Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cowboys, cowgirls and all things western?

      I'm a longtime lover of cowboys and everything western, how about you? Do you also love romance series that incorporate several members of a family? If so, meet the Bartells of Bridleton; Zack, Andrea and Cheyenne. They're siblings who are determined to save their family's heritage.

 First up is Andrea in DREA'S HOMECOMING. She's been jet setting around the world as an international model. Then an emergency call from her Great Aunt Nanette sends her flying home to face the heartaches of her past and an uncertain future with Noah Courtland, the man she never stopped loving.
     

Next is baby sister, Cheyenne, in CHEY'S COWBOY. 
Chey wants to explore the wild attraction between her and the ranch foreman, Trace Mitchem. He prefers to keep a safe distance. It's a stand off until an unexpected accident changes everything. Suddenly Chey is the wary one and Trace is demanding so much more. Until something happens that changes everything again.


Earlier this month, I released the final book of  the Bridleton series, ZACK'S RANCH.

 It features big brother Zack and ranch employee, Meredith Courtland. Zack's a strong, determined man who's willing to fight for what he wants. What he wants most in life is Meredith and to develop his share of the family's heritage. Meri is emotionally wary and unwilling to risk her secure position at Bridleton by having an affair with the incredibly desirable Bartell heir despite the fact that he's a walking, breathing temptation. But when her volunteer work with wounded veterans tangles the threads of their relationship, the two of them help defuse a threat to their lives and happiness.

I'm thrilled to have finished the series. Now that it's available at all online bookstores, it needs reviews! I'll be happy to offer complimentary digital copies of ZACK'S RANCH to anyone who's willing to post an online review. Just email me privately at Write@BeckyBarker.com You're also invited to join my Mail Chimp Contest and Announcement list via the link below my signature.

Until next time, take care and keep reading!






Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Under Her Spell special promotion
by Jo Ann Brown Ferguson

From July 1-July 15, 2016, Under Her Spell is available for the amazing prize of $0.99 at many of your favorite online bookstores. Here's your chance to read a story about how the magic of love can bring two very different people together for a very special happy ever after!

Madeleine Nightingale is her magician brother’s assistant in Victorian England. They travel town-to-town performing as The Magic Nightingales, but her brother dreams of being on the stage in a fine London theater. Madeleine wants him to be happy, so when she hears a famous theater owner will attend a Faire to be held at Sheffield Priory, she knows it's their chance. She will make sure their show goes perfectly . . . even if she has to use a bit of the true magic that has been her secret gift since childhood.
Christopher Sheffield has arranged a Faire to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. But he has an ulterior motive. He wants his mother to receive his mistress Allegra so he can connect his life in London with his life in the country. Everything is going according to plan until he chances upon Madeleine Nightingale and her brother. Thoughts of Allegra fade when he draws Madeleine into his arms.
But Madeleine isn’t the easy conquest he’d hoped she’d be. Is it love? Or is it magic? And what is it going to take for him to convince her that he’s thoroughly fallen under her spell?
“This novel pulls you into a magical realm offering intrigue and romance.”—RT Book Reviews
“Ms. Ferguson is known as one of the top guns of historical romance.”—Paranormal Romance Reviews on Daughter of the Fox

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

For Paranormal Romance Lovers - by Bonnie Edwards

Indeed, another boxed set of romances. This time, every single one is a paranormal romance. Some are hot, hot, hot like mine, others less so.






Parlor Games is set in my haunted bordello, Perdition House. While it is the 4th book in this series, it can also be read alone. Reading it as a stand alone isn't nearly as much fun as when you know who's who and what's happening in the house. But that's just my opinion and I'm a tad biased.

As for the rest of this boxed set...the authors have this to say:

Vampires, sexy ghosts, gargoyles, mummy’s curses and a secret magical society are some of the fabulous paranormal twists you’ll find in PARANORMAL ATTRACTIONS, a boxed set of 9 steamy romances brought to you by Amazon, Barnes & Noble bestselling, and award-winning authors. Lose yourself in these light and dark paranormal stories that are only around as a set for a short time at 99c.

