Thursday, October 18, 2018

Why the HEA in Romance is a misnomer by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic

Recently I was interviewed for the podcast Blood, Sweat and Words by the lovely Jo-Ann Carson, a newcomer to podcasting, as am I.

Jo-Ann wanted me to talk about Sex on the Page and we discussed writing sex and changes in the romance industry since I launched my career.  To listen to Sex on the Page click here

We talked about what makes a hero sexy and that led me to pondering the romantic notion of the Happy Ever After ending in most romance novels.

I think we've been calling where we leave our characters at the end of our books by the wrong name.

Romance heroines and heroes struggle through whatever muck we throw at them, gathering their strength along the way so they end up happy together.

And then we call it The End. We've given them their HEA.

But we haven't. What we've done is given them their launch into a bright, loving future.

We've given a heroine a man she can count on, a man with staying power. A man maybe our readers could want, too.

Making our readers sigh at the end of our books is a goal...but it isn't the end for our characters. They live inside our readers' hearts and for them (and us) they've been launched into their lives together. Our readers will know these characters will face whatever comes in life, good and bad, because they have staying power, and, hopefully, shared humor and values and desire.

So, while I doubt this little blog post will change an entire industry's thinking on the HEA...maybe it will make some people realized that with books, nothing really ends and that maybe we should change the way we think of The End.

Maybe we should call The End, The Launch.

Or can you come up with something more romancey?

To read my most recent book with a happy launch, Diamond at Heart:  Amazon Exclusive

Friday, October 12, 2018

Reflections of a Book Signing

You may know that Gems in the Attic bloggers were once published by the Kensington Precious Gems line. The small, inexpensive paperbacks were exclusively sold at Walmart. So back in the day, when we wanted to do a book signing, we had to go to Walmart. Now, if you’ve ever been to the store, you’ll know that customers have many things on their minds, not necessarily books.

On June 20, 1998, Kim Whalen (aka Maddie James) and I participated in a book signing at a local Walmart. The next day I received this email from Kim.

“Thought I would share these tidbits from Jan’s and my booksigning yesterday. Jan, I’m paraphrasing, of course, and taking a little literary license.J

Jan: “Do you read romance?”
Walmart customer looks longingly at hubby of 50+ years. “I have all the romance I need.”

Jan: “Do you read romance?”
Walmart customer: “Oh no.”
Jan: “Would you be interested in a Kentucky book?”
Walmart customer: “Kentucky? Oh my, no. I’m from out of state. My sister reads these things though.” Glances overtly at cover, moves a little closer.
Jan: “Maybe she’d like this one?”
Walmart customer takes another step toward book, looks intently at it, quickly steps back: “No, don’t think so. Good luck.” Hurriedly steps away.

Small boy Walmart customer: “Look Mom, Grandma Olley books!”
Kim: “Does Grandma Olley read romance?”
Small boy Walmart customer rolls eyes. Entire family rolls eyes. Old lady follows up rear of entourage.
Kim, thinking this is Grandma Olley: “Do you read romance?”
Old lady: “My heaven’s no!”
Family exits in haste.

Walmart customer with two small children walks slowly by.
Jan: “Do you read romance?”
Customer: “Oh my, I read them all the time! My daughter and I trade back and forth.” Customer hesitantly steps forward.
Jan: “Maybe you’d like this one. It’s set in Kentucky.”

Customer eagerly approaches: “Oh, yes!”
Jan: “It’s a great buy. Only $2.00.”
Jan signs.
Customer clutches book to chest. “Oh, I’m so excited! My daughter won’t get this one.” Walks off with huge smile on her face.

Kim’s son: “Mom! Mom! I got an autographed picture of the Bud Girls!”
Kim: “Let me see that.”
Toni, Anderson rep: “Gee, they are almost scary looking.”
Kim: Heck, this one has wrinkles! She’s as old as me!”
Bill, Jan’s significant other: “Wrinkles? She has a face?”

Jan’s friend from Ohio who has just had 14 of Jan’s books signed for friends: “Oh, and I want one of Kim’s books, too. Will you sign one?”
Kim: “Sure, be glad to. Now who is this to?”
Jan’s friend: “Make it to Mary and Don.”
Kim begins to sign.
Don to wife, embarrassed: “Why do you always do that? It really doesn’t have to be to me, too.”
Kim signs to Mary and Don.

Jan to friend: “Wanna see what my editor did? What she added in here? I want to you to know I didn’t write this!”
Friend: “Which sentence?”
Jan: “This sentence.”
Friend reads.
Jan: “I had the heroine taking off his boxer shorts. I didn’t write that.”
Bill: “Jan, you are bad.”

Bill to Jan’s friends, hitching up pants and puffing up chest: “You know where Jan’s inspiration comes from, don’t you?”
Jan grins.

Jan’s friend, referring to child next to her: “This is the child who loves horse books.”
Jan, matter-of-factly, glancing at pre-pubescent child: “Tell her not to read Chapter Eleven.”
Jan signs.

Walmart customer picks up Kim’s book: “Are you the author?”
Kim: “Yes.”
Customer reads name on book: “Wait! I have one of your books!”
Kim clutches chest. “You do?”
Customer: “Yes, one of my friends gave it to me the other day. Kim Whalen. Yes! That’s the name. I haven’t read it yet. Now, which book is it?” She studies both covers and reads back blurb. “Yes, it’s this one! My friend said it was the best book!”
Kim, puffing out her chest: “Well, gee…tell your friend thanks!”
Customer: “I want the other one!”
Kim signs, grinning from ear to ear.

