Friday, February 16, 2007

Karen Hawkins GuestBlog: Just Rewards

Contest!!! One LCB wins a copy of Karen's "How to Abduct a Highland Lord," just out from Pocket Books, part of the MacLean Curse series.
Sometime last year, Karen Hawkins guest blogged with our good pals over at Squawk Radio, and it was there I remembered I'd read her novels before and really liked them. So I jumped at the chance to have Karen GuestBlog with us because I thought she might have fun here, too.

Karen's new novel is terrific, and today she'll tell us a little about the kinds of harrowing sacrifices she makes to create her great romances. Please, a warm, TGIF buongiorno for Karen...

I’m in the process of getting back In Shape. I was In Shape once, then Out Of Shape. Then I got back In Shape again, but then I sliiiiiid down a very slippery slope covered in Caramellos and coffee cake, and my In Shape went away. So now I’m slogging up that same motivational mountain again and trying to get back In Shape once again.

I like to exercise. The problem is, I don’t like to HAVE to exercise. Those of you who are blessed with bountiful, bootilicious figures like myself understand that. The rest of you who don’t understand that, go and get a burger.

I have the same problem with my writing. I start out great, tap tap tap on the keyboard . . . but as the weeks pass, I sort of slip, then sliiiide, until it’s more like tap . . . tap . . . taptap . . . . . . . . . . . tap.

Over the years I’ve found only one thing that actually motivates me -- a reward. Like a donkey after a carrot, if you wave a prize in front me, I’ll keep a-goin’ and a-goin’ and a-goin’. Of course, some rewards worked better than others.

First I tried a margarita every time I wrote a page. That worked for two pages, but after that, though I hit my page count, I couldn’t use a single anything I’d written.

I had to give up the margaritas.

Next, I tried chocolate. Every time I wrote a page, I’d eat a Caramello. Though I made my page count, I also gained twelve pounds . . . for one book.

I had to give up the Caramellos.

Last, I tried shoes. Every time I write a page, I give myself $2 towards a purchase of some new shoes. I am a shoe-a-holic, so this has been working so far, although . . . I have to say, I think I may need a new closet when this book is done. And have I mentioned that it appears that I may be 111 pages OVER my page count?

It’s going to be a looong book ‘cause MOMMA NEEDS SOME NEW SHOES!

What do you do to motivate yourself? Do you buy yourself presents? Spend a day at the spa? Eat chocolate or drink margaritas? What keeps your feet on the path of discipline and success?



Encore! Don't forget to head over to Romance: B(u)y the Book to read this week's Feature, AuthorView, and exclusive ExtraView with Nora Roberts!
Encore due! I had to include Karen's last novel, "Her Officer and Gentleman." It's got an awesome title, plus, a cover shot of Nathan Kamp on a big stallion. I think it's a stallion. Anyway, it's got NK, it's part of a great duo of novels, and I
thought you should see it.


ev said...

Not only do I get to be first (look at the time for god's sake), but I get to answer the question with....SHOES!!!

I love shoes. High ones (can't wear them much anymore though), dressy ones, comfy ones, sneakers and boots. I love boots. I love winter cause I get to wear more boots than summer, when I wear sandals. As much as possible and for whatever reason. Unless I am bearfoot, which is my other favorite option. The woman who does my pedicure is always yelling at me cause everytime she gets rid of my calloses, I let them build up again. So she tortures me, usually by finding my tickelish spot on the bottom of my foot. On purpose.

Hubby hates it when he see DSW on the credit card bill. And now #1 son and d-i-l live in Manhattan, 2 blocks from the BIG store.

I feel a trip coming on.

And chocolate. Well, duh.

LizbethSelvig said...

Good morning Bellas and Welcome Karen!

I get to be second - how weird is that when I'm usually rolling in after noon or later your time? It's actually 10:00 p.m. last night (Thursday) here in Alaska! But Friday's blog is already up and so I get to have this wonderful time travel experience!

Karen - I HAD to respond to your blog because it was like you were speaking TO ME! Not just about shoes, but the whole topic of motivation. And, the In Shape topic And the tap....tap, tap......tap topic!

A year ago I was in shape, and now I'm not and I'm desperately trying not to get buried in an avalanche while scrabbling back up the hill. I, too, love to exercise and hate to HAVE to. And I write with great gusto only to have it -- in your words-- sliiiide slowly into harder work than it has to be.

So your words inspired me and made me laugh and I am so grateful to be in your good company!

As for inspiration - I sometimes promise myself a new book or some new yarn (knitting is good-but-expensive therapy for writers I've discovered.) But, now, I'm definitely gonna try the shoes - maybe new running ones?

Thanks for the fun blog - and I really look forward to reading your new book. And seriously, how else do you keep yourself motivated? Aspiring writers would love to know!


dd03 said...

BOOKS!!! Book, Godiva Midnight Swirls, and crushed ice diet cokes!!!!!!!!

Yup, that works for me!!

....but that leads to my problems with lack space...and me taking up too much of it... O.O

Anonymous said...

I`ve got 4 things that work to motivate myself: eating chocolate, singing my favorite songs and the thing that works best of all is reading and bying books.
Oh and Karen, I really look forward to reading your book! :D


Stacy~ said...

Oh with you on the books - that's my biggest reward. Then clothes, usually some cute, feminine top to go under my (stupid) work apparel. I buy a lot of Avon jewelry too - it's inexpensive but I get tons of compliments. It's my signature style, such that it is LOL.

A big one is a vacation - last year I went to Atlanta for RWA, and took a mini trip to Vegas before Christmas. I'm sooo dang good all year long, so I need to treat myself. As should we all, Bellas.

Michele said...

Excellent motivation.

I've not read any of your books, but with humor like yours and the way you wrote this post, I'm looking your books up!


Dannyfiredragon said...

Hi Karen,

I motivate myself with books, each time I reach my set goal, I go book shopping

@ Michele, Karen's books are so much fun to read. She has a wonderful sense of humor. All of them (except of the latest, which I wasn't able to get) are all on my keeper shelf. I am a fan since the first book was released

Karen Hawkins said...

Hellooooo, my glorious Bellas!

Yes, shoes motivate me like nothing else. Well, actually, the margaritas gave me a pretty good push too, but ... so impractical!

I'm so glad to see there are fellow Show Mavens in the crowd! I loooove shoes and am forced only by closet space to keep the count down to 100 pairs. When I buy new shoes, I have to donate a pair of old shoes to charity. I always give away the ones I don't wear very often, which is why you'll sometimes see a pair of sexy, strappy silver stripper-like 4" heels sitting on the shelf at Good Will.

I didn't WANT to give them away; I was FORCED to.

Thank you all for such a lovely welcome! I'm excited to announce that my latest book HOW TO ABDUCT A HIGHLAND LORD has spent TWO week on the NYT extended list, AND make it to #49 on the USAToday List, AND made the Walden's Books mass market Best Seller List!!! WOOHOO!!!

I should celebrate . . . maybe I'll head out and buy some a new pair of shoes!!!

Karen who is trying hard to not eat more chocolate 'cause one is never enough!

CrystalGB said...

I motivate myself with books, pampering products, earrings and like you I love shoes too.

Cherie said...

I motivate myself with chocolate and books. They keep me going when life is so stressful.

Cherie Japp

Anonymous said...

Definately chocolate, but also buying music whether it is downloading from iTunes or buying cd's. And the obvious is buying books.

Kelly F.

Playground Monitor said...

I really should motivate myself more but I haven't figured out quite yet what my trigger is. I'm not a shoe freak. I do love books but a new one is not a strong enough motivator to get my arse in the chair and write. I did get a check yesterday for a story I sold last fall and knowing those come when I make a sale (and DON'T come when I don't write) does kinda motivate me. At heart I'm just lazy. :-(

So YOU'RE the one who gave those stipper heels to Goodwill. I wondered about that. *g*


Kati said...

Hi Karen! Welcome back to RBtB! You're on a press tour, yesterday Squawk, today here. It's like you're JLo when she has a new movie out! :o)

Rewards...well, I go big usually. Generally I reward myself with a really nice vacation every year. Last year, I went with three other single girlfriends to Europe (Paris, Venice, Greek Isles). This year, we're going to San Juan to stay in a nice resort and then on a week-long cruise of the Southern Caribbean. So, as I save money all year, it's in planning for a really nice vacation. Sounds frivolous, I guess, but hey, I'm a simple girl. LOL!

tetewa said...

I motivate myself with books and movies. The two things that can take me away to other places. Places that I want to go to or would otherwise not be able to see. Reading different books and watching movies can take me there.

krissyinva said...

I motivatre myself with books, whether it's buying them or just reading them. I force myself to put a book down and say okay clean the kitchen and mop the floor and you can read another chapter before cleaning the bathroom. It's the only way I have found to get me excited about cleaning, lol. With a messy hubby and 4 kids I am always cleaning!!
Karen I actually picked How to Abduct a Highland Lord at Target yesterday and can't wait to get started on it!!!

Lis said...

Karen, have not read your books yet, but will go get the new one tonight (okay, probably tomorrow!). Love your sense of humor! Motivation for the In Shape work eludes shoes, but have a narrow foot, so buying is difficult. Margaritas are always wonderful...drawbacks obvious after 2 or 3. Chocolate...revert back to need to get In Shape. Maybe books........

Julie in Ohio said...

Motivator? Rewards for doing something? I'm afraid this is all Greek to me. If I see it and want it, I get it. Is this bad? Self control is another one of those foreign phrases. :P

Welcome back, Karen!!!

I love your books so I'm very glad you have a motivator that works to keep them coming... :o)

Shannon said...

I am with you on the whole concept of a prize for good work. I have started to try and lose weight, becuase well, I need to, and I want to try and get pregnant soon. So, I am looking towards that as my goal and motivation. I know that it will make me, my husband, and our future child happier and healthier. Good luck on the IN Shape goal.

Your books look really interesting.


Karen Hawkins said...

(Karen using her Homer Simpson Donut voice) Ohhhh. Earrings. I like earrings.

It's tough getting back In Shape. I went from a size 12 to a 4 and now I'm a ... ok, I can't say it. But let's just say that I am DETERMINED to be at LEAST a size 6 by June.

How did I lose my In Shape? I've just had a great year, both personally and professionally. I'm not a Sad Eater, I'm a Happy Eater. So when things go well for me ... blimpo, thy name is Hawkins!

I lost weight by walking. I walked and walked and walked and then started jogging and even ran for a while, but hurt my knee. Instead of going back to walking, I just stopped everything. So I'm walking now and it's sloooowly coming off. But you have to walk FAST. Push yourself, get a little puffy-breathed. You'd be surprised how well that works.

Krissyinva, hope you like HOW TO ABDUCT A HIGHLAND LORD! It's one of my faves. But then I dig Bad Boys. Only in books, of course.

Julie in ohio, self indugence is an art. Don't diss yourself because you're wonderful to YOU. So long as you aren't in debt, I say if you like it, buy it.

And marykate, I am EXACTLY like JayLo ... got the bootilicious rump and all. And I can shake that thang, too. Uhm uhm uhm!

Kati said...

And marykate, I am EXACTLY like JayLo ... got the bootilicious rump and all. And I can shake that thang, too. Uhm uhm uhm!

I'm picturing you shakin' your booty all over the office! LOL!

Where's the Queen B today??

kerri1973 said...

Hi Karen and all the lovely bellas! Speaking of shoes, my new fiance gave me roses and shoes for Valentine's Day! LOL I think he's a definate keeper. I saw the cutest pair of shoes while we were out of town a couple weeks ago. They were outside my budget. He made note of them and found a pair to order for me when we returned home. A man who pays attention...what a rare find! :-p So, I like your $2 per page idea. Perhaps you won't need a new closet, just buy more expensive shoes. Ha!

Hmmm..what do I use to motivate me? Well, I've become addicted to those DVD sets of television shows on DVD. I find them an excellent way to get caught up on all the great shows that I missed. I'll buy a set and watch it at my convenience...commercial free! So, I usually bribe myself with that.

In addition to that, I'm a sucker for shoes, purses, SweetTarts, Pepsi cola, and if I get out on the town a delicious Cosmopolitan!

Hope everyone has a faboo weekend.

Chow bellas!

Playground Monitor said...

I've been watching what I eat lately. Just yesterday, I watched 5 Reese's Peanut Butter hearts go into my mouth. And last night I watched myself finish off the blackberry cobbler left over from our Valentine's dinner.

If it would get warmer (and I'm not talking 80, I'd be happy with 50) I could start walking again. The DH has an elliptical trainer upstairs but it hurts my knees and hips. My neighborhood is flat with sidewalks -- perfect for walking.


Gram said...

The older you get the harder it is to get back in advice:DO IT NOW!!!!! I have just given up..yes, I do the treadmill for 45" to an hour most days of the week and try to watch what I eat, but nothing budges. The treadmill is good for the weight-bearing exercise we ladies are supposed to get for strong bones and so I keep at it.
Do It NOW!!!-))

Julie in Ohio said...

"...So long as you aren't in debt, I say if you like it, buy it."

So the second mortgage on the house was probably a bad idea, uh?

I'm trying to start (again) getting into the swing of the exercise thing. Maybe, if I try a reward system I'd stick to it better. hmmmm.....

Minna said...

For inspiration -it's either a new book or chocolate.

alissa said...

I force myself each day but it is not an easy task. My motivation is just that I will hopefully be healthier, and more flexible when I grow older. I don't want to experience extreme frailty or health problems.

pearl said...

I buy a new outfit and am pleased that I can fit into it comfortably. Otherwise I don't permit this purchase. I want to look good in my clothes and if working out is the only way then I must do it.

robynl said...

Motivation for me is a new color of nail polish-I love painted nails on my fingers and toes. Sometimes it is just a new bottle of a favorite color. The other thing I love is notebooks, journals, notepads and I love to buy them to make me happy.

Maria, Lover of All Things Romance said...

I always keep a bag of Galaxy minstrels beside me when I write, not healthy but very motivating:)

Lois said...

Well, due dates for projects and reports are a really good motivator, even if it's five hours from the moment you're looking at the clock. LOL :) Chocolate is a great reward. . . trips to the bookstore, Best Buy. . . stuff like that. :)


Unknown said...

I tend to motivate with things like television (when I get to page 100 I can take a break for a day and watch all the episodes of SUPERNATURAL that have built up in TiVo), or books (when I reach page 200 I'll let myself read so-and-so's new book).

Before I was a writer I NEVER has a TBR pile, and now I have a mountain. LOL!

Karen Hawkins said...

Oh, Lois, I do know The Deadline Motivator. It's a harsh taskmaster, but it definitely jolts me down the Do It Now path, although not until the last moment.

You guys have some great ideas for motivators! I should tell myself No watching The Office until I've hit my page count AND walk at least two miles. That would probably work!

Great ideas, m'dears! You're inspriing me to Do Better already.

Karen soon to be In Shape (again)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Ciao, Bellas! Welcome, Karen! I'm feeling a little guilty because you all seem to have great motivations, and I fall solidly into the instant gratification camp. I just don't do without. Problem is, I'm always frantic at deadline time. But I also do the book enticement: if I finish everything, I can read a book that's not for "work," or an old favorite.

Kids have a four=day weekend again. And, guess who didn't realize till yesterday? So, I've been MIA.

Oh, about the shoes. I just realized I love them, too, but it had been years since I wore any cool ones. Then came RWA. I'm already getting excited about shopping for this year's conference. We have this great store called Von Maur (i guess it's in the Midwest and South?) and they have a discount shoe room that flippin rocks. I mean, it can bring tears to your eyes.

And who said she loves boots? Me, too, and I've b een fantasizing about just the right new pair for about 2 years, but I can't seem to get out to buy them. What's that about? Could it be that I never go anywhere?

You Bellas are crackin me up today, btw.

Mona said...

I motivate myself with (they come in that order) books.. Playing music.. painting and movies. though painting has a special place in my heart just mixing colors and moving the brush makes me feel free and at peace even if it's not in order to come out with a painting in the end. By the way I'm a Fine Arts graduate.

Anonymous said...

What motivates me to do small jobs is knowing I will spend the evening curled up with a book. When I have a major job that requires real muscle work and several hours of work; I make an hour long appointment with my massage therapist for the day after.

Unknown said...

About the only shoes I find inspiring are Fluevogs. I own a ton of them (and I just noticed last night that Eddie Izzard is wearing them in MYSTERY MEN).

sharon said...

What motivates me is knowing that I am the only one that can make this change. I don't enjoy the onerous workout but I force myself for the long term benefits. SHopping does give me a boost.

principessa said...

Working out is a chore and not fun at all. It never gets any easier but I persist in this necessity. For a reward I book a wonderful holiday in my imagination and then end up reading about it in a novel.

Carol M said...

I would have to say BOOKS! lol Big surprise there! Sometimes chocolate, too. :)

Maureen said...

It's definitely books for me. When I'm doing housework I reward myself with reading a chapter for each chore done but then I get to a good part and cant' put the book down.

catslady said...

Saving time to read books. It's the last thing I do at night and that's my treat for accomplishing everything else during the day.

Love the cover.

Phoebe Belsley said...

I have the day spa card pinned up on my bulletin board. Finish the book I'm writing, and it's a full hour massage, facial, pedicure, manicure...the works! Because chocolate causes as much trouble as it cures, I can't wait that long for margaritas, and I have no self-control when it comes to the shoes. My favorite shoe store even sends me cards in the mail, which I think is a bad sign. Hmm. It's probably not much of a "reward" if I buy it on the spur of the moment, right? The anticipation is part of the process, right?

Oh, yeah, and there are lots of books I want to read, right after I get that massage.

Anonymous said...

I believe we are twins, separated at birth. Get thin and feel good, but relax too much and I've found my butt has grown into its own serving tray. So, I get thin again, same thing happens.
I now am at a good stage. Somebody actually called my body type "slendor" the other day. I still can't get over it and let that word roll over me like a gentle wave. That is a motivator and an inspiration.
I've been up and down the scale forever, it seems. I've read diet books while eating hot fudge sundaes!
There's no magic. You just have to do it. Gyms don't work for me, but Jazzersize was exactly what did work. Now, I walk (no nearby Jazzersizes), at least an hour a day. 10,000 steps is optimum. You don't have to walk fast either.
Just do it.
Writing motivations...I've spent too many days thinking and reading about being motivaged and doing nothing. In the past conferences got me going. Writing groups are the best for me because reading my work helped it become alive and real.

Karen Hawkins said...

You guys are the best! Thank you so much for sharing your motivators with me. I am now focused and ready to hit my deadline with renewed fervor. This book is part of the same series as HOW TO ABDUCT A HIGLAND LORD and I really want to make it siiiing, so this discussion has been very good for me. THANKS!

And thanks for making me so welcome, too. Ciao, Bellas!

Karen Hawkins

Julie in Ohio said...

Thanks for coming, Karen!! I can't wait to get my hands on HTAAHL, which means as soon as I get to the store. I'm the self indulgent one. :oP

Come back and visit us soon!!!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Karen... great Post!
I motivate myself to finish what I had planned to write by giving myself what I consider a functional reward. For example, one day this past week I really had to grind to finish th first draft of a chapter, but when I did I went to the gym for a workout (gotta love those endorphins)and after showering went to an outside restaurant, printed draft chapter in hand, and while eating a cobb salad proofed and reveled in what I had written. (I do that frequently -- maybe it's the sense of accomplishment I feel as I read the printed out version of what I had written). The most important thing is that it works for me.

Mona said...

Another motivation for me, I adore pigeons I wouldn't say as a bet but as a friend. I like them so much. I used to have just two pigeons. When I had them they were my very great motivation to wake up every morning and feed them and play with them. They used to stand on my shoulder only me and not any member of my family.

ev said...

Caroline- that wouldn't be DSW that sends you cards would it? I just got one in the mail that I need to find so I can go shopping. Or maybe I will hit my fav country/western store for a new pair of cowboy boots.

Karen- I have added your books to the ever expanding list!!

kalen- I thought my daughter was the only one who knows who Eddie Izzard is!! She has his poster hanging on her wall. Thanks for the link, now I have another place to shop online for shoes!! Hubby will hate you for that!! LOL

Kathleen said...

HI Karen!

Thanks for the fun blog and your new series looks GREAT!! Definitely a must read!

My best method is walking...preferrably w/ chocolate :) :)

ev said...

I went and bought the book. Who knows when I will get to it, but it is there calling to me.

Sue A. said...

Freeing up time to read is a great reason to get everything done fast and early. Reading is all the reward I need. Not that I would ever turn down chocolates when offered.

Keira Soleore said...

Kalen Hughes said...
About the only shoes I find inspiring are Fluevogs.

High-Five, girl! Me, too. Fleuvogs only, please. My feet are weird. Nothing works other than Fleuvogs or granny shoes. Which one d'u thunk I pick?

Karen, loved your blog on Squawk. What a different one here. This is so much fun roaming the web and hearing you speak about different things at different places. But. Always. Oh-my-God. Funny!