2020 Stiletto Contest Finalist | Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas

I am thrilled to announce Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas is a finalist for the 2020 RONE Awards in the Published Mid-Length Contemporary Romance category!!!

The Stiletto Contest is a contest held annually by my awesome RWA chapter, Contemporary Romance Writers.  The contest has categories for both unpublished and published romance authors in a variety of contemporary romance categories.

Winners will be announced and presented via Facebook Live on July 25, 2020!

This year, I was thrilled to learn that I’m a finalist (first time to final in this contest–eek!)! Huge congrats to all the finalists in the various categories! (Especially my writing BFF, Nicole Flockton who double finaled!!!) And hooray!

2020 STILETTO CONTEST FINALISTS

Finalists are listed in no particular order. List also posted on the Contemporary Romance Writers (CRW) website.

Contemporary Romance – Long

Taming Beckett by GK Brady
The Hocus Pocus Magic Shop by Abigail Drake *
Love, Chocolate, and a Dog Named Al Capone by Abigail Drake *
Wanna Bet by Betsy Dudak
Matching Bloodlines by Deborah Garland

Contemporary Romance – Mid-Length

Kisses & Kismet by Kris Jayne *
This Time Around by Jennie Kew *
True North by Amy Knupp *
Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas by Kadie Scott *
Season of ‘72 by Karen Tomsovic

Contemporary Romance – Short

Power Play by Anna DePalo
Next Door Knight by Nicole Flockton *
Love in San Francisco by Shirley Hailstock
Wanted: Billionaire’s Wife by Susannah Erwin *
Lost in Paradise by Rachel Lacey

Contemporary Romance – Novella

Guarding Amberley by Nicole Flockton *
Believe Me by Kay Harris *
Off Limits by Nicky Locker *

* Denotes Member of Contemporary Romance Writers chapter

Big Giant Book Sale!


My incredible publisher, Entangled, is doing their part to help folks through quarantine. They are offering an escape by making it a little easier to afford books!

They’ve put a TON of their first-in-series books up for FREE and a ton more up for only $0.99 each.

Here are the lists on Barnes & Noble
Note that the discounted pricing is at every ebook retailer including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, & Google!

FREE FIRST IN SERIES
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/entangled-romance-sale/free-ebooks/_/N-1gmdZry0

$0.99 BOOKS
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/entangled-romance-sale/_/N-1gmd


THIS SALE INCLUDES
my nerdy romantic comedies – both $0.99 each!!!


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100 Things to Do at Home!

With quarantines quickly becoming a new normal for the moment, I think we can all agree most people aren’t used to being stuck at home for long periods of time. Suddenly being contained in one place can be tough to weather.

As a writer who works from home, a well as a natural introvert who doesn’t mind being at home for weeks at a time, I feel uniquely qualified for this situation. And I’d like to share some suggestions to help others power through.

Here are tips to help keep mentally healthy (as well as entertained) during a prolonged period at home.

Stay safe and well out there! xoxo

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TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AT HOME

1. Shower and dress the same as you would usually do.

2. Stick to a routine of some sort (regular wake up time/bed time, regular meals, etc.).

3. Get outside if you can. Go take a walk in your neighborhood or hang out in your back yard. Something.

4. If you are working from home, actually work. For the same hours you’d be in the office.

5. Make your bed – less tempting to get back in it.

6. Skype/video chat with close family/friends to get some face time.

7. Do NOT have the news on all day. Yes, stay up to date, but try to limit yourself. Stick to the 5:30 broadcasts, state or national press conferences, and/or your local/state website.

8. Exercise. The endorphins help!

9. Check out this list of 100 fun activities you can do in the privacy (and safety) of your own home…


100 ACTIVITIES FOR HOME

RELAX & SELF-CARE
  1. Read a book you love.
  2. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure.
  3. Take a bubble bath.
  4. Try out a new face mask or beauty product.
  5. Doodle, color, or draw on some paper.
  6. Do yoga (check out YouTube for tutorials).
  7. Write a poem.
  8. Write in a journal.
  9. Take a nap.
  10. Listen to music.
  11. Stretch.
  12. Look through old photos and videos.
  13. Watch a sunset or sunrise.
  14. Meditate.
  15. Sit or lay outside in good weather.
  16. Find a new favorite quote or saying.
  17. Write a letter to your future self.
  18. Take a long shower.
  19. Drink tea.
  20. Cuddle with a pet or S.O.
  21. Create a self-love list.
  22. Find a new podcast to listen to.
  23. Play an instrument.
  24. Knit or crochet.
  25. Create a cozy reading nook in your house.
  26. Bonus: Catch up on all those shows you’ve been meaning to binge watch.
GET PRODUCTIVE
  1. Read a “How to” book.
  2. Do your taxes. (April 15th is just around the corner)
  3. Go for a walk, a run, sit-ups, anything you can for a little bit of exercise.
  4. Organize a space that needs it. (Or organize a space a day!)
  5. Update your resume.
  6. Clean something in your place that you haven’t in a while (baseboards, under the bed, kitchen cupboards, etc.).
  7. Meal prep for the upcoming week.
  8. Clean your makeup brushes.
  9. Research dream careers.
  10. Look for ways to reach out and help others from home.
  11. Make a future finances plan.
  12. Sign up for an online class. (like udemy.com or masterclass.com)
  13. Clean up your emails.
  14. Make a list of personal or professional goals.
  15. Start a DIY project.
  16. Clean out your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  17. Start a garden (or kitchen garden).
  18. Clean your phone or phone case (it’s probably very dirty).
  19. Watch a how-to YouTube video.
  20. Spring clean your yard.
  21. Get ahead on schoolwork or future projects.
  22. Fine-tune your LinkedIn profile.
  23. Do your laundry.
  24. Wash your car(s).
  25. Learn OneNote and start using it. (Get started here.)
BE ENTERTAINED
  1. Read something from your TBR list. (Maybe an Abigail Owen or Kadie Scott or Kristen McKanagh book! My only shameless plug, I promise.)
  2. Scroll through Pinterest.
  3. Online shop (just watch that budget you made in the productive list).
  4. Watch a favorite movie or a movie you haven’t seen in a while.
  5. Skype some friends and do a virtual game.
  6. Start an Instagram page for your pet.
  7. Watch a documentary.
  8. Write love notes for your S.O.
  9. Get lost on Tumblr.
  10. Make a collage.
  11. Make a bucket list.
  12. Take some selfies.
  13. Catch up on celebrity gossip.
  14. Sing & dance to your favorite songs.
  15. Have a costume night.
  16. Throw an indoor picnic.
  17. Have an indoor scavenger hunt.
  18. Have a themed movie night.
  19. Start family game night.
  20. Do a puzzle.
  21. Have a water balloon fight.
  22. Have a family tea party.
  23. Try some stargazing and discover constellations.
  24. Put on a play.
  25. Build a Lego city.
CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
  1. Read a book about — a different culture, a place you’ve never been, from a new to you genre, from a new to you author.
  2. Start a blog or vlog.
  3. Go for a walk in your neighborhood.
  4. Try out a new hairstyle or experiment with your hair.
  5. Plan a future trip. (might have to be far future).
  6. Experiment with new recipes.
  7. Make a cocktail or a mocktail.
  8. Reach out to a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in a while. (virtually)
  9. Rearrange your furniture or redecorate your living space.
  10. Create your own website.
  11. Look for your first (or next) tattoo design.
  12. Make an effort to learn something new.
  13. Make a vision board.
  14. Try learning a new language.
  15. Write a book or story.
  16. Make a movie.
  17. Stage a photo shoot.
  18. Create a list of places you want to travel to.
  19. Set up a tent indoors and do indoor camping.
  20. Play a different game with your family each night.
  21. Train your dog/cat to do a new trick.
  22. Create a picture book / scrap book.
  23. Learn a new hobby (like take up knitting/crocheting).
  24. Make a time capsule.
  25. Plan a post-apocalypse party.

#MLKDAY – A Day of Service

Today, Jan. 20, 2020, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day – a federal holiday that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The holiday was signed into federal law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. MLK Day was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

But did you know…this is meant to be a day of service? 

The holiday is meant to be “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

FOR THOSE STILL WORKING

While this is a federal/state holiday, it is not one mandated to be a day off work for all privately owned companies. Only 33% of non-state and federal employers give this time off. So if you have to be at work, we get it. 

