Writing hours in February 2016

Even though February had one day more than usual, the month is over.

And boy, it’s been a busy month!

I’m very happy to say that I wrapped up my historical romance Shaken to the Core. It ended up at 126,000 words, which I think is a perfect length that will satisfy my readers and not make my publisher want to jump out of a window. All that remains to be done is the copy editing and proofreading.

Other than last-minute revisions for Shaken, I have worked mostly on the translation of Just Physical last month. The German title, Affäre bis Drehschluss, roughly translates to “fling until filming ends.” A direct translation of titles rarely works.

I also wrote a short story for Ylva Publishing’s upcoming “book people” anthology, Finding Ms. Write. I really had fun with my contribution, titled “Sex Sells.” Here’s the blurb:

Lesbian mystery writer Mara McKinney has had a crush on her editor, Hayley, for ages, even though the two have never met face-to-face. When Hayley calls her to suggest she introduce more romance into her novels, this might be Mara’s chance to work on her own happy ending.

I also spent some time doing research for my next novel, a contemporary romance titled Heart Trouble. I guess you could call it a medial romance with a twist.

On the editing front, I’ve been working not just on the Finding Ms. Write anthology, which I am co-editing with Jove Belle, but also on a new romance by Catherine Lane and a dystopian novel by May Dawney.

So, let’s take a look at my working hours in February:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2016 - TOTAL244 hours140 hours67 hours47 hours34 hours532 hours
January100 hours66 hours24 hours46 hours15 hours251 hours
February144 hours74 hours43 hours1 hour19 hours281 hours

Check back at the beginning of April, when I hope to start writing the first draft of Heart Trouble.

Have a nice week!


Writing hours in September 2015

Just Physical coverFall is always a busy time for me. At Ylva Publishing, we’re gearing up for the publication of our Halloween anthology and the holiday anthology. This year, I’m also working hard to get two of my books out in time for Christmas: Just Physical, my new lesbian romance, and then next book in my writers’ guide series, Time Management for Writers.

I’m looking forward to the publication of Just Physical in particular. I’ve been working so hard to get this book and its main character, Jill, right, and I can’t wait to hear what my readers will think. The feedback from my beta readers has been very encouraging.

My latest German release, Rosen für die Staatsanwältin, (the translation of Next of Kin) has been published two days ago, and it’s #1 in Amazon’s lesbian romance category already.

Also, one of the novels I edited for Ylva has just been published: Cast Me Gently by Caren J. Werlinger. It’s a sweet yet realistic romance set in the 1980s. A wonderful read, and I’m not just saying that because I edited it :-)

So, let’s take a look at my working hours in September:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2015 - TOTAL1,048 hours752 hours98 hours240 hours242 hours2,380 hours
January175 hours88 hours---5 hours29 hours297 hours
February155 hours53 hours4 hours9 hours36 hours257 hours
March116 hours120 hours32 hours1 hours25 hours294 hours
April79 hours86 hours6 hours18 hours48 hours237 hours
May97 hours100 hours19 hours54 hours32 hours302 hours
June143 hours80 hours21 hours2 hours25 hours271 hours
July89 hours42 hours1 hours0 hours19 hours151 hours
August112 hours111 hours---33 hours12 hours268 hours
September82 hours72 hours15 hours118 hours16 hours303 hours

October is going to be interesting, since I’m working on two books–with a pretty tight deadline–and I’ll also be gone, attending the book fair in Frankfurt, for a week. Check back next month for the numbers!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Giveaway: Win my vampire short story “Coitus Interruptus Dentalis”

Coitus-interruptus-dentalisI never thought I’d write a vampire novel, but when I co-authored Good Enough to Eat with fellow Ylva author Alison Grey, I realized how much fun it was.

Fun is not usually something I associate with a visit to the dentist, but it provided a great setting for my newest short story, “Coitus Interruptus Dentalis.”

In this short story, vampire-like creature Robin bites her girlfriend during a passionate encounter … and ends up with a chipped fang.

If you haven’t yet read the story, here’s your chance to win an e-book copy.

All you have to do is to leave a comment on this blog. I’ll draw the winner at noon (EST) on Sunday.

Good luck, everyone!


Writing hours in March 2015

hailIt’s April’s Fools’ Day today, and our weather is playing tricks on unsuspecting people here in southwestern Germany. We had hail this morning, and five minutes later, the sun was shining. Typical April weather.

Thank God I’m more consistent than the weather when it comes to my writing :-)

My first nonfiction book and the first one I published under my own name, Goal Setting for Writers, has been published in March.

I wrapped up my newest romance novel, Damage Control, which will be published later this month! My beta readers had wonderful things to say about the novel, so I’m looking forward to hearing what my readers think. I also worked on a short story that goes with it, “Dresstease.”

And I just finished a short story that goes with my paranormal romance Good Enough to Eat. It’s unique title is “Coitus Interruptus Dentalis.”

I also did a lot of research in March, mostly about multiple sclerosis, since the main character in one of my upcoming novels suffers from it.

On the editing front, my colleagues at Ylva Publishing and I are busy putting together our erotica anthology, Don’t Be Shy, so a lot of time went into that.

Let’s take a look at the numbers for March:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2015 - TOTAL446 hours261 hours36 hours15 hours90 hours848 hours
January175 hours88 hours---5 hours29 hours297 hours
February155 hours53 hours4 hours9 hours36 hours257 hours
March116 hours120 hours32 hours1 hours25 hours294 hours

Please check back later this month for the publication of Damage Control or, better yet, subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss it!


Writing Hours in February 2015

flowers-of-apple-tree-1445312-mMarch has begun and with it, spring. Maybe not all over the world, but we had gorgeous sunshine here in southwestern Germany today.

February seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. I had two new books out within one week–the paranormal romance novel Good Enough to Eat, which I co-wrote with fellow Ylva author Alison Grey, and Auf schmalem Grat, the German version of my romantic suspense novel Conflict of Interest.

I was also busy working on my work-in-progress, Damage Control. I’m excited to say that I’m very close to finishing the novel–just two more chapters to go. I really love these characters, and I already decided that one of the minor characters, Jill, deserves her own novel. That will be one of my projects for 2016.

Let’s take a look at the numbers for February:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2015 - TOTAL330 hours141 hours4 hours14 hours65 hours554 hours
January175 hours88 hours---5 hours29 hours297 hours
February155 hours53 hours4 hours9 hours36 hours257 hours

Please check back on March 19 for a giveaway!


Writing hours in January 2015

February is halfway over, and I just realize that I haven’t posted the numbers for January yet. Well, better late than never, right?

January was incredibly busy, as anyone I still owe an e-mail can attest to. I got started on writing my new romance novel, Damage Control, on January 1. Now I’m almost 97,000 words into the story…and the two main characters haven’t even kissed yet! I think it’s safe to say that this is going to be one of my longer books.

I also wrote a new short story in January. “The Snow Liger” is part of my shape-shifter series and will be published in the anthology Love Spanks tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day.

Let’s take a look at the numbers for January:

 Fiction Writing EditingResearchNonfiction WritingMarketing & AdministrationTOTAL
2015 - TOTAL175 hours88 hours0 hours5 hours29 hours297 hours
January175 hours88 hours---5 hours29 hours297 hours

Have a nice weekend, everyone!


Jae, killer of computer mice

dead mouseMy computer mouse went to the Eternal Hunting Grounds yesterday, joining half a dozen other mice that I killed over the last two years. Or is it “mouses” when speaking about devices for computers?

Anyway, I used my laptop mouse for the rest of the day, but it’s too small for my liking and my wrist started to hurt within a few minutes.

I prefer a big mouse that I can rest my hand on—like the Logitech Performance Mouse MX or the Logitech G500. These were perfect for my hand, but sadly, they never last very long.

vertical mouseSo I went hunting for a new mouse, but all the reviews for mice that looked as if they might work for me didn’t sound very convincing.

Finally, I decided to try out a vertical mouse. I never had one of those before, but I thought now that I write full time and spend even more time on a computer, it’s worth a try.

I’ll let you know how we get along.

Does this mouse-killing thing happen to anyone else who works on the computer a lot? And what kind of mouse do you use? Does anyone have a recommendation? Has anyone ever used a vertical one–and if you did, how did it work for you?

Thanks and have a nice weekend, everyone!

Writing hours in March 2014

Cabernet & LiebeWow, what a month!

I recently moved into a new (bigger) apartment. Even though it’s in the same house where I lived before, it’s insane how much work was involved, so I again didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked. When I thought a full-time writer would write full time, I must have been delusional Wink

Still, I can’t complain too much. After all, I published a new novel, Cabernet und Liebe, (the German translation of Something in the Wine), wrote a new short story (which will be published in an anthology edited by Andi Marquette and RG Emanuelle), and completed a new novella, Departure from the Script.

I also did lots of editing, among others RJ Nolan’s new novel, In a Heartbeat, and Fletcher DeLancey’s great novella Mac vs. PC.

Plus I’m also doing a lot of research for my next novel, Damage Control, which will be set in Hollywood too, just like Departure from the Script.

So let’s take a look at the numbers for March.

 WritingEditingResearchNonfiction Writing
2014 - TOTAL173 hours171 hours83 hours0 hours
January75 hours60 hours1 hour--
February48 hours70 hours35 hour--
March50 hours41 hours47 hour--

If I include marketing, I spent about 150 hours on writing-related activities.

Check back soon for news on the publication of Conflict of Interest, which should be available within the next few days!


How to set up an e-mail signature with your book covers

Adding a signature to your e-mails is a great, unobtrusive way to market your book, yet few writers make use of that simple strategy.

Here’s how to set up your signature if you’re using Yahoo! mail. If you’re using another e-mail provider, the process is similar. Just try it; it’s not that hard to figure out.

  • Log in to your author e-mail account.
  • Hover your mouse over the gear icon at the top right of your inbox.



  • Once the drop-down menu appears, choose “settings.”
  • Click on the “writing e-mail” tab.
  • Under “signature,” choose “show a rich text signature.”
  • Type in the text of your signature into the text box. You should mention a few of your latest books, your website, your Facebook page or profile, your publisher, and maybe a link to the sign-up form of your author newsletter.
  • Format the text. For example, put the titles of your books in italics. You do that the same way as in any word processor. Just select the titles and click on the italics icon.
  • Include the links: Select the text where your link should go and then click on the chain icon to insert the URL.
  • You can also add thumbnails of your book covers. For this to work, you have to upload the covers to the Internet, preferably to your own website. You can’t use an image that just sits on your computer. It works best if you resize the covers to 100×150 px before uploading them. Once you have uploaded your cover images, open the picture in your browser and right-click on it, then choose “copy image.” Now you can just paste it into the text box of your e-mail signature.


  • You can even add links to each cover, for example, links leading to the book’s description. To do that, click on the cover in the signature’s text box, then click on the chain icon and copy in the URL.
  • Once the picture shows up and is in the right position, click “save” on the left side. You’re done!
  • Send a test e-mail to yourself so you can see how the new signature looks. Try whether all of the links work.

I know it might sound complicated, but it’s really not; I promise.

Here’s what my own signature looks like:


If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Good luck with setting up your signature!


Interview with fellow author Laurie Salzler

Laurie bio photoToday I’m interviewing Laurie Salzler, who publishes with Blue Feather Books.

You might be familiar with one of Laurie’s books—her debut novel, A Kiss Before Dawn, (which was a finalist for a Ann Bannon Readers Choice Award) and her second novel, Right Out of Nowhere—or with some of her beautiful photographs that she posts on Facebook.

Laurie has a degree in Natural Resources Conservation and Outdoor Recreation, which she probably put to good use for her second novel. Her newest novel, Positive Lightning, will be released in early 2014.

She and her wife, whom she legally married in 2011, celebrate thirty-two years together today! Congratulations to you both!

So now let’s take a look at Laurie’s life as a full-time writer.

How long have you been writing full-time?

I started writing my first book, A Kiss Before Dawn in 2009. So I guess you could say since then. I lived in New York State at the time and owned/operated a horse-boarding farm. In between chores and general upkeep of the place, I found time to write.

What was the process of moving into full-time writing for you?

Honestly? I had to get rid of some personal baggage before I could even think about writing, let alone start to put a story together. I’ve never made it a secret that my family was anything but ideal relations. One day, I just decided I’d had enough of the manipulation, backstabbing and just general crap they constantly threw at me. I realized I wanted me more than I wanted them. So one morning I woke up and decided I was done. It took about two weeks for me to “recover” from that decision. Suddenly a story began to gel in my head. I became nearly frantic to get it down on paper and see where it led. That’s how my debut novel was born.

Do you write every day? Do you give yourself weekends or days off or vacation time away from writing?

I try to write every day, however I may not necessarily be sitting in front of my computer, and could quite possibly be cleaning stalls or some other outdoor chore when an idea hits. I’m not very strict about giving myself time off. If I feel I need a break, I take it. Sometimes I feel guilty, but most of the time it works to my benefit…sort of like putting the pieces of a puzzle together in my head. It eventually comes together for the perfect fit.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

I get up at 5am nearly every day. Even weekends. The dogs don’t recognize weekends so if I’m lucky I may get a half hour more sleep, but that’s pushing it. Once the dogs are fed, I head out to the barn to feed the chickens, cats and three horses. That usually takes until just after 6am. Back in the house, I generally clean the kitchen before grabbing a coffee and sitting down at the computer. I’ll open my current work and read what I wrote the previous session and then get to work. After working for a couple ours, I get up and move around, maybe go outside and take the dogs for a walk.

Do you have a daily word-count goal or a set number of hours you spend writing?

No. I find that puts too much pressure on me. I write until I’ve said what I need to for the day.

Where do you write?  

Most of the time at my desk. I face a window that looks out onto the horse pastures, and a door with a huge window in it to my right that leads into the backyard. On nice days I’ll take my computer outside and write under the trees. I’ve also written in the barn to completely immerse myself in the smells and sounds of the horses.

How did family and friends react to you giving up your day job to become a full-time writer?

I think my wife thought it was just a phase I was going through. Something to pass the time. It wasn’t until I started talking about finding a publisher that she was less skeptical.

How much time do you spend promoting your books, including blogging, social media, etc.?

It varies, really. Photography is one of my hobbies, so I post a photo on my Facebook wall every day. Depending on the release dates, I may or may not say anything about my books. That said, by posting a photo, it keeps people aware of my work. There is no formula or set pattern to when I post a blog. When I write one, I have to “feel” it wanting to be written. It has to ache to come out. I don’t post one, just to post one. I need to have something to say. I’ve made appearances locally and out of town. Having as many animals as I do, it oftentimes hampers my ability to travel very far away from home.

What’s the best thing about being a full-time writer?

I can do something I love and still make a few cents. There’s definitely no dress code to adhere to when I go to work, and I make my own schedule for the most part.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a full-time writer?

Finding the discipline to not let outside forces pull me away from writing. When I worked outside the home, my job pretty much dictated I’d work 4 hours, take a lunch, work 4 more hours, and then go home. Sometimes it hard not to be sidetracked by the lawn that needs mowing, or wanting to take a horse for an all day ride.

Is there anything you wish you would have known before becoming a full-time writer?

I was lucky enough to be able to jump into full-time writing immediately. I wish I’d started sooner. But as with many things in life, maybe I just wasn’t ready to write a book until I was ready to write a book. smile

WRight out of Nowherehat advice would you give a fellow author who wants to write full time?

Make sure you can afford it. I’m very lucky to have a partner who can support me until such time I can make a living from writing. Having one book out won’t make you enough to pay the bills. Before you leave your job and begin writing fulltime, get a couple books out there and chart what you’ve made in royalties for a couple years. Then make your decision.

Can you tell us a bit about your latest novel?

Right Out of Nowhere was released this past March. It takes place in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho. Roni Oatman is a member of a Search and Rescue team. She’s also in love with her best friend, who is also her brother’s wife. Selena Ayala joins the team and has to Positive lightningquickly become a trusted member. Between the wilderness and personal issues, Roni and Selena have quite the time dealing with each other and their pasts.

What books can we look forward to from you in the future?

Currently I’m working on the sequel to my debut novel A Kiss Before Dawn. The working title is In the Stillness of Dawn. The story will follow the same characters introduced in the first book, with a few new additions. After that, I have a few others in the stack: a couple romances and I’m going to try my hand at a historical romance. The hard part will be picking which one I want to write first.

Thanks for patiently answering my questions, Laurie, and congrats to you and your wife again!

If you have any questions or comments for Laurie, please leave a comment. You can also visit her website or look at Laurie’s amazing photographs on Facebook.

Please check back on Sunday, when I will interview fellow author K.E. Payne.

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!


Created by Krystel Contreras & Jorge Courbis