Thursday, February 11, 2016

Decision Time for an Indecisive Writer!

What should I write next?  That question is buzzing around in the back of my mind like a pesky fly! And it feels funny to even worry about that, because I am still immersed in writing my current Sierra Legacy series.  I have two books left to write!

But I've learned the hard way that when you write commercial fiction, you have to look ahead to your next book because it takes time to think of the characters and plot, write the proposal and get it to your agent, who, if  he or she likes it, will then get it to a publisher.  And then there's that itchy-scratchy wait while you wonder if your book will actually sell.

My problem is that there are so many books I want to write.  I have a partially written series set in Europe and based around the art world. Here is a photo that inspired the first book in the series.


I also have a coastal small town series based on growing up in groovy-yet-gorgeous Marin County, California.  I have cowboys galloping around my head on beautiful horses and I have a large Italian-American family based in a big city whose members are clamoring to get their story told.



And in my typically indecisive way, every day I decide that a different idea is the idea I want to pursue next.

Meanwhile, time is a-ticking and I need to make up my mind and start planning and writing!  So I have questions for you, lovely readers and fellow authors.  City or country?  Coastal or ranching?  Do you have any preferences?  And, when you are trying to make hard decisions, do you have any tricks to help yourself finally decide?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Semi-Birthday to Me

Kris Fletcher

I have a birthday coming up in the next few days.

No, I'm not going to tell you exactly when. That's a State Secret. What I will tell you is that I'm being seriously ripped off this year, because my birthday will be spent doing all kinds of things I really don't like. How bad will it be? Well, the most enjoyable part of the day will involve final preparations for having four rooms worth of hardwood floors refinished. And yes, I said that would be the fun part of my day.

Given this sad state of affairs, I've decided there's only one logical thing to do. I'm going to celebrate my birthday ahead of time. Not all on one day, mind you, but little indulgences and pockets of pleasure scattered across the days. A birthday week, if you will.

I like this idea. Why should all the fun be jammed into one day, anyway? Especially when the process of bringing me into this world took far more than a mere twenty-hour hours. At least, that's what my mother always said, and I figure if anyone would know, it would be her.

But there's one catch to this idea: I can't figure out what to do.

I know. It's pathetic. But I am really lousy at having fun. Oh, I can figure out special foods (ice cream, ribs, poutine), and I'm pretty good at cuing up some of my favorite tunes to belt while washing the dishes. But  what else should I do?

  • I like massages and pedicures, but I'm too cheap to spring for them 
  • My husband & the girls already gave me my gift ( a new phone. I had to have it ahead: my old one was dying before my eyes)
  • I don't enjoy shopping
  • I would love to spend an afternoon reading, but because of the aforementioned Many Yucky Things on the horizon, I'll be lucky to grab fifteen minutes before I pass out each night

So, folks, I'm turning to you. I need ideas for cheap, fast, non-food ways to celebrate another trip around the sun.

Help me, Super Birthday Fairies. You're my only hope.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Winners of Claire McEwen's and Anna Sugden's Prizes AND a Party Invitation!

Happy Saturday!

Last weekend I wrote a blog post about my new Sierra Legacy series and the first book, Wild Horses.  And you all left so many wonderful comments that I decided to choose TWO winners!

So... drumroll please... our randomly drawn winners are Penney and Laurie Iglesias. Congratulations Penney and Laurie!  You each will receive a signed copy of my new book, Wild Horses.  Laurie, please send me your mailing address at cmcewen.writer@gmail.com.  (Penney, I have your address.) 

And everyone else, thank you for joining in!  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter and/or join my newsletter (at www.clairemcewen.com) there will be some more fun giveaways coming up. 

Hi everyone - Anna here too!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to celebrate the launch of the fourth book in my New Jersey Ice Cats series, A Perfect Compromise. We had such fun! And since there were so many comments, I too have added an extra prize!

So, without further ado, my cats have randomly chosen the following winners (using the treats on pieces of paper method!):

Signed copy of A Perfect Compromise - Summer
Signed set of limited edition short stories - Angela
Signed copy of either A Perfect Trade or A Perfect Catch - Lorelei.


Please send your snail mail details to me at anna@annasugden.com.
Don't forget you can keep up with my news and giveaways on Facebook or Twitter and/or via my website (www.annasugden.com), where you can sign up for my newsletter.


In fact, speaking of giveaways and fun author stuff...


Superromance Authors are having a Valentine's Day party on Facebook!  

