Monday, December 21, 2015

Five Ways Wattpad Changed My Life in 2015

I joined Wattpad just a little over a year ago. I thought it would be fun to post a retrospective about my experience over the last year in countdown form.

The Five Ways Wattpad Changed My Life in 2015:

1) After several years of not writing, I wrote 6 short stories in 2015. Five of them were inspired by Wattpad contests:

Torch
Interruption
Time Travel
A Very Good Dog
Skyfall
Lucinda

2) A book that had lingered unfinished and unloved on my computer since 2010 found new life on Wattpad. Inspired by the response of readers,  I added eleven new chapters to an original story that only had a prologue and 4 beginning chapters. I am now 1/3 of the way through the plot!

First Cut is the Deepest

3) I serialized the posting of a completed romance novel that had laid dormant on my computer for almost 10 years. I entered it in Kensington Books Write Affair Contest and was an Editor's Pick! Eventually, I was inspired to edit that book and put it up for sale in e-book and paper back.

Acapulco Nights

4) I met an incredible group of writers and readers on Wattpad, who have inspired me to write more. Funny how having people to connect with about writing will motivate you more than anything else! My most favorite writer friend from Wattpad:

GeekAtlas

5) I had the opportunity for one of my short stories to be read by Margaret Atwood. Where else do you get that kind of connection? (see Lucinda from item number 1 to read my entry)

The "Heart Goes Last Fic" Contest

Overall, Wattpad has been very motivating for me. A positive place to post my writing, get feedback, meet fellow writers and just plain be inspired. Here's to hoping 2016 will provide me with the same amazing writing opportunities!

Have you visited Wattpad? Do you have any favorite authors on Wattpad? If you are a writer or reader on Wattpad, please post a link to your profile page in the comments, so I can connect with you!



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fix #15 from Stitch Fix - December 14, 2015

It's that time of the season, people. Yes, I received my (now quarterly) Stitch Fix box yesterday, and I am here to provide you with another review. One of my favorite things to do on my blog!

If you are new to Stitch Fix, please read up on the service here:

My Very First Stitch Delivery & Stitch Fix Explanation

You can also check out a whole bunch of Stitch Fix reviews below. I've been writing them since May 2014:

Fix #2 - June 2014
Fix #3 - July 2014
Fix #4 - August 2014
Fix #5 - September 2014
Fix #6 - October 1, 2014
Fix #7 - October 29, 2014
Fix #8 - November 2014
Fix #9 - December 2014 
Fix #10 - January 2015
Fix #11 - February 2015
Fix #12 - March 2015 
Fix #13 - June 2015 
Fix #14 - September 2015

Is that a bit of bright orange/red in my box?
After getting a Stitch Fix delivery every month for about a year, I cut back to once a quarter to cut back on my spending and also because I'd added so many new things to my wardrobe, I didn't need as much new stuff any longer. Pretty much my favorite pants are ALL Stitch Fix pants. I have received jeans, dress slacks, corduroy, colored, slim fit, bootcut - the whole gamut of pants. I also have discovered that any regular store shopping I do is mostly buying basic foundation pieces - tanks and t-shirts mostly - to supplement my Stitch Fix clothing.

But that's enough about my Stitch Fix obsession. Let's get into this month's review! For December I requested color, color and more color. I have been receiving a lot of black and gray items and really needed some bright, happy stuff in my box this time around. When I opened up my box, I was so happy to see my stylist had listened to me!
Colors, colors, colors!
This pile really made me smile. I had one black item at the bottom, but everything else was an explosion of color to brighten up my winter. Hooray!

I follow the Three Basic Stitch Fix Rules for K. J.:
  1. I do not read the prices before I try things on
  2. I hang up each item to give it a good look
  3. I try on each item, even if I think it will look terrible on me or I don't like the color/pattern/style.
These are K.J.'s rules for a successful Stitch Fix experience. Many times I've thought an item in my box is not 'me' or is a weird color or pattern, only to fall in love with the item once I have it on. Do not dismiss items in your box without trying them on!!!

Here is how this box shook out for me.

1) The first thing I hung up was the Maxx Sleeveless Illusion Dress by 41Hawthorne for $78. I adored the colors, but was not super happy about getting a sleeveless dress in December. However, I really loved the sleeveless dress that came in my September fix, so I was willing to give it a shot. The fabric was thick and the colors were definitely wintery.

Then, I tossed it on. I've got a lower half problem, as I have confessed on this blog many times. A sheath-style dress does not always work for me. The top half might be fine, but typically the bottom is too tight. Sadly, this was the case with the Maxx Sleeveless Illusion Dress as you can see:
A little too lumpy on the bottom. The wrinkles across the thigh area give it all away. That screams, "too tight!" Oh, and can you also see how short this baby was? Not comfortable for me.

The contoured navy blue on the green, though, was very figure flattering. If this dress had a little more fabric on the bottom, maybe I could've kept it, but the length is a no-go for 40-something me. Bye, bye! This was a sad, but inevitable "NO."

2) The next item I tried on was the Andi Bootcut Jean from Kut From The Kloth for $88. Hard to make pants look good on a hanger, but here they are.
I was feeling very hopeful about these black jeans. I didn't particularly need a new pair of black jeans, but every pair of Kut From The Kloth pants Stitch Fix has sent me, I have kept. They fit my figure very very well. And if I look good in a pair of pants, inevitably I will keep them. I HATE shopping for pants!

I tried them on with dreams and wishes filling my head.
And they fit nicely! The only problem, as you can see in the photo, is the length. For some reason, this pair is extra long. I didn't scrutinize the tag to see what length they sent me, but since I always have a problem with pants being too short, it was a nice problem to have!

The length was not a big deal to me. In the photo I am barefoot, and wearing these pants with shoes or boots should fix some of that in short order. Also, you cannot see in the picture, but these pants have very flattering pockets on the back. Just in the right place. The fabric is also very soft and stretches just enough. Total KEEP.

I actually wore these pants the very same day I received them, I loved them that much!

 3) Next on the list was the Shalley Split Neck Blouse from 41Hawthorn for $48. I hung it up on the hanger and contemplated for a minute why I got a summery, sheer-ish blouse in my December fix.
I will admit, I LOVED the pattern. I don't have anything orange in my wardrobe, so I liked that this was something new for me. I have a hard time picking out patterns, and this one was bright and fun. And, I suppose, I could buy it and keep it for the spring/summer. Or I could find a way to pair it with a sweater or blazer (although I haven't owned a blazer in years). However, I try EVERYTHING on!
It was not horrible. In fact, it was slightly cute. The pattern really caught my eye and made me happy. However, I just wasn't in love with it. Also, I just wasn't in love with the idea of buying a blouse that I couldn't even wear with anything currently in my wardrobe. I'd have to go out and buy something to wear this with in the winter, and I didn't have the interest in making such an investment.

Another problem was the neckline. It has a split neck top. And it actually gapes open a little too much for my comfort. The vee is pretty low, so it could end up being a very embarrassing scenario if I wasn't careful!

Summery top with the fun fabric got the big old "NO" from me. Sorry!

