Posted in Books, Romance, Writing

My First and Last RT Booklovers Convention

Since it was just over the hill (if you can call the 7k foot summit of the Sierras a hill), I had to go to this year’s RT Booklovers Convention. It’s a fan-friendly book convention for Romance authors and readers. I haven’t attended in the past since it’s held in May. Anyone who works or has children in public schools knows that May is a crazy month.

I made it up a few days into the conference, driving up Thursday morning. Except for getting stopped for construction/tree removal, driving Highway 50 without traffic is fun. There were times when I had the whole road to myself, as opposed to a Sunday afternoon during ski season.

I ran into my friends from Sacramento Valley Rose chapter of RWA. Actually, I sought them out. Anna J. Stewart and Melinda Curtis write for Harlequin Heartwarming, so I stopped by the end of the Speed Dating with Harlequin Authors. I also met Heatherly Bell and Reese Ryan, both who felt like dear friends by the end of the conference.

And that’s the main thing about going to writer’s conferences, is the connections made with other writers. I finally got to meet Ida Louise Johnson, who I “met” on Twitter because we’re both huge San Francisco Giants fans. I met Jannine Gallant, a fellow Kensington author.

I reconnected with Rochelle French, Cyndi Faria, Virna De Paul, and Stacy Finz. I met Tess Thompson, Tamsen Schultz, Claire Marti, Jenni Marts and so many others.

I went to a workshop from Maisey Yates, and I swear, she could read my mind as to exactly what I needed to hear.

I took some photos, and I apologize to anyone who viewed the video of me dancing.

With Heatherly Bell.

Ida Louise Johnson and me sharing a love of Romance and #SFGiants.

Getting ready for the Giant Book Fair.

Hit the jackpot!

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Posted in Books, Romance

Great Minds Think Alike, At Least When It Comes To Titles

bookshelvesOver the weekend, Romancelandia was all atwitter (and to some extent, aFacebook) over the news that a certain author decided to Trademark the word “Cocky” and sent threatening letters to other authors who used the word in their book titles. It even has a hashtag #Cockygate. And it’s fascinating and frightening at the same time.

I found out that many of my books have the same or similar titles as other books. When In Too Deep, the second book in my Swift River Romance series first came out, it was mistakenly included in Kira Sinclair ‘s SEALs of Fortune Series. I immediately contacted my publisher, Amazon, and the author to work on clearing up the mistake. I also bought her book. Because, hey, we obviously both have great taste in titles. Turns out there are a lot of books with the title In Too Deep, including books by Jayne Ann Krentz,  RaeAnne Thayne, and Tracey Alvarez.

Jill Sanders and I share at least two books with the same title. Swept Away and In Too Deep.

Other authors who titles books Swept Away include Robyn Carr, Candace Camp, and Mary Connealy.

I also share the title Diving In with Gretchen Galway. 

Simone ElkelesMelissa Kantor, and Tricia Drammeh also wrote a book called Better Than Perfect.

I just wanted to share some of the books by authors who have great taste in book titles. The thing about readers, especially Romance readers, is that they can never have too many books.

(I have linked the Amazon pages for the authors mentioned. I’m sure many of them are also available on other platforms, but I have to get back to writing the next book).

 

 

Posted in Adventure, Baseball, Books, skiing, Whitewater rafting, Writing

What Season Is This?

Yesterday was Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Every few years it falls during Spring Break, so I get to enjoy it as the National Holiday it should be. I watched parts of at least four games. I was very excited to see my beloved San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a pitching duel that was somewhat unexpected. Oh, everyone expected a close, well-pitched game between top Lefties Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw. But when Bumgarner was hit in the pitching hand late in Spring Training, his Opening Day start went to Ty Blach instead. He outdueled the multiply Cy Young winner, at least on this day.

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And that’s what I love about baseball. It’s never what you expect. At least, the best moments never are.

But it’s also ski season. Finally. Here in California, Winter took her sweet time coming. December was cold but one of the driest I can remember. Several of the high school ski races had to be postponed or combined. The teams to the north of us had to come 250 miles or more to race on the last day of the season so they could qualify for the state championships. We finally got a lot of snow this month. The local resorts are calling it Miracle March.

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But now the weather is warming up and we’re torn between getting up early to hit the slopes before it gets too slushy or sleeping in and taking on the river. My sons did a midweek trip on the South Fork of the American River, so my oldest could sharpen his skills before he makes the transition from ski instructor to raft guide.

