Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guest Blog: Katya Armock's Monica's Match

I'd like to welcome Katya Armock to the blog today. Her latest release Monica's Match released on the 14th! She's sharing a delicious excerpt with us so, please enjoy!


Monica has the ability to see a guy’s aura light up the first time he touches his soul mate, but she’s kept it a secret since her parents shamed her as a child. Still, she decides to start her own matchmaking company—even if she doesn’t advertise her unique ability. Business is so-so until she gets a call to find matches for the singles of the small town of Perry Grove. She’s not looking for love herself but has an immediate attraction to one of her clients. Too bad another woman lit up his aura.

Hunky dairy farmer Jeremiah wants nothing to do with his grandpa’s hare-brained matchmaking scheme but agrees to play along to appease the man who raised him.  But when he meets the sexy matchmaker, he starts to rethink his single status. Too bad she’s intent on pairing him up with another woman. If there’s one thing he knows, though, it’s how to be stubborn.

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Monica was pretty sure Jeremiah wasn’t hearing a word she said, a fact confirmed when she stopped talking and he kept staring off into the distance. Must be a really fascinating cow over that way.
Why had he wanted her advice if he wasn’t going to listen to it? She’d bet her life savings he couldn’t repeat anything she’d said in the last several minutes back to her. Of course, thanks to starting her own business, her life savings consisted of about fifty bucks in a savings account her parents had set up for her when she turned eighteen, so she wouldn’t have too much skin in that game. That made it pretty easy to commit to a bet that he hadn’t brought her out here for dating advice either. Her earlier fear that he suspected she was hiding something reared its ugly head. How long would it be until Ed, Bunny, Edna, Bea, and the other kind people she’d met in this town looked at her like she needed to head to the funny farm?
She took a bite of her sandwich. It had cucumbers on it. She loved cucumbers on her sandwiches and had so rarely met anyone that included them. She also liked his choice of Muenster cheese. She supposed that proved he wasn’t all bad. A few more bites and she almost liked him.
“Enjoying the sandwich?” His voice startled her and she almost dropped said sandwich.
“Yes, um, thank you for making it. You did make it, right?”
He nodded, the breeze ruffling through his wavy ash-blond hair in a most distracting way that made her fingers itch to do the same. “With my own two hands. Didn’t even ask Grandma for help.”
“So do you feel prepared for your first date now?”
“What? Oh, yeah. Sure.”
She could barely contain her snort as she started to stand. “We should head back. I’d like a little time to prepare for the next appointment.”
Instead of getting up, he scooted until his back rested against the tree and then patted the ground next to him with that charming, dimpled grin back on his almost painfully handsome face. “Give me ten more minutes. You haven’t relaxed yet, and under this tree is the best place to unwind.” His voice was a smooth drawl with just the right amount of pleading to batter at her defenses.
She hesitated and glanced at her smartphone to note the time. No one expected her back for about thirty-five minutes. Time was just not on her side.
“Come on. You told me yourself you haven’t spent much time in the country. Take a few moments to smell the fresh air and listen to the wilds.”
Oh, what the heck? They could easily spend the next ten minutes arguing about whether to go or stay. She sank next to him on the grass and leaned against the tree so her shoulder brushed his. The electric sizzle she felt whenever she touched him was back.
He inhaled deeply and let it out with a pleased sigh. He looked completely in his element, his face relaxed and boyish. He shifted one leg over the other, and the move pulled his T-shirt tight across his chest so she could clearly see just how defined his pecs were. He took a deep breath.
Oh. Mama. She was sure the sun had just gotten hotter.
He let the breath out with a contented sigh. “Do you smell the grass warmed by the sun? All the oxygen from the trees carried on the cool breeze?”
She paid a bit more attention to her next breath as she wiggled to try to find a more comfortable position. The air did smell fresh, although there was still an undercurrent of cow. “It’s nice.”
He looked at her sidelong. “It’s more than nice. The country air around here is the best smell you’ll ever experience.”
His impassioned statement had her wanting to believe. She closed her eyes, relaxed against the tree, and…what was poking her in the tailbone? She scooted forward enough to pull the blanket back and find the offending rock. She’d had quite enough of the outdoors for the day and started to stand, but Jeremiah’s hand shot out and held her in a crouch.
“It’s just a rock. Move it and sit back down. You haven’t fully smelled the air yet.”
Her glare didn’t inspire him to remove his hand, as she’d hoped it would. His clear, blue eyes stared at her with equal parts challenge and amusement. He wanted her to smell the cow-filled air? Fine. She’d smell the damned cow-filled air.
With a huff she plunked back down, and he released her arm so she could get herself situated. Nothing poked her in the behind this time, and she leaned back against the rough bark. His eyes burned into her, but she refused to acknowledge his watchful stare or how very much she’d like him to touch her again.
She needed to relax and get this over with. She closed her eyes once more and drew the air into her lungs. Now that she was paying attention, she caught the floral fragrance of the grasses and weeds and wildflowers and trees. The air was fresh. No sooty, dirty, city smell from the cars and houses and people.
“It’s so quiet. I don’t hear a single car.”
He chuckled. “Sit here long enough and you’ll learn just how much racket a single car makes. But it’s not quiet out here. Nature is a symphony.”
She listened for those other sounds now. Birds tweeting to each other, insects buzzing, the rustling of leaves overhead. She even heard something scurrying through the taller grasses.
It was beautiful. Peaceful. She felt herself relax farther against the tree, the bark biting into her back but not uncomfortably. She felt almost…happy. When was the last time she’d truly felt that way?

About the Author

I like books that are funny and fun to read, but also make me think or look at the world in a new way. These days you’ll find me living my happily ever after in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband, dog and cats. I love to hear from readers, so please come find me on the Internet.


I hope you've enjoyed Katya's excerpt. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Plotting Evolution

Lately, I've been thinking and looking at different ways to plot. Well in addition to looking up info on excel, but that's another matter all together. I do plot and have been plotting more in my latest books, but it's never been easy. It's still strange to me. At the start, I do have doubts, but that fades as the story unfolds.

Pantsing, letting the story flow from me as it will has always felt the most natural, but it also leads me to dead ends where I have to back up and attack the story from a different angle. Most of the time, I can find a point somewhere in the story to go from, but there have been times when I've had to start from the beginning.

So I've been looking at the different ways of plotting, trying to find something that will click. I've looked at the snowflake method. It seems a little more in depth than I want to go. I don't want to know every little thing that happens. I need a little mystery even if I do know the major events.

The Three Act plotting method. I've used it and it does work, but I'm not quite confident with it, if you know what I mean. The characters have run off the rails between acts 2 and 3 at times. Usually for a good reason. Most of the time, I missed something in the character character, the love story, and the antagonist.

During my most recent forays into plot research, I've discovered Dan Wells' Seven Point Story Structure. The points make sense to me, but that could be because I'd begun to get plotting structure in general from experimenting with other forms. I haven't tried it yet with a book. The ones I'm working on are plotted already so putting it into practice will have to wait.

So are you a plotter or pantser? What method do you use? Is it the one you've always used or have your methods changed the longer you've written? I'm interested to know?

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Frustration and annoyance blocks

I don't know about you, but for me sometimes my mind gets stuck in life's more annoying moments. We all have things, problems, situations, in short life, that gets in our way, but sometimes, a problem will gnaw and remain stubbornly in the head. And that preoccupation can kill the creativity.

I'm sure you've had moments like it. That argument with a friend or loved one about something you'll never agree on. The times when telling what you really think just isn't possible. Now, for me, it's times like these when my mind can get locked on certain matters, thinking about what I could have said differently for example.

These things are taking up valuable time and energy and that's not helping me get what I really want. The story on the page and happiness in my own life.

When this happened most recently, I turned to what I know to help me get back into the storyline. Writing.

To get back on track, I had to get the stuff that annoyed, frustrated or angered me out of my head. So I wrote. In different cases, I tried different things. If what was hanging me up was simple anger because I couldn't say anything about it, I just channeled that anger into a scene.

It usually works. If I'm so frustrated I need to cause a little fictional mayhem, well, that's what I do even if it doesn't fit the current WIP. I get that jotted down, save it, because I might be able to use it later, and get back to work.

There are other times and instances which required a little more introspection and a different approach. Sometimes, I wrote the response that I held back on simply to release the frustration over not being able to say what I felt was right. Other times I've simply written about my annoyance, what annoyed me about the situation and acknowledged what I can't change and what I could.

It's all about getting those thoughts and emotions out of my head so that I could focus on what's important now. Writing my stories and being happy.

Happy reading and writing!