Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A small change...

Remember when you got your first swing set? The monkey bars seemed like they were miles high and when you were on the swings you felt like you were touching the sky?

Then, as you grew, you had to lift your feet to keep them off the ground when you hung from the monkey bars and the seat of the swing got a little too small?  It’s not that you didn’t love the swing set, it just didn’t fit right anymore?

That’s kind of where the Playfriends find themselves today.  We love to hang out on our swing set, but over the last five years we’ve grown so much it doesn’t quite fit right anymore. Put all five of us on it and the poles groan and sway a little dangerously under the weight. I can almost hear an adult yelling, “Not all of you at the same time! That doesn’t look safe!”

We obviously can’t all play on the swing set all at once anymore, but we don’t want to tear it down. So what do we do?

Well... okay, I can’t work this metaphor any longer.

Here’s the situation:  Things have changed a lot in the last five years.  Our lives, yes, but also the opportunities for connecting with people on the internet.  In addition to the Playground blog, we have our own websites, our own Facebook pages, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Tumbler…. And we’re trying to cover all the bases without going insane.  That’s not working so well (says the one with her hair on fire all the time).

We love having this space to visit with y’all, so I don’t want you to think that we’re tearing down the Playground.  We just won’t be here every day anymore.  Please come over and like our Playground Facebook page, and you’ll still get updates from all of us, only in a shorter format.  When we have big news to share, book releases, contests, or just something that doesn’t fit on Facebook, we’ll post it here on the blog. And then we’ll post a link on our Facebook status to send you over here for all the details.

We also hope that you’ll go find us on Facebook and Twitter if you haven’t already.  (Links below)

The Playfriends want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your friendship and company here on the Playground over the years.  You have no idea how much it means to us.  We hope you’ll continue to visit and share with us on these other social media outlets.  And we’ll see you back here soon for a reunion!

Problem Child/Kimberly:  Facebook link   Twitter:  @booksbykimberly   Website
Instigator/Kira:     Facebook link   Twitter @KiraSinclair     Website
Smarty Pants/Andrea:  Facebook link     Twitter: @Andrea_Laurence  Website
Playground Monitor/ Marilyn:  Facebook link
Angel/ Danniele:   Facebook Link     Website

Some additional thoughts from the others….

Smarty Pants: I wanted to thank everyone who has supported us. We started out as five aspiring writers with no reason for anyone to care what we had to say, but we’ve come so far since then. We’ve made so many new friends in the nearly seven since this blog launched. It’s been a lot of fun and I hope everyone will join us over on Facebook so the fun can continue there. In addition to our WP Fan Page, be sure to check out my personal fan page and Twitter accounts. I wouldn’t want anyone to go into Smarty Pants withdrawal. J

Instigator: I’m not sure I can really explain what having the blog has meant to me over the last several years.  I’m a writer, but I just don’t think there are enough words. At least not that do the experience justice.  I’ve met so many wonderful people – people who quickly became more than just readers but friends.  When we first started I was astounded that anyone would come to visit.  I didn’t have confidence in myself or that I knew what I was talking about so the fact that anyone else did just…floored me.  And gave me a much needed boost for my writing.  I gained self-confidence, honed my writing skills and made some lifelong and amazing friends.  It’s been such a joy.  And I look forward to continuing those friendships in other ways - on facebook and twitter.  

Angel: Over the last 5 years, this blog has been the way we could share our live's highlights, the low dips, the funny parts, and the surreal moments--with each other and with you. And in sharing all the cool things in my life and learning about the cool things in yours, I've discovered the ME brave enough to be herself out in the world, and people who actually find that ME friend-worthy. For an extreme introvert, that's nothing short of a miracle. As a person and a writer, it has allowed me to find and embrace my personal voice. I look forward to continuing that conversation with so many wonderful friends, occasionally here on the blog, on my personal web page and often on Facebook. 

Playground Monitor: On November 16, 2005, I posted my first blog post on the Writing Playground.  It was called “Serendipity and Other ‘S’ Words.”  And what a serendipity the blog has been!  How could I possibly have known how dear these wonderful women with whom I joined forces are.  They’ve seen me through good times and bad.  I was desperately afraid my lack of writing ability during and after the divorce might just have them nudging me toward the door.  That’s never happened.  Thank you to all our readers for being here with us for all this time and please do come over to Facebook and like our page there.  That’s where we’ll be sliding and swinging and teeter-tottering now.  I’m not on Twitter(yet) but if/when I start tweeting, I’ll let you know.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Congratulations to Laurie G who won a free copy of Anna DeStefano's newest release Her Forgotten Betrayal.  Please email me at kira @ KiraSinclair (dot) com to claim your prize.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Little Inspiration

I've always been a visual person. Before I started writing (and not nearly as often since then), I scrapbooked. I don't consider myself a visual artist. Mostly I scraplift (which means to take another idea and put your own spin on it). After I started writing, I spent part of my plotting time finding pictures of heroes, heroines, places. I even created my own version of collages to inspire me as I work.

