Category Archives: First Impressions

Presenting…Gemma Snow

A little something different from me today…I’m introducing you to a new author to me ( although I’ve known her personally for a while!) Gemma Snow. Gemma writers erotic and contemporary romance as well as historical romance and fiction. She’s got a new book out and I’m giving you a little taste of what to expect from her at the end of the interview. Gemma and I are part of the #MFRW authors 52 week blog challenge that’s been going on since January of this year, and this year at #RWA17 I was able to hang out with her for a while and just chat during our busy week. She’s an absolute delight – not to mention wicked funny and charming. So, sit back and find out a little bit more about this darlin’.

Gemma Snow, The Writer Questions

  1. What drives you to write?

I guess I don’t really see it as a choice. Stories, and characters and interactions and events build up and I just need to get them down on paper. I love the idea of being able to create something from virtually nothing, building characters and worlds that never existed before. Sometimes it gets hard, really hard, but I couldn’t possibly imagine a life without it.

  1. What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

I write across several genres, and that’s mostly because every time I think I should get it together and focus my attention, another story pops up like a demanding kitten. So far, I write in historical and contemporary, with raunchy and raunchier book.I love writing historical, because characters are already thrust into a tense situation, and it’s always a lot of fun playing with subtext and innuendo. I write erotic romance because I feel that a pretty fundamental part of feminism is reevaluating the role female sexuality plays in society, and acknowledging the very wide variety of what that means. Erotic romance is fun, and it makes for good cocktail party conversation, but I really do consider it important.

3. Do you write everyday? I write every day, but it isn’t always a book. I run three blogs, updated weekly, and I’m the News Editor for my startup company, which means I also have to keep up with the articles for that site as well. There’s also the way less sexy marketing and social media and newsletter element of things. That kind of writing isn’t nearly as much fun, but in a lot of ways, it’s just as important.. My schedule is nuts. I work part time, freelance, support my start up and write under two names, as well as managing all their accompany social media requirements. A good day for me is a healthy balance of writing and marketing.

4. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

My office is my bedroom. Sometimes it’s kind of a problem. The last thing us writer types is another reason to spend too much time alone in our own worlds. The room is actually great, though. I have my desk set up, two bulletin boards for storyboarding, and pens and paper within reach. My boyfriend and I are living with my parents right now, and I really do wish I had an office without a futon and piles of clothes in it, but I’m so grateful for the chance to make this author-as-a-career thing work, that I can’t complain. Plus, the light is amazing.

5. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnelvision? Don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, in fact, just leave the room, would ya? It might be because I’m nosy, but whatever the reason, I can’t deal with conversations, noise or music. The dog barking at the foot of the stairs takes me right out of my work and I sit there steaming instead of writing. I also tend to write down what I hear, so if the television is on or someone’s on the phone, forget it. My boyfriend’s great though, if he wants to come hang out in the room, he just plugs in his headphones and leaves me too it.

6. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? It’s kind of a funny story, actually. So Seduction en Pointe came about through a book I had published with a now defunct indie press, called Six is Company. That story was actually a novella, and included three couples that I wanted to bring to life. At first, Isabelle’s name was Taylor, so that shows you just how far away I’ve come from the original plot, which would need serious revising to go into reprint. Anyway, the press went down, but I kept my amazing editor and we started developing Seduction. At first it was going to be a novella, and I had to reorganize everything when I hit about 30k and realized the story was a world away from what I expected it to be. I can honestly say that I rewrote, like serious, construction equipment rewrote, this book at least four times. At one point, I had the whole thing broken down on a whiteboard in our foyer for like three months. My mom was patient, but I definitely pushed the limits. It’s been a really tough book to write, but I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

7. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? Usually character. I tend to write series, even when I don’t really mean to. A lot of that comes from my need to put supportive female characters into my books, so a lot of spin-offs are sisters or friends that started as secondary characters. But usually by the time I get done with book one, I know everyone in the book universe, so to speak. Seduction en Pointe is part of the Full Swing series, and I have those characters mapped out and pinned down. Same with The Lovin’ is Easy and the next three books in the Triple Diamond series.

