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Heather McGovern

Bad Girlz with a Z

Once upon a time, seven writers decided to give blogging a go. We had no idea what we were doing when it came to writing or blogging, but we thought through the latter, maybe we could help others with the former.

We started the planning and building stages of Bad Girlz Write in the spring of 2012. Back when I still wrote paranormal. My child was two years old. I’d known EMichels for maybe a year, I only barely knew Jeanette, and I didn’t know Laura Trentham at all!

Fast forward five years. I have a boy now, instead of a baby. I’ve changed jobs, I’ve changed sub-genres, I learned how to write, found an agent, wrote 9 books, sold most of them, went from being a casual to a professional fangirl, and I’ve made some of the most awesome friends ever. In 5 years, I’ve considered giving up writing at least twice. Wait…yeah that sounds right. Two times. Maybe three? Anyway, I’ve been elated with writing at least ten times that, and I’m still here. With the Girlz, I’ve talked to the point I’ve lost my voice, laughed so hard I was sore the next day, and cried enough to give myself a headache. I’ve had people insult my writing dream and people in awe of it. I’ve drank my share of wine, traveled across the country, up and down the east coast, fangirled, flailed, danced (seriously, there’s so much dancing. Why are we always dancing?), squeed, limped, laughed, giggled and gawked with my writer tribe.

I could go on and on about all the fun the Bad Girlz had over the years. Even without a blog, there will be tons more to come, but since I love lists, I’ll limit my memories to a Top 5 List:

5. The very first Bad Girlz Retreat at Big Moose Lodge, a year or more before we were even Bad Girlz. This was way back when we actually did workshops and wrote while on retreat. (Heh. That was the first and last time any actual writing work got done when we all get together.) I believe we were preparing for Moonlight and Magnolias – the first conference for all of us.

4. The last Bad Girlz Retreat at Big Moose. No writing occurred, but that was when we decided to start this blog! Jeanette barely knew us, yet agreed to go to a remote, mountain getaway with 6 writer meeting proximity associates. Lucky for her, we weren’t psycho killers (Qu’est-ce que c’est?). To this day, we still laugh about the somewhat uncharacteristic audacity it took for her to go. ‘Twas meant to be, I say.

3. That BGW Weekend at Lake Norman. There were 2 or 3, and I honestly can’t separate them from each other. They’ve blended into one amalgam of seeing Tony Stark’s house, sitting on the porch, swimming in the pool,  going to the lake, eating too much guacamole, going out for “fancy” Mexican, and talking for HOURS. Mainly, I  just remember having so much fun, and that’s what matters.

2. Moonlight & Magnolias…2011? I think the year was 2011. Idek. It was my first writer conference and it was the one in Decatur, Georgia. Someone correct me if I got the date wrong. There’s something magical about your first writer’s conference. Decatur is a perfect little town within the metropolis of Atlanta, the restaurants were all to die for, and you could walk to everything. But it just goes to show, a little magic goes a long way. The hotel was literally closing down around us, they short-changed us on towels and ran out of hotel chicken, but that conference will always hold a special place. Everything was new, we actually participated in the newcomer’s orientation, Eloisa James’ keynote made me cry, Darlene made the best Cosmos, and I pitched a book for the first time ever. I didn’t sell said book, but by gosh, I pitched the hell out of it!

1. RWA San Diego. This conference was amazing! Not only were the writer vibes fabulous, but I can’t say enough good things about the city of San Diego and the hotel that hosted us. And the weather! I still day dream about 0% humidity and having good hair days at the end of July. I’m glad the cost of living is higher in California. It’s a high of 77 and a low of 63. Who lives like that?!?!

Last year’s RWA conference was heads above my first RWA conference, and I think that had a lot to do with where I am in my career. Last year, I was able to attend a few functions and parties, relax a little more, but learn a lot, and enjoy myself while feeling like I was truly participating in a professional industry conference. In short, I wasn’t as clueless as I was 3 years prior. And, I got to eat meals, sea-side, with my friends, while enjoying the gorgeous weather. I was able to spend quality time with people I hold dear, but only see a few times a year. RWA San Diego will be tough to beat, but next week, I go to RWA Orlando. 🙂 I’d love for RWA Orlando to be the best one yet!

