New Release Alert!

It’s finally here!

It took longer than I wanted, but Imperfect Book three, Practically Imperfect, hit shelves at about midnight last night.

I submitted it to Google Play, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble last night, so it should be up on those retailers soon if that’s where you get your read on.

Links below to other retailers if you are so inclined to read!

Happy Friday, everyone❤

release day photo

 

 

Purchase on Amazon!

Purchase on iTunes!

Purchase on Smashwords!

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It’s coming!! Soonish…

Hey everyone! Sorry I stink at updating my blog. I’m the worst.

I have some exciting news, though! Book three in the Imperfect series will be coming (hopefully) in April of this year–or sooner depending on how long it takes my editors and myself to fix all the wonky bits.

This is Sam’s story (Sam being Lucy’s only single brother) and I really really really hope everyone enjoys it. It’s not New Adult like last two books–the main characters are in their late twenties early thirties, but there are lots of cameos with Freya and Lucy and the others🙂

If you’re on my beta/advance copy list, hopefully I will be sending you the book by next month–again, depending on how fast the editors are, and also how fast I am.

If you want an advance e-copy, please shoot me an e-mail (maryframeauthor@gmail.com) or comment here with your email address and which format you prefer and I will happily add you to my list!!

In other exciting news, I was invited by the wonderful Paige Tyler to be a part of a series of sorority themed novellas, along with the amazing Donna Michaels!  We each write our own story, but our main characters are friends and the stories will be connected. That should be coming out in September of this year, so stay tuned!

 

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Guest Post – Carol Rose – Smart Girls in Romance

Hey Everyone! Today, I would like to share with you a guest post from writer Carol Rose. Carol is the award winning author of twenty three books! Her book Always (cover below) was an RWA Golden Heart Finalist! 

ALWAYS 2 - 2500

She’s also super sweet🙂 Today, we’re discussing smart girls in romance, a topic near and dear to my heart. Read on! 


Is there such a thing as a Smart Girls Romance Niche or is that insulting…? I love reading about highly-intelligent weirdo heroines, but I in no way intend to infer that other romance heroines are intellectually-deficient. The deal is that “smart girls” have often gotten a bum rap. We should be considered a down-trodden minority or something and I don’t say that to brag.

For forever, girls have been told that men don’t like women who are smarter than them, that they have fragile male egos and need to be assured of their brilliance all the friggen’ time. I respectfully disagree—and tell those who are of that position to get over it. The male ego of the average dude is a lot stronger than that.

The writers of smart girl romances have very effectively portrayed their heroines as flawed, as are we all. Their heroines are very, very good at certain things and struggle with other things. Pretty much like all of us. Some of these heroines struggle with healthy relationship choices and, come on, that’s pretty much like everyone. Right? No one has the relationship thing all figured out. Zero. None of us, no matter what the I.Q. score, which only tells part of the story anyway.

Love is massively complex and maintaining a strong, connected relationship is one of the hardest things to do in this world. I speak with some knowledge of this, since I’ve been (happily for the most part) married to one guy for so an embarrassing number of years. I also happen to have a Ph.D. in counseling and I get to hear a lot about the struggle of being connected to one person. I.Q. has nothing to do with this.

I find I like to read about the weirdos, the unusual and different. I like to enjoy romantic journeys with characters of all different perspectives. Some of them are even strangely-intelligent.

About Carol Rose:

Carol Rose is an award-winning author of contemporary romances. She has written twenty-three books, including Always and Forgotten Father. Her books have won numerous awards, including a final in the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.

Carol is an active member of the North Texas Romance Writers. A frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences, she has taught workshops on characterization and, creating and resolving conflict. She works full time as a therapist.

Her husband and she married when she was only nineteen and he was barely twenty-one, proving that early marriage can make it, but only if you’re really lucky and persistent. They went through college and grad school together. She not only loves him still, all these years later, she still likes him—which she says is sometimes harder. They have two funny, intelligent and highly accomplished daughters. Carol loves writing and hopes you enjoy reading her work. 

See her books on Amazon!

Follow her on Twitter!

Find her on Facebook!


I totally agree, smart girls rule and guys that are intimidated by that don’t deserve the girl! My favorite smart girl romances are pretty much anything by Penny Reid and A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare.

What are your favorites? Comment below! 

Happy Monday everyone! 

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So you wanna be a writer…

I received a message from one of my most favoritest peoples today that basically said, “Hey, I want to write a book, where do I start? You said to do an outline, do you have any tips or tricks?”

I began writing out an e-mail to my friend, but then I thought, I bet there’s more people who are just starting out and have no idea where to begin. Why not blog this? I never blog, it’s about damn time, right?