Now I can't start writing without pictures. Sometimes they aren't exact. Sometimes I change eye colors or add tattoos. But I must have that starting image, because after that the story unfolds like a movie in my mind.

And who couldn't write with such inspiration?

Are you a visual person? Or do you prefer audio? Don't even get me started on my iTunes collection!


Friday, June 08, 2012

Behold, The Power Of Sugar

Y'all remember those cheese commercials a few years back? The little girl who left Santa cheese instead of cookies and got all sorts of gifts, like a pony? Well, same general idea, but not about cheese. I love cheese, don't get me wrong. But no amount of mozzarella is going to help me write a book any faster.

That takes more powerful stuff. Namely sugar and caffeine. I know, they're both bad for you. Offer no nutritional value. But I can't argue the fact that they work. A chapter can be stalled out and if I crack open a diet coke and start munching on peanut butter M&Ms, the words just start flowing. Caffeine and sugar both help you think, so its no wonder. And being kinestheic (move to think) at heart, chewing helps my brain work better, too.

Oh, but I feel guilty about it. Two week ago, I wrote four chapters over the long weekend. Four! It was awesome. And fueled by Jelly Belly jelly beans. Primarily strawberry daquiri and fresh pear. I plowed through that bag, then moved on to the rest of the M&Ms I had set aside when it was gone. Then, in desparation, I switched to gum, but that only half works.

When it comes to my fuel of choice, I'm not too picky. Things that are small, easy to pop in my mouth and don't get my fingers sticky, usually rank pretty high. Wouldn't grapes qualify? Uh, yeah, whatever. M&Ms (usually peanut butter or peanut so I can convince myself I'm getting protein) are my go to. I've been on a jelly bean kick since Easter. I had a bag of Jolly Rancher ones that I loved, but they disappeared from shelved after the holiday. I've been munching on trail mix more recently, with mixed results. Girl Scout cookies work well. As do those bags of mini Oreos. I even mowed through a box of Lucky Charms the other day. Dangerous stuff.

I tell myself that it's okay as long as I only eat that junk when I'm working. And I drink diet soda with it for the caffeine (can't drink coffee) so its only mildly criminal, right? What will I do when I write full time? Gain twenty pounds, probably.

Do you feed your muse? Any go to choices for you? Any suggestions on some stuff I could try that wouldn't induce self-flaggelation later?

Thursday, June 07, 2012


So there are several changes going on in my life at the moment.  Zilla started a new job on Monday.  We're very grateful for the opportunity!  But this means that his schedule - and therefore my schedule - are changing.  For the past, eh, six or seven years he's been doing all of the cooking in our family.  It made sense.  He got home first.  Now I'm going to be getting home first which means cooking will be my responsibility. 

I've discovered something this week. I like cooking.  My skills - and recipes - are just really rusty.  It's going to take me some time to get back into the groove of things.  Ask Angel, she was on the phone with me during my first attempt (which was a huge hit with the family!) and enjoyed the entertainment of listening to me fumble around the kitchen.  She also answered  my stupid questions as I figured out how to make meatballs. :-) 

I've been scouring the internet and Pinterest and bugging all of my friends for their go-to recipes.  I want a nice stable of usuals so that I can vary our weekly menu.  I'm also trying to find different crock pot recipes to add to my repertoire. 

So my question today is, do you have a go-to recipe?  One that's always a hit with everyone you serve it to? Something that's quick and easy to throw together after a long day at work?  I'll start things off by sharing what I made Monday night.


Tangy Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 glove garlic (crushed) use powdered if you want
½ tsp salt
1 can (8oz) jellied cranberry sauce
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce

Mix well beef, Worcestershire sauce garlic and salt. Shape into 1-inch balls. In large skillet over moderate heat brown meatballs. Add cranberry sauce. Cook and stir until sauce melts. Stir in tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until meatballs are done. Serve with (No Yolk) noodles.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Order of Things


~ the disposition of things following one after another, as in space or time; succession or sequence: The names were listed in alphabetical order.

~ a condition in which each thing is properly disposed with reference to other things and to its purpose; methodical or harmonious arrangement: You must try to give order to your life.

It's cotton growing season here in the Tennessee Valley, and I pass this field every day on my way to work.  I've watched it go from a field left over from last year's crop, to a freshly plowed patch of earth to wee seedlings poking up toward the sun and now to these well-established plants.  And there are rows and rows and rows of them -- in this field and the one across the road and along roads all across the southern United States.

This field makes me happy, because I like order.  I like things to be in nice, neat rows.  Not OCD crazy-as-a-loon order, but within-the-range-of-normal-mental-health order.  I know where things are in my apartment (most of the time) because everything has a place (or the vicinity of a place).  The Playfriends kid me about my car because it's all clean and neat (hey, you should have seen it when I had kids) and it's like flying in an airplane used to be (there's a small pillow and blanket in the backseat and I think I walked off a Continental flight with the blanket because they had turned me into an icicle).

