Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quick Hello!

I know I haven't blogged in a while so I wanted to drop in and tell you I haven't forgotten about you, just been very busy with edits for Captive Art and helping my critique partner, Erica Lucke Dean, with To Katie With Love, both books are coming out this spring/summer so you can imagine how excited I am.

Anyway, if you want to catch me on a more regular basis, you can find me every other Tuesday on YA Stands.

Hope you are all doing well!


~ Laura

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yay! for Happenstance

December is only days away, which means my wonderful critique partner, Valerie Haight’s novella will be out soon! It’s a great story and I’m very lucky to have been able to read it in its early stages. Valerie put a lot of work into it and it really shows by the sheer awesomeness of it!!! I thought you guys would like to hear a little more about it so I invited Valerie to drop by.
Welcome Val! *big hugs*

Laura! Thank you so much for letting me hang with you here! And when you’ve got such exciting news yourself!!! I’m so excited to be bouncing alongside you! I’m thrilled to be a guest for your awesome blog. My belly’s full from Thanksgiving and my heart is full from all this GREAT NEWS! December’s right around the corner and my first release is almost here. I can’t wait to shout it from the rooftops!

Happenstance is my debut novella available through Turquoise Morning Press and will be released December 23, 2012! When I’m not walking around in an imaginary world, I play gopher to a corporate executive so I get to see a lot of corporate setting relationship conflict every day. I file this good stuff away in my scheming brain for future novels but today, let’s talk Happenstance!

Taryn Ballard is happily married and a newly appointed analyst for a prestigious shipping company.  Her career upsurges in record time but she’s about to discover the real price of corporate life.

While on yet another business trip, Taryn suffers a brutal attack by a carjacker. Her husband, Wade isn’t there, but her co-worker, Devin is.  The accidental bond Taryn and Devin share pitches them into dangerous and confusing territory. Taryn struggles to discern both her feelings for her sexy protector and Wade's reaction to it all. Unfamiliar emotions blur the rules of the game and Wade's ready to quit.

Taryn must rise above disaster to save her marriage. But is she ready to let go of the man who saved her life? In a single moment, Happenstance changes everything.

Putting MCs through the wringer is my specialty and I didn’t cut poor Taryn any slack. She was so much fun to write because I took everything I knew about the corporate world and tossed it straight at her. She plays havoc on both Devin’s and Wade’s feelings and lives. Yes, I’m awful. J I mixed my two favs-suspense and romance-and came up with something that hopefully every reader can identify with and enjoy. Here’s a snippet to give you the feel of the book.

“Devin, it’s Taryn. You were right. The execs want me to meet them for dinner and I feel really foolish because I have a GPS and a connect-the-dot map from the concierge and I’m still lost.”

Devin laughed. “Not a problem. Where are you?”

Taryn took a second to locate the green street sign. “At the corner of First and Third at a tiny, ancient-looking convenience store.”

“Oh, I know the one. You’re right next to us. I could probably see you from the tower window. Okay, which restaurant are you looking for?”

Taryn gabbed the hand-drawn map. “Caminas.”

“I know where it is. Actually, it might be faster by freeway.”

“Of course it would. I just came from—”

An unexpected rush of damp, hot air hit her and Taryn turned, confused to see her door open wide. She sucked in a quick breath and saw too late the arm reaching for her. Terror gripped her as she zeroed in on the gun in her face.

I had so much fun writing this story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! You can purchase Happenstance here on December 23rd!

Tweet with me @Valeriebrbr, follow me on Facebook or find out the latest on my Author Page about my upcoming short story Magnolia Brides in a wedding anthology out in June!

Thanks for dropping by, Val! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to get my very own copy of Happenstance!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

I am happy to announce I am officially contracted with Red Adept Publishing for my debut novel, (tentatively titled) CAPTIVE ART (CA). I'm so excited to be working with Lynn McNamee and her team.

Here's how it all happened...

About four years ago I decided to write a book, okay, not a book but a play. My husband was performing for our local civic theatre and the play was only sixty pages long. I thought to myself at the time, “I can certainly write a sixty page play!” Well, I never did finish writing it. Instead, my mind began to wander and several other stories filled my head.

Fast forward a few years and a bunch of personal stuff later and here I sit having written four complete novels with a good start on at least three others. I never set out to write because I wanted to be an ‘author’, it was just something I thought I could do.

So I started writing the play and shortly after that my grandmother passed away. Over the course of the next year, I wrote my first full novel. It was more of a healing process for me though, and very few people will ever read that story. But I also discovered I love to write. I love creating a story and seeing it come to life on my computer screen. In fact, if I’d known when I was younger how much I love writing, and editing other peoples writing, my life would probably be very different.

This brings me to about a year and a half ago when I had the idea for CA. I was in the middle of writing and editing a different story and eventually had to put that story on hold because the characters in CA would not stop talking in my head (if you're a writer, you know what I mean). Once I started, it took me exactly sixty days to finish writing CA and I loved every minute of it because it's exactly the kind of story I like to read, a little mystery, a little magic, and a healthy helping of romance.

I knew right away when I finished writing that I wanted to publish it, but publishing a book is not something to be taken lightly. Finding an agent or publisher is HARD WORK. Trust me. I cried several times when I got rejections. But the one thing I didn't do was stop trying. Then, a few months ago, I happened to meet a woman by the name of Chanda Stafford who was contracted with a small-press publisher for her own upcoming YA novel and she suggested I submit CA to them. I was nervous and anxious and at first not sure if that was the best thing for me and my manuscript...and then I got THE CALL.

There is a funny side story to the morning Lynn called me. Let’s just say I’m lucky I opened my power bill that day and discovered they had my account mixed up with someone else, otherwise they would have been shutting it off! So there I was, standing at my desk at my day job, fuming over the power company’s mistake and my cell phone rings with a number I don’t recognize. On any other normal day I would have let it go to voicemail, but because of my frustrated state, I answered it. The next few moments went something like this…

“Hi, this is Lynn from Red Adept Publishing. Is this Laura?”

“Uh, yeah.” (eloquent, I know)

“I’m calling because we’ve reviewed your manuscript and we’d like to publish it.”

“Um, okay.” (again, eloquent)

As Lynn and I talked though, my frustration evaporated and eventually turned into elation. So now, after a year of sending out query letters and doing edits, my story has found a great home.

There are several things that need to happen before I can share CA with all of you, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted. In the meantime, here are some fun pictures for you…
This is me.

This is me signing my contract.
This is my friend Angie notarizing my signature.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Does anyone else feel like Fall is rushing by? I looked at my calendar the other day and couldn’t believe it was already mid-October. Perhaps I feel this way because I’m back full-time at my day job, my hubby is back to school and my daughter started kindergarten this year. Or maybe it’s because the next few weekends are packed with activities for my family. For whatever reason though, time seems to be moving forward at top speed.

Since the end of the year is getting ever closer, I thought I’d give a brief recap of my journey so far on the road to publication. I finished writing Captive Art, edited it, sent it to beta readers, edited it again, took a writing class with agent/author/Wonder Woman Mandy Hubbard, edited some more and am now querying this project. I became a contributing blogger on YA Stands. I entered a writing contest and received a partial manuscript request from it. And I began writing my next novel, Crossing the Blue Line, which I will be working on for NaNoWriMo.

Yes, I’ve been busy, but in a good way. This year has taught me a lot about my writing style and habits and I’ve grown as a writer from what I’ve learned. I’ve been lucky enough to connect with some amazing writers/authors. I’ve been able to help others as a beta reader. And I’m looking forward to all the busyness yet to come.

With only two and a half months left in 2012 though, I want to make sure I’m using what little time I have to keep moving forward toward my goal of finding an agent/publisher. I know the stroke of twelve on New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean my time is up, but I’d at least like to know that I did everything I could this year to accomplish what I set out to do.

How about you? Did you accomplish your goals yet this year?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reader Appreciation


My fabulous, villain loving, writing buddy, Kristina Perez, gave me a Reader Appreciation Award and I’m pleased to accept and pass it along.

Here are the Rules of the Game (for those I’m about to nominate):

1.      Identify and show appreciation to the blogger who nominated you.

2.      You must add the reward logo to your blog.

3.      Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.

4.      You must nominate 5-10 of your favorite bloggers for this award.

5.      Inform your nominees that you nominated them.

Easy, right?

And here are my seven things:

1)      I’m an ophidiophobic. I have a fear of snakes. I not only fear living ones, but also dread to think about them or even see them on TV or in pictures. I also hate stuffed and rubber ones.

2)      I’ve eaten jellyfish. It was chewy and crunchy at the same time.

3)      I cry every time I hear the National Anthem.

4)      One summer, when I was a little girl, I wouldn’t share any of my two bags of Black Forest Gummy Worms with my uncle. Ever since then, every student of his in the University of Hawaii’s Engineering Department has had to solve a measurement problem based on how many gummy worms I wouldn’t share.

5)      I had to change the words to ‘You Are My Sunshine’ so my daughter wouldn’t cry every time I sang it to her.

6)      I wear socks all the time, even in the summer. My feet are always cold.

7)      Nine times out of ten, I’ll pick vanilla over chocolate. (I say 9 out of 10 because sometimes you just need chocolate.)

My nominees are:

Alexandra Alessadri, my newest critique partner. She’s working an awesome YA story that I love!

Erica Lucke-Dean, because if I ever need a laugh I can hop over to her daily blog and re-read her bikini wax disaster.

Joani Plenty, because she makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Valerie Haight, because I couldn’t ask for a better cartwheeling cheerleader.

Rachel Simon, because sometimes tragedies can make the best, most memorable stories.

Friday, September 7, 2012

TAG, you're IT!

Today has been one of the best days I’ve ever had at being a writer, and I did very little actual writing today.  First, I got picked as one of the top sixty pitches for #PitchMadness going on over at Brenda Drake’s blog.  And now, my awesome critique partner Alexandra Alessandri has tagged me in a great game of GUTGAA Tag.  She’s an amazing writer and you should absolutely check out her blog.

Without further ado, here are my answeres to the Tag questions...

What is the working title of your book?
Which one?  Okay, I’ll focus on CAPTIVE ART for the purposes of this post.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It was mostly from Harry Potter with all the paintings coming to life at the school.  CAPTIVE ART has nothing to do with wizards, but there are some very uniquely talented characters.

What genre does your book fall under?
YA Magical Realism (with lots of romance)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
If you check out my Pinterest board for Captive Art you can see all the pics, except for Dean.  I had to take that picture down until I can find some of the Nordstrom’s model I saw in Santa Monica a few weeks ago. (Other than the picture’s I took…see YA Stands blog.)

What is the one-sentence short synopsis of your book?
It’s about sixteen-year-old, Libby Tanner’s paintings coming to life and the boy who is trapped in them.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am currently seeking an agent and would like to go the traditional rout.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Exactly sixty days.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Aside from the hot guys?  Well there is that one scene where they…oh, I probably shouldn’t give that away.  Let’s just say it’s very unexpected.

Okay, my turn to tag three more writers.  Be sure to check them out (their blogs that is).

Kristina Perez @babelbabble
Lauren Spieller @laurenspieller
J.A. Bennett @j_a_bennett

Monday, September 3, 2012

Questions/Answers for the GUTGAA Meet & Greet

-Where do you write?  In my rocking chair of course!  With my laptop and a Boppy pillow from when my daughter was born.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?  My dining room table and a pile of Barbies. (I should probably have her pick those up.)

-Favorite time to write?  After 8 p.m. when my house is quiet.

-Drink of choice while writing?  Chai Latte or regular Coke if it’s too hot for tea.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?  Complete silence, though I usually listen to music before I write.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?  The inspiration actually came from the last Harry Potter movie.  Though ‘Captive Art’ is noting like Harry Potter.  It has to do with the paintings coming to life.

-What's your most valuable writing tip?  If you haven’t felt like quitting, your dreams aren’t big enough.