedule

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This is a picture of my weekly writers schedule. I created a basic hourly schedule in Microsoft Office and then printed it out. I filled in all the necessary tasks that I would need to perform each day and then color blocked the time I’ve designated to complete them so I can visually see how much time each task takes. I then added some embellishments to make the schedule more visually appealing to me. You don’t have to do that but I recommend it because, honestly, who wants to look at a boring piece of paper.

*Side note: Before creating my schedule I spent a week writing out everything I did and how long it took to do those things. This was done so that I could see how my time was spent. I then took that information and figured out a way to cut the areas of time that did nothing for my life and then came up with a plan to maximize the time that brought me joy and paid the bills lol. 

Here is a breakdown of my weekly writer’s schedule

  • The columns consist of Time, Description, and then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • On the far left is the Time. I broke it down into half hour increments starting at 6am and ending at 10pm.
  • The next column is Description. This is where I wrote down what general task I wanted to perform in that block of time every day of the week.
  • The 3rd – 7th column houses the days of the week (Monday-Friday). In these columns I wrote what specific task I wanted to work on for specific days.

The general tasks that I want to perform daily every week are the following:

  • Family Time 6am to 8am – Getting the kids up, prepared and off to school
  • Me Time 8am-9am – This usually consists of me just trying to wake up enough to function lol but on days where I’m on top of my game I use this time to shower and get dressed for the day.
  • Write Your Heart Out 9am-12noon – I set aside 3hrs a day to just write. Whether its to write out words/scenes for a novel I’m working on, my writers notebook, or to work on contest entries or paying gigs.
  • Lunch Break 12-1pm – I use this time to take a break from it all and eat or run errands. Some times I just veg out and play on my phone lol.
  • Blogging Research 1pm-3pm – I set aside 2 hrs to think of blog ideas, or to research blog information. I also use this time to write out upcoming blog posts.
  • Social Media/Author Platform 3pm-7pm – This is a time period in my day where I’ve blocked 4hrs to accomplish not only things related to social media and my author platform but responding to emails and comments that might pop up during the day, taking care of the kids when they come home from school, and of course making and eating dinner. So I’m not sitting in front of a device for 4hrs but going back and forth between my other responsibilities as wife and mom.
  • Family/Hubby Time 7pm-10pm or whenver we deicde to go to bed. – This block of time is set aside for my family. On a perfect day no devices are touched during this time period but we all know that doesn’t happen like that every day. It’s at least my block of time where I try to spend it solely on the ones I love.

I use the same colors for the same basic tasks and I make sure to color out the blocks of time throughout the whole week. I do this so that when I see a color whether its highlighted material or whatever, I know that just by seeing the color it has something to do with writing, or blogging, or social media, etc…

Here is a break down of what my daily tasks are:

  • Monday –  Family time, Me Time, Write for My Novel, Write/Post Blog, Respond to Emails and Comments, Post to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest (I’ve also added Tumblr) and Family Time to end the day.
  • Tuesday – Family Time, Me Time, Work on Short Stories/Contests/Gigs, Lunch Break, Research for Blogs and for Book, Respond to Emails and Comments, Interact With all Social Media Accounts and Family Time.
  • Wednesday – Family Time, Me Time, Work on Novel, Lunch Break, Write and Post a Blog Article, Respond to Emails and Comments, Post to All Social Media Accounts, and Family Time.
  • Thursday – Family Time, Me Time, Work on Writers Notebook, Lunch Break, Research for Blog and Book, Respond to emails and comments, Interact on All Social Media Networks, and Family time.
  • Friday – Family time, Me time, Free Choice – meaning whatever I am behind on lol, Lunch break, Write and Post blog, Respond to Emails and Comments, Post on All Social Media Networks and Family Time.

*Side note: I try to use the weekend solely for my family and friends and to also catch up on my reading and errands that I didn’t get to during the week. 

Next I took my finished basic weekly schedule and placed it into a picture frame. Why you ask? Not because I thought it was a work of art lol but because this way, I will have my basic schedule (only having to print it and fill it out once) under glass so that I can take a fine tip dry erase marker and fill in those tasks that only happen now and then or appointments that pop up but are not a regular thing. You know, saving paper = saving the planet…. small steps at being “green”. Or I’m just a cheap skate and want to save on printer paper and ink. I’ll let you decide which one is the true statement 😉

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I then keep the picture frame on my desk in eye sight so I’m constantly taking peeks at what is coming up next for me. Unfortunately, that is not all I have to do to keep on schedule. I also have this exact schedule programmed into my Google calendar and have set it up so that alarms go off on my phone to signify when it’s time to move onto the next task. I know, a bit much, but it’s what I need to keep myself moving along. Without it, I truly get lost in my own world and end up cruising the internet for hours or burying my self in hours of research without getting the other important stuff done.

In front of my the picture frame I lay out my “Daily To-Do List”. I created this sheet in Microsoft Office as well and I use it to break down the specifics of each daily task I have to do. I have a stack of these sheets printed and stored at my desk. I take one out each night and fill it in with what I need to accomplish the following day. Then I place it on my desk in front of my weekly writers schedule so that it’s ready for me the next morning. That way, when I go to sit down at my desk I don’t waste time trying to remember what it is, specifically, that  I need to do.

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Here is a breakdown of what my Daily To-Do List paper has one it. It is broken down into 6 sections.

Section 1: Writing– Where I list what specific writing tasks I need to accomplish and then check off.

Section 2: Blogging– Where I list what specific blogging tasks I need to accomplish and then check off.

Section 3: Social Media– Where I list what specific social media tasks I need to accomplish and then check off.

Section 4: Research– Where I list what I need to research and then check off.

Section 5: Appoinments/Meetings– Where I list the time of those appointment/meeting, who they are with and where.

Section 6: Emails/Call– Where I list the emails and calls I need to make along with the phone number or email address.

Confession: This doesn’t happen every night. I’m not Super Mom with the power of productivity but I try to follow this routine and keep it as a guide so I’m not lost at sea when I start my day.