For a Kindle near you!  ... on your lap, waiting in line, or at the salon...grab it, read it, review it. (please and thank you)







or a Kindle near you...on your lap, on your treadmill, standing in a bank line up, at the hair salon...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Loving Women-in-Jeopardy Stories by Cheryl Bolen


I’m seriously dating myself here. I totally fell in love with a certain brand of women-in-jeopardy stories in the seventies, though most of the ones I loved had been published in the sixties or earlier.

I cringe at and refuse to read stories about young women being stalked by mass murdering maniacs, but I cut my teeth on a gentler story. For example, The Lady Vanishes, a Hitchcock adaptation of Ethel Lina White’s 1936 The Wheel Spins. It’s a story about a lone young heiress who befriends an elderly governess on a train through the Balkan states, but the lady vanishes, and seemingly everyone on the train tries to tell our heroine she dreamed of the governess’s existence. Something sinister is afoot!

In a similar vein, Victoria Holt, one of the most commercially successful novelists of the 20th century, launched her career with gothic-style tales of maidens at remote and mysterious castles, like in the Mistress of Mellyn, her first.

Other popular writers of the era wrote in Holt’s style—but in the modern day. These included Phyllis Whitney, Dorothy Eden, and Velda Johnson.  

Far and away my favorite author of the era was Mary Stewart. Her heroines always went to enchantingly desirable locales like the Greek Islands, or the Pyrenees. The source of the heroine’s jeopardy was never earth-shattering or a high-stakes crime, nevertheless, I adored her flawless prose, witty British dialogue, and wonderful literary illusions. If you haven’t tried her, I recommend Moonspinners for its blend of suspense and humor—and its island setting in Crete. Disney adapted the book for a movie starring Hayley Mills.

 
I suppose some women today are still writing this type of story, but it obviously doesn’t sell well. I tried. My self-published 2011 Protecting Britannia got a 4-star review from RT Book Club magazine with praise for its fast pace and touching love story, but it sells pathetically—a whopping ten sales of my 30,000 total sales thus far in 2016.
 
Sadly, today’s readers prefer reading about demented serial killers and hot sex.—Cheryl Bolen’s most recent writing credits are three connected Jane Austen Sequels, starting with Miss Darcy’s New Companion.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Playlist to Write By



Music has always played as a backdrop to my life. When writing, it has helped me find pacing and mood. Sometimes it has simply jump-started my day. The following songs were all of that and more while I wrote Unstoppable, Book 5 in my Fierce Hearts series. I offer that playlist here as something extra to enjoy about Unstoppable, and in many ways, the entire process of writing the series. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/pjuKmk6H3Ko  Afterlife by Ingrid Michaelson -  A peppy anthem to claiming your own way of living and appreciating self.

https://youtu.be/0KSOMA3QBU0  Dark Horse – This song helped when I was writing scenes that I wanted to feature power and fierceness.

https://www.song365mp3.com/track/rachel-portman-alex039s-father-1380650.html  Alex’s Father from The Lakehouse Soundtrack – A mellow, sultry tone that helped me sink into deep emotional territory the characters needed to travel.

https://youtu.be/1GtKOfg-nX4  This Never Happened Before , another moving song from The Lakehouse Soundtrack, sung by Paul McCartney. It was a soundtrack for me in writing moments of developing relationships and romance.

https://youtu.be/3yDP9MKVhZc  Two Weeks -- I loved this music for helping me write “pain” in my characters. But a warning, it has seriously explicit language.

 https://youtu.be/bTNLYeaL7No  Songbird, by Eva Cassidy – For me, the moment of realization that the characters were opening to love is clear in this song.

https://youtu.be/JGGO6hgu0fE  While writing the wedding scene, A Thousand Years, by Christina Perri, really set the perfect mood for me. I cried as it played and I took the characters down their perfect path to each other and lifetime love.


Is music a backdrop in your life? I’d be thrilled to learn what songs you love.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Top 5 Young Adult Romances

By Caragh M. O'Brien
Romance in Young Adult novels can veer off the traditional track when characters deal with dystopias or die when you least expect them to, but the feels are fabulous. Romance readers of all ages are eating up these stories. As school gets out and summer arrives, here are my top 5 recommendations.

1. Dumplin’  by Julie Murphy
Willowdean, a self-proclaimed fat girl, is charming and confident until a budding romance brings self-doubt. Solution? She enters a beauty contest.