4) Next on the list was the Demi Pullover Sweater from 41Hawthorn for $68. It reminded me a lot of the striped sweater I kept from my last fix.
The fabric was very fine, and it could be used as a layering piece. The pattern however, was a little weird, and the reddish orange blocks were not really my thing. However, the K.J. Method entails putting the item of clothing on in order to make the ultimate decision.
I really disliked this sweater once I put it on. The sleeves were too short and the pattern reminded me of some strange crossing guard outfit or a badly-designed Olympic uniform from a former Eastern Bloc country. The only saving graces: it was not gray (the neutral in this sweater is a fawn color) and it was a very nice, soft fabric. Maybe on someone else it would work, but not for me. NO.

5) The last item in my box was the Iverson V-Neck Pullover Sweater from Skies Are Blue for $64. I saw this one in the stack and was instantly drawn to the fun colors and interesting knit.
 This picture did not show the colors very well. It is navy blue, cream, burgundy, mustard and forest green striped. The knit is light, but with texture to it. I liked the length of this, as well. I tried it on with a hopeful thought in my head...

And I loved it. It fit just right. The sleeves were a little bit longish, which is hard for me to find for my mega-long arms. The neckline was cute. The colors were great. The texture of the knit was different. 100% KEEP!

So overall I kept 2 items out of 5. A pretty good success for me. Since last time was a 5 out of 5 box, getting a box like this suits me fine. Especially before Christmas. I was very glad that my stylist had listened to me about sending ONLY colorful things. She did a great job trying to find exciting colors and different items!

My next box is scheduled for March. Looking forward to what Stitch Fix will be sending my way come spring.

As always, if you have not tried Stitch Fix yet, if you use my link below to sign up, I will get a $25 credit when you make your first order, which I would very much appreciate:

TRY STITCHFIX!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! I would love to hear about your own Stitch Fix experiences or what you liked or hated in my latest fix.






Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: GRAZE.com

About a month or two ago, I saw a Twitter post (?) about a home delivery service I'd not hear about before. It is called Graze. It falls under the description of a subscription service like Stitch Fix or Birch Box. Instead of clothes or beauty products, however, Graze delivers boxes of fancy and fun snack foods to your house. I thought it sounded interesting, and I could get a free 4-snack sample box with my first order.

So I tried it out!

Each 8-snack variety box costs $11.99. Shipping is free. So that comes out to about $1.50 per snack. 

I have now received about 3 regular sized boxes (8 snacks per box) and the 4-snack sample box.

The good things about Graze:

Lemon Drizzle Flapjacks
1) The snacks are very high quality and unique and packaged in individual little packs for freshness. I've had such tasty things as Lemon Drizzle Flapjacks (delicious!), Sesame Garlic Crunch (also tasty) and Cherries and Berries (sweet and natural).

2) The snacks are typically between 110 and 160 calories per snack, so if you are trying to cut back, this is a great way to do it. 
Sesame Garlic Crunch

3) There are dozens and dozens of snacks to choose from. You can tell them which snacks you are interested in trying or which ones you tried, but did not like.

4) Each order comes with an ingredients list, calorie info, etc.

Cherries & Berries
5) You can suspend your orders at any time. Right now I get a Graze box every 2 weeks, which is perfect for me. I typically grab one snack a day during the work week. So 8 snacks fits into my snack time perfectly.

The bad things about Graze:

1) Some of the snacks are not my thing. But it is hard to tell from the many, many snacks listed, which ones may be good and which may not be so good. I am not sure if Graze uses the snacks you reject and learns to tailor your list in future shipments. That would be a nice feature. It's a bit of a bummer to get even 1 snack that I deem 'not so good' when paying $1.50 per snack.

2) When I first signed up, I wanted to get my boxes once a month to start. However, that option did not seem to be available. I can suspend a box, if I want to, but I'd rather have the option to just not get boxes as often. Right now, I am actually happy with the bi-weekly box, but not sure how long that will last.

3) I wish I had a way to specifically request the same snack in a new box. Some of the snacks are SO good. Even if I mark the snack "love" under their Graze rating system (Trash, Try, Like, Love), I have not yet received that snack again...maybe I want that snack at least once a month in my box. How do I do that? It is not clear.

Sharing Box

Something new to Graze is the "Sharing Box." This may be an option I choose to do rather than the bi-monthly snack packs, once I get a taste of more of the snacks they offer and narrow it down to my absolute favorites. A Sharing Box is a large quantity of a favorite snack. So rather than one serving, you get 5 snacks in one bag (each sharing box comes with 4 boxes of snacks with 5 servings each, or 20 snacks). You get to select your favorite snacks - adding up to 10 to your list. This option can be a monthly option. The Sharing Box costs $20 right now for your first box, and then $25 after that.  

Overall, for a service I had NO interest in trying at first, I have discovered that I really like the unique and delicious offerings from Graze. Although slightly pricey, the costs are not so outrageous that I feel I'm being ripped off. In fact, I would say the costs are probably in line with the many high-end snacks you can buy at Trader Joe's or another 'fancy' grocery store.

For a unique Christmas gift, this might be just the thing. I know that my family loves getting food gifts this time of year.

If you are interested in trying out Graze, either for yourself or for a friend/family member, consider using my code: 45JQTF2NB. I think I get some kind of credit, if you enter my code when you order. You will also get your 1st and your 5th box FREE if you use my code!

FYI, all of my reviews on my blog are 100% my idea. I am not paid for these reviews in anyway and just write them out of my own interest in sharing these things with visitors to my blog.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Another Review for ACAPULCO NIGHTS

Last night, Danielle Urban, from Universal Creativity, Inc. posted a review of my newest release, ACAPULCO NIGHTS. She gave it 5 stars!

Here is a quote from her review:
"Acapulco Nights is definitely a novel I would recommend to all. Entertainment, fun, and highly suspenseful."
Please click on the link below to read the whole review:

Danielle Urban's Review of Acapulco Nights

If you are looking for a new romance to try or need to buy a gift for a friend or family member, ACAPULCO NIGHTS might be just the thing.

Reminder: You can directly gift a Kindle version to someone through Amazon (only $3.99).

Looking forward to hearing back from more readers about my book. Very happy that people are enjoying my latest work.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!



http://beckvalleybooks.blogspot.co.uk/p/christmas-advent-calendar-2015.html

The above image is my Advent Calendar page on Beck Valley Books. They have an Advent Calendar of books for the month of December, and I decided to participate this year. When the calendar goes 'live' I will post a link to the page. Lots of great books available for the reader in your family!

UPDATE 12-01-15: The Advent Calendar is now live! Check it out: Beck Valley Books Advent Calendar.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

First Review - Acapulco Nights

This morning I logged into GoodReads to check up on my book giveaway (see my sidebar to enter the giveaway), and I was surprised to see two new ratings for my book, ACAPULCO NIGHTS. And they were pretty flattering ratings...one was a 5-star rating, the other was a 4-star rating. Overall, on GoodReads my new book has a 4.75 rating!  Which is so incredibly flattering and exciting. I'm glad to see readers really connecting with and enjoying this book.