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As an author, I’m often working on books that take place in different seasons. It’s always a challenge to try to get the details of sun-ripened blackberries on the river in July when I’m sitting in front of the fireplace in December. Or trying to describe the way the snow swooshes under my skis when it’s 98 degrees in August.

But that’s the wonderful thing about books. They can take you to another time and place, whether you’re reading them or writing them.

Posted in Books, eBook Sale, Romance

Winter Blues and Summer Love

In may parts of the country this winter has packed quite a punch. Those of us in California are still waiting for it to arrive. Either way, you can warm up (or start thinking about the next outdoor season) with the first book in the Swift River Romance series.

Get ready for whitewater, blue skies, and a golden opportunity for love.

Now only 99 cents for a limited time.

https://kristinamathews.com/swept-away

SweptAwayWinterSale

Carson Swift may look exactly like his twin brother Cody, but they’re as different as tie dye and camouflage. Reliable, responsible, and usually the designated driver, Carson is also over being his brother’s keeper, but suddenly his plans to break free are complicated by the woman they fish out of Hidden Creek . . .

Lily Price is not your typical damsel in distress. Infidelity, infertility, and downsizing provide a triple threat to her ego, but falling into the swollen river nearly ends her life. If not for the handsome stranger—make that two handsome strangers—she might not have had a chance at having a baby by any means necessary . . .

As Carson helps Lily overcome her fear of the river, she helps him save his rafting business from going under. She also saves him from abandoning all that is important to him in order to get a taste of freedom. Together they find that love is the ultimate adventure.

 

Posted in Books, Writing

A New Year, A New Hope

2018blog

At the start of a new year, a lot of people make resolutions, set goals, and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year. I’d like to reflect on a little more than just the last twelve months, as the years seem to fly by faster than I can type.

2017 wasn’t the year I had hoped for. I could write a whole list of things I hadn’t accomplished, but I don’t want to dwell in negativity, which is why there aren’t many blog posts from last year.

My day job is going well. It is very rewarding to know that I do make a difference in the lives of the children I work with. Especially for those kids I’ve worked with over several years. I get to see their growth from wide-eyed and wiggly Kindergartners just learning their letters and sounds to fourth and fifth graders who get out of their cars with a book they just can’t put down.

I got my first season pass at Sierra-At-Tahoe, the local ski resort that has become our winter weekend home. With my youngest son on the ski team, my husband a coach, and now my oldest is a ski instructor, I figured it’s the only way to see my family in the winter. I started skiing with a few of the other ski team moms and it’s actually more fun than terrifying now. I’ve learned to work with gravity instead of fighting it, so that helps.

We spent another summer on the river. It started out pretty intense, with the high water levels on the South Fork of the American River. We did a five day trip on the Grand Ronde in Oregon, but our oldest had to stay behind and work his second summer as a whitewater raft guide for ARTA and AO. We ended the summer taking a nice trip down the Middle Fork of the American with our oldest son and his friends. It’s a pretty good feeling to have your child not only take charge of organizing and guiding a great trip, but to invite his parents along.

I published my seventh book. Wow. Seven novels out there in the world that I wrote. Sometimes I need to sit back and let that sink in.

It was only five years ago that I was about to give up on my first novel. I had submitted Better Than Perfect to several agents and publishers who accepted un-agented manuscripts. I had found yet another rejection in my spam folder, with my name spelled wrong, so when I entered an online pitch session on Savvy Authors, I wasn’t feeling too confident. Even when I got a message that an editor wanted me to send my manuscript, I almost didn’t send it.

But I knew if I didn’t, I’d never forgive myself, always wondering if that could have been the one.

So when I got the email from Piper Denna at Lyrical Press, I almost didn’t believe it. I ran out to the driveway where my husband was about to drive off to work. (Well, not run,  actually. I don’t run. Ever). I had to show him the email that said she wanted to add me to their list, an ask him if it said what I thought it said. He said it did, so I signed my first publishing contract in May of 2013.

In January of 2014, Lyrical Press became an imprint of Kensington Books. I signed my second contract for Better Than Perfect, which came out in April 2014.

My second book, Worth The Trade came out in July of that same year.

Making A Comeback was published July 2015 and Earning A Ring, the fourth book in the More Than A Game series was released in January 2016.

I launched a new series, Swift River Romance, with Swept Away in July 2016. In Too Deep followed in December 2016. The third and final book, Diving In, was released in September 2016.