2. Perfect Chemistry  by Simone Elkeles
He’s in a Latino gang, and she’s in a warped, cold family from the rich side of town, but they have more in common than they know. Depth of character elevates this Romeo and Juliet retelling.

3. The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green
Get your hankies ready.  Wisecracking cancer patients find love and adventure.  This popular novel is also a film.

4. Prized  by Caragh M. O’Brien
In a world where men outnumber the women 9 to 1, the women are in charge.  Newcomer Gaia Stone is surrounded by injustice and guys. The second novel in the Birthmarked series, this story can stand alone. 

5. Something Like Normal  by Trish Doller

A young vet returning from Afghanistan finds his brother has stolen his car and his girlfriend. With a remarkable voice, this novel brings hope and healing.

Caragh M. O'Brien is the writer of The Rule of Mirrors and other YA novels.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What I Like and Dislike About Writing
by Jo Ann Brown

As I’m about to embark on a writing a new novel, the fifth in my Amish Hearts series for Love Inspired, I’ve been thinking about what my favorite part of the process is.
What I like:
• Getting the idea. Nothing’s more exciting that coming up with that kernel of a story at the beginning when almost anything is possible and nothing is carved in stone yet.

• Having the characters appear in my mind and begin “talking” me about themselves and each other and the story they want.
• Writing the proposal...or most of it. See “What I don’t like” below.
• Receiving feedback from my editor. Sometimes she likes what she sees; sometimes she doesn’t. That’s okay. I love having someone else help me see the tree amidst the forest and honing in on the hook and the conflict and depths of the characters that I need to delve into further.
• Being offered a contract. Okay, that’s a duh, I know.
• An epiphany moment. That moment after banging my head against the computer screen as I work the middle muddles of the book when everything becomes crystal clear. This usually happens when I’m in the shower or driving the car. Actually it happens anywhere where my mind is involved with other issues and I don’t have any way to write down my new insight.
• Spending time with my characters until the first draft is done.
• Revising and honing the final draft.
• Seeing the cover. I don’t know about anyone else, but this always feels like a gift to me from my publisher.
Sometimes the character(s) don’t look exactly as I imagined, but when I go back and reread, I see they are so close to what I described. I’ll be honest, when I’m writing I am the point of view character.
• Opening the box of author copies that arrive on my front porch. See Pamela Tracy’s blog post about getting author copies to know what I mean. She said it so well...though I can’t convince my cat to read my books. She’s more fond of the labels on cat food cans.
What I dislike:
• Waiting to hear back on a project. After over 100 titles, you’d think I’d be used to this by now. I am used to it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.
• Writing synopses. I teach how to write them, and I know how they should be written and why they are important and what they are used for inside the publishing house, but I still struggle to write them. Each word is important and can be misconstrued with an ease I find remarkable...until I go back and reread the synopsis and realize that I set the word up to be misconstrued. I often think of the cartoon where the scientists are standing by the blackboard with the long, long equation and adding the words “Miracle goes here.” That’s how I’d like to write synopses. “Just trust it all works out” would be the words I’d like to type.
• Waiting...Did I mention that?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Romance Around the World, Part 2

      For the second edition of Romance Around the World, we'll be visiting translations from Denmark and France. In these books, the original cover art was used, but the translators took the liberty of changing the titles. The first was originally titled BORN TO FLY. The French version is A VERY PRIVATE PILOT. I don't remember a lot from my French classes, but I'm guessing the second, originally titled, TO TRUST AGAIN, was changed to FRAGILE REBEL, or some combination thereof. :-)

Next is the Danish Translation of LOGAN'S LADY. Since I can't read a word of the language, I have no idea what it's titled. 


The only thing I recognize in the whole book is the original copyright information, the names of the main characters (Logan and Dee) plus my name! 

I'm not sure where we'll be venture in Romance Around the World, Part 3, but I'll see what's in storage and share again soon!

Also, feel free to join my MailChimp monthly readers' contest  (via my website BeckyBarker.com) for a chance to win free books. 

Hugs, Becky




Thursday, June 16, 2016

Today They Arrived!

Pamela Tracy here, and today my July release arrived in two boxes: one big, one little.