So if you’re out there, and you’re just starting out or don’t know where to begin, this is for you.

1) You don’t have to outline. Some writers successfully write a ton of books by pantsing it (writing by the seat of your pants). I outline because I wrote every day for six years and finished only 3 books, while I started about 20 that went nowhere. Eventually, I figured out that if I don’t have a plan in place for where the story is going to go, it’s going to either a) totally suck or b) I’m never going to finish it.

This is one of the hardest parts of learning to write: figuring out which method works best for YOU. Everyone is different. It can take a long time to figure out what works best, and you might find that what worked for one story, won’t work for another (ho hum).

2) Study story structure. You already have an innate sense of how a story should be laid out from watching movies and reading books, etc. Every story follows a formula, and to write a story that makes sense, it’s important to understand the formula. IF you want to break out of the formula, you should understand it first!  Story structure is one of the most important things to learn and one of the most complicated. I like storyfix.com, advancedfictionwriting.com, and writersdigest.com all have great articles, information about writing and craft.

Also, I did a whoooolle years worth of blog posts on story structure from beginning to end  http://marewolf.blogspot.com/p/tips-for-writers.html

Most of what I learned was from the websites above, plus I’ve gone to writing conferences, and I checked out and read almost every single book on writing from the library. Seriously. Some of them I read twice. My favorites were Beginnings, Middles, Ends by Nancy Kress, and pretty much anything by James Scott Bell.

There are sooo many things to think about when you’re writing a book. Plot arcs, character arcs, dialogue, theme, etc. You will find that you’ll have this great idea in your head, you can see it all so clearly, then you sit down to write it and what’s in your head doesn’t translate onto paper like you imagined.

3) When you first start drafting, try not to worry so much about all the pieces I just mentioned above (HAHA you like that? I’m feeling a little contradictory right now…LEARN story structure though, it’s important. Writing has two sides, the creative side and the analytical side. Drafting is for creativity, editing is your analytical part).

Remember that your rough draft is your creative flow. It’s supposed to be rough. There’s too many different things to think about, and you’ll get overwhelmed and want to give up (or drink). Anything you write during your first drafting phase can be changed and fixed, and it most likely will be. Just get the words on the page. My first drafts are still crap and I’ve been doing this for years. Books in progress are like babies. They look gross when they’re born, and they change drastically each month until they’re eventually cute.

4) Write every day. Even if it’s only a few words, or if you just need to jot down ideas. If you absolutely need a break from writing, read. Read a lot. Read what sells, read from new writers, read from accomplished writers, figure out what it is specifically you like about certain books and what you hate so you can strengthen your own writing.
5) Don’t give up. Like I said, it took me six years of writing crappy words to finally write something I didn’t want to use as toilet paper. Everyone learns differently and some learn faster than others (hopefully you are faster than me). There’s a common saying among writers that it takes a million words before you start writing anything of value. So if this is really your dream, don’t give up no matter how long it takes.
If you are a writer and you have any tips or advice, please share in the comments!!!

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New Adult Scavenger Hunt Now Closed–Winners announced!!

Hey everyone!

The NA Scavenger Hunt was super fun, and now it’s over (wah wah waaaah).

I have picked winners for my giveaway! You can see them in the rafflecopter link in the prior post, and I have posted them here as well! Congratulations everyone! I will be e-mailing you shortly to determine how you would like to receive your prize, so check your spam mail to make sure it doesn’t get lost🙂

Winner Winner Chicken Dinners!:

Winners of the $10 Amazon Gift Cards:

Stacey B.

Katy M.

Kim S.

Nichole J.

Sean C.

Winner of the Imperfection Wall Art:

Tiffany J.

Woot woot!!!

Happy Monday🙂

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New Adult Scavenger Hunt: Featuring Kate Thomas and The Equilibrium Series!!!

NewASH Banner 3

Team Red

Holy ball sacks, I’m SOOOO excited to participate in the New Adult Scavenger Hunt! So excited, in addition to entering to win the whole hunt and a ginormous stack of books, you can also enter to win some swag, and dare I say it…GIFT CARDS at the end of this blog post! (look for the teeny tiny rafflecopter link) So keep reading!!! (Because it’s long, sorry, if you have ADD you might have a heart attack, but it will be worth it)

MORE ON THE HUNT: This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for the prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of TEAM RED–but there is also a blue team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books.

***THE SCAVENGER HUNT***

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my lucky book number. Collect the lucky book numbers of all the authors on Team Red, and then add them up.