Remember, schedules, to-do lists, and routines are great and incredibly useful but life doesn’t always follow them. Use these as guidelines to help accomplish what you want to in your writing career but don’t ever forget to cut yourself some slack when life gets in the way.

Do you have a weekly writer’s schedule? What does it consist of? What programs do you use to create your schedule or to do lists?

A Writers Notebook


What is a Writers Notebook?

What is a writer’s notebook?

It’s many different things to each writer. It can be a spiral bound notebook of story ideas, or a binder of clippings from things that inspire them. Or, it can be a crazy combination of both.

A writer’s a notebook is defined by that individual writer. 

For me, my writer’s notebook is a big 2in hot pink binder (a hand me down from my daughter).

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Inside it contains writing prompts that I’ve tried and description of every-day scenes and setting from my life that I’ve recorded from my phone or the little note pad in my purse. I also have a collection of sexy words or phrases to help inspire me when I’m stuck. However, the most important section of my notebook (in my mind) is the place where I write down everything that comes to mind for future stories.

TIP: My favorite type of writing prompt is intriguing pictures that I write  a short story or scene based on what I think is happening in the picture or why the picture was taken. I scower the internet for cool thought provoking pictures, print them out in small sizes and then keep them in an envelope I have taped inside of my writers notebook. Then, when it comes time to write, I just pull one out, glue the picture to the page, and write what comes to mind. 

I see a writer’s notebook as a tool to help writers write. To make the practice of writing a fun and interesting experience. Kind of like a diary but instead of a diary of important events and feelings in your life, it’s more like a diary of ideas, scenes that play in your head and words that inspire you.

I love my writers notebook but I have to be honest, I neglect it way more then I should. I’m told that to be a successful “story weaver” I need to practice the art of writing any and everything and that the writers notebook is the key to obtaining that skill.  So, to find time to write in it, I actually entered in a “time slot” in my daily schedule to devote to it.  I know, I know. LAME. But hey, like I’ve mentioned in previous blogs… I’m a planner. Planning is my thing.  🙂

So far, setting up a specific time and creating a reminder “alarm” has really helped. When it’s notebook time I’ll do a little prompt and then include anything I’ve recently come across that was inspiring or any ideas that have floated into my head. (I leave little notepads throughout my home for just those unexpected moments of inspiration.)

Below are links to articles, websites or Apps that can help make your writers notebook full of helpful and inspiring things.

Articles

Websites

Apps

  • A Novel Idea – an app that is “a fun and interactive game where players take turns building a story, one sentence at a time. Scheming plots, bizzar who-dun-it’s, murder mysteries or forbidden love are just a few “Ideas” to get you started.”
  • Werdsmith – an app that ” turns your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into a portable writing studio, so you can write any time, any place. “
  • Flash Fiction Prompter – an app that “is an easy-to-use and simple writing prompter that provides a instant starting point for your Flash Fiction (or other short literary forms) by giving you a random character, setting, and plot, which are the basic ingredients for any story.

Remember: Your writers notebook should be a work of love. Enjoy it, add to it, be proud of it.

Do you have a writer’s notebook? If so, what is yours like? Do you enjoy writing in it or find it more of a chore?

2013 RITA Winners


2013 RITA Winners
After reading through countless articles and books on how to be a successful writer, I noticed that many had the same tip: Read everything you can get your hands on. Read books in your genre, read books outside of your genre. Read bestsellers and emerging authors. Read the classics. Read ANYTHING that talks about or refers to your genre and style of writing. So I thought, what better way to start this reading process then with the 2013 RITA Winners

The RITA is an award granted to authors who have outstanding published romance novels and novellas. The award first appeared in 1980 and was originally called the Golden Medallion. The name was later changed to RITA after RWA’s first President Rita Clay Estrada. Through the years the award has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction.

“Up to 2,000 romance novels are entered in the RITA competition each year. A novel may be entered either by the author or by the book’s publisher in one of the 10 contest categories. After the first round of judging by published romance authors, all entries with a minimum total score of at least 90 percent of the total possible score will advance to the final round.
Once RWA announces the RITA finalists, a final round of judges evaluates and scores these novels to determine the 10 RITA Award winners. The RITA Award winners are announced at the Awards Ceremony at the RWA Annual Conference.”
This information was taken from RWA: http://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=528
 Below I’ve listed the 2013 RITA Winners, their book that received the award and some of the top social media playgrounds (websites) you can find them at.
Best First Book Winner
Simone St. JamesThe Haunting of Maddy Clare 
Contemporary Single Title Romance Winner
Barbara Freethy The Way Back Home 
Historical Romance
Inspirational Romance
Elizabeth Camden Against the Tide
Long Contemporary Series
Karen TempletonA Gift for All Season
Strong Romantic Elements
Simone St. James The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Paranormal Romance
Kresley ColeShadow’s Claim
Romance Novella
Eloisa James Seduced by a Pirate
Romantic Suspense
Laura Griffin Scorched
Short Contemporary Series
Sarah Morgan A Night of No Return
Young Adult Romance
Emily McKayThe Farm
I’m excited to read some of the best current books in my genre and I can’t wait to dive in and get lost between their pages. I just hope it won’t make me feel like I can’t measure up to them. I know I have a long way to go before I can even think about a RITA award but like my Grandmother always says
“If your going to take the time to do something, take the time to do it right. Be proud of what you accomplished, don’t be sorry for the time wasted.” 
Have you read any of these books?
Do you read books of your genre while you are in the midst of writing one yourself?
Do you have any books that you think I should read?
Don’t Be a Stranger. Leave me a comment. You and your opinions are welcome here.

What Can Pinterest Do For Writers?


What Can Pinterest Do For Writers

 

EVERYTHING!

I love Pinterest. There was a time one could say I lived, ate, and breathed it. Now, writing has taken over that area of my life. However, I still turn to Pinterest, first, for all my writing needs.

If you haven’t tried Pinterest yet, here is some basic information to get you started.

Pinterest is a website that started up around 2010. It was created on the idea of “Inspiration Boards”. You know, the cork boards on the walls of homes that were covered in things to inspire you or that you hope to achieve. In the Business world it was  office project boards that helped you plan an event or helped with the creation of a product. Pinterests’ goal was to make the Ispiration/Project board an online entity that you could easily add to and share, whether you uploaded the images and information yourself or found them on the internet and pinned them with the handy “pin it” button.

What makes Pinterest so addicting, in my mind, is that you can literally create as many themed boards as your imagination can come up with. You can spend hours finding the perfect  things to pin to each board and still come back the next day to find more that you didn’t even know existed. The best part is, you can easily browse through other peoples boards for more inspiration and ideas. You can also follow certain people and you will be able to see whatever they pinned on a daily basis on your “home feed” page. The creative possibilities are endless.

I use Pinterest for everything. On my personal account (yes I have two, I pin that much!) I have 47 boards and on my professional account I have 34. My board themes range from Food recepies that make me drool, to cleaning advice I can’t live without, to fashion I wish I could pin directly into my closet at home, and everything in between. However, this article isn’t about what Pinterest can do for your home life but what it can do for Writers.

So, let’s take a look at my pinterest boards on my professional account.

First off, you can find me here on Pinterest . This account is dedicated to writing inspiration and resources. Like I mentioned before there are currently 34 boards (however this number can change whenever creativity strikes me again). Below, I will list the names of each board and a short description. Hopefully, this will give you an idea on how you could use Pinterest to further your writing career.

Darla G. Denton’s Pinterest Boards

  1. Writer for Hire – a board dedicated to articles, tips and websites that help freelance writers.
  2. How to Write – a board that covers the basics of how to write a novel. The core structure of a book, grammar issues, and advice on what works and doesn’t work.
  3. Blogging It Up – a board dedicated to the blogging side of an Authors Platform. I have general “how to” articles, technique articles, and the usual tips and tricks mixed with advice.
  4. Book Publishing and Marketing – a board that covers the wide range of marketing and publishing options for writers looking to send their book out into the masses.
  5. Inspiration: Characters – a board that I created to put pictures of people that inspire me. There are also sayings that Inspire certain characters as well.
  6. Inspiration: Scenes/Setting – a board dedicated to pictures of scenes and settings around the world that invoke my muse.
  7. Writers Block – a board with tips, tricks, and techniques to over come writers block. Also writing prompts that spark my interest.
  8. You Said it! – Just a board of sayings and funny posters that I feel resonate with my writing life.
  9. Books to Read – a board that lists romance and erotic books that I should read.
  10. Words, Words, Words – a board dedicated to words, their uses in writing and handy lists of words to use in the place of other words.
  11. Character Building – a board dedicated to articles and worksheets on building strong likable characters and characters you love to hate.
  12. Revising and Editing – a board of articles and worksheets to help make the editing process a little less painful.
  13. Your Author Website – a board dedicated to tips, tricks, techniques and articles on how to create and maintain a great author website.
  14. Plot Building – a board with articles and worksheets on how to build strong plots that carry you through to the end of the book.
  15. Lost in Translation – a board of articles and info-graphics that explain the differences in other countries. (For when your book takes place outside of the US)
  16. Scene Building – a board that is filled with advice and worksheets on how to build great scenes that transports the readers.
  17. Dialogue Writing – articles that help with the ever important and ever elusive dialogue.
  18. E-Books – a board dedicated to articles and websites about e-books.
  19. Social Media – a huge board filled with info-graphics, articles, and websites that either talk about social media and how it can benefit you, teaches you how to use it to your best advantage or gives your the latest statistics.
  20. Time Management – a board dedicated to articles that teach you how to manage your writing time.
  21. Office Space – a board where I pin things that I want or should do in my office space.
  22. Sequels –  a board with articles on how to pull off a sequel to your book or even a series.
  23. Helpful Websites – a board that lists a wide variety of helpful writer websites and tools.
  24. Short Stories – A board that is filled with articles, tips and techniques on how to write short stories.
  25. Inspiration: Erotica – a board where I pin pictures that inspire love scenes.
  26. Deductions – A board dedicated to tax information for writers and freelancers
  27. Inspiration: Book Covers – a board that I use to pin pictures of book covers that I like.
  28. Research – a board dedicated to pins of things I think are important to remember and also articles on where to go online for research and how to get the most out of your research.
  29. Writing Erotica– a board dedicated to specific articles on how to write Erotica stories
  30. Writers Journal – a board dedicated to prompts and advice on what to put in your writers journal.
  31. NanoWrimo – A board about the current upcoming nanowrimo and articles on how to make the most of your nano time.
  32. Genre: Romance – a board dedicated to articles just about the Romance genre.
  33. A(Plus) Curves – a board devoted to everything that spreads a message of body acceptance and to love your curves.
  34. Writing Contests – a board dedicated to websites that offer writing contests

As I was typing out all the boards I had, tons more board ideas came to mind. So it’s best to check my Pinterest account often, you never know what you might find that will help you with your current project.

Take the time to read through this helpful Pinterest Basics article and if you have further questions don’t hesitate to peruse to Pinterest Help Center.

Do you already use Pinterest? If so, include the link to your account in the comment section and I will be sure to follow you. More Followers = More Pins that come across my feed and I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that in my mind, “The More Pins, The Merrier!”

My View


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I am currently sitting in my living room and this is my view.

It’s been a cold dreary day filled with non-stop rain and heavy fog. I know that if I was one of the unlucky people who have to be out in this I would not enjoy it so much. However, since i’m not I thought I’d share how beautiful it looks right now outside my window.

Its perfect weather to curl up on the couch, snuggle under a warm blanket and get lost in a book. I’m happy to announce, that is exactly what I’m doing! It’s the first time in weeks I’ve been able to catch up on my reading.

What kind of feelings or emotions does this picture invoke in you?

8 Steps to Writing a Novel


8 Steps to Writing a Novel

How to write a novel.

Those 5 words have so many different answers that, as a newbie to the writing world, left me baffled. I clicked onto as many “How To” articles that my hungry little eyes could handle but after reading one and moving onto the next it would leave me confused and frustrated. One would say DO this and the next would say DON’T do that. Complete contradictions… I even found contradictions residing in the same books. What’s a writer to believe?

