Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Freedom! by @BonnieEdwards #GemsinAttic


Synonyms (a short list)






Lack of restriction

Freedom means to me all of the above. As an independently publishing author, I make use of every one of the above synonyms. I have the liberty to publish my work myself, the choice of which stories will be published and when.
I have no restrictions on what to include in my books and I have the self-determination to market my books as I see fit. As for sovereignty? I am the Queen of my domain. 

Recently I started revisions on an older Kensington title with an eye to publishing it again with a new title, cover and freshened prose. As I worked I realized that this book which has a stolen cache of diamonds, a murder, and repercussions from over 50 years ago could easily be linked to another Kensington title. Also, it deserved to be longer. 

When I was first writing these two novellas I was restricted to writing single books and wasn't encouraged to think of series. I wasn't free to make so many of the decisions that I'm able to make today.

My plan now is to take Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Thong off the market and make both stories stronger, and connect them. 

As to marketing, I'll be re-releasing them as a couplet with the option to add to this series later. Because I can. Because I'm free.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Alpha Heroes: Valentino to Sweet Savage Love by @JoanReeves

Photo from Wikipedia
First, the apology. I totally missed my last blog dates. Life has been crummy of late then Hurricane Harvey visited on Aug. 25 which was the icing on the cake. Hopefully by the time you read this, the damage should be repaired.

Today, I should be posting a Lucky 7 interview. Instead, I'm posting what I would have posted on Sept. 1, my usual first Friday of the month blog date.

Last month, on August 23, I read that it was Valentino Day and that sparked my imagination so I looked him up. He was the heartthrob hero back in the silent film era who made women all over the world swoon.

If you don't know of this dark-haired Italian with the piercing gaze, ask your grandmother or great-grandmother.

It's not such a reach to say that he was the model for all of the alpha male heroes that appeared in early romance novels.

Tight Breeches and Ripped Bodices

Those books of thrusting loins and heaving bosoms starred men who were as likely to smack a woman around as to make love to her. Definitely not my cup of tea. I like a manly man, but I like him to be the kind of man who protects women, not abuses them. But I digress. 

Actually, I didn't know Rudolph Valentino had a day commemorating his death. The fact that he does is testament to his influence on popular culture in his time. In reality, this silent film heartthrob was Rudolfo Alfonzo Raffaelo Piero Filibert Guglielmi De Valentina D’Antonguolla. Born in Italy, Valentino had applied for American citizenship shortly before his death.

News of his death caused mass hysteria worldwide among his fans--mostly women--much as fans act today upon the untimely passing of an iconic celebrity.

During his life, he starred in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle, and Son of the Sheik.

The Sheik, a 1919 novel by E. M. Hull (Edith Maude Hull), was already a huge bestseller, but Valentino breathed life into the brooding alpha male.

There are several editions of this book offered on Amazon, some with a demure cover reminiscent of the 1920's, and some with a racy new cover like the one shown at right in case you'd like to check it out.

Forced Submission

If you've ever read The Sheik, then you know that the sheik "forces submission" upon the heroine although the language from that era is restrained, not in your face as today's novels are.

I don't know if that book/film was responsible for the rape fantasy that many women are said to have, but I do know that Valentino's portrayal firmly entrenched the desert romance or sheik romance, as a popular trope in romance fiction.

By the way, Ms. Hull wrote several more novels with desert settings. They were some of the most popular commercial fiction of that era. I've even heard several popular romance authors of today cite The Sheik as the most romantic book they ever read.

That forced submission theme found a new audience in the 1970's with novels by Rosemary Rogers, author of the 1974 bestseller, Sweet Savage Love.which weighed in at 712 printed pages.

Rogers was the second historical romance author to be published in trade paperback--Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, the mother of the historical romance revolution, was the first.

Rogers was one of the most popular authors in Avon's stable at a time that Avon ruled the historical romance scene. Her heroes were alpha males who could be brutal in the treatment of the heroine, but the heroines in Ms. Rogers's novels usually gave as good as they got.

Today's Alpha Hero

In our time, the most popular alpha hero is a man who can walk on the wild side yet be a polite gentleman to women. He appreciates women for the gifts they bring to the world. To the woman he loves, he's tender and protective. His wild side doesn't come out unless the woman he loves is threatened. That's the kind of alpha hero I love.

That's the kind of hero I've written in Heat Lightning, Book 1, Outlaw Ridge, Texas, which is free if you're a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, and only $2.99 if you're not.

David Galloway is the middle brother of three. He earned his happily ever after in Heat Lightning, so it's time for his older brother John to get his shot at happiness.

Things are going to be tougher for John though because the woman he loves is a spy who lies for a living.

How did John get tangled up with Sabrina Snow, a woman whose granite exterior conceals a lonely heart?

John's story is Dead Heat, Book 2, Outlaw Ridge, Texas.

Since I didn't get it published due to Harvey, I've kept tinkering with the story so it has grown beyond its original size.

Actually, I'm finding it difficult to let go of Sabrina, the heroine with lots of secrets to expose. *LOL*

Sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know when Dead Heat is available. Or Follow me on my Amazon Author page.

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

She'd be delighted if you’d follow her on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

Click here to get a FREE ebook. The download link will be sent to your Inbox for a free copy of one of Joan's most popular romance novels.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The End or the Beginning.... @kathleenlawless

I lit the fireplace the other evening for the first time in many months.  Luckily it only meant clicking a remote; I doubt I would have bothered had it meant hauling and chopping wood, and much as I enjoyed the convenience I confess to feelng a tiny pang as the end of summer draws ever closer.  I'm not ready yet to let it go.  I have enjoyed every sun-filled, fun-filled, joyous, fragrant day and practiced hard at being in the moment whether I was at the beach, on a hike, or at an outdoor concert or barbeque.

As I watch summer fade, I remind myself fall is good.  Fall means cashmere sweaters, cute boots, cozy nights by the fire, rich slow-cooker stews and chilis and the first crisp bite of a just-picked apple.It's Halloween and Thanksgiving and yummmmm..... pumpkin pie.

Speaking of baking, I love making baking powder biscuits to serve warm from the oven.  My favorite recipe (and I have tried dozens) folows with The tip.  The Money!  I always rushed cutting the cold butter into the flour using two forks or knives and ended up with uneven globs of butter and less than stellar biscuits.  Then I discovered this trick!  Freeze your butter before you grate it into the flour mix. I guarantee you the lightest, fluffiest biscuits ever.  Happy Baking!

Best Ever Biscuits  (makes 8 generous sized biscuits)

2 c flour, plus extra for dusting
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder.
I Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup frozen butter
3/4 cup of milk

Preheat over to 400.  Grease your baking pan or line with parchment paper.  Combine all dry ingredients and grate in the butter quickly before it melts. Slowly add the milk, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Dough will be sticky.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 11-12 times.  Roll or pat into a rectangle 1" thick.  Cut dough into squares or rounds and place on your prepared cooking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes until golden

The end of a cycle signals the beginnign of a new one, much as the end of writing a book signals the beginning of writing a new one.  And if a book I write is too dear to totally say good-bye to, it can always spawn a sequel.  I'm excited by the new series I'm working on even though it won't be ready for release until next summer.  Until then, happy reading.
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Moment's Reflection On Devastation and Awareness @lcrandallwriter

I first wrote a piece like this after the tsunami hit Japan and killed thousands of people. When devastation happens, it can be challenging to go on with our daily lives. Over the weekend, I sat at my computer writing, having an average day in the Midwest. I drank coffee. I had electricity. I was going on with my normal life while others across the country faced complete non-normalcy.
Emotions overwhelm me when I hear or read stories about hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires. It’s too much to process. I wonder at how people survive when all around them is nothing but devastation and loss. And how do we go on with our normal lives knowing that for so many in the world life is desperately hard?
I think the answers to those questions are varied. We join in efforts to help, or donate money and supplies. We offer whatever we can to help ease the suffering. But personally, I want be sure to acknowledging the pain and the joy, the suffering and the support. In really tough times, we can, and must, go on with our lives, but we can do so living with more awareness and with more attention to doing what needs to be done to help others, and making changes in our own lives. If I have a project to complete, I can work at with recognition that I have an opportunity. If I go to lunch with a friend, I can be really present for that person. When I sweep my kitchen floor, I can appreciate that I have a home. Awareness of the tragedies in life can bring up close the pleasure of a cup of our favorite coffee, available to us so easily. And maybe if we have to stand in line for a bit to get it, awareness of the suffering other people endure just getting access to water can temper our impatience. Maybe we can smile at the server and offer a sincere thank you, knowing that in other places, such as the states hit by Harvey and Irma and the places ravaged by huge fires, the daily conveniences are just not there.
Tough times seem to bring us together and we willingly support others in need. The illustration of humanity boosts our spirits. And though we can’t always fix the world or rescue everyone, we can do what we do and do it with heart. By living with attention and awareness, we make the world a better place, I believe.

Image credit: 
© Grafvision
ID 10395635 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Friday, September 8, 2017

Coming Home (The Winchesters of Legend Boxed Set)

Small town, second chances—Coming Home: The Winchesters of Legend is a collection of novels set in Legend, Tennessee, a fictitious town nestled near the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Reunion Game
Santa’s Kiss
Heart to Heart 
A Groovy Christmas
Not Quite Christmas

I originally wrote the five novellas as part of the Ladies of Legend series. It was a fun series with the small town being the tie-in for all the stories.

My books were about the Winchester family, Jane and Dawn, twins so totally different from each other. The Reunion Game: Thirty-something twin Jane Smith's biological clock is ticking. But pickings are slim in Legend, Tennessee. The high school reunion gives Jane a second chance, because Graham Winchester will be back in town.

Santa's Kiss: Dawn Smith lives life on the edge, seeking thrills, changing herself into someone else. That’s why a small town girl from Legend is superstar. But Dawn’s world is crumbling. She needs to get away from the bright lights and heartache, but it is Christmastime. There’s no way she can face her family this year.

The fun part of the series was writing about the twins' parents and the parents of Jane's love interest Graham. I took myself back to high school to recreate characters from 1968 and 1969. Some memorable quotes from the stories will step you into history:  “I wish I’d worn flowers in my hair” and “Trust me. I’ve seen sleeping around. Besides the music, marijuana, and LSD, that’s practically all that went on at Woodstock.”

Heart to Heart is the story of a pet psychic named Marty and what happens when Jeremy’s fate is in Marty’s hands...and in the paws of 6 cats.

By bundling all five books together, readers get a small town series at a reduced price, which is always nice.

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