8. What 3 words describes you, the writer? Curious, passionate, determined – I hope!

Gemma, The Person:

  1. Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing! I work as an automotive journalist and I’ve been a car nut since before I could walk. Amazingly, I’m only just coming around to writing a car romance.
  2. Who was your first love and what age were you? I was sixteen and he was a twenty-one year old British lifeguard. Pretty much ruined my life, ya know?
  3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…  This is hard! It has to be the day I found out Robbie, my boyfriend, got a job in New York. We had been doing long distance from Boston to New Jersey for over a year and it was just really hard. I was on my bus ride back to New York when I got the call that he was moving down to live with me in less than a week, and I burst into tears. Either that, or the day I graduated college.
  4. Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxer briefs, baby! I love me a good butt.
  5. If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?Hair pins! Or hair cream. Or tweezers… I have a hair problem.
  6. What three words describe you, the person? I think curious still stands, creative, loving.
  7. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? I am not legally allowed to sing in the state of New Jersey, and I imagine that extends to New York too… Straight up tone deaf, this girl.
  8. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? This is so hard! I mean, there are some characters I love, but definitely wouldn’t want to spend time with – Dracula, for instance. It’s probably cliché to say Hermione Granger, but those books came out as I was growing up, and I can’t overstate how important they were to my development as writer, feminist and over all person. Or Claire and Jamie Fraser! Or anyone from any book Juliette Marillier has ever written! I’m not following the rules…

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

  1. Favorite sound – Rain on a day you don’t have to get out of bed
  2. Least favorite sound – the freaking fire alarm going off at the college down the street ever freaking day this summer.
  3. Best song ever written – I don’t know if I can pick one, but Bob Dylan’s lyrics have always had a huge influence on me.
  4. Worst song ever written – When you work at a sleep away summer camp, you hear more teeny bopper music than anyone ever needs in a lifetime. Any of it. Pick one.
  5. Favorite actor and actress – Huge Emma Watson fan. (Shocker, I know). Chris Pratt reminds me of my Robbie, but I’m really upset about this whole break up with Anna Farris.
  6. Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead)

I have a background in art history and spent several months working on a historical fiction book about Da Vinci, and I would love the chance to just slip into his mind for a day and get a real sense of the man himself. Or any of the bad ass female pirates, Anne Bonny, Grace O’Malley, Ching Shih, Mary Read, any of them.

  1. What turns you on?

Intellectual conversation and humor. I love laughing kisses. And also, back muscles.

  1. What turns you off?

Misogyny, the idea that women shouldn’t like sex as much as men. Usually, it’s not stated out loud, but you can just tell.

  1. Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”)

“I can’t cook pasta.” (Okay, it’s four…) He was 26, and that didn’t even scratch the surface of that disaster.

  1. What’s your version of a perfect day?

Robbie and I have seasonal picnics in the park, and I’d love to spend the morning writing and then go apple picking and take some fruit and fresh bread on a picnic. I’m turning him into a museum person too, so maybe throw one of those in. Followed by a play or book reading and a quiet dinner at a good Italian restaurant. Last week we went to Harry Potter World though, and that pretty much made my entire life.

 

And now for a little taste of SEDUCTION en Point

Blurb: When successful TV star of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Nicco Castillo, finds his boyfriend in bed with another man, he goes full-on Hollywood trainwreck that lands him in ER. Next thing he knows, the producers are shipping him off to Paris to shape up and learn to dance for the next season’s story arc. But his incredibly tempting Parisian ballet instructor, Isabelle La Croix, makes that all too difficult, especially when he learns about her decadent desires–desires Nicco is all too pleased to indulge in. Against the ballet barre, the balcon railing, and wherever and for however long Isabelle is willing to have him.

Author Bio: 

Gemma Snow is the author of several works of erotic and romantic fiction in both the contemporary and historical genres, and enjoys pushing the limits of freedom, feminism, and fun in her stories.  She has been an avid writer for many years, and recently moved back to her home state of New Jersey from Boston, after completing her education in journalism and creative writing.
 
In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent a semester abroad living in a 14th century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars, and talking to strangers. 
 
Find Gemma on: 
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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, First Impressions, Life challenges, Romance, Romance Books

What’s in a title? A lot more than you think, #MFRWauthor

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I’m sure this is an easy feat for most writers, but not for me. I agonize over book titles. Are they too long? Too short? Do they convey the correct theme of the book? Do they even convey the theme of the book? Will it be a memorable title, or one that is easily forgotten in the myriad of published books these days?