If you are lucky enough to have a writing mentor then the decision is easy,  go with their advice. However, if you are like me and are on this roller coaster ride by yourself (for the time being hopefully) then you have to take the plunge and either pick a strategy that sounds right or fly by the seat of your pants. I’m not a “pantster” as I’ve heard some writers call it. I’m a “planner”.

The following steps are what I’ve put together after reading over 100 articles on “How to Write a Novel”.

Step 1: An Idea

Some of us are lucky to already have an idea floating in our minds. If that’s the case skip to step two. If not, you can find ideas by:

  • using an application or website that posts daily writing prompts
  • using the inspiration that you’ve written in your writers notebook (more info coming in another post)
  • Checking out websites that post writing jobs and write what they are looking for  (more info coming in another post)
  • Researching agents and or publishers. Take notes on what they are looking for and go from there. A great resource for this is the Novel and Short Story Writers Markets by Writers Digest. They come out with a new version every year and it is extremely useful. A must have for every writers bookshelf.

Tip: Know the difference between what’s an idea and what’s a story line that you can create into a book. For a great example check out this article “The Difference Between Idea, Premise and Plot” by Janice Hardy.

Step 2: Decide on the genre and the tone of the book

Every genre has basic guidelines to follow when writing a book. Do a quick Google search to find the guideline you should use for the genre you are looking to write in. If you are interested in writing a Romance (like me) then pick a publishing house that you might want to work with. On their website they should have guidelines for each of their “imprints”. Here is a list of guidelines that Harlequin created for their imprints.    (A post of the different Romance Publishing houses and their imprints is coming soon). Use the guideline you find as a tool on how to structure your novel.

Step 3: Plan out Your Book

I started this writing process by filing out character worksheets and then from there an idea for a story formed. I thought, why not write that story. I got to chapter 4 when I realized that an idea does not equal a  book. I had great characters but I had no idea what ordeals they were going to have to go through and how it would all work out in the end. So, as all writers who are stuck do, I googled my way out of that problem and into many many more. I found out how useful it is to take the time at the beginning of your novel to:

  • Create in-depth character profiles by using Charolette Dillon’s Character Worksheets
  • Come up with plots that help to move your story along.
  • Create scenes and setting that make sense in your story (check out Jamie Gold’s Worksheets for Romance Plotting and Scene building ” Romance Planning Beat Sheets“)
  • Create a chapter by chapter basic outline to follow along. Here is How to Write a Novel.net’s  Outline Sheet.

Step 4: Research

Once you’ve got your books mapped out it’s time to do the fun part (in my mind at least), Research! To make a believable work of fiction you need to at least have a basic knowledge of what your writing about. The best tool I have found to gather and organize this information is through Pinterest. On Pinterest I can find ideas on how I want my characters to look, what kind of clothes they might wear, the places they might live or visit, the occupations they might have, etc… The best part about it is I can create separate boards for separate subjects and it’s all visual. It’s safe to say I am addicted to this website but it’s a good addiction 😉 You can find me here, feel free to follow and I will do the same.

Some links that will also help in your research are:

These are just a few resources to tap into. Take some time to explore what the internet and your local library has to offer. You will be amazed!

Step 5: Write 

Write your first draft from beginning to end without looking back  or revising/editing.  Many authors mention this as a key step in writing. Worry about getting it all out before you worry about getting it all right.

I am currently in this process and I have to say, it is extremely hard to not look back. I cheated once and went back a few chapters to reread and edit my first 5. It honestly screwed me up. My line of creativity towards the story stalled and I started focusing more on the rules of writing and how things needed to be towards the end of the writing process (something I am very far away from currently) and I freaked myself out. I started to think that my story wasn’t worth finishing. It took almost a month for me to get back into the groove of just writing the story out. Now I know, a story isn’t a story until it’s a beginning, a middle and an end.

Step 6: Read, Revise and Edit

After you have finished typing out your first draft, set it aside for a week or two and then come back to it. Doing it this way leaves you refreshed and feeling as though you are reading it for the first time. (Side note: I would go through the grammar and spelling check first. I don’t know about you but I just can’t focus on something that has a lot of errors.) 

After rereading it start:

  • Revision Process #1: This is where you will fix any obvious problems in the story line.
  • Beta Reader: This can a friend, family member, or fellow writer who reads your book and gives you feedback on it.
  • Revision Process #2: Revision after taking into consideration the critiques you received.
  • Some writers will send their books to a Book Dr or to a professional Editor. That is completely up to you.
  • Format it to fit into today’s submission standards

Step 7: Send it out

After your umpteenth revision and you feel comfortable with what you have created:

  • Find an agent or publisher to work with
  • Send out your queries
  • Make revisions according to your agent or publishers direction

Step 8: Marketing

Today in the writing world, you don’t just write the book. You are responsible for at least half of the marketing to sell it. The best way to accomplish this is to create an Author Platform. (I will go into further detail about that in another post).  Many suggest starting your Author Platform as soon as you decide to write a book you want to publish. Find your community of writer who can guide you to the right people and your beginning group of fans that will be eager to read your breakthrough novel.

I think the key thing I have learned is that if you have a story to write, write it. Then, go back and learn the right way to write a book and start slicing your book to pieces until it’s at its most purest form. Then, and only then will you have a chance at getting it published. Sounds pretty ruthless doesn’t it?! I hope I make it.

If you are a writer in the middle of writing your first book, let me know. I’d love to share this process with other people who are currently in the same situation as me.

6 Steps To Be A More Productive Writer


6 Steps to become a more productive writer

Writing can be a very enjoyable and rewarding process. However, if you’re writing with the goal of becoming a published author or as an option for a career it can become overwhelming, to say the least.

Productivity is key to obtaining any goals but especially  when you’re inundated with projects, dates and deadlines, contests and conventions. Not to mention the incredibly hard process of producing a publish worthy manuscript.

After these first few months of writing and immersing myself in the world of Social Media I’ve noticed that less things have been getting done. Less writing, less family time. I seemed to be doing a lot of work but getting no where close to accomplishing what i set out to accomplish. So I went out in search of tips and tricks on how to be more productive. The following 6 steps are what resonated the most with me and my situation. I hope this helps others in the same boat as me.

