May 06

Wednesday Randomness: A few of my favorite things – beauty products

Today’s Wednesday Randomness is about our favorite beauty products. I’m not really picky when it comes to my makeup. I mostly shop at Kroger or CVS when it comes to makeup (something my hairdresser neighbor cries over) and I tend to just grab whatever’s on sale for my hair.

I am never without at least one tube of Maybelline 14 hour Timeless Crimson lipstick. I actually have four tubes, since I have a knack for losing lipstick and this is my trademark color. If I’m not feeling well or just don’t feel like putting makeup on, people at work ask me if I’m not feeling well. It should upset me, but I get so many compliments on how awesome it looks that I’m okay with people wondering where it is when I forget it.

I stick to Revlon Color Stay black eyeliner (NOT brown!) and Full & Soft mascara (it doesn’t clump as much as it doesn’t make my lashes as stiff). I’ve changed mascaras a few times, but I always come back. I’m a creature of habit, apparently.

The only other thing I’m known for is my signature scent – Amazing Grace by Philosophy. One of the speech therapists actually seeks me out just to smell me. Her nickname for me is “Delicious” because I smell delicious. My nickname for her is “Awesome” because she’s one of the best speech therapists I’ve ever seen. Amazing Grace is a soft scent that isn’t overwhelming and I can wear it around even my most sensitive patients, but it smells good enough that I’ve had several people walk by me and ask what I’m wearing. Win/win.

I’m not that much of a girly girl. I wear ivory foundation and powder (whatever’s on sale – as long as it’s ivory. Anything else is too dark), black eyeliner and mascara. Crimson lipstick. Perfume. I put my hair in a ponytail every single day so that a) I don’t overheat while I’m running around doing portable xrays and b) patients can’t yank it out of my head. I’m simple.

Want to see what my blogging sisters have chosen? Click the links below!

Gwendolyn || Bronwyn || Jess || Jessica || Kellie || Jenny

May 06

Cover reveal: Lost Treasure

The fabulous Kris Norris made me the most beautiful cover in the world for my newest book, Lost Treasure. I can’t stop staring at it!

lost treasure

May 04

Movie playlist for Lost Treasure

Normally while writing a book, I’ll have music playing in the background. I make playlists for everything I write or do. But while writing Lost Treasure, I couldn’t find music that inspired me. Instead, I had several movies on heavy rotation. In no particular order, here is my movie playlist for Lost Treasure:

I don’t normally watch TV while writing because it’s such a distraction (especially my favorites, several of which are on this list) but watching all the treasure hunting (or in the case of Labyrinth, David Bowie shaking his ass – my hero is named after Bowie’s character in Labyrinth).

Apr 29

Wednesday Randomness: Write What You Know… Agree? Disagree? Why?

 ”Write what you know.” It was the first bit of writing advice I got way back when. I don’t really remember how old I was. Probably around 7 or 8? That’s when I remember writing my first short stories (let’s face it – they were NKOTB fanfics before I knew what fanfics were), and I can remember one of my English teachers telling me that the best way to come up with a great story it to write what I know.

So far, I’ve mostly stuck with that line of thinking. In Second Chance at Love, I wrote about a wrestler and a reporter. I was obsessed with wrestling from high school until… about 7 years ago, when I first started dating Mr Prince (who hates wrestling). I may not have had insider knowledge, but I did read several of their biographies, watch every episode, attend several shows… I even took my little brother to Wrestlemania when it was in Houston. As for the reporter part – I studied journalism in high school. I wanted to be a reporter one day, but decided that the medical field was far more interesting (and lucrative, since I didn’t plan to pursue broadcast journalism).

That Was Then, This is Now is about a couple in the military. I was in the Navy for 6 years, so this is the very definition of writing what I know.

