Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Never

Have you ever started something with the certainty that you know exactly how it will go? You know, when you have such clarity that you can make a list of I Will Nevers?

That’s how writing romance started for me. I had a whole list of things I’d never do. Here's a sample.

1. I’ll never write a marriage of convenience story.
2. I’ll never write about little kids.
3. I’ll never write about a secret baby.

My first book came out in 2007, which means I have almost four years under my belt. How am I doing with my Nevers?

I’m 3 for 3. (Yep, I’ve done every one of them.)


So I’m not good with ultimatums. Or rules. Or maybe I’m just bad at predicting my career, because I do have some absolutes in my life.

1. I’ve never gone to bed angry with either of my kids. (Although, I have broken this rule with my husband.)
2. I’ve never littered. (At least not in my memory—maybe back in my toddler days I tossed empty milk bottles out the window of my parents VW bug.)
3. I’ve never said no to chocolate. (Unless it was chocolate pudding.)

See? I can do rules (as long as I’m allowed parentheses).

I think the trouble comes in when I try to declare the absolutes before I find out how I really feel and, more importantly, what really matters. Those “nevers” I outlined for my writing career were superficial. I didn’t know then what my real never was. The truth is I’ll never write a book unless I can find some way to identify with the subject and the characters. That’s the key.

My June Superromance, Married by June, is a marriage of convenience story. (Well, technically, it’s an engagement of convenience.) I struggled with it for many months, mainly because the motivation wasn’t clear for me. Why would modern, intelligent, stable, employed people ever agree to get engaged if they weren’t already in love? I answered that question when I let myself write the engagement scene. I did it as a writing exercise to explore the characters, but it was never meant to be included in the book. Once it was finished, though, I kept it and it’s now the opening scene.

Want a sneak peek? Here's Cooper Murphy proposing...

The spotlights on the front of the Capitol building glinted in his brown eyes, making them sparkle as he looked down at her. Suddenly he swung in front of her and dropped to one knee.
"Jorie, will you marry me?"

"What? No!" she said. The guard halfway up the steps straightened. He held his gun casually in front of his chest, but the Capitol was no place for messing around. "You've got to be—"

"The Wish Team granted your mom's wish," Cooper said, never looking away from her.

"What wish?" Jorie could feel her world starting to spin.

"She wants to give you a princess wedding. The one she's always dreamed of. The Wish Team is picking up the tab—"

"Wait— My wedding? To whom?"

Thus begins Jorie and Cooper’s engagement of convenience—the story I thought I’d never write.

What about you? Do you have rules you never bend? What about something you thought you wouldn’t do and wound up doing anyway? Leave a comment and be entered to win a set of my three most recent Supers: Calling the Shots, Plan B: Boyfriend, and The Boyfriend’s Back.

Ellen Hartman


Kaelee said...

Good Morning Ellen,

I love all the rules that you have broken. I think it's human nature to want to explore the forbidden.

Three people are going to get three wonderful stories. I loved the McNulty brothers and Calling the Shots is an excellent book. I went to Wallmart to buy it and found out that that Wallmart didn't carry Harlequins anymore. I came home and complained loudly to my husband. Then the mail came and Tell Harlequin sent me your book and another one to read. Best early Christmas present I could have gotten.

I still rank your book His Secret Past as my favorite book of yours and it was the one that took me the longest to get around to reading as I was so sure I wouldn't like a book about a rock star. How wrong I was about that.

Now I can't wait until June.

Jeannie Watt said...

Ellen—Great snippet and love the motivation in the scene. You are so amazing. I had two absolutes in my life that I developed as a teen that I thought would stand forever:

I will never eat a snail.
I will never clean a fish.

After half a bottle of wine (in my twenties, not as a teen), I did eat a snail and discovered that escargot is one of my favorite foods. I have yet to clean a fish. I’ve caught hundreds, since my dad fished commercially one summer when I was young and I “helped”, but I’ve yet to clean one.