Titles can, in all truth, make or break a book. Would you have read any of these books if these were the titles?:

  1. The High-Bouncing Lover
  2. The Last man in Europe
  3. The Dead Un-Dead
  4. Mistress Mary
  5. Nothing New in the West
  6. Wacking Off
  7. The Don’t Build Statues to Businessmen
  8. The Kingdon By The Sea
  9. At this point In time
  10. Private Fleming, His Various Battles

I was a bit surprised at a few of them, and I can in all truthfulness say I wouldn’t have read any one of them except for the Dead Un-Dead, because I think it was a cool, really out-there title. To see the titles these books were actually published as, scroll down when you’re done reading.

You can’t, apparently, trademark a  title. I found this out when I wrote my third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS ( which, BTW was the original working title of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and did a  search to see how many books with the same title there were (423). My second book I called THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. 366 other authors also called their works of fiction that. SO, how the heck can I can up with a title that (1) hasn’t been used before, and (2) will make the random reader interested in it enough to pick up the book and check it out? Again, no easy feat.

I used to make lists, pages of lists, with book titles. Even then, choosing just one was torture.

I’m so lame at coming up with my book titles I  left the naming of my second book in the Will Cook For Love Series from Lyrical/Shine to the editors. They came up with A SHOT AT LOVE. When you read the book you’ll know it’s the perfect title, but I didn’t have anything even close to that I was working with! Thank God for the people in the know who really really really know what they are doing.

Naming your book is an awful lot like naming your child. You want to give it something with character, essence, personification, and beauty. And your book, to the writer, is your baby, your child, your creation, so you don’t want to let it down by giving it a crummy moniker; one that will inspire ridicule and laughter. Honestly, I pity the poor children of celebrities who have been named after fruits, compass directions, and astrological projections. Sad.

See? You probably thought the title was the easiest thing to come up with.  I bet you didn’t know how hard it really was to name a book? Well…at least it is for me!

Here’s what the above titles were actually published as, and thank goodness they were!!!

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. 1984
  3. Dracula
  4. The Secret Garden
  5. All Quiet On the Western Front
  6. Portnoy’s Complaint
  7. Valley of the Dolls
  8. Lolita
  9. All the President’s Men
  10. The Red Badge of Courage

When I’m not agonizing over naming books, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

Since this is a 52 week blog hop challenge, here are some other authors who are also taking about how they name their books today. Stop by and check out their blogs.

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, First Impressions, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

My #word for 2017: #Compromise…

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Every year I take a theme or a word that epitomizes what I want to accomplish for the following 356 days. Last year, 2016, it was “the Year of YES.” Which basically meant I was going to be open to saying yes to things I usually knee-jerked a NO. A loud, emphatic, I don’t want to, NO!

It worked out pretty well. I did a bunch of stuff that I ordinarily would have shied away from or outright avoided. No one died. No one got maimed. And I didn’t have a stroke, heart attack, or lose my dignity.

Well….

Nevermind.

Anyway….

For 2017 I wanted to continue with the new, open, and willing to put myself out there mentality, so I’m going to be doing something I rarely– if ever– do. Compromise.

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The dictionary defines it this way: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

My definition is a little more specific in that I will be the one making the concessions. Again, something I rarely, if ever, do. I’ve come to realize after viewing the turmoil this country has found itself in politically, spiritually, and morally, that I like many people, do not often see both sides of an argument. We, and by we, I mean me, tend to form an opinion based on whatever information we happen to see, and then stick with it, oftentimes becoming loudly obnoxious and righteous in expressing that opinion.

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Not anymore. If’ I’ve learned anything in 2016 it’s that every argument and stand has at least 3 sides: mine, the other person’s and the — wait for it — compromise position between the two.

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In 2017 I vow to see that third option as many times as I can and to make the effort to come to compromises which will benefit all sides, not just only my own. When you know better you do better.

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Maturity, thy name is Margaret-Mary. ( let’s hope!)

