A Fresh Look For Spring

purple tulipsI’m welcoming in Spring by doing some spring cleaning-digital spring cleaning, that is. I’ve freshened up my site by picking a new theme. I wanted something more modern and sophisticated. Like the heroines in my first three books, I have a full-time job. I work hard, come home, and work harder. Between family stuff, writing, and the dreaded exercising, there’s never enough hours in the day. Losing an hour due to Daylight Savings is more to me than one less hour of sleep; it’s one less hour to write. But like I try to convince myself, sleep is over-rated, right? Tell that to the shadows under my eyes. Thank God for concealer!

February and March were exceptionally busy months. I completed NJRW’s Jersey Romance Writing Month (JeRoWriMo) challenge in February with almost 32,000 words. Some of us continued our challenge into March, where I wrote another 10,000 words plus edits. A few days into March I finished the rough draft of my third book. I have a lot of editing to do, but it felt great to write the words “The End”.

The days are longer and the extra daylight gives me more energy. I started a Yoga class once a week after my Jazzercise class and hope to find my calm and happy place. What projects do you have lined up for the Spring? For me, I’m committing to increase my exercise level and to finish editing A Chance Worth Taking. How about you?

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Welcome 2013!

New Year 2013

Welcome to a New Year!

It’s a fresh start to what I hope will be another productive writing year. I reviewed my 2012 goals and was pleased to see I accomplished almost all of them. Here’s a recap of the highlights:

– Finished editing 2nd MS and pitched at 2 conferences

– Began writing the 3rd story in my Taking Chances series during NJRW’s JeRoWriMo

– Finished replotting & revising (again) my 1st MS

– Finaled and won FIRST place in 2 writing contests (The Write Stuff and Indiana Golden Opportunity)

– Blogged monthly with the Violet Femmes, which included writing a short story for Valentine’s Day and two round robin stories

– Read new authors (read 68 books & 14 audio books)

– Continued to network with friends & other authors to improve my craft

Not a bad list. Here’s some new items I’d like to accomplish in 2013:

1. Continue my pursuit of an agent and/or editor.

2. Finish my third MS.

My wish for all of you is to have a happy and healthy New Year. May all your dreams (writing and otherwise) come true!

The Pleasure of Giving

This week, I’m blogging on The Violet Femmes website. Stop by http://thevioletfemmes.com and click the link to enter our contest to win a Nook Simple Touch to help celebrate our One-Year Anniversary.

Last week, I had the pleasure of being a part of an effort to Adopt-A-School that’s been displaced for the rest of the school year as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Although they were fortunate to find another location to operate, they aren’t allowed back to their own school to get any of their supplies, equipment, etc. Along with a couple co-workers, I reached out and gathered school supplies, games, books, and sporting equipment. The volume of people wanting to help was so amazing. I want to thank the generosity of everyone who has contributed time and/or funds to support the families affected by this tragedy. Together, we stand united!

With Thanksgiving this week, I have so much to be thankful for. It’s easy to forget and allow yourself to get bogged down in the minutia of life. I do it more times than I’d like to admit. On Thanksgiving Day, take a moment to appreciate all that you have and have accomplished, and offer hope and prayer for all who have lost things and people precious to them.

May you have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Monday’s Inspiration & Guest Blogger with the Femmes

Happy Monday!

Well, the first month of the new year is almost gone. Has anyone else noticed it staying lighter out longer? I love this time of year because it means I’m not driving home from work at 5:00 in complete darkness. I see the tease of daylight that I miss all day when I go into my office. For me, it’s the promise that Spring isn’t (hopefully) too far away.

I’ve been busy working on plotting out my third story in preparation for a 30k writing challenge many of us from NJRW are doing in February. 30,000 words in 1 month (29 days to be exact). Yikes! Although I’m not sure I’ll even come close, it’s fun to bond with my fellow writers and give myself permission to just write.

If you have a moment, please stop by The Violet Femmes and check out our guest blogger, Jenna Blue’s post on the ways writing ruins sleep. It’s funny and something which I’m sure we all can relate to in some capacity. Enjoy your day!

Fall into Love

Fall may very well be my favorite season. I love the transformation as leaves turn beautiful colors and the weather gets cooler. And there’s the fact that we’ll gain an hour of sleep in a few weeks. That will definitely come in handy!

With Fall, there also comes new books by some of my favorite authors. Some that I’ve either read or am looking forward to reading are: Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis, Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins, The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks, Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich.

Along with all the wonderful new releases, this Friday-Saturday (10/21-10/22), I’ll be attending my second Put Your Heart in a Book conference hosted by the New Jersey Romance Writers Chapter of RWA. I’m excited to be an active part of the conference and look forward to the fantastic workshops that are lined up. I’m also excited to be pitching my second manuscript, Love’s Second Chance.

Pumpkins are picked, mums are planted, and the house is decorated. All that remains is getting a costume for my pre-teen and some holiday baking for my youngest’s party at school.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the fall?

Spring is the time for planting…and sprucing up my blog

Today was a beautiful Easter day in New Jersey. Lately we’ve been getting a lot of rain, but the result is a lot of green trees and blooming flowers. Not good if you suffer from allergies, but pretty to look at. I was finally able to plant some pansies this weekend, hence the picture.

If you haven’t checked out my blog in a while, I’ve been busy making some enhancements. I’ve added links to my writer ‘fan’ page on Facebook along with my 2011 reading list on Goodreads. I’ve updated my summary for A Chance for Love, in addition to adding an excerpt. I also added a blurb for my current work in progress, A Second Chance for Love. I know…the title is not very original. I’ve tried to think of different titles, but the more I get into the story (Kate and Edward’s story from A Chance for Love) the more I think it’s appropriate.

Stay tuned for details regarding my upcoming interview on Romance Writers on the Journey.

Maria

Who is that masked writer?

Those of you who have visited my site within the past week may have noticed that the title of my blog has changed. Maybe you thought you had typed in the wrong URL and wondered who this Maria K. Alexander person is. Well let me assure you that it’s still me but under my new pen name. In preparing for RWA National conference in June, I finally bit the bullet and choose a pen name after literally obsessing over it for more than six months.

Over the next couple days, I will be changing my WordPress URL as well. So, your best bet to get to my site is:

http://mariakalexander.com

It will find me regardless of my WordPress link.

Stay tuned for enhancements I’m planning for my site, along with some upcoming events.

Maria