Here Lucy the dog happily inspects the box of Love Inspired books.
Of course, she is secretly wondering why anyone would send a box of books
when a box of Kibble could have been sent instead.
  This is book three of a trilogy.  I'm thinking about proposing three more as soon as I can lasso time.  I'm having trouble finding time to read.  Not so my cat.

Tyre the Cat says… If you stop taking my picture and saying "Good Kitty", I can get busy and read Arizona Homecoming.
BTW, does the hero or heroine have a cat?
What!!! The hero has a dog.
What! What! What!  The heroine's sister has a dog.
Okay.  Next book, I'm expecting lots of cats.
In Harlequin land, there have not been enough cat lady heroines.

  It never gets old, having your books arrive at your doorstep.  There's always this deep intake of air.  This "Really? Really?  I wrote a book and now it's tangible!

Arizona Homecoming is so tangible that it's featured on the Harlequin website.   I'm going to keep this artwork forever!
Feel free to hop over to Amazon and check it out today.


Click here to purchase Arizona Homecoming

 I'm letting Lucy help me unpack the books and Tyre is reading to us while we unpack.

Hmm, I'm thinking you're doubting me.

I do write fiction :)

So, who's my biggest fan:  Lucy or Tyre?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

True Romance by Karen Kelley
I've had people tell me they don't read romance because they "live" it. Okay, I wonder if that applies to movies as well? Hmmm, something to ponder. Romance books enhance the romance in my life and it must be working because I've been married 46 years. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I read the last page of a happily ever after romance. I enjoy being transported to a different place, even a different time or even a story with vampires. I never read many romances with aliens, though. Never say never. I came up with a plot for a series of books. My heroines were from the planet Nerak where there are no men, only companion units. In the first book, Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind, Mala longs for more than her perfect life on her perfect planet and takes off in an old spacecraft in search of earth. It's not exactly your typical alien book. It's filled with lots of humor about an alien that lands on earth and doesn't have a clue about earth's customs. Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award and has won numerous awards.

The second book in the series, Earth Guys Are Easy, is now available for download. I hope everyone enjoys it just as much.

Here's the back cover blurb for Earth Guys Are Easy:


Undercover cop Nick Scericino always attracts the wrong kind of female. He’s pretty sure his luck hasn’t changed when a sexy young lady strolls into the backwoods bar during a sting operation. Saving her from an overzealous biker cinches his hunch. Who’s playing who? Is she really looking for her cousin or is she part of the Russian mafia drug ring?

Kia will stay with the warrior who attempted to protect her. She is also a warrior, although there are no wars, or men, on her perfect planet. Still, it will be good to learn his warrior ways. And they can have sex so she compare him to her companion unit. Nick can also help her find her cousin who disobeyed the Elders and traveled to Earth.
              But will Kia discover her perfect planet isn’t quite as perfect as she once thought?
Best Wishes,
Karen Kelley
www.authorkarenkelley.com

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ali’s Legacy is more than the boxing ring by Jan Scarbrough

Living in Louisville, Kentucky, I can’t escape the hoopla surrounding the death and funeral of native son, Muhammad Ali. It’s taking place downtown where I work. The Muhammad Ali Center is three blocks from my office building.

On Monday when I went to my favorite spot for lunch, a crew from ABC was picking up lunch. It was a beautiful, bright shiny day, so I walked to the Center and snapped pictures of the memorial to the champ outside. Reporters and cameramen surrounded the area. On Wednesday, I crossed the lines of devoted fans waiting to pick up free tickets to Friday’s memorial service. I park in the garage below the KFC YUM! Center where the funeral will be held.

I remember Muhammad Ali as a kid. I was impressed when he took pictures with the Beatles in 1964. I was a Beatlemaniac, you see. I remember when Ali lit the Olympic Cauldron at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games

Others can speak more eloquently about Ali’s legacy than I. What I want to leave you with are some of his quotes that I find inspirational.

  • He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
  • The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
  • Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
  • The man who has no imagination has no wings.
  • It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.
  • Don’t count the days; make the days count.


Ali was a man who believed in God and doing good for others. I found an article about his spiritual path that talks about his legacy. Once asked about his preferred legacy, Ali said: “I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times, who was humorous and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him … who stood up for his beliefs … who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love.”