I recognized one of the names of the raters and realized that she was one of the book bloggers who agreed to review my book!  I immediately clicked over to her blog to see what she had to say about my book (she was the one who gave it 4 stars out of 5).

Silvy at Books Are My Life
You can go here to read the whole thing: Silvy at Books Are My Life reviews Acapulco Nights.

But here are some highlights (she's from Macedonia and English is a second language to her, so bear with the slight discrepancies in her English!):
When I read the synopsis of this book I was frightened that everything is revealed and I couldn’t enjoy reading the book. I was wrong, very wrong. It’s not that simple. The story goes smooth from present then the next chapter goes with the past what was happened and reveal part by part. I was hardly wait to read the chapter and continue where the story from the present stops. Story from the past and the story from the present told intermittently was motivating thing to read forward till the end.
 And here's one more quote:
I recommend this book to romance lovers and to the people how like light, funny and warm read with captivating story for the true love and how everyone should fight for it.
Wow! I am so so flattered at how much she enjoyed my book.  I am also glad to see that the book I shipped to her from the U.S. made it to Macedonia intact! No tracking when you are shipping to many foreign countries, so that was a relief.

If you are looking for a different kind of romance that's 'un-put-downable' give ACAPULCO NIGHTS a try.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Margaret Atwood Contest Results & New Book Giveaway

WRITING CONTEST: Well, the results for the Margaret Atwood Short Story Contest - #HeartGoesLastFic on Wattpad - came out yesterday, and I was not one of the lucky winners. Bummer, to be sure. I had to compete with some really great entries, however, so I feel pretty good about the overall experience. Plus, I still LOVE my story. :-D

Check out the winning stories!

My number one reason for joining Wattpad in the first place was to write more, and these contests are a great way to build up my list of followers, get my writing out there for the world to see, and improve my skills. Plus, you just never know when you might win! I will continue to look for fun contests that inspire me!

NEW BOOK GIVEAWAY: I am running a second book giveaway on GoodReads. You can enter from November 3rd through November 17th, 2015. I will be giving away another 5 signed copies of my latest release, ACAPULCO NIGHTS.

After the last giveaway, I got a 5-star review for my book from one of the winners, which I very much appreciated!

Why don't you take a chance and enter?      

Enter my GoodReads Giveaway.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Margaret Atwood Short Story Contest

As I have mentioned in several blog posts, I started a Wattpad account about a year ago. I post some of my writing there, including the first draft of my newest book I'm working on. The fun thing about Wattpad is that there are various Wattpad-run accounts you can follow that have writing contests.

In the last 6 or 7 months, I've written several science fiction short stories, which were a ton of fun. One of them even won first place!

The talented Ms. Atwood
I also found out that one of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood, had an account on Wattpad. Several months ago she posted a writing contest that I really wanted to participate in, but I had no time for the story.

About a month ago, I received notice of another contest Ms. Atwood was running on Wattpad...this time as part of a promotion for her latest book, The Heart Goes Last. Several chapters of the book were posted on Wattpad. A writer could choose from 3 secondary characters that were presented briefly in the posted chapters and write their back story.

It sounded like fun, so I made sure to set aside some time to read the posted chapters and write something. I decided not to put pressure on myself and just finish something to upload. I finished my entry today and you can read it here: My Contest Entry.

If you have some time, please read, comment or vote!

There will be 5 winners who will have their stories read aloud at a livestreamed book event in NYC on November 7-8, 2015. Winners will be announced by November 2nd.  The first place winner will receive a signed copy of The Heart Goes Last, an e-card from Margaret Atwood, and promotion of your story on Wattpad and Doubleday media platforms.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

TV Pilot Review: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I think I should've been a tv or movie reviewer in another life. I am obsessed with video entertainment. My viewing habits have changed over the years, so I am watching a lot less scripted tv than I used to. However, every new television season, some of the pilots being advertised will catch my eye, and I will find myself wanting to check something new out.

Last spring, I was reading up on the new shows that were being worked on for the fall. One of them was "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," which would be aired on the CW. Maybe many of you have not heard of this show. I am here to tell you about it because, yes, it really is that good/funny.

The show involves a hardcore New York attorney named, Rebecca Bunch (played by Rachel Bloom who was a writer on the show "Robot Chicken"). She's a go-getter and is in line for junior partner at the law firm where she works. On the day of her promotion, she begins to wonder if her life is truly happy. By happenstance, she runs into her old high school flame, Josh Chan. He admits to her that he made a mistake breaking up with her because she turned out to be 'hot.' She suggests they meet and get reacquainted (secretly believing this is fate bringing Josh back into her life). Josh tells her he is about to move back home to West Covina, CA and gives her his phone number, telling her to get in touch if she ever finds herself in his neck of the woods.

This begins a complete life overhaul for Rebecca. She decides that this chance meeting means she should change her whole life and that Josh is her destiny. She turns down the offer of junior partner, quits her job and moves to West Covina - basically an armpit of a town that is the exact opposite of New York. The hilarity amps up from there.

Not only is the writing sharp and funny, there are awesome musical numbers tucked into the show that include "The Sexy Getting Ready Song," which must be watched to be believed:


All of the songs are equally funny and really quite well sung and produced. I think they are even available on iTunes for purchase!

Will Rebecca find Josh? Will he be her true love? Is Rebecca crazy? Will she make a life in West Covina? Will her mother drive her nuts? Is she really a 'drama queen'?

Take some time to watch the pilot online and then set up the program to record on your DVR every Monday at 8 pm on the CW.

If you've seen the show, please leave a comment about your like or dislike of the program. I'd love to know what the rest of you are thinking!



Monday, October 12, 2015

Update on GoodReads Giveaways

I am now a pro at conducting a GoodReads Giveaway. My second giveaway, this time for 5 signed copies of my newest book, ACAPULCO NIGHTS, ended last Tuesday.

I had slightly better participation in this giveaway...1284 people signed up and 531 people added my book to their 'to-read' list. So, doing the math, about 41% of the entrants added my book to their GoodReads account. Not bad.

I was hoping for more sign-ups, since the contest ran for 2 weeks instead of 1. But no big deal. I got exposure for my new release and will possibly have 1 or 2 people review it once they receive their free copies.

My BLOOD MOON book giveaway last month resulted in 1 new review so far...so 10% of the winners (she was kind enough to post it to both Amazon and GoodReads, which was very much appreciated). There could eventually be more reviews as people take the time to read their prize books. Who knows!

I am going to run another 2-week contest next month (November 3 through November 17)...this will also be for 5 signed copies of ACAPULCO NIGHTS. So if you missed out on this giveaway, you can try again in my next one. I will add it to my sidebar in the next day or so...I just need to wait for GoodReads to approve it.

I thought it was interesting to note that I had 8 foreign recipients of my book out of 10 the first go-around with BLOOD MOON. With this contest, I only had 1 foreign winner (from Canada) and 4 from the U.S. although I added a LOT more countries to the list of eligible entrant countries.

I am not sure what that means. But maybe there are always more people from the U.S. entering these contests to begin with.

Just as an additional note, I have had quite a few KENP reads through Amazon in the last week for ACAPULCO NIGHTS. My assumption is that it is related to my contest, but that could just be coincidence.

Have you ever entered a GoodReads Giveaway? Or have you ever run a giveaway as an author yourself? Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE 10/15/15: GoodReads Giveaway link added to sidebar. New giveaway begins on November 3rd.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Promo!

It's been a hectic week. My newest book, ACAPULCO NIGHTS, was released on Tuesday, September 22nd. Some may believe you just write a great book, slap a cover on it, and the money starts rolling in.

Oh, contraire, my friends.

Not only are you more likely guaranteed to make very little off of your writing, you can't even count on your family & friends to buy your book (and I'm not complaining, mind you, I'm just telling you the truth).

Your family & friends are there to support you, but not finance you. Why would Uncle Joe buy my book about a woman seeking a divorce from her long-lost husband? Doesn't sound like something he'd want to read, or even have on his bookshelf, frankly. Plus, Uncle Joe would have the added pressure of pretending to like/read my book, because he might assume I'll ask him about it and want his 'opinion' on my latest work of fiction.

I would NEVER do that to anyone! I want people to buy and read my book because it actually sounds interesting to them and is in a category of fiction that they read.

This leads directly into the topic of my blog post: book promotion.

Although I've been published since 2009, 6 years later, I'm just now getting the hang of promoting my book to strangers. Most writers are not outgoing people. We tend to be introverts that sit in front of our computers with the door shut. We like living with our characters in the make-believe worlds we create, rather than deal with real people! The thought of chatting up my book with strangers is uncomfortable for me...but I've had to get used to the idea, because how else is anyone going to know about my book?

With ACAPULCO NIGHTS, I wanted to change my usual 'hide in the corner and hope someone finds my book' attitude. Here are some things I have learned in the past month or so about how to promote yourself. These are not ALL the possibilities, mind you, but just what I've discovered so far.

1) Get your book into print. If you are self-publishing, this is a MUST. Having physical copies available allows you to do a couple of other promotional ideas that come later in my list. I used CreateSpace, but there are others:
 (FYI, I know nothing about the 3 sites above, but they looked legit, and I have heard of people using Lulu before.)

2) Make sure your book is listed in GoodReads or another site for readers (like LibraryThing). This allows readers to mark your book for reading. I would also recommend you make yourself an account on GoodReads and start participating on there by writing reviews, adding your books, etc.

3) Once you've gotten print copies made, sign up for a GoodReads Giveaway. This was a new one for me. Not only are you getting books into the hands of strangers (the winners of the giveaway), you also get exposure to the rest of the GoodReads community. People will add your book to their list of things they wish to read. Your name is out there. You never know when that will turn into a sale.

4) Start getting reviews. Okay, this was a whole new world to me. I had NO idea how people did this. I assumed it was more about 'who you know' or that someone lucked into your book somehow (I know, naive). BUT, I stumbled across this incredible resource, which has changed my outlook on book promotions: Book Reviewer Yellow Pages.

I am sure there are other resources like this one, but this is the reference I purchased. It is an amazing resource! They come out with a new one every year, so the information is very up-to-date.

What's inside? Well, it contains dozens and dozens of book review websites and blogs. It details what genres each reviewer is interested in, what their likes and dislikes are, whether they take self-published books, contact information, etc.

I received my reference about 2 weeks ago. I read through the whole thing, marking which
reviewers read romance, women's fiction and chick lit (the 3 closest genres for my book) and then sent out about 50 review requests to the best candidates. So far, I have had 6 review requests and one contact turned into a free promotion opportunity (which went live today):

Beck Valley Books promoted my book today!

These review sites also offer additional opportunities for ad buys, blog tours, author interviews, etc. This book has literally changed how I view being an author and what my 'job' actually is. Yes, writing the book is important, but selling that book is probably MORE important.

5) Lastly, social media. We all know about Facebook. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. You can have a Twitter account, Instagram account, Tumblr account, and Pinterest account, among others. I only recently learned about the value of having a Pinterest account from a very informative podcast from the Author U website.

Please follow me on Pinterest!

Now I use Pinterest to create inspiration boards for my books. I have a board for my science fiction thriller in the works, FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST. And also created one for an inkling of an idea I had for a book set in Nome, Alaska. I never thought about using Pinterest in this way before. I also have a board for all of my books, clothing interests (for Stitch Fix) and recipes.

Those are my 5 tips for you. I am sure there are other ways to get noticed, but I'm still learning myself. It may take some time for reviews to start appearing online for my book, but I'm hopeful that readers will be more likely to take a chance on my book once those reviews appear.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any other ways to promote your books, please let me know in the comments. What worked for you? What have you tried?


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

ACAPULCO NIGHTS - Release Day & A Contest

Good morning, all!  Today is a beautiful day. Why? Not only is it bright and sunny out at my house, but I have a new book available for sale. Yes, today is the day...ACAPULCO NIGHTS is now on sale at Amazon in e-book and paper back.


The story of ACAPULCO NIGHTS was inspired by my own experiences living as an exchange student in Mexico many years ago. I've visited Acapulco several times and traveled all over Mexico visiting museums, pyramids, and other spectacular sites. I may have also had my own bit of romance while living there. 

ACAPULCO NIGHTS was selected as a Write Affair finalist on Wattpad as an 'Editor's Pick.' Although I did not win the contest, I was flattered to be included in the top 14 entries.

Suzie's fiancé, James, is pressuring her to pick a day for their wedding. She's cancelled three dates, and he's starting to wonder if she really wants to get married. But how does she go about telling her fiancé that she's already married to a man in Mexico? She needs a divorce, and she needs one fast. Her marriage has been a secret from her best friend, Janice, her fiancé, even her own mother, and she wants to keep it that way.

When Janice asks her to come along on an all-girl vacation to Acapulco, Suzie leaps at the chance. A search on the Internet gives Suzie all the information she needs to track down her husband, Joaquin, while out of the country and finally get that divorce.

Unfortunately, Joaquin won't give her up so easily.


When James appears in Acapulco unexpectedly, all hell breaks loose, and Suzie stands to lose everything she's ever loved. 


CONTEST: I also have a contest that started today on GoodReads. You can see the entry link in the sidebar. I am giving away 5 signed copies of ACAPULCO NIGHTS. The contest runs from today (September 22nd) through October 6th. Please consider entering!

I hope you enjoy my new book.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fix #14 From Stitch Fix - September 15, 2015

I am so happy it's September! That means Stitch Fix time, baby. It couldn't have arrived at a better time. Fall appears with a whallop here in Idaho. One day it's hot and summer and all swimming and camping...and then you wake up in September to temperatures in the high 50s and cold rain falling. What just happened? It can't be the end of summer yet...can it?

Yes, fellow Stitch Fix junkies, the end of summer has arrived.

However, end your weeping now, because the end of summer means fall fashion! Those shorts can get tucked away, and you can start hauling out those pants and sweaters and infinity scarves.

Did someone say infinity scarves???
This year I have reduced my Stitch Fix deliveries to one a quarter. I was looking forward to finding out what my stylist had picked out for me. Last month, I'd complained a bit to her about the lack of color in my box. I was hoping that she'd taken my complaint and turned it into a box of colored happiness.

But first, if you are a new visitor to my blog, and don't know anything about Stitch Fix, please go to my very first fix here:

Fix #1 - May 2014

It will explain what Stitch Fix is.

If you are still a new visitor, but you totally get what Stitch Fix is all about and just love reading Stitch Fix reviews, please contain your joy. I have a plethora of reviews you can read if you've got the time:

Fix #2 - June 2014
Fix #3 - July 2014
Fix #4 - August 2014
Fix #5 - September 2014
Fix #6 - October 1, 2014
Fix #7 - October 29, 2014
Fix #8 - November 2014
Fix #9 - December 2014 
Fix #10 - January 2015
Fix #11 - February 2015
Fix #12 - March 2015 
Fix #13 - June 2015

But let's get to business, shall we? What did I get in my one and only Fall 2015 Stitch Fix box? Did it light my soul on fire? Did I roll around on a pile of clothing and cackle like a maniac at my haul? Perhaps...

Let's review what I wanted to get in this box:
  • Bright colors
  • Cardigans
  • Long-sleeve or mid-sleeve length dresses.
I think that was the gist of my request. I've had the same stylist for about a year, and she's done a pretty great job of finding things that fit me and my style. So I don't direct her too much any more. The color bullet point was probably my biggest one.

So, my box arrived this morning, and I opened it up. Two separate wrapped stacks waited inside. Hard to tell what was in there. But I knew it was all clothing and no accessories just based on the size of the stacks.

Then, I took out everything and stacked it on my bed.
Okay. So there was a little bit of color in there....but I was really sad to see a lot of gray, black and white. I'd specifically said no more gray! Ugh. But, some very interesting patterns and nice materials...especially the item on the bottom of the pile. Could I be won over by fabulous fit and fantastic fabrics? Perhaps...

Then, I did my usual thing - hang everything up and then try on each item, one at a time. No looking at prices yet. Only trying things on and getting an honest feel for each piece before I make any decisions about what to keep. Come with me on a Fall Clothing Adventure, Stitch Fix-style.

1) The first item I tried on was the Ferra Dress from Kut From The Kloth for $54. When I hung this up, I couldn't tell if it was a tunic or a dress. There was some weird bunching going on around the bottom. I didn't feel so great about this one, just judging by the hanger look. Plus, it was sleeveless. What happened to my request for long- or mid-length sleeves?

Doesn't it look strange? I read the tag and saw that it was labeled as a 'dress,' so then my worry was that it might be too short. I've had that experience before with Stitch Fix. I don't like dresses to be more than a couple of inches above the knee. And since I'm tall (almost 5'10") a regular-length dress can look very different on me.

However, the motto I live by is "Try Everything On." I put it on.
And something magical occurred. The strange item on the hanger disappeared, and an awesome figure-flattering dress took its place. Holy crap! This was a 100% keeper!!!

The most interesting part about this dress is the way it is lined all the way from top to bottom. So you sort of have a built-in slip and body shaper. Then, the gathers all along the bottom of this dress....the ones that made it appear like a weird outfit from the discount pile on the hanger...created this instant problem-fixer. No lumps or bumps to be seen.

I also ended up liking the neutral pattern, which could be paired with a colorful sweater, jacket or cardigan. Lots of possibilities for this one.


Close up phot of material
2) Next on display was the Jordyn Bootcut Pant from Liverpool for $88. I was very excited to see this brand name. Last fall my stylist sent me a pair of black pants by Liverpool that I LOVE and wear all the time. I just knew these would be equally fabulous. And I liked that they were a bootcut style, which was different from my other pair.

Pants never look good on a hanger, but there they are. I also provided a close up photo, because they were an interesting heather gray. In other words, they weren't just different in cut from my black pants...they were different in color/pattern.

So, I was excited to try these on because of my love of my other Liverpool pants. I just knew they would be fabulous. And I was right...although my picture is pretty crummy...
The strange bump near my waist is really a reflection of my knee in the mirror. So your fears about me having a cancerous growth can be set aside. I just couldn't seem to get a good photo of these. But, trust me, they are really awesome pants! KEEP.

3) Next on the hanger was the Laurel Faux Leather Trim Draped Cardigan by RD Style for $74. This was the item on the bottom of my stack...and I was hoping it would fit because the knit for this cardigan is so, so soft!

Although I was unhappy with more gray in my box, I was pleased with the softness and the pretty drape of this cardigan. I had a feeling this was going to be a keeper (3 for 3? Oh my stars!). Let's give it a whirl and see how it fits, okay? I had the Liverpool pants on and a basic white tank, which was the perfect items to use for a try-on.

Front view is amazing.
 This was basically an instant fall-in-love-and-must-have kind of moment. But I always check the side view...don't want to look chubbo from the side, my friends. The cardigans I prefer need to show the figure a bit.
Okay, not the best photo with the blur factor, but side view is equally adorable, is it not??? This was an absolute KEEP.

4) The next in line was the Concord Striped Draped Pocket Cardigan from 41Hawthorn for $58. This was the one item that stuck out from the rest in the pile o' clothes because of its pretty bright blue stripes.
Yes, it was bright blue with GRAY, but I was willing to forgive. This cardigan was a stretchy fabric and not a knit. It had interesting draped pockets in front. Hmm...Let's try it on and see what we get!



I couldn't decide which was the better picture. The bottom one shows you the pocket/drape on the sides. The top pic has better lighting and is clearer. This was cute enough that it was going in the Very Very Likely YES, But Let's See If I Like Item Number Five First pile (I know, long pile name, but tells it like it is).

5) Last item to try on was the Lizzy Colorblock Striped Sweater by 41Hawthorn for $68. I liked the sweater when I hung it up...the material was very soft and fine, and I liked the navy blue with the orange stripes on the sleeves. I had a good feeling about this one.
I like a thinner sweater. One, because you can layer it. Two, because it fits under a jacket. Three, you don't feel like the Incredible Hulk. Number three is important to me. I survived the late 80s/early 90s chunky sweater disaster. Remember that, ladies of Generation X?
80s fashion disaster in the making

Imagine trying to shove those bulky sleeves into a jacket...Not happening. So, yeah, I like a finer gauge sweater. I can always layer a tank under it for more warmth in the winter. I was ready to try it on.
Well, hello there, sweater. You are looking good. I loved it, loved it, loved it. In fact, I wore this sweater the rest of the day. It was a cool fall day at my house, and this sweater was asking to be worn. A 100% KEEP item.

Which means...yes, I did it!  I am keeping five out of five this month, people!  What a triumph. Now that I am down to one box a quarter, it is even more satisfying when you keep the whole box.

I had a $25 credit from a friend who joined using my code (thank you, Lois!), so it was a double win for me.

One fun thing that happened with this fix...I got someone else's Style Cards. Kellie Taylor, if you are missing the right style cards for your fix, I would be more than happy to mail it to you. I do have your email address on the card, so I might try emailing you.

I contacted Stitch Fix to see if I could get my Style Card. I really need the help with styling my new clothes and finding fun ways to wear them. And, I also like to read the personal note sent by my stylist to see where her mind was when she was coordinating my fix. I sent an email to Stitch Fix's customer service. We'll see what they can do for me.

If you have yet to try Stitch Fix, would you be so kind as to use the link below to sign up? I will receive a $25 credit for your troubles. I would appreciate it very much.

Sign up for Stitch Fix!

Thanks again for stopping by. I hope you are enjoying my reviews!

UPDATE - September 17, 2015: I contacted Kellie via her email, and she was most polite and gracious. She told me that all I needed to do was give Stitch Fix the invoice number on my receipt, and they would email me my Style Card. I had already emailed Stitch Fix, but hadn't given them that info...so I did. I got my Style Card last night. w00t!  I'm glad I asked for it because my stylist had given me some very specific advice for wearing one of the cardigans with a previous top and the new pants. I never would've put that together in my head...Yay! Going to try her suggestion today and see how it goes. :-D







Friday, September 11, 2015

GoodReads Giveaway Success...And Another One Is Coming

Good morning, readers & visitors! My first GoodReads Giveaway officially ended last night at midnight, and now I have 10 lucky winners who will be receiving my book, BLOOD MOON, in the mail.

What a fun process! I am so glad that I took the plunge with CreateSpace to craft paperback versions of my self-published books. Without physical copies to give away, I never would've been able to experience what GoodReads Giveaways can do for an author.

Here's an overview of the Giveaway:
  1. I had 1029 entrants in a giveaway that lasted only 1 week.
  2. Over 45% of the entrants added my book to their 'to-read' list.
  3. Most of my winners were from the UK!
  4. I had 2 people add ACAPULCO NIGHTS to their 'to-read' list.
  5. I had 2 people add THE LITTLE BLACK BOX to their 'to-read' list.
  6. I had 1 person add THE NINTH CURSE to their 'to-read' list.
This rousing success (since I had NO clue if people would even be interested in reading my book or would find my giveaway amidst the many listed) encouraged me to immediately schedule another giveaway for my book, ACAPULCO NIGHTS. (You can see in my sidebar the link to that giveaway.) The giveaway opens on the date of its release: September 22nd, 2015 and runs through October 6th, 2015.

I expanded the giveaway time frame, allowing for 2 weeks' worth of entrants. I have been reading up on how to use the giveaway to an author's best advantage and am going to try a couple of different things to see what the results are.

One of the mistakes I made with my first giveaway is not paying more attention to the categories I'd listed my book in. Somehow I only chose "suspense" as my category and didn't add a second one, like "young adult" or "paranormal." That was DUMB. For my second giveaway I made sure to cover the two areas I think my book fits into the best: "chick-lit" and "romance."

I know romance is a popular category, so I'm guessing I will have more entrants than my first giveaway. Which is GREAT. I see now that the giveaway is not so much about the books you are giving to the winning entrants nor the hope that they review it, but the exposure you get. I was shocked at how many people added my book to their 'to-read' list. I get that likely many of them will never get around to ordering my book and reading it, but they MIGHT. And that is what you want as an author. Exposure, exposure, exposure.

I have another plan up my sleeve for promotion. I wish I'd learned all of this stuff years ago...but that's how it goes sometimes. You have to experience what it's like to have no one read your book, no one care to review it and your book falling into a black hole before you find the determination to do better.

The GoodReads Giveaway experience has really kickstarted my excitement into promoting myself more and in better ways.



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Getting Ready for Print

I have been working over the last week to finalize my formatting for the paperback version of ACAPULCO NIGHTS. Once I had the Kindle version squared away and uploaded, I needed to reformat the whole book for print.

I can see now why some can be overwhelmed by the self-publishing experience. I am lucky because I know how to do most of the work needed to get your book ready for Kindle and for print.

COVER DESIGN. This is a big one. For my 'day job' I use the Adobe Creative Suite. I am not a graphic designer nor expert user of Illustrator or Photoshop, but I can get by with the basics. It might take me 3 or 4 times as long to figure things out, but with some Googling, I usually can find the answers I am looking for if I run into a problem.

Designing a cover for the Kindle version is 'easier' because you only have to produce that front part of the cover. I am kind of a beast about ensuring my covers look professional and not homemade. Nothing is worse than a cover that screams 'self-pubbed' when you see it mixed in with industry-quality covers.

I spent DAYS (yes, literally days) going through different ideas for photographs on several royalty-free image sites. Ultimately, I found a retouched original photo with a graphic quality at Shutterstock.com that fit what I was looking for. Then, I reviewed different best selling books in my genre (women's fiction) to get the right 'feel.'

Then, once I had the Kindle version, eventually I knew I'd have to craft a paperback version, which involves a totally different process for getting the right dimensions on front, back and spine. Somehow, I figured it out. Most people probably would pay someone any amount of money to do this for them. But that can be pricey, so I was glad that I had enough skills to do this myself.

FORMATTING. Kindle formatting is pretty straightforward. If you know how to work with Word at a more advanced level, the formatting is simple. Since I'd formatted a Kindle book in the past (BLOOD MOON), I had a document already formatted correctly that I could re-use with my new book.

Formatting for print is a different process. Thank goodness CreateSpace gives you templates to download for the size book you are going to produce. However, you do need to understand the more advanced formatting stuff in Word to correct any problems with cutting and pasting into the template. And, if you don't like the font styles they set it up with, you need to hunt around for just the right font combos (if fonts are your jam) and know how to change styles.

REVIEW PROCESS. This is the part I am working through right now. Even after reviewing the file for my Kindle book multiple times and reading through it while editing, I noticed multiple missed issues when I was reviewing the print version. How did I not see those problems the first time? Ugh.

I am now in my 3rd version of the print file of my book. Every time I think this will be the last mistake I find, I find more. To most, they may be minor. For example, I found one sentence in 11 point font instead of 12 point font. To many, this would not be an issue and they would just roll ahead. But to me, it stuck out like a sore thumb and gave an air of amateurishness (we writers can be sticklers sometimes for this stuff). I also found a double period at the end of a sentence and underlined words that should've just been italicized.

So, yeah, in order to elevate your book above the rest of the self-published stuff out there, these little things are important.

I am sure once the book is out there for sale, I will have missed something. No one can be perfect. I also don't have a copy editor on staff nor the money to hire one, so I am relying on myself, spellcheck and my technical writing skills to ensure the problems are minor. I know many out there would be screaming at me for NOT hiring someone to review my book for mistakes. Maybe someday, if my books actually make some money (LOL), I will do that.

I am on the verge of finalizing the print version and will be ordering a proof copy soon. With a release date of September 22nd, I'm on track to meet my self-imposed deadlines. Looking forward to seeing my book in print!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Enter my GoodReads Giveaway!

Good morning! I am here to announce that my GoodReads Giveaway is now open for entries. If you look in my sidebar, you will see a box with a link that tells you all about it. I am giving away 10 signed paperback copies of my book, BLOOD MOON.

The giveaway started today and ends on September 10th. I'm pretty excited about the response I have gotten so far. Why not throw your hat into the ring?

BLOOD MOON is intended for high school students who will be taking the SAT in the near future, but it would be a fun read for any kid who likes to challenge themselves with new and difficult words. The book contains 1000 SAT-level words with their definitions footnoted in the text.

I have also had several adults enjoy the book and learn a few things as well. So don't be shy. Enter today!

ENTER THE BLOOD MOON GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!

Thanks and spread the word. :-D

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pre-Order ACAPULCO NIGHTS Today

Amazon posted my pre-order page for ACAPULCO NIGHTS. You can now use the link below to pre-order the Kindle version of my book:

Pre-order ACAPULCO NIGHTS

The Kindle version will be released on September 22nd. If you have any interest at all in my book, I'd appreciate a pre-order. This helps with the Amazon rankings, if you have a bunch of purchases on one day...and a pre-order would give me that boost.

I am working on a print copy. CreateSpace is pretty new to me, so I don't know if I can schedule a simultaneous release of the print version along with the Kindle version. But I'll do my best. Once I complete the editing of the Kindle version, then I need to work on my print version (which is different formatting). I can't create the full cover until I know the number of pages in the book.

As you can see, a number of things has to take place in order to have the print version ready. However, once I have a print version, I will be doing a giveaway on GoodReads to a few lucky readers. So come back to the blog (or join me on GoodReads) to keep track of that.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

UPDATE: You can now also pre-order a print version of ACAPULCO NIGHTS here:

 Pre-order ACAPULCO NIGHTS in paperback

Please spread the word!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

ACAPULCO NIGHTS Available for Pre-order Soon

I am here to announce that ACAPULCO NIGHTS, my newest book, will be available for Kindle pre-sale in the next few days. The release date is September 22, 2015. I will post the link to the Amazon page as soon as it is up and running.

Here's the blurb for this new book:

  Suzie's fiancé, James, is pressuring her to pick a day for their wedding. She's cancelled three dates, and he's starting to wonder if she really wants to get married. But how does she go about telling her fiancé that she's already married to a man in Mexico? She needs a divorce, and she needs one fast. Her marriage has been a secret from her best friend, Janice, her fiancé, even her own mother, and she wants to keep it that way.
When Janice asks her to come along on an all-girl vacation to Acapulco, Suzie leaps at the chance. A search on the Internet gives Suzie all the information she needs to track down her husband, Joaquin, while out of the country and finally get that divorce.  
Unfortunately, Joaquin won't give her up so easily.
When James appears in Acapulco unexpectedly, all hell breaks loose, and Suzie stands to lose everything she's ever loved.

This is a bit of a departure from the paranormal suspense stuff I usually write. But it was a book I'd had sitting on my computer for awhile that deserved some love. With the new avenues available to writers for publishing, I thought I'd give it a whirl and see where it goes. I will also be releasing this book in paperback around the same time as the Kindle version (if all goes well).

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that awhile back I'd whipped together a couple of cover ideas and had a poll on my blog. I also had asked some friends and family what they thought of my two covers.

Boy, did I get an earful! Reminder: never do that again! LOL. Seems that people love to tell you what your cover should include, look like, etc. I knew I couldn't make everyone happy and decided to start over. After thinking it through, spending 3 days (complete, full work days) looking through different photo options on royalty-free sites, I narrowed it down to the pic above.

With some help from my spouse, I made some improvements, selected the color font, and finalized the cover yesterday.

I spent some time looking at other novels in a similar vein...mainly Jennifer Weiner...who writes women's fiction. ACAPULCO NIGHTS isn't really romance. It's more just general fiction for women with a relationship in turmoil at its core. Hopefully, my cover inspirations are reflected in my own design.

I look forward to sharing this novel with my readers and hope that I can find some new fans out there!


Monday, August 24, 2015

BLOOD MOON Now Available in Paperback!

My book, BLOOD MOON, is now available for purchase in paperback form through CreateSpace. It will soon be available on Amazon later this week...and other retailers, hopefully over the next couple of months.

I received a proof copy of my book last week, and it turned out so cool! I'm pretty proud of how the cover turned out. Designed on my Mac using Illustrator, a photo I downloaded from a royalty-free site and a wolf I used (with permission) from an artist on DeviantArt.

I now have that proof copy sitting on my bookshelf next to my other two books. This has inspired me to really work hard on getting ACAPULCO NIGHTS out there in Kindle and print form ASAP.

Please spread the word about the print version. This book is intended for high school kids looking to expand their vocabulary before they take the SAT or other college entrance exams. However, it could be useful for anyone wanting to learn some difficult words in a fun way.

The Kindle version is $2.99, and the print version is $8.99. The CreateSpace buy link is below. Will add the Amazon link (and others) as they become available.

Buy BLOOD MOON in paperback!


Friday, August 14, 2015

BLOOD MOON To Be Released In Paperback & ACAPULCO NIGHTS News

Hello, readers!  I know I am usually clogging up my blog with StitchFix reviews, but today I'm actually going to update you on my writing. Exciting stuff!

Let's start off with my young adult book, BLOOD MOON. BLOOD MOON was released as a Kindle-only book in May 2013. I revised it several times and even attempted to sell in e-book format through a distributor in order to get my book on Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and other reseller sites. When I didn't see a lot of activity on other resellers, I went back to Kindle-only in order to be eligible for certain advantages Amazon gives to Kindle-only authors.

I had dreamed of making a print copy available, but all I knew about print was that you typically had to invest a LOT of capital into the process (thousands of dollars). It didn't seem worth it to me, since I never expect a huge audience for my self-published works.

Then, I read a blog the other day that I found on Twitter:

Self-Publishing - It's About Breaking The Rules

It really was just a basic blog post about how self-publishing has shaken up the publishing world by redefining what publishing is...length of book no longer matters, for example. Short stories can be sold one at a time. You can put together a novella of 30,000 words and find an audience (and decent $). Etc.

Anyway, somehow this blog post lead me back to CreateSpace, which is the printing arm of Amazon's self-publishing juggernaut. I wanted to find out what the costs were with printing your books. And I learned something new: you can upload your book for print with ZERO cost (if you can do the work yourself...cover design, document formatting, etc.). The books are printed on demand when ordered. You can even make your printed book available to other retailers through CreateSpace, who supplies your book to distributors.

So after reviewing all of this information, I decided to go ahead and make BLOOD MOON available in print. I have re-formatted the book to fit into a standard trade paperback size and am working right now on creating a full cover (back cover, spine, front cover) in the correct size. BLOOD MOON will be my 'experiment' in print sales. I will give you an update when I find out more about the production process and when my book will be ready for sale!

I am also working on making ACAPULCO NIGHTS available in the Kindle store and in print!  I was only expecting to make this book available through the Kindle store, but now that I have figured out how CreateSpace works, I will also be offering a print version of this book in the fall.

I have already worked on the basic formatting for Kindle, and will be doing another edit to fix what I can before I go to print. This book is in a very different style (first person) than my other books, so the editing becomes a different animal. I am also planning on possibly purchasing a cover for this book, so that I don't have to create both a Kindle and a print version of the cover. It can be time consuming! Although I had a couple of cover ideas, after the survey and listening to friends/family about the two options I provided, I'd like to find an even better cover. I'm not a design master, so it takes me a LONG time to create a decent cover that is of high enough quality for print. We will see!

