Tag Archives: #amblogging #AuthorPromo

Social Media and the Quest for Name Recognition…

That’s a wordy title, but it’s an accurate one for what I’ve been mulling over lately.

I’m a household name. In MY household…no other. This is tantamount to the Kiss of Death for a writer, because no one is going to read your books if they don’t know who the heck you are.

True ‘dat, right?

In the past, publishers have had entire teams of people who diligently took steps to make sure their writers’ names were recognized easily. Marketing campaigns, publicity tours, multi-city book signings. Any and every effort the team could get the author’s name to be recognized by the general book reading public was made. With the advent of less traditional publishing avenues, most of the tried and true publishers now are only moving their advertising dollars toward their already recognizable, big-name, authors.

What’s the relatively unknown writer to do?

I’m traditionally published by two presses, Kensington/Lyrical Shine and The Wild Rose Press. Both love their authors, make no mistake about that. They are in the business of selling books and they need authors to  achieve their goal. But taking a chance on a relatively new author  – and by chance I mean throwing advertising and marketing dollars  behind them to promote them – is something both of them are reluctant to do. In the WRP case, they do minimal to no marketing for their authors – the authors and the other writers associated with the company do the bulk share of getting the word out  about a new book release. Lyrical Shine has a marketing department, but with so many authors on their docket, those dollars are stretched thin.

So, what’s an author like me – unknown, no advertising or marketing background – to do, you ask?
Well, of course I’ll tell ya.

When my first book was scheduled for publication I frantically tried to learn whatever I could about marketing and how to promote myself on a nearly non-existent budget. It was hard, peeps. Real hard.

I joined TWITTER, had my best friend set-up my WEBSITE, and made a Facebook Professional Page. I didn’t go out and employ any book-tour companies via the web because I didn’t know they existed back then!!! I garnered several hundred new followers from all this, but it wasn’t enough to make me more well known as an author ( and you know that ultimately means – no sales!)

When the second and third books rolled around and were ready to be published, I had discovered on-line book tours, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM, and Goodreads.

I got even more followers and saw a tiny uptick in sales, so a good thing, but still, my name is not showing up on any bestseller lists, or on any “Watch for the next book from this fab author” lists.

By the time I got my Lyrical contract, I had joined Triberr, BookBub,  and  Google + and started entering more and more contests. My thought was if I finaled in any of them, that will introduce my name to more people. If I, GOD-PLEASE! – won any of them,  my name and my work would be more accessible and known.

Haven’t won any yet, but have finaled in a bunch, so that’s a positive thing, right?

My first book was published in 2015. Since then, 3 years later, I’ve got 2,260 Twitter followers, 1343 people on my FB author account, on Triberr I have a personal reach of 183K and on BookBub I have 281 followers.

Now, those numbers are…okay. But they need to be waaaaaaaaaaay more to have any kind of impact on the romance reading world.

So…

I have a favor to ask ( you saw that coming, didn’t you?!)

If you aren’t already following me across my media, please take this opportunity to do so. At the end of most of my blog pieces I usually list all my Social Media sites and beg, er, ask you to find me. Well, please continue to do that, but could you also please follow me? Here’s the list:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

And if you are already following me across my SM sites – #BLESSYOU and #ILOVEYOU

It’s so humbling to beg!

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press

A first for me….

Recently, I penned my very first Sweet romance. ( I hate the new industry term clean romance because it makes all the others sound  a little….dirty. Just saying. ) Can I just tell you how hard ( no pun!) it was for me to write that story, sans sex? And it wasn’t only the lack of sex that was difficult to leave out. It was the fact I couldn’t curse, and had to convey desire in ways that didn’t detail any kind of sexual physical reaction. You know: nipples hardening ( and other things!).

I have to admit it wasn’t easy. But it was a great exercise in writing because I had to figure out other ways to show the h/h were falling in love.

In the June 2018 edition of Romance Writers Report, Stacey Donovan, the director of Hallmark Publishing ( yes, that Hallmark!) and Rhonda Merwarth, a freelance acquisitions editor for Hallmark, wrote a detailed and valuable article titled,  Fifty Ways to Show the Spark Without the heat about how to show chemistry between your characters while keeping it “chaste.”

Some of the best tips mentioned were:

1.Finding a quirk or flaw that endears one character to another. I love this tip because we all know there are weird and quirky things about our lovers that we simply adore.

2.An increased heart rate. This can be described or shown in so many ways, that I can’t believe it isn’t one of my regualr go-tos!

3.Disclosing something private or vulnerable to another. Lovelovelove this!! Can you see how valuable this is in building trust and allowing someone “in?”

4.taking extra care with grooming before meeting someone. Again, the heroine changes 16 times before she meets the hero for — whatever! The hero realizes his hair is in bad need of a barber. Clothing selection is key, too.

5. A grand gesture to demonstrate love. Le sigh. Don’t we all simply adore a grand gesture?? Think about the guy in the movie LOVE ACTUALLY who showed up at Kiera Knightly’s door and was holding all the cur cards. Or John Cusak with a boom box over his head.

6.Flushed cheeks/mouth going dry/ prolonged eye contact without words. All signify desire and want without throbbing, pulsing, or lengthening descriptions.

7. A brush of fingers, accidental at first, then purposeful. Can we just say, Pride and Prejudice?

You may think these things sound trite, but believe me, when you’re used to writing about body parts thrumming, cores quaking, and certain areas of the body growing….damp, these little examples are gems.

I actually had to dig deep and remember what it felt like to fall in love. Hey, what can I say: it’s been a while. I’ve known and loved my husband for 2/3 of my life and my memory isn’t what it used to be, peeps. When I explored the way I FELT  falling in love with him, it was easier to picture any and all of the sensations mentioned in the article happening. And if I could experience it, so could my characters.

It will be interesting to see if my readers appreciate this physically scaled-down version of my romance writing. I’ll keep you posted once the book is released into the world.

Until then, you can find me here, where I’ll be writing about body parts doing…interesting things once again.Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

A new day…a busy week…a hectic life

My life has been a bit…on the constant go…of late. A new book release, a new audio book release, edits for my Christmas release, an author appearance, and two virtual book tours. All in the past 2 weeks. Plus, all the social media promotion involved in each and every one of those things so I can get the word out my work and, you know….make a living! HeeHee. Add in the book reviews I need to get done for Netgalley and then the 3 personal friend reviews I’ve been asked to do for soon-to-be-released books AND the judging I need to get done for a romance writing contest I’m involved in, and…Yikes!!

When I set out to write full time three years ago after the publication of my first book, I thought I’d spend my days happily inventing new characters and situations that would bring them together, pull them apart, and then reconnect them for their HEA. And I have done that, don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved every millisecond of being able to devote myself to writing.

But….

It’s all the OTHER stuff that goes along with wanting to be a published author that’s starting to make my life a little harried. Strained. Busy. Swamped. You get the idea.

 

The social media stuff alone is mind boggling at times. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I’m actually grateful for my menopause insomnia because I’m typically awake and out of bed by 3:30 every morning. From the moment after I get myself situated with a cup of tea, I’m at my desk, posting my SM stuff for the day through the scheduling app HOOTSUITE. There’s even a group of other insomniac writers like me on Twitter  with the Hashtag (#) 5amwritersclub. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone when the rest of the nation is still slumbering!

If I was a million-seller author by now, I’d have a publicist and a media consultant do all this for me. Can you imagine how much writing work I could done in those 3 hours in the middle of the night every day? I can tell you how much: my first book was written between the hours of 1 am and 3 am for 3 solid months when I first hit menopause and was afflicted with this sleeping disturbance. Now that I’m a seasoned writer and edit as I go, I could turn out another book every 45 days just by writing during the hours I am usually doing the media stuff! Mind boggling!

There’s an old saying that, if you want to get something done in a hurry, give it to a busy person. While that may be true more times than not, it also makes the busy person feel overwhelmed, stressed, and – in my case – sleep deprived.

And I just realized how this sounds like I’m a whining 3 year old. I’m not ( well, maybe just a titch!) Before the advent of social media ruling the world, I really wonder how authors did it. How did they get the word out effectively about their work? How did they get new readers? Who helped them?

All questions that will, for now, remain unanswered, as I need to go and schedule today’s posts.

And if you’re looking for me, here’s where I am ( see? I told you I was busy!! Heehee)

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

 

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges

#MFRWauthor How I celebrate completing my manuscripts…

Is there an author alive who doesn’t love the words THE END? Who doesn’t get excited and thrilled and relieved and a swelled ego at finishing something as monumental as a fully-formed book? Well, yes, there is.

Me.

Let me ‘esplain it to you Lucy.