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, community advocacy, First Impressions, Life challenges, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

The power of a blog hop…

Recently, I was privileged to be included in two Halloween Blog Hops, chock-filled with romance authors of every genre. Whenever an author is part of a blog hop, there is usually some kind of prize or giveaway attached to it – called a rafflecopter ( why? I don’t know!!) – where readers who visit the blog can get a chance to win prizes if they do certain things, such as  “Like” an author’s FB page, or “follow” them on Twitter. For one of the hops, my prizes were a free ecopy of my book FIRST IMPRESSIONS for two readers who responded to a question I put up in the blog post, plus I was involved in the bigger prizes of amazon gift cards.  One of the choices was to “follow” me on Twitter for a chance at a gift card. The day the blogs started I had roughly 600 follows on Twitter. Can I mention that I don’t even KNOW 600 people personally!! When the blog hop ended I had 1270 plus followers. This, my friends, is the power of social media…and bribery.

Now, when the hop officially ended and the prizes had been awarded, I was prepared to loose a few new followers. Let’s be honest, most probably FOLLOWED me because there was a prize involved and once it was paid, there was no need to continue with me.

But….

Several days after the hop ended I was still pleasantly surprised. I only “lost” 2 followers. Now, I may lose more as the days progress, but I am doing my darndest to hold on to them by blogging frequently, and by thanking them for the follows. I am not above pleading and whining, folks! If these new people decide they want to try me on as a new author, well, happy day!! The hop was worth it.

So, this, to me, is the power of social media, folks. Oh, and BTW my FB page followers tripled!!!

Gotta love an author holiday blog hop!!

When I’m not hopping around you can usually find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+

And don’t forget, my newest release, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS releases on 11/30!

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, First Impressions, Friends, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Apple Picking with Cleary’s – Snarkology Halloween Blog Hop

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Welcome to the 2016 SNARKOLOGY BLOG HOP! At the end of this post you’ll see a list of links you can click on to visit other authors participating in the great hop-event.

Fall in New England is a magical time. The leaves turn lawns into  a hodgepodge, chaos patchwork of colors. Jack-0-lanterns sit on doorsteps, cut into funny or scary or even artistic faces. There’s a brisk, crisp, and clear bite to the morning air. One of my favorite things about autumn, and especially autumn in New England, is apple picking. There are hundreds of family owned farms dotted in every town and there’s nothing more fun that a hayride up a mountainside to an orchard chock filled with delicious, sweet and tart apples.

We took my daughter every year of her life until she left for college. We’d pick our favorite apples, then bring them home and makes pies, can applesauce and jelly, and even used our juicer to make fresh apple juice. I have a picture of my daughter every year from ages 2-18 taken in our favorite town apple orchard.

I love apple picking so much, I just had to include a scene in my book FIRST IMPRESSIONS, where Padric Cleary takes Clarissa Rogers apple picking for the very first time in her life. If you look closely at the cover here, you can see they are in an orchard!firstimpressions_w9816_2_85-copy

Clarissa has had a sheltered life and never had an opportunity to do any fun-family type things growing up since she was raised by an elderly grandmother, whereas Pat’s life has been filled with his loving family and all sorts of adventures.

Here’s a little snippet of that scene:

“Come on. Let’s pick.”

They strolled along row after row of apple-laden trees, looking for the perfect additions to put in their pail. The fresh, pungent smell of the fruit ripening on the trees, the cool, subtle fall breeze billowing about them, even the riot of changing colors in the panorama of hills surrounding them, all had Clarissa thinking this was a perfect day. She wanted to memorize every part of it.

At one point, Pat pulled out his phone and said, “Let’s get a picture of your first time.” He pulled her in close and with the orchard framed behind them, held up the phone.

“A selfie? Really?” She laughed out loud. “How old are you?”

“Sixteen. Smile like you’re having fun and enjoying this.”

“I am,” she said, facing the camera and doing as he asked.

She heard the shutter click several times before he lowered the phone. “How many did you take?”

“A couple.” He played with the phone for a few seconds, then stuck it into his back pocket. “You need a few to get the perfect shot.”

This sweet encounter sets the tone for their relationship – Pat wants to introduce Clarissa to everything she missed out on growing up and he wants her to experience it all –  with him.

