April Showers Bring May Reading!

April is almost over, but if your climate is anything like mine, it’s still pretty chilly and the rain is coming down HARD. And lately? It feels like no end is in sight. I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna choose to see the glass half full! Rainy days are perfect not only for WRITING, but also for reading! And with all these incredible books out, it’s time to snuggle in under a blanket and fuzzy socks and crack open a new read. =)   And because I love sharing and sharing is caring — here’s a few of my favorite rainy day reads!

  1. Write Naked by Jennifer Probst
    This is definitely more for the writers out there, but I am LOVING my girl, Jennifer’s latest release. This book is chockfull of wonderfully inspiring stories and helpful tips that are PRACTICAL. I mean, I’ve already read it once and am diving back in for a second read now! No matter how far we get, we are never too far along to keep learning.
  2. Anchor Me by J.Kenner
    In full disclosure, if you haven’t read the first three in the series, you should go check that out now. 😉 Release Me, Claim Me, and Complete Me… and Anchor Me is the fourth installment of Damien Stark, the powerful multimillionaire who’s never had to take “no” for an answer, and his beloved wife Nikki Fairchild Stark, the Southern belle who only says “yes” on her own terms. The series is GREAT and the perfect rainy weekend read!
  3. Ride Rough by Laura Kaye
    If you love reading motorcycle club books, then you HAVE to check out Laura Kaye’s Raven Riders. They are sexy and suspenseful and will keep you turning those pages while rain patters on your window.
  4. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
    This read had me laughing out loud! And it was even better in audiobook form! Anna Kendrick… read her. Love her.
  5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
    If you haven’t heard of this book, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. 😉 It’s also an HBO series that’s just beginning with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. But I HIGHLY recommend you read the book before watching!

Organize Your Office: 5 Easy DIY Projects

As most of you know… I work from home. And as some of you may know… my husband and I are also renovating a new home and about to move (May 1st, EEK!). Renovating is fun but sooooo stressful and there’s a lot out of my control. For example… I can’t hang dry wall or fix cracked plaster ceilings! But, I CAN be planning my office here from the comfort of my clean kitchen and begin some small DIY projects that I know will be a HUGE payoff once we move in!

I found these various ideas on Pinterest and so I highly suggest you pop on over to the original sites (Which I will link here) and see the full how to DIYs!

These first two ideas all come from one place: The genius people at Life Hack. I highly recommend checking out their whole article.

1. Binder Clips to Organize cords
This. Is. Genius. And frankly… it doesn’t even freaking count as DIY because you’re LITERALLY JUST CLIPPING THEM TO YOUR DESK. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Mason Jar Organizers.
I LOVE mason jars. I’m not kidding when I say, I usually have a pack of 12 at any given time in my home just WAITING for an awesome DIY. I also love that this is SUPER simple. I would maybe paint them as well, just for fun, but that’s just me. Basically, the directions just say to hot glue them together. That’s all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Old Book Mail Organizer

I found this project on Pinterest from Beyond the Picket Fence and I’m literally (NO JOKE) going to a flea market tomorrow to try to find old hard cover books for this! You can find the full tutorial at the link above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Oversized Message Board
This might be my favorite project here. It comes from Better Homes and Gardens blog. Basically, all it is is a large piece of glass (so you can use dry erase markers on it) with the back painted. The tricky part is it looks like they custom built a frame around it. That’s a bit much for MY DIY heart. However, I BET I could find a large picture frame from Michael’s when sale time comes and paint the back of the glass… Hmmmm. But overall, this board? It would be PERFECT for plotting my novels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. DIY Chalkboard Calendar
Okay, I lied. THIS is my favorite piece. This chalkboard calendar is so cute and                            would be so helpful in keeping me on top of my deadlines! It comes from
Sincerely Sara’d. I will say that of all the DIY listed here, it seems like the most                            complicated. While not impossible, it would take a bit of time and precise painting                    necessary for that beautiful script she has in the picture. BUT MAN would it be                            worth it!

Quiz: Which Harrison Street Crew Member is Your Next Book Boyfriend?

Boys come and go, but a book boyfriend is forever! Indulge in those warm fuzzies you get when you turn the page and take the quiz to see which Harrison Street Crew book is for you!

 

Seven Strategies to Outline Your Novel (or Novella)!

7 Tips and Strategies for Plotting Your Book

Are you a pantser? Or a plotter?

It is easily the number one question I get asked as an author. It’s also one of the hardest to answer. You see, I’m sort of both. I do outline. I try to whip up a quick outline for every book I begin. And when I don’t do this, things fall to hellish, fiery pit preeeeeetty quickly while I’m writing. Then, I inevitably have to stop, do the plotting ANYWAY, go back and rewrite, and start again.

