Sunday, June 24, 2012


Summer is not my my favorite season. Having an office like this really makes me wonder why it's not. I mean, I picked both fresh blueberries and strawberries for breakfast.

The fragrance is as amazing and sweet as the views.

The scent from the herbs make me want to fire up the grill.

An office like this makes me feel like I'm on vacation, but I'm not. I need to work on the next book, which is coming along real nice.

Hmmm, today, I could write something fun and light like OBSESSED BY WILDFIRE. It's a perfect read if you're heading to the pool, beach or hammock. That would be fun and I do have a great idea that involves a bear.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Doomed Love Affair

My villain in HIS WITNESS TO EVIL came to my house. Well, figuratively he did.

While writing HIS WITNESS TO EVIL, I had such a great handle on my hero and heroine, John and Stephanie. I knew their dreams and secrets. Heck, I even knew what toothpaste Steph liked to use and which gun was John’s weapon of choice. However, when it came to my villain, Victor, I knew he was the bad guy, stole money and wanted to do really bad things to John and Steph, but not much else. When the plot line of my book started to look like a sway back mare, I knew I had to invite Victor into my home.

It was a snowy, blustery night when he came knocking at the door, in my mind. (I know author's are strange--just go with it) The tree tops howled as the raging winds bent them at odd angles and mad gusts picked up armfuls of snow and sent them to the swirling heavens. My senses told me to stay alert as Victor followed me into the living room. He paid no attention to my DH who watched a football game and DH paid no attention to Victor, until later.

I asked Victor to sit beside me and while he shrugged off his calf’s skin leather jacket, folded and draped it across the sofa’s back, I picked up my pen and notebook. My first question surprised him. “Why did you dye your hair platinum blonde?”

A micro-second before his gaze darted away, I saw Victor’s insecurity. His answer surprised me. I hadn’t expected the Russian Mafia prince to show emotion over his hair. The reason why he colored his hair was just the tip of Victor’s emotional iceberg. An iceberg I probed, digging for the real Victor.

Over the next hour we talked about his life, his career choice, his feelings toward Steph and John and his relationship with his family. I could see his mannerisms and hear his forefather’s dialect, even though he tried hard to mask it. I couldn’t jot notes fast enough.

When my DH decided it was time for Victor to leave because it seemed I was having too much fun with the guy, I had this overwhelming sense that a friend was leaving my home and would travel on a dangerous road. In my mind, I cautioned Victor about his actions and where they might lead him. He simply smiled, and said “Sometimes a man has no choice. He must do what he has been trained to do, without question.”

After the door had closed behind him, I stayed up into the week hours of the night and dashed off two new chapters. One was inserted into the front of the story because my readers had to know the real Victor and what motivated him to carry out the acts he did. The other lifted my sagging middle out of a dark grave and gave the plot new life.

Victor is one of my favorite characters I’ve written, so far. I will admit I loved writing about him and in his voice. Yes, he is a villain, but after our meeting I understand his whys and his secrets and his dreams.

Have you ever fallen in love with a character?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Opportunity Knocks at Marketing For Romance Writers Summer Camp. Open the door to: SEEK, TEACH, LEARN, SHARE, SUCCEED...and discover MFRW'S MOTTO of Achievement.

It’s so hard to know what route to go when it comes time for promotion. The industry is rapidly changing and its critical for an author to have an easily accessible source for information.

Marketing For Romance Writer’s helps me make sense of all the promotion information floating around the net. Searching for answers to marketing questions takes up valuable writing time. Since joining MFRW, I’ve posted questions regarding social networking, best promotional tools, marketing tips, sites for reviews and advertising. Because the group is so large I usually receive multiple replies to my questions which provides me with more options. Sometimes I don’t even post a question I simply search archived emails in MFRW’s yahoo group.

July is quickly approaching and I can’t wait for the camp. It’s free! It’s online! Between the information I’ll gather in the classes and talking to other MFRW members I’m sure to find time saving techniques that will get my published work in front of readers without eating into writing time. After all, if I don’t get the book written I don’t have anything to promote!

Marketing for Romance Writers Summer Camp is July 14th – July 15th. To receive updates for the camp or learn more about it and MFRW, please sign up here:"http://">">

Thank you Autumn for the opportunity to guest on your blog! Have a wonderful summer and I’m sure I’ll see you at camp.

The Burning Seal, Paranormal Romantic Suspense,

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's gone. It's done. I'm moving on.

Time. We all wished we had more stashed away somewhere so on those occasions when we really do need to be cloned three times over we could open the proverbial bottle and dump time over our heads. But, the concept of time and how to capture it remains a mystery to even the greatest minds.

So what is our alternative? How about organization?

