Tag Archives: novels

On #Libraries, #Librarians, feelings of connection, and #books

Apparently, it’s National Library Week. This is one celebration I can get behind and actually enjoy. Enjoy writing about; enjoy celebrating.

I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog that I — for all intents and purposes — grew up in my local library. I was what was called ( during my youth) a latchkey kid, meaning, after school, I was on my own, home alone, because both the adults in my life had full-time jobs that didn’t let out until 5 or 6 each night. School let out at 3, so that meant five afternoons a week I needed a babysitter until I got old enough to be left on my own for a few hours, which in my case was at the age of 7.

I’m remembering what my daughter was like at 7 and am horrified that my mother believed it was an appropriate age for independent responsibility, but that’s another blog topic entirely.

Anyway….

Every day after school I would be dismissed after the bell and then trek to my local library to stay until it was time to get on home.

I loved the library.

I loved the safety of it.

I  loved all the books.

I loved loved loved the Librarians.

I loved the quiet.

Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, all I wanted to do was read. I wanted to be transported to other places, live lives that weren’t my own;  be loved and cherished like a princess and rule a kingdom with wisdom and grace. I could be anything I wanted to be and I could explore everything. It was in the library that I discovered my imagination and my joy of storytelling.

Once I was through the library doors each afternoon, after a 15 block walk along city streets from my school, I’d let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that nothing bad could happen to me here. I was secure now, protected. Bad people didn’t come into the library, only good ones. People who wanted to be educated,  and who wanted to escape from their everyday, boring lives and live richer, happier, more exciting ones. The library wasn’t the place where the bullies who tormented me in school “hung out.” I was free from the cruel insults, tormenting taunts, and physical violence that had become my daily life at school.

The Librarians all knew me by name and were my first, actual, REAL teachers. I learned facts in school. The Librarians taught me about life. They’d recommend books for me to read and once I was through the kids’ section selection, they moved me onto what would now be called YA ( young adult) novels. I may have been 8 or 9 years old, but I was reading about the lives of pre-teens and teenagers, living in their shoes as they drifted through life, and getting a feel for what was to come my way once I was their age.

The Librarians talked to me about books, asked me my opinion on ones I’d read. They actually valued my thoughts. They showed me the strength there is in knowledge and the beauty there is in imagination. They fostered in me that desire to tell a tale, tell it well, and change a reader’s life. They taught me how to be entertained, and in so doing, how to entertain. They taught me how to gather knowledge, the beauty there is in research, and how to prioritize. To this day, my home library follows a basic Dewey Decimal system. To some, that may be a bit extreme. But to me, it is a real tribute to the librarians who helped form my mind and fed my soul.

In the library, we spoke in hushed tones and whispers. We used the original inside voices. In my house, the voices were more often raised than hushed, loud than peaceful, tormented than quiet.

In the library, I found myself…as a girl, a person, a student, and, ultimately, as a writer.

Every day I thank God for the women and men who worked and still work in local libraries. They are unsung heroes to countless children and adults. Where some may think that the previous statement is a tad theatrical, it isn’t to me. The Librarians I knew as a child were my heroes. They kept me safe, loved and cared about me, and opened a world for me I never knew existed.

Heroes, every last one of them.

So, help me celebrate National Library Week. Support your local libraries by donating old, in-good-condition books, attend book sales and fund drives and become a Friend of the Library.  Encourage your children and grandchildren to get Library cards and to use them! Often and with enthusiasm.

Finding your local library is just a Google search away!

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, New Hampshire, research, Strong Women

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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

#ReadingChallenges and why they are important…

 

goodreads_icon_100x100-4a7d81b31d932cfc0be621ee15a14e70Last year I officially read 150 books in the Goodreads reading challenge. I say officially because I actually read more like 250, but the extra numbers weren’t on my Kindle and I forgot to enter them into the challenge stats whenever I was finished.

My bad.

This year, I’ve signed up again and my goal -again – is 150 books. It will probably be more, but that’s okay. I’ll try to remember to add the paperback and hardcovers after I finish them.

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I tell you all this because I feel a reading challenge is an important undertaking no matter what age you are.

We all remember having reading lists over summer vacation while is school. Some of us found it torture to get through the required books, while others of us ( like moi) asked for extra books because I’d finish the required ones in the first few weeks.

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Those summer reading challenges were meant to keep kids on the reading track and not get lazy and have all those drilled in vocabulary and spelling words forgotten over the 8 weeks of summer recess.

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I read a horrifying statistic the other day that said 33% of college grads NEVER read another book once they graduate. Like in, NEVER! Holy Cow. How can that be??? If I don’t have a book in my purse, or my kindle with me whenever I go out of the house I feel…naked. Emotionally and intellectually and literally ( hahaha- pun meant!)

How can a person never open another book? Never want to be entertained using their mind, imagination, and emotions? Never want to lose themselves for a few hours in the plights, adventures, and romances of characters who jump off the page and into their lives? Never want to educate themselves on new topics, inventions, or learn from the biographies and autobiographies of leaders, movers, and shakers int his world??

I think reading challenges should be mandatory for everyone. I know. Read that sentence again. The word that sticks out is MANDATORY: required by law or rules; compulsory. I know this would never fly legally. You can’t make someone read if they don’t want to. But how about a hard sell of encouragement? Listen, we got two generations of kids off drugs with THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS campaign.brain

I bet we could do the same with people who don’t read. Show something rotting – like five week old fruit and say THIS IS YOUR BRAIN WHEN YOU DON”T READ REGULARLY. I’m not an ad executive and don’t work in publicity for a reason, peeps, but you get my drift.

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I am challenging everyone who reads this today to a 2017 reading challenge. The prizes are vast and include: you’ll be smarter, happier, more entertained. You’ll have things(Books) to talk about at parties, opinions about situations you never thought you’d have, and a general feeling of being smarter than you’ve ever experienced before. You’ll come across as erudite, well informed, and well-read.

Try it. Set a reading goal – write it down ( or send it to me!) and put it someplace you’ll see it every day. And then follow it.

Reading, to quote Martha Stewart – an avid reader – is a good thing.

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When I’m not reading 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, branding, community advocacy, Life challenges, Literary characters, research, Romance, Romance Books

NaNoWriMo – week 2.

One week down, 3 more to go!! Yowza.

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So, all you NaNoWriMo peeps… how’s it going?
Have you gotten into the habit of writing every day yet? Or are you still struggling with life and finding little bits of time to carve out for you to write?
I’ll admit I’m having a little trouble fitting in as much writing as I’d like right now. I’m away from home, spending time with my daughter, and trying to fit in a little laptop time here and there has been challenging. I’m doing it, but my insomnia – which is active when I sleep in my own bed and rampant when in another – hasn’t actually helped me this round, because I’m so bloody tired at the end of our days, both physically and mentally, and even though I’m not sleeping, I have no where-with-all to do my usual 2-5 am writing sprints. Which truly, sucks,

And I just read that paragraph out loud and realized what a ridiculous whiner I am!!!

Hee Hee.

Writing shouldn’t be a burden…or a chore…or something that needs to get done just to say it was, or get to a finish line. It should be, what it is to me actually: A blessing. First, last, and always.

So grab a cup of whatever your daily poison is, crack your knuckles and flex your fingers, and go forth to…create magic with your words. (HeeHee – you thought I was going to say something else. Admit it!)

Here’s a little funny for today to inspire you:

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For more inspiration and writing tips, check out my NANOWRIMO Pinterest board.

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NaNoWriMo, NHRWA, Romance

Post Conference thoughts….

So you all know by now I was here over the weekend:

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The first ever FALL IN LOVE WITH NEW ENGLAND  conference was a huge hit by anyone’s standards! This was my first EVAH readers conference and I can’t tell you how tickled I was to meet so many lovers of romantic fiction – in all its genres. There were readers from every age group, background, and occupation. Some came from as far away as Oregon and as close as the next town over from the conference center.

I was privileged to sit on a contemporary workshop panel with three other contemporary authors, who I now consider my friends-not only in writing-but in life as well, Terri Osburn, Caridad Pineiro, and Claire Gem. Each of these writers brings something very unique and individual to their novels and each is a master of the contemporary genre. Our workshop room was packed with readers-and a few other authors-who were interested in hearing why we write in the genre we do, how we come up with ideas, what are no-nos for us as writers, and where do we push the envelope in sex, relationships, and  plot-lines. Many of the readers didn’t know what TROPES were, so we each gave our version of our favorites – and least favorites! I’m not too sure why my mouth is open like a fish in this photo…it may have been because I was talking ( which is what I do. Constantly!)

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I was so impressed and awed by the depth of  knowledge, passion, and love these readers have for romance novels ( and their authors!!) I feel like I’ve finally found my people after a long, exhausting search! And these readers are ravenous for new material, as evidenced by the tremendous amounts of books they purchased at the author signing. Who says print is dead? Not these loyal readers, that’s for sure.

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In addition to the workshops, authors and readers got to interact and have funfunfun at a costumed dinner on Friday night. Here are a few pictures from the laughter filled night, that included  costume prizes, a reader basket raffle, where the 5 readers at my table each won an impressive basket filled with books, and other reading sundries.

filne3     filne1  As you can see, I was a chef. I’m sitting next to the lovely Ana E Ross and the fabulous Marianne Rice is behind me as Harley-Quinn from Suicide Squad. There’s a cute little cat woman over on the right. That’s uber-talented author Karen Stivali. This was one power-packed table of authors. We all write in romance but we all write in different genres. The readers at our table were amazeballs as well!

A pizza party and a movie ended the weekend on Saturday night with plan to do this all again in 2017.

I sosososo plan on being there!

When I’m not cavorting at conference and such, you can usually find me here:

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Literary characters, love, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Uncategorized

Summertime, goals, and reading lists…

It’s hard to believe summer is almost officially here. Especially where I live, because it’s still so damn cold most nights.

Anyway, Memorial Day is commonly seen as the unofficial start of summer and since it’s this weekend, I thought it was time to get my summer lists ready.

What are my summer lists, you ask? Well, I’m so glad you did. Back in the day when I was still in school ( or as my daughter calls my time in higher learning – the olden times!) I was given a summer reading list every May, instructed to finish the books listed by the time school started up in the fall, and to write 2-3 book reports about the books I’d read.

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Now, an enterprising person would see this, think I needed to read only 2-3 books because I only had to hand in that amount of reports. You would be so wrong. We needed to complete all the books because we were tested on a sample of them when we were back in class and we never knew which books were going to be chosen. So, you see, they all had to be dealt with.

I am no longer in school – although I’d debate that just living day to day and dealing with people some days feels like I’m still in middle school and surrounded by drama – but I still have a summer reading list I make every year for my own personal growth and enjoyment.

I typically fill the list with a wide variety of books from autobiographies, to writing handbooks, to fiction novels I’ve been dying to read and couldn’t find the time for, even  a few technical books when I want to learn something new.

Last summer I had a list of 25 books and managed to complete 23.  Not bad.

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This year, because I am on a writing deadline for a new series of books, I’ve pared my list down to just 15. That seems do-able to me. Now this list doesn’t include the books I’ve preordered that I want to read by my favorite authors. I slip those in because publication times sometimes overlap or go longer, and I need to read my favs as soon as they come out.

I know: a little obsessive, but hey. That’s me.

So, what are you going to be reading this summer? ( Hopefully, something by me!!) Need ideas? here’s my newest to add to your list:

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor