Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winner of A Promise for the Baby

Kaelee, you are the randomly chose winner of A Promise for the Baby from December 16th's post on handmade gifts, sewing edition. Please email me at jenniferlohmann (at) gmail (dot) com so I can mail you your prize!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I Still Believe In Santa...



by Rogenna Brewer

My boys are all grown now, but every year Santa still leaves them at least one present under our tree.  I tried to stop this tradition many times, except I couldn't because we have a very special elf in our house.  

His name is Ty.  He's twenty-six years old--old enough to know better--you'd think, but maybe not.  My Ty has Down's Syndrome and he still believes in Santa.  I've tried telling him that Mom is Santa in this house.

I've even gotten philosophical in trying to teach him that Everyone is Santa--that he can be Santa--that Santa is simply the spirit of giving.  But I'm not sure he's buying it. 

The latest WWE game for his game system and a WWE calendar are at the top of his list every year.  Usually, a movie and a music cd.  Last year he specifically wanted Jersey Shore Season V--kind of cute in a horrific way--I couldn't see throwing money at Snookie so to date that is the only item on his list Santa never delivered.  Every year it's new pjs, undies and socks.  A toothbrush, toothpaste and an assorted mix of goodies in his stocking.    

I was talking this over with my mom the other day and she mentioned thinking I was going to be one of those kids who believed in Santa forever.  In fact my younger brother was far more skeptical by age four than I was at ten.  Which is why my mom decided she had to come up with a clever way to break the news about Santa Claus.  All I remember is the scolding.  

My mom pulled me aside to scold me for telling my little brother there was no such thing as Santa Clause.  Only I'd never said anything to my brother because I still believed in Santa.  She ended by asking me to be her little helper in keeping the secret for few more years until my brother was old enough to understand. I still can't decide if this was clever or cruel on her part. 

By the time I was sixteen I had another little brother so Santa continued to visit our house every year.
Most kids stop believing in Santa by the time they're eight.  That's the age when reasoning skills start to kick in.  So when I left home at eighteen it was well past time I stopped believing in Santa Clause.  I'd hate to think I was short on reasoning.  

In the Navy, far from home, the spirit of Santa still lingered.  Christmas Eve and Christmas day were busy days in the Chaplain's Offices and Chapels.  But I'd still take time to put together care packages and play secret Santa to whoever got stuck on duty around base, especially the gate guards.

I married a man who didn't believe in Santa--probably because he only got socks and underwear for Christmas--but he went along on my wild sleigh ride anyway.  Santa's name may be said with a wink at our house these days, but even as the boys got older I never confirmed or denied his existence. We all just took our cue from Ty.         

While I no longer bother to hide presents--the boys found all my best hiding places around the house years ago--and don't have to stay up late Christmas Eve tinkering and wrapping, Santa still visits our house because we believe. 

How about you?  Do you believe in Santa?


I still like gift-giving...

Use the promotional code below to pick up your FREE COPY of One Star-Spangled Night in the format of your choice from smashwords.com .



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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Question of the Month: The Blessing Edition

This month we asked the Superromance authors to share one of their blessings from the past year with our readers.

Anna Sugden: 2013 has been full of blessings for me, with the launch of my first book, a contract for three more, a  fabulous 50th birthday trip to Antigua (including a surprise visit from very dear friends!) and our first grandson! In all of that, I’ve been doubly blessed with the love, support and laughs of my wonderful husband, family and friends. I just hope I haven’t used up all my good things in one year!

Tara Taylor Quinn: My biggest blessing, other than health and loved ones, is my ability to write books.  Whenever I am down, I think about my writing and I am appreciative and grateful.  I get to spend my days doing something I love.  I hear from readers whose lives have been blessed in some way by something I’ve written, and I get to work through my own angsts when I experience them with my characters.  Writing (and reading) is much better than therapy!

Vicki Essex: 2013 was a year of ups and downs, but I'm wholly grateful that this year, I signed with an agent who helped me get a contract to write three more books with Harlequin Superromance! I hope 2014 will be just as fruitful!

Pamela Hearon:   Being a RITA finalist was a wonderful blessing in my life this year. I don't live in an area with an RWA chapter, so I'm always on my own at conferences--a bit difficult for an introvert like me. Being a RITA finalist was not only a thrill, but it gave me an opening to meet and talk with lots of people. I came away feeling very blessed by the experience and all the new friends I made.

Jennifer Lohmann:  I'm incredibly thankful for the caring and compassionate people who surround me. I'm not certain I ever fully realized how fortunate I was until this year.

Laura DrakeI'm most thankful for my readers. I began writing to reach out to people who are going through hard times - to remind them that there ARE still happy endings in life. I received the best kind of review the other day: "I wasn't sure I'd really want to read this story but I was intrigued. Having dealt with the aftermath of losing a child and fighting like hell for my marriage, I could identify with this storyline and was drawn to this book. This was an incredibly touching story, and very healing, too. " YOU are why I do this. I'm so thankful for your constant reading, and your support.

Claire McEwen: I am very thankful for the faith that the editors at Superromance have in me.  Their willingness to accept three books from a brand new author feels like a miracle!  This year has taught me to believe in myself and trust that sometimes dreams really do come true.

Liz Talley: One of the biggest blessings I have in this business is the terrific support network I have. Whether it's my terrific editor (and the whole team at HQ) or my fellow writers who shake their pompons or give me a swift kick in the pants or the readers who consistently buy my books and recommend me to their friends, I'm surrounded by the most wonderful people who want my stories to soar. That's an incredibly powerful thing. 

Joan Kilby: As an ex-pat living in Australia most of my family is overseas. This year I've been blessed with the trip of a lifetime to Europe to see my daughter who is studying in Norway with a stop off in Canada to visit my father and my sisters and brother. Even though I won't get to spend Christmas with them I can look back on recent, wonderful memories. And then there's Skype. Thank goodness for Skype. :) Closer to home, I'm grateful for my loving husband and two fantastic sons.

Mary Sullivan: I'm grateful for my caring, generous family who are always ready and willing to step up and help out any sibling who needs anything, at the drop of a hat. I'm grateful for my loving daughter who brightens my life with her intelligence and spirit. I'm grateful for the blessing of good health.

Kris Fletcher:  My blessings are too many to count or to choose just one. And that, I think, is the greatest blessing of all. 

And now, dear readers, please join in the fun and share one of your blessing with us!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Handmade Gifts--the sewing edition

More handmade presents, this time from a sewer (don't look too closely at my seams, please!). Like Mary Sullivan, every year I intend to make everyone handmade gifts. Unlike Mary, I don't manage it. My gift giving list is never very long, but it's still long enough that I usually hit now (less than ten days before Christmas) and realize I've not made anything for anyone. (Seriously, Mary, I'm so impressed that you've made a scarf and hat and are planning on bracelets as well).

This year, I was better. I've made one gift! A friend of mine has a small dog (Dexter) and age has made Dexter more sensitive to the cold. Using my nascent sewing skills, I made a fleece lined dog coat.


What do you think? I think it's pretty cute, though I do need to tighten the straps a little. The fleece is from an old vest of Dexter's owner and I bought the fabric at a reuse store. There's a lot of love in that coat and not a lot of money. 

The reuse store where I bought the fabric has a sew night and we're making pot holders this month. So cute! Christine has such wonderful idea for reusing fabric and saving beloved items by re-purposing them into something you'll use and treasure. Better Homes and Gardens has even more ideas for me to forget about until December 24th, 2014. I especially like the fabric covered notebooks, which seem like the perfect gift for a writer.

If you're not interest in sewing, how about these gifts from one of my favorite blogs, Healthy Green Kitchen, one of my favorite blogs? When the post came through my feed, I promptly bookmarked it and then didn't make anything. Homemade marshmallows sound like one of the best gifts ever, though. Maybe next year. I will some more homemade gifts done (hopefully), to save for hostess presents and the like. 

Mary talked about giving, but what out receiving? What is the best homemade gift you received? What made it so wonderful?

I have a gift of my own to give out. I'll randomly pick a winner from the comments for a copy of A Promise for the Baby. I'll post the winner on December 28th.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Surprise!

Well, I was sure I had already posted this month, but I just received a little automated message telling me that - surprise! - you're up, Kris. Which first made me scratch my head and then say, what the heck. 'Tis the season for surprises, right?
 Surprises like this one, courtesy Westjet:

And this one, which was the first introduction many of us had to the term "flash mob":
And this one:
(I don't know about you, but I'm having a hard time focusing on the keyboard now .....)