Oh--when I was a teen, I was absolutely certain that I would have a happily ever after with Joe Namath. Didn't work out. I guess I'm kind of glad now.

I can’t wait for Married by June. Great post!

Ellen Hartman said...

Hi Kaelee,

Thanks so much for your kind note! I never thought I'd write a book about a rock star, so I think we must have similar taste. ;-)

I almost fell over when I opened my Tell Harlequin box and found Calling the Shots. I didn't do the survey (of course) and I'm worried they'll drop me from the list. I've gotten some good books from the program!

Exploring the forbidden...that's a great way to put it!


Ellen Hartman said...

Jeannie--you're too funny. Snails. Hee!

When I moved out of my mom's house I swore I'd never eat another hamburger. I confessed to breaking that rule when Sarah posted about her zombie revisions.

I also swore I'd never make my kids eat liver. I've done so well with that one, I'm not sure my kids even know liver is a food.

Joe Namath...really? I think you're lucky with the way that one worked out.

Marcie said...

Confession time - that I'd never be one of those girls to go out dancing and drinking. Thankfully the girl I hung out with found a boyfriend so I didn't have to be her wingman - wait that would be winggirl - anymore.

Writing-wise - I'm surprised a kid shows up in my stories when I have none of my own to draw experiences from.

Oohh, love the snippet.

Babs said...

Wow, that motivation for the engagement of convenience is a good one!

Hmmm, as for rules or absolutes...I always hated moving around as a kid so vowed I would stay put as an adult. Then I married a Foreign Service Officer and 5 weeks later was headed to Poland! In 12+ years of marriage we've lived in 5 different countries...and never one place longer than 3 years.

I guess after that I just kind of gave up. 8-)

But I always tell my daughter I love her before bed and never go to sleep mad at her.

As for hubby, even if I went to sleep angry I try to start every day on the best note as possible.

Ellen Hartman said...

Marcie--I think you'd make an excellent winggirl!

Yep, those kids do show up unexpectedly. In my first book, the heroine is raising her nephew, but I sent him on an extended vacation for most of the book because I wasn't sure how to write a kid. The prospect scared me. Then a teenager showed up in my next book and that was great fun--teens are so dramatic!

For all my vowing against writing them, I've had kids in 5 of my 6 books.

I don't think you have to live with kids to be able to write them well. It's good to go where the story takes you, right?

Rula Sinara said...

Great sneak peak! Love it! BTW, I already have your books ;) and can't wait to get my hands on Married by June.

If I use the word 'never' it's usually regarding food. I've always said that I'll never eat snails and it hasn't happened yet (LOL, Jeannie). But I said the same about calamari and I did try that once. Oh, and I'll (probably) never sky dive or bungie jump...notice the parentheses? Never say never!

Well, except for one thing. I'm sure everyone here will agree to never stop writing :).

Laney4 said...

I had the treasurer of our local badminton club phone me before 9 am last year and bawl me out. She must have had her words written out to read, because she hardly came up for air. I was barely awake and kept thinking to myself, "Why did I answer the phone? Why didn't I look at the call display first?" She was upset because I was doing things FOR the club but am not on the executive (but was for 20 years). When I explained that others on the executive had asked me to do these things and I had complied, I told her, "Don't worry, YOU can do them next time," to which she replied, "I don't like your attitude," and it went downhill from there. I really really wanted to hang up on her, but I realized that would not be good for the club so refrained. From that point on, I told myself that I would stay away from this woman (as she had been rude to me in person several times at the club as well -- yelling at me that I HAD to do such and such, when I did NOT). I have managed to stay away from her a fair bit, but I have not succeeded all the time. I have even wished her a nice day, asked her how her day was going, etc. So much for never say never!!! (I still think she has control issues and should learn that she gets more bees with honey, but she's in her sixties, so I doubt she will learn this now. I keep telling myself that she means well....)

Ellen Hartman said...