Now, my newest book (releasing soon!) is called Lost Treasure, and it’s a step waaaaaay out of my comfort zone. It was originally supposed to be part of the Bad Boy Next Door boxset, but it unfortunately never made it to release day. So, I’m expanding on the story to full novel length so I can print it up and have something beautiful (and signable!) in hand when I attend the Austin Author Affair May 22-24. This book is about treasure hunters and Egyptology. While I wanted to be an Egyptologist when I was younger, I never quite made it to the college portion of that dream, opting for something safer (financially) and closer to home. However, this book was loads of fun to research. I spent hours scouring the internet for all the information I could get on locations I’d never been to and jobs I’ve only dreamed of having.

So… write what you know? I’m on the fence about it.

Want to see what my blog sisters wrote about? Click the links below!

Jess || Bronwyn || Jessica || Gwen || Kris || Kellie

 

Apr 22

Wednesday Randomness: “I Spend too Much Time…”

On today’s Wednesday Randomness, we’re talking about things we spend too much time doing. As a self professed obsessive compulsive person with ADD, I spend a little too much time doing everything except what I’m supposed to be doing.

I love music, and I can’t write without it. So, I can spend hours creating and perfecting my playlists on Spotify and Amazon Prime. I post my playlists for each book and WIP (something else to procrastinate on instead of actually writing my books or clean the house). One example can be found on the page for Second Chance at Love, my debut novella.

I love to sing, too. I come from a large family of musicians who all play instruments. I’m kind of the black sheep of the family since I only sing, but I love to sing. Occasionally I post covers on YouTube because I don’t do original music (I may be a writer, but I definitely don’t write music).

WORK! I spend too much time working — and I don’t mean writing. Yeah, it pays the bills and ensures that my family eats, blah blah blah. But it takes up too much quality writing/editing time! So it’s going on the list. Boom.

I definitely spend too much time on Facebook. Way, way, way too much time on Facebook. I check it when I wake up. As soon as I get to work. While I’m at work (despite not really being allowed to have my phone on me at work). Before I leave work. When I get to my mom’s to pick Monkey up. When I get to my house. While I’m supposed to be writing/cooking/cleaning/reading/sleeping. It’s how I stay connected to my friends and family. How I learn what’s going on in my industry (other than reading blogs). How I get cheered up (who doesn’t love cute cat videos or goofy quizzes?) And I definitely use the hell out of the FB chat feature to stay connected to the owner of the publisher I edit for and both of my crit partners.

READING! I listen to audiobooks. I buy print books. I buy eBooks. And I read them allllllllll. I’m a woman obsessed. There’s a picture floating around the internet somewhere of me in bed still wearing my glasses clutching my iPad with my Kindle app still blazing. It happened during my first con, at AAD NOLA and my friend Meredith took the picture the first night we were there. I got my revenge the next night by taking the exact same picture of her, because we’re basically the same person except she’s a little taller and her hair is curlier than mine. Also, she’s Meredith and I’m Paige, but we’re both insane book worms. Because books are our great escape. Books make me happy. I can go anywhere. I can be anything. I can sail a boat or be a trapeze artist or fly an airplane… books are a window to all the dreams we’re afraid to admit to having.

Television. I spent a lot of time watching TV. The Vampire Diaries. The Originals. Grey’s Anatomy. Castle. Forever. Master Chef. Master Chef Jr. Hell’s Kitchen. Bones. Criminal Minds. Agents of SHIELD. Once Upon a Time. NCIS. I record everything on my DVR and watch it later so that I can fast forward through commercials. Like my books, I love getting lost in the fictional worlds created for me by the writers (although I don’t get as lost in TV as I do in books). I even went with my writing partner to the Vampire Diaries convention here in Houston last March. I got to meet most of the actors on TVD and The Originals and it was like heaven on earth. I’m still flying high because of the experience. Not to mention the fact that it inspired a book (that I haven’t written yet – but I will soon!)

Want to see what my blogging sisters spend too much time on? Click the links below!

Jess

Kris

Kayleigh

Jessica

Kellie

Gwen

Apr 08

Wednesday Randomness: Letter to an Inanimate Object

Dear Vampire Diaries,

Bronwyn Green told me that it’s perfectly okay for me to write this letter to you, since you are a TV show comprised of living actors playing parts but I’m not writing to them (though I probably should). I’m writing to the show as a whole.