Yes, 'tis the season for surprises and miracles and joy abounding. I'm betting you, dear readers, have had some as well. Tell us all about one (or more!) in the comments!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Home made or store bought?

Mary Sullivan

How are you doing on your Christmas shopping?

I have only a few gifts to give, as the family decided a long time ago to limit the spending and to concentrate on enjoying each other's company and our traditions rather than the commercial aspect of the holidays.

There are still a few gifts I like to give, though, and this year I'm making them. I really enjoy giving (and receiving!) home made presents. The problem, of course, is finding the time to make them.

So, here are the few that I've managed so far. I knitted a hat and scarf for a friend. One of my favorite knitting websites for free patterns is www.garnstudio.com

They have a lot of great patterns and their yarns are gorgeous! Fortunately, there's a wonderful yarn shop in my city that carries their lovely yarns. This is the little scarf I'm just finishing up...

http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/us/pattern.php?id=6271&lang=us

I'll add a couple of pretty buttons to dress it up and to hide the seam. Here's the hat I've already made…

http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/us/pattern.php?id=3442&lang=us

They are both for the same person and I've made them in matching colors.

I'm also making the cutest hat for a friend who wears quirky clothes and who likes unusual colors, so I'm using olive green yarn…

http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/us/pattern.php?id=5268&lang=us

The yarn I'm using, called Eskimo, is thick, eleven stitches per inch, so the projects go quickly. I don't have the patience I used to have for knitting with finer yarn, or items that take a long time, especially not in this busy season!

That will be all for this year.

For the youngest member of my family, I picked up materials for bracelet-making. She's the only child in the family these days, so I will spend Christmas afternoon making these with her while dinner cooks and the adults mix and mingle.

I got the idea for the bracelets from a wonderful (!), creative DIY website called honestlywtf.com and picked up the materials the other day.

http://honestlywtf.com/diy/diy-wrap-bracelet/

The colors I chose are both bright and pretty, along with a fake-crystal chain that should really appeal to an eight-year-old. As well, I purchased black leather and ball chain and grey hemp, so she can make a funky version for her teenaged brother. There are enough materials to make bracelets for each of her parents if her interest holds that long! It should keep us both busy for a while :-)

Unfortunately, that's all I can manage this year.

I would love to know how you are managing your gift-giving for Christmas. Home made? Store-bought? Ordered online? Any creative ideas this year?

One last item…for you knitters, garnstudio has a Christmas advent calendar, with a new knitting pattern revealed every day. Check it out! http://www.garnstudio.com/julekalender.php?lang=us

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Superromance December 2013



Caught Up In You
Beth Andrews
Harlequin Superromance (book 1890)
ISBN: 037371890X

 His teachers were never like this! 

As a single dad and a partner in the family construction company, Eddie Montesano's days are jammed. Then he discovers his son Max's teacher is none other than Harper Kavanagh. Gorgeous and smart, single mom Harper is even more captivating than she was in high school. Plus it's clear she's dedicated to helping Max with his learning issues. How can Eddie resist making time for her?

Too bad there are clear rules limiting the relationship he and Harper have. But with their attraction out of control, Eddie is about to break those rules. Because if it means the chance at a future with her, he'll take the risk of getting caught!

A Texas Child
Linda Warren
Harlequin Superromance (book 1891)
ISBN: 0373718918

  To save a child

Regret. Assistant District Attorney Myra Delgado knows all about it. She's spent seven years regretting a foolish betrayal of her ex, Levi Coyote. But now Myra needs Levi, a private investigator, and the stakes are bigger than their history—a baby has been kidnapped. And only Myra is brave enough—or crazy enough—to go after a Mexican drug lord and attempt a rescue.

Levi might not be able to forgive her, but he can't let Myra face the danger alone. As they work to save an innocent child, he learns a shocking truth about their shared past. If they make it through this, he and Myra just might get a second chance at not only love, but family.

The Ranch She Left Behind
Kathleen O'Brien

Harlequin Superromance (book 1892)
ISBN: 0373718926

Who knows where a kiss will lead!

For one year, Penny Wright is doing whatever she wants. She's returned to her hometown in Colorado—but not the family ranch—to cross items off her risk-it list. To her surprise, she's braver than she thinks, because when she spies a hot newcomer doing something sweet for his daughter, Penny can't resist kissing him on the spot. Unfortunately, he turns out to be Max Thorpe. Her new tenant!

Luckily, they both agree to be just friends. But with the sizzling attraction between them, "just friends" is hard. Maybe it's time for Penny to add a new item to her list—a family with Max.



Sleepless In Las Vegas
Colleen Collins
Harlequin Superromance (book 1893)
ISBN:0373718934

This investigation is getting very personal

P.I.-in-training Valerie LeRoy is dying to get into the field. So when a client asks her to spy on someone, the thrill of her own case is too tempting to refuse. Instead of a cheating fiancée, however, Val's actually checking out P.I. Drake Morgan! Worse, she ends up working with the guy.

Their differing opinions on techniques—and the instant attraction—make the sparks fly. It's almost impossible to focus on their arson investigation. As the hunt for the truth intensifies and their passion rivals the triple-digit temperature, she and Drake learn why Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps…
A Valley Ridge Christmas
Holly Jacobs
Harlequin Superromance (book 1894)
ISBN: 0373718942
The whole town's in on this Christmas secret!

Maeve Buchanan isn't the jealous type. But with another Valley Ridge wedding approaching, she's feeling a twinge of envy. Everyone seems to be finding "it"—except her. Not that romance is high on her priority list! Inspired by the arrival of a homeless family one snowy night, Maeve—Valley Ridge's own George Bailey—is determined to give them a permanent home by Christmas.

To make this surprise happen, fiercely independent Maeve is going to need a lot of help. Particularly from the irritating newcomer Aaron Holder, who thinks Maeve is just too good to be true and suspects her motives. Working together won't be easy. But it'll be worth it…in so many ways!

The Sweetest Hours
Cathryn Parry
Harlequin Superromance (book 1895)
ISBN: 0373718950

 Real life is no place for fairy tales…

Kristin Hart has romantic notions of Scotland. Yet she never expects to find a real-life Scotsman in her Vermont hometown! Despite her instant connection with him, Malcolm MacDowell isn't the Prince Charming she thought. Because no prince would shut down her factory—the one that means everything to her town.

Really, she has no choice. Kristin hops on the next flight to Edinburgh, determined to convince Malcolm her workplace should remain open. But the distraction of the man is almost too much. Still, the magic of the Highlands makes anything seem possible…even a happily ever after of her own.

Winner for Cathryn Parry's Thursday Blog Post

Congratulations Tammy Yenalavitch!  Please send me your address, and I'll send you a copy of The Sweetest Hours.  (My website form is here.)

Thanks for visiting and reading our Superromance blog!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

For the Holidays (and a giveaway…)

by Cathryn Parry

Today’s blog post is about…the joy of getting back to what I had previously taken for granted, and will never do so again.

(Yay, I can type with two hands again!!)


Pretty Purple Cast
This was the state of my arm for about six weeks.  Pretty cast, huh? The color was my choice.  The injury was not.  The technical term for it is a “distal radius fracture,” the most common bone-break, typically caused by falling on an outstretched hand.  

In my case, it happened on ice.  Mid-fall, I experienced a cartoon-like “banana-peel” moment when I was suspended in mid-air and it seemed like time slowed and then stopped. With dread, I knew that when I finally landed, the results were not going to be good. 

My wrist was crooked in a way that no limb should bend.  It required a trip to the emergency room, an anesthesia shot from a humongous needle, and doctor-manipulations using a medieval torture device designed to straighten out the break. 

The pain was excruciating.  Worse, once the swelling went down enough that my fingers could somewhat gingerly move, I was dismayed to learn that normal typing was all but impossible.  Besides being clumsy and slow, the edge of the cast sometimes hit the “ctrl” key, causing all sort of weird and scary things to happen to the manuscript.  (Black screens, disappearing documents…it was a writer’s worst nightmare.)
After an initial period of despair, I ended up finding comfort in deciding that the best thing to do was to have patience and let the healing...and the writing progress...happen on its own time.  Specifically, I needed to count my blessings.  With every setback, there are always small graces to be thankful for, right?

