Tag Archives: Blog Hop

Story inspiration; #MFRWauthors #BlogChallenge Week 14

 

Everywhere I look I find inspiration for stories. It doesn’t take a great deal of action or thought on my part, actually. I’m a naturally nosey person and I tend to eavesdrop on conversations that don’t involve me; watch strangers interact with people when I’m shopping; I even pay attention to how people react with one another when I’m on line in the grocery store. Little snippets of conversation, a careless wave of a hand while someone is speaking, and I’ve got a story jarring to be told shooting forth from the back of mind.

Like I said, I’m nosey. Not in your face ask you a million questions nosey and annoying, but I’m the kind of person people – strangers – talk to. I’ve got “that kind of face” I guess. Really, I could talk to a rock if I needed to. And it would probably answer back. This makes me sound like a harpy or a gossip, but I’m not. I don’t go forward and seek information from people – it is divulged to me willingly and without my asking. And just BTW, I’m that gal who people trust with secrets. So…just saying.

So, my writing process starts with people. I see people ( Now I sound like an M. Night Shamylan movie!), I watch them, and I build stories around them. Character always always always comes first. My husband has commented – frequently, I’ll add- that I tend to stare at people when we’re out in public, like at a restaurant or when we’re traveling. Some of my most influential character descriptions have evolved from watching how people behave when they’re on an airport check-in line. Think about the last time you traveled and were waiting….waiting…..waiting on that check-in — and then the security — line. You will see all kinds of human behavior just chockful of character insights.

So. First I see a person, imagine them as a character, then give them an imaginative ( my imagination) background. From there, a plot will form.

Here’s a quick example – and this really did happen. I was mall shopping one day and decided to have lunch so I hightailed it to the mall Pizzeria Uno. Love their grilled chicken salad. But I digress… As I was waiting for my lunch to arrive my eyes took a tour of the other lunch patrons. I saw this: 3oish man and woman across from me. Their body language said they were involved in some kind of an argument – he kept drumming his fingers on the table, she was looking down at her drink, a scowl on her face. They were dressed in business casual, so I assumed they were on a working lunch break. Here’s the snippet of conversation that drifted my way once my salad came:

Him: you need to deal with this. Today. Don’t waste any more time.

Her: Stop pressuring me. I’ll get it done. Just back off, will ya?

Him: Stop being such a bitch about it and just take care of.

So. What did I learn from this conversation? Nothing, really. But my mind went into hyperspace and overdrive at all the options available. Was she a whistle blower? Was he a corrupt banker? Was she pregnant and he was her baby daddy and her boss? Her married boss? Were they doing something illegal? Immoral? Unethical? Dangerous?
See? This is how my mind works.

Now, in all reality, they could have been a young married couple who were still waiting to get their cable television system installed and he was getting mad she hadn’t called the cable company to light a fire under their installing asses. Who knows?
My point is, this is how my writing process works: see a person, imagine them as a character, devise a back story and then a plot for them.

Easy peasy, right?
Yeah…not so much. But it is fun people watching!

 

Since this is a BLOG HOP, click on the titles/names of the authors below to find out what their writing process if like. You put 1,000 writers in the same room and you’ll get 1,000 different responses!

11 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Romance, Strong Women

Words that make me go “ick”; #Mfrwauthor #52WeekBlogChallenge

badge-blog-challenge-updated

I could write a dictionary here, folks. Truly.

Okay. Words have power.

words1

Anyone who’s ever been bullied or taunted as a child ( or even adult) knows this in their soul. Words can spear you straight through the heart, cut you off at the knees, and slice into your gut.

 

Late comic George Carlin made a million bucks doing a routine called the 7 Dirty Words. In 1972, he said these 7 words in a comedy club, forever immortalizing them:

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

It is now 2017.  45 years later than when Carlin first spoke those words in public. Since that time, society has shifted in what it deems inappropriate language use. Even just a few years ago you wouldn’t hear commercial television characters uttering anything worse than an occasional “Crap!” as an invective or a curse. In a recent show on NBC, I heard two characters say the second and last words above before the first commercial break.  Cable television has no such restrictions on language and I can tell you truthfully, I have heard every one of the above words – and a few more I hate – said without a flinch by the actors.

words3

In America, we live by the law of freedom of speech. It’s a good freedom. We can share opinions that differ, dialogues that intrigue us, and books that elevate and entertain us. And while that basic freedom is challenged every single day, it still stands strong.