Whereas, if I have at least sat down and organized my thoughts for the book, I have a reference when I hit the inevitable snag.

But, even with outlining, I always, ALWAYS have flexibility. If a book takes off running in a new direction? I follow that little betch to see if the characters are onto something. Sometimes those ideas lead to gold. Other times, it’s a rabbit hole with nothing but dirt and worms.

Anyway, I’ve developed seven tactics I use every time to get my plotting started before I write!

  1. What is the theme?
    Every book has a theme. You may not know what it is yet… but it’s there. I guarantee it. I’ve found that by pinpointing what I think I want my theme to be from the beginning helps streamline the entire novel. For example, in Ex-Con, the theme was Self-Acceptance. Super simple, right? Two words. And as I was writing, I would occasionally check in with my book and various scenes and ask myself: Does this still fit my theme?
  2. Write Chapter One.
    This might seem like a weird one. Like, “Whoa, Katana! Slow your roll. You JUST told us to outline first to save yourself time.” Yes, absolutely. But for me, and this may just be me, I usually have to start writing to get a real sense for who my characters are. And so before I dive deep into the plotting world, I’ll sit down and with that theme in mind, write the first scene with my hero and heroine together.  It helps me find their voices. Then, after that’s done, I go back to outlining.
  3. Craft the Premise (in 3-5 Sentences)
    This is easily the hardest part for me. Basically, I try to boil down what people in the industry call our “elevator pitch.” Try to summarize what you think the essentials of your book will be about. Using Ex-Con as another example, I wrote: “Shane is released from prison with no choice but to enter the car club/gang he spent his life avoiding. When he crosses paths with a beautiful mechanic and falls in love, he doesn’t realize immediately that she’s the daughter of Boston’s head detective. As tensions in the club rise, his relationship with a detective’s daughter isn’t looked kindly upon. And the brother of the man he killed is out for blood—his blood; and now Charlie is Shane’s biggest Achilles’ Heel.
  4. Create Rough Scene Ideas
    I find this easiest as literal notecards that I hang up around me as I write. That way, I can move them around as I see fit. If I realize that they shouldn’t go on their first date that early in the book, I can grab that card and move it later in the sequence. But having a list of scenes ready to go is invaluable. They are very, very rough. Like this:
    Scene 1 – Shane is being let out of prison. Collecting his personal effects. Cousin picks him up and mentions the new girl mechanic in town.
    Scene 2 – Charlie is working at her mechanic’s garage trying to scrounge money together to buy a car. Shane arrives at her garage with his broken down car. He has no money to fix it. Offers to work in exchange for her help.
    Scene 3 – Shane is at car club. Suckered into drag racing that night. Charlie shows up.
    See? You get the picture. These scene breakdowns are SO helpful in the face of writer’s block. Because I can always go back and jump ahead to a scene that I know I need to use later and at least I’m not wasting valuable time.
  5. Create a “What if” document
    This is similar to above, but even looser. And it’s an ongoing document that I continually add to. I create a ‘what if’ full of WHACKY ideas. Mostly, it’s just to get my juices flowing. Most of the ideas, I may never use. Some are genius and change the trajectory of the book. Again, because I love examples, it usually looks something like this:
    What if….
    Shane crashes his car
    Charlie starts a bar fight
    Shane’s best friend dies
    No one actually has a hit on Shane’s life? It was orchestrated to get him to rely on the club
    And so on and so forth. The idea here is just to have a reference sheet if I’m hitting a snag in writing. I can refer back to this and say, “Oh! I could totally have Charlie start a bar fight here and infuse more action into this scene.” BAM! 2k more words done for the day.
  6. Spend 10 minutes every morning before writing hashing out the scene
    I read this somewhere. It’s not my idea and I wish I could remember who had suggested this! Because IT. IS. GENIUS. If you do nothing else from this list,  I would recommend THIS. Sit down each day before you write and spend ten minutes (I literally set a timer) just getting your thoughts together about the scene you’re about to write. (This is easier if you’ve completed step 4 😉 I have trimmed down my writer’s block to where I almost NEVER get it anymore since I started implementing this practice. It’s easy to set aside and NOT do. But my God, does it help. And when I skip it for the day? I almost always regret it.
  7. Interview Your Hero/Heroine
    The nice thing about this step is A) It doesn’t have to be long. And B) You can reuse these interviews for guest blogs and blog tours when the book comes out. It’s one of the few parts of outlining that you can literally use later as content. Which is pretty awesome. Plus, by interviewing your hero and heroine, you’ll get to know them better. You’ll feel their voice better. You’ll just GET them.So that’s it! That’s what I do to plan for my books before I write them. Hope it helps! =)

Come out for some Live Readings at Friday Night Fantasies in Burlington, MA!