Wish me luck in the printing experience. I'm learning as I go!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fix #13 from Stitch Fix - June 16, 2015

Hello, faithful readers! Here I am again with a new Stitch Fix box to chat about. If you've read most or all of my reviews, you will know that this spring I reduced my Stitch Fix shipments down to one a quarter, rather than once a month. I love Stitch Fix, but was looking to reduce my spending habits this year. Quarterly seems to be a good fit for me.

Although I do miss my monthly boxes, there is now more of a 'special' factor when I receive one. I got my June box Tuesday the 16th, but have had trouble uploading photos to Blogger, and I have been trying to get this post up for a while now. I've dated this review as the date of delivery.

If you'd like to look at my past reviews, check out the list below:

Fix #1 - May 2014
Fix #2 - June 2014
Fix #3 - July 2014
Fix #4 - August 2014
Fix #5 - September 2014
Fix #6 - October 1, 2014
Fix #7 - October 29, 2014
Fix #8 - November 2014
Fix #9 - December 2014 
Fix #10 - January 2015
Fix #11 - February 2015
Fix #12 - March 2015

This time around, I'd asked my stylist (I've had the same stylist, per my request, for about 10 months now) to send me COLORFUL things. No more grey or black. I also asked for no sleeveless tops, as those aren't my favorite. Short-sleeved was fine as well as dresses, skirts or capri pants.

So my box arrived and I took out the nicely wrapped bundle.

It came in a smaller box. Probably due to the lightweight stuff that would make up a summertime delivery.

I eagerly unwrapped the package and made a stack of my items. Ooh! Pretty colors...although I saw some darker-than-I-wanted colors mixed in there. But I'm always open minded to what my stylist chooses for me.
The green made me happy. Looked interesting and fun! The navy blues and grays were a tad bit depressing. Where are the 'fun' colors I asked for? And I'd specifically said: no more gray or black!

I was disappointed and thinking I would not like anything in this box at all. Horribly sad, since I am now down to 1 box every 3 months. Each box really counts!

However, I went to the next step in my review process and hung up each item. As any of my regular readers will recall, I never look at the price sheet when I am in the try-on phase of my unboxing experience. I want to try everything on (even if I think it looks horrid) and make my judgment based on how much I like the item. This box contained 2 tops, 1 pair of pants, a dress and a necklace. Here we go!

1) First, there was the gray item that gave me sadness. It was the Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee by Market and Spruce for $44.00.
I expected that this would be a fail moment just based on the gray color alone. Wasn't this t-shirt available in any other color, stylist? Did you really have to add more gray to my life? Then I tried it on:

Hey, there, plain gray shirt. Aren't you comfy? This t-shirt was made from a stretchy, blend of some kind that is super light. It has a high-low design which is awesome because I can wear this with more form-fitting pants, and it creates a very flattering figure. The lightness of the material means the shirt flows away from my body and really helps keep you cool on a hot day. Also, the cut fit my wide shoulders with the seams falling in just the right place. Even though it was gray, I realized it was a great neutral to go with my things in my wardrobe. From sadness to gladness. KEEP!

2) As you can see in the t-shirt photo above, the next item I tried on were the Emer Textured Cropped Straight Leg Pant by Margaret M for $98.00. Here they on the hanger:

I have received Margaret M pants before (last summer's 'clown pants,' if you're curious) and had liked the fit, but hated the pattern. This time, I was in love with the kelly green!  This is a color that looks really good on me, and I was happy to have something so colorful in my box. I assumed I would love these and would be adding them to my wardrobe. Then, I tried them on.


Yes, they fit. But just a little too tightly. The fabric wasn't quite thick enough to hide the horror of pantylines. And I didn't want to have to think about which underwear to put on in order to wear these pants. If there had been maybe a little more give or a slightly thicker fabric, I think all would've gone well. Such a bummer, because the color was delightful. 

When I saw the price on the receipt, however, I was sort of glad these were GOING BACK.

3) The next item to get the model treatment was the Nogales Lace Detail Blouse by Le Lis for $48.00. I wasn't really looking forward to this one because of the square shape of the blouse. However, I've been fooled before by the way something looks on a hanger vs. on my body.



Hard to tell in my photo, but it is navy blue with a cream-and-navy lace on the front. Once again, I wished this were in a brighter, happier color, But I try everything on, so here we go:

Okay, so I know...the photo on the left makes it look kinda cute. However, I had to stand awkwardly in order to make it look like I had a waist in this photo. For someone with less hip/leg than me, this top might work. But besides the shape of the shirt being off for my figure, if you notice in the photo on the right, the sleeve was incredibly tight on my not-so-slender upper arm. The navy blue fabric was a very unforgiving and unstretchy material. Also, the shoulders were too narrow. And, the weirdest part of all? That lace you see? Pretty much see-through!  Yep, if I weren't wearing a nude bra, you'd see right through it. So, I'd have to pair this top with a tank at all times. And for summer wear, that just didn't make sense to me.  I was a bit disappointed Stitch Fix didn't include a nude tank as they had in the past when they sent something so see-through.

This sucker was GOING BACK.

4) The last item of clothing was the Spencer Striped Jersey Dress by Market and Spruce for $54.00. Oh, this was so cute!  I loved the feel of the dress, the cut, and I was even okay with adding more navy striped clothing to my closet:
I was slightly worried, though, that this dress might be a little too short. Hm. Please say it isn't so! The only way to know is to try it on...
This dress was so comfortable!  It was made out of a stretchy fabric that had some decent weight to it. The flattering arrangement of the stripes was fabulous. It had a delicious twirl-factor when you spun around and the skirt flowed away from unflattering areas so I felt very slim and trim in this dress.

Oh, how I wanted to be able to keep this! The ONLY problem I had with this dress was the length. I have now hit my mid-40s. I felt rather foolish in a dress this short. It was a good 6 inches above my knee. What a horrible, horrible shame. But I just didn't feel comfortable in a dress this length. Dressing too youthfully is not the look I am going for with two teenagers in the house. I am looking for some 'classy elegance' that can take me into my middle years with grace.

DARN! Goodbye, awesome dress. I am so sad to see you go. The dress was a sad and regretful NO.

5) The last item in my box was a necklace - the Munroe Feather Pendant Necklace by Romolo for $28.00. I was actually glad to see it. My cheap jewelry collection is starting to age, and I need to weed out the problem pieces. Here are some pics:


I forgot to take a picture of me wearing it. Silly me. So, just to let you know this is a longer chain. It had a nice weight to it. The length was a good one for me. I am a silver jewelry person and need more simple pieces like this one. I loved it. KEEP.


So, in the end I kept a t-shirt and a necklace. Not the most exciting box I've received. But I still enjoyed the process and will continue getting quarterly boxes. Rarely am I disappointed in a box, and I've really enjoyed updating my wardrobe and staying on top of trends without having to do any work.

If you have yet to try Stitch Fix, can I interest you in using my link below? I will receive a $25 credit after you make your first order. And what girl doesn't want some shopping credit? I greatly appreciate it.

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3587901

My next box will arrive in September. Please be sure to come back to my blog for a visit to see what I might get.