But…

There are some words, expressions, and phrases that shouldn’t be said aloud. Remember, words have power to hurt, maim, and incite.  As a writer of romantic fiction, there are some words I would never use in a book. You probably think those words are slang ones for things related to the sex act. You would be wrong. I have no problem using words – slang or otherwise – to describe anatomy. What I do have is trouble using words that are mainly pejoratives. Words that do not belong in public speech or on the pages of books.

words5

So…words that make me go “ick.” In no particular order, here they are:

twat, cunt, retard,  any variation of the “N” word ( I can’t even write it, it’s so hateful). Any word that is derogatory to an ethnic group ( kike, wop, etc. You know the words I mean) I truly hatehatehate the word MOIST. I shudder when I write it.

Every word mentioned above ( except for moist, because that’s just my own particular hatefest word) is a pejorative. A word that makes me quiver and quake with anger, because they are used in totally negative ways. I see no positive translations in any of those words.

word4

Words that DON’T make me go ick? Any word that falls into this category:

words6

‘Nuff said.

Because this is week 9 of the 52 week MFRW authors blog hop, here are some other authors who are also writing about words that make they go “ick” today. Check them out…

mfrw

19.

10 Comments

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

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

badge-blog-challenge-updated

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.

blog-button200

1 Comment

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

He said he wasn’t the romantic kind of guy, but…..

bloghop-valentinesday

So. You’d think the arrival of Valentine’s Day for a romance writer would make writing a blog concerning the day easy. I mean, come on. Valentine’s day is about love, for lovers, and just filled to the brim with romance-related themes. Should be a walk in the park for me to come up with a blog topic for a Valentine’s Day Blog hop.

Yeah…not so much.

valentinesday-2

Last year it was a piece of proverbial cake. Wild Rose Press had put together their Candy Hearts Romance series, of which, I was a participant with my novella 3 WISHES.  Easy peasy. This year I struggled a little until I finally decided to just tell you the story of my first V’Day with hubman. Shhhhhh! He doesn’t know I’m telling you this.

We were going steady ( I’m old and that’s what it was called “back then”) for just under 3 months by the time V’Day came around. We’d started dating two days before Halloween, which should have been a light bulb moment, but I digress…

My hubby–then boyfriend– is not what anyone, including himself, would call romantic, so I didn’t have any misguided hopes and wishes Valentine’s Day was going to be a biggie for him. I didn’t even think I’d get a present or a card or a dinner out because we were both so busy at the hospital and his time off was routinely spent trying to catch up on much needed sleep.

valentines-day-1

The 14th rolled around and I had to work the day shift. He’d been on-call the night before but got off at 6pm. We hadn’t planned on seeing one another because I thought he was just going to go home and crash until he needed to be back at the hospital. At about 7pm a knock at my door had me opening it to him. He had a grocery-wrapped bag in one hand and a piece of folded looseleaf paper in the other. All I could think was WTF?? 

He handed me the grocery bag and in it was a package of Chips Ahoy cookies – my favorites – and then the looseleaf paper. He told me he remembered that the cookies were my favs so he’d bought them instead of candy or flowers.

chipsahoycookies

 

Awwww.

The looseleaf paper turned out to be a home-made V’Day card. On the front of it was a hand drawn ( by him) picture of what looked like a daisy. The inside said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Love La.” The best part of the “card” was the back. On a store bought card you’d see a price tag and the card copyright. On the one he’d made, he’d written for the price $1,000,000.00.

daisy

Awwwww, again.

Really. Could this have been any cuter? And did I mention I was 24 and he was 27 at the time? Not exactly kids, folks, but grown-ass people with careers! Needless to say, I was charmed.

That was s 34 years ago in 1983  and he still gives me hand made looseleaf cards for holidays like anniversaries and birthdays to this day. The cookies have been replaced by non-edible presents now since I’m on a perpetual diet, but they are always goodies! He may not be a classic romantic by other people’s definitions ( including his own) but that’s okay. I’d rather have someone who shows and tells me he loves me every day of the year than someone who goes overboard to prove it just one of 365 days.

happy-kiss-day-1

Happy Valentine’s Day from a romance writer who celebrates love every day of the year!

And……(shameless self promo here!) if you’re looking for a fun, flirty, and funny little V’Day tale, my novella 3WISHES has your name all over it.

Blurb:

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Buy Link:

Wild Rose Press  /// Amazon  /// Nook

To enjoy all the other fabulous authors participating in the hop, here are the links to their posts and websites:

1. The Perfect Time For Love ~ Casi McLean 2. Spunk & Hunks ~ Anna Durand
3. Love in the Month of February ~ Mary Morgan 4. Love Potions and Charms ~ Sorchia Dubois
5. He said he wasn’t the romantic kind of guy, but… ~ Peggy Jaeger 6. Love and War ~ Gini Rifkin
7. Sexy Chocolate Cakes ~ Kayden Claremont 8. 50 Great Date Ideas ~ Devon Mckay
9. Hearts Abound ~ Tena Stetler 10. Love Every Day ~ Darlene Fredette
11. Importance of Valentines Day ~ Maureen Bonatch 12. Souls Forever Bound ~ Judith Sterling
13. Mysterious Origins of Valentine’s Day ~ Barbara Bettis 14. A Romantic Valentine Dinner ~ Jana Richards
15. Steamy Romance Meets Spooky Suspense ~ Kathryn Knight 16. Book Bling ~ Elizabeth Alsobrooks
17. Sweet Romances ~ Katherine McDermott 18. Historical Heartbeats ~ Brenda B. Taylor
19. An Awesome Bewitching Author Valentines Day ~ Lisa Voisin 20. Idea City ~ Kitsy Clare/Catherine Stine
21. Welcome to the ABA Valentine Hop ~ Linda Nightingale 22. Bridie Hall YA Author ~ Bridie Hall
23. A Time For Love Valentine Blog Hop ~ Amber Daulton 24. ‘Out Of This World’ Romance ~ Hywela Lyn
25. Time Travel For Love ~ Karen Michelle Nutt 26. Valentine’s Day – A Family Tradition ~ Holland Rae
27. Historical Heartbeats

The authors are having a rafflecopter giveaway, too. Click HERE see the deets.

10 Comments

Filed under 3 Wishes, Author, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

My Sexy Saturday #119

mysexySatWelcome to the 119th week of My Sexy Saturday.  This week’s theme: Imagine Sexy   Click on this link to see the slew of sexy writing authors on this blog hop. Who knows…you might find your next favorite author.

This week’s theme is Imagine Sexy. As writers of sexy books, we have all imagined sexy. Whether he comes riding in on a horse or in a space ship, we know sexy. We know how it looks, we know how it tastes and feels and the sounds associated with sexy. We can imagine each and every one of them. And this week we want you to share what you’ve imagined as an author about sexy. Readers can’t wait to read more about your sexy imagination.

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Readers want to see those characters, the ones who can’t get enough of each other as well as ones who are fighting their way back to being part of the world once again. These are the types of characters they can’t forget, the one they want to take home and keep forever. Readers love the kisses, the looks or touch of each and every one of our characters.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books.

We know that everyone has their own idea of sexy and we all love sexy!

Here’s a little sumthin sumthin’ from my newest release FIRST IMPRESSIONS. 

Featured Image -- 1345

From the doorway, he went unnoticed as his eyes scanned the room. His mother was at the stove, his father next to her, his arms crossed over his chest, listening intently to something Alastair was saying. Dennis Cleary, Pat’s other brother, home for the weekend from college, sat at the table in conversation with Quentin Stapleton. His brand new wife, Moira, Pat’s twin sister, stood next to him. Each sported a deep tan and Moira had one hand on her husband’s shoulder, her hip snuggled against him, as she spoke with Clarissa Rogers.

The good doctor’s attention was focused on his sister, a small smile dancing across her utterly desirable and kissable mouth. A mouth he’d almost kissed yesterday in the hallway of her clinic.

Pat remembered in graphic detail how the thought to take those lips with his had blossomed in his mind while they’d been speaking about his father. Her perfect mouth was plump and naturally pink, and all he could think about was what it would taste and feel like against his own.

Clarissa had mistaken his momentary lust-filled lapse for something else, and worry for him had quickly risen in her eyes. He’d pleaded a quick retreat to save himself further embarrassment, when in truth, he’d wanted nothing more than to stand there, all afternoon, and be with her.

As she stood so casually in his parent’s kitchen, Pat was struck with the notion she looked like she belonged there, with his family, as one of them.

Buy Links:

Amazon       The Wild Rose Press    B&N

Tweet Me    Read Me    Visit Me

Pin Me     Picture Me    Friend Me

Google+ Me

3 Comments

Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, First Impressions, love, MacQuire Women, My Sexy Saturday, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

My Sexy Saturday Blog Hop # 111

Welcome to the 111th week of My Sexy Saturday.

This week’s theme: Sexy Today

mysexySat

A little over two years ago, we had an idea…an idea that sexy meant different things to different people…we knew this was true because of the books we read and wrote. We wanted to share sexy with everyone. We wanted authors from sweet to sensual to smoking hot to share with us their idea of sexy.

And come they did. In droves, some weeks better than others but everyone sharing their dream of what sexy meant. Last week it was a sexy boy, the week before that the sexy girlfriend. Each week we’ve had a different theme and have had authors post using that theme as a base board to start with. We even encourage them to post when their story doesn’t fit that theme because sharing is sexy and we all want to read just the good stuff every once in a while.

So today, there really is no theme except sexy today. Authors are free to post whatever they want within the normal rules. Just make it sexy, sexy and more sexy.

For the readers, please visit us at our new Author Central where we’ll be sharing even more from our authors. It’s also the place to hear all about our 100th week Anniversary Bash next Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Get all the details for all the prizes we’ll be giving away. We’d love to have each and everyone of you there.

Remember that the sexy boy will turn the man of our dreams. That our high school crush is really the one we want. That the captain of the spaceship is the hottest thing we’ve ever seen. And the everyday joe is the one we want to take home to mom and dad.

Sexy can be anything, such as romantic moments like walks on the beach, a home cooked meal or even in another galaxy. It could be two lovers here on Earth dreaming about the day where they go on a magical vacation to another planet. Or staying right here at one of those wonderful places we can find in our own world.

Sexy has nothing to do with looks or status or even wealth. It doesn’t demand perfection and it isn’t pretentious but it does make us want to read those books. We know that everyone has their own idea of sexy and we all love sexy! Click on the link below to hop over to some other Sexy Blogs.

My idea of a sexy guy is someone a little misunderstood, a little alpha with beta mixed in, and completely confident in his own skin, so here’s my newest example of a sexy male – Padric Cleary from my current release FIRST IMPRESSIONS

FirstImpressions_w9816_2_85

He put a hand to her lower back while they were guided to their table, and Clarissa’s nerve endings all stood at attention. When he lowered his voice and said into her ear, “I’ll worm it out of you,” those same nerves firecrackered through her system. His voice sent a punch of sexual heat, quick burning and erotic through her insides, and—God help her—she knew she’d tell him anything he wanted if he used it on her again.

The late lunch/early dinner crowd was heavy in the North End from patrons having a bite to eat before heading to Fenway Park or to the theater district for a show.

As she had on the street, Clarissa noted several female heads turning to the men at her table more than once. When Pat smiled at their waitress as he ordered a drink, the woman noticeably stood straighter, jutting her breasts out while she wrote in her pad.

When Quentin turned his attention to Moira, Clarissa took the opportunity to whisper to Pat. “You really can’t help it, can you?”

To the question in his gorgeous eyes, she added, “The whole natural, sexy, flirting thing you do without even thinking about it.”

The grin started at one corner of his mouth and spread across to the other side, mesmerizing her. All Clarissa had to do was move a fraction of an inch and she would have been in Pat’s lap, her lips molded to his. When her gaze dropped to his mouth, his perfect teeth peeking out from behind his irresistible grin, she actually considered giving into the thought.

“You think I’m sexy?” His voice slipped into a seductive timbre that made her lady-parts quiver.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS BUY LINKS:

Amazon     The Wild Rose Press   Barnes & Noble

MySexySaturdayBlogHop

Tweet Me    Friend Me   Pin Me    Read Me

Visit Me     Picture Me

Leave a comment

Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, First Impressions, Romance, Strong Women