As everyone knows by the now, the title of my website is Writing is my Oxygen. This is because to me, if I don’t write everyday I feel like I die a little inside, just like if I didn’t have air to breathe, I’d die. So when I’m writing a new book I feel alive, energized, filled with positivity and purpose. I literally live and breathe my characters, their story, go through all their trials, tribulations, conflicts and dilemmas. When the story is complete, the resolution, well, resolved,  and the h/h have their HEA, I feel elated. For about an hour. Then I get sad and morose because these people who I’ve lived, breathed, and loved for months no longer need me.

Le sigh….

So, instead of celebrating with a bottle of wine or the purchase of a spa day, I tend to do what I do all the time when I am sad. I emotionally eat.

Gorge, really.

Like, really.

Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies by the truck load

Hershey’s kisses by the case.

Iced Cream Cheese pastries.

Anything and everything chocolate I can get my hands on.

It’s kinda sad and wicked gross.

When the sugar high wears off ( because eventually it does) and my pants are so tight again no amount of gym-trecking can really help, I step back ( okay, waddle back, if we’re being honest!) and evaluate the situation. In due time I realize I need to suck it up. Like my daughter no longer needs me for guidance, thoughts, or emotional counseling because she’s a grown ass woman, my characters no longer need me, either. When this epiphany happens I usually do double workouts at the gym ( pastries, you know?), drink buckets of water to flush the sugar from my system, and then………look for new characters and plot lines that need me.

Thus, the life of a writer.

Since this is a blog hop, some of the other authors in this series probably celebrate in much more constructive and fun ways than I do at the completion of a manuscript. Check them out.

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#MFRWauthor blog challenge: What I’ve learned from my worst review…

There’s an old saying: reviews are like_______; everybody has one.

Now, if you’re like me the word you wrote on that line was one I really can’t use in a public blog, heehee, but it rhymes with ashmoles. The word that I’m replacing it with is opinions. Think about it. Everyone has an opinion about something, and a book review is really just the person who’s writing the review’s opinion on the work. Like in every day life, some people agree with you, some people do not. It’s the same for reviews.

I’ve read glowing, absolutely the best book you will read all year reviews on books I truly thought were horrible.

I’ve also read soul sucking, pass this one by people reviews on books I lovedlovedloved.

It’s all a matter of opinion. Unfortunately, in the business I now find myself in of writing and publishing, those opinions can mean the difference between a month of good book sales and one of disaster. I have  strong ego. Truly. Ask anyone who knows me. It takes an awful lot to rip me down emotionally and lay me bare, so reviews never hurt me or my feelings. I know not every book is for everyone because I know not every book is for me. The reviews I take exception to are the ones that were written by mean spirited, jealous little trolls who you know didn’t even finish the book because their reviews were full of mistakes and incorrect plotline summations. Trogdelytes who’ve never written a word of fiction, painted a picture with a well formed sentence, or won an award for ANYTHING, much less writing. Pissants who can’t put a constructed thought on the page in a way that conveys meaning to anyone reading it. Morons who……

Okay, so rant over. Sorry about that. Back to  the topic.

What I learned from the worst review I ever received was to laugh it off. I wrote a Valentine’s day story a few years back called 3 WISHES. The story was about CHLOE and MATT. I put their names in caps so you’ll remember them when I tell you this quick synopsis story of the review.

In the book, CHLOE AND MATT are the hero and heroine. I had a subtle subplot revolving around Chloe’s parents ( Francesca and Joey) and an affair Joey had that forced him to leave his family. Did you read the word subplot in the last sentence? I used Joey’s defection from the family as a way to introduce who Matt really was in the story and how he connected to Chloe. A reviewer on Goodreads rated my story a 1 ( A 1!!!) and said I wrote the wrong book. The story of the parents was where the real emphasis should have gone.

Look up the word stunned in the dictionary and you will see a picture of my face when I read that review.


                                           (Not really my face!! heehee)

But, Really? I could understand if the chick didn’t like the story, but to tell me, THE AUTHOR, that I’d written the wrong one? Really? When I could speak again I wanted to write the hag– I mean the reader– a letter saying if she thought I’d written the wrong story then she should go ahead and write the one she wanted to read, because 3 WISHES was ALWAYS CHLOE and MATT’S story. Always.  And just FYI, the individual who wrote that I penned the wrong story is not a writer herself. I never wrote the letter. There was no need to. Once people who had read the book got a gander at that review, it kinda instigated a little reviewer backlash against the chick, primed with vile slings and arrows aimed straight at her.

God, I lovelovelove my readers!!!!! The ones who will defend me, lay down their literary swords for me, and take on the trolls. They are, simply, the best.