However, you can still make it a day of service. Consider taking a moment to reach out to your HR or your department head. Make the request that even if it’s not a day off, that it be a day of service starting next year where employees can go out in groups, with company t-shirts even, to do a day of service together. (Trust me, most companies love to be represented by community minded employees this way.)

Also, there is still time after work that you can do something small. Check out the list below.

FOR THOSE WITH THE DAY OFF

For those with the day off, what are you going to do to make this a “day on.” Some great ideas are listed below.

*This list is a shortened version of the one found at https://blog.fundly.com/community-service-ideas/ to be things doable in the short term for 1 day of service. Check out the bigger list for more fantastic ideas!

GENERAL

  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit
  • Participate in a national giving or remembrance day
  • Clean up your local park or playground
  • Plant trees, flowers, or other plants
  • Repair broken household items or appliances for neighbors
  • Write and send letters to soldiers and veterans

HELP KIDS / SCHOOLS

  • Volunteer at a youth shelter
  • Donate used books to a children’s library
  • Donate your used electronics to a school
  • Donate baby clothes and supplies
  • Join a group like Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Donate stuffed animals to kids in hospitals

HELP SENIOR CITIZENS

  • Take flowers to nursing home residents
  • Cook a meal for a senior
  • Decorate doors at a nursing home for the holidays
  • Host agame night at a nursing home
  • Teach an elderly person a card game or trick
  • Teach an elderly neighbor computer skills
  • Adopt a grandparent
  • Write letters for a senior
  • Deliver cookies or snacks to elderly neighbors

HELP ANIMALS / ENVIRONMENT

  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Sponsor an animal in your city’s zoo
  • Build birdhouses for your neighborhood
  • Donate to a local animal shelter
  • Collect pet food and supplies for a shelter
  • Plant trees in a local park
  • Clean up a stretch of highway/local park/common areas in your neighborhood
  • Spruce up a park trail or hiking area
  • Bike to work or school

HELP HOMELESS / HUNGRY

  • Collect household items for a homeless family
  • Give grocery coupons to a local food bank
  • Create care packages with essential items
  • Donate toys and school supplies to a homeless shelter
  • Donate blankets to a homeless shelter
  • Volunteer at and donate to your local food bank
  • Create portable first aid kits for the homeless
  • Donate gently used clothing and shoes
  • Spend time at a soup kitchen

CRIME REDUCTION & SAFETY

  • Become part of your neighborhood watch group
  • Join an organization like DARE
  • Paint over graffiti in your neighborhood
  • Start a violence protection group in your community

SPECIAL NEEDS FOCUS

  • Hold a crayon and marker drive
  • Collect school supplies for special needs classrooms
  • Help make sure your neighborhood is handicap accessible
  • Donate to a care center in your community

NEIGHBORHOOD & COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT

  • Campaign for more bike lanes and sidewalks
  • Pick up trash around the neighborhood
  • Rake leaves for neighbors
  • Join your neighborhood watch group
  • Help people clean their gutters

New Release | Landing the Lawman!!!

From Tule Publishing, I’m thrilled to announce the release of Landing the Lawman–the fifth and final book in my Hills of Texas series!

He thought he was in control until she snuck into his heart…

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Carter Hill walked away from a perfectly fine life and relationship…all for a career she’s chased since she was fourteen. Years and a PhD later, she loves her job as a water rights consultant. At the same time, now that all her brothers are happily married, she’s lonely and wanting more. But the only man in her life is Logan–super serious, no sense of humor, and friend-zoned. Or is he? Perhaps a sexy, no-strings affair with a man more driven than she is could help her move on.

Logan Cartez doesn’t date, do relationships, or worry about commitment. He’s married to his job – making sure what destroyed his family ranch and their legacy doesn’t happen to others. When Carter propositions him, what began as a passionate and unforgettable night soon develops into more. Logan finds himself doing things he swore he never would, and the feisty, brilliant, blue-eyed rancher’s daughter has him thinking about so much more than work.

* All books in this series can be read as stand alone and out of order.


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EXCERPT

Logan finished organizing things to his exacting standards, then picked up his briefcase and looked at her. “Ready?”

Carter pushed to her feet and had to hide a wince.

“What’s wrong with you?” Logan demanded.

Damn. He caught that? Carter shrugged. “Nothing that a long soak in my Jacuzzi bath won’t fix.”

He paused and stared at her with an inscrutable expression that meant he was waiting for more.