Step 1:  Get A Clear Picture

Use a notebook or pad of paper and track what you do for 1 whole day (do a week for a better picture). Write down everything you did and the time you spent doing it. I know, this sounds tedious and kind of silly but it’s honestly the best way to see where you are wasting the most time and what you can change, schedule wise, to make the most of your day.

Step 2: Create A Clutter Free Work Space

  • Have a designated work space (if at all possible). Use a spare room or even carve out a little nook in a corner or a closet. Check Pinterest for Ideas.
  • No excess supplies or materials cluttering up your space. Be ruthless in your decisions. Keep only what is absolutely necessary to get your work done.
  • No loose papers lying around. Scan all loose papers(bills, receipts, business cards, articles, notes, etc…) and place it in a digital file on your computer. If you want to keep the hard copies of everything you scanned, buy magazine holders, decorative boxes or file folders then categorize, place, and store them all according to subject.
  • make your area as pleasing to your eyes as your budget will allow. You want your space to evoke a sense of calm and inspire you.

Step 3: Plan, Plan and Plan Some More

  • Make a business plan that lists your short-term and long-term goals for your writing career. Don’t be shy, reach for the stars. You wont be held accountable for not meeting each goal. It’s just a good exercise to do so that you have an idea of what you want out of your career and how far you want to take it.
  • For those with a blog, invest in a good blog planner, make one of your own, or print one off from the internet. It will help immensely in keeping all your blog ideas/projects in line.

Step 4: Become “One” With Lists

Lists are your friends. Honestly. I know some of you like to fly by the seat of your pants and leave everything up to chance but things can fall through the cracks like that. With the market so full of writers, who’s more likely to get the job? Someone who takes the time to make lists and knows just what they need to accomplish and when or someone who goes with the flow and works on projects when inspiration strikes them? I confess, I like making lists and I use a lot of them. You don’t have to use all these lists I’m about to throw your way but at least choose one or two.

  • Master “To-Do” List: This is a list where you will keep all upcoming tasks, projects (little and small) and personal projects you want/will work on for the year (or month if you are a really busy writer). It’s also good, for the larger projects, to break down the project into steps and set end dates according to their deadlines. Figure out the priority level for each item listed and state it so that you don’t forget.
  • Daily “To-Do” List: This is a list where you will keep track of (fill out) all your daily tasks in regards to your writing career along with any appointments, meetings, important emails and calls that will need to be taken care of for that day. You should fill this out the night before so that when it comes time to work you are ready to go.
  • Weekly Schedule: This is a sheet that lists the time of the day on the left side in half our increments and the days of the week on top. Take the notes from the day (or week) you observed yourself and decide how much time to devote to each task you will need to perform each day (example: Writing 3hrs, Blogging/Research 2 hrs, Social Media 3hrs, etc…) It’s helpful to color block the times to easily recognize what you are seeing when you glance at the schedule throughout the day. (I also like to put this list in a picture frame so that I can write (with a dry erase marker) on the glass certain “one time only” tasks that come up. This way I only need to print and fill out this list once. Don’t forget to carve out time for eating, family time, and “me” time. A helpful tip is to use a timer and set it to the amount of time allotted for the tasks. That way you don’t accidentally run over.
  • Event Tracker List: This is a list where you will write down all the upcoming events, conventions, workshops, parties, meetings, and contests you will to attend or even just wish to attend. Any info you enter here should also be entered into your calendar. The list is just an easy reference when you’ve only got enough time for a quick glance. Check over/fill out at the beginning of each month to keep it up to date.
Darla's To-Do Lists
My “To-Do” Lists

Quick Tip: Keep a pad of paper next to you on the desk so that you are ready to jot down any ideas, important facts or dates that comes to you throughout the day. At the end of the day look over the list and pass the info onto whatever list it pertains to. (I found that if I come up with something in the middle of doing something else it will either start to annoy me  because it’s all I can think about or I will forget it when I try to remember later. Putting it down on paper frees up my mind without forgetting it.)

Step 5: Emails and Calls

  • Keep your email inbox clear at all times. When you get an email read it and respond then put it in its designated online email file folder. If you don’t have the time to respond, set up a reminder or use a service the sends the email back to you at a time you choose.
  • Set time aside in your daily schedule to devote to reading your emails, responding to them, and writing/sending out your own.
  • Having a designated time to make your calls is also helpful. However that all hinges on the person you are calling being available when you want them to be.
  • Write all important emails/calls that you need to do on your Daily “To-Do” list so you do not forget. Or set a reminder on your phone.

Step 6: Background Noise

It’s best to eliminate all background noise so you get less distracted but if your one of those people who must have some type of noise (like me) then try these options instead of the TV:

  • A Fan (this puts me to sleep)
  • An App that plays White noise, brown noise (yes it’s a real thing) pink noise (I kid you not) or nature sounds.
  • Classical music
  • Music from movie soundtracks (I love this option because when I listen to a movie soundtrack while writing a scene it will affect it in unexpected ways that in the end creates something incredible.

*Bonus* Step 7: Get Rid of All Distractions

We’ve covered this already in other steps but it bares repeating.

  • No TV
  • No Radio (unless you are listening to classical or inspiring music)
  • No Internet use (Social Media, favorite websites, games) unless it’s the time you’ve designated for it.
  • No phone/cell phone. This is probably THE most important rule. If you can, turn off your phone completely. I don’t know about you but when I switch my phone to vibrate only, every time it buzzes I have to stop what I’m doing to see what the buzz was for. Then I end up getting sucked into all my fun phone apps and  waste valuable time. If you can’t turn off your phone completely (like me) your cell phone might have a function where you can block all incoming calls except for certain numbers you choose. I like this function because I need my phone on in case my husband or my kids schools call but other than that everyone else can wait.