Glad the little sneak peek seems to work. This book gave me fits while I was writing it!

The Foreign Service sounds so amazing, I'd give up on any number of vows to be able to live that life, especially if I could do it the way you are with the guy you love.

Ellen Hartman said...


You're right about writing. I don't think I'll ever give that up.

My grandmother (who's turning 90 this month!) lived by the vow that she'd do anything once. She has a very funny story about the ship wreck that happened the one and only time she went white water rafting.

I think, like you, I'd put most extreme sports on my (probably) never list as well. Although you never know...

Ellen Hartman said...


It sounds like you've made a good decision to keep away from someone who is not very well-behaved. ;-) Ugh. I think when folks volunteer to help, it's best not to be critical. Good volunteers are incredibly valuable! :-)

Virginia C said...

Hello, Ellen! Congratulations on "Married by June"! My favorite romances are those where the hero and heroine learn about themselves as they learn about each other. Love is often found in unexpected hearts : ) I have always set high standards for myself as far as what I had to accomplish in my personal life. I was an "organized perfectionist", determined to meet all the goals I set for myself. I did pretty well at that for many years, and then life began to impose its own needs that had to be met. When my mother's health began its sad deterioration, and I became more an more a caregiver, something had to give. I no longer worked overtime, not all of the daily household chores were done each day, meals became much more simple, personal time was minimalized, and life as it was continued on a more elementary level. I let go of a lot of my own personal expectations...and it didn't kill me. The most important thing was my mother's care, and when I focused more on her needs and less on my own expectations, I could actually relax and give myself a break. In some ways, I felt closer to my mother than I ever had in my whole life. My mother has been gone for a while now, but I have never gone back to being "uber-woman", and I'm glad : )

Kaelee said...


What a hoot you got your own book. I think you should have done the survey. Just think you could have had a ball telling them about how you wrote the book and how excellent it is. It is a excellent book as far as I'm concerned.

mary sullivan said...

Ellen, I used to tell myself that I'd never read a romance. I'm so glad I finally did because now I not only read them, I also write them! LOL

Loved your excerpt!

I never thought I would write a secret baby book, but did. Sometimes you just have to take the characters where they need to go to grow.

jcp said...

I swore I would never read a secret baby and I have:)

EllenToo said...

As a child and teen I swore I would never be a teacher ~~ HAH ~~ I spent 37 years teaching!!!!
And I am glad I did even though there were a lot of ups and downs.

Love the excerpt.

PS. Since I have all your books except for Married by June don't enter me in the drawing.

Debra Salonen said...

LOVE your post, Ellen. I think we can build on this idea when you and Jeannie and I do our Three Amigas interviews in May. It is May, isn't it? How quickly they forget. Sigh.

I think "nevers" make great beginnings. Your snippet gave me goosebumps. I can't wait to read the rest of the story.

And thanks for mentioning that you struggled with the story for months to find the motivation. I'm at that stage with my new proposal. I'm not a patient person, but I'm trying to get this a way to avoid big, difficult revisions down the road. ;-)


Kristina Mathews said...

I swore I would never spit on a napkin to wipe my kids' face.

I think I've done pretty good with that one.

I also swore I'd be better at getting them to help around the house.

Oh, well...

Mary Brady said...

Ellen, Married by June sounds like a riot.

I should have learned by now, but I still find myself eating "nevers" for breakfast some days. I'd like to think I would never think never again...

My favorite "never" legend is Sean Connery said he'd never play James Bond again. They named his next Bond movie Never Say Never Again.

Margaret Watson said...

Great post, Ellen. And I loved the excerpt you posted. Can't wait to read the book.

I agree, Deb, that 'nevers' make great stories. As soon as a character says 'I will never...', I know I'm going to enjoy the book. Hmmm. Maybe I should use this in the idea that's rattling around in my brain, looking for a way out.