Carter sighed. “I visited home this weekend and rode Mae West for the first time in forever. I’m still feeling it in my behind.” She gave her tush a smack.

“Of course you named your horse Mae West,” he muttered.

Which only made Carter snicker. She was always quoting the actress. “Hey! Don’t knock her. The woman has some of the best life advice for women.”

“You once answered the door and asked if I was happy to see you or if I had a pistol in my pocket.”

The dry tone to his voice only had her cracking up more. “That’s a good one.”

“I don’t see how that’s advice.”

“Well, you wouldn’t.” The man was pulled tighter than a cinch on a saddle.

“Excuse me?” He paused holding the door open for her.

“You need to let loose and live a little.”

“I’m perfectly happy with my life,” he said with all the emotion of a wet blanket.

“You’re wound up like a pocket watch. I never see you put a foot wrong, but you don’t have any fun that way either. To quote Mae, ‘To err is human…’” She reached up to pat his check. “‘But it feels divine.’”

If Carter didn’t know better, she would’ve sworn those ebony eyes of his dropped to her lips. Just for a second. Too quick for her to be certain. Which was silly. This stupid—very temporary—crush was messing with her brain. They were coworkers and friends, nothing more. Even if she had made it a bit of a mission in life to make him have fun.

“I’ve had my share of failures,” he said.

“And learned all the wrong lessons, in my opinion.”


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RWA: We Should Do Better

Some of you may know about the implosion that has been happening with Romance Writers of America (RWA) since before Christmas (and really for years). For any who don’t know and are interested, there is a good recap that is a list of the daily events with links to posts or other documentation. This is being updated daily.

RWA RECAP

I have been a member of RWA since 2013 and have served on several boards and committees or helped run events through the years. I have made countless friends, established professional connections, and seen my career flourish thanks to workshops I’ve learned from, events I’ve attended, and the people who’ve helped me along the way.

And I am heart-stricken to say I, like so many, have been blind to the fact that other RWA members who fall into various marginalized groups have not had the same experience.

Here’s the thing…I can’t say I am surprised.

As a woman, I have experienced microaggressions and discrimination in many situations–as a previous professional in the male-dominated tech industry, but also as a woman dealing with (sadly) other women. Some overt, like being blocked for jobs or opportunities. Some so subtle it made me want to scream. All it takes is a look or a comment, something others in the room miss, but you know was targeted at you. Even careless remarks, unintended to hurt, can carry a great deal of sting.

Writers, of all people, should understand that words matter.

Even within RWA (with all the good experiences I’ve had) starting as a self-published author, I was made by some to feel that wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t a “real” author. And it felt awful.

How much more terrible for any person to experience any kind of exclusion or discrimination over and over and over about who they intrinsically are. In small, subtle ways and larger, explicit ones. In personal ways and from the organization that is supposed to be helping and providing a safe space for all.

In a genre promoting love and hope, why are we not seeing it for everyone? Love is love is love.

Regardless of who is or is not at fault, the ways in which both sides have handled things, and whether or not RWA as an organization can rise from the ashes of this fallout and regain the trust of its membership, it seems to me one thing is clear–we should do better.

I should do better.

As an author who falls in the white, heterosexual, able-bodied group (ADHD is something I’ve been lucky enough to learn to use for me rather than battle against, so I don’t personally count that for myself), I should work the hardest and be the most determined to do better.

I have friends and family, loved ones close to me, who fall into a myriad of marginalized groups, and I want to do better for them. As an author, whose works are read by total strangers who might then go out into the world and reflect my words, I want to do better for them. I know I will stumble and mess up and show my ignorance and get things wrong as I go, but please know that I am trying.

I am a far, far cry from perfect and, while I would sincerely hope not, have no doubt that contained in the 30+ previous works of mine are microaggressions or offenses thanks to ignorance, carelessness, or a perception of the world seen through privileged rose-colored glasses. Absolutely unintended, but that doesn’t matter if my words caused harm. If I hurt anyone with my words, spoken or written, or with my actions, I unequivocally apologize. I will also be continuing to listen, to educate myself, and to read back through my old works to fix them as I am able (something I had already started prior to this).

The situation imploding RWA is complicated, messy, ugly, and heartbreaking. It is a difficult time for members as we all decide what is best not only for ourselves personally and professionally, but for our chapter(s), and the organization as a whole. Readers, please know that we also keep you in our thoughts as we move forward and strive to do better.

2019 Accomplishments | 2020 Goals

It’s coming up on the end of the old year and beginning of the new, and you know what that means… Goals.

Look at how you did on the old ones and set some new ones to keep that forward momentum. I do this every year for personal and professional goals. Let’s take a look at those author ones.

2019 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

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I had a wonderful 2019 with new releases, new contracts, time with wonderful friends, fun at conferences, and growing my skill set. Here are some of the highlights:

PUBLICATION

I hit all my publication goals for 2019 and added a novella into the mix as well as several anthologies! 

  • 7 novels/novellas & 3 anthologies released!
    • Taming the Troublemaker (Hills of Texas #3) as Kadie Scott
    • The Rookie (Fire’s Edge #2) as Abigail Owen
    • The Rogue King (Inferno Rising #1) as Abigail Owen
    • Claiming the Cowboy for Christmas (Hills of Texas #4) as Kadie Scott
    • The Wolf I Want for Christmas as Abigail Owen
    • The Enforcer (Fire’s Edge #3) as Abigail Owen
    • 3 Anthologies as Abigail Owen
      • My Paranormal Valentine (with Her Demigod Complex)
      • Sexy Supernatural Summer (with Her Demigod Complex)
      • Christmas After Dark (with The Wolf I Want for Christmas)

WRITE BOOKS

I hit all my writing goals for the year and then some. Contracts to fulfill means a ton of words written and books edited…

  • 400k+ words written
    • 4 novels written, 1 novella written
    • 2 novels completed from 2018
    • 3 novellas/novels added to
    • edits on 11 novels/novellas
  • 3 proposals written and submitted (and 2 contracted)

CONTRACTS

Contracts were my big, wonderful surprise of 2019. My agent and I had put 3-4 proposals out there. But I’ve had proposals out before that took a year or more to go back and forth on before getting rejected, so I was hopefully pessimistic. But this year wowed me! Especially toward the end of the year. I have new editors and books now with new publishers, and my current publishers want more. A dream come true and I’m still reeling!

  • 14 books contracted
    • Snowball’s Christmas (2 books) as Kristen McKanagh – Kensington
    • Unexpected Gifts (3 books) as Kristen McKanagh – Berkley 
    • Fire’s Edge 5th book as Abigail Owen – Entangled
    • Devil’s Advocate (4 books) – redo of Legendary Consultants as Abigail Owen – Entangled
    • Unnamed Paranormal Spinoff Series (4 books) as Abigail Owen – Entangled

FUN & FRIENDS

My goal every year is to spend time with people I enjoy and make sure I’m doing my best because my team does their best for me.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this a great year. Especially those who really believe in my books and AOAD! In particular:

  • My awesome readers. Your words of enjoyment and encouragement mean more than I can express. xoxo
  • My husband & kids
  • My family
  • Evan Marshall, my agent
  • Heather Howland, my Entangled editor
  • Sinclair Sawhney, my Tule editor
  • John Scognamiglio, my Kensington editor
  • Kristine Swartz, my Berkley editor
  • The awesome teams of folks who make me a better author in so many ways @ Entangled Publishing, Tule Publishing, Kensignton, Berkley, and Wild Rose Press.
  • Every author I get the opportunity to share my love of writing with throughout the year, because y’all are my people, my friends.
  • The fantastic bloggers/reviewers who took the time to read my books an post reviews. You rock!
  • The fantastic groups I’m a part of (RWA, Austin RWA, Paranormal Romance Guild, FF&P, & Contemporary Romance Writers)
    • This year I was the Secretary for Austin RWA
  • The awesome team at Wild Rose Press who I do covers for under AOAD
  • The contractors who I get to work with for AOAD
  • The clients we get to do business for at AOAD (we hope we were a small part of your success this year!)

TRAVEL & EVENTS

I started the year with very few plans, so these were all just gravy!