So, I have a question for you: what’s your favorite, fun, Fall thing to do? It can be anything from taking rides up the coastline and being a “leaf Peeper,” to apple picking, or even canning fruits and veggies. Place your favorite thing in the comment section below and on November 1, 2016 I’ll pick 2 winners to receive an e-copy (KINDLE) each of FIRST IMPRESSIONS.

And please, stop by the other authors participating in this blog. There’s a great story in each and every one of them, plus a chance on a rafflecopter prize! Here’s the link. Click on it and it will bring you to a landing page with all the other HOp Paricipants PLUS  the links to the rafflecopter prizes. And those are plenty!!!

Hop Authors and rafflecopter prizes

 

 

 

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, First Impressions, Friends, love, MacQuire Women, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

The Cleary House…ABA Halloween Blog Hop

 

halloween-hop1-680x863-1For this lovely Halloween Blog Hop, I wanted to give you a little view of how I envision the Cleary house from FIRST IMPRESSIONS. The book takes place in the Fall. Since the East Coast is so lovely this time of year, I simply had to set the plot in what many consider the most beautiful place to be in the autumn, namely, New England.

Seamus Cleary bought the rundown, abandoned farmhouse when he first came to Carvan, thirty years ago, and spared no expense restoring it. He found out from Serena  MacQuire that the farm was originally owned by the Johannsen family. When Mrs. Johannsen died, her husband was so grief stricken he wouldn’t let anyone take her body from the home. Serena’s mother, Alaina, was the one to convince him to do so. Ever since then, the house has stood vacant. The villagers in Carvan believe Mr Johannsen haunts the house – something Seamus wasn’t told when he purchased it! A native of Scotland, Seamus isn’t one to be bothered by the thoughts of ghosts and hauntings, though. This is the house he brought Serena to as a bride, and the one in which their 4 children grew up in.  In fact, twins Padric (FIRST IMPRESSIONS) and Moira (THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME) were born in the guest room because their parents couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough!

All my MacQuire Women stories take place in the fictional town of Carvan, Connecticut. Since FIRST IMPRESSIONS is an autumn story, I pictured the Cleary house as decorated for the season much like this:

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I can picture the 4 Cleary kids running around this farm in Halloween costumes, helping their mom give out the candy to the Trick-or-Treaters who come by, and generally just enjoying a childhood steeped in love and laughter.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS tells Padric  Cleary and Clarissa Rogers’ story.

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Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.

Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for “The One.” When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way.

Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?

I’ll be giving away 1 free e-copy ( from AMAZON) of FIRST IMPRESSIONS to a lucky winner who tells me this:

What Halloween candy was your favorite one to receive when you trick-or-treated as a kid?

Leave me your answer in the comments section of my blog post.

Have a wonderful, candy-filled Halloween, and don’t forget to visit the plethora of wonderful authors participating in this blog hop!

1. Casi McLean ~ A Haunting Halloween 2. Anna Durand ~ Spunk & Hunks
3. Claire Gem 4. Tena Stetler ~ Colorado Hauntings
5. Sorchia DuBois 6. Tricia Schneider
7. J. Rose Allister 8. Nell Castle
9. Jana Richards 10. Linda Nightingale ~ Wordsmith
11. Kayden Claremont ~ Tartan Temptation 12. Holland Rae
13. K.K. Weil 14. Peggy Jaeger
15. Maureen Bonatch 16. Jeannie Hall
17. Beth Caudill 18. Mary Morgan
19. Karen Michelle Nutt 20. Hywela Lyn ~ Romance That’s ‘Out Of This World’
21. Whitney Cannavina 22. Devon McKay
23. Starr Gardinier 24. Erin Bevan
25. Nancy S Reece 26. Kathryn Knight ~The Haunted Jail Haunting Halloween
27. Judy Davis ~ A Writer’s Revelations 28. Katie O’Sullivan
29. Darlene Fredette 30. Alicia Dean
31. Lisa DeVore

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, female friends, First Impressions, MacQuire Women, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized

Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop

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Growing up, I was a latch-key kid, a term almost extinct nowadays. Long before after school programs became the norm for most children of working parents, I would be discharged from school at 3 pm and be on my own until my parents came home at 7pm, every day from third grade until I was a teenager and got an after school job. This was my life. During the summer, though, I really couldn’t be left alone for up to 12 hours every day safely, so from the time I was in kindergarten until I turned 14, I was sent away every summer with my Grandmother.