In 2018 I’m planning on attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Reno in May. It will be my first time at RT and I’m looking forward to meeting with other writers AND readers. I hope to have a new series ready by then and possibly get an agent to help me further my career.

Until then, I’ll just keep writing, and hoping that my next book will find its way to even more readers.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Adventure, Books, Uncategorized

Tales From The River, Part 1

Monday was the Labor Day Holiday in the U.S., a day in which we celebrate having a job by taking the day off. So, my hard-working son took a rare summer holiday off from his job as a river guide, to take his friends and his parents down the Middle Fork of the American River.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had a job they would do on their day off? Just for fun? But that’s a topic for another day.

So, back to the river. We mostly do the South Fork of the American River. It’s easy to just throw a trip together and make a day of it. We did the lower half on Saturday, which was our fifth or sixth trip this year. We got a late start this summer, due to high water in the early part.  The Middle Fork is a more technical river, with one rapid that is un-runnable, and one that is really difficult.

The first big rapid is called Tunnel Chute. Built in the late 1800s by miners, it’s well, here are some pictures of a group that went down before us.


The first boat flipped. The next one made it. 


Pretty intense. Here’s my husband sending our old school bucket boat down without us or the oars. Not so easy to flip. But it has other issues. 

The old girl fills with water and isn’t so maneuverable. Here’s a shot after sending it down the second rapid we couldn’t take passengers down.


The plan was to jump in and paddle hard to the next eddy. My son is used to self-bailing boats that are much lighter when they get to the bottom of Ruck-A-Chucky.  This is another man-made rapid where they tried to build a dam in the 30s. The river isn’t having it when man tries to control it.

So our son’s friend jumped in and tried to paddle to the next eddy, but he ended up going over the next rapid instead. Then we had to pull the boat back upstream so they could make the rapid after that, called Parallel Parking. You think it’s a challenge in a Buick? On the river, there is no driving around the block if you get the angle wrong.

But we all survived, and so did our boats. We lost two of our buckets, though. Oh, and when I spotted it downriver just above Texas Chainsaw, I rolled right on out of the boat. Then I rolled under the boat, kicked off the side of the wall, and had to swim over boulders to the other boat. I thought about staying with the kids. They did have bacon-flavored cheese in a can, but I needed to bail out the oar boat.

Stay tuned for more river stories over the next few weeks. I have a new book coming out September 19, and some of the river tales are based on real life events.

 

Preorder at

Amazon Apple Google Kobo Nook

 

 

 

Posted in Books, Education, Writing

I Survived The First Day Of School

backtoschool

I went back to the day job yesterday. I’m an educator. My official titles are paraeducator and yard duty. I spent my day supervising drop-off and pick-up, assessing new kindergarteners, supervising the lunch tables with a new procedure and making sure the 4th and 5th graders played safely on the playground.

Once the year gets rolling and the placement assessments are completed for the new students and students who have received extra services for reading, I will work with a teacher for “Flex” reading instruction. It’s called Flex because groupings are flexible, students can move up or down a level based on need for phonics instruction. I tell the kids it’s called that because we’re there to flex our reading muscles. I like that analogy because like with any sport, it’s important to practice, and practice correctly.

I will also go into classrooms to support individuals or small groups for reading in Kindergarten, 2nd, and 3rd grade. I’ll also work with 2nd and 4th grade students for math support. Some students I’ll work with all year, others during a specific unit that they may need extra support with, say fractions or fables.

In some ways, the start of the school year is like submitting a book proposal. You have all these expectations and a general idea of how things are going to go. You’re super excited about the possibilities and hope that by the time you get to the end, you can step back, with a sense of satisfaction and look forward to a celebratory beverage when you get home.

But that first day is truly exhausting in a way I can only compare to a weeklong writing conference. You’re excited about meeting new people, happy to greet old friends. You go out of your way to help make first-timers more comfortable. You find out that part of your schedule means you need to get a hold of Hermione’s time turner or figure out some other way to be in two places at once. You may forget to eat lunch. You get asked to take pictures with your fans. The only things missing are your hotel room where you can hide out for a while to decompress, shower, or nap. And the bar.

But with both the first day of school and a writer’s conference, I come home completely exhausted. And then I have work the next day, whether it’s the new book I’m working on, or the kiddos at school who will need me to help them with learning to read, subtract with or without regrouping, open a yogurt tube, or wait patiently for their ride.

I’m going to need more coffee.