Almost six years ago, we were introduced to Stefan, Elena, Damon, and the little vampire-filled town called Mystic Falls. Since then, we’ve had to deal with various Big Bads and random “WTH is going on” situations – Original vampires, insane witches, doppelgangers, magic rings, werewolves, sire bonds based on gratitude, sire bonds based on “feelings,” Rippers, Hunters, shady college professors, Travelers, hottie sociopaths who get feelings after merging with his little brother, ghosts, vampires who come back from the dead… And this is all off the top of my head (with my crappy memory).

I’ve recently started a Great Rewatch of the entire series and I’ll admit that I’m obsessed. I watch when I wake up before I go to work, I watch when I get home, I watch when I should be sleeping (like now). The storytelling is, for the most part, hit or miss. In the first few seasons I enjoyed it very much. I stuck with the show even when things got a little out there for me, because… well… Alaric Saltzman.

Matt Davis as Alaric Saltzman

He originally showed up on TVD as a history teacher, which made my little nerd heart jump for joy. I took far too many history classes in college just because I enjoyed them. So, for Ric to show up and make history interesting to the kids at Mystic Falls High, I immediately fell in love with him. And he’s also a vampire hunter. A scruffy, tall, HOT history teacher/vampire hunter.

Wrap him up, I’ll take him home.

When he started going down the path to evil in season 3, I was a little heartbroken. But Matt Davis pulled it off so effortlessly – just a change of his facial expression and you knew that something was wrong with the Ric we’d come to know and love.

I got the chance to meet Matt at the TVD convention here in Houston this year. He was adorable and funny at his Q&A panel, securing my heart forever when he revealed how much he loves to read. At both photo ops (yeah, I ended up with two pictures with him — wouldn’t you?) he was so sweet and smiled at me like he was genuinely happy to see me.

This is supposed to be a love letter to TVD, but it’s leaning more towards a letter to Matt. Oops.

The show’s many characters and (sometimes insane) storylines provide for such a rich playground for a writer’s mind to play. I started out writing fanfic, so sometimes my mind still heads in that direction – especially when someone like Matt Davis is on screen steaming up my glasses.

I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was 7 years old and have never successfully written a vampire story. Every time I try, it’s usually too cheesy or makes no damn sense. I know it’s not entirely because of TVD -I’ve always loved vampires and werewolves- but after spending so many years watching the show and discussing with Elise how things could’ve been different or how we think the writers of the show are on crack.

Recently, I had an idea pop into my head for a vampire rom com. And with Monday’s picture prompt turning into a vampire story (that is super close to my friend Bronwyn Green’s prompt and now has me wanting to write with her even more), that just shows me that I really need to take my love of vampire tv/movies/books and write my own.

So, thank you TVD. Thank you for your characters, your storylines, and your ability to piss me off/make me sob like an infant/make me fall in love with a character. Because of you, I’m expanding my writing horizons.

And having some really awesome dreams.

Love,

Paige

Want to read everyone else’s letters? Click the names below.

Jess

Bronwyn

Jessica

Kris

Kellie

Gwen

Apr 06

April’s photo writing prompt

04-2015- CoupleNight

 

I stop again to make sure I haven’t been followed. As nonchalantly as I can in the middle of a forest, I stoop to tie my still laced shoes and look around. The moonlight isn’t necessary for me to see, but it provides some lovely mood lighting.

Closing my eyes before I stand again, I listen to the night sounds. Somewhere nearby, an owl hoots his displeasure at the intrusion into his territory. A possum skitters across the path in search of food dropped by a careless hiker. A few miles away, there are still one or two cars on the road. Probably people coming home from the night shift, on the way to a cold beer, a hot bed, and the oblivion of sleep.

The hair on the back of my neck rises, and I’m afraid I’ve waited too long. Stepping off the well-worn trail, I make my way deeper into the woods. The clearing is just ahead, and I can see that he’s already there. Waiting for me.

His tall frame is silhouetted in the light that shines through the trees, but I can see his beautiful face well enough. Not that I’d need light to know what he looks like. I could pick him out of the New Year’s Eve crowd in Times Square.

His sandy blond hair is disheveled – probably from running his hands through it over and over again – and he’s unshaven. I can already imagine how his scruffy cheeks will feel against me and a shiver runs involuntarily down my spine.

Two hundred years ago, I might have been afraid to look silly by running to him. Jumping in his arms. Covering his face with my kisses. But time has a way of making you realize that love is far more important than looking cool, and we have spent too much of it apart.

As I come closer I can see his eyes light up. His arms spread wide, inviting me to throw myself into them and I do so without abandon. He’s powerful enough that I won’t knock him over with my speed or crush him with my strength and I wonder how I ever thought he could’ve remained human before he takes my lips with his in a soul-searing kiss.

My fingers tangle in his hair as his arms wrap around me, pulling my body against his. I lose myself in his touch, needing nothing more than to just be with him. But our time is short, and being out on a full moon is never advisable for those of our kind.

Tonight, we make our escape and we embrace our destinies. My sire will be less than pleased, but as long as I’m with Ric, I don’t care about the consequences. My time with him will be worth it.

 

Want to see what everyone else came up with? Click the names below.

Jess || Jessica || Kris || Bronwyn || Kayleigh ||Gwen

 

Apr 02

Falling down the rabbit hole

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After attending the Vampire Diaries convention recently, I’ve become re-obsessed with the show. I’m re-watching on Netflix while I’m stuck at home on medical leave. I’m on Season 1 Episode 5 and seriously thinking of doing a rewatch on the blog kind of like Jenny Trout does with Buffy or Merlin. Not to copy her, because no one could possibly copy the awesome that is Jenny Trout, but because I’m currently so obsessed with this show that I can’t not talk about it. What better forum than my blog, which needs regular content anyway?

Yup, it’s gonna happen.

Soon.

Right after I finish this episode.

Apr 01

Wednesday Randomness: My Favorite Things – Seasons

I don’t know if we’re supposed to choose something about each season that we love, but I’m sticking with autumn since I rarely get a chance to experience it. Sure, heading to the beach is nice, but Texas is freaking hot and I can’t deal with three digit temps. Sweating and me? Nope. We don’t get along at all.

Spring is nice, though still slightly too warm here in Texas. Like I said – it’s basically always summer here. It tends to still be in the 80s even in November/December sometimes, which is freaking insane.

Winter is a joke here in Texas. We occasionally get snow here in Houston, though it’s extremely rare. The last time I remember getting snow was a few years ago. I do remember the first year I moved back after getting out of the Navy (2008), there was actually enough snow on the ground to build a snowman. I took Monkey outside to have a snow fight and make snow angels. Then we came inside for hot cocoa and Mr. Prince took us out for chili. The following week it was back up to the 70s. That’s Texas for you.

For someone who lives in Texas and really only has three seasons (almost summer, summer, and still fucking summer), I really love when we actually have what could pass as autumn. You know – temps ranging in the low 40s to 60s, slightly breezy, not incredibly humid and making you want to swim through the damn air when you take a walk. My idea of a perfect day? Sitting on the porch wearing a sweatshirt and fuzzy socks with a mug of hot tea (or cocoa) and a really awesome book. Or several awesome books, knowing me. Seriously, that’s my idea of the best day ever.

I can’t wait to see what my fellow blogging sisters have come up with. Click the names below to see their favorite things, seasons style.

Gwen

Bronwyn

Jessica

Jess

Kris

Mar 31

Conventions and book numbers

Photo Mar 20, 2 21 22 PM

TVD Houston 2015

So, I went to The Vampire Diaries Convention in Houston with my writing partner Elise Hepner March 22-24. And it was, in a word, EPIC. We made new friends. We met the stars of TVD and The Originals. MATTHEW DAVIS KISSED ME ON THE CHEEK (oh yes, that happened). We got signatures and I asked the same question over and over at every single Q&A.

*sound of tires screeching* Whaaaat? I asked the same question at every panel?

Yup. I certainly did.

“Hi, my name is Paige. Now, this is a very important question to me because I’m an author and an editor…” *pause for effect* “What’s your favorite book?”

Most said “Catcher in the Rye” almost immediately. Elise recorded almost everyone’s responses for me (she missed Sebastian Roche’s response, and he had his arm around me the entire time, so I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever really forgive her for that because Sebastian Roche was holding me and she didn’t record it!) and we’ll eventually get those on YouTube. I got a LOT of video while we were there… even though we weren’t supposed to be recording audio or video.

Photo Mar 21, 10 15 38 AM

Sebastian Roche

I absolutely loved it when the actors were stumped. They’d take a minute or two to think and then start naming these huge long lists of books that had touched them in one way or another. Micah Parker was the first to start listing several books, which made my little book nerd heart jump for joy. Sebastian Roche was quoting Shakespeare before I even asked my question, so I knew he’d give me a lovely list (and he didn’t disappoint!)

Steven R McQueen asked me if comic books count, to which I replied “Absolutely!” (because they 100% count – I used to read X-Men and Spiderman with my twin religiously when we were growing up). Then he said his favorite book was The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, which I have to say kind of surprised me. Following his Instagram, I got the impression that he’s kind of like a frat boy – he likes to work out and party a lot. But at his Q&A, he showed that there’s so much more to him than what’s on the surface. Just goes to show that you should never judge a book by it’s cover. He also turned the spotlight on me and asked (as I was already making my way back to my seat) what my favorite book was. Since I was halfway in the row, I mumbled “Oh, shit” and Steven said “Oh, I’ve read that one! I think it’s called ‘Everybody Poops’.” I nearly died, I can’t lie. I told him that my favorite book is  BROKEN by Megan Hart. He seemed intrigued when I told him. Maybe I’ll send him a copy.

Photo Mar 21, 3 06 34 PM

Todd Stashwick

Todd Stashwick was a bit of a huge surprise… kind of. I loved him as Father Kieran on The Originals, but I’ve also loved him on pretty much anything else I’ve ever seen him on. And when I showed my mother my photo op with him, she freaked out because she freaking LOVES HIM. Her favorite episode of Criminal Minds ever is if the one he appeared in. When he noticed my knee brace and the fact that I was limping (I had to wear it outside my jeans since it was chafing my leg the day before), he asked me what happened. When I told him that I’m a disabled vet, he thanked me again and again for my service, even remembering me when I went for my photo op and thanking me again. He also told me a story about the key Father Kieran wore on The Originals, which was a storyline he thought up with one of the writers (because of the Tiffany key I was wearing at the convention).

The  80s Karaoke Party wasn’t actually all that 80s. We had Britney Spears, Blackstreet, Backstreet Boys, and Incubus thrown in for good measure, but it was an amazing time. Elise and I chose “I Love Rock N Roll” because we thought we were supposed to choose a song from the 80s and we happen to know all the words (and I can sing the shit out of that song). When I got on stage, Paul Telfer (whose photo op we missed because we were STARVING and that was the only chance we had to grab food, dammit) stood next to me and sang with me. Chris Brochu stood next to him and I’m pretty sure if I didn’t come from such a long line of musicians, I probably would’ve died right there on the spot. Also, thank you US Navy for teaching me the art of military bearing.

Photo Mar 20, 10 01 53 PM

Paul Telfer

Photo Mar 20, 10 02 02 PM

Chris Brochu

Chris Wood, who plays Kai, was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the convention. He’s not only gorgeous, but he’s freaking hilarious. He wrote a poem for Chris Brochu, who played his brother Luke on the show (who he killed by merging with him – but it’s okay because now sociopath Kai has feelings and he’s on his way to becoming a good guy… sort of).

And he sings!! Someone asked him to sing something from what I assume is a play (I couldn’t hear her very well) and after a moment of being shy, he stood and started singing and I nearly fell over. SO AMAZING. Click the link below to hear him in all his glory (it’s about 10 seconds).

chris wood sings

Shaun Sipos (who played Aaron Whitmore) and David Alpay (who played Professor Shane/Silas) were last minute additions since Michael Trevino couldn’t make it due to his shooting schedule. They were adorable and interesting and I’m pretty sure I fell in love with them both. Sadly, I can’t find my pictures of them on stage (I had to keep uploading all my pictures to Dropbox since my phone kept running out of space) but now all my photos and videos are all over the freaking place. I’m going to have to get an iPhone 6 for next time with more storage than this one because I refuse to continually delete apps that I use to be able to take pictures. I’m a picture whore. I take THOUSANDS of them. I shouldn’t have to delete or dump every five seconds! *angry face* I do, however, have David playing the violin for us, which was EPIC.

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Matt Davis kissed me.

Matthew Davis was one of the big reasons I came to the convention. I’ve loved him since Urban Legends: Final Cut (which I now want to watch again, for nostalgia’s sake) but after his Q&A and meeting him, I love him so much more. He’s hilarious on Tumblr and Twitter, but so much moreso in real life. He’s a bit shy (from what I’ve read, he has pretty severe social anxiety) so he didn’t do much when it came to the Saturday concert, but that’s okay. He showed his gorgeous face and made the fans happy. And when I wasn’t happy with how my first photo op came out, I went back for another. I asked for a kiss on the cheek and he just went for it. Wrapped his arms around me, closed his eyes, and kissed me on the cheek. It actually kind of looks like a romance novel cover. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d totally use it on my next book.

Much like Ian Somerhalder (Damon!) is Elise’s muse, Matthew Davis is my inspiration for all my heroes in every book I write from here on out. This man seriously has taken over every single idea (okay, fantasy) I’ve had since the convention.

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Zach & Malarkey

Michael Malarkey and Zach Roerig shared a Q&A and they were awesome. Malarkey (I can’t seem to call him Michael for some reason – maybe because Malarkey is so fun to say?) was hilarious and when they both started talking about their kids, that entire room of females MELTED. Myself, included. When I asked them the book question, I believe it was Malarkey who turned it around on me (I kind of blacked out at some point – having people that hot speak to me makes my brain shut down) and then asked me to tell him about the book. One of the guys Elise and I had made friends with kept saying “Sex!” so I flipped him off. I gave them a brief run down of the book and hopefully sold a few copies of BROKEN for Megan Hart. :)

Also, if you didn’t know that Michael Malarkey has a CD out, you should definitely go to iTunes and grab it because he’s got a crazy good voice.

IMG_1285What is Your Favorite Book, Zach and Michael style

Posted by Elise Hepner on Monday, March 23, 2015

The final day of the convention was “Ian day,” which meant that Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder were opening and closing the day for us, which was awesome. They’re hilarious and act like they really are brothers. They joked about loving each other in that way (which, let’s be honest, inspired several slashy fics in my mind), talked about going on a picnic together and riding bikes (they took their women with them but neglected to mention that at first). I took a ton of video, which I will eventually upload to my YouTube channel.

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Ian & Paul

Meeting the guys was wonderful, though I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t because Ian and Damon are so drastically different from their characters and that kind of messes with the fantasy, But Ian is such a genuinely nice guy that it was an honor to meet and talk with him.

Honestly, I was so dumbstuck when I met Paul that I wasn’t sure what to say. I tried to be nice, but I was so exhausted and unsure of anything at that point that I basically asked him the same thing he’d been asked a million times before. Yawn. Next time (and there will be a next time because I’m definitely going again!) I’ll make sure to be more interesting.

I wrote this blog post to share about what an awesome time the TVD convention was, but to also talk about networking. I didn’t introduce myself by my real name. I handed out my Paige cards. Because of my favorite book question, I had several people approach me outside of the panels to talk to me about books or publishing. One of the vendors spoke to me about an upcoming book convention I’m going to and the possibility of their attending as a vendor there.

I just received an email from Authorgraph saying that my little novella went from 1,071,594 to 506,041 in the rankings. That’s a huge jump and kind of a big deal for a novella that’s been out for 2 years and hasn’t had a lot of promo recently. So anyone who tells you that networking or going to conventions is a waste of time has no idea what they’re talking about. Network your ass off any chance you get. You never know who you’re giving your card or your pen (or whatever other kind of awesome swag you’ve got) to.

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