Such as, I could still write in longhand because my dominant hand was not affected.   And, eventually the wrist will regain close to its normal mobility—it’s not as if this accident is a permanent setback.  Also, there were good things about needing help with my daily activities.  For one thing, while I waited for the cast to come off, I got to experience the romance of my husband washing my hair for me.  (And cooking our meals, too.  And doing the housework. I’m not the only one who thinks that men doing housework is sexy, am I?)

Plus, how often does a team of strangers come together to help you, some under miraculous conditions?
An actual Good Samaritan—a lady I didn’t know—volunteered to drive me, in my car, to a hospital emergency room, at a time when I was alone and located over two hours away from home in unfamiliar territory.  Then, once in the emergency room, there were workers who helped me figure out how to *get* home.   And I can’t forget the research gained from the hero-worthy Orthopedic Surgeons (great material—definitely to be used in some later story!)


THE SWEETEST HOURS
So, that’s my personal story for this holiday season.  How about you—anything new going on in your life?  I’m also interested in hearing any tales about casts, emergency rooms, or other challenges in healing.

THE SWEETEST HOURS is in stores  this month (yay!).  I’m giving away a copy this Saturday, chosen at random from commenters in the comments section.  Thanks for reading! J

Cathryn Parry writes Superromances from her home in New England. Her website is at www.CathrynParry.com.

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When The Editor Sees Your Underwear



Today, Superromance readers, we have a special treat for you – a recounting of a rather unique editor/author experience as told by the players themselves, Harlequin Superromance Editor Piya Campana and author Kris Fletcher.


Piya:  I am probably the only editor ever to receive an email from her author with this subject line: “Truck draft.”

Kris : Please note that I totally stole the name & the concept of a Truck Draft from Jennifer Crusie. 

Piya: “Wow, Kris,” I immediately thought. “Did you make Hank into a truck driver? I thought he was busy working on his cabins. And he has a daughter! It will be so hard for her if her dad is away for such long hours with a job like that.” And then I opened the email. Kris told me in no uncertain terms that this current iteration of her manuscript was a “truck draft,” meaning that, in case between now and her deadline she gets hit by a truck, at least I have her book. Kris is nothing if not prepared. :)

Kris: I used to send the truck draft to my agent, but it made her nervous.  I can't understand why :-)

Piya: The truck draft email also had very specific instructions to not read the attached manuscript unless it actually was the only draft I got. But, unfortunately, I’m as disobedient as Kris is prepared—I pretty much immediately loaded it onto my Kindle and read the first quarter of the draft.

Kris: Just see if I ever send her a truck draft again! But Piya had good reason:  the book had been added to the schedule for July, meaning that all gears had been put into motion.  She needed to start working ASAP.  

Piya: Despite Kris’s assertion that there was a lot of polishing to do, I really liked what I saw. it’s always so fun to see how a story changes from proposal to first draft and ensuing revisions, and how an author incorporates suggestions and runs with them. So when Kris emailed me some questions a couple of days later as she was polishing this draft, I couldn’t help singing my praises about what I’d already seen.

Kris: Which is when I learned that she was reading this unfinished, unpolished, HORRIBLE draft filled with notes to myself and plot lines that trailed off and unfinished scenes.  

Piya: Kris was embarrassed –

Kris: Embarrassed is putting it mildly. There may have been shrieking involved.  Also some attempts to claw my eyes out. Possibly also sacrifices to whatever deities could go into that draft (remember, it was only supposed to be read if I was comatose or dead) and remove my bumbling attempts at writing sex.  I told my friends I now knew how it would feel to be locked out of the house in nothing but my underwear, and we're not talking the cute matching bra & pantie sets you'd find at Victoria's Secret. 

Piya:  Kris was embarrassed about what she called her corny jokes (actually, what she finds corny is truly clever and funny), and all the little all-caps placeholder notes she had written to herself in the text that I was not supposed to see (my favourite one was something like “THERE NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING HERE ABOUT MILLIE BUT I AM TOO TIRED TO FIND THE RIGHT WORDS AT THE MOMENT”). I was quick to assure her to not feel self-conscious because I actually was excited for the story, and while there was still work to be done, we were on the right track.

Kris:  Piya probably should be sainted for not ripping up the contract the minute she read the truck draft. 
But here's the interesting part. Once I got past the feeling of being exposed to the world, I had this immense feeling of freedom. NOTHING I put in the final first draft could be worse than what Piya had already seen. That bumbling attempt at writing sex? If she hadn't already seen it, I probably would have cut it from the draft I polished and submitted.  Those silly, verging-on-bawdy jokes? Left 'em. I was much more inclined to go for the riskier, more daring circumstances and dialogue, knowing that she had already seen and found much to like in that messy, totally unpolished truck draft. 
Piya: A few days later, I got the final first draft and we worked through more revisions. We’re almost at the line edit stage now, and the story is all the better for the conversations we’d had since I’d read that bit of the truck draft.

Kris: Totally agree. As I worked through the final first draft, it was great to be able to email Piya and say, Hey, have you reached this part yet? Because I'm not sure how to twist this scene, and if I'm going to need to change it, I might as well do it now
Piya: Perhaps we can start a new, if slightly morbid, editorial tradition—specifically request a preliminary draft of your author’s manuscript in case she’s hit by a truck before the deadline. Chances are, she will survive, and important conversations will start sooner, while her writing mojo is running at full tilt.

Kris:  Honestly, I didn’t realize how much I was censoring myself until this happened. So while the initial reaction was heart-stopping, in the long run, I think it was a very good thing that this happened.
Piya: We’re so excited for you to read DATING A SINGLE DAD, coming out July 2014!
Kris:  And would love to answer any questions you might have after reading this!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The joy of getting rid of stuff!

Mary Sullivan

So, on the weekend I decided I could no longer stand the state of my closets and dedicated Saturday and Sunday to bringing them under control. One thing led to another and soon I was cleaning more than just closets, but also dresser drawers and under-the-bed storage.

I tweeted that while I cleaned I wore the pretty new earrings I had bought on Friday, my thought being that, if I were going to be involved in such drudgery, I might as well feel good doing it. :-)

I put on some of my favourite music and got busy, managing in the end to pull together two bags of garbage, two bags of recycling and two LARGE bags of clothing and items to go to Goodwill.

The shelf in my hall closet is so pretty now, so nicely organized with floral and colourful hat, file and photo boxes—not quite Martha Stewart-ish, but darn close for me! There's room for more storage when I can buy another stylish box or two, or another woven basket. I managed to gather together a lifetime worth of photos into two boxes, all while having a great time looking through my 'history.'



I came away feeling that I'd accomplished so much when it was only closet-clearing.

I also looked through my favorite storage piece, a small cedar chest made for me by a friend years ago. It contains all of my great-aunt's embroidery, sewing and crocheting. I couldn't bring myself to clear out any of it.


She also hand-sewed and embroidered this for my doll when I was a toddler. I have it framed and hanging on my bedroom wall.


All of these are treasures that I will never get rid of and am happy to store.

There is still more work to be done, including unpacking one last box left over from when I moved in here six years ago! That will be a big job, though. It's full of old writing and manuscripts. I will have to decide which, if any, will ever be useful to me in the future and which should just be shredded, not always an easy decision when you are close to your work.

Have you done anything recently that left you with that wonderful 'aaaah, I'm so glad I did that' feeling?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Deadline Zombie

by Rogenna Brewer

I'm about 12 hours in to a 24 hour flu so I'm going to keep this brief.  I wanted to talk about deadline zombies.  That's me on the left or at least how I look deep into deadline or maybe I should confess past deadline and working well into the night.

So I guess being sick afterward is all part of it too.  Turned in a book on Monday around 10am, but stayed up all Sunday night to do it after nursing a sick kiddo late into Saturday night.

Because it was mid morning and the sun was shining I didn't feel much like crawling back into bed and throwing off my sleep schedule so I stay up until just about an hour before my normal bedtime.

At some point in the day I got my second wind and caught up on a lot of things that needed my attention.  But would also just space out for no reason and kept drifting off in the tub which is when I decided, okay, time for bed before I drown myself.

After I good nights rest I woke up Tuesday ready for action.  I had a whole list of chores to tackle, not the least of which was cleaning my office.  Except I felt lazy and really didn't do anything.  By midday I started not to feel well so I had my excuse and shot a text off to my husband to make sure he knew.  Just in case he thought he was coming home to the clean house I'd bragged about that morning.

Spent the rest of the evening huddled under a blanket watching TV and thinking I should really write this post.  After Supernatural (Yes, I'm a fan of Sam and Dean Winchester) I headed upstairs to my office, sat down at my computer blew off writing this post for a few emails.  And then went to bed.

So that's a deadline Zombie for you.  At this rate it will probably take me a week to clean my office and get back in the swing of writing.

And just so this post isn't a total waste of your time I'm going to share the Dear Reader letter from my upcoming May 2012 Superromance The SEAL's Special Mission, you've heard me mention the story here under the working title A Stranger in the Family.


Dear Reader,
            Have you ever felt like chucking your old life for a new one?  While this has always been a favorite fantasy of mine, the reality is I’m far too attached to my life for that kind of change.  But what if you’d lost everything and had nothing more to lose?
            Such is the case for Kenneth Nash in The SEAL’s Special Mission.  Wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder, the Navy SEAL accepts a deal from the Feds that allows him to go deep undercover in search of the real killer.  Seven years later, his cover is blown and he must choose between the integrity of his original mission or saving the son he’s never known along with the sister-in-law who testified against him.
            There are somewhere between 9,000 and 10,000 families in the Witness Protection Program, also called Witness Security Program (WITSEC).  According to the US Marshals Service, no witness who has followed the rules has ever been killed.
Some interesting facts about the program:
  • Witnesses can choose their new names, but are advised to keep current initials or same first name. 
  • Name changes are done by the court system just like any other name change, but the records are sealed.
  • Witnesses must not contact former associates or unprotected family members.  Or return to the town from which they were relocated.
  • If the witness has a criminal history, local authorities are made aware of the situation.  Only a small percentage of criminal witnesses return to a life of crime.
 Assuming you could take your loved ones with you or not if you'd rather not.  What's the one thing you couldn't give up from your present life?  Everyone who's bothered to read this far gets a FREE copy of my latest release One Star Spangled Night.  Just click on the link to smashwords.com and enter the promotions code: 

Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: KU92V
Expires: November 27, 2013   

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Question of the Month: the Undiscovered Treasures Edition

Our Question of the Month for November: 

We all have undiscovered treasures - vacation destination, author, recipe, etc  - that we love and wish were known to the rest of the world. Here's your chance! Give a shout-out to one of your undiscovered treasures and let everyone share in the awesomeness!
(Apologies for the odd spacing. I can't convince Blogger to play nicely with me this month.)
 

Vicki Essex: There are so many things I love sharing with others...favorite books, food, musicians... But I think one of the best things I enjoy sharing are life hacks. That is, simple ways to improve an everyday activity. All my favorites are here. You can also go to lifehack.org for some more general advice about how to get through life.

My life hack suggestion? Cut orange slices by starting on the equator, not through the poles. That way, you don't get a line of pith on the top edge. (Not sure why so many people cut it the other way...)
Geri Krotow: Does it count that I love the Goo Goo Dolls? They are from my hometown of Buffalo, NY. I've only seen them once in concert--in 2010 I flew home from Moscow, Russia to see them perform in Darien Lake, New York. I had tickets in the pit, and took my daughter with me. My dream would be to meet the band and give them each a signed copy of one of my books. Their music is thoughtful and relevant, in my estimation. When I listen to them I feel 19 again (okay, well, almost).



  
Jennifer Lohmann: Since I am busy editing my June, 2014 release (Weekends in Carolina) set on an organic vegetable farm, I have vegetables on my mind. I also like to cook, which means I generally think about food a lot. So, my undiscovered treasures are two ugly vegetables that Americans don't eat as much we should (given how delicious they are) and are perfect for winter eating. If you're not an American reader, you may be more familiar with these foods.
First, the humble rutabaga (also known as the swede). This root vegetable is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It's easy to peel and you should buy some just to add to your next dish of mashed potatoes. They can be boiled along with your potatoes--just cut them a little smaller because they take longer to cook--and you will be amazed at the sudden golden sweetness your potatoes now have.

Second, the kohlrabi. Also related to the cabbage, lurking under the thick skin of the kohlrabi is a crisp, white vegetable that is delicious cooked or raw. I like to slice mine into thin matchsticks and toss with a sesame dressing dressing as part of Chinese meal (see Every Grain of Rice by Fucshia Dunlop for the recipe).

I hope I've inspired you to give these veggies a try. What under-appreciated fruits and vegetables do you use in your kitchen (and how do you suggest preparing them)? 


Kris Fletcher: About a dozen or so years ago, my sons came home from camp singing some very offbeat, quirky songs about cows and men watching television and Celine Dion. "They're by the Arrogant Worms!" my boys said. I listened. I learned the lyrics. And my slightly warped heart fell fast. 
The Worms are my guilty pleasure, my go-to music when I need a laugh. Friends will tell you I can come up with a Worm song for almost any occasion. (I'm not sure if they mean that in a good way or not ...). 
Many of their songs are high in Canadian content - great for me, not so good with sharing with an international audience such as the Super readers. But I'm thinking The Coffee Song will have a rather wide appeal. 

Laura Drake:  You know when you read a book that just makes your heart sing? Through talent and some kind of magic, the book crawls inside your heart? Wow, I love when that happens - though, as an author, it makes me want to put a sign on my back, "Hack."

I picked up Coyote Dream, by Jessica Davis Stein. This book has stayed with me - my favorite kind - the perfect blend between women's fiction and romance. The author gives us wonderful characterization of two disparate cultures (NY Jewess and Navajo) and ethnicities in a believable, wonderful way. Her descriptions of the desert make you feel the breath of hot wind in your face. The character's journey, both inner and outer, are long, arduous, and believable.

Honestly, I can't recommend this book enough. I was heartbroken to realize this is her only novel. UGH!


Mary Sullivan: I discovered the musical group First Aid Kit last year through my daughter. I've been a HUGE Emmylou Harris fan for years and they sing a song they wrote about Emmylou that's fabulous. My daughter gave me a heads-up about the song and I fell in love with everything else they do. We saw them in concert at a small music hall in Toronto and they were amazing in person. They rocked with a drummer, but also sang folkier songs a cappella and their voices carried to the back of the hall beautifully. The crowd (everyone from eight-year-olds to eighty-year-olds, from the most conservative types to young guys covered in tattoos) were blown away by their talent.

They are a pair of sweet, authentic young Swedish sisters, hippy throwbacks who remind me of my youth :-)

Here's a cover they did live in a tribute to Paul Simon.








Readers, did any of these suggestions pique your interest? Do you want to give a shout-out to an undiscovered treasure? Tell us in the comments!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Winners for Cathryn Parry's Monday Blog Post

Scotland, romance, Harlequin
December, 2013
Congratulations to Mary Preston and Di!

Please let me know your mailing address, and I'll send an advance copy of The Sweetest Hours to you.  Here is my website contact form.

Thanks for reading our Superromance blog!  :-) 

Sincerely,  Cathryn
www.CathrynParry.com

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Acceptance

Those of us who write and read romance are lucky--we get to explore "what ifs?" on a regular basis. With each novel I write I'm able to explore my characters to their deepest depths. I don't always like what I find--is my heroine too witchy? Is the hero too unyielding? Fortunately there's a 'delete' function in my writing software--I can erase and rewrite the story, the characters, to be their very best. Not flawless, but more realistic. None of us are black-and-white; we're multi-faceted, our colors change at the most unexpected times, we feel pain as easily as joy.
And yet…sometimes it's necessary for me to accept what is. My heroine has a hard edge? Fine--instead of fighting it, I can use my writing skills, improve them, even, to show why she's less willing to show her vulnerability. Why is she so tough?
Can you tell that I'm in the midst of line edits for Navy Rescue (Superromance May 2014)? This is my last time to tweak the words so that you see the same story and characters on the page that I have in my head.
And yet…somethings are best left as they are.
Like trying to keep my rescue dog Misha dry during an early morning downpour. It doesn't work. Can you tell by the photo he's all but screaming at me "Mom, I'm a dog, and I look ridiculous in this jacket! What are the other dogs going to think?" Seconds after I snapped his baleful expression I took the coat off and he bounded to the furthest corner of the yard to do his wake-up routine. I do have micro-fiber towels to absorb the water and mud when he comes back in, however. I'm not accepting enough to let him dry off naturally all over the carpet and furniture!
Acceptance is such a gift, if I'm willing to take it. Is there something about yourself, your family, that you have been able to accept? Any tips for the for the rest of us who might have trouble letting go?

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