My grandmother was a very hard, no-nonsense Irish immigrant who brokered no fools and ruled with that proverbial iron fist. I would accompany her every July and August to an upstate New York retreat owned by a good friend of hers. I learned to swim in the creek abutting the cabin we’d stay in, helped make breakfast, lunch and dinner for the guests staying at the main house, and generally spent the majority of the day on my own as my grandmother visited with her friends, played cards, and drank.

For an only child and loner who loved solitary pursuits like reading, this was nirvana.

 

This was the time before handheld technology ruled the world.

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No cell phones, no Kindles, no iPads or iPods. We listened to music on the radio, put coins into a pay phone to call people, and read actual books with pages you had to manually turn. And this was the time I learned to love romantic fiction. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time  during my 11th summer, sitting by a cool, bubbling creek, a canopy of trees above me. Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, Victoria Holt, just to name a few, became my constant companions during those long lonely summers. I learned a lot about writing, about romance, and about sex. Much more than my compadres at the time, at least.twrpbloghop2

 

I was hooked. Romantic fiction, and all genres of romance, became my summer companions. I’d take out 20 or more books from the library at one time, put them in a separate travel bag, and work my way through them during those 2 months away from home. It made the separation from my mother less painful and, having to deal with an alcoholic grandmother, much easier. I could drift away to the times of knights and ladies, lords and wenches. I learned about strict, moral codes of times gone by, and that no matter what the chronological time period, love always won in the end. Every book had a happily ever after, something my life did not. But I could hope…and I did.

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Those long, drowsy, warm summer days and nights with a book in my hands remain my favorite summer  memories to this day. I grew up reading about love, hoping for it to come into my own life when I was grown.

And it did….

For other Authors Participating in the Wild Rose Blog Hop, click here:

1.
Sorchias Wild Rose Summer Treats Post | Visit blog
2.
RV Memory | Visit blog
3.
Tricia Schneider | Visit blog
4.
Anna Durands Spunk & Hunks | Visit blog
5.
Judy Ann Davis Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
6.
Spicy Summer Treats with Mia Downing | Visit blog
7.
Linda Nightingale. . . Wordsmith | Visit blog
8.
Jana Richards – Journeys with Jana | Visit blog
9.
Summer Memories of books well read @ Peggy jaeger. com | Visit blog
10.
Summer on Cape Cod ~ Kathryn Knight books | Visit blog
11.
Summer Fun at the Beach, with Katie OSullivan | Visit blog
12.
I Believe Ill Go Canoeing – C. B. Clark | Visit blog
13.
Summertime Love is Sweeter with. . . Frozen Mango? @ Kimberly Keyes blog |Visit blog
14.
Wild Rose Summer Treats Blog Hop @ Brendas Blog | Visit blog
15.
Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
16.
Midsummer Magic on the Isle of Skye! | Visit blog
17.
My Guilty Summer Treats from Lori Sizemore | Visit blog
18.
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
19.
Hywela Lyns post for the WRP Summer Treats and Reads Blog Hop | Visit blog
20.
Wild Rose Press Summer Treats & Reads | Visit blog
21.
Camping is a Recipe for Summer Treats and Reads | Visit blog
22.
The Snarkology | Visit blog
23.
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Anni Fife. Exciting new author of Steamy Romance with Irresistible Heroes | Visit blog
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Summer Vacation, Victorian-Style, AND a Giveaway | Visit blog
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Wildfires, Monsoons, and Mojitos – Author Susabelle Kelmer shares how she keeps cool in a climate that is on fire! | Visit blog
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Cool Summer Reads: Jeannie Halls Romantic Suspense Blog – Where Hearts Tremble From More Than Attraction | Visit blog
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 My most recent book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS.

Blurb:

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, female friends, First Impressions, Life challenges, Literary characters, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Lessons I’ve learned about being a published author.

I found out my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, had been contracted for publication while I was attending the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, TX. Shocked, thrilled, and terrified, I thought the hard part – finding someone willing to publish my novel – was over.

Yeah, not so much.