Thank you to all of the Bad Girlz Write followers and readers for the last 5 years! Your comments and participation meant everything to us. I hope you picked up some tips and found a few takeaways over the years. That’s why we wanted to blog in the first place. And lastly, thank you to the Bad Girlz. I don’t think I’d be in this #authorlife if it weren’t for you, but I know I wouldn’t be having this much fun.

<3 y’all,

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My Favorite Bad Girl Post: How Do You Bounce Back?

To be completely honest, my favorite post in my 5 years of Bad Girl blogging is my Sebastian Stan post. I’m pretty sure anyone who knows me could’ve predicted that. However, in the years since, the pictures have had to come down and it doesn’t make much sense re-blogging an image-less post. Especially when it means robbing you of the beauty that is Sebastian Stan. Instead, I’ll simply include these 

and move along to a post of mine that I think was most helpful.

How Do I Bounce Back?

Resilience. Some people are naturally inclined to have it, others struggle. I’m here to tell you, if you’ve decided publication – of any kind – is your goal, you’re going to need it.

Resilience comes into play when you have to push through a rough part of your story, produce words when the words are being little bastards, bounce back after some hard truths from a critique partner, or when you get rejected by every agent in the universe – plus a few from the Delta quadrant. Then, even after you sign with an agent, there will be more rejection, in the form of passes from editors. Even after you sell to an editor or publish, guess what. You got it! You can still face rejection for other projects or in the form of low sales.

Aren’t I just a little ray of sunshine this morning?

So, how does one conjure up the resilience to keep going in this brutal business? After bouncing back from a recent rejection, a friend asked me, “How are you so resilient?” It got me thinking.

Part of it is who I am; the life experiences and beliefs that come together to give me resilience. I don’t say this to throw rose petals at myself. In fact, I wish I could’ve skipped some of those life experiences, but it is what it is. It makes me ME. The other part of bouncing back is habit. I have some bounce back steps, and today, I’m going to share those steps with you.

Step 1: Digest the rejection, in whatever form it comes, and grieve. I mean it. Being upset, angry, hurt, resentful, envious – whatever the emotion, don’t fight it. Be honest with yourself because if you deny that you’re disappointed and feel like you got slapped in the face with a cold fish, it will eat you up inside.

Step 2: Wallow a little. This is your Big Black Moment, the part of your journey where all is lost. A pity party is to be expected. Eat some dessert, have wine. Have both together. Navel gaze. Beat yourself up, compare yourself to others, doubt everything you ever thought about yourself. Oh come on! You know you’re going to do it anyway. Own that sh*t! BUT, you are allowed no more than 48 hours of solo woe. It gets toxic very fast, so set a timer, grab some bon-bons, and make it count.

Step 3: Reach out to your people. Not just any people, because while your spouse or sibling is probably awesome, they aren’t going to understand this process. You need to talk to a writer friend who has been in the trenches too. Make sure they are wise and reasonable, not a hot mess who will lead you astray. Tell them what happened. Let them be upset with you and for you, and let them reassure you.

Step 4: Listen to their reassurances. Absorb it. You aren’t friends with dummies, so don’t be that guy who can’t take a compliment. Your pals know what they’re talking about. Let their words of wisdom soak in.

Step 5: Get over yourself. This is the hard part, but it’s time. You’ve had your moment of sad, now it’s time to dig deep and keep going. The black moment is over; it’s time to move toward your resolution. Focus on the facts. Look at the substantial takeaways from this experience. How can you improve? How can you grow? What can you learn from this? Take those lemons and make a lemon drop martini.

Step 6: Get out there and enjoy life. Do the things that make you happy, let the brain rest and renew. That is when ideas strike.

Step 7: Get your butt back in the chair, put your fingers on the keyboard and WRITE THE NEXT BOOK. This is the single most important step for any author, regardless of the issue. The solution to 98% of every writer issues is Write. Keep writing. Then, write more. You will get better. Your voice will get stronger. You’ll find that hook or genre or magical formula that will put your story in front of readers. You will not move from where you are unless you keep writing, so go for it! Tell us the next story and start bouncing.

 

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Bon Voyage, Bad Girlz!

Five years ago, seven wishful writers sat around a large oak table at a mountain retreat, and decided they wanted to start a blog. A few months later, Bad Girlz Write was born.

Our hope and purpose was to help other writers on their journey toward and through publishing. Even those adorable, wide-eyed 2012 Bad Girlz knew the publishing industry was tough. We knew we’d need a cornerstone for all of the education and emotion required to write and sell fiction. Over the years, this blog served as that stone. More Bad Girlz joined the blog, and we shared the joy and laughter, the sorrow and stress, and the triumphs and defeats that come with being an artist and professional. (We shared some pics of hotties along the way too.) We hope this blog has served as a place of information and education, and as a comfy spot to commiserate with other writers. A place where you know you’re not alone.

But, we’re coming to a time when the Bad Girlz need to retire from adding new posts. The blog will remain here for years to come, but on August 29th we’ll have a huge final post to commemorate Bad Girlz Write’s retirement. Like all great parties, there will be music, dancing, drinks, and laughter. We hope you’ll visit the blog on that day, and party with us.

Over the next rotation, we’re going to post our “Best Of” or favorite posts from the blog. After that, each Bad Girl will share a post about the last 5 years; what she’s learned and how much has changed.

We want to send Bad Girlz Write off with a bang! This blog was a dream of ours that came true. Now, we turn the page toward new dreams and adventures, but we want to take the summer to thank our followers and celebrate all we’ve learned with you. Please join us over the next couple of months as we say Bon Voyage, Bad Girlz Write!

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A TASTE OF TEMPTATION

This week, my latest book, A TASTE OF TEMPTATION, was released. Book 3 of my Honeywilde Romances, it’s the story of Sophie and Wright, the journey of finding themselves, and love. Friends to Lovers, Best Friend’s little sister, a sexy renowned chef hero on the brink of fame, a tenacious heroine who’s afraid to lose anyone else – this book has it all. I hope readers love Sophie and Wright as much as I do. I’ve included an excerpt below. Enjoy!

“If you want to tell them, I’m in. I’ll go tell your brothers right now.”

“No!” Sophie pinched her lips together again.

“Then we don’t have to say a word to them.”

“But . . . it feels wrong to lie. Doesn’t that mean we’re wrong?”

He could see where this was going. Sophie was a soft heart. Always had been. The last thing she’d ever want was to hurt or disappoint anyone. She was a pleaser, going above and beyond to make her family happy, even if it meant putting herself last.

And they were treading into what many thought was questionable territory: attraction and sexual interest for someone who was once a platonic friend.

Especially when that friend was his best friend’s sister.

Now that he’d accepted his desire for Sophie, there were plenty of times in the past when he should’ve known.

Two years ago, during a long, hot summer like this one, he and Dev had taken a day off. Dev had already stopped drinking by then and gone on to bed, but Wright didn’t want to go home. He’d pilfered the bar for beer and sat on the verandah.

Sophie had flopped down next to him and taken his beer. She gave it back after a sip or two, but it tasted like beer and citrus-flavored ChapStick.

He should’ve been disgusted at the fruit flavor disrupting his perfectly good beer. Instead, he’d shifted in his seat, his dick twitching in interest about what she’d taste like if he kissed her. But because sometimes he was a horny guy, like anybody else, he’d written it off.

Then he’d damned himself for having impure thoughts about the Bradley baby sister, and drunk half his beer to put out the fire and brimstone.

Sophie had lingered, griping about something or other with the staff. A cool breeze blew across the verandah and he’d tried not to notice, but her nipples pebbled against the cotton of her shirt, just enough to see.

He’d jerked his gaze away and told himself boobs were boobs and they were all attractive. He was a hot-blooded, heterosexual male. How could he not notice?

She kept talking and making him laugh with her impression of her brothers, and he didn’t want to leave. Two more beers borrowed from the bar, and he got her to stay. Together, they complained about almost every single person they worked with, and a few of the folks in town, laughing until his sides hurt.

When she did finally leave, he craved her company. He saw her every day, talked to her all the time, and still he wanted more.

