Thursday, June 8, 2017

Have Laptop, Will Travel - And Write.

Kris Fletcher

One of the things I like best about writing is what a portable career it is. For example, this blog post is coming to you from the hallway of my church, where I am holed up while my daughter is in the sanctuary having a voice lesson. It got me thinking about some of the many and varied places I have carried my writing with me over the years. Care to travel down memory lane with me?
  • My office, of course. We've owned three houses over my writing time and I've been lucky enough to claim an office in each one. In fact, when we were house-hunting last year, the list of requirements was pretty simple: same schools for my girls, at least three bedrooms, and an office for me.
  • School concerts. Don't fret - I don't work during the concert itself. But before the music begins? Fair game. Transition time between groups? That works, too. 
  • Waiting rooms. Oh yeah. And exam rooms, while waiting for the good doc to appear. 
  • Hotel rooms, both solo (when racing to meet a deadline) or with the family. Of course, that writing is usually done in the bathroom while everyone else is still asleep :-)
  • Outside. The glider, the Adirondack chairs, the picnic table, the playground - they have all seen
    their share of action.  The car. Not as much as you would expect, given the amount of traveling we do, but the thing is, taking time to write means that I have to let my husband drive. Can you say, watch the control freak totally lose it?
  • Libraries, coffee shops, cafes. Come on. I think those are practically required. 
  • Planes. Again, not as much as you would expect, but since I'm usually traveling with at least one child, most flights have been spent keeping kids amused (and making sure they don't spend the entire flight ringing the call button). But they are getting older, and unlike my husband's driving, they are constantly getting better.
  • Writing retreats. These are the best. Good friends, no distractions, abundant snacks.Does it get any better?
And let's not forget the many times inspiration and plot points have hit in the least expected places - the shower, the grocery store, in the middle of a sermon, during school performances, while cooking dinner - basically, anywhere and everywhere. My family has grown accustomed to having me stop them in the middle of something while I frantically jot a note on paper or dictate a memo into my phone. Sometimes they're not even embarrassed.

I've written on three continents, in at least seven countries, and in more cities than I can count. No matter where the road leads, it seems there's always a story - either one I bring with me or one I find there. Definitely one of the best perks of this gig.




Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 2017 New Releases from #HarlequinSuperromance

Airman to the Rescue (Heroes of Fortune Valley) by Heatherly Bell

She's off-limits…and perfect for him! 

It was supposed to be easy. Sarah Mcallister was going to flip her late father's house and head back to Colorado for a fresh start. But when her shady contractor gets arrested, taking most of her budget with him, she's at risk of losing everything. Enter Matt Conner…sexy pilot, single dad, Sarah's brother's best friend…and far too good with his hands for her peace of mind.

Moving into Sarah's spare bedroom is just asking for trouble, but Matt's trying to make amends with his troubled teen son, and a key step is finding a decent place to crash for as long as it takes. And the woman needs his help…

Her Amish Protectors by Janice Kay Johnson


She had wanted a simpler life in Amish country… 

The caring community in her new Missouri small town was a healing salve for Nadia Markovic's wounded spirit…until someone broke into her apartment above her Amish quilt shop and robbed her while she was sleeping. The thief made off with all the funds they'd just raised through the sale of her neighbours' handmade quilts. And police chief Ben Slater can't rule her out as the prime suspect. Only her Amish friends are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. People are angry enough to even target her with violence… But while Ben might not trust her, he's committed to protecting her, confusing her feelings for this man who's pulling her apart!

Shelter in the Tropics by Cara Lockwood

She's got nowhere left to run 

After a year of searching, ex-marine turned private eye Tack Reeves has finally located Cate Allen. She's traded in her high heels for flip-flops but Tack would recognize the stunning beauty anywhere. He just needs proof. Posing as a tourist at her Caribbean resort is the perfect cover. Except that the closer Tack gets to Cate, the less his case makes sense…and their intense attraction is only fueling the confusion. When he learns that the mom and her four-year-old son are hiding from her abusive ex, he vows to protect them. But Cate may not let him when she learns why he's on the island…

Unexpected Attraction by Stella MacLean

She swore never to trust him… 

Hardworking single mom Andrea Taylor thought she knew everything about her teenage daughter. She doesn't. Her teen is being bullied, and the school has brought in Jake Polegato to help. But the charming psychologist is the last man Andrea wants meddling in her family affairs. 