  • Romance Readers Social, Pflugerville, TX
  • Book Lovers Con, New Orleans, LA
  • RWA Nationals & Signing, New York, NY
  • B&N Bookstore Signing, Austin, TX
  • Heart of Texas Reading Salon, Boerne, TX
  • Texas Book Festival, Austin, TX
  • NYC Trip with Entangled/Macmillan
  • ILVN Gathering, online
  • 2 awesome retreats with bestie Nicole
  • Several Facebook parties, online

AWARDS & HONORS

  • Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Awards | The Boss | 3rd place in Vampire/Shifter books
  • Taming the Troublemaker named as a Fresh Fiction Fresh Pick
  • The Rogue King listed in Ezvid Wiki’s Fiery Fantasy Novels For Dragon Lovers
  • The Rogue King named in SyfyWire FANGRRLS Pick for SFF Romance Reads July 2019
  • The Rogue King named as a Fresh Fiction Fresh Pick
  • The Prism Awards | The Boss | 1st place in Dark Paranormal Romance
  • The Rogue King named a Harelquin Junkie Top Pick
  • The Enforcer named in SyfyWire FANGRRLS Pick for SFF Romance Reads December 2019
  • Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Contest | The Boss | 2nd place in Paranormal/SciFi/Fantasy

AOAD – Authors On A Dime

  • Loved every second of working as Alyssa Day’s VPA.
  • A ton of covers completed for The Wild Rose Press.
  • Due to my writing commitments, this is where I had to pull back a bit, but still loving it!

EDUCATION & BUSINESS

  • My goal every year: Improve as an author by attending workshops. Between conferences, my awesome local RWA chapter, and online chapters, I took a ton this year. Feel like I learned a lot!
  • While this is a dream, so it seems crass to talk about $, it’s still a business that helps feed my family (about time too). This is the FIRST YEAR I have been in the black since I started in 2012! Last year I broke even. Before that I was always red. I was thrilled to see my gross income close to double for the year. What a huge blessing!

2020 GOALS

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Like last year, my goals this year surround completing contracts already signed and releasing several books that have been ready for a while. 

  • PUBLISH BOOKS
    • 8 releases this year and I can’t wait for each and every one!
    • including all the marketing shenanigans
  • WRITE BOOKS – Contracts to fulfill means a ton of words to write as well as go through the editing process on…
    • Expected word count will be around…550,000 words
    • Finish editing process and/or rewrites…
      • Inferno Rising #3 as Abigail Owen
      • Snowball’s Christmas as Kristen McKanagh
      • The Worse for Were (Devil’s Advocate #2) as Abigail Owen
      • Bait N’ Witch (Devil’s Adovcate #3) as Abigail Owen
      • A Ghost of a Chance (Devil’s Advocate Short Story) as Abigail Owen
      • All the books below except the last one…
    • Write and submit
      • A Gift of Hope (Unexpected Gifts #1) as Kristen McKanagh
      • The Defender (Fire’s Edge #4) as Abigail Owen
      • Fire’s Edge #5 as Abigail Owen
      • Try As I Smite (Devil’s Advocate #4) as Abigail Owen
      • Untitled Snowball’s Christmas #2 as Kristen McKanagh
      • Inferno Rising #4 as Abigail Owen
      • Untitled Paranormal Spinoff Series #1 as Abigail Owen (submitting in Jan 2021)
  • CONTRACTS
    • Not this year. I am booked solid through about mid 2021 with contracts and projects. Probably early 2021 I’ll start sending out proposals again. 🙂
    • My goal this year is to fulfill the contracts I have!
  • AOAD – Authors On A Dime
    • Continue as a Virtual Personal Assistant for author Alyssa Day.
    • Continue to design covers for The Wild Rose Press
  • FUN & FRIENDS – Great times with fellow authors
    • VP of Programs on Board of Directors for Austin RWA (local chapter)
    • Spending time with my awesome readers/authors/editors/agent/and friends. One of the best parts of what I do!
  • TRAVEL & EVENTS
    • Still working on my conference schedule for the year. Known events
    • A writing retreat with bestie Nicole.
    • RWA Nationals – July
    • Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy – Oct
  • EDUCATION – Get Better
    • It’s a goal of mine every single year to continue to improve as an author by attending lots of workshops.
  • BUSINESS
    • This is a passion, but also a business. A few business goals this year.
      • Cut spending by 20% YoY (already have a plan here)
      • Hold income flat YoY (I had a great 2019, and will be thrilled if 2020 does as well.)

My Parents’ Happiest Place

This past Thanksgiving week, my family took a fantastical vacation to Disney World and Universal Studios to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary!