Below is a list of Time Management/Productivity Tools

  1. Alertful – A program that sends you email reminders of Important Dates
  2. Boomerang – A program that lets you choose when to send/receive emails
  3. Bubbl.us – A program used to help you brainstorm using mind maps
  4. Dropbox – A program you can use to sync all your documents, images and videos to all your devices.
  5. E.ggtimer – A program that turns your computer screen into a simple timer where you can set the time. (You can also minimize the window to be able to work on the computer at the same time) This is helpful for those of us who, if using our phone for this option, will undoublty waist time playing with them when we need to touch them.
  6. Evernote – A versatile program with lots of little features that lets you store and keep track of any and everything.
  7. FollowUpThen – A program that helps you set email reminders
  8. FreshBooks – An invaluable program that makes keeping track of your business expenses plain and simple (important for when you decide to qualify for tax deductions regarding your writing career)
  9. GoogleCalendar – A calendar that you can update on your computer or any other device that has the Google app. The best part about this is you can have multiple calendars and you can choose to easily share it with whomever.
  10. GoogleDrive – A program that lets you upload all important documents , create documents and share documents.
  11. GoogleTasks – A program that lets you create task lists and share them.
  12. LovelyCharts – A program that lets you create your own personal charts
  13. Notes.io – A program where you can write down from articles or classes and share.
  14. Office.com – The ultimate multi tasking program for any business or business professional
  15. Otixo – A program that will allow you to be able to access all your online files with a single log in.
  16. PrintWhatYouLike – A program that takes a page full of adds and images and lets you print just the text that you need.
  17. SugarSync – A program that helps you backup your computer files and lets your share between devices.
  18. Teuxdeux – A program devoted to To-Do lists (See, I’m not the only To-Do list lover out there!)

*Remember* Life Happens When We Are Busy Making Other Plans so don’t be a list/schedule Nazi. Make them and use them as a guideline to help you be more productive with your time but be flexible for when life throws a curve ball at you.

Do you have any productivity tips or tools to share? Don’t be shy, comment and let me know or contact me. I would love to hear from you.

7 Questions You Should Ask About Your Genre


Sub-genres of Romance Literature

Question #1: What do I want to write?

After that fateful night where I filled out that character development worksheet and realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my current existence, I knew what kind of book I wanted to write. Not only because it was one of my favorite types of books but because I had the most fun imaging plots and characters and scenes for this genre.

Romance

Romance is a genre in literature that places it’s focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people. Not only does the story need to be all about love but it must leave you emotionally satisfied with an optimistic ending.

Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded was one of the first romance novels. It was written by Samuel Richardson in 1740 and was revolutionary because it focused on courtship through the perspective of a woman. I would love to get my hands on this to see for myself what it was like. Has anyone had the pleasure of reading a copy of this book? Just imagine the scandal it caused!

The first full-length printed Modern Romance novel in the US belonged to Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower (Avon 1972). I do believe I saw this book in my Mom’s “hidden” naughty book box in the back of her closet.

OK, so now that I know what a Romance book is, let’s dive a little deeper.

Question #2: What types of Romance books are there?

Sub-genres of Romance

  • Contemporary Series Romance
  • Contemporary Single Title Romance
  • Historical Romance
  • Inspirational Romance
  • Paranormal Romance
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Young Adult Romance

Writing Romantic Fiction leads itself to a lot of mediums but I felt the best sub-genre for me was Contemporary Romance. I decided to look into it some more to see what exactly I was getting myself into.

Question #3: What is Contemporary Romance?

Contemporary Romance is a work of romantic fiction that usually takes place in current times but nothing before WWII. It’s also the largest romance novel sub-genre.

Sub-genres in Contemporary Romance

  • General Contemporary Romance
  • Contemporary Romantic Suspense
  • Baby Love
  • Medical Romance
  • Cowboy Contemporary Romance
  • Glamour and Jet Set
  • Humorous Contemporary Romance
  • International Lovers
  • Vacation Love
  • Amnesia

Amnesia?? Who knew right? Never in my 15yrs of reading romance novels did I ever notice there were so many different types of Contemporary Romances. After learning just what Contemporary Romance meant, I started searching for some current STATS because let’s face it, momma needs some CA$H!

Question #4: Are people still buying Romance Books?

Romance Genre Stats (Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2013)

$1.4 Billion in sales in 2012 for Romantic Fiction!

It was the top performing category on the best sellers lists. You can find a more in depth look at Romance Industry Statistics on RWA’s website.

OK, so looking at those stats I start to think:

  1. I know I can write a Contemporary Romance Novel (Let’s just hope someone wants to read it!)
  2. After researching the genre a bit I can see that even though there are a ton of romance novels and authors already on the market, the genre can obviously stand 1 more <wink wink>
  3. What would I make if I actually got signed with a publishing house?

Question #5: How much money could I potentially make per book?

I decided my next step was to research and find some numbers regarding payouts. Just my luck, I stumbled upon Brenda Hiatt’s, Average Romance and YA Payout.

Here is a rundown of the Median Average Earn Out that she compiled from some of the Publishing Houses. These numbers were last updated on July 2013. For a more detailed report, please visit her site.

  • Avon/Harper Collins                                                           $13,500
  • Belle/Bell Bridge Books                                                   $10,600
  • Berkley/Jove                                                                            $10,000
  • Breathless Press                                                                     $150
  • Cerridwen/Blush                                                                     $100
  • Ellora’s Cave                                                                             $2,300
  • Ellora’s Cave (Anthologies/Novellas)                      $2,100
  • Entangled                                                                                   $32,600
  • Five Star/Thorndike (harcover)                                    $850
  • Grand Central Publishing (Warner/Hachette)    $31,500
  • Harlequin American                                                             $7,600
  • Harlequin Blaze                                                                      $12,300
  • Harlequin Desire                                                                    $17,000
  • Harlequin Historical                                                           $8,650
  • Harlequin Intrigue                                                               $12,000
  • Harlequin Nocturne (Bites)                                           $1,000
  • Harlequin Romance                                                           $10,000
  • Harlequin Romantic Suspense                                   $11,000
  • Harlequin Special Edition                                              $17,000
  • Harlequin Super Romance                                            $15,000
  • Kensington/Zebra                                                               $3,800
  • Liquid Silver                                                                            $230
  • Loose Id                                                                                     $1,450
  • Love Inspired                                                                         $10,900
  • Random House/Delacorte (YA)                                 $128,000
  • Red Sage (Novellas)                                                         $2,250
  • Samhain                                                                                   $1,750
  • Siren Bookstrand                                                               $1,700
  • Wild Rose Press                                                                   $230

I definitely like those numbers but honestly I’m a long way away from even thinking about this. Right now, I need to focus on getting through this first draft and then learning how to correctly revise, rewrite and edit. Therefore, I moved onto my next worry.