It will be this coming Friday, February 12th, 
From noon until 4:30 p.m. Pacific time.  
(So that' s 3:00 - 7:30 p.m. for all you East Coast folks.)   

Here is the link to the party.  You must have a Facebook account to join in.

Please come celebrate romance and reading with us!  
There will be fun chats and author news and giveaways!  
Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Top Five Strong Romance Heroines…by Rachel Brimble



Good morning!

I love to write strong heroines in my Harlequin Superromance novels - women who have had events happened to them that they have either overcome or are fighting to overcome. I truly believe our experiences change and shape who we are today. The basis for a strong and lasting romantic relationship surely comes from finding that certain someone who helps us to heal as well as becoming an exciting part of our future.

What do you think? Who are you favorite strong fictional heroines? 

There are so many strong romance heroines out there but here are my Top Five (in no particular order):

1)   Scarlett O’Hara – Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone With The Wind is one of my all-time favorite books (the only book I have read four times) and I often get into debates with my fellow romance readers/authors about her strength. Some find Scarlett too whiny and needy but, for me, she shows rather than verbalizes her strength. She overcomes horrors and difficulties that most of us (fortunately!) will only find in the pages of this wonderfully epic novel.

2)   Eve Dallas – In Death series by Nora Roberts

Lord, how I love Eve! If you haven’t tried the In Death series yet, make it your mission to start reading this amazing series before Christmas. The books center around Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her ongoing relationship with millionaire, Roarke (not sure if anyone knows if this is his first name or surname!) Each novel brings a new case for Eve to solve and usually involves Roarke or someone she is close to in one way or another. There are a whopping 41 novels so far in the series…

3)   Elizabeth Bennett – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

I don’t know a romance reader on the planet who hasn’t read Pride & Prejudice and, for me, it’s Elizabeth Bennett’s strength, integrity and passion which makes this novel continue to sell year after year. A timeless romance, hero and heroine that I predict will live in our hearts and the hearts of future generations for many years to come.

4)   Josie O’Casey – A Glimpse At Happiness by Jean Fullerton

A Glimpse At Happiness is one of my most favorite Victorian romances and the reason I started to write in the genre. Josie O’Casey is a wonderful example of what makes a strong heroine and how they overcome the poverty of their circumstances. This book is about love over adversity, hope over pessimism. A truly gorgeous book and a truly fantastic heroine.

5)   Lucky Santangelo – Jackie Collins


Although Jackie Collins’ books aren’t strictly romance, there is usually a central relationship in her super-sexy stories. I discovered the first book Lucky appears in (Chances) when I was barely into my teens and went on to devour all the books she features in thereafter. A strong, feisty, no holds barred, kind of heroine who demands your attention from the very first page. Tremendous!

Rachel x

My Harlequin Superromance Templeton Cove Stories...

Finding Justice
A Man Like Him
What Belongs To Her
Christmas At The Cove
Her Hometown Redemption

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Need a Mini Retreat from Winter?

Winter Storm Kayla just passed through the Midwest.  In the Twin Cities, we were on the outer edge so in my suburb we only had to clear about a foot of snow.  It was hard to tell the amount because of the drifting.  Having all the snow is a great excuse to keep my fire burning in the family room.

I don’t mind that we haven’t gotten as snow recently.   But in Minnesota, I do expect snow in the winter.  And when the sun came out, it was beautiful. 

But I also like escaping the cold and snow.  And I don’t always have to take a cruise to do that. 

Last week, I took my granddaughter to the Conservatory to get a little reprieve from the cold.  I take care of Princess Fluffy Top, my granddaughter, most Fridays.  You can see her exploits on Fluffy Top Friday on my Facebook page—Nan Dixon Writer.



The first room we walked into was the fern room.  Thousands of ferns, small to huge filled the space.  They had an orchid show going on and of courser I thought about Bess, the heroine of A SAVANNAH CHRISTMAS WISH.  She collects orchids. 







Then we headed to the sunken gardens.  The bright colors were such a relief from the drab grays and whites of winter.


In the main dome, there were palms, fig trees, cinnamon and nutmeg trees.  And fish.  The koi used to be in the sunken garden, but too many kids climbed into the water to pet the fish.  Now they were in a pond that had a little higher wall and we were lucky enough to be there when they were feed. 


It was such a lovely break from winter, I vowed to go back more often.

What do you do when you need a break from the weather and can’t get away?


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