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Disney is definitely my happiest place on earth. Between Disney fairy tales and Star Wars, my childhood imagination was formed. If you look closely enough, you can probably see that in my books.

In addition, I’m a ride junkie. Especially roller coasters. And Orlando has plenty of those. Between the 2 multi-parks, my favorite rides include… Everest, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Kong. And, despite it not being one of my favorite movies, my all-time favorite ride is Peter Pan.

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I also LOVE the immersive worlds these theme parks have started creating. Getting lost in the worlds of Harry Potter, Avatar, and now Star Wars is incredible. I could spend days just looking at all the details.

But this trip, what I loved most above all was watching my parents!

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They hadn’t been to Disney since they took me when I was 8 (so a decade or 2…or 3). At that time, Epcot was still fairly new and Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios didn’t yet exist (at least as part of Disney). Seeing them enjoy the rides and, in particular, enjoy the time with family, was fantastic. Watching them light up when we all sang them “happy anniversary” to the tune of “happy birthday” was even better.

My parents met in high school in Venezuela. Their parents were ex-pats working in country. Mom & Dad were the prom king and queen. When they went off to college, their parents happened to move relatively close together in the US, near where Mom went to school, and Dad decided then and there, when visiting for Christmas, that she was meant to be his. He proposed in Central Park.

50 years together.

Amazing isn’t it? I only hope that my husband and I can be as lucky. It’s practically a miracle that we both grew up with parents who made it to 50 years. Both sets of my grandparents also celebrated 50 years together. What an example to follow!

Here’s to celebrating true love, soul mates. 

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Halloween Decorating Obsession

So, after maxing out the way I decorate for Christmas, I’ve moved on to my other favorite holiday, Halloween. I’m a paranormal romance author as one of my other pen names, y’all. Are you really that surprised?

I LOVE the colors, and the themes, and the funny signs, and all the different things you can do to decorate for Halloween. I don’t tend to go for spooky. More colorful. But I thought I’d share some of my best Halloween interior decorating tips.

Biggest Bang for the Buck

Glittery cheap boas from grocery stores. I have ones with pumpkins, one with ghosts, and one with witches. They take up a space so nicely. You can see parts of this one behind other decorations on the mantle. They’re also good for long tables, entertainment hutches, and wrapping around banisters.

Wall Signs

The biggest impact to holiday decorations I’ve found (for every holiday) are wall signs. Something about taking down the usual stuff to put up something seasonal and unique really stands out.

Combine Smaller Items on a Larger Item

I love to put some of my smaller items together on a runner or tablecloth.

Trees Aren’t Just for Christmas

Hey, they were a pagan hold over for the jolly holiday to begin with (sorry! I know that’s a hard truth). I find that a Halloween version adds some sparkle. Thinking of doing a life sized kind.

Table Clothes Are My Jam

Tablecloths decorate a very large/long space quickly and easily. I love this tablecloth (and finding fun ones for each holiday actually. I also loved finding the pieces to make the centerpiece!

Things That Light Up

A must at Halloween. After all, the actual celebration is held in the dark.

What about you? Are you a Halloween decorating nut like me? What are some of your favorite holiday decorating tricks?

Cover Reveal + Preorder | Landing the Lawman

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this series is coming to an end. I wrote the first book, Saving the Sheriff, in 2014. Now, Carter’s story, book 5, is coming in 2020. Check out this beautiful cover!!! And preorder is now available…

COMING JANUARY 14!!!

He thought he was in control until she snuck into his heart…

Carter Hill walked away from a perfectly fine life and relationship…all for a career she’s chased since she was fourteen. Years and a PhD later, she loves her job as a water rights consultant. At the same time, now that all her brothers are happily married, she’s lonely and wanting more. But the only man in her life is Logan–super serious, no sense of humor, and friend-zoned. Or is he? Perhaps a sexy, no-strings affair with a man more driven than she is could help her move on.

Logan Cartez doesn’t date, do relationships, or worry about commitment. He’s married to his job – making sure what destroyed his family ranch and their legacy doesn’t happen to others. When Carter propositions him, what began as a passionate and unforgettable night soon develops into more. Logan finds himself doing things he swore he never would, and the feisty, brilliant, blue-eyed rancher’s daughter has him thinking about so much more than work.

PREORDER NOW!

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* All books in this series can be read as stand alone and out of order.