When I started writing, my story 'never' was a marriage of convenience. Just like you, I couldn't see it happening in a contemporary setting. And just like you, I ended up writing one. It turned into one of my favorite books, even though I wasn't thrilled with the title (The Marriage Protection Program). It seems as though fate always stands to the side, quietly laughing, when I say 'I will never...'.

Ellen Hartman said...

Virginia--your comment was so wise. I'm glad you had the time you did with your mom and that you don't have regrets about the things you gave up. Hugs.

Kaelee--I wanted to open the survey at least to see the questions, but I didn't do it. It was hard to resist the temptation, though. ;-)

Mary--you thought you'd never read a romance! That's so funny. Glad you did...your oath breaking is working out very nicely for all of us who enjoy your books! That's funny that we both thought we'd sworn off secret babies. (Which is a sentence I kind of can't believe I wrote...) ;-)

Ellen Hartman said...

jcp--your comment cracked me up coming on the heels of Mary's. Thank goodness there are readers like you who are willing to take a chance on something different. Hope you liked the secret baby.

(Yes, I am having fun typing "secret baby" in every post I make.)

EllenToo--thank goodness you didn't follow through on your vow. From the things you've said, I imagine the kids who had you as a teacher were very lucky! Glad you liked the snippet.

Deb--definitely we will have fun in May. I have many questions I'm dying to ask you and Jeannie. ;-)

We've been on the same trajectory with our books this past year. Struggling at the same time with similar things. I keep waiting for the time when I get good at being a writer and stop having all this trouble.

(All of you can stop laughing now. A girl can dream, can't she?)

Good luck with the new book!

Ellen Hartman said...

Kristina--Your children thank you for keeping your first vow. It's a good one. :-)

Helping around the house...what is this? It's not a concept I've heard about before. I'm sure my children would be interested in this activity, but it's one they're unfamiliar with. Sigh.

Mary--that Sean Connery story is great. I never heard it before. I like your vow to swear off nevers. (I couldn't do it, but it's a good idea!)

Ellen Hartman said...

Margaret--I haven't read The Marriage Protection Program, but the title is intriguing. It's funny how we get pulled into unexpected stories, sometimes, isn't it?

I hope the "never" concept will help with your plotting. If not, perhaps you'd like to try a secret baby? ;-)

Ellen Hartman said...

Maybe I'll add another Never.

I never thought I'd forget the apostrophe in parents' when I wrote a blog post on the internet.


PatriciaW said...

Ooh, it sounds like an interesting twist on the marriage of convenience story, Ellen. If I have a never, it's the secret baby story. It feels stereotypical to me, because it typically also relates to a woman giving birth out of wedlock, something too often associated with the African-American community.

But maybe therein lies the challenge. How to make it not stereotypical? How might a woman have a baby and keep it a secret that doesn't involve being unmarried when giving birth? Witness protection program? Widowhood? Hmmm....

Tacy Ray said...

I'm glad you caved on the "marriage/engagement of convenience" rule. I think stories with that plot line are always fun.

Ellen Hartman said...

Patricia--I had similar thoughts about the secret baby story--how could I tell it without crossing a line into a place where I didn't want to take my characters?

I wound up with a plot in which the heroine asks the hero to pretend to be the father of her baby. (The real dad doesn't want anything to do with the baby.) I guess it turned out to be more of a secret father story in the end.

I think your questions are wonderful starting points for a plotting session. I don't know why, but I love stories involving Witness Protection plots. That would be a neat angle to explore.

TiceB--I don't know why I bother making rules because I do end up caving on most of them. (I hope my kids aren't reading this.)

I love a good historical marriage of convenience book, so that's probably why I started on this path in the first place. I just hope it works...


Silvia said...

I never wear red clothes, or so I used to say. Because it doesn't go with my copper hair. But I broke the rule and ended up loving it.

Chelle Sandell said...

I agree with ya on the never go to mad angry with the kiddos. Even though I may still want to throttle them. =) The husband makes it impossible for me to stay mad at him. He has a way of finding my weak spots and makes sure he changes my mind. Grrr. But I also never thought I would like a secret baby or a marriage of convenience story. So far I haven't found one that I didn't like. :D I can't wait to read your June book!! And since I'm a stalker fan you don't need to enter me in the drawing. I have all of your books!!

liztalley said...

The book sounds great, Ellen!

Hmm...I never say never because as soon as I do, I have to eat those words. I've only written five books thus far and have not done any marriages of convienance or secret babies. In fact, I stay away from babies. But, I think I'd like the challenge of writing one...something totally non-stereotypical. I'll have to think on that because 1.) I don't like writing irresponsible heroines who don't use protection (even in hot, drunken sex) and 2.) I don't like a heroine who wouldn't tell a man she was pregnant with his child. So I'll have to think around those circumstances and see if I can come up with a baby story because if I can't get a cover with a baby on it, I won't feel legit. LOL

Great post, Ellen...and I love the snippet :)

Kirsten said...

I was big on making list of: I never. I'll never leave home before I'm 21. I'll never eat haddock. I'll never get so desperate to go on a blind date. I'll never wear purple. All the little things, like you said, that are superficial. Of no great importance.

I'm now trying to make a better list like: I'll always remember to smile when looking in the mirror. I'll always try to see the positive things in life. And, last but definitely not least, I'll always enjoy myself with a super romance. For there is nothing like it to cheer a girl up.

I actually rather like a "convenience" story and your Married by June sounds really good. So I'm glad you wrote it even if it was challenging for you. I've put it on that wish list of mine, just as Plan B: Boyfriend.

Karina Bliss said...

Ellen, must be something about the challenge of writing plots that sound impossible to make work that appeals to writers...looking forward to the book.

Linda Warren said...

Ellen, when I sold my first book I said I'd never EVER be late on a deadline. Well, that didn't work out. I'm late on a deadline that was due Jan 15. I hate it, but life interferes. And fate laughs at me. So, yes, I've broken a never.

Love the sound of your new book.


Chris M said...

I really enjoyed reading the excerpt of your book! I too will never refuse chocolate, yum!

Best wishes!

Chris M

Anonymous said...

Hi Ellen,

I never want to stop reading your books, so please keep writing. Of course,I have all your books, so no need to enter me.

C said...

I remember as a middle schooler vowing to ALWAYS keep my legs shaved - that I would NEVER have stubble. I laugh and I laugh long and hard at that girl now!

I don't do much "never" now, because you never (ha-ha) know what life is going to throw at you. I do like Kirsten's "always" list, though!

ClaudiaGC said...

Oh, I love marriage of convenience stories! Good luck with your new book!
Well, I'll will never say no to romance books! :)

Emma said...

I enjoy the excerpt. Can't wait to read the book.
Have a great week.

Ellen Hartman said...

Silvia--I remember being told not to wear red when I was a kid, too! (My hair was red.) I was forced into more than my share of peach and hunter green. Like you, I wear red now and I don't see what the big worry was about.

Chelle--Of course it's impossible to stay mad at your hubby. Mr. Chelle is a prince among men!

Stalker fan cracked me up. That's not the appropriate term for you, sweetie. ;-)

Liz--your #2 reason was exactly my stumbling block. I dealt with it by switching up the "secret" part a little bit.

In yet another example of poor career planning, my secret baby book was set when the "baby" was 15 so I didn't even get a baby on the cover. Rats. ;-)

Ellen Hartman said...

Kristen--I love your new list! What a great little slice of good thoughts. Thanks for sharing it.

I met my husband on a blind date so I can attest that they're something worth trying if the opportunity seems right. (I'm never going to eat haddock, though. Seriously. Never.)

I've got a soft spot for Plan B: Boyfriend. Charlie McNulty was one of my favorite heroes. Hope you'll win a prize!

Karina--Sigh. So basically you're thinking I brought this on myself? Double sigh. ;-) You're probably right,though. The more challenging the set up, the sweeter the payoff when I type The End.

Hi Linda--Fate isn't laughing at you. That sound you hear is all your fans cheering you on so we can read the next great book!

Ellen Hartman said...

Chris M--a woman after my own heart! Chocolate lovers are top of my list. Thanks!

Tammy--what a sweet Never! Thank you. Next time I need to work on an alternate prize for folks like you. Maybe some chocolate. ;-)

Carin--I can absolutely see my middle-school self making that same vow. I took the personal grooming suggestions in Seventeen Magazine very seriously back in the day. Now? I'm more flexible. ;-)

I loved Kristen's list, too. Glad she shared it.

ClaudiaGC--so happy there are marriage of convenience fans out there. Yay!

I never say no to books either. Love it!

Emma--thanks very much! Glad you stopped by.

chey said...

I swore I'd never read a paranormal book, but I did, and I enjoyed the story.

Chelle Sandell said...

Sure it is...I'm part ninja. ;)

patsy said...

Ellen Love your books.

Ive said me won't fly. Broke that rule after getting drugs from DR.

Same thing with Chicken livers too. Broke it because my iron count was low and had to get it back up.

A silly one but have managed to keep it. When I had my dog put down 22 years ago promised him me won't replace him. I've kept it.


Summer said...

That sneak peek has me eager to read the rest, and glad your vow to "never" write a marriage of convenience led to such a different spin on why someone would agree to it.

Ellen Hartman said...

Chey--I'm reading my first vampire romance right now. (I might be one of the last hold outs.) I had to read it for a contest, but I'm enjoying it. A lot! Funny how that works. :-)

Chelle--you crack me up. :-)

Patsy--your dog story made me tear up. When you have a dog in your life who is that special, it really does change things, doesn't it. I don't think it's silly at all.

Summer--glad you liked the sneak peek. I hope the rest of the book works for people!

Kay Stockham said...

Ellen, I love it. What a fun concept. My never???

I swore I'd NEVER marry a red head (my mother was a red head. Would I dare risk having red headed children? *gasp*) Heh. Anyone wanna guess what color my husband's hair is? LOL Yeah, I ate those words. And speaking of kids...

Once upon a time, I swore I'd never have kids (because at the time all my parents could do was talk about me getting married and having kids--and I was still in high school!) but I'm very glad I changed my mind-after college, marriage, job and putting my dh through college. Yeah, now we have kids. LOL And, no, they don't have red hair. I actually wanted my daughter to have red hair but both are brunette like me.

I'm working on a secret baby book now. It has an unusual twist I can't reveal but I'm happy to say it's not the norm found in any of the books I've read to date. Totally agree on not liking heroines who'd have a baby and not tell the father. That's just not right.

Great post, Ellen. Can't wait to read it!


beck nicholas said...

This book sounds like a good twist on the MOC storyline. Am looking forward to it.

Lots of my nevers have been about parenting - announced with the wisdom one has before children... ie. none. My kids have taught me my absolutes and helped me work out where I draw the line. And I'm sure as they grow it will all change on me again.

Chelle Sandell said...

That's a huge compliment coming from someone that has made coffee/tea come out of my nose on numerous occasions.

Ellen Hartman said...

Kay--that's funny about the red head dread. My entire family has red hair--mom, dad, siblings, me. When we were teenagers my brother refused to go places with us. He said we looked like a circus. ;-)

I'm the only one who doesn't have a red-headed child. My brother and sister both have a couple. I got dissed somehow.

If I know you, your secret baby twist will be delicious! You are so good at getting your characters into impossible situations...and then getting them back out in the most satisfying ways.

Now I want to run off and read A Christmas to Remember again. That book has a vintage Stockham emotional ending. Love it.

Serenity said...

Hi Ellen

The book sounds great! I've always promised myself I wouldn't forget what it was like to be young, so I can always sympathise with my son when he has a crisis that appears so insignificant! Not an easy one to keep but I'm trying...

Ellen Hartman said...

Beck--kids will kill a list of Nevers faster than just about anything else.

My first baby was remarkably adaptable, friendly, and calm. I misinterpreted this fact and decided it meant I was an excellent parent. I was a wee bit smug about the whole thing. Then my second baby came along and promptly showed me I knew nothing. Pride is not a mother's friend. ;-)

Your flexible style is probably the best way to go!

Chelle--I live to serve. ;-)

Ellen Hartman said...

Serenity--What an insightful and valuable vow to make. I bet your son is grateful to have a mom who keeps his perspective in mind. Glad you shared!

Kay Stockham said...

LOL Please note I have nothing against red heads. Truly. It was just one of those stupid teenage things because my mom would always have me slather her with sunscreen and she'd still look like a lobster. Now I spend lots and lots of time spraying my dh with sunscreen.

LOL @ your brother's comment. That's just mean. Funny, but mean. ;) And you're more of a strawberry blonde to me, not red. So, who has more fun??? ;)


Estella said...

I said I would never get married and never have kids. I did both.

AJ Blythe said...

My only serious 'never' was I would never put my children in childcare - my youngest, mr5, starts school on Monday so I've managed to keep that one.

I think I know 'never' is much too long for me to ever be able to stick to it!

Ellen Hartman said...

Kay--hee. What you call strawberry blond is actually gray. I love it! I knew you had nothing against us red heads, and believe me, I can relate to the lobster stories. When we went to the beach as a family, we were quite a sunburned bunch!

Estella--those are two big nevers. I guess nothing is ever set in stone, really.

Anita Joy--Oh, your baby is heading to school. Hugs and congratulations to you. (And him!) I wish I could learn to stop trying to make these rules. You're a wise woman.

Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic said...

A modern marriage of convenience doesn't sound like it will work, but I'm looking forward to reading Married by June. I enjoy your books so it will be fun to see how you make it work.

Snookie said...

I never say never anymore because I found out a long time ago I couldn't live up to it!

Your new book sounds like a fun read, enjoyed the excerpt!

Don't enter me in teh contest, I"ve read all three of those books and loved them! You made my auto-buy list ;)

Ellen Hartman said...

Jan--I have the same doubts as you do. When I sold the book, the outline was for a marriage of convenience, but I wound up not being able to write it that way. Switching to an engagement of convenience solved some of my issues and I was able to work through the rest. I hope it all works in the end!

I'm delighted to hear you've enjoyed my other books. So nice!

Snookie--it sounds as if many of us have learned a lesson about Never. :-)

Glad to know my books have been enjoyable! I do have to work on an alternate prize for my next blog because this isn't really fair. Hmm...I'll have to see what will work.

Jackie S. said...

I said I would NEVER ride a motorcycle.....guess who was right behind hubs when he purchased one! Would love to read your books!!!!

Loves 2 Read Romance - Laura said...

I try not to use the word Never. Cause it always ends up happening. I like the sound of your book and it's okay that you broke your never rules.

kimberly van meter said...

I said I would at Kmart. Okay! So I was a bit of a snob when I was a teenager. Now, I shop with delight at my local Kmart (I bought my barbecue with the layaway program!). I love a good bargain! Now, I'm eyeing the patio sets.

I said I'd never be like my mom (a stubborn, head-strong woman) but now I realize her strength is a gift to her daughters.

I said I'd never have kids because I didn't think I'd make a very good mother. (Jury is out on whether or not I'm any good at this parenting gig)

I said I'd never drive a minivan. (Heh. I love my van.)


Ellen Hartman said...

Jackie--In college I had a boyfriend who had a motorcycle. My helmet had an American flag on it. Tons of fun!

Ellen Hartman said...

Hi Laura--you're right about dangers of the word never.

I hope the book will be good when it finally comes out. The waiting always makes me impatient.

Kim--Your nevers and the ways you've changed are perfect. I'm so glad you shared the one about your mom, in particular.

I'm having trouble picturing you in a minivan. You definitely seem more like a convertible kind of gal.

P.S. As someone who's seen the pictures and heard the stories, I'd say your kids lucked out in the mom department.

AJ Blythe said...

Ellen, your comment for Kim got me curious. I've started to hear that saying in Australia 'lucked out' (I assume it's American in origin?). I was confused as to what it meant at first, but I think it means good luck? To me it 'lucked out' sounds as if it should mean 'out of luck'.

Ellen Hartman said...

Hi Anita--Earlier tonight your comment had me curious. I couldn't figure out why school was starting in January. Then I remembered seeing you post that you're in Australia and it all made sense.

In the U.S., "lucked out" means someone experienced good fortune. Kim's kids lucked out because she's a wonderful mom.

I asked my friend Google about the origin of the phrase and didn't find an answer, but I did see several references that indicate this phrase has the opposite meaning in the UK.

Very interesting.

AJ Blythe said...

Ellen, thanks for the explanation - and sorry for the earlier confusion =)

Rogenna Brewer said...

Ellen, great post. Before I met and married my husband, I was on the receiving end of many a marriage proposal, including a first date proposal and a marriage of convenience proposal.

Not sure I want to share any of those personal stories here

Let's just say I've met a lot of lonely sailors in my time :?

I'm currently working on my own first meet/marriage of convenience proposal story. I never found myself in the exact situation of my heroine, but I can identify with her characters and her motivation.

As in your story, I believe that's what will come across as plausible to the readers.

Teresa said...

Sounds like breaking a few of your rules didn't hurt this time. I can't wait to read Married by June. It sounds like a great read.

One rule I have is that I try to never say or do anything that will hurt another person.

Donya P said...

Ellen, the book sounds yummy... I can't wait to read it.

As for nevers.. I swore growing up I would never be like my mom. Turns out I look, act, and have the same health problems as her almost to a T. I am so much like her that at my mom's funeral my aunt (mom's sister)said, "At least we still have you to remind us of her. You two are so much a like." So what would have bothered me earlier, now makes me proud. My mom was one of the most kind hearted, wonderful women (not biased at all see) I got to know, and I am proud to be like her!

Ellen Hartman said...

Thanks, Rogenna! I'm laughing over here about your poor lonely sailors. Maybe you can tell us one or two of the stories. ;-) Best of luck with your book--it sounds like a good one!

Teresa--what a nice comment to find here first thing in the morning. I'm glad I woke up to your thoughtful rule. Thanks!

Donya--Nice to see you. This reminds me of Kim's comment from yesterday. I'm sure your mom was proud you shared so much with her.

Thanks everyone for a fun day of conversation. I'm loving the new Super blog!

desere_steenberg said...

Hi Ellen what a wonderful post thank you for sharing your thoughts with us ! I never really go by rules as my parents taught me never say never so I just take each day one step at a time !

All the best

the other deb said...

Hi Ellen, I liked the "never say never" rule. I am very happily married and vowed that I would "never" let another other man get into my heart and head...until my first love came back into my life after 30 years...let's just say I will "never say never" again....

Nas said...

Hi Ellen,

I like all the rules that you have broken. I loved the excerpt you posted. Can't wait to read the book.

MaryC said...

Love the excerpt.

Anonymous said...

LOL, what a fab post and comments, they've given me a good giggle. I have one rule- Never say "Never". Oops, looks like I just broke it.
This is going to be a fab story, Ellen, really looking forward to it!

Laura Russell said...

Ellen, so glad you broke those 3 'nevers' and your post makes me think it's important to focus on the writing instead of the rules.

Looking forward to your next SUPER-R.

Colleen C. said...

It is more like making myself do things verses saying I won't do things... I am not big on change and like things within my norm...

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