We all know how to organize? Well, maybe 75% of us do. Mankind has been organizing things since day one. They kept their food in one area of the cave and their fossil fuels in another and slept in another. They organized hunting parties to gather or capture their food. We know herbalist have been around since, well, day one. I’m sure they kept their ginkgo separated from their dandelion. (To learn more about herbs and their uses visit ) But how do we organize to save or make the best use of our time?

First, thing that comes to my mind is to get rid of clutter. Over the last year or so, I’ve been tossing, recycling, and giving things away that I don't use any longer, and I still have a truck load that needs to go. I watched a newscast a few months ago on the new minimalist movement. One man had less than one-hundred items, excluding food, underwear and socks in that count, but every other article of clothing, cooking and eating utensils and everything else he owned was included. The show really made me think about what I actually need in my life and how much having a ton of stuff can blog me down. Out the door became my new motto. Well, except for my books. I mean let's be honest. Books are treasure.

Second, when getting organized, I think of lists. The days I make a list are the days I get so much more done. I know some of you have heard the old story about the woman who goes out to get her newspaper and sees her flowers need water so she goes to get the watering can and notices her car windows are open. She drops the can and goes inside to get her keys and picks up her husband’s socks from the floor and carries them to the hamper only to realize it’s full and she needs to start the laundry. Etc, etc, etc. Until the end of the story she is exhausted and never gets anything done. (I’m raising my hand here.) That is so me on some days-days that I don’t make a list, prioritize the items and stay focus on accomplishing the tasks. The world is filled with many disractions bidding for our attention. Without super human powers, we can’t do it all.

One more. (This blog is getting too long. I hate long blogs. I don’t have time to read everything. I’m sure you don’t either) Choose what is important to you and do it first. If gardening is your love, make it your priority and the first thing you do in the morning, or on your off time. If exercise is your game, do it. If it’s writing, sit down and knock out a page or two. Do what you truly love first and your step will be lighter doing the rest of the items on your I’ve-got-to-get-done list.

Thank you for visiting. Take your time looking around and please visit again. AJ

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rachael Brimble Visits.

Thursday June 7, 2012

As a writer lucky enough to be able to work full-time around her two kids, husband and dog, I often feel guilty about being at home all day. What are people thinking about me? Do they think I sit around the house doing nothing? Why isn’t my house spotlessly clean (because believe me, it isn’t!!)?

It is only recently that these negative thoughts were banished (hopefully!) forever. The moment the email dropped into my inbox from my agent telling me Harlequin Superromance wanted to publish my first romantic suspense since 2008, I felt a weight lift. The tears came as the news hit me for six in SO many ways. Most of all, it hit me that I have the potential to really succeed at what I love doing most in the world…writing!

The sad truth is writing NEVER gets easier! Self-confidence in your work is, for most of us, an endless goal. With each book, I hope this will be the one to write itself. I’ll sit back and the characters will be so clear in my head I can hear them, the plot will be formulated and entirely error free, I will merely be my novel’s secretary taking dictation.

This might happen for a sentence, a paragraph—hey, even an entire scene! But the whole book? Nah, never gonna happen…

Before all you aspiring writers out there, pick up your laptops and throw them through the window, there’s a reason I am sharing this doom and gloom. Perseverance, belief, tenacity and skin thicker than an elephant’s rump is what is needed for you to have any chance of making it in the business. End of.

If someone would have told me that at the very beginning, I probably could have saved myself a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I am passing on this experience because I want to save you from having to do the same.

Let me introduce you to the freedom of the ‘crappy first draft’. Repeat after me, “I give myself permission to write the crappiest manuscript ever from start to finish.” Of course, draft two is where the real hard work begins – nothing free in this game ;)

But this method really works! Well, at least for me it does. Without the pressure of getting the characters, the setting, the plot and everything else perfect first time round, it releases my creativity AND output. People often ask me on Twitter how I manage such a high daily word count (I average 2,000 words per day) when I have school age kids. It is possible when you are not agonizing over every word and sentence.

Draft two is also a largely easier process than you might imagine – think about it, a full page can be edited, a blank page can’t.

So? What do you think? Could you give the ‘crappy draft’ method a try? What’s your process?

I’d love to hear from you!

Rachel’s latest release is Paying The Piper, available now from Lyrical Press. Here’s the blurb and buy link:

Nightclub manager, Grace Butler is on a mission to buy the pub where her mother’s ashes are scattered – except the vendor wants to sell to anyone but her. And the vendor happens to be her father…with a secret Grace will do anything to uncover.

Social worker and all-round good guy, Jimmy Betts needs cash to buy a house for three special kids before their care home closes. In a desperate bid for cash, he agrees to a one-time ‘job’ for bad-man Karl Butler. But in a sudden turn of events, Jimmy finds himself employed by Karl’s beautiful, funny and incredibly sexy daughter, Grace.

Their lives are so different except for one unifying thread – they are both trying to escape the binds of their tyrannical fathers. But is the key to their liberty each other?

Rachel’s Links:
Twitter: @rachelbrimble

Monday, June 4, 2012

Like WOW!

Tuesday June 5, 2012

Yesterday, I ran into a husband of a friend who had bought HIS WITNESS TO EVIL. The first words he said to me were, “I read your book last night.”

You can imagine my reaction. I froze, (well, because I write romantic suspense and he is an ALPHA male) and waited for his next remark and sure enough it came.

“Pretty steamy.” He grinned.

I know it was my imagination, but I would swear I saw the wiggle of his right brow.

“Why is it everyone focuses on the love scenes?” I responded, wanting to slap the smirk off his face.

“Well they were, ah, good, but I liked the whole thing,” friend’s DH stammered.

Okay, he got my interest. “What?”

“Yeah, the Russian Mafia stuff. It was good. I laid it down a couple of times. You know, to check my email, but I couldn’t stop wondering what would happen next. I read the whole thing. When’s your next one coming out?”

Now, you understand I’m like doing the jig inside. It takes every ounce of control not to hug this guy. A man liked my book. My romantic suspense. Why should that make me dance with joy? Because it meant I wrote the stuff (action, guts, glory) guys like well. He totally bought into the world I built. He made my day and I told him so. Hell, he made my month.

I hope you'll enjoy the story as much.

Excerpt from HIS WITNESS TO EVIL. Available on Amazon

Suddenly, a hand slapped across her mouth and a strong arm circled her waist, lifting her off her feet. Her nostrils flared against the ridge of skin as she fought to suck in air and the scent of the man dragging her away.

A car whizzed by but didn’t stop. The street ahead was deserted except for two elderly women waiting for a bus and a couple standing on the corner. They had their backs to her. They didn’t see her.

She searched wildly for anyone who would come to her rescue. There was no one.

The street disappeared and red brick imprisoned her and her attacker on both sides as the man carried her deeper into the deserted alley. Foul smelling dumpsters, broken crates and cardboard boxes limp from the downpour on Saturday night filled the alley.

While her toes fought to touch the ground, her fingernails dug into tan skin. She struggled helplessly to free herself.

“Owww. Will you stop clawing me?” The deep tone heated her ear.

“John,” she mumbled against his hand. She twisted and strained to look back. Relief washed through her.

“Quiet.” He deposited her into a deep doorway.

Her purse slipped from her shoulder and dropped to the ground as she spun on her heel. Without thought, she flung her arms around his neck. His hard chest crushed her breasts. “I was so scared. I didn’t want to leave you and Zohara. I’m so glad you’re alive.”

“Me too,” he whispered into her ear.

She pulled back. His smile was faint, but it was there. Her hands trailed down his arms and found the bandage. “Your arm.”

“It’s nothing. A cut.”

“I shouldn’t have left you and—”

“You did the right thing, Steph. Where are the kids?”

“They’re safe.”

He looked at her warily, probably wondering where she could hide them and feel safe about doing so.

She squared her shoulders. “No one saw us. I wasn’t going to bring them until I knew it was safe. Whoever is looking for us could spot us faster if we were together, so I left them at the library with Susan. No one will look for them there. And if something happens to me…” Stephanie swallowed hard, fear rippling through her. “Well, Susan knows my mother. She’d call her.”

At the sound of a door opening, John glanced around the doorway’s edge. He pushed her into the corner, shielding her with his body.

With her nose pressed against his chest, she drew in a mixture of his musk scent and blood.

The sound of someone throwing trash into the dumpster mingled with the throb of her heart. Protected by John, she closed her eyes and waited.

“Damn,” he said.

Stephanie’s head snapped up. “What do you mean, damn?”

“Shh.” John’s hands found her hips and pulled her even closer—hip to hip. The butt of his gun poked her ribs. No protective vests shielded her from the feel of him.

His burning gaze told her of his plan only a moment before his lips, full and hot, crushed hers.

His hands trailed down her backside, lifting her against his hard body. She ran her hands up his strong arms. The world reeled away, leaving her and John alone, enjoying the warm comfort of each other as their bodies molded together.

John pulled back. Instantly the air between them cooled and Stephanie shivered, wanting more of him.

“Calm down, Mac. The lady and I are on a coffee break. Right, babe?”

Dazed, her gaze locked with his. She knew what he wanted from her.

“Miss?” The stocky man, wearing a bloody butcher’s apron, glanced at her purse before his hard glare landed on John. The man’s burly arms hosted clamped fists and his stance changed. He was ready to pounce on John at her word.

“Leave us alone. We’ve only got ten minutes.” Stephanie slowly laced her arms around John’s neck and flashed a wicked smile at the man. She went up on her toes and buried her face in John’s neck and nibbled away, enjoying the salty taste of him.