Twenty years later, my first Precious Gems book exists as an ebook. To sell to Precious Gems, I cut out 30,000 words and a mystery suspense element. I’ve put those elements back into Kentucky Flame and self-published it.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Once upon a time only a small percentage of the population could read and books were considered a luxury item, costly and difficult to produce. 

Welcome the Victoria era.  Thanks to a rise in literacy and weekly serialized stories cheaply printed in periodicals, the general public was able to read fiction for pleasure.  Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers, published in 1836, was widely considered to have established the appeal of this serialized form of literature.  Writers who wrote fast became hugely successful, breaking down much longer stories into small weekly serials, devoured by their fans.

Fast forward to the World Wide Web, which revived the serial format on-line and is changing the way we read and write.  No longer do readers have to wait a year for the latest release by (insert favorite author’s name here).   No longer are authors at the mercy of publishers’ contracts and release schedules.

In order to feed the reading public’s voracious appetite authors are writing in series format, and those who can are releasing a new book once or twice a month, allowing readers to binge-read like never before.

Bonus!  With on-line purchase of books delivered electronically in seconds to their devices, readers no longer need to visit a bookstore or library to feed their habit.  Double Bonus!  For a small amount monthly, readers may take out a membership on Amazon and read as many books as they can.

As an author trying to give my readers what they want, I am in the midst of writing my first-ever series.  Sure, I’ve spun off an interesting secondary character a few times into their own book, but writing an entire series is a new beast.  I’m finding it a challenge (albeit a good one) after many years of writing stand-alone romances.  Not only does each book have its own story arc, the series overall requires a larger story arc to be woven through each book and wrapped up tidily at the end of the series.   And for the reader who comes in halfway through the series, it’s helpful if each book can be read alone and enjoyed on its own merits. 

I’m excited to finish the series and let you know how it turned out.

As a reader, do you prefer series or stand-alone books?
As an author, which do you prefer to write?

Join Kathleen’s reading group and receive a free novella.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Release @lcrandallwriter

New Release!

Bounty hunter Payson Silver stands on the top of the tallest building in her city and sees
proof below in the cries for help, the theft underway, and fighting in progress that darkness is growing. Locating skips, lost people, and objects is only one of her jobs. Born an Aeon, a direct descendant of evolved people of Atlantis, Payson came into the world knowing her purpose in life – to balance dark energies with light and prevent the world from going deeply into darkness, starting with the City of Auralia. Alongside the love of her life, Braden Powers, and other fellow Aeons, she uses her psychometric ability and special skills to defeat the mission of Dark Aspects, or DAs as she calls them, from turning the city into darkness. Her greatest weapon against the darkness is her ability to send the energy of light and love into the world. Her greatest obstacle to saving the world is fellow Aeon turned DA, Diane Butler, and her own resistance to her mission.

Braden too battles a lack of commitment to the Aeons’ mission, and the reminder that he lost control of his mind-control ability once with dire consequences. While he understands the importance of his work, it is only head-deep, not within his heart.

As bounty hunter and police officer, Payson and Braden counter darkness by enforcing justice and protecting residents from those who harm others and commit crimes. But when Diane’s dark jealousy drives her to block Braden’s mind to his real life and create a new one for him, Payson can’t stop her. To lose her love is devastating and she knows she has only ten days to bring him back to the light.

Dark forces are powerful, and Payson and Braden battle to save each other and their precious relationship, while the fate of the world lies in balance. The battle for good goes on under the radar of humanity, but the outcome will mean the difference of a thriving planet or the slow death of all that is.

Learn more about Touch Me on my website or on Amazon and other retailers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fall is in the air by Karen Kelley

There's just something about Fall that I love better than any other season. I think it's the aroma of pumpkin spice, the cooler temperatures, and the upcoming holidays. You can feel the change in the air. Then I look around and decide I need change in my home. I love the farmhouse look. I've decided to change my curtains from boring light brown to red and cream check. As soon as my daughter comes back from San Diego we'll go shopping. She's the best at interior decorating.

 Now, Karl and I are still in the RV and still loving it, but I have limited space, which is one of the drawbacks of being a full time RVer. Sometimes I think I want more room, but then I start cleaning and I think, maybe not. LOL. That doesn't mean I don't need change.

 We're enjoying being back in Texas. Since Karl is still recuperating, I'm getting a lot of writing done. I'll have two brand new books coming out in the next few weeks. I love writing and reading romantic comedy. These two were fun to write. You can keep up with my new releases by joining my newsletter group at and grab a free copy of Anything You Can Do.

 Have a great day!
 Karen Kelley

Can a pinky swear with his little sister keep Alex from temptation?
Kagen wants Alex as soon as she sees him, so is it fate that throws them together for a week in his little sister’s apartment while she’s on her honeymoon? When Kagen discovers Alex did something foolish and promised little sister he wouldn’t touch her best friend, the wager is on to see how long he can resist her charms.
The pinky swear has always been a sacred promise between Alex and his little sister, but Kagen’s seduction is pushing playboy Alex to the edge. He begins to wonder if the pinky swear was even legit since no spit was involved. Would that be considered a loophole?
When Kagen offers up a wager, Alex knows anything she can do, he can to better, but he doesn’t count on exactly how far the lady will go.
Get your copy of this steamy romantic comedy today that will have you laughing one minute and fanning yourself the next.

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