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 .



Promotional price: $0.00
Coupon Code: SN48J

Expires: January 15, 2014     


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!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...