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 26th, at noon Eastern Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

***AND HERE IS THE AMAZEBALLS AUTHOR I AM HOSTING!! SERIOUSLY, SHE IS SO CUTE AND SO SWEET, I WANT TO PUT HER IN A TEA CUP AND DRINK HER!***

Kate Thomas

Kate Thomas, is the author of the upcoming Equilibrium Series, a five-book supernatural new adult series, with plans for a few more series in 2015.

She is a CPA by trade, a church planter and entrepreneur at heart; however, writing and reading are passions she just can’t help but indulge in. With more ideas than one person should be allowed, she is blessed to have a muse that doesn’t seem to take a vacation and more energy that one might consider healthy.

She writes under the following pen names: L.A. Starkey – Young Adult & Middle Grade Paranormal

Sign up for her newsletter!

Go see her website!

FInd her on Goodreads!

Find her on Amazon!


****The Core, Book One**** (LOVING this cover!!)
The Core E-Book Cover

There’s something strange about David, something that goes beyond the way he makes Ellie feel. He’s wealthy, poised, and a complete enigma. With nothing to lose but her heart, Ellie goes in search of the truth—a search that leads her down an eye-opening path that reveals secrets about the world she thought she knew.

The world’s order is held in careful balance, the essence of good and evil tilting the scale. When the fabric of reality is stripped away, Ellie is forced to make a decision to follow the path David’s constructed before her or simply walk away. The Core is missing and someone must step up and stand between the light and darkness, holding each back and maintaining equilibrium.


***EXCLUSIVE CONTENT: CHAPTER ONE OF THE LIGHT: BOOK TWO!!! OMGERSH HELLLLLOOOO HOTTIE!!!***
Synopsis:
With the truth of Ellie’s place among the Balance Keepers finally coming to light, training now begins. She must learn to The Light E-Book Coverharness the powers that are growing within her, some spiraling out of control. Confusion and frustration become her constant companions, as her search for answers does nothing but push her further from the man she’s come to love.
David is The Light, the speaker of truth, the whisperer of good in the world. His desire for more than he can have with his new apprentice tears at the fabric of his own stability, bit by bit. He knows what the future holds — and just how damning it will be for Ellie if she’s not prepared to handle it — but he’s forbidden to help.
As tragedy becomes reality, will she reach for The Light, or run into the soothing arms of The Darkness?

Chapter 1

“Wait, let me get this straight,” Jacob turned in his seat, the hot air in the car blowing his far-too-long brown hair about. “What you’re basically saying is free-will is bust. That it’s a joke. That it doesn’t exist.”

Ellie sighed, her head dropping back to hit the headrest behind her. “That’s not at all what I said. You asked what’s been up with me for the last few weeks and I’m trying to explain without sounding like I’ve lost my mind.”

“That happened years ago.” The sound of his laughter caused her lip to turn up, the strong poke of his finger digging into her right side. She jolted and yelped, sitting up and swatting at him.

Snow billowed before them, the wind slapping against the small car as they sat in the dark. It would be hell to get out of the neighborhood if they sat there much longer, letting the icy attack of winter in New York lock the car into place for a while. Ellie pulled her long chestnut locks off her neck and worked them into a bun as her eyes scanned the darkness for a moment.

“You know this is getting to be a little ridiculous,” Jacob spoke, leaning forward to turn the heater down a bit.

“What is?”

“Us sitting in the dark together spying on someone.” He chuckled. “I’m seriously going to start charging you for this side-kick business. I barely make enough to get into the club on Friday nights. You’re about to turn from my sister to my sugar momma.”

She snorted and looked over at him. “Do you know what sugar mommas are for?”

“Yeah, money and sugar for your hot tea.”

“You do not drink hot tea.” Ellie balked, her attention completely on her brother as her legs shifted under the steering wheel.

“I do too. Why?” He turned toward her, his shoulders stiffening as he tilted his head slightly and glared. “What is wrong with drinking hot tea.”

The wind slammed into the car and Ellie yelped, her attention pulled from her brother for a moment. They shouldn’t have been following the dark figure that disappeared inside the overly gaudy house before them. Christmas lights danced with the efforts of the elements, the promise of a white Christmas being over delivered.

“Hey… over here, scaredy-cat.” Jacob poked her again.

She swatted at him. “Stop that. It’s freaking creepy out here. I hate stuff like this.”

“You wanted to be here.” He laughed and leaned forward toward the front window, narrowing his eyes.

“What? You see something?” Ellie moved up to look with him.

“Looked like a little old lady bringing us a tray of hot tea.” He laughed loudly and sat back. “What gives? You got a hang up with warmed beverages?”

“No. It’s just odd for men to drink hot tea. It’s a old ladies drink.” She barked, her heart beating far too fast for comfort.

“That is the dumbest thing you’ve said in months. You should get dummy points for that.” He reached over and tugged her hair, a smile on his lips. She pushed his hand away again as she leaned against the steering wheel and watched the large ornate house carefully.

“Tell me again how my freewill isn’t zapped completely if God create members of an elite crime-fighting group to keep and restore balance for all mankind.” Jacob’s voice moved from normal to something akin to a movie announcer.

Ellie rolled her eyes and shook her head. Her brother would forever be ten. It was something she’d gotten used to years ago. The door to the house opened and a tall dark figure stepped out on the porch, his body hidden by the black trench-coat he wore. It fit him well and she couldn’t help but appreciate it with an extended stare.

“We aren’t crime-fighters. It’s about keeping balance so that life continues forward until the time when God allows it to tilt one way or the other and then it will all end.” She spoke softly, her attention far from the warm confines of the car.

“And that’s not God interfering with us, how?” He huffed. “This being that I hypothetically believe in God or freewill.”

“He doesn’t need you to believe in him for him to exist.” She looked toward her brother. “He’s not Freddy Kruger, Jacob.”

“Well you did it.” He shook his head and leaned back in the seat, rubbing his hands over his face.

“Did what?” Ellie turned her attention back toward him, his dramatic antics almost entertaining to watch.

“You topped the dumbest remark you’ve said in weeks. God not being Freddy definitely just took the cherry on the stupid Sunday.” He laughed as she unbuckled and moved to attack him, her hands slapping at him playfully as he laughed and screamed like a small child. She couldn’t help but laugh too, her motions rocking the car slightly.

The rapping of knuckles on her window pulled her from the moment and laced her heart with icy cold fear. A handsome face peered into the window, the snow whirling around the man as if he beckoned it perform for him.

“Crap,” Ellie muttered and moved to turn the car on and roll the window down.

“Just gun it. He can’t see in here. Let’s go.” Jacob tapped the steering wheel and pointed toward the dark road in front of them.

The man tapped on the window again, his words coming through the thick glass as if the window was down and he was in the car with them. “I see you Ellie. Roll down the window.”

“Awwww hell. You should’ve just gone. We’re going to die now. Where is the balance in that?” Jacob yelled dramatically and Ellie slapped him in the chest, took a deep breath and rolled the window down. She looked up as he leaned down close to her, his face just before hers, eyes filled with mystery.

“I’m almost flattered that you’re following me.” He smiled as his dark eyes moved across her face. She covered her arms over her chest, the weight of his stare leaving her exposed and nervous.

“We didn’t expect you in town for a few more weeks, so I wanted to know what you were up to.” She shrugged as if it were nothing, but the blood rushing around her veins at break-neck speed told a very different story.

“Well, next time ask. I’d hate to be the cause of you getting harmed from the winter storm that’s headed this way.” He leaned a little to his left. “Jacob… nice to finally meet you.”

Ellie turned toward Jacob and shrugged. Her brother leaned forward and extended his hand. “Nice to meet you too. Ellie’s told me so much about you.”

The man laughed and looked back at Ellie. “Oh I doubt that, but change is in the air. It’s always a fearful moment when you realize you enjoy the dark of night far more than the stinging light of day.”

Jacob released his hand as Ellie sat back, her eyes still on the stranger at the window. “The dark scares me.”

He smiled and reached in to touch a lock of her hair. “I think I can help with that.”

“Yeah, I didn’t catch your name.” Jacob leaned across her again, looking up into the darkness.

“I’m sorry. Victor Romales. I’m one of Ellie’s new business partners.”

Series Facebook Cover Art

Sounds amazing, right?? Love it!! 

Don’t forget to enter the scavenger hunt for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Kate Thomas, and MANY more!

To enter the scavenger hunt, you need to know that my lucky book number is 18.

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on Team RED and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

And to win some MORE awesome prizes, including FIVE $10 Amazon gift cards, and this super awesome wall plaque that totally fits the Imperfect Series (I have one on my wall!) Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below! 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

***CONTINUE THE HUNT***

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Zoraida Cordova!

Good luck!!!

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7 dumb things we do that make our lives harder

I have a confession to make. I’m one of those “full of sunshine people”. Yep, it’s true. That statement was actually offered to me one time when I was working (my day job is in civil service). One of our regulars who suffers from many emotional and personality disorders snapped at me, “You’re just one of those ‘full of sunshine people’, aren’t you?!”

My response was “Yes. I am.” With a smile, of course.

It’s not the only time I’ve been accused of being overly happy and positive. It’s a disease, really. One of my co-workers said to me once, “You’re always so happy! Do you drive your husband crazy?”

My response was. “Yes. Of course.” With a smile (naturally).

So what’s my secret? Why am I so damn happy? It’s not always easy. Sure, part of my natural make-up and personality leans towards the optimistic, but sometimes you can make yourself happy, or happier. How? See my list below. These are the things you need to STOP doing (if you do it), or things that can be worked on.

Some of my writer friends and I recently talked about our “works in progress” or WIPs; the current book that we’re writing. We came to the unanimous decision that our first drafts suck. They’re terrible. Awful, horrible, not even good enough to be used as toilet paper. But that’s why they’re “in progress”. We know they will get better with a little time and elbow grease. They may not EVER be perfect, but we can get them close enough.

We, as people, aren’t so different. We’re all “works in progress”. We can all get better with a little work and time.

The concepts below are simple in theory if not in execution. If you’re a naturally pessimistic or negative person, you might have to work at it harder, but I’m convinced anyone can do it (because I always think positive!).

Here is my list of things I see people doing that contribute to sucking away their happiness and preventing the “progress” part of our stories.

1. Dwelling on things we have no control over

I put this first because it’s probably the most difficult, for me anyway. This is because (sorry to tell you this but) 95% of things in our lives are out of our control. There’s really only ONE major thing you DO have control over. Yourself. You control yourself, your actions and your reactions. That last one is the most important. You control how you react to situations, no one else can claim that. When you find yourself in a bad situation, stop. Think. What can you change about the situation? What can you control that will make your life better? If it’s a terrible “something” that’s happening, allow yourself to feel and cry and rage if you need to, but then focus on what you can control and work on what you can, let go of what you can’t.

2. Letting other people control us

This is a tough one, too. And we all do it. You let the guy who cut you off on the freeway make you angry. You let that negative co-worker or mean customer make you upset. If you think about it for a minute, it doesn’t make sense. It’s not logical. You’re handing control of your emotions over to a stranger, or someone who should have little say in your life. I have a test for situations like this. I consider how long this person is going to affect me. Am I going to worry about the guy that flipped me off during a road rage incident tomorrow? Next week, will it matter? Hell, will it even be an issue anymore five minutes from now? No? Sweet, let it go.

3. Not learning from our mistakes

We all screw up. We all do stupid things, and make mistakes and feel ashamed. That’s okay. It’s great, actually! The true test of a person is not the mistakes they make, but how they learn from them. Have you screwed up real bad? Awesome. Own it. Feel bad. Then make it right. What can you do to change your habits or make sure you don’t make that mistake again? Do it. Someone who makes the same mistakes over and over and never learns from them will never grow.

4. Not finding our blind spot

We all have a blind spot. A blind spot is something about ourselves that’s true and probably not a great thing, but we can’t see it. Maybe our fragile egos can’t take it and so we inure ourselves to this one, great truth. I’m always looking for my blind spot (probably blind SPOTS, more like). Whenever someone offers me criticism that hurts, after I let myself feel bad for a bit, I stop and ask myself–is it true? Self-awareness is so important. If you can find your blind spot, you can be aware of it and work on it.

5. Comparing our journey to others

I did this ALL THE TIME, especially when it came to my writing journey. I have gotten better, but this is one I still struggle with. Stop comparing yourself, your life, where you are at with others. It will never end. Even when you reach the same level of success as whomever, you will still want more. It’s an unfortunate aspect of the human condition. The grass will always be greener. You will always want what you can’t have and what others have and you don’t. We’re like toddlers fighting over the same color crayon. When you discover that you’re judging yourself against the accomplishments of someone else, stop. Compare yourself to the person who YOU were yesterday. Their journey is not your journey. Maybe around your corner is something even better, but you’ll never see it if you’re busy watching someone else.

6. Choosing hate over happy 

Don’t bother hating people. Don’t bother seeking revenge. You won’t bring them down, you will only bring yourself down. ‘Nuff said.

7. Letting the bad juju suck us down

When you find yourself getting stuck in a pattern of negativity, break yourself out of the cycle. Focus on something you love. Find your joy. Take care of yourself. Take a break. Go for a walk. Eat healthy (but don’t completely give up foods you love, everything in moderation). Be open-minded.  Most of all, don’t be too hard on yourself. Love yourself, and spread that love around. Forgive people who’ve done you wrong. We’re all human, we all have blind spots, we make mistakes, we let others control us, and sometimes we choose hate over happy.

It’s okay.

We’re a work in progress.

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