Question #6: How do I professionally write a book?

and

Question #7 Who do I turn to for questions and concerns?

Below are links to Resources that have helped this brainless Beginner Romance Writer. If you know of any other that I should check out PLEASE let me know. I love hoarding knowledge!

Organizations

Websites

Online Writing Groups

Online Critique Groups

Other places to check for resources:

  • Local Writing/Critique Groups: Contact your local library and local bookstores.

My hope is that someone like myself will stumble upon this blog post and have it change their lives! OK, OK, not really but I do hope this helps someone  as much as it has helped me. Now, if I could just stop getting lost in the world of  resource links and articles and get some writing done!

Hello Writing World!


Well, this is daunting.

My First Blog Post…Ever!

But, I hear if you want to be a successful writer you need to have a successful Author Platform.

Honestly, I didn’t even know what an Author Platform was until about a month ago. I was just an average woman wasting time on Pinterest. Then one day I stumbled upon this pin of a worksheet designed to help writers build characters Charlotte Dillon’s Character Chart. For some reason it sounded interesting and looked like it could be a fun exercise to do when I was bored, which was often.

The thought of being able to create a character and control every little thing about them was intoxicating! Hello my name is Darla and I’m a control freak.

So, one evening I printed out this worksheet and dived right in. UNBELIEVABLE! Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that earth shattering but for me it has changed my life! One character became two and from those two characters grew a plot of how and why their lives intersected and what resulted from that fateful moment. By the end of that evening I had not only created a cast of characters  and a basic plot but also a rough draft of Chapter 1. I could barely sleep that night from the excitement of unearthing a dream that was buried deep down inside of me.

Now, a month later, I’m freaked out. It’s my fault really, I know, but I couldn’t help it. I’m over 20,000 words in to this book that has yet to be titled and I got the “bright” idea to research “How to Write a Book”. From that stemmed, “How to Publish a Book”. Next thing I know I was delving into the world of Author Platforms, Social Media and Marketing strategies. AHH! Just typing that out has gotten my pulse racing and the butterflies fluttering in my stomach.

I’m no newbie to social media but I honestly never thought of it as a form to help promote what you are doing.

I did not realize what it actually takes these days to not only get your book published but to be a successful author all around. I had to sit back and really think, Can I do this? I know I can WRITE this book, but can I successfully reach out to people and convince them I’ve got something to offer to this writing world.? The answer is…

I think I can…

I could lie through my teeth and say, “I know I can!” but I’ve obviously never done this before. I HOPE that my book will reach the hands of readers and that they will get lost in its pages the way I have. However, this all seems to hinge on my ability to reach out to the writing community and conquer the ever daunting mountain of marketing and promoting. I do not want to give up on this dream so I’m squelching my fears, ignoring my nerves and diving into the vast ocean of “Bloggers”. I hope I don’t drown!

Please feel free to follow along in my adventure. Don’t hesitate to leave me comments or even message me with words of encouragement (I know I will need it), advice (I welcome all advice) and even criticism (just try not to eat me alive).

Is it normal to be this scared  when starring down the long hard road of becoming an author?

20 of The Most Swoon Worthy Heroes in Romance


20 of the Most Swoon Worthy Heroes in Romance

Rarely is a romance book anything without it’s hero.

If we fell in love with the story it was most likely due to the fact that we fell in love with the hero himself.

There are certain romance books where we can like the two main characters as a couple and their love story is what drew us to love the book.

However, there are other books where we fell head over heels in love with the hero and it was his actions that left us breathless at the end and loving the book.

Those are the heroes I am talking about today.

I did an informal survey where I asked everyone who participated one question:

Out of all the romance books you’ve ever read, who was the most swoon worthy hero for you?

Listed below are the top 20 answers

*Keep in mind that the following answers are a culmination of all the names given to me during the survey. I pooled the names together and listed them from most mentioned to least mentioned.

  1. Archer from Archers Voice by Mia Sheridan
    1. When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees
  2. Michael from Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
    1. California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea. A man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything, Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does … the One who will never let her go.
  3. Ridge from Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
    1. At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be. Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.
  4. Alexander from The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
    1. During the summer of 1941 the Metanov family are living a hard life in Leningrad. As the German armies advance their future looks bleak. For Tatiana, love arrives in the guise of Alexander, who harbours a deadly and extraordinary secret.
  5. Jamal from Delaney’s Desert Sheik by Brenda Jackson
    1. Delaney Westmoreland refused to let a mix-up in her vacation plans postpone the R and R she craved. But when she reluctantly agreed to share a secluded cabin with an arrogant sheikh bent on seduction, she found herself enrolled in a crash course in human sexuality. Unfortunately, commitment and love were misplaced pages in her darkly handsome mentor’s manual. Jamal Ari Yassir had intended to school Delaney in sensuality for his pleasure, but his plan backfired. Instead of loving and leaving her, he became engulfed by an irresistible passion for his sexy-as-sin cabin mate. Could his convenient summer lover be the woman he was destined to share his life with?

