Get Night Games Now!
Wes and Carrie are finally here! A little twist on my usual second chance story in the series, these two have a very special place in my heart! I hope you enjoy it!
Baseball’s biggest player is about to get played…
I love women and women love me. It’s not my fault I’m irresistible.
Okay, I may be a little cocky too. All I have to do is post a picture of myself shirtless with my cat, Snickers, and the women flock to me. A selfie, a smile, and I have them in bed—but never in a relationship.
Until Carrie entered the game.
She may not know it, but she owns me. And I’m not letting her go.
What do you get when you throw two relationship-phobic party animals with great big gooey hearts together and make them fall in love? Night Games of course! Because we wouldn’t want Wes and Carrie to fall in love without torturing each other first, now would we?
The latest stand alone in The Storm Inside series is pretty straight forward. We have Wes Allen, the sexy internet sensation of a star catcher for the Jacksonville Waves. He loves women, pranks, and being the center of attention. In the other corner we have Dr. Carrie Anne Walker. Super professional surgeon to the St. Pete Mantas, party girl by night, badass by day. She takes no shit and has fun making people squirm.
And what do two fighters do when they start to fall in love? Play games instead of feel their feelings of course! But as the stakes get higher, the games get dirtier . . . until there are no take-backsies!
Baseball’s biggest player is about to get played.
I love women and women love me.
It’s not my fault I’m irresistible. Okay, I may be a little cocky too. All I have to do is post a picture of myself shirtless with my cat, Snickers, and the women flock to me. It probably helps that I’m good with my bat and balls.
A selfie, a smile, and I have them in bed—but never in a relationship.
Until Carrie entered the game.
She may not know it, but she owns me. And I’m not letting her go.
I’m a professional. No, not THAT kind of professional. I’m an orthopedic physician for the St. Pete Mantas and my job is everything. I love the game and I love my players … but I never fall in love with any of them. Especially not players like Wes. Especially Wes.
He thinks life is one big game.
One sexy, romantic, and sometimes sweet, game that’s left me confused and little bit worried…
I may have actually fallen for the ultimate player.
I’ll have to beat him at his own game if I have any shot at walking away with my heart intact.
*Cover design by the fabulous Lexi at Romanced By The Cover!
It’s the end of an era. The One Week in Hawaii anthology is headed into retirement! But before it goes off into the sunset we decided to put it on sale one last time. For 99¢ you get four steamy romances about falling in love on vacation in Hawaii!
Sun, sand, and seduction.
This summer, Alexis Anne, Audra North, Julia Kelly, and Alexandra Haughton sweep you away to paradise for One Week in Hawaii.
A wedding planner breaks all the rules to have just one night of pleasure, only to find that a stolen moment might hold the key to forever.
A movie star falls hard for her sexy co-star…who just happens to be her best friend.
A former black sheep risks falling from grace again when she seduces a handsome stranger with a dark history.
An artist has to choose between dating a guy who will please her parents and one who will please…and pleasure…her.
Sex on the beach is so much more than a drink in these four sizzling contemporary novellas by the authors who brought you One Week in Wyoming.
Everyone is different. We know this. Even the people we identify closely with are ultimately different in many ways from us. My writing group recently took some time to study our personality types. Personally, I’m a bit of skeptic so when the conversation started I didn’t pay it too much attention.
It may have been the fact that I was set up at my favorite pita restaurant and was in the midst of devouring a gyro the size of my face while my Mac cursor blinked at me demanding a thousand more words.
Or it may have simply been that in my past, tests like these have been hit or miss. But then the messages on our Slack channel started scrolling in fast and furious. “This was so enlightening,” sandwiched between, “Yep. That’s when I finally realized why I hold back.”
Excuse me? A personality test was enlightening and helpful? Okay fine. Give me the link and I’ll take this bad boy. (If you want to do it, this is the test we used: 16 Personalities.)
So I took the test and bam! Not only did it peg me pretty darn accurately, but it really was very insightful! I was able to see myself in a new way, kind of like when you hear someone else describe you for the first time. They have a totally different perspective. And this test, much like a friend, allowed me to view the different parts of my personality with new eyes.
Why is this important to a writer (or other creative), you may ask? Well, as I mentioned in my Anatomy of a Writer post last week, writers are forced to inhabit a few different personality types–some that are frequently in stark contrast to one another. Some parts of the writer life are going to be natural, while others will always be a struggle. Those struggles can seem frustrating, especially if we see another author excelling in that area. But a test like this can give you insight into why your strengths are strengths and why your weakness are giving you fits.
I’ll use myself as an example.
My personality is the INFJ-T aka “Advocate”, part of their delegation of “Diplomats”. They hooked me right in with the initial description. INFJ’s have an inborn sense of idealism and morality.
Yep. That sounds right, but I was still feeling like we were in the fake-psychic territory of “this is a pretty wide net and a lot of people can fit inside this” … until the next part. INFJ’s are set apart from other “diplomats because of their judging trait. We’re dreamers who believe firmly in taking concrete steps to reach goals.
Guilty as charged.
As in, it has been pointed out on numerous occasions (both positively and negatively) that I’m an unrelenting hard-ass about turning dreams into reality.
So at this point the test had my full attention. It goes into great detail about each point of the personality and what drives it, so I won’t go point by point. I’d be writing a novel if I did. But I will tell you about a few things that made me go from “pshaw, what can this cooky test do to help me be a better writer, as if!” to “OMG this makes so much sense!”
- “Remember to take care of yourself. Your passion for your convictions may very well take you past your breaking point.” (Again, guilty as charged. What is this stop and take a break before you break you speak of? I have a book to finish!)
- “Speaking in human terms, not technical, INFJs have a fluid, inspirational writing style that appeals to the inner idealist in their audience.” (Don’t beat myself up about my writing style.)
- “INFJs are able to follow through on their ideas with conviction, willpower, and the planning necessary to see complex projects through to the end.” (Be proud of your planning skills and follow the heck through already!)
- “Highly vulnerable to criticism and conflict.” (read: this is who you are, now accept it and stop trying to be one of those people with armor for skin. It ain’t you, buttercup.)
- “INFJs too often drop or ignore healthy and productive situations and relationships, always believing there might be a better option down the road.” (ummm…stop. Just stop. Also: reading this entire section for all of the additional insight was like WHOA.)
- “INFJs get so caught up in the passion of their pursuits that any of the cumbersome administrative or maintenance work that comes between them and the ideal they see on the horizon is deeply unwelcome. INFJs like to know that they are taking concrete steps towards their goals, and if routine tasks feel like they are getting in the way, or worse yet, there is no goal at all, they will feel restless and disappointed.” (Ok. I copied this point wholesale from the 16Personalities website. BECAUSE OMG IT IS SO ME! And this affects my ability to work for myself, but more importantly, how I can be an effective team member in my writing group. We all have big goals and plans that we are trying to reach together. Understanding what trips me up and what I excel at will make me so much more effective to the group.)
- “Their passion, poor patience for routine maintenance, tendency to present themselves as an ideal, and extreme privacy tend to leave INFJs with few options for letting off steam.” (So fix this, buttercup. Know your weaknesses and don’t let them get the better of you. Burnout is not pretty and it’s really hard to get back from.)
And this is just a teeny tiny fraction of the information available on their website. Nearly all of it was a dead ringer for me and it really was incredibly enlightening to realize this information could help me be a better writer and collaborator in the future. So, if you’re intrigued by what drives your personality and how it may be affecting your effectiveness as a creative entrepreneur, you may want to take a few minutes to dive into this test and see what you come up with.
On Friday we celebrate the wins we had in the week because weeks are hard. This week my FriYay’s are pretty freaking awesome!
1. New dresses! I’m headed out to RT next week and since I haven’t bought myself a new dress in … well … hmmmmm … I decided to spend my last birthday gift card on this cutie. It looks as great as I’d hoped!
3. Spotify! Why did I resist you for so long? Writing to playlists is now easier than ever. You can check out what I’m listening to as I write Night Games and try to guess what trouble I’m getting Wes and Carrie into!
5. Keys! That’s right! As of this moment now we have the keys to our new home up in Charlotte, North Carolina. I guess we should probably start packing …
Celebrating the good is how we roll around here. How was your week? Share it here or with your friends. Either way, take a moment to reflect and celebrate! Happy weekend from the Anne’s!
If I see the “Weekday Meals You Can Make in Less Than an Hour” post one more time I’m going to scream.
I DON’T HAVE AN HOUR!
And the headlines all make it seem like this is so much better than usual. I’m sorry, no. I can make a freaking feast in an hour. What I need during the week is a meal I can make in 15 minutes with little to no clean up. I’ve got shit to do, tiny humans to raise, and no time for culinary delights during the week.
That’s what holidays and weekends are for.
So in my fit of you’ve got to be kidding me rage, I’ve listed my favorite quick meals for the busy bad asses out there looking for ideas mid-week. (Note: some are heavily inspired by my writing group. I can’t take all the credit. These ladies love food and know the stakes!) Also, most of these require a very tiny amount of pre-cooking on, say, the Sunday before. So I’ve made my pre-prep list first, followed by my quick meal list second. Go forth and eat!
Quick Prep Foods
- Quinoa. It refrigerates so freaking well. I still can’t get over it. I make a batch in my Instant Pot on Sunday (or Monday if I’m making lunch at home) and use it for lunches and dinners throughout the week.
- Shredded chicken (or beef or pork). In the Instant Pot or slow cooked in the crockpot, a few breasts in chicken broth = delicious shredded chicken plain enough to be used in any meal, but tasty enough to eat alone.
- Roasted chickpeas. (I don’t even know who I am anymore!)
- Dressing. I make my own for reasons. So if I know what the ethnicity of my food plan is for the week then I make a dressing or two to complement the foods that go with it.
- Egg scramble. (Inspired by Lindsay Emory) Scramble up some high protein eggs and throw in whatever is in the fridge (spinach, onions, sausage, lunch meat, tomatoes, cheeses). Add some toast with jam, avocado toast, or even a spinach salad with vinaigrette. (I also save any leftover pancake batter from the weekend and toss in a few pancakes as a treat for my kids.)
- Rice bowls. Chipotle is faster but I don’t always have the time to run into Chipotle between homework, soccer practice, yoga, and who knows what else this week has brought upon us.) And, to my great dismay, my kids still don’t really like anything there. Ugh. But at home I can IP some rice, throw on some black beans, top with whatever meat I shredded for the week, salsa, sour cream, and even some spinach, for a quick, yummy meal. (I’ve also been known to throw a chicken breast marinated in my Adobo seasonings on the stove for a different flavor of chicken mid week.) Even my picky kids will take part in bowl night (and they get to adjust what goes inside!)
- Quinoa bowls. I’m still amazed I eat these! But thanks to Mary Chris Escobar I’ve found the secret (hint: it’s the lemon dressing!) A bed of quinoa topped with the shredded meat of the week, spinach, roasted chickpeas, and half an avocado, drenched in a lemony dressing of 1 fresh lemon, olive oil, and mustard, plus anything else from my fridge I find enticing (sometimes those sweet peppers call my name) and I’ve got a very tasty, quick meal.
- Grilled cheese night! Always a hit in my house. Who doesn’t love grilled cheese? While the kiddos eat it the good old fashioned way, I usually jazz mine up with some fancy cheeses, olive oil, spinach, and any other veggies (or bacon!) we have in the fridge. A great side dish is tomato soup (a la Julia Kelly!) and/or a salad. If you make Julia’s soup you’ll probably want to make that ahead of time and save.
- Chicken and grits. Boil up some quick grits (with half chicken broth instead of all water) and top with parmesan cheese and shredded chicken when it’s ready. Add a side salad if you want or maybe a veggie tray. (These grits refrigerate surprisingly well for a quick breakfast or lunch the next day.)
- Nacho night! Pick your chips of choice, top with shredded meat of the week, veggies you like, cheese, salsa avocado, or lettuce. This is one of those quick meals that can be as healthy or junky as your heart desires.
- Mexican pizza night! Same as above. The ingredients you choose affect how healthy this dish can be. My current incarnation (inspired by my favorite Texas ladies and using Alexandra Haughton’s flair for the wild) involves layering 2-3 tortillas in a pan with shredded chicken, Rotel and/or salsa, and creamy sauce of your choice: cream of chicken, cream sauce you just made in a pan, sour cream sauce, or go really crazy and add queso. Top with cheese and bake. This one might take you closer to thirty minutes all said and done, but it is still a quick and easy way to throw a warm dinner together. (And have leftovers the next day, which equals zero cooking.)
- Italian night! Spaghetti and sauce is about as easy as you can get, or you can add a pesto and shredded chicken for a different flare.
Stop back in two weeks for more information on my Sunday ingredient prep process! What else does your family like to throw together for a quick and easy meal during the week? Sharing is caring!
Being a writer is a process in insanity. Seriously. We mix creativity (which is a monster out of our control), our drive for expression, art, and understanding, with entrepreneurism. We are both introverts and extroverts. We create in the most intimate and vulnerable ways, then turn around and push it out into the world with our armor, shields, and swords.
Basically, never become a writer unless you’re also willing to have a smidge of a personality disorder.
Sometimes this hurts. Like, really, really hurts. The transition isn’t easy. If we have to force it, expect there to be some emotional backlash down the pipe. For example: you’ve just spent three solid weeks writing thousands of words a day. The real world has slipped away and you live more inside your fantasy world than the space you physically inhabit. You’ve stripped away all your defenses in order to feel as your character feels, hurt and hope and your character hurts and hopes.
It’s a raw place.
Not at time to be standing up on your rock proclaiming for all the world to criticize you.
And yet…the publishing schedule does not always allow for those precious moments to heal inside your cocoon and slowly reemerge into the harsh, bright world. Nope. Sometimes you’ve got work to do and that means tying those shoelaces tighter, cinching in your belt, and plummeting headfirst into the Colosseum of life without your Gladiator armor at the ready.
You can do it. You’ve done it before and you’ll do it again. BUT IT SUCKS! And in the end you are bruised, battered, and probably wondering if you’ll survive the night.
(Hint: You will.)
And despite all your best laid plans to have publishing and marketing time well insulated from your creative time, your schedule will fall apart again one day, and you will be forced to shift your creative gears, grinding as you seek out the right one.
If you are forced to switch from creative mode to entrepreneur mode in the blink of an eye remember that it’s okay to have a freak out afterward. In fact, the one thing you can plan for in a time of no planning, is that you will and should take some time afterward to have an OMFG WHAT DID I JUST DO moment. Take several days. Do not beat yourself up over being overloaded and do not feel less than because you became overwhelmed by the firestorm of the other half of your personality/job.
Having just done this myself, here are a few tips that have helped get me back on me feet faster than ever:
- Admit you are overwhelmed and accept that this is normal
- Talk to your friends. Not just once or twice, but many times. As much as you need to in order to stay tethered to that friendly connection. (And talk about more than the book.)
- Have a person. Someone (a friend, lover, sister, cousin, fellow writer) who knows your personality and your deep doubts and fears. They will hear what worries you most even when you can’t put it into words. Let them reassure you. Accept that they are right and your doubts are wrong.
- Get out of your routine. Go away for the weekend, have an outdoor adventure, visit someone you haven’t seen in a while…do something to put yourself outside of the microcosm of writing and publishing. It will get you away from the notifications, the routine, and help break you out of the little dark hole.
- Speaking of notifications: TURN THEM OFF. There is a time to be on top of book sales, ad views, clicks, and ROI. And then there is the point where you’ve done what you can do and you need to let it go. Close your browser, hide your phone, turn off all the dings, alerts, and shortcuts that let you sneak a quick peek when no one is looking.
- Don’t do social media for at least three days. Call someone. Have lunch or dinner with a friend. Hand write letters. Download Facebook’s group app if you use a lot of groups and want to stay informed but do not open Facebook! All the social medias will still be there in three days.
- Sleep. If you have trouble with all the anxiety, then talk to your doctor about a sleep aide that might be beneficial to you in times of extreme stress. The most important thing is that you actually get some quality sleep.
- Drink water and eat yummy food.
- Have fun again. The best book and marketing ideas come from being out and enjoying your life. Go do something really fun.
Alexandra Haughton (aka the fairy goddess who created the cover for Summer Heat) tweeted: “FEUDING FAMILIES. BASEBALL. HOT TIMES. You want this book!”
And you know what? THIS IS SO PERFECT! Because Summer Heat *is* all of those things. So she’s now my tagline fairy, too!
Oh, and Summer Heat is out! It’s everywhere and the paperback is available too! Grab yourself some Romeo and Juliet style forbidden romance that has a happily ever after instead of that nasty dying stuff Shakespeare had them do his story…
Can baseball’s bitterest feud become its greatest love story?
A long time ago I fell in love with the wrong man. Wrong because there was no chance we could ever be together. Roman St. James was off limits. Forbidden. The enemy.
Except the Daniels-St. James feud isn’t my feud and it most certainly isn’t Roman’s. He’s nothing like his father. And while the rivalry between our families is one of the most famous in all of baseball, I couldn’t help myself. One smile turned into one date, and one date turned into so much more.
Of course it was a disaster. And now, five years later, I can still barely bring myself to think about what could have been.
Until one night in a locker room changes everything…
*Summer Heat is the fifth book in The Storm Inside series. It is a stand alone, full length romance featuring June Daniels, Eve’s youngest sister, and her forbidden love story with Roman St. James.