Keep Calm and Write

We interrupt our regularly scheduled spotlight feature to bring you a NaNo prep post. 

Spotlights will be on hold for November and return on Monday, December 4th. 

Hard to believe we’re getting to the nitty-gritty of the fall season! Come November 1 I will embark on my second year of National Novel Writing Month.

Here are some tips that helped me get through last year—maybe they’ll help you too:

  • Pick a novel you WANT to work on, not one you NEED to work on
  • NaNoWriMo should be fun. Being forced to write something you don’t enjoy sucks. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you have a contract and need to get the next book in your series done, but if the book isn’t something you’re super excited about, table it for after NaNo. I want your fingers to fly across the keyboard to the point where you’re destroying your daily word count.

  • Clean your house/apartment
  • Procrastination likes to nudge. You know how it gets you? By whispering in your ear that your tub needs scrubbing, the kitchen floor needs mopping, or those three loads of laundry need to be done right now. NaNo lasts for an entire month. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to get in some light cleaning, unless dust bunnies and mildew are your jam, but don’t let the heavy-duty jobs suck you in. If you need to clean your oven or defrost your fridge do it now. Need to regrout that bathroom tile? DO IT NOW. Kick distraction’s ass and make your home shiny and sparkly in the process.

  • Create a playlist
  • Soundtracks are my life. For every single project I work on, I create a playlist that represents my couple. The songs are indicative of my characters’ personalities as well as the trajectory of their relationship. I also organize the songs by scene. This helps IMMENSELY when I’m stuck or need the motivation to power through and exceed word count goals for the day. Let’s face it, some days writing isn’t the thing we want to do. Watch movies? Sure. Watch porn? You betcha. Write? Womp womp womp. Not always. All it takes is a day of falling behind for your NaNo to get completely derailed. When you feel yourself walking near the pit of despair, cue up the playlist! It helps, I swear.

  • Get your food on
  •  If you’re unable to get to the grocery store to stock up on noshables, try one of those home delivery services. FreshDirect, PeaPod, Blue Apron or whatever is available in your area. Life can be crazy hectic, why not scratch food shopping off your to-do list? These websites will help you, and your loved ones won’t starve to death in the process. I mean, do you really want your cats to eat your carcass?

  • Have some sort of outline ready to go
  •  As a former panster, this is the holy grail of preparation. Your framework can be as detailed or as bare-bones as you’d like, but for chrissakes, have something to guide you. I find that when I don’t outline, I get stuck. My brain is like WUT. WUT IZ WERDS? Don’t self-sabotage, peeps.

  • Ditch social media 
  • Yep, I said it. If you’ve been following the news today, would it be so horrible to tune out for a bit? #indictmentMonday #KevinSpaceyiscanceled

    Social media can become an unwanted distraction. Some people can multitask and log into their fave website and be totally fine. Me? I see something that freaks me out, and my writing comes to a grinding halt. Last year, I was doing GREAT up until the election. I had to really dig deep to finish NaNo, and time spent on social media only made my finishing more challenging. So, if you know social media is a trigger that can stifle your progress, delete all the apps. Worst case scenario, have a loved one change your passwords and not tell you until Nov 30th. Drastic times call for drastic measures. I WANT YOU TO SUCCEED!

    • Have fun 

    Even if you don’t hit 50k, whatever words you end up with are more than you had at the beginning of the month. That’s progress! Celebrate your victories no matter how big or small.

    And that’s it for my NaNoWriMo prep. Easy peasy.

    I love seeing those glorious word counts on my dashboard! And for each night I exceed my word count, I intend to reward myself with Outlander episodes. Maybe a little Mindhunter too.

    Here’s to hoping you kick ass next month. If you’re registered on the NaNoWriMo website, add me as a buddy! See you in December!

    Author Spotlight: Laura Kaye

    Heeeeeeeey Folks!

    I am suuuuuuper late getting this post up but today have a valid excuse. It’s my birthday! I needed to spend some time celebrating me, yanno? Unfortunately, I had to work, so there was no partying like it was 1999. ☹ I mean, it would’ve been one hell of a way to kickstart my Monday, but I digress.

    This week’s featured author is one of the nicest ladies I have come to know since I began this author gig. I first met Laura at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference. Funny thing, I kept staring at her awkwardly (yes in a creepy way) like why do I know her face? It was bugging me that I couldn’t place her. When I finally asked someone, they kindly replied, “That’s Laura Kaye” instead of looking at me like I was an idiot for not knowing. It dawned on me I knew her from 1001 Dark Nights! I’d read one of her stories. I am so awkward sometimes when it comes to authors I’ve read. LOL, not always but once in a while.

    Anyway, Laura was super friendly!!! She’s been amazing when it comes to sharing what she knows about the book world. I’m genuinely grateful to have connected with her, and you should get to know a little about this wonderful lady.

    Take it away Laura!

    I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

    LOL! Hmm… I am seriously not very evil *grins* Maybe that I have 5 tattoos and want more? Or that I’m seriously addicted to chips and salsa? Or that I like to utter creative variations on the F-word???

    What do you do for fun?

    I love to travel. I adore long dinners with friends. And I dig binge-watching paranormal and home improvement shows and new series - most recently I’m hooked on Zoo.

    There can only be one winner! To which beverage do you swear your allegiance? Coffee or tea? 

    Tea forever! (I’ve never drank coffee and don’t like the taste *gasp*)


    Finish this sentence: Romance needs more _____. 

    Acceptance. Articles like the recent one in the New York Times prove the genre has yet to receive the same genuine consideration and treatment as every other genre.

    What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you first began your writing career? 

    Just keep writing new books!

    Did you go to your high school prom? If so, do you remember what you wore?

    Yes! I wore a beautiful emerald green floor-length strapless gown to my prom LOL

    What’s your favorite TV show of all time? 


    *I just started watching this show on Saturday. One word: JAAAAAMMMMIIIIIEEEEEE #teamhotredheadedvirgin*

    Almost every advice column I’ve read on productivity says authors should write every day. Do you follow this advice? 

    When I’m on deadline, I write every day. When I’m not under deadline, or when I’m writing something speculatively, I write every weekday. But I do some writing-business related work almost everyday either way, even if it’s not writing.

    Describe your most memorable family vacation. 

    We went on vacation to the same place pretty much every year - to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware - so it’s very fond to me now.

    What song holds a special place in your heart?

    Proud Mary, because I can remember my father’s band playing it in the basement when I was very little and was supposed to be sleeping but was actually sitting at the top of the stairs listening to them practice. I don’t have very many other memories of my father, but that song pulls me back to that moment every time.

    ** Bonus Question**

    Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you? 

    I haven’t, but I totally would! :)  


    New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller Laura Kaye is the author of over thirty books in romantic suspense and contemporary and erotic romance and has sold more than one million books in the U.S. alone. Among her many awards, she won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense of 2014 for Hard As You Can. A former college history professor, Laura grew up amid family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

    Laura also writes historical fiction under the name Laura Kamoie, also a Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today bestseller.

    Laura is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Maryland Romance Writers, the Washington Romance Writers, and she is past president of the RWA-Contemporary Romance Writers.

    Social Media:


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    Librarian Spotlight: Super Wendy

    Hey Folks!

    Hope your Monday was better than mine. My commute this morning was hell. I got stuck in a subway tunnel for an hour. First, the conductor said there was a stalled train ahead of us; then it was a signal problem, then it was a power outage. Didn’t matter much to me why I was stuck in the tunnel, I just wanted to get the heck out.

    I became annoyed somewhere around the fifty-minute mark because despite it being a breezy sixty-six degrees in NYC today, the subway car was freezing due to the AC being turned ALL the way up. I don’t know what it is with me and cold climates. We are mortal enemies. I always seem to get stuck in places where I’m left to turn into an icicle.

    I should also mention I did not have coffee. I usually wait until I get to work to indulge in my caffeine addiction but I regret not having a cup o’ hot java before leaving my apartment. Bright side? I had a book on me. LOL, two actually. I never leave home without a paperback and thanks to the delay I was able to get some reading done. Down side? I ended up shelling out twenty bucks this morning on a cab, but I’m safe! Things could always be worse. I can whine about it now, but life is good even with poopy morning commutes.

    Anyway, since my day has gone completely off the rails I’m late getting this post up, but it’s worth the wait. 

    This week’s spotlight features a woman I’ve been following for some time. Not in a stalkery way. Y’all, I love her blog SO MUCH. We share a lot of similarities which is probably WHY I LOVE HER BLOG SO MUCH. Of course, at RWA Nationals when I finally got to meet her, I kinda lost my shit. Within reason. I didn’t want to be a total hot mess (by my estimate I was only 70% hot mess).

    Librarians and book bloggers are some of my favorite people, so when I get to meet one I adore, I momentarily lose all sense of sanity. Get to know Super Wendy; she’s the bomb.


    Authors and bloggers were asked this question, and my librarian interviewees should have a shot at it as well. I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for librarians. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

    I have a horrid potty mouth.  I can swear like a drunken sailor on shore leave.  This is something that general acquaintances and people who know me only in passing always seem to be surprised by when someone lets them in on my secret.  This is not the greatest trait for a librarian to have, but luckily I can turn off my colorful language fairly easily.  When I last worked public service “Fudge” and “Oh shoot” were perennial favorites.

    If someone had never read romance and came to you seeking advice on where to begin, what book would you recommend to pop their cherry?

    In Librarian Speak, I’d start with a reader’s advisory interview.  The great thing about romance is the variety.  I’d start by asking the person what they do like to read and the names of the last three books they really enjoyed.  Then I’d tailor my recommendations accordingly. 

    That being said, there are books within the genre I think everyone should read.  Quiet reads that pack intense emotion.  Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath.  Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist.  His Wife for One Night by Molly O’Keefe. Simple Jess, Courting Miss Hattie, Wild Oats all by Pamela Morsi. Dirty by Megan Hart. To Dream Again by Laura Lee Gurhke.  So many. And yes, I tend to gravitate towards swoony historicals.  They’re my first love in romance, so they’re a hard habit to break (not that I would want to!)

     What’s your favorite romance trope? 

    If you were going to force me to choose one: friends to lovers.  But I also love boss/secretary (I know, it’s shameful!), virgin heroes, and enemies to lovers (when it’s done well).

    If you had the power to change one historical event, what event would you change and why?

    This is like asking me to name my favorite book.  It’s nearly impossible.  I’ll go with what popped into my head first - the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and World War I.  The roots started much earlier but World War I begat World War II which begat the Cold War which begat Vietnam and so on and so forth.  World War I really sucked.

    What’s your favorite dessert?

    True New York-style cheesecake.  Light, fluffy, creamy - if someone in the City is reading this can you overnight some to me right now?  

    What problem do you face every day that nobody has solved yet?

    Traffic.  Unholy, ungodly, southern California traffic.

    What’s your favorite 90s TV show?

    Law & Order - the original flavor.  I LOVE Law & Order.  It could literally be the only TV show at my disposal and I’d be OK with that.  Also, if not for Melrose Place I don’t think I would have survived college with my sanity somewhat intact.

    Who are your top three favorite authors?

    Tess Gerritsen, Molly O’Keefe, Maggie Osborne (Why are you torturing me like this! Only three?!?!)

    How many items on your bucket list do you have left to check off? 

    Almost all my bucket list is travel related.  The big one staring me in the face is Ireland.  I want to visit Ireland SO badly.  

    Finish this sentence: I really wish people understood ______ better. 

    History.  The daily news is filled with instances of history repeating itself.  The worst of it is that the people we expect to know better…don’t.  Pick up a book already, it’s good for the soul and you just might learn something.

    **Bonus Question**

    Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

    I am a mild-mannered librarian with a reputation to uphold. I reveal nothing! Bwahahahaha! 

    *You know what they say about mild-mannered librarians*  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 


    Active in the online Romance community since 1999, Wendy the Super Librarian is a former RWA Librarian of the Year, a beleaguered Detroit Tigers baseball fan, a connoisseur of cheap wine and a legend in her own mind.  She is hopelessly devoted to category romance (you will pry her Harlequins out of her cold dead hands!), historical romance and books with dead bodies in them.  After living in Southern California for over a decade, any sanity she may have left from the horrid traffic is all thanks to audio books.  Long live audio books!

    Social Media:


    Twitter: @SuperWendy

    GoodReads: SuperWendy 

    Instagram: wendythesuperlibrarian

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