4 April 2018

The Joy of Walking


We drive our cars. We need to get places. We’re on a schedule. Need to get things done.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

The streets are cluttered. Cars are weaving in and out. Lights are taking too long.

Ahhhhh.

Sound familiar?

The stress of that moment had me wondering…are we traveling too fast? Missing what’s going on around us? Are we even really seeing what’s going on before us or our minds just flashing with a hundred things that have to be done that day?

Are we driving too much while forgetting that we can walk to destinations not too far away?

I moved a mile away from a current job and I was eager to ride my bike. More exercise and, not to mention, saving on gas. It was nice for a while. I had to focus a lot on my bike. I had to watch the cars and people around me and keep those shaky handle bars steady. I focused so much on riding and worrying about weaving around things, I was missing something about being outdoors. I was missing the joy.

One day I decided to take a walk.

Have you ever just walked and took in your surroundings? Really listened to the birds chirping, the wind blowing gently against your face. The wind shivering the leaves on a tree.

I hadn’t until I started walking.

One mile to work and one back home. The first day I walked, I felt the muscle in my legs ache. I hadn’t been using certain muscles on my bike. But walking that first mile and the second back home gave me a good wake up. Made me feel good. Energized. My body was moving. My skin was soaking up the outdoors. My mind was settled and clearer than it had been in a long time. I realized I’d been worrying about things and those worries were causing a strange tightness in my shoulders and upper back.

Taking the time to walk taught me to be in the present moment. To enjoy the nature of my surroundings. In the mornings, I take in the quietness of the neighborhood. I say hello to fellow walkers and their dogs. In the afternoon, if the sun’s out, I feel a light perspiration on my skin as I notice a cat sneaking up on a little bird or a gopher popping his head out of the ground. Sometimes I just watch the clouds in the blue sky as the wind pushes them into beautiful shapes. I never noticed the clouds as much as I do on my daily walks. Somehow all the list of things I needed to get done don’t matter so much.

They’ll get done.

Now when I’m not working, I go for a two mile walk on my days off. Just for the pure joy of walking, for the light exercise. To listen to the sounds of my environment. To be present in the moment. To experience.

To feel peace and happiness.

And you know what? I don’t notice that tightness in my shoulders and back anymore.

One day, take a walk.

You may just discover the joy of walking.


18 October 2016

Maggie Marr + Beck

TITLE: BECK

WRITTEN BY: Maggie Marr

WANTED FOR: Romantic Suspense

DESCRIPTION: A Bad Boy Hollywood Hitman Novel

Natalie Warner can’t ignore the risk any longer. A star on the rise, her latest film is on track to be the biggest box office breaker of the summer but Natalie isn’t safe. Someone is after her. Could it be her angry addict father, or her mother who always wanted to be a star herself? What about her ex-boyfriend who just did time? The Studio refuses to ignore the threat and forces Natalie to take on a bodyguard, but that bodyguard comes in the shape of rugged, irresistible Beck Tatum, because whoever is after Natalie isn’t going to stop until someone makes them. 
 
A question, wrapped in a riddle, Beck Tatum doesn’t know what part of the government he worked for before he lost his memory or what exactly his mission was. He can remember that he loved and that he lost that woman as well as his memories on that final mission. Now with a second chance, he’s assigned to protect a high-value asset. Rich and entitled but yet kind and vulnerable, Natalie Warner isn’t the spoiled rich woman Beck expected. But falling for her would put her life on the line and Beck isn’t about to lose anything else.

Welcome to the Fresh Files, Maggie! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a few interesting tidbits about yourself and your writing because Readers and Writers want to know the 411! So let’s start off by talking about the story behind your story? Why did you write BECK?

M. This novel is like every  novel that I write, in that, the characters are in my brain and tell me their story. I liken this to the tarmac at LAX, when you see all the planes lined up and ready for take off–those are like my books/stories. The characters are in a row in my brain simply waiting for me, air traffic control, to point at them and say — your turn. Then it’s my job to *not* get in their way too much as these characters tell me their story. It’s a busy place up there in my brain all these characters waiting for their chance to tell me their story.

Do you have a writing routine or just go with the flow?

M. I *try* to have a routine but I also have a day job I love as well as children and a husband and sometimes all those things throw off my schedule–imagine! I prefer to write first thing each day. I feel as though I’ve really accomplished something with my day if I collect my words early in the day. My goal is 3000 words a day however I’ve noticed that I don’t usually get that many words in the first third of the book. My best guess is that the first third is when I’m building the foundation and that must be really solid to support the weight of the entire book so I go more slowly, even in my first draft.

I love books and television! What are some of the television shows that you watch or even the ones that are no longer playing on TV?

