Tag Archives: Nora Roberts

I still cry….

Another week, another easy post to write for the #MFRWauthor blog challenge!

I’ve talked about this experience often – on this blog and on others. I’ve had a few best expeiences in my life, but the best professional expeience ever was the day I met and spoke with my writing idol, Nora Roberts.

It was at the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio. I stood on line for over an hour at the booksigning for literacy event just to see her. The closer I got up the line, the more nervous I became. Ten people in front of me…five…two…then it was my turn. She was smiling as I approached, my book in hand all set for her to autograph. She asked my name and I burst into tears.

I’m not kidding.

Not even a little bit.

The only way I can describe it was like it was an out of body experience for me. She was so kind. She asked me why I was crying and I replied through sobs, “because it’s you.”

She laughed, swiped her hand in the air and said, “Stop. Let’s take a picture.”

I fell even more in love with her at that moment than I even thought was possible. She talked to me for a few minutes about writing (and still had about 100 people left in back of me on the line) and I felt so stupid for crying.

That day and that moment was without a doubt a day I will remember until the moment I pass from this earth. I’m tearing up just thinking about it right now!!!

Let’s see what other memories the writers in this hop have. MFRWauthorBLogHopChallenge

And if  you’re looking for me, I’m here most days:

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What 5 books influence(d) you as a writer?

Okay, I’m going to say this up front: I stole this idea from another author I saw  tweet about it the other day. I just knew it was worth a blog post.

There are really waaaaaaaaay more than 5, but these are the ones that did it – and do it – for me as a romance writer.

Pride and Prejudice – the original wonen’s fiction, but really, a true romance at heart. A loving heroine, a brooding hunk of a hero, a ditzy family, secrets, lies, and scandal. It’s simply perfection in every way.

Gone with the Wind – again, not billed as a romance but as historical fiction. And again, really a true romance. I mean, come on. There’s a reason no other h/h in the romance world are named Rhett and Scarlett. Just sayin…

 

Shanna – the very first ADULT romance I read at 17, and by adult I mean – it had sex. A lot of sex. Really, really, well written, sexy sex. Woodiwiss was a master and if you’ve never read anything by her, correct that situation today.

Irish Thoroughbred – the very first book by the queen of us all. Tender, sweet, a voice that was like no others on the market at that time. This book has stood the test of time, changing writing styles, and everything else in romancelandia.

Sense and Sensibility – my favorite scene in a Jane Austen book. Captain Brandon walks into a music room where MaryAnn is playing. While he listens, he falls in love with her. If you’ve seen the Emma Thomson/Kate Winslet movie version, you know the scene I’m talking about. Perfection. The best love-at-first-glance I’ve ever read. Bar none.

So, what 5 books have influenced you as a writer? Or reader? Let’s discuss…

And if you’re looking for me, I’m here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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#L&SR #SaturdaySeven #TBRlist

Today is an easy topic for me: My TBR list. One look at my Goodreads account and you know I like to read. I mean, really read. My Goodreads Reading Challenge goal in 2018 is 175 books.

Yeah, I’m a little crazy.

Here’s the top 7 I’m looking forward to reading this year:

Tami Hoag THE BOY

A panic-stricken woman runs in the dead of night, battered and bloodied, desperate to find help…

When Detective Nick Fourcade enters the home of Genevieve Gauthier outside the sleepy town of Bayou Breaux, Louisiana, the bloody crime scene that awaits him is both the most brutal and the most confusing he’s ever seen. Genevieve’s seven-year-old son, P.J., has been murdered by an alleged intruder, yet Genevieve is alive and well, a witness inexplicably left behind to tell the tale. There is no evidence of forced entry, not a clue that points to a motive. Meanwhile, Nick’s wife, Detective Annie Broussard, sits in the emergency room with the grieving Genevieve. A mother herself, Annie understands the emotional devastation this woman is going through, but as a detective she’s troubled by a story that makes little sense. Who would murder a child and leave the only witness behind?

When the very next day P.J.’s sometimes babysitter, thirteen-year-old Nora Florette, is reported missing, the town is up in arms, fearing a maniac is preying on their children. With pressure mounting from a tough, no-nonsense new sheriff, the media, and the parents of Bayou Breaux, Nick and Annie dig deep into the dual mysteries. But sifting through Genevieve Gauthier’s tangled web of lovers and sorting through a cast of local lowlifes brings more questions than answers. Is someone from Genevieve’s past or present responsible for the death of her son? Is the missing teenager, Nora, a victim, or something worse? Then fingerprints at the scene change everything when they come back to a convicted criminal: Genevieve herself.

The spotlight falls heavily on the grieving mother who is both victim and accused. Could she have killed her own child to free herself of the burden of motherhood, or is the loss of her beloved boy pushing her to the edge of insanity? Could she have something to do with the disappearance of Nora Florette, or is the troubled teenager the key to the murder? How far will Nick and Annie have to go to uncover the dark truth of the boy?

Nora Roberts SHELTER IN PLACE

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at video game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, helplessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

Lisa Kleypas HELLO STRANGER

A woman who defies her timeDr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

 

 

Linda Howard THE WOMAN LEFT BEHIND

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun…or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina–who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice–making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

Amanda Quick THE OTHER LADY VANISHES

After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over.
Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.

In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they’re drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.

Neither Adelaide nor Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they’ll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be–and uncover the specter of a killer who’s been real all along…

Jennifer Probst THE MARRIAGE ARRANGEMENT

She had run from her demons…

Caterina Victoria Windsor fled her family vineyard after a humiliating broken engagement, and spent the past year in Italy rebuilding her world. But when Ripley Savage shows up with a plan to bring her back home, and an outrageous demand for her to marry him, she has no choice but to return to face her past. But when simple attraction begins to run deeper, Cat has to decide if she’s strong enough to trust again…and strong enough to stay…

He vowed to bring her back home to be his wife…

Rip Savage saved Windsor Vineyards, but the only way to make it truly his is to marry into the family. He’s not about to walk away from the only thing he’s ever wanted, even if he has to tame the spoiled brat who left her legacy and her father behind without a care. When he convinces her to agree to a marriage arrangement to get what they both want, he never counted on the fierce sexual attraction between them to distract either of them from their goals. But when deeper emotions emerge, Rip has to make a decision that can affect the future of the vineyard, and his shielded heart…

Lauren Layne HOT ASSET

Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he’s met his match in Lara McKenzie—a woman with the power to bring Ian to hisknees.

An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case—the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading—could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one. Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.

She’ll do anything to prove he’s guilty. He’ll do anything to prove he’s not. But it’s only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now, taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It’s become a pleasure—and there’s more at risk than she ever dreamed.

Three words to describe my TBR books here: CAN. NOT. WAIT!!!

When I’m not reading you can find me here;Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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#L&SR Saturday Seven

 

Another week, another list of 7 things! Today, I’m writing about 7 book series that I love! And by love, I mean LOVELOVELOVE!

In no order, here they are:

JD Robb, InDeath SeriesFrom the very first page of the very first book in this series, I was hooked and hooked solid! Lt. Eve Dallas and Roarke are a love affair for the ages. In each book, they have grown as people, in their marriage, in their jobs, even in how they navigate through their tortuous pasts. JD Robb is a master plotter and every single story is a masterclass for authors who want to learn how to write witty and spot-on dialogue and banter, plus be guided in how to weave a story to a perfect ending. Start at the very first book, Naked in Death. Guaranteed, you will be hooked just like me. The InDeath books are on “auto-buy” for me at Amazon.

Janet Evanovich. Stephanie Plum Series

If I was ever going to write myself a best friend, it would be Stephanie Plum. In her thirties, with one disastrous marriage behind her and a crazy family by her side, Stephanie is a bail-bondswoman -and not a very good one, at that. But what she is, is hysterically funny. The cast of regulars in the books from her work BFF Lula, a retired “Ho” to Stephanie’s grandma Mazur, a gun toting, funeral-gawking octogenarian with the body of a 100 year old and the dirty mind of a teenaged boy, and even to the two men in Steph’s life, Pete the detective, and Ranger the security expert, you will always find something to laugh at. Evanovich has created a heroine anyone could see as their very own book BFF.

Jill Shalvis. Lucky Harbor Series

I first became a Jill Shalvis groupie when I read the first book in this series, Simply Irresistible. Witty banter, great secondary characters, sex(!) This book had it all. So did the upteen more that came after it, all revolving around the residents of Lucky Harbor. Do yourself a favor: if you’ve never read a Shalvis book, start with this one, Simply Irresistible. That’s what the series will be to you: Irresistible!

 

Lauren Layne. The Wedding Belles

I discovered my first Lauren Layne book, TO have and to Hold, on Netgalley. Liking the blurb I decided to request a copy and give it a shot. I devoured the entire book in one sitting and then went straight to Amazon and bought the rest in the series, plus her entire backlist. Set mostly in Manhattan, the characters and setting were as familiar to me as if Layne was writing about my friends. With an engaging writing style and dialogue that I read out loud because it is so spot-on, she is another one of my auto-buy authors. Start with To Have and to Hold, sit back, and prepare to fall in love with her characters and with Lauren Layne herself!

 

Nora Roberts. The Bride Quartet

There’s something about a wedding, a bride, and a romance book that just pulls at my heart! Nora’s The Bride Quartet tells the story of 4 girlfriends since the womb who support one another, lift each other up and would give up all they have and are for the other. The men they let into their inner circle must be strong and know they can never come between the friends. Each story builds on the one before it until the very last, where all the girls find their own HEA, Each journey is rife with emotion, conflict, and some hot loving!

Marianne Rice: The Rocky Harbor Series

I met Marianne at a writing conference and from the moment we started talking I knew I needed to read her books. This girl truly is my sister from another mister!! Her Rocky Harbor Series, set in Maine, revolves around a family of adopted, troubled kids who all grew into wonderful human beings due to the loving influence of their adoptive parents. Each book could be a stand-alone, but when read in succession, you feel as if you’ve become a member of the family, too! The emotions are raw, the conflicts are real, and the love is everalsting.

Kari Lemor: Love on the Line Series.

I love me a good romantic suspense book, especially one where the characters on the page are real and the stories are so true to life you feel like you’re watching a movie unfold instead of reading words on pages. Kari Lemor’s Love on the Line books are my idea of a perfect romantic suspense series. Each is a separate story and you don’t have to read the one before it to be “caught up.” But my adice? You should! Read the first, WILD CARD UNDERCOVER and then move on to the next. You will not be disappointed!!

 

When I’m not reading my favorite authors, you can find me here, writing :Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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#L&SR Saturday Seven. My “auto buy” authors

Saturday Seven

There are some authors I will put on my Amazon buy list without ever reading the blurb of the newest book they are releasing. It doesn’t matter what the book is about, I just know that it will be an enjoyable read no matter what the plotline. Truly. These women could re-write the phone book and I’d buy it.

So, this is the list of my “auto buy” authors, and why.

1.Jill Shalvis – because she always makes me laugh, and we need more laughter and love in the world.

2.Jayne Ann Krentz – (Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, too!) I read all her books in whatever name she writes in because she is simply a wonderful writer and I’ve never read one of her books that didn’t give me a reading rush of pleasure.

3.Kristan Higgins – because her heroines are people I’d like to be BFFs with.

4.Lauren Layne – her writing style is so comfortable and easy to read and her characters are always spot-on.

5.Catherine Bybee – she’s a (former) nurse and so am I! But really, it’s because she writes such believable, relatable characters and weaves them into really good stories.

6.Nora Roberts – read any of her books and you’ll know why she’s considered The Queen of romantic fiction. ‘Nuff said.

7. JD Robb ( Okay, a little bit of a cheat here!) because Roarke. That says it all.

When I’m not reading the above authors, you can usually find me hanging out here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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What to grab???

As part of the FLAMING CRIMES BLOGFEST, I’ve been asked to answer a specific question from author Chrys Fey. Stick around, beacuse after I answer it there’s a little gift from the Chrys waiting for you!

What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?

 This is a question I’ve never even considered before, but it prompted a memory of when I was working as a nurse in Wisconsin. One of my nursing staff had their house burn down on Christmas day due to a faulty tree wire sparking and setting the place ablaze. The entire family got out with their lives intact but everything they owned was destroyed. They never even had a chance to grab anything but each other.

I’m going with the thought that I’ll have a split second to make a decision if this ever happens to me.

Now, I could say I’d take my laptop because that has all my vital info and my work on it, but I’ve got that all backed up, so if it were destroyed, I’d be okay.

I toyed with the idea of my cell phone for the same reasons, and the same excuses pulled me away from that.

I’m gonna assume my hubby and family get out okay. Scrap books? No. Favorite signed book by favorite author? Nope. My communion dress? No. My daughter’s childhood stuff animal. Nope.

It dawned on me that I do have one thing that isn’t replaceable and only means something to me and that’s my framed picture of Nora Roberts and me.

This is the only copy I have and it was taken at my very first RWA conference in 2014 in San Antonio, Tx. This picture is irreplaceable and worth its weight in gold to me, so I’m not leaving it if the house is burning down!

 

 

BUY LINKS:

Amazon / Barnes & Noble

The Wild Rose Press

 

BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could’ve been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they’re trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

About the Author:

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

 

Author Links:

Website / Blog / Goodreads

Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

 

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A visit to CRW…

Yesterday, I visited the Contemporary Romance Writers blog and gave a few tips about conference going.  Here’s the link: 

If you can’t access the link, here’s the article in its entirety

Memories from a first time RWA conference attendee. . .

(and what I learned to do- and not do – for the next conference.)

~ By Peggy Jaeger

In 2014 I attended my very first RWA conference in San Antonio. Not knowing what to expect from the conference, I’d gone with the idea that, as a trying-to-get-published romance writer, I was going to go all in, attend every workshop on craft and publishing, listen to every professional chat, set up as many editor and agent appointments as I was allowed, and basically do everything and see everything offered.

What’s that old saying: you make plans and God laughs? Yeah. Describes me perfectly.

The reality was so very different from what I’d planned, that it was almost comical.

First of all, there was no way I could attend every single workshop I wanted because so many of them overlapped or were at the same time as the others. I hadn’t realized I could see the full schedule on line before going, so I’d just assumed I’d be able to see what I wanted. Nope. Lesson learned? Plan ahead. Read through the online listing (now that you know it’s there!) and consider each class/workshop/chat for what it will bring to you as a writer. The conference is available on audio you can purchase, so if you miss classes, you can still hear their useful info when you get home.

I signed up for the Agent/Editor appointments. You were allowed one of each, so I scrolled through their names, saw a few big time agent names I recognized, then the publishers I knew about and made my choices. Again, God must have been chuckling big-time at my choices. Why? Because I hadn’t done any research on the people I was going to speak with. The Agent specialized in historical romance and YA. I write contemporary adult romance. The editor was from a house that was acquiring only through agents. Double flub on my part. Lesson learned? Research. Every single one of those agents and editors had a link to their websites, agencies, and publishing houses. If I’d done my due diligence and clicked on the one I wanted to meet with, I would have known before choosing them that they weren’t going to be interested in me or my work. Along with that, do not bring twenty typed copies of your manuscript to give to potential agents/editors. They don’t want to be schlepping a ton of unnecessary stuff home with them. This is the age of email and attachments.

Since this was my first RWA I had no idea all the “stuff” (and by stuff I mean swag and books) you receive at the conference. Every publishing house gives out complimentary books during their spotlight events; every breakfast, lunch and dinner has a guest speaker who also leave a book or two on every chair; the Goodie room is chock full of swag, free books, and just…stuff. I brought one suitcase with me that was already stuffed with my own stuff. Now I had over 6o free books and no room. Shipping them would have cost about $100.00. Lesson learned? Bring an extra bag/suitcase. You will be happy you did.

Again, since this was my first conference, I wanted to promote myself as a professional, so I brought nice clothes and outfits and shoes to go with them. Because I’m short all my shoes are 4 inches or above. If anyone has ever spent 12 hours in five inch heels you know the kind of agony I was in each and every night. Lesson learned? Dress appropriately, but comfortably. Kitten heels would have been fine! You want to make a good impression, especially on agents and editors, but you don’t need to look like you just stepped out of the pages of Vogue, or like you just crawled out of bed after a binge-drinking night at the hotel bar.

Realize you are going to see and possibly meet some of your all time favorite authors. It’s okay to fan-girl. It’s not okay to stalk. I stalked Nora Roberts at my first conference. The moment I saw her across the hotel lobby I simply lost my mind. She was on her way out of the building for a cigarette break. I am ashamed to admit this, but I followed her. It was like I was in some kind of trace. I knew what I was doing was illegal in 50 states, but I had no will to stop myself. When she stopped outside and lit up, I stood in the vestibule behind the glass doors just…watching her smoke. After a minute I realized what I was doing and snapped out of. Then I spotted Jill Shalvis on the escalator going down while I was going up. I jumped off and headed back down and followed her into the hotel coffee shop. Again… I was in a trance, I swear! Lesson learned? Be prepared to meet your writing idols but don’t do anything you could get arrested for!! When I spotted three twenty-somethings at the Literacy signing squeal like pigs when they met Jayne Ann Krentz, it drilled that lesson home.

One of the best things I did at the first conference was attend the RWA First Timer’s presentation. It was filled with helpful hints about how to get the most out of the conference without feeling overwhelmed, or as if you missed something. I highly recommend setting aside the two hours of the class and fitting it into your schedule.

This year the conference is in Orlando/Disney. In July. Florida in July is not a time frame for curly haired gals like me, so this year will bring its own set of problems and concerns! But I’m still going because I don’t want to miss the exciting, informative, and fun events and classes being offered. I’ll just need to pack an extra canister of hairspray.

Or maybe more than just one extra.

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

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My Ideal Romance Hero

Tall, dark, and handsome is such a cliche. Not to mention, boring. If you don’t think this is true, here’s a bit of dialogue from Chris Pine’s character in INTO THE WOODS,. addressing his wife, Cinderella. “Darling, I was raised to be charming, not sincere,” the Prince tells her when she confronts him about his extramarital affairs.

Yup, that about says it all about that plastic tall, dark, and handsome description. There’s no meat to it; no substance.

Every ideal romance hero will differ depending on the writer writing him. Some writers will only pen total alphas, incapable of human emotion until the heroine comes along and – BAM – turns him magically into a fully functioning, emotional being. Disclosure here: I hate that kind of hero.  A writer friend of mine – whom I adore – described this hero type as an alpha-hole. Perfect descriptor!!!

Some writers pen the six foot, chiseled jaw, warm-eyed hero who has never realized he’s a hunkadoodle. Disclosure again: While I don’t hate this type, it’s hard for me to believe the guy doesn’t know he’s panty-dropping hot. I mean, does he own a mirror, or what?

So. Enough about the heroes I don’t fancy. What do I want in my ideal romantic hero?
A guy who makes me laugh…

A man who not only has a brain but also stimulates my brain and who can discuss topics other than sports…

Richard Geere

A guy who brings you breakfast in bed; a man who bakes you the most decadent treat; a hero who wants to feed you — heart, mind, body and soul.

I know, right!! I adore a man who can cook.

This is Master Baker Paul Hollywood. He can frost my buns any day.

Le swoon!!!

A man who’s not afraid or ashamed to tell you and show you he cares. The following is a line from my favorite JD Robb book, NEW YORK TO DALLAS.

It’s one of the final scenes. Lt. Eve Dallas has just had a knockdown, drag-out fight with a serial killer. She’s battered, bruised, and a little loopy from the painkillers they’ve given her. She’s speaking to her good friend Dr. Charlotte Mira, with Eve’s husband – the panty-dropping Roarke, in the background.

Eve says:

“Want to finish, give my report. Is my face messed up? I hate when that happens. Not like I’m pretty or anything, but—”

“You’re the most beautiful woman ever born,” Roarke said from the doorway, and Eve sent him a woozy, drugged smile.

That’s my perfect hero.

A man who loves you above all others – even himself; who will make love to you when you have wake-up morning breath, sheet marks on your cheeks and eye boogers, desire you even if you haven’t showered, be devoted to you no matter what comes along in life to try both your souls. A man who’s willing to not only put you first but do anything to keep you there.  A hero who sees you, simply, as everything good in his life.

My ideal romance hero is the kind of man I want in my own life: calm, smart, witty, kind, strong willed and soft-hearted, willing to take a stand and fight for it, but able to see someone else’s opinion without censure. A man who will listen, speak up when needed, and know when a hug is all a woman needs. A man who won’t just try to solve my problems, but will help me solve them. A guy who can take charge and take a back seat when the situation calls for it. A man who will let me be me, get me, and support me – in every way.

In all honesty, my perfect romance hero is…my hubby.

Yeah…le swoon!

Since this is a blog hop, click on some of the other MFRW authors writing about their ideal romantic hero.

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Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#NoraRoberts, #WritingAdvice, and #MondayMorningQuarterbacking…

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First, a disclaimer: this is not a post about football. I would be the last person on the planet to ever post about a game I know nothing about. I can’t even bulls**t my way through a discussion on it, so there.

Now. I was listening to a podcast recently about advice. How to give it, how to take it, when and why you should offer it. For the record, I don’t like to give advice routinely simply because I don’t like getting unsolicited advice. There’s always THAT person who thinks they know everything that will make your situation better and easier, and believe me, they are usually wrong. Having said that, there are two pieces of advice that I’ve heard throughout my writing career that I’d like to offer. One, I listened to.

First, the good piece of advice. I heard this at my very first RWA conference in San Antonio in 2014 from a chat with mega-wonderful Nora Roberts. Her advice to the following question,  “How can I find the time to be a prolific writer like you?” was simply the best thing I ever heard anyone say. It was:

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See how good it is – someone made a Pinterest board for it!

Added to that advice was this little gem which I remind myself of daily:

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Words for a writer to live by.

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Now to the worst writing advice I’ve ever received. Here’s the backstory: I entered a contest and this was part of one judge’s critique. “If you change the name of the heroine, make her younger and give her a tragic background, you MAY ( and yes, she put may in capitals!) have the beginning of a decent story here.  Otherwise, I don’t see this book ever getting published. I also feel your hero is dumb.”

And I paid to enter that contest. Last one I ever entered, that’s for sure!

Well, the laugh is on her,  because I took none of her advice and that book, COOKING WITH KANDY, is coming out in April from Kensington/Lyrical Shine and I didn’t change a thing about the book/characters/backstory.

So here’s the Monday morning quarterbacking mentioned in the title to this blog in the form of my own writing advice- completely unsolicited.

                                                 Write for yourself, first.

I don’t have a Pinterest block to put up on that one, so I just bolded it in the hope that it makes a statement. YOU are your first reader.  If you don’t write something for you, that you love, that sings to you, it won’t do so for anyone else. Remember that. I do. Everyday.advice4

‘Nuff said.

When I’m not giving out unsolicited advice, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

NaNoWriMo2016 – day 3

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Another day….another thousand words.

So, how are you feeling this morning? Are your fingers still flying across the laptop? Are the words forming in your head faster than you can get them on the page ( or the screen!)? Are your characters pushing you, speaking to you, compelling you to get their story out to the word?

The beginning of every NaNo challenge is heady. You’ve got all this internal….STUFF… begging to come out, and you allow it to, thankfully. But think about the real reason you’re doing the challenge this year. It isn’t just to get you to finish a manuscript, or help you make a deadline. Those things are great, but NANOWRIMO is much more than that…so, hear me out.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is not simply to get you to write  50,000 words in a month. That’s a big part of it, sure. But the real underlying challenge is to instill in you the HABIT of writing every day. Of making a commitment to yourself to sit down and log in some scheduled, uninterrupted time for you to write.  We are all busy, have challenging lives, kids, dogs, life issues, you fill in the words that make it hard for you to do what you love.

But…NaNo wants you to understand the necessity of making writing every single day the norm, the routine, the matter of practice of your life.

What defines a habit? Webster’s Dictionary states it like this: a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially something that is hard to give up. See those words, regular  and practice? And the ones that follow them – something that is hard to give up? This is what writing should be to you  – something you can’t give up on or let slide, no matter what.  When you take the time every single day to devote a few minutes or an hour, or several hours, to doing something you love – namely, writing – soon it will become so ingrained in you to do so, that NOT writing isn’t even an option or a thought in your head anymore.

My website tag is WRITING IS MY OXYGEN. And this is the truth. To me, writing every day is as essential and necessary to me as is breathing. If I couldn’t breathe every day, I would surely die. Well, if I don’t write every day, I feel as if I can’t breathe – emotionally, spiritually, and yes, even physically.

I once heard famed and uber-amazeballs author NORA ROBERTS liken writing every day to a muscle. She said (paraphrasing, here) “Writing is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, work it, use it frequently, you loose tone and substance. The muscle isn’t as strong, so you’re not as strong. You don’t function as well as you should or can.” That statement resonated with me on such a high level. And really, Nora Roberts should know about being a strong writer – the chick has over 400 books in print! She walks the walk and talks the talk like no other writer out there. It’s obvious she exercises her writing muscles daily.

So, today when you sit down to write, remember how you feel as you put your fingers to the keys. That sense of happiness, of fulfillment, of simple joy you get as you create those words on the page. Remember that feeling of elation. You’ll want to feel it again, and again, and again, and…. every day.

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, love, NaNoWriMo, New Hampshire, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women