So, again, back to the main point here. What I learned from the worst review I ever got was to laugh off the negativity, leave the person in God’s hands, and delight in the fact that I’m getting paid to live my dream life while that bad reviewer….isn’t. ( those of you who know me know I could have gone bat-shit crazy with that last sentence, but I refrained from doing to. Proud of me? heehee)

Sine this is a blog hop made up of AUTHORS who have all probably had at least 1 bad review, hop on over to their sites and read their posts for today.

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#Research…a necessary evil or funfunfun to do?

I love trivia. The more arcane or weird an item of info is, the better for me. When TRIVIAL PURSUIT first burst onto the world stage in the 1980’s no one wanted to play against me. Le sigh…..

Because I like knowing weird trivia facts, I lovelovelove research. My characters are all over the map with regards to their careers and knowledge bases. I’ve had doctors, veterinarians, tv producers, writers, lawyers, and artists, just to name a few. And for every book and different career choice, I’ve had to do a little research to ensure I was staying true to not only the character, but how their career fit in with the plot line.

Some of my favorite pieces of info that I learned from researching my books are:

  1. a cow has 4 stomachs
  2. the gestation period for a horse is 11-12 months
  3. a Coroner doesn’t have to be a medical doctor.
  4. the first digital camera was invented and used in 1975
  5. milk chocolate tempers between 87 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. White chocolate is really a chocolate derivative made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids
  7. the basic cake recipe for almost every baker is simple to easy.

Writers need to get things right in their work. In the past, publishers had fact checkers to make sure when an author added a piece of info into their story it was correct. Not so much anymore. But now, with the information needed at our fingertips, anyone can and should be a fact checker simply by using Google.

There are two reasons I am so anal about research. One is from a writing viewpoint, the other as a reader. A few years ago I read a book by a very well known and well paid romance writer who said that the hero was wearing Bausch and Lomb Blue colored contact lenses. At the time, I was a contact lens technician and KNEW B&L made no such lens. As a reader I was disappointed in the writer and the publisher for not fact checking that. (FYI, B&L now does make a blue colored lens in their disposable brand of lenses. Back when this book was written, they did not and would not for several years.)

The personal reason I am such a devout researcher has to do with my first book. It was about an ice skater who’d won  2 Olympic gold medals. When I was describing her winning routine, I spelled the move she made as A-X-L-E. Now, I skated for decades myself, but never knew the word when used in this skating context was spelled A-X-E-L. An agent I’d sent the manuscript to also happened to be an ice skater on the side. When she saw how I’d misspelled the word, she wrote me back that she never read the rest of the book because that mistake questioned my credibility as a writer of the subject to her. Lesson learned. The hard way.

So, research. Fun or tiresome? You already know my answer.

Since this is a blog hop, lets see what the other authors have learned from their book research:

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, Lyrical Author, MFRWauthor, Newsletter, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

My Cinderella Story; #MFRWAuthorBlogChallenge

I wasn’t relegated to sweeping, dusting, cooking, and being a house-maid, and I didn’t have a magical fairy godmother (just a wonderful editor-godmom), but my road to publication started with a contest and ended with a contract.

In the end of 2014 I entered the first romance writing contest of my life. I’d written my first romance novel and wanted to see if it had any chance of being published traditionally. I loved the book but I wasn’t sure anyone else would and I entered the contest, basically, for feedback. The contest called for the first three chapters, so that’s what I sent. And then, I simply forgot about it. I was still working full time, menopause was kicking my chubby tush, and I was uber busy in my personal life.

Four months after entering, I received an email from the contest chairperson telling me I’d won my division. Included in the email were my scores by the various judges and comments they’d made. Once the shock at winning wore off, I read all the comments and felt like I had a shot a getting published. A day later another email arrived from Rhonda Penders, the publisher of the Wild Rose Press. She was the final judge for my entry. She wrote that she’d liked what she’d read and asked if I had a completed manuscript. Boy, did I! Could I send it along to her? Boy, could I! So I did.

Two months after that I received another email from the editor Ms. Penders had assigned the book to, to be read. Condensed version here of the story : they were offering me a contract to publish.

When I scraped myself off the floor and stopped crying, I said YES. And that’s how my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, came into the book reading world.

Three years later and I’ve had 11 books published and have just signed 2 contracts for 5 more in the next 2 years.

Story-book ending much? Yeah. Big-time!

Since this is a blog hop, hop on over to these other authors to get their  contest experiences.

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, MacQuire Women, MFRWauthor, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

Why I love a #holidayRomance

So. There are probably going to be hundreds of blogs written in the next month by romance writers much more talented than I am about why we all love a holiday romance.

Be it a Hallmark movie, or a new theatrical wide-release Holiday RomCom, or even the plethora of new Christmas love stories that invade our Netgalley listings and Amazon review sites every year.

 

But, just why do we love a Holiday Romance story sosososo much? Valentine’s Day is the day devoted to Cupid and love. And yes, there have been a few movies and books devoted to that amorous day.

HeeHee – shameless plus!

But by and large, a Christmas themed romance book or movie just does — overall- better than any released at Valentine time.

Why?

I’m sure there are any number of reasons, but I’ve got a few of my own that I’d like to share.

First, the holidays tend to bring out the best in most of us. Oh, I know there are crabby, grumpy Scrooges out there – some I even know personally! And I’m not negating the people who suffer from depression, which can be heightened at this time of year. But overall, we collectively are happier during the holidays. And because we’re happier I think that tends to open our hearts up to the possibility of finding love. A Happy heart is an open heart, as a famous jewelry company keeps telling us!

Second is the Christmas Wish/Gift list. Most adults don’t physically write this list down on paper like they did as children. They tend to construct and keep it in their heads. And I just bet on every single man and woman’s mental wish list is a dream to meet the person of their, well, dreams. The guy or gal who will become their life partner. Their soulmate. And books and movies postulate that wishes and dreams DO come TRUE, so….

Third, Christmas Romance stories and movies all end HAPPILY. Like any good romance writer or romantic scriptwriter will tell you, you’ve got to make your characters go through hell and high water to achieve that everlasting love. As a romance reader myself – and not just a writer – I know that the more angst, turmoil, and tragedy the characters are put through, the more I root for them to wind up together in the end. I know what the ending will wind up being when I go it. It’s the journey I’m there to watch and read. And who doesn’t love a Happily Ever After ending?? Especially during the holidays!

Lastly, I always view the holidays as a time of rebirth. Sure, it’s Jesus’ birthday, and we should celebrate it like one, but for me, spiritually, it’s a time of rebirth, reorganization, and recognizing all the gifts I have. And  those gifts – the most precious ones – are the loves of my life! So, a holiday love story – whether it’s a finding a new love , or a retelling of an everlasting love, warms our hearts and make us just feel good.

I know there are oodles more reasons why Holiday romances sell well and touch our hearts, but to me, finding love and keeping it is the best!


I encourage everyone to see a new holiday love story this year and to read a new Christmas Romance novel. And as another shameless plug, I’ll offer mine up, here:

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

 

Click here for a preview: A Kiss

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#Previews #Reviews and #Links, OH MY!

So, in my NEVER ENDING attempt to learn new things and make it easier for people to review, preview, and actually BUY my books ( heehee) I have once again updated my website. You can now Read PREVIEWS of my books before you decide you want to buy them, and you can also Read REVIEWS of the books without having to go look for them.

Let me ‘esplain.

This is the MENU for my website, located on the landing page, in the header.

Click on MY BOOKS.

Once there you will see a listing of all my current, in publication, and available books for purchase with the current one first.

Just scroll down to the bottom of each picture and you will see this:

 

Click on the link you want. The previews are generated from Amazon and most offer the first chapter, some up to the end of chapter 2, which I think is pretty cool. I know myself before I buy a book by an author I’m not familiar with, I want to read the first few pages before I commit to purchasing. I’ll bet most people want to do that as well since money is a little tighter these days.

So. Once again, the learning curve steepens.

I have this recurring dream/wish/desire/want(!) that I will hit a national bestseller list and actually be able to HIRE an assistant to do all this stuff. One who actually KNOWS how. Yeah, I know what they say about wishes…..

Le sigh.

If you want to find me, here’s where I hang out: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking

Let me brag for a minute…..

I hate doing this….braggin’ on myself. I wanted to write about my daughter and her first marathon but I already did that. So, I decided to brag on the one piece of good professional news I’ve gotten lately.

I came in 3rd place in the long contemporary category in the 2017 Pages from the Heart Contest.

YAY, me!

The last 2 times I entered an unpublished piece in this contest I  finaled as well and both those books went on to be published by Kensington/Lyrical Shine: Cooking with Kandy and A Shot at love ( which was originally titled Gemma’s Greek.)

The book that came in third this year is book 1 in my new Bridal series, so if history runs true to form…….you can finish that thought because I’m afraid if I say it’s gonna get published I’ll jinx it…

Duh! I just jinxed it!

Let’s see what the other authors in this #MFRWauthor blog hop have to brag on….

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, MFRWauthor, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women