Thursday, June 9, 2016

FIND LOVE ON-LINE

I find it interesting that nearly every single person I know is, or has at some time, dabbled with on-line dating.  It's the way most couples meet these days and yet there is a slim handful of romance novels using that device.


Romance writers are, after all, romantic.  We write about fantasy.  The cute meet.  The twist of fate meet.  The sparks and daggers flying meet.  The brought together by others meet.  And while we might believe in love at first sight, it makes for a boring book.  Our characters must overcome internal and external conflicts to achieve the ultimately satisfying happy ending. 

Back to reality and finding love on-line.  I'm one of the lucky ones.  Living in a town nicknamed "chicktoria" where the women outnumber the men 8-1, I knew my hero was out there somewhere.  I advertised for a "romantic alpha-male".  Men responded that there was no such thing.  I persevered.  I waited.  And one day I got the email that changed my life.

We quickly graduated from email to phone calls.  He made me laugh until tears ran down my cheeks.  He lived in a different city and by the time we met it was like a reunion.  I stepped into his arms for a hug and never left.  Eventually my romantic alpha male moved to the same city as me.  Last year he put a shiny diamond ring on my finger in the most romantic of all evenings, far more romantic than anything I could have written.  The clincher:  his name is Steel.  The same name as one of my heroes written years before we met.

Am I glad I took the chance?  Absolutely!

Will I write about characters who meet on an on-line dating site?  Maybe one day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Runaway With Me by @JoanReeves

I started writing today's post and thought I should call it the Cranky Report because I sound so...well, cranky.

The Cranky Report brought to you by an author who needs a vacation!

(Giveaway Alert. Details at end of post.)

You see, I'm growing mildew from all the rain and continued flooding in Houston.

I've spent the last 4 1/2 months as companion to my daughter while she recovers from 2 surgeries so I'm behind on every single thing I do and am tired just thinking about playing a summer-long game of Catch-Up.

My kitchen is in Week 3 of a 2-week renovation project. I'm seriously tired of eating Marie Callender Chicken Pot Pies, sandwiches, and fast food because by the end of a day of having my ears bombarded by hammering, sawing, drilling, and pounding, I'm too tired to go to a restaurant.

Yes! Lovely Beach. Soothing ocean sounds.

What To Do?

Escaping this madhouse to a tropical beach is #1 on my list of what to do and where to run.

Yes! The sound of the surf, the spray of the water, seagulls wheeling in the sky and diving, blue skies, blue ocean.

I chose to use all of those elements in a short video I made a few years ago.

Watching it just now made me feel good because this is as close to an ocean as I'm going to get for a while.

This video must make others feel good too because HIT THE BEACH: Sand, Surf, & 4 Romantic Comedies has over 4,200 views! Watch it now and tell me if it lifts your spirits.





Giveaway

To win an audio edition of one of the books mentioned in the video, just leave a comment with your email address and tell me what's your favorite kind of escape? This Giveaway closes at 8pm CDT on June 14. See Details below.



Bonus Giveaway

Click YouTube on the video player above to watch on YouTube. Then click the red subscribe button on my YouTube Channel and leave a comment on HIT THE BEACH. That enters you in a Swag Bag Giveaway that includes a T-shirt, flashlight pen, memo book, and other goodies. Subscribers to my mailing list/NL WordPlay, and those who comment on designated blog posts will be entered in this Giveaway which closes at midnight June 27. See Details below.


Giveaway Details

(1) Winner selected by random draw and notified by email no later than 1 week after giveaway closes.
(2) Bonus Giveaway Swag Bag is awarded if winner is in continental U.S.
(3) If selected winner of Bonus Giveaway is abroad, Smashwords coupons for ebooks will be given.
(4) Giveaways close as indicated above.



Readers, sign up for Joan's Mailing List/Free NL and, Writers, subscribe to WritingHacks, Joan's free NL for authors.

Connect Online with Joan: Blog * Website * Facebook * Google+ * Pinterest * Twitter * YouTube

Monday, June 6, 2016

Perfect Time, Perfect Place, Perfect Setting by Connie Vines

When I am writing a novel, character and plot for the “who” and “what” of a story are, in my opinion, are two of the most important factors.  However, setting, the “where” and “when," comes a very close third.

