Wednesday, March 7, 2012

TBR welcomes Cate Masters

The Art of Balance and Flow

I feel a little strange appearing on TBR. I began this blog with the intent of featuring other authors, and I'm thrilled it's taken off the way it has. I hope you're joining in the Blurb Fests and visiting the amazing authors. And thanks to everyone who's following! You guys are great.

I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to join the party, too. So here I am to talk about one of my greatest challenges as an author: balance. On all its crazy levels - balance between life and writing, and even within the story writing process itself.

As you might guess, my life suffers from a lack of balance. Life has intervened heavily this year, and it's been a battle to retain my writing time. Did I further upset the balance by launching TBR? Well, maybe. :) But I love helping other authors, and getting to know them better. I hope you do, too.

Writing is my passion and first love. If you could peek inside my head, you'd know why I have to write. I have dozens of stories inside my brain, from the tiny spark of a new one to others that have gained more details and the characters have grown more complex... well, those just have to come out, or my head would explode. Okay, not literally, but it's definitely distracting. And I've found one key to maintaining some peace in my "real" life is to allow my writing life to flow as it needs to, otherwise I'd be constantly distracted with what some character's doing in my head, possibly while driving, and that could end up an ugly mess!

So what's the key to balancing your life with your writing? Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way:

1. Schedule your social media time. If there's one thing that will trip me up, it's this. I love visiting other authors' blogs, love reading on the loops about new releases and great reviews, but find it completely overwhelming sometimes. I read one author's trick to this: he allows only ten minutes every hour for all social media, and then gets back to writing. I'm not quite that organized, but I'm working on it. :)

2. Speaking of organization... It's another important agenda item, if you want to keep your writing flowing. It's actually several items.

   - I organize everything within folders on my computer by story so I can easily grab it when needed. 

   - I keep spreadsheets to track:  Releases, Review Requests, Submissions and WIPs. More spreadsheets to track TBR items.

    - Because I tend to have several stories in various stages of completion, I can sometimes forget what a character looked like when I began writing the story. So I created what I call Spec Sheets. Just like an architect keeps specs, I keep them for each story:

           * Heroine - what she looks like, who I imagined as this character, her background, her family, any important detail relevant to the story line
            * Hero - same as above
            * Secondary characters, the same but usually with less detail
            * Setting details
            * Blurb and excerpt
            * Link to book video, both direct link and embed code (after publication)
            * Link to promo page on my site for this book (after publication)

Sounds like I'm highly organized, doesn't it? Well, don't peek into my office. I may be digitally organized, but reality's another story!

Which seems a perfect segue for the stories I'd like to share. :) I'm thrilled that Decadent Publishing has released two of my short stories for their fantastic 1NS series, plus contracted my dark paranormals, Dead to Rights and Death Is A Bitch. BookStrand will release my Western historical, A Midwest Summer Night's Dream, in April, and Dancing with the Devil, Book Two of The Goddess Connection, will release in late March.

Busy year? Yep, I could use some more tips for balancing.

Other than stopping to breathe once in awhile, what are you tips for maintaining balance? 

Thanks again for your support!

Feb. 10, 2012
Decadent Publishing's 1NS Series
Some days, it’s best to lay low. Lance Knight finds out the hard way – when he encounters his longtime foe, witch Morgan le Fay, at Medieval Merriment. Her curse kept him wandering the world for centuries. When he also meets Gwyn McCartney there through a 1NS date, he’s struck by her resemblance to his true love, Guinevere.  It gives him hope for the first time in centuries. First, he must face Morgan to break the curse, and he has only one hope: his sword, forged in the fires with Excalibur and imbued with magical powers by Merlin.
Gwyn McCartney’s had it with dating. Her friend’s setup through 1NS with Lance Knight irritates her, especially when Lance acts bored at Medieval Merriment – her employer and greatest fantasy. When a wench threatens Lance – a witch, he says – her fantasy world seems all too real. After Lance kisses her, she knows she has to battle Morgan le Fay. Can she free him, or will she lose him forever to the witch’s curse?

Tonight You Belong to Me
Feb. 24, 2012
Decadent Publishing's 1NS Series
Danny O’Malley’s screwed. After he and the love of his life, Jillian, moved to Las Vegas hoping to find their big break in show business, she’d tossed him out, thinking he’d cheated. Now he’s in deep with a loan shark to pay for a 1Night Stand—a date he believes is his last chance to win her heart again.
Jillian Jones wants to see Sin City—in her rearview mirror. Agreeing to a blind 1Night Stand date on her last night in Las Vegas as a favor to a friend, she discovers her match is Danny. When he plays their song, Tonight You Belong to Me, she melts. But when two thugs break in demanding money, she finds she might go out with a bang in an unexpected way. Can she save him, and their relationship?

Dead to Rights
March 16, 2012
Decadent Publishing
Identity theft sucks. But it’s worse when someone steals your life -- body included. All memory of her life before waking up in a mental facility has vanished. Or was erased. Now she has to figure out how to get it all back.
Her only hope of learning the truth lies with one man. Problem is, he’s the leader of a cult. Her only choice is to follow him into his sordid world, where a darker evil lurks.
With a little help from an archangel hellbent on revenge, she might have a chance to learn the truth. But it will force her to make the hardest decision of her life – or death.

Death Is A Bitch
Spring 2012
Decadent Publishing
Some say Death’s a bitch. But only when she needs to be. Instead of a villainess, she’d love to be seen as a kickass heroine, with cool tools of her trade hidden in her silver charm bracelet.
Shedding the Grim Reaper rep would improve existence too. Not likely with Damien the daemon lurking, waiting to pounce on any poor soul seeking another chance.
As the patron angel of death and dying, Azrael’s close work with Death makes him yearn for true intimacy. She’s the only immortal who’s ever riled such powerful emotions in him. When he finally gets the chance, one taste of her leaves him needing her like humans need air and food.
After centuries of hoping Death would wake up and see him for the prize he truly is, Damien the daemon tires of waiting. If he can’t get her attention, then Damien will make sure Azrael can’t either. Using Sisyphus as bait, Damien traps Death in her own charm bracelet, the only tool of her trade she uses. Downside, he now has to run. Upside, thanks to his plan, she doubts Azrael, the undeserving putz. Another plus, he leaves a trail of sexually sated females. None of them Death, and Damien won’t be satisfied until he has her – one way or another.

Dancing with the Devil
March 30, 2012

Lily MacInnis has the luck of the Irish – against her. All her life, she never could catch a break. But now, something’s about to catch her, and dump her suitcase of secrets on the floor. Some secrets, even Lily hadn’t known. Like her father’s an angel, and her mother escaped from Hell. Literally. And now her family wants her to return to the Underworld.

Lily is The Destined One, promised to Zeveriah, Archduke of Section Six, and Hades’ up and coming CFO.

The Ruling Angel of the Sixth Heaven, Bodie can’t let Lily fulfill that destiny. Some promises were made to be broken. But will Bodie risk losing everything to keep his promise to ensure Lily stays safe?

A Midwest Summer Night's Dream
April 2012

Open sky, Shakespeare, solitude. All Jebediah Greene needs. Alone since his teens, he’s never known loneliness, until he leaves Winona Young in California. Worse, he fears she’ll trap herself in a loveless marriage of convenience. After acting as her guide to San Francisco, how far will Jeb go to win her heart?
Reading provides escape for Winona Young. Usually. Fleeing Philadelphia, she learns her distant suitor isn’t who he seemed. Neither is her mountain man guide, in a good way. Intelligent, but mule-headed, Jeb’s impossible to speak to, in any language. Winona falls in love with the stunning beauty of the wilderness, with the simple ways of the Osage people, and with Jeb. But books can’t teach her how to tame a mountain man.



  1. Welcome to your blog! LOL.

    Balance is probably the hardest part of any career. But I was reminded by a comment someone left on my blog the other day about peer pressure in the writing community.

    It's debilitating to feel you have to join every social network, comment on every post, or participate in every blog fad.

    All the networking in the world won't help if you don't concentrate on your craft first.

    Congrats on your new releases, and congrats on TBR. You're a terrific role model!

  2. Thanks much, Maria. I have had to cut back on visiting blogs and social networking lately, and I miss it. I always feel like I'm about a year behind on everything!
    Thanks, too, for your kind words. :)

  3. And I always forget to sign my name, but yep - I'm TBR!

  4. Social networking is sucking away my writing time, so I do have to begin balancing that. I've been promising myself I'll do it very soon and haven't - but I will. Nice to see you on TBR Cate:)

  5. I know how you feel, Marta. I love keeping up with other authors. I wish I were more disciplined about it.
    Thanks! :)

  6. I recently read a really great book on social media that helped me a lot, yes, even with balance. Kristen Lamb actually has two books out and an update on the older one coming. We Are Not Alone is the older one and then one on blogging. Both GREAT! It is so easy to spend hours reading and commenting on blogs, etc.

    When it comes to my real life, then it gets harder. Hoping that using Lamb's techniques will enable me to keep things going when real life gets dicey (which it does way too often!)

    Great blog and nice typing to you, Cate! Many thanks for doing this for all of us!

  7. Three cheers for the book releases!

    I have to say, one of the things I've started doing to balance my time more is setting aside one to two days where I don't engage in social media interaction on a heavy scale.

    I would like to do what Ali Cross has been experimenting with, taking one whole day where the computer remains off, interacting with family and focusing on reading, mentail and spritual enhancement. Not quite there yet, but working on it.

  8. Great post Cate! It certainly is hard to find balance and I know I haven't mastered it...yet. I have several ideas and I start out each day by telling myself I won't get stuck in social media (which I love love love) or that I won't get distracted by the phone, household chores and other things that can suck up writing time. But I do. I'm surprised I've managed to write as much as I have sometimes. LOL

    Congrats on your have an awesome year ahead of you with tons of great releases! Very exciting!

  9. Thanks much Pauline! Kristen Lamb's is a blog I do try to hit at least once a week. She always has excellent advice for writers. I'll have to check out her books, thanks.

    A day with the computer off, Angela? That would be the greatest challenge of all! But yes, interacting with family deserves equal time. Wonderful advice.

    Aw thanks, Christine. I know, it's a problem most writers experience. I try not to whine too much, lol. But I do feel like I'm at least a year behind! Thanks for your kind words, too. Much appreciated!

    Cate (remembered to sign it this time)

  10. Hey, you started this blog - only right you should be on here as well.
    I can't wait until I can schedule my online time to a normal proportion again...

  11. I can't even imagine how you manage to do all you do, Alex. I am in awe.

  12. I don't know how you keep up with everything. I've tried the 10 minutes for social media per hour thing and it kind of works for me on weekends.
    Congrats on the great things rolling out for you over the next two months.

  13. Thanks Susan! It seems like it's feast or famine! :)


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