He didn’t want Sophie. He just liked her as a person. At least, that’s what he’d told himself at the time.

Now, he was done fighting his desire. He liked her and he wanted her.

Sophie fiddled with the sunglasses in her hand and shrugged. “I don’t know, but if I feel this guilty about last night, then maybe we shouldn’t do it.” Her statement was a plea, her gaze longing for answers.

He only had one answer, and it wasn’t going to change.

Even as she questioned everything they were doing, she took a step toward him, not away. “We should stop, right?”

He closed the gap between them in one step. “Wrong.”

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

Amazon – Barnes & Noble –  Kobo – Kensington Books

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Shenanigans! (Part 2)

As EMichels said in her previous post, sometimes the best way to begin your writing process is with some non-writing activity that clears the brain. With three different projects staring at me from my monitor, and less and less time to write with each passing year, I knew what I needed before I dove in: one of my closest writer friends to help me talk through the challenges, a day away from reality to cope with the pressures, and some shronking to kick back and relax. I bring you, more shenanigans!

It is way more difficult than it seems to get these distance pics just right! I’m supposed to be pinching the peach butt. Does it work?

EMichels is supposed to be biting the peach butt. After three minutes of setting up this shot and five minutes of me sitting on the sidewalk and giggling uncontrollably, I’m fairly certain we were not successful. We did entertain ourselves and a dozen or so passersby though.

Getting into the tiny cop car seemed a cute idea at the time. But a small child, I am not.

Finally, here’s EMichels doing some invaluable research on horses and cowboys for her upcoming series.

After my day of shopping, I was lucky enough to have a long girls’ weekend in Charleston, SC. The weather was perfect, the food delicious, the beach walks and talking and laughing, and even crying were exactly what I needed. Probably what everyone needs from time to time.

Folly Pier from our condo’s balcony. Folly has a piece of my heart and always will.

Sunset at Bowen’s Island. If you like seafood, but have not been to Bowen’s, get thee to there anon!

Last week was a must-have for me, and I’m so grateful I had the time and opportunity to reconnect with friends and have non-stop fun for 5 straight days. This break gave me the rest I needed to forge ahead with my projects and kick off my process yet again. 🙂

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Writers Who Lunch

Writing is a pretty solitary pursuit and, mostly, I enjoy this part of “authoring.” At my day job, people are constantly asking me for this, emailing me for that – tons of communication for 8 hours a day. I enjoy the not talking-ness of writing. However, if you attempt to author alone, you’ll quickly go crazy from the pressure, confusion, millions of questions that arise, and the stumbling in the dark that comes with publishing. In short, you need people. Writer people. But sometimes this is tricky.

I attend ~one conference a year, but one conference isn’t enough interaction. My chapter meetings mean more than 4 hours of drive time, and I have a child at that, “I will participate in a variety of activities that require my attendance every Saturday” age. Thus, I can’t make most meetings.

The solutions to this issue aren’t ground breaking, but they are worth recognizing in case anyone out there is in a similar boat. Allow me to present:

Writers Who Lunch

No matter where you are, geographically or in your career, you too can be a writer who lunches. All you need is another writer within about a 20 mile radius and a place to eat. Then, you get together every 4 to 6 weeks, share all that you’ve learned lately, solve the world’s problems, or just vent for an hour. It’s up to you.

Just last week, I met up with Laura Trentham and Fran Fowlkes for our January lunch. I think we’ve been doing this for 2 years now. (Two years?!?! How has it been two years?) Topics included everything from deadlines to deodorant, agents to ad campaigns. Lunch lasts about an hour and a half, and that little stretch of time is vital.

The Quarterly Meet Up

I have these writer friends who insist on living either far away from me or way far away from me. It takes more planning and effort, but we do our best to get together in a variety of ways. In February, some of us will attend When The Heart Dreams in Charlotte, NC. (Are you going? You should go!) In the spring, we’ll either meet up for shopping or a trip to the salt mines (not even kidding).

This summer, there’s the RWA National Conference in Orlando, Florida, where I hope to see my way far away from me friends (*pointed look at way far away from me friends*), and this fall there’s…well I don’t know. I’m not that organized. But there will be something!

How do you and your writer people stay in touch? Any fun suggestions for the at-large, super busy writers out there?

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Amazing Finds That Have Nothing To Do With Writing

For me, this autumn has been…well, it’s been. As much as I love this time of year, I’m glad to see September and October go. (Bye already!) My job and personal life became way too busy and stressful for me to spend much energy on writing. I managed to send off the edits for Book 3 of the Honeywilde Romance series (Whoot, whoot!), and read through a manuscript I wrote a year and half ago to tag aaaaaaaaaaaaall of the places that need work, but that’s it. Slim pickins on the writer front, but I realized sometimes that’s okay. Sometimes you need to handle your life and refill the well, or there’s no point in writing at all.

In the absence of authoring awesomeness, I discovered a few things that filled my well and allowed me to cling to my love of the season. EMichels already posted about our mini-escape to the mountains. I highly recommend the occasional getaway for maintaining sanity. But below are a few simple frivolities that put a smile on my face during a time I was constantly grinding my teeth:

  1. Halloween in our new home.

halloween

Halloween has been my jam since I was in high school, but having a lovely new house in a kid-friendly, Halloween-obsessed neighborhood MADE my October. Seriously, y’all. Much monies were spent on the yards in my neighborhood. Inflatable dragons, anima-tronic ghouls and goblins, entire grave yard scenes, neighbors sending secret “Boo!” gifts to your door step, and hosting cookouts and parties. Even my child was like, “Mommy, we moved to the right place!” We totally did. This year was the best Halloween ever!

  1. Wornontv.net

arias-tiger-dress-blazer

Ever watched a TV show and some episode pops up with your favorite character wearing a t-shirt or dress that makes you think, I need that on my body!  I’ve seen a lot of cute stuff on the small screen, but figured that was Hollywood. Normal people can’t own anything like that. Wrong!  With Worn On TV you can pull up almost any TV show and find the item or ensemble you covet. I found that tiger graphic skater dress and the funky necklace that Aria was wearing on Pretty Little Liars.  And plenty of shows buy from ModCloth, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Anthropologie, Aeropostale, even Target – so regular people can afford the adorable plaid leggings and studded sweater that Spencer wore when <spoiler>. Please, can we take a moment for these plaid leggings? Are they not perfect for this winter? I shall have!

spencers-plaid-pants-studded-sweater1

One caveat though. If you love something from a long ago season, chances are good it’s no longer available.

Finally…

  1. Pretty Little Liars

pll1

As is evident from the previous item on my list, I’ve discovered this bit of television crack and I. Cannot. Quit. 6 Seasons await you on Netflix, with the final season starting in April 2017. Half teen soap opera, half Hitchcockian ode to Mean Girls everywhere, Pretty Little Liars follows 4 high school besties after their queen bee is murdered. Someone is threatening them, and threatening to expose their every lie, secret, and bad deed. In Rosewood, PA, every thing is pretty, except all the murder. Nefarious characters lurk around every corner, creepy dolls abound, sanitariums have a waiting list, and killer Halloween episodes rock each season. Oh, and sometimes the girls go to school and have real people problems. It’s engaging and addictive, but not something that will keep you up at night, emotionally overwrought from the brutality. (I’m looking at you, The Walking Dead!) So that’s my awesome finds this autumn. Here’s to an easier November! I won’t see you again this year, so I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!

Kisses -M 😉

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

This rotation, we’re supposed to blog about easy meals for the writer on deadline. But it’s Autumn!!! I want to write about pumpkins. PUMPKIIIIIIIIIIIINS!!!

pumpkins

This is the one time of year I love to bake because it’s time for pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!!!

I’m trying out a few dessert recipes this year, in order to decide on Thanksgiving’s after dinner treat and for our neighborhood Halloween block party. The other day I modified a recipe from Pinterest and made Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars. Oh. My. Pumpkin. They’re so good!!! Here’s the simplest recipe ever, go forth and share the Pumpkin spirit throughout the land.

McGovy’s Pumpkinnnnmmmmmmmm Bars

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Dough

1 can pumpkin puree

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 8oz pkg of cream cheese

6 Tbsp of sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

Lightly spray a 9 x 13′ baking dish with cooking spray, and roll out one can of crescent dough. In a mixing bowl, blend together your pumpkin, cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Evenly spread this delicious mixture across the dough. Unroll the other can of dough and place on top. Melt your butter and stir in 1/2 a cup of sugar and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Drizzle this all over the top of the crescent dough, then sprinkle brown sugar over that, to taste. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until top layer of dough is done. Remove from oven and WAIT. This is the hardest part of the recipe. Let the dish cool a bit or you’ll have a hot mess when you try to slice and serve.

pumpkin-pic-2

My coworkers preferred their bars cold. I like mine hot, with a cup of coffee. How you devour your Pumpkinnnnmmmm Bars is totally up to you.

Enjoy!

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How To Conference

I learned so much at this year’s RWA Conference, met a ton of people, and had more fun than I can chronicle in one blog post. However, one thing stood out to me, more so than at any writer conference before: We all conference in our own unique way. (Yes, I’m using conference as a verb here. Just roll with it.)

First, a blanket statement: There is no wrong way to conference, and how you conference will change from year to year, evolving with your career and personal life. It goes without saying you need to be polite and use your manners. I’m not talking about basic human civility, I’m talking about how you participate and manage your time at a writer conference. There’s no right or wrong way, there are only different ways – and the differences are beautiful.

Bad Girlz do San Diego!

Bad Girlz do San Diego!

You have the writers who treat the conference as roughly 80% a learning event, 10% networking, and 10% social. They attend as many workshops and presentations as they can pack into their schedule. They will walk away from a conference with a notebook full of notes, a hand full of business cards, and a brain bursting with knowledge.

There are the writers who attend conference primarily for professional networking. A national conference in particular is perfect for meeting with their editor(s), agent, the online chapter they rarely see face to face, that author they’ve been meaning to connect with about collaborative promo. These writers might attend a workshop or three, but mostly they’re there for meetings and planning.

There are also the writers who go to conference to connect. By connect I mean not only the professional networking with editors, bloggers, etc., but also social connection. All year they write in their bat caves, and this is the one time of year they are in the same room with dozens of like-minded individuals. They are energized by simply being around other writers, soaking up all the creativity and romance-positivity. You can find these writers in the bar, at the coffee shop, by the pool (if it’s San Diego) talking to EVERYONE. They don’t meet a stranger, if the person has on a conference badge.

Taking a break and socializing on the veraaandaaah.

Taking a break and socializing on the veraaandaaah.

Then, there are those writers who split the difference right down the middle. That’s where I fall. I like to walk away from every conference having attended at least one workshop that teaches me something new, or gives me a fresh perspective. I’ll take it even further and say, I prefer to walk out of every workshop with at least one nugget of wisdom. This year? SUCCESS! Every workshop taught me something or reminded me of a forgotten fact. I don’t feel like I’ve conferenced right if I don’t learn a little something along the way, but that’s just me.

I also go to network. I’m that weirdo who loves to network, but only when it’s about writing. I want to meet people and put faces with names, learn who’s who, build some kind of Romancelandia yearbook in my brain, so I’m not wandering the halls, clueless about who heads up what blog and which editor took over what line. The thing that really gets me excited about a conference though? Connecting. I love to socialize with writers. I don’t even care if I’m talking. I can sit by the pool and listen to other writers discuss their pitfalls and triumphs and I’m happy. I live in a world of money and numbers. Nobody is talking about character arcs and resolution. Absolutely NO ONE discusses hero inspiration or sex scenes, and whether or not the F word is okay for steamy contemporary, but not small town. I don’t get to have these conversations with anyone else except writers! So bring on the connecting! In the bar, at the sandwich shop, in the elevator, getting lost trying to find Salty’s restaurant. Wherever. Writer talk. Gimme!

Me at the Kensington signing, dorkin' with my book covers. Shiny!

Me at the Kensington signing, dorkin’ with my book covers. Shiny!

How do you conference? How do your friends conference? By the way, none of the Bad Girlz conference the same way. We cover the spectrum, and I think it’s awesome! 😀

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