Lesson one: it’s not over when you type THE END. It’s just the beginning…

the end

After I signed on the dotted line, the real work began. I’d been published for years in literary fiction anthologies and in non-fiction magazines and periodicals. The literary magazines accepted the work as is, the non-fiction articles were sometimes reworked and refined by editors to allow for spacing considerations. My point is that it was someone else’s job to get the piece publishing presentable.

Not anymore. Welcome to the world of book fiction.

Lesson two : the hard work starts after you contract for publication…

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My first book went through 3 rounds of edits between my editor and myself before it was sent to galleys for actual publication. And even after it went out to the copy editor, there were still some changes that needed to be made. I was ready to rip my hair out at one point. All I kept thinking as more and more edit suggestions came my way was, “Why the heck did they want this if it needs so much work??”

Lesson three: Editors are the most underrated and undervalued people on the publishing food chain…

the end3

All editors are good at their job – they have to be. But the ones who are truly great make a good book even better. They find the little twists and turns of a phrase, or a word change, or a sentence deletion that is key to making the reader want to read more.

My editor is one of the great ones.

Lesson four: you should have taken marketing classes in college…

I will admit this freely – I was unbelievably naïve when I signed that first contract. I thought the publisher was going to do all the marketing necessary to promote my book, get it on a best-seller list, and generally skyrocket me to fame.

Yeah, AGAIN, not so much!

The minute your book is contracted and the editing begins, you need to start promoting it. Often and everywhere. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, blog tours, newspaper press releases, your Aunt Maimie’s bridge club. Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can, so that when you finally have a release date, the buzz about the book will have started, grown to fever pitch and resulted in so many pre-orders your head spins.

Lesson five: before the first book hits the shelves you’d better be working on, or done with, book #2…the end5

As a writer you can never – NEVER – rest on your laurels. It is a true axiom of publishing: you are only as good as your next book. So while you are doing all that dreaded marketing, take time each day and write…write…write. I had book two on my editor’s desk before book one was released. Same for book 3. Keep ‘em coming.

Lesson six: you need to take time to breathe and enjoy…

 Yes, I was overwhelmed, naïve, frustrated and generally anxious with the release of my first book. But I was also thrilled at having my dream – finally – come true. It was a long road for me to book publication. I was 54 years old when the first one came out, a time when most people are starting to look toward the end of their working life. Not me. Mine was just beginning and I wanted to savor every moment of how it felt to hold my first book in my hands; see my name in print on the cover of a book I’d penned; sign my first autograph on a copy someone had actually paid cash-money for! Don’t let anything ever take away or overwhelm you from that sense of wonderful, soul-soaring achievement you’ve accomplished.

the end 4

My fourth book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS was released on March 11. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed this time because I knew the basics. Promotion and marketing were all lined up and ready to go, I pre-ordered by print copies so I had them ready, and a book signing was waiting for me.

But the anticipation, the soul-empowering elation of having a book actually published was as spine tingling and heart-stopping as with that first one. And I think it will continue to be that way each and every time.

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Family Saga, First Impressions, Life challenges, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Lifetime Student

 

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Those of you who know me – either personally or through my writings in this blog – know that I lovelove love to learn new things and that I am a lifelong student of writing: techniques, story building, plotting, and grammar, just to name a few. I simply love to learn new things related to writing in all its aspects. My personal writing library has over 100 books on subjects of plotting and structure, dialogue,  character traits, etc. I refer to many of them whenever I am starting a new book or even when I a looking for guidance with a problem I incur during writing.

Writing technique books are it for me, but I also live to go to writing conferences. My goal is always to learn at least one new thing at a conference and so far, that number has grown exponentially with each new conference I attend.

The reason I mention this lifetime and lifelong love of learning is because my New England chapter of RWA is hosting such a writing worshop/conference this month. An Editorial Director at Carina Press, Angela James, is presenting her wonderful  BEFORE YOU HIT SEND class for writers of all genres. You can click on the SPECIAL EVENTS toggle at the NWRWA website for details and to register, here:  NHRWA

I have taken this class twice before: one at a New England RWA conference and once on-line. Both times I learned something I hadn’t learned the time before. Nowadays, with the publishing industry changing by the second, and editors pressed for time to find the next big author, if you are a writer, you MUST, absolutely MUST submit a manuscript that is professionally polished and worthy of a complete read-through. I have been to too many conference talks to count with editors and agents who persistently and consistently only read the first page of a submission and if there is any kind of mistake ( typo, wrong grammar use, poor tense) their reading stops at the end of that page. We all want to make the best first impression we can, and  unfortunately, your first impression is usually a query letter and/or a few pages of your manuscript. If there is anything that stands out and makes you look like an amateur, it is poor spelling, grammar, and sloppy writing.