 

I’m so stoked to announce that I’ll be participating in the Friday Night Fantasies reading salon Friday, April 7th at the New England Romance Writers of America conference in Boston (well, Burlington), MA! The fun begins at 8:30pm (well, if we’re gonna get technical about it, the fun begins around 4pm with the HUGE author signing, then raffle baskets!) and goes until 11pm. The amazingly fun and talented Damon Suede with be emceeing and there will be alcohol. Sooooooo, yeah. Come drink, party, and hear some awesome authors read from their books!

 

 

Enforcer Excerpt ~ Sneak Peek!

 

A few weeks ago, Heroes & Heartbreakers featured a cover reveal of the third book in my Harrison Street Crew series, ENFORCER. Y’all… I am SO EXCITED for you guys to get a glimpse of this book. It is HAWT. And wrought with excitement and tension. It doesn’t come out until June 6th, but I’ve been given permission to tease you with this edgy, little excerpt.

And if you haven’t yet read book 1 (EX-CON) and book 2 (OUTLAW), they are both available and should keep you satiated until ENFORCER comes out in June!

In the meantime, here’s the blurb and an excerpt from ENFORCER!

 

Worse than bad. Hotter than hot. These are the bad boys of the Harrison Street Crew, and they answer to no one. They take what they want. And what they want is you.

Ryan Gallagher is the one who does the dirty work. The brute force in the Harrison Street Crew, he lives to have the club all for his own one day. But the one thing he can’t have is Megan Mahoney—the one woman he’s loved since she was a teenager who needed saving.

Megan never forgot the all-consuming passion she felt for Ryan, her larger-than-life, wild teenage love. But coming from a hard, shocking past has left her broken and scared—and untrusting of the Harrison Street Crew. Ten years later, she’s back in Ryan’s world to claim a promise he made to her years ago. And even though she knows she shouldn’t fall for him, Ryan still has an explosive, sensual pull on her that she can’t ignore.

Ryan’s powerful love for Megan is the only thing that could ever soothe the tempestuous beast that roars in his soul. And when she comes back to him to aid her in a dangerous quest—a deadly revenge plot he swore he would be a part of years ago—Ryan can’t say no. He lives to protect this woman. He will die loving this woman. And as the stakes get higher, the love that they have kept hidden all these years explodes and goes further and deeper than either of them expected. But with a dark threat from Megan’s past thrust headlong into their lives, can their love win out?

In this sizzling sneak peek, Ryan and Megan—who’ve been in each other’s lives for a very long time—take their unresolved sexual tension to a daring new level.

“Tell me what you found out about my dad,” she said again.

Ryan spat into the sink, before moving to the toilet. “I’m about to pee, so unless you want to stand here and be subjected to that, I suggest you shut the door behind you.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“Not denying that, sweetheart. But when a man’s gotta take a leak, not much can stop him.”

Ryan took the moment to stare her down. Those hazel eyes shrewd and penetrating. “Have it your way,” he said, pulling his still hard dick out of his boxer briefs. Takes some maneuvering to piss with a stiff dick, but he managed just fine.

“Ugh,” she grunted, turning around.

“Ugh? Sweetheart, my dick’s a lot of things, but it ain’t nothing to say ‘ugh’ over.”

He finished up, moving to wash his hands and open the toothbrush she gave him. “I’ll tell you about what I learned when Rig gives the okay—”

“You’re such a pussy,” she said grabbing her own toothbrush and squeezing toothpaste onto it. “You act like such a tough guy all the time. But when it comes to making a decision or standing your ground, you always bow to your leader.”

Ryan rinsed his toothbrush before setting it on the sink as Megan did the same. The act was oddly intimate even though they’d never fucked. “Look at it my way—”

“Oh, I’ve tried,” she said, putting her toothbrush back in its holder. “I just can’t get my head that far up my ass, unfortunately.”

Ryan smirked. “You’re funny.”

“Thank you. Now get out. I have to pee before you shower.”

“I showed you mine. Tit for tat.”

“I don’t pee with my tits.”

“Tat for tat, then.”

She dipped her hands beneath her shorts, tugging them down just enough that he caught a glimpse of a dark, trimmed landing strip. In a quick movement, her shorts were down around her ankles, her legs spread revealing her swollen, needy button. It was pink and full and lush and fuck if he didn’t want to wrap his lips around her clit and lick her until she screamed out his name.

“There you go,” she whispered. “Tat for tat. Now, unless you’re finally ready to take me up on that that 21st birthday gift I asked for… get out.”

He stood a moment longer, mesmerized by her gorgeous body. Not only that though, her strength. Her tenacity. And most of all, her wit. He’d never in his life met a woman who could comeback with such clever quips. No one outside of Patrick was that funny.

He moved to the door way, stopping the closing door with his foot. “And if I said yes?”

The mask she’d been wearing around him the last five years slipped, revealing a moment of honest vulnerability. “What?”

“What if I said yes—that I was ready to take you up on your 21st birthday offer? What would you say?”

The svelte curve of her neck tightened and he could see as she swallowed. See the way her throat worked against the dryness. And then, just like that, the mask was back. “As I said before, that ship sailed. Now get out.”

When he didn’t move immediately, Megan raised her hand and slapped her palm down on his fresh stitches, shoving him out the door. Before she closed it behind him, she peeked through the crack, whispering, “This might take a while. I think I’ll have to rub one out before your shower.” Then, she closed the door and locked it.

***

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Enforcer by Katana Collins, available June 6, 2017

Ex-Con Reading (Read by hunky hubs, Sean Murphy)

A few weeks ago, my husband Sean and I filmed this reading of EX-CON. Initially, I was going to read it myself, but I just figured, you guys might enjoy a little eye-candy instead. 😉

To learn more, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (@katanacollins)

You can also see more about EX-CON over on my bookshelf page or anywhere e-books are sold!
PART 1 –
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jmEsP9
B&N: http://tinyurl.com/h4t86nw
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/jheblv6
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ju7wrem

PART 2 –
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jTPm0M
B&N: https://tinyurl.com/hbe48r6
iBooks: https://tinyurl.com/zxmtasc
Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/hov6lkw

PART 3 –
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kstmbF
B&N: http://tinyurl.com/znuydao
iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/zqakegf
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/hhb8nhq

Music Credit:
‘March of the Spoons’ by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

 

We Were Here by Daisy Prescott

Hey everyone! Have you heard of Daisy Prescott’s newest release coming out February 22nd? We Were Here is a New Adult stand alone novel taking place in the 90s that’s also a prequel to Geoducks Are for Lovers. Basically it’s gonna transport right back to high school and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

As part of the #wewerehere #inthe90s campaign, I’m supposed to tell you all about my all time favorite 90s song mixed tape choice! This is hard to narrow down. I remember waiting by the radio, ready to hit record on my favorite songs when they were played! That being said, my song of choice is a little later in the nineties–1998. K-Ci & JoJo’s All My Life. I was a sophomore in high school and if a boy wanted to woo me? He could learn this song and sing it to me…because as much as I love mixed tapes, I loved it even more when a guy serenaded me. 😉

We Were Here is currently exclusively available for pre-order on ibooks and will be released on February 22nd! Get your copy now and let me know in the comments your favorite 90s mixed tape song!

 

 

Tuesday Tails: Aimee (NJ)

Aimee is praying to the heavens above for someone to see her, fall in love with her, and offer her the forever home she has only ever dreamed of!

Aimee is a gorgeous girl that is approx 5 years old. She has beautiful eyes and a nice lush coat. And her smile lights up a room! She is a sweet girl who loves people, is loyal, and would love to have her own family. She loves to go for walks, probably could even be a great running partner. She enjoys car rides, playing with balls and toys, and running in the yard. She is spayed, microchipped, and has her vaccines. She is looking for a home where she can be the queen of the castle as the only child. But no worries, she’s all you need, as she has enough love and companionship to offer. If interested in giving Aimee what’s she’s always wanted, a family of her own, please email A Ruff Life Rescue in New Jersey at aruffliferescue@gmail.com12122800_454609571392040_4923094541281438588_n10311785_454609578058706_8058684113548330050_n

Style File Friday: Autumn is here!

I love autumn SO much, I can’t even begin to narrow down the clothing ideas and options. It’s chilly enough that you can layer. You can wear cute boots, but it’s also still warm enough that you can get away with heels if you so choose. Although, in my opinion, nothing beats an awesome sweater and a great pair of boots!

I love the warm colors in this outfit. The orange (but it’s not TOO orange or bright for my skin tone) and the earrings that are earthy and compliment the leather boots. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Let’s go pick some pumpkins!b06f2947c332a6ad116f26f4803f9408