Lately, though, my sense of order has begun to wane.  I still keep my day planner on my desk and my life is in that book.  My cabinets are all arranged with dishes one place, glasses another and the silverware is in an organizer with knives, forks and spoons all separate and lined up like good little soldiers.

But the front closet I've been saying I needed to clean out for the last six months is still in disarray.  I finally cleaned out under the guest bathroom sink mainly because I was sure I had some Benadryl cream under there that would soothe a rash on my neck (and yes indeed, I did).

I used to make my bed every single day.  Now, I pull up the sheets and blanket and prop the pillows against the headboard.  I can't make myself leave it all messy, but I don't do the comforter/shams/extra pillows thing every day. 

I suppose I've hit a balance.  I've stopped (for the most part) expecting perfection, though you'd never know it from my obsession over my recent photo shoot.  More about that in another blog.

I guess now my life has become a little more like this part of the field.  There's still order but you can see some gaps and a few weeds here and there.  Not perfect, but good enough.

And sometimes "good enough" is well... good enough.

How about you?  Are all your rows in order?  Or do you have some gaps and weeds?  Or do you even have rows?

And now I need to stop messing with this blog post and quit trying to make the spacing perfect. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Today is release day for Redemption of a Hollywood Starlet!

(And isn't he just pretty!)

The tabloids just couldn’t get enough of A-List couple hotshot Producer Finn Marshall and Hollywood wild-child Caitlyn Reese. Then Caitlyn fled the glaring lights of Tinseltown, leaving an indelible mark on the Walk of Fame – and an empty seat on the back of his motorbike.
Now Cait is back! She’s still got the X-factor, and Finn is struggling to banish his X-rated thoughts! Because one thing is for sure…he isn’t just interested in a quick Hollywood retake…To interest him, it’ll have to be a full-budget epic remake…

I love, love, love Finn and I'm so glad his book is finally out!  (This is the last book of the Marshall brothers series (sob): the other two are The Privileged and the Damned and The Power and the Glory.)

Handy Links to buy your copy:   Amazon    B&N   eHarlequin

Monday, June 04, 2012

Make-up Monday

Ugh! I have to totally apologize. I'm not feeling well, and have been pouring every extra second into my current revisions. Needless to say, I'm out of words today.

I'll try to make it up to you, though.  :)  Enjoy!

Hope we all have a great Monday!


Friday, June 01, 2012

Plotter's Paradise

A couple weeks ago, I turned in my January 2013 book and now, I'm waiting for my revisions and line edits. In the meantime, I thought, maybe I'll start tinkering with my next book. It isn't due until October, but it couldn't hurt to start. The book is part of the 2013 Desire Continuity. My book is #5, the May 2013 release.

This is my first continuity. I'd heard mixed reviews on what its like to do one of those. I guess a lot of that has to do with the bible and what plot you're assigned. I also think the experience depends very highly on whether or not you're a plotter or a pantster. I could see a pantster being absolutely miserable. They already know how the book is going to end. Someone has told them. The excitement and creative high is over for them before they even start.

A plotter, on the other hand, is in HOG HEAVEN. After receiving the bible (which is what the call the series overview with all the basic stories, characters and how they connect) we have a few weeks to put together a synopsis. I did have a few bugs I had to work through on mine, my logical brain rebelled against a few plot points I was given, but I got permission to change them. I sat down on my patio one afternoon and wrote the synopsis. It was twelve pages and I got a massive sunburn, but I didn't notice because it was all going so well. Yes, the bible gives you plot points you have to hit and a general overarching storyline, but I still had to develop the characters and fill in all the plot holes. I kind of enjoyed that, as a 12 page synopsis would tell you. The continuity editor was very pleased with me. He said it was the work of a seasoned professional. I like him. :)

That was back at the beginning of April, so last Friday, I decided to sit down and start writing. I didn't want to get too far ahead with my book in case the other stories had changes that would impact me, but my book is fairly stand-alone, I'd say. I took my approved synopsis, broke it out into chunks for a chapter by chapter outline (the pantsters are cringing right now) and started. Before I went to bed Friday, chapter one was done. Saturday, chapter two was done. Sunday, chapter three was done. Monday, chapter four was done. It was awesome. The words just flowed. I knew exactly what I needed to write and where I was going. I'm hoping this helps me with the miserable middle where I lose track of the plot and get stuck. That would be great. I hate chapter seven. Like the title says "Plotter's Paradise." I might add "Pantster's Personal Hell."

I'm hoping the whole book goes this well. Last night I started putting around and wrote half of chapter five without meaning to. Nice. Did you ever have a project where everything went smoothly? Usually, whether its writing or assembling furniture, I run into a snag. Writers, have you done a continuity before? Did you like it?