  6. Philip from Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
    1. Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.
  7. Will from Slammed by Colleen Hoover 
    1. Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope. Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope. Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart
  8. Andrew from The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski
    1. Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett had always been one to think out-of-the-box, who knew she wanted something more in life than following the same repetitive patterns and growing old with the same repetitive life story. And she thought that her life was going in the right direction until everything fell apart. Determined not to dwell on the negative and push forward, Camryn is set to move in with her best friend and plans to start a new job. But after an unexpected night at the hottest club in downtown North Carolina, she makes the ultimate decision to leave the only life she’s ever known, far behind. With a purse, a cell phone and a small bag with a few necessities, Camryn, with absolutely no direction or purpose boards a Greyhound bus alone and sets out to find herself. What she finds is a guy named Andrew Parrish, someone not so very different from her and who harbors his own dark secrets. But Camryn swore never to let down her walls again. And she vowed never to fall in love.
      But with Andrew, Camryn finds herself doing a lot of things she never thought she’d do. He shows her what it’s really like to live out-of-the-box and to give in to her deepest, darkest desires. On their sporadic road-trip he becomes the center of her exciting and daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But will Andrew’s dark secret push them inseparably together, or tear them completely apart?
  9. Will from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
    1. Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
      What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
      Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
      What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
  10. Jack from Beauty from Pain by Georgia Cates
    1. They agreed on three months…but their love knew no boundaries. Jack McLachlan is a winemaking magnate and easily one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors. His success and wealth make him no stranger to the complications of romantic relationships and that’s why he goes to extreme measures to avoid the hassle. He prefers simplicity in the form of a beautiful female companion with no strings attached. He arranges relationships like business deals and they’re always the same. No long term relationships. No real names. It’s his game and his rules. He’s content to play as usual, but when Laurelyn Prescott enters his life, his strategy must change because this player is like none he’s ever encountered. His world is turned on its head after he begins a three month affair with the beautiful American musician. Nothing goes according to plan and as he breaks more and more of his own rules for her, she’s exceptionally close to becoming something he never thought possible. His ultimate game changer. Not recommended for younger readers due to sexual content and language.
  11. Gavin from Collide by Gail McHugh
    1. A missed first encounter… Colliding with a second chance… On the heels of graduating college and trying to cope with her mother’s death, Emily Cooper moves to New York City for a fresh start. While harboring secrets of his own, Dillon Parker takes care of Emily through her grief. Knowing he can’t live without her by his side, he’s sweet, thoughtful, and everything Emily has ever wanted in a man. Until she meets Gavin Blake—a rich and notorious playboy who is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Emily tries to deny the instant connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is not inclined to let go so easily. Recovering from his own painful past, Gavin will stop at nothing to win Emily over. This unexpected encounter compels Emily to question her decisions, forcing her to make a choice that will destroy friendships, shatter hearts, and forever change her life
  12. Alec from The Bride by Julie Garwood
    1. By the king’s edict, Alec Kincaid, mightiest of the Scottish lairds, must take an English bride. And Jamie the youngest daughter of Baron Jamison, is his choice. From his first glimpse of the proud and beautiful English lady, Alec felt a burning hunger stir within him. This was a woman worthy of his fearless warrior’s spirit. And he aches to touch her, tame her, possess her…forever. But with the wedding vows, Jamie pledges her own secret oath: She will never surrender her love to this Highland barbarian. He was everything her heart warned her against — an arrogant, brooding scoundrel whose rough good looks and seductive embrace fire her blood. But when strange accidents begin to threaten Jamie’s life and an old rumor that Alec killed his first wife spreads anew, something far more dangerous than desire threatens to conquer her senses.
  13. Hawk from Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley
    1. Gwendolyn Kidd has met the man of her dreams. He’s hot, he’s sexy, and what started as a no-names-exchanged night of passion has blossomed into a year and a half-long pleasure fest. Sure, it’s a little strange that he only appears in her bed at night, but Gwen is so sure he’s the one, she just can’t turn him away… Hawk Delgado knows more about Gwen than she could ever imagine. She’s gorgeous, headstrong, and skittish about relationships. But Hawk is facing his own demons, demons that keep him from connecting with anyone. Yet when Gwen is drawn into Denver’s lethal underground scene, Hawk’s protective nature comes out full force. The problem is, when Gwen gets a dose of Hawk’s Alpha attitude in the daylight, she’s not so sure he’s the one anymore….
  14. Braden from On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
    1. Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…
      Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core. Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached. But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.
  15. Vlad from Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost 
    1. She’s a mortal with dark powers…After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…He’s the Prince of Night…Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.
  16. Kayden from The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen
    1. For Kayden, suffering in silence was the only way to survive. If he was lucky, he could keep his head down, do as he was told, and make it through the day. But one night it seemed like his luck — and his life — might finally end… until an angel named Callie appeared just in time to rescue him. Callie has never believed in luck. Not since her twelfth birthday when everything was taken from her. After the worst was over, she locked up her feelings and vowed never to tell anyone what happened. Now, six years later, she continues to struggle with the painful secret that threatens to consume her. When fate lands Kayden and Callie at the same college, Kayden is determined to get to know the beautiful girl who changed his destiny. Quiet and reserved, Callie still fears letting anyone else into her world. But Kayden is certain that Callie has come back into his life for a reason. And the more he tries to be a part of her life, the more he realizes that, this time, it’s Callie who needs to be saved…
  17. Remy from Real by Katy Evans
    1. A fallen boxer. A woman with a broken dream. A competition… He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting… Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life. He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . . But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me. I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations. If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?
  18. Royce from A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
    1. Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf”; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will . . . until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web . . . a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.
  19. Wrath from Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
    1. In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood. The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.
  20. Jake from The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle
    1. It’s been twelve years since Tru Bennett last saw Jake Wethers, her former best friend and boy she once loved.
      Jake Wethers, sexy, tattooed and deliciously bad lead singer, and brains behind The Mighty Storm, one of the biggest bands in the world, left Tru with a broken heart when he moved from England to America with his family when they were both fourteen. Sent to interview Jake for her music column by the magazine she works for, they are both unprepared for the sparks that fly the instant they reconnect. Only, there’s a complication to their instant feelings for one another—Will, Tru’s boyfriend of two years. Then Jake makes Tru a job offer she can’t refuse—travelling the world with him and his band. But taking the job means leaving Will behind, and being on the road with the band means spending an inordinate amount of time with Jake. Is Tru strong enough to resist the delectable bad boy who once held her heart so completely, or will she willingly risk it all for one night with the world’s most notorious womanizer?

There are some really awesome books on this list. I can’t wait to read them all!

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  • Did your favorite hero and/or romance story make the list?
  • If not which hero and romance novel lives in your heart?
  • Do you agree with the names and titles on this list?
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