A powerful setting is almost like a character in its own right.

The setting is a ‘presence’ in the story.  The setting can become an ‘influence’ on events.
Without an intimate knowledge and feeling for a place, I do not believe a writer can bring the story alive in the reader’s imagination.

Setting is more than just streets, buildings and landscape.  Setting is local history, customs, nature, weather, and legends.  Setting is food, accents, music, fashion, and people going about daily business.
Everyone has a place that inspires him or her. Or, creates a sense of belonging, excitement, or a desire to escape.

My settings are as diverse as my interests are.  In my Rodeo Romance Series, my settings are the western United States.  My heroes hail from a rugged untamed area: Texas, New Mexico, and Wyoming.   Since I have traveled through and vacationed at my chosen settings, I use my firsthand experience and reactions to enrich my stories for my readers.

Montana is cold, very cold (I do not like being even a bit cold).  One minute it’s storming, the next it’s sunny, and then the sun goes down, and it’s freezing.  Since my heroine (Rachel) has lived most of her life in Montana, the cold is not a big deal for her.  When I begin my story, I scrawled a note to self: do not harp on the temperature, or have said heroine run around in circles shouting, “It’s a snow storm—the T-rex of all snow storms!  We are all going to die!”  (However, this may appear in one of my YA novels—be forewarned.)

Montana is Big Sky Country—a nickname Montana has totally earned.  In Montana, the elk, deer and antelope populations outnumber the humans. Cowboy boots and hats re formal wear.  Montana Pro Rodeo Circuits are some of the best in the country. Most importantly, the whole state is just one big small town.

An excerpt from “Lynx," Rodeo Romance, Book 1.

Rachel melted against the back or her chair, as Lynx’s fingertip brushed a strand of hair from her face. Her body shivered all the way to her toes. Fidgeting with a silver bracelet on her wrist, Rachel didn’t know how to deal with this type of covert seduction. “You’ll have a good time during Cheyenne Frontier Days,” she said addressing her comment to both men.

“Everyone has a good time,” Lynx clarified.

Dan chuckled. “Everyone who’s able, anyway.”

Rachel reached for her glass, glancing at Dan. “I don’t understand.”

Dan pushed his Stetson further back on his head, revealing a bright crop of red hair.  “I landed in front of the angry end of a bull last year and broke my arm. Lynx had a hell of a good time, though.”





Excerpts from “Brede”, Rodeo Romance, Book 2.

Brede waited for her to seat herself before sitting down.
For some reason, he’d thought she was kidding when she said she didn’t know how to cook.  It appeared, she was telling the truth after all.  The green beans had an almost-scorched smell that even he’d never mastered. . .

The saucepan slipped from her fingertips and clattered to the floor.

She’d tried to tell herself that it was only the storm, and the lights would come back on in a matter of minutes. Still, terror that was icy, cold and merciless grabbed her by the throat and crushed what little courage she possessed when the cloudy, moonless night turned the room to inky black.
It was happening all over again!

She was alone.

Alone in the darkness. .




Not all of my stories aren’t set in the great-outdoors, or set thousands of miles away from my backyard.  I also use ‘local’ settings for inspiration.  My Sassy and Fun Fantasy Series is set here in SoCal (southern California and up the coastline).  Meredith is a patron of the arts and a local celeb.  She lives in LA and vacations in a cabin in Forest Falls.

 “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow."

El Mexicano was the best (and only) restaurant in town. . . Climbing the steps to the porch entrance, Meredith was glad to see little had changed from their last visit. Cozy and rustic, the outside was on the tacky side of eclectic, but the inside was familiar and welcoming.  The host seated them near the wood-burning stove. . .Careful to keep her gaze locked on the contents of her mug, Meredith felt cluttered with a million bittersweet memories of happier times.




Most of my western novels reflect settings I visited during my travels.  However, many of my contemporary stories are set with in my own back yard (or within driving distance).  A writer may discover the model for a fictional town, a make-believe stellar world, or an unexpected setting for an historical romance in some unexpected places.

My Rodeo Romances are part of the Kindle Countdown this month!
Please stop by and read for FREE!

Happy Reading,

Connie Vines






Free Kindle Count down/ Zombie!

