Drowning in Swag

...but what a way to go!

I have so very many pretty things to give away at conference. (I had to make a mind-mapping chart to keep track!) Between my author stuff, HBIC Nation, Romanced by the Cover, and the return of #ReadWritePlan, I'm up to my ears in swag. 

(P.S. Check out my home page for the link to a sweet giveaway. It'll be an RWA SWAG-travaganza!)

But it's not just all pretty, shiny things to give away, though. Conferences are serious business. Like an elephant. Sitting on my chest. 

I know. I know. I made a very vocal, I executive decision to avoid #RWA17 in Orlando for a few reasons--chief amongst them: Orlando in July. But, December rolled around and then FOMO got the best of me.... 


This will be my fifth conference. (Atlanta, Houston, New York, San Diego were the previous stops.) Wait a minute, let's go back to that. <record scratch> Fifth. Conference.

It just doesn't seem real. 

TL:DR; super real talk coming up...

And I'm back to that elephant sitting on my chest. Five years. When I decided to start writing, seriously, I knew it would be a long haul. (And I still know that.) But five years seems like this mythic milestone. And I'm zooooooming up on it with nothing but rocks in my pockets. 

It's like I'm in a move montage. Lana del Ray sings ("well, shit, girl, you tried" or something like that) and people are putting up their ponpoms and filing out of the stadium shaking their heads. "It's been a good run, but it's time to make a change."

Not so fast, imaginary-movie-montage people. Keep those ponpoms out. I'm not going anywhere (except on a jet plane to Orlando).

There's been this meme going around Twitter lately. About the age Oprah was when she got fired from her first reporting gig. And the age Julia Child was when she published her first cookbook. How Morgan Freeman was 52 before he landed his first major role. (This might be the original source, but I'm not sure.) And I'm so glad it decided to pop back into the rounds of social media, because it's just what I needed to be reminded of. Right this minute. 

Y'all. I'm living my dream. Living it every single day. And I define my own success--not numbers, not publishing contracts, not multi-bajillion dollar book deals. (Though, if you wanna give me a multi-bajillion dollar contract, I'm ready to receive.) 

If you're reading this and you're an author who will be at RWA, come see me (and 5 of my closest allies in this business). I wanna talk about success and so-called failure--and all the beautiful ugliness that goes along with being a creative professional. (And I also want to give you a sticker and maybe a button.) :)

If you're a beloved reader who's still with me here on this post, thank you for sticking with me through this truth spilling. And wherever you are, and whatever you do, know that your dream is still within your reach. <3 


You might also be interested in the HBIC Nation Conference Survival Guide

Five for Friday: Extreme Makeover Edition

Does this website make me look fat? (Don't care if it does; it's pretty fabulous.) 

Last night as I was admiring my new calling cards (see below), it occurred to me that my dot-com needed a major makeover. #roseallday

And the rest is history.

Five outrageously beautiful things for my Friday:

  1. Even though I'm sad there isn't PINK EVERYWHERE on my updated site (and I still want to handpaint an original background that I can be obsessed with), I'm loving the rose gold. And my brain for making it happen in a super-short time because Momma has things to do!
  2. Speaking of mommas, and mine in particular, it's my mother's BIRTHDAYWEEK™️, so we've been enjoying cupcakes and other celebratory shenanigans. 
  3. This time next week I'll be in Orlando with my people!
  4. ...And handing out my sparkly calling cards and assorted HBIC Nation swag!!!
  5. Sonic Happy Hour Lemonades that last allllll afternoon when you make your own Arnold Palmers (in the fancy stemmed glasses). 

(And don't forget to check out my HOME page scroll--lots of good stuff there!) 

Battle of the Balms: Glossier and Bite Beauty

I'm a romance author, so I do a lot of kissing, don'tcha know? (L. to the O. L.) But did you know I'm also something of a lip-stuff aficionado.

I don't wear a lot of color, but I do like a good balm. I'm pretty sure I've tried them all. I'm suuuuuper picky. They can't smell or taste like poison (always a good rule of thumb); they have to go on smooth, stay smooth--never gloopy--and leave my lips feeling like buttah after it's all said and done; plus they have to be packaged well and not explode in my handbag, travel bag, bedside table, and in my Jeep's console. 

Yeah, when I love a lip product, I pretty much have one everywhere. Because you never know when you're going to have a KISSING EMERGENCY! ;)

Enter Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask: the current reigning champ of lip stuff. It's called a mask, so you know it's fancy. I have the clear that I put on before bed--and it stays on all freaking night long--and the cherry one that's my facsimile of grownup lady lipstick. (It's a nice, subtle sheer red. Ish.) It's lightly sweet. Not overpowering. Just a little hint of "oh, what's that?" (It's agave!)

This stuff is AMAZING! Seriously amazing because it lasts forever and never gets gross. Come on, you know how some long-wearing stuff can start to get weirdly thick and uneven after it's been on a while. But I've never (ever ever) had this issue with Bite. 

(And speaking of kissing emergencies, if your kissing partner doesn't enjoy lipstick or gloopy gloss kisses, all it takes is a quick rub of a finger over your lips to remove the mask and your lips are left LIKE BUTTAH. Bow chicka wow wow.) 

But I got seduced by Glossier's balm dotcoms--especially after they partnered with The Milk Bar and made a shimmery birthday cake scented/flavored product. The packaging is <heart eyes>. The balm is subtly shimmery (which is good, because for all I love GLITTER, I don't really like to draw that much attention to my lips).

Reader: I shouldn't have strayed.

The quick and dirty: the smell is more than I can handle--it's quite potent. The texture isn't as glorious as the Bite Beauty; it feels a little more slippery and unctuous (possibly because of the petroleum. . . which I'm not a huge fan of). And it does not last the night. 

The taste isn't noticeable at all to me, but the killer is that it has sodium saccharin in it. (Artificial sweeteners and I just don't get along.) 

So, the champ is still Bite Beauty in my (kissing) book(s). But I'm eager to know what your go-to lip stuff is...


Bite Beauty Agave Mask Ingredients: Lanolin* (medical grade), Organic Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil**, Organic Agave Tequilana (blue agave) nectar**, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables*, Organic Cera Alba (Beeswax)**, Flavor, Vanillin, Siraitia Grosvenori (Monk Fruit)*, Vanilla Tahitensis (Vanilla) Fruit Extract*, Organic Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax*, Trans-Resveratrol*, Vitis Vinefera (Grape) oil*, Tocopherol acetate*, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (And) Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*.

Balm Dotcom Ingredients: Petrolatum, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cera Alba/Beeswax/Cire d'Abeille, Lanolin, Aroma/Flavor, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Silica, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Sodium Saccharin, Tin Oxide, Limonene, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)

Indie Does Dallas

Interabang's soft open was today! I came. I saw. I shopped. (Yay books!)

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have a new neighbor just down the street at Preston/Royal. Independent bookshops are so important to the health of the arts and humanities. This is gonna be sooooooo good!

I'm bummed I'm going to be out of town for their first scheduled events, but I'm so glad I was able to pop by and shop the soft open. (Can't wait to see full shelves when I get back.)  📚

EDIT: with some romance on those full shelves.

TL;DR watch this insta story (that's now on my blog so is it still an insta story?)...