M. I LOVE television! I just started watching Divorce with Thomas Haden Church & Sarah Jessica Parker and I am liking this show. I also just started watching Insecure with Issa Rae who is funny and brilliant and amazing. I’m a big Game of Thrones fan as well as Modern Family, Blackish, and The Goldbergs.

Yes, love Sarah Jessica and Divorce is such an interesting show! Care to share a quick tip on plotting or characterization?

M. I love Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon. I read this book nearly every time I start a new book. The idea of external and internal goals and why a character can’t have what he or she wants helps me to have the insight I need to write my characters.

I use GMCs too! How do you feel about self-publishing–what were your top 3 steps to getting published.

M. I do self publish. My first two books, Hollywood Girls Club and Secrets of the Hollywood Girls Club went through Random House however I did get the rights back and now I’m exclusively indie pub. My books go through a process similar to New York with regards to editorial and marketing. My books receive 2 editorial passes as well as a final proof-read. My covers have cover designers. I also work with graphic designers to help come up with teasers for books that will be part of the marketing and promo campaign for each book. Next year we are starting a T-90 day release / launch schedule which means each book will get 90 days of promo work prior to release. I’m hoping this will help readers find my books when they are available.

Thank you for giving us a peek into your writing life, Maggie! Best of luck with BECK and The Hollywood Hitman series! Now, Readers, go and buy BECK!

Maggie Marr is the author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She writes smart, sexy, women and the men they love. She got her start in Hollywood pushing the mail cart at ICM, but quickly rose through the ranks to become a motion picture literary agent. As well as writing, she maintains a boutique legal practice dedicated to the needs of creatives & entrepreneurs. She is the current President of Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) and legal adviser to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA). Maggie loves all things pop culture and when she isn’t taking care of her clients or writing she can be found reading, chasing kids, or exercising her rescue pup. Visit her website www.MaggieMarr.net.


18 June 2016

D.R. Graham + Put It Out There

TITLE: PUT IT OUT THERE

WRITTEN BY: D.R. Graham

WANTED FOR: Contemporary YA

DESCRIPTION: The first book in the Britannia Beach series, perfect for fans of Katie McGarry. ‘Did you miss me?’ Returning home to Britannia Beach a year after her life was shattered is bittersweet for Derian Lafleur. Although some things settle back into place, others don’t click like they used to…especially her friendship with Trevor Maverty. Derian suddenly wishes the boy next door would see her as more than just a kid sister type. She tries to be everything she thinks he’s looking for— bolder, more experienced – but is that who she wants to be? With the fate of her family’s historic inn on the line and Trevor making life more complicated by the day, Derian struggles to manage her unexpected feelings, and deal with a past she’s not quite ready to leave behind.

Welcome to the Fresh Files, D.R.! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a few interesting tidbits about yourself and your writing because Readers and Writers want to know the 411! So let’s start off by talking about a totally awesome scene in your novel, PUT IT OUT THERE…

D.R. I have a lot of favourite scenes in this series. I don’t want to give too much away, but there is a motorcycle scene that will leave readers swooning over Trevor. My favourite scenes to write are the Search and Rescue action scenes and the “almost-kiss” building romance scenes.

Sounds great! What’s one of your favorite quotes in your book?

“Do you trust him?”

“With my life.” I leaned back against a tree trunk.

He stepped forward until our cheeks were touching and whispered, “Then trust him. If it’s meant to be, you can get together when the timing is right.”

What do you do with those new story ideas that suddenly pop into your head when you’re out and about? Do you keep a journal? Write them quickly down, or tell yourself to remember then totally forget!

D.R. Most of my ideas pop up when I am walking on the beach, driving to work, showering, or in that dreamy state between being asleep and awake, so I can’t usually write them down. It’s okay, though, because I don’t need to write anything down if I am still in the writing stage. Creative ideas will always come back to me once I’m at the computer. However, I do have to write down my ideas for corrections when I am in the revision phase. For some reason, specific corrections are easier to forget than plot ideas or dialogue. So, I have about twenty journals and note pads scattered all over the house for revision time.

I love books and television! What are some of the television shows that you watch or even the ones that are no longer playing on TV?

D.R. I am currently in love with Vikings. The cinematography and character development keep me hooked. Sometimes when I’m at work on a Thursday I get a burst of motivation because it’s Viking night. I also have a soft spot for Heartland because it is set on a horse ranch that is very similar to my grandparents’ place where I spent my summers growing up.

So you are an awesome writer…name another talent or hobby of yours.

D.R. One of my favourite hobbies is hiking in the area around Britannia Beach and Squamish. I went hiking on The Chief in Squamish on my first date with my husband. And a few years later he asked him to marry him on the peak above Britannia Beach. It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

So sweet! Thanks again for sharing with us, D.R. Best of luck with this awesome Britannia Beach series!

D.R. Graham is an author for HarperCollins and Entangled Publishing. She worked as a social worker with at-risk youth before becoming a therapist in private practice. The clients she works with are children and teenagers, and her novels deal with issues relevant to young and new adults in love, transition, or crisis. She is also an award winning columnist for the Richmond News. She currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband. Visit her website, www.drgrahambooks.com.


18 May 2016

Chris Cannon + Trial By Fire

TITLE: TRIAL BY FIRE

WRITTEN BY: Chris Cannon

WANTED FOR: Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

DESCRIPTION: Bryn’s hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her—again. She’s not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare of a Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon.

The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life.

She may have to live in their world, but she doesn’t have to play by their rules.

Welcome to the Fresh Files, Chris! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a few interesting tidbits about yourself and your writing because Readers and Writers want to know the 411! Care to share a quick tip on plotting or characterization?

C. When naming characters, I write out the alphabet on piece of notebook paper and use only one character name per letter. I also jot down the characters description so I remember eye color and body type. I keep this next to my laptop for quick reference.

Do you have a writing routine or just go with the flow?

C. After work I come home, drink a cup of coffee, and pet my dogs. After dinner I drink another cup of coffee and then sit down to write. I try to write every day.

Writers are snackers, right? I mean, sometimes you just can’t stop to eat so you might just bring the crumbs to the keyboard. What’s your fave writer snack while writing?

C. A spoonful of peanut butter, preferably Jif. Sometimes I have to stop typing to wipe peanut butter off the key board.

*chuckle* Yes, eating at the keyboard can be messy. So I love books and television! What are some of the television shows that you watch or even the ones that are no longer playing on TV?

C. I love Superatural, Doctor Who, The Originals, Sherlock, and Big Bang theory

*Raising hand* Supernatural fan, here! How about an all time fave book series you read every year?

C. Harry Potter

Thanks again for visiting with us on The Fresh Files, Chris!

Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or snarky romantic comedies. Visit her website, www.ChrisCannonAuthor.com.


18 April 2016

Eileen Cook + With Malice

TITLE: WITH MALICE

WRITTEN BY: Eileen Cook

WANTED FOR: YA THRILLER

DESCRIPTION:  For fans of We Were Liars and The Girl on the Train comes a chilling, addictive psychological thriller about a teenage girl who cannot remember the last six weeks of her life.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron’s senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, stitches in her face, and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be, Jill comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident in her travels abroad. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

Welcome to the Fresh Files, Eileen! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a few interesting tidbits about yourself and your writing because Readers and Writers want to know the 411! So let’s start off by talking about a totally awesome scene in your soon to be released novel, WITH MALICE…

E. How does anyone pick just one scene? I will admit I love the scenes in my book that take place in Italy. This is because I managed to go to Italy to do some research as well as I love having the main character Jill trying to recall what happened there when her memory for that time is gone. She’s hearing different stories from people who were on the school trip with her and she has to figure out what is true and what motivation people might have for what they’re saying.

What do you do with those new story ideas that suddenly pop into your head when you’re out and about? Do you keep a journal? Write them quickly down, or tell yourself to remember then totally forget!

E. I used to go with the assumption that I would totally remember and then forget and beat myself up mentally for days for losing what I was sure was the idea of the century. Now I keep a notebook with me to jot down ideas or I also use the record function on my phone. This is how I end up with random recordings that say things like: “Santa was just the clown at Jesus’s birthday party,” and no other context.

Writers are snackers, right? I mean, sometimes you just can’t stop to eat so you might just bring the crumbs to the keyboard. What’s your fave writer snack while writing?

E. Cookies! I am pretty sure Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster is my spirit animal. Mmmm…Chocolate chip. Or peanut butter. Oooooh I have a good recipe for an Earl Grey Shortbread cookie that is darn tasty. Now I want to bake something.

Yeah, now, I want to EAT something. haha! I love books and television. What are some of the television shows that you watch or even the ones that are no longer playing on TV?

E. I love watching the most random things on Netflix- especially crime dramas from the BBC or weird subtitled Danish mystery shows. I’m also a huge fan of Orphan Black, The Walking Dead and Castle.

So you are an awesome writer…name another talent of yours.

E. I’m a knitter. Give me some yarn and a couple of sticks and BOOM you’ll have a scarf or a pair of socks. I feel this will be a very handy skill should the zombie apocalypse ever come to pass. I also find the act of creating something that I can see and touch (versus all the time in my head with my imaginary friends) is a great outlet.

Great, Eileen, thanks so much for sharing about WITH MALICE on the The Fresh Files!

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV.  She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her newest book, WITH MALICE, will be out in June 2016. She’s an instructor/mentor with the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio Program. You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two very naughty dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.