Andrea has good reason to despise Jake, but her daughter comes first. Yet as Andrea and Jake work together, she begins to see the man he really is. As tensions turn into undeniable attraction, Andrea finds herself in dangerously unfamiliar territory. Because now she doesn't just need Jake's help…she needs him.


June 2017 Box Set

Harlequin® Superromance brings you a collection of four new novels, available now! Experience powerful relationships that deliver a strong emotional punch and a guaranteed happily ever after.

This Superromance box set includes:


HER AMISH PROTECTORS
by Janice Kay Johnson

AIRMAN TO THE RESCUE
Heroes of Fortune Valley
by Heatherly Bell

SHELTER IN THE TROPICS
by Cara Lockwood

UNEXPECTED ATTRACTION
by Stella MacLean

Look for 4 compelling new stories every month from Harlequin® Superromance!

Join HarlequinMyRewards.com to earn FREE books and more. Earn points for all your Harlequin purchases from wherever you shop.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Family Anniversary on the Bay

Our wedding anniversary isn't really a romantic occasion, it's more of a family event.  That's because my husband and I didn't get married until our son was almost one year old, so I carried him at the wedding instead of a bouquet.


And then, when we finally saved enough money for our dream honeymoon to France and Italy, we took our son with us.


So now my son talks about how 'we' had a wedding.  And 'we' went on a honeymoon.  And when May 27th rolls around, he calls it 'our anniversary'.  I think it's pretty cute.  My husband and I always go on a romantic date to celebrate the day we met, but the wedding anniversary is definitely a family holiday!

This past weekend was our wedding anniversary, and my husband surprised my son and I with a sail on Monterey Bay.  We were so excited!  We live near the bay, visit its shores at least once a day, but my son and I had never actually been out on the water.  So on Saturday we headed for the harbor, boarded a catamaran, and sailed out to sea for a fun adventure!


Now, since this is a romance author blog, I'll just mention that the handsome crew members made me wonder if I should write a story about sailors!  Or harbor patrol officers!  I tried to get a photo of this gentleman, but he zoomed by a bit too fast for me.  But he had a romance-novel hero aura about him for sure!


Anyway, I cannot recommend an anniversary boat-adventure highly enough. We had so much fun! We loved seeing our town from the water.



And The Boardwalk is always fun to see from any angle.



And the critters!  We were hoping to see the humpback whales and orcas that live in the bay, but I think they were hiding out due to the choppy water.  We did find sea lions by the wharf and swimming alongside the boat.



And we sailed by an otter, who looked a little upset that we'd interrupted his meal.  Can you spot the shell in his paws?


Although we see pelicans in our neighborhood every day, it's usually from a distance.  It was amazing to see them swoop right over the boat!


We couldn't have asked for a better anniversary celebration.  As we chugged past the lighthouse and into the harbor, all we could think about was when we could head out onto the bay again!


Whether it's for an anniversary or just for fun, what kinds of adventures do you enjoy with the people you love?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Unplugged!

by Angel Smits

            Some weeks just don’t go quite like you plan. 
Last week was one of those.  My husband and I had been planning a trip to the Preakness Horse Race for months.  We planned to meet some of the people he’d gone to school with at the Air Force Academy—people we haven’t seen in a gazillion years. 


            Early in the week the announcements came from Harlequin that they were restructuring the lines.  My heart hurt thinking about how hard I’d worked to get this far, and how much I still wanted to accomplish.  I worried about what was ahead.
            Then in my day job, I had to cram five days of work into three.  It was crazy and I came home every night exhausted.
            Like I said, it wasn’t going like I planned. 
            To top it off, I was getting ready to head home on that last day, packing up my laptop for work when it froze.  It wouldn’t turn off.  Wouldn’t restart.  Wouldn’t do a blessed thing.  Then the dreaded blue screen appeared. 
            Panicked, I ran down to IT.  They would have to keep the laptop to see what was wrong.   There wasn’t anything they could do. 
            Now, I was heading out for a few days of vacation, so I didn’t need it to work.  But I don’t like to come back to 100+ email, so I do look through and weed out the useless stuff and get my brain prepped for the next week sometime when I’m off. 
            But I wouldn’t have the laptop.  I’d be disconnected.  Completely. 
            We packed up and planned to leave early in the morning.  I was still in the dumps about my writing, and decided I wasn’t even going to pack a notebook.  It was going to be a short vacation, and we were going to be too busy for me to write anyway.  Besides, all good hotels have notepads available, and I’ve been known to write entire plots on coffeeshop napkins.  If all else fails, my phone has a notes app.   
            I woke up in the middle of the night and heard it raining hard.  Great.  It only got worse—when we woke up in the morning, we learned it wasn’t rain—it was snow!  I do live in Colorado, so spring snow isn’t unheard of, but—really?  We had to drive to the airport two hours away.
            This week, this trip, was starting to feel doomed. 
            Sometimes, however, the universe knows what I need more than I do. 

