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.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A NEW BEGINNING? by Hannah Rowan

In January, my gym is often crowded with people working on their New Year’s resolutions. 

Stores brim with planners, calendars, and various systems designed to organize our lives. 

My refrigerator is packed with all manner of healthy foods in keeping with my determination to overhaul my dietary habits.

Of course, by the time February rolls around, all those changes are out the window.  And I know why.

Everyone knows the real beginning of the year happens in September.

My gym even closes during the last week of August, allowing me to have fantasies of really getting serious about working out when it reopens after Labor Day.

But the real excitement comes from the plethora of stationary items available at this time of year.
Notebooks with pretty flowers on the covers. Leather bound journals.  Neon-colored Post It notes in an assortment of sizes.

What about pens? The way a pen feels in my hand is very important.  The smoothness of the ink as the pen glides across the page is crucial. So many colors of ink to choose from.  And of course a writer can’t function without highlighters in multiple hues.

A collection of new binders, multi-colored paper clips, maybe a cute new mouse pad, a bottle of ibuprofen to counteract the over-enthusiastic return to the gym, and an assortment of fancy tea bags…how could a writer not be inspired by this multitude of new items?

Then again, there’s always January.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Computer Keyboard Nirvana by Cheryl Bolen

How happy are you with your computer's keyboard? Since I got my first pc in, gulp, 1985 I have never found one I like as well as the old electric typewriters I used in my early newspaper career (and when I wrote my first novels--which were never published).

Now I've discovered "mechanical" keyboards that operate as the old-style typewriter keyboards do. These are preferred by gamers. The September Consumer Reports magazine said, "Studies have shown that mechanical keyboards such as [the Das] can significantly increase words-per-minute counts and accuracy."

I knew this. I was a thousand times more accurate on my old electric typewriter than on these chintzy keyboards that come with computers nowadays. I had no idea I could obtain a keyboard that mimicked a typewriter.

Consumer Reports recommends the Das Keyboard 4, which sells for $170, and their more "affordable alternative" is the $80 Logitech G610.

After I learned about these from the PAN loops early this year, my husband researched them. Being a cheapskate, he chose for me the TOMOKO Mechanical Gaming Keyboard which sold on Amazon for $45.99. It's often a few dollars less, and one with less keys is even cheaper. He said I could get the expensive one, but that the Tomoko got good reviews from users.
This is a Tomoko gaming keyboard (which is great for authors)

There's a lot of info out there about these. A lot of it deals with colors. It's clear as mud to me.

For less than $50, it was worth a try. If I wasn't happy, I'd get the $170 one. After all, this stuff is tax deductible, and I'll pay anything for something that makes my job easier and more pleasant. I do type several hours a day, anywhere from a thousand words to several thousand.

I am delighted to share with you that I am thrilled with my Tomoko. My accuracy is almost back where it was when I was in my twenties typing like a wiz on my electric typewriter. These even have the clickity sound like old typewriters (though you can get quiet mechanical keyboards). I cannot praise this highly enough. It's put more of the joy back in my writing because I'm not having to constantly go back and correct transposed and dropped letters.

Not being even remotely techie, I don't think I'd ever have learned about these had I not been networking with other authors through groups like Romance Writers of America's Published Author Network. And the Precious Gems. Love you gals.--Cheryl's latest release is a Regency historical titled Miss Hastings' Excellent London Adventure.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Revisions Done! @lcrandallwriter


I just finished revisions on a new story and I'm dancing with my hands in the air. So coffee, tea, or whatever beverage you enjoy all around!

The story is a short for an upcoming anthology release titled At Midnight, by Lainee Cole, Rena Koontz, and me. Three authors. Three love stories. Three approaching deadlines.

Here's a peek at my story, titled Two Days Until Midnight.

Oh, how he wanted to kiss Lark's lips, but he stood suspended in doubt nanomillimeters away.
“Tamier.” She stared at his mouth. “You don’t know everything about me.”
He pulled his eyes from her lips and looked into her eyes. “I don’t expect I do.”
“There are things I want to tell you, but I’m afraid.”
“Don’t be. If there are things I need to know, you’ll tell me or they will come up and we'll work them out.” He nuzzled the soft spot under her ear and into her neck, all of his senses exploding with sensations.
“Tamier,” she whispered.

“Remember later that I warned you.”

Two Days Until Midnight features three stories in which the clock is ticking for the hero and heroine: Midnight Casanova, a contemporary romance by Lainee Cole; Two Days Until Midnight, a paranormal romance by me; and Midnight Deadline for Love, a romantic suspense by Rena Koontz. I'm excited for its October 2 release. To keep up on when the book goes up for a discounted preorder price and other reading and writing related tidbits, follow my blog at www.lynn-crandall.com or stay tuned to my posts here.💙

Monday, August 21, 2017

#The Happiness Pact @Liz Flaherty

Not out until January 5, but available for pre-order now. My second Harlequin Heartwarming from Lake Miniagua. 

Tucker Llewellyn and Libby Worth—strictly platonic!—realize they're each at a crossroads. Tucker is successful, but he wants a wife and kids: the whole package. Libby knows that small-town life has her set in her ways; the tearoom owner needs to get out more. 

So they form a pact: Libby will play matchmaker and Tucker will lead her on the adventure she desperately needs. But the electricity Libby feels when they shake on it should be a warning sign. Soon the matchmaking mishaps pile up, and a personal crisis tests Libby's limits. Will Tucker be there for her as a best friend…or something more?


Barnes & Noble 



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I...just...can't... @Liz Flaherty

I must admit, I wrote this post a few years ago, for Word Wranglers. I wrote it because I needed to. Because of that one line down there. "I...just...can't." I'm not in revisions right now; what I am is in the middle of a contracted book and having a heck of a time finding my way out. I'm using this post today to prove to myself (and others if you need it, too) that I've felt like this before--and probably will again--and that there is another side to this particular fence.

Oh, my gosh, I love revisions.
          Last week and the week before, when I talked to my editor—a couple of times; he had a lot of things to tell me—I kept saying Really? in a squealy, whiney, don’t wanna do it voice. I know I did. Not that I’m proud of that particular voice, but since I’ve been hauling it around my whole life, I may as well own it. And I said, at the ends of these conversations, “Okay, I can do this. Thanks for the help.” And then I hung up and looked at my laptop and said Really? in a squealy, whiney, thankfully silent voice.         
          Then I went to work. And I have had, it must be said, some of those stone days we talked about last week. I have stared at the screen of my laptop until dust motes danced merrily before my eyes before settling into the bunnies under the desk. I have chewed my thumbnail down to an uncomfortable nub. I have done laundry before I had a load, washed dishes by hand, and cooked meals when there were leftovers to be had. I have thought, I can’t do this. I may as well call and renege. Because I...just...can’t.
          I also had some days that were diamonds. I had lunch with friends, dinner with friends, saw some of my kids, went places with my husband, sewed on my youngest grandchild’s quilt, and laughed every day. More than once. And I wrote some, revised some, thought Maybe this will work. Didn’t call and renege or even want to.
          And then there was this morning. It is Sunday, when I never work on the manuscript, when I look at Facebook and email and maybe work on the Word Wranglers post and then go to Sunday school.
          Except today I didn’t go to Sunday school, because all of a wonderful sudden, it worked. No maybe about it. Nope, it really worked. This does not mean my editor will be as thrilled as I am. He may say No or Try again or What were you thinking? I can’t control that. But for now, it is fist-pumping time, because of course I can do it—I just did!
          I love revisions.
          Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Release Day for Whole Lot O’ Love (The Brantons #3) by @BonnieEdwards

I’m excited to say that my short, sexy, “secret baby” novella Whole Lot O’ Love is officially available on its own.

Ashlee Branton’s lottery win is giving her and her son a new, settled life back home.
Except that returning to Blaine, Washington means facing her son’s father, Brick Harcourt, in a most unsettling way.
Ashlee deserted Brick and his less-than-accepting family when she’d become pregnant. Refusing to be just a statistic, she worked hard to raise their baby on her own. But as luck would have it, she has a chance to repair what she broke back then. Dare she take one more chance on love?
But Ashlee has two pasts now, one with Brick and one with an ex who wants to crash their reunion. Will she run again or stay and sacrifice money for love?


Here’s a taste of what you can expect from Whole Lot O’ Love:

Life had a lot of peculiar twists in it for the Branton clan. Cousin Tyce married an heiress who turned out to be his first love, but their other cousin Teri Branton was ditched at the altar and married a stranger within weeks.
Yes, Ashlee decided, the Brantons were given different, unusual paths to walk, and now Ashlee had one, too. Considering she was only twenty-three, she’d already been handed some doozies. A teenage pregnancy made her run off alone to take on single motherhood. After a short stint in school, she’d landed a decent job that paid the bills if not much more. Lost that job and started waitressing at a diner and lived broke—very broke.
And now this. The biggest, weirdest twist she could imagine.
She stretched out on the bed, propped her head on her hand and stared at her lottery ticket again. The numbers blurred on the strip of paper as she blinked through tears. Fearful she somehow had the numbers jumbled she checked the screen of her phone again. Not jumbled. There they were; her birthday, Cory’s birthday, and Tommy’s.
She fisted a hand into her mouth to stop a shout of triumph? Fear? Excitement? With Cory asleep on his side of the bed, she had to be quiet. No shrieking, no giggling, no wild crazy joy. Her son would be cranky if he didn’t get a full night’s sleep.
Tracing the numbers on the ticket with a fingertip, she checked the screen on her phone again. She’d used Tommy’s birthdate out of habit, though they’d broken up last week.
The shakes began when she formed the amount in her mind. Half a million dollars. Half a million.
Five hundred thousand. Dollars. Real dollars.
Okay, that part had to be wrong. Luck like this didn’t happen to people like her. People from the La La Land Trailer Park did not win big. Not in the money department.
Except her cousins, Tyce and Teri had won the game of love. And Tyce’s wife, Lisa, had inherited a ton from her husband, so in a way, Tyce and Lisa had won in the money game.
Why couldn’t Ashlee win money? Maybe it was her turn.
Tommy, that’s why. He’d want half, if not more. But Tommy was gone, wasn’t he? He’d walked out of their lives a week ago because she wouldn’t let him move in. But she had Cory to consider and he’d never understood that.
He didn’t get that being with him for six months wasn’t long enough to take a chance. Not with Cory. And she hated the idea of living with a man just for the shared rent. That path led straight downhill to dependence and no way would she get talked into being dependent on a man. She’d been stuck there too often as a kid.
She was better off without Tommy, even if it meant she and Cory had to stay in this crappy motel until one of her job prospects panned out. She was an experienced administrative assistant and soon she’d leave the diner behind.
Soon, meaning first thing in the morning. She didn’t have to wait for a new job.
Because life had just taken another strange turn.
And she and Cory had to get the hell out of town. She’d walked away from her life before and she could do it now.

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