Friday, June 3, 2016

How old is too old?

by Liz Flaherty


I apologize for stealing that title directly from a PAN (Published Authors' Network) discussion on a Yahoo group. But since it's a question I've been asking myself about numerous things for more years than I care to remember, I'm going with it.

The discussion, for those writers who haven't seen it, involves the age of protagonists in romance novels. And it's interesting. There are those who consider 28 on the high side of age, others who shudder at the notion of 40-year-olds having sex, those who think it's okay to have older people but not in a steamy romance. Some older authors love writing and reading young protagonists because they are free to do what the authors couldn't when they were young. Some find the reading and writing of them tedious.

One of my best friends, Nan Reinhardt, writes strictly over-40 romance and I love the books in her Women of Willow Bay series.

Most of my own heroines have been over 30 and several of them have ventured into their 40s and 50s. If my editor at Harlequin would agree, I'd write all older protagonists because my voice doesn't translate young and because youthful protagonists don't interest me at all. I've been there, done that, bought the tee shirt, and am ready to shop three aisles over.

The Girls of Tonsil Lake is my only title that is true women's fiction. I wrote it about the year the Girls were 51. It is an unabashed favorite of my own books and reviews have been kind to it, too.

What about you? Where do you come in on this discussion?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It's All Subjective

As I'm writing away on my latest book (due July 15), I spend a lot of time agonizing over whether it's too dark, or romantic enough, or if the story is engaging.  Have I put enough suspense?  Romance?
I worry and rewrite and actually have to force myself to go forward or I'll never make deadline.  And this book will be my 47th published book!

I suspect if I asked my fellow writers, I'd learn I was not alone.  It should get easier, right?  You'd think by now I'd have this writing gig down pat.  Hah!  I keep telling myself if a book is this difficult to write, it's bound to be good.  At least, that's how I soothe my critical inner editor.

What's interesting to me is how non-writers perceive the writing process.  People think we just sit down and dash off these "little romances", with no clue as to character building, choosing the right words, etc.  Writing is pretty darn hard, I tell you.  But there are days when I get lost in the world, when I forget about making sure I haven't repeated the same word twice on the page (that's what editing is for.)  And those days, along with when the book is finally finishes and I release I don't want to leave this world I've created, make me realize how much I love writing.

I have a book coming out July 1st and just received my first review.  It tickled me and made me happy.  I hope the readers enjoy it as much as the reviewer did.

Here's a link to the review of Tempting the Dragon.  https://readinginpajamas.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/harlequin-summer-reading-review-tempting-the-dragon-by-karen-whiddon/

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

HEY, I KNOW THAT PLACE! by Hannah Rowan

Whether it's the top of the Empire State Building, a cafe in Paris, or a donut shop in Trention, New Jersey, I grow deliriously, unreasonably excited when I'm reading a book and I come across a place I've been to.

It's not that I object to made-up settings.  In fact, every book I've written has been set in a fictional location loosely based on a town I'm familiar with.  Always in New Jersey, because then I can be sure I won't say something that sounds just plain wrong to the people who live there.

Since my husband semi-retired we've been making up for lost time, traveling as much as we can.  Combine that with writer's conferences in various parts of the country, and you could say I get around.  But why do I get almost more excited about seeing a place I've visited mentioned in a book than I do when I'm actually there?

"Look! Look! They're eating at the Dune Dog Cafe in Jupiter, Florida!"

"How about this...they found a body right next to that roadside stand on the shore in Rhode Island where we stopped for a lobster bake!"

Sure, I get a thrill when a character is looking at the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, or when they're driving over the Golden Gate Bridge.  But I get ever so much more enthusiastic when I recognize a more obscure landmark.

"Look!  She's doing the ghost walk in Roswell, Georgia!"

"Hey!  They're kayaking in John Pennekamp State Park in the Florida Keys!"

I realized the extent of my obsession a few weeks ago while reading a book set in Minnesota, where I've never been except to change planes.  By the time I finished reading I was happy enough that the hero and heroine worked out their differences to live happily ever after.  But I was really frustrated because I hadn't visited all the neat places where they went on their dates.

Now I'm not just wallowing in the joys of having been somewhere.  Now I'm adding to the list of places I need to visit!

Please, please, tell me I'm not the only one with this quirky way of thinking! 


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