Leaving Colorado

Arriving in Washington, DC
             We landed in Washington DC to a beautiful sunny day.  We used the GPS function on my phone to find out hotel, and throughout the weekend.  Our friends were in our room visiting, so we didn’t turn on the television.  In the car, we were talking and laughing.  No phone.  No computer.  No TV.  No radio. 
            It’s been years since I’ve been that disconnected.  It was wonderful!! 
            And we didn’t even have to go to the boonies to get away—we were smack in the middle of one of the country's busiest metro areas.
            The Preakness is held in Baltimore, Maryland, and is the second race in horse racing’s triple crown.  The Kentucky Derby and the Belmont are the other two races, which the Preakness is in between.  If it isn’t on your bucket list, it should be.  Just the experience of it.  The horses, the people watching, the fresh outdoors--it was all wonderful and a lot of fun. 
            I came home more relaxed than I’ve been in ages.  Yeah, the whole vacation helped, but honestly, being unplugged was a huge part of escaping.  I can’t recommend it enough. 
            Now back home, things aren’t all “fixed.”  There’s still a lot of uncertainty in my writing career and, yeah, I had over 100 emails waiting for me.  But I was rested up and I can handle it.  I’ll figure out something.  I always do. 
            Maybe we all should unplug sometimes, and not wait until the universe does it for us.  Just a thought. 
            Oh—and no I didn’t win my millions by betting on the right horse.  My horse was edged out at the end of the race.   But what fun it was to cheer him on while he was ahead! 
            And not do anything with my phone—but take pictures! 
The track was so close!

Run!!!



Friday, May 19, 2017

Balancing Contemporary and Historical Romance - How I Divide My Writing Styles...


I often get asked how I divide my time between contemporary and historical novel writing and in an ideal world, I like to alternate the two subgenres to keep my writing fresh and interesting. For the reader and me!

I began my career writing contemporary because I’d always been told to ‘write what you know’. I have devoured romantic suspense for as long as I can remember and so my first two novels with The Wild Rose Press were romantic suspense. I then wrote a romantic comedy. Throughout writing and promoting these books, my mind started to wonder whether I could attempt an historical….after all, I didn’t ‘know’ how to abduct or murder anyone as the characters did in my first two books J

Like most (if not all) writers I read voraciously and reading historical work, whether novels or biographies, is amongst my favorite choices. I love history! I am drawn to British Royal history especially, but also love the social and industrial changes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. As I was and, still am, intimidated by including real people and events in my work, I decide my first attempt would be Victorian and focus entirely on fictional characters and their emotions.

Emotion is key in romance. Love, hate, revenge, loss, joy and tenacity would have been felt in the same way in the late 1800s as they would today. So with this thought at the forefront of my mind, I dove straight in and wrote The Arrival of Lily Curtis (The Wild Rose Press). It sold a lot more copies than my previous contemporary work so that gave me the confidence to continue.

Today, I am lucky enough to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington.  I love that my writing has fallen into a routine that I find so satisfying. I now aim to alternate my releases between contemporary and historical…although this year, it is a little more heavy on the contemporary!

The best aspect of writing in two genres is the research – it doesn’t matter where I go, what places I visit or what non-fiction books I read, I am always looking for story ideas. Whenever I go to a new place, learn something I didn’t know before or come across a story or character who fascinates me, I think how I could write both a contemporary and an historical story around this new discovery. I usually come up with an idea for each which means I have two new stories at my disposal. Result!

I’d love to know if you prefer contemporary over historical or vice versa? Or, like me, do you like the mix of both?

Happy Reading!


Rachel x

Ethan's Daughter - coming August 2017
Saved By The Firefighter - Nov 2016
Her Hometown Redemption - Sept 2015
Christmas At The Cove - Nov 2014
What Belongs To Her - Mar 2014
A Man Like Him - Aug 2013
Finding Justice - Feb 2013
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