Angela James’ class BEFORE YOUR HIT SEND tells you how to avoid and prevent all those pesky problems, how to correct them when they do occur, and how to get your  manuscript as ready and as polished as it can be for an editor or agent’s eyes. You only get one shot to make a favorable first impression (What a great title for a book, btw!). Do you want to take the chance a professional will simply disregard your writing because it is riddled with mistakes? Mistakes that could have been prevented and corrected before you hit that send button?

I hope you join my chapter for this wonderful conference. If you do one thing this year to make yourself a better writer, this will be it.

Self-Editing Workshop with Angela James

Saturday, May 21, 2016

9am – 4pm

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire

James_pixJoin Angela James, editorial director of Harlequin’s Carina Press and developmental editor of New York Times Bestselling authors Shannon Stacey, Lauren Dane and Jaci Burton, for a day-long workshop covering ideas, tips, tricks and lessons for polishing and self-editing your manuscript.

Topics include: point of view, passive vs. active voice, show don’t tell, formalizing your manuscript, and more!

Spend the night at a special rate and have use of our meeting room for quiet self-editing/writing Sunday morning to put all you learned into practice before you head back on the road.

Conference Schedule

Saturday, May 21, 2016

  • 7:30am – 9:00am:  Check-in/Registration
  • 9:00am – 4:00pm: Workshop & Buffet Lunch

Sunday, May 21, 2016

  • Morning:  (OPTIONAL) Meeting room will be open for attendees to use for quiet self-editing/writing time.

Registration Information

  • Regular Registration for NHRWA members (3.1.16 – 4.30.16) = $90
  • Regular Registration for non-NHRWA members (3.1.16 – 4.30.16) = $100
  • Late Registration for ALL (5.1.16 – 5.14.16) = $110

Registration includes the following:

  • Admission to the Before You Hit Send workshop.
  • Saturday lunch buffet & afternoon snack.

Ready to Register?

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, First Impressions, Life challenges, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Truth in Fiction…good or bad?

Yesterday I visited my lovely and talented Wild Rose Press sistah Angela Hayes with a blog piece about reality. Well, it was my reality, really. I wrote a piece about the birth of my daughter, the accident I’d had on the day she was due and how I used that little piece of reality to drive the plot of my new book The Voices of Angels.

This got me to thinking…how much personal information is too much when you’re using it as a springboard to your fiction?

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Case in point. Using one of my books again, First Impressions, I wrote a simply heartwrenching scene about the death of a much-loved family pet. It took me three days to write because every time I sat down to do it, I started bawling. My editor even wrote me after reading it to tell me she thought it might be too emotional for readers and might turn them off to reading the rest of the book.  She thought I might want to temper it a little. I had to give that some serious, serious pondering and consideration time. In the end, I left the scene written as I had originally for two reasons. 1.) I knew that any reader who had a pet could and would sympathize with the feelings the heroine was experiencing from the death, and 2.) my own 18-year-old cat had recently died, so I knew every emotion I wrote was real and raw. Just this week I had someone I know who’s read the book tell me they were bawling their eyes out on a beach on vacation when they read that part. I asked how did they really feel about the scene. Did it turn them off? Make them not want to read ahead? And was told “I kept imagining my own cat dying. The scene was so real! I felt every emotion Clarissa did. I finished the book that night!”

Manna from heaven to a writer.

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Now, I’d never use something grossly personal about myself or someone I know in my writing – too much potential embarrassment, not to mention lawsuits, could come of  doing that. But there have been things have had happened in my life that I will slip into a scene or a plot. I think in some way doing this lends more credibility to the work. Truth in fiction stories always seem to grab me by the throat and not let go until I finish the book.

truth

So, writer friends….how much is too much reality for your fiction? Truth in fiction…good, or bad? Let’s discuss….

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, First Impressions, Life challenges, Literary characters, MacQuire Women, research, Romance, Romance Books, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor