Friday, August 29, 2014

Where Do Our Ideas Come From? And Our Characters?

Recently a friend told me that someone we both used to work with refused to read my books.  When my friend asked this person why, he said it was because he was afraid he’d be in them.  And not in a good way!

I was pretty surprised to hear this.  Partially because this person is very nice, and has nothing to fear if someone ever decided to write about him.  But mainly because I don’t usually “put” people in books!  Characters show up, or are created, and they generally seem to be people in their own right, with their own history, quirks, faults, and needs.

It got me thinking about what parts of real life show up in my stories.  And I realized that my new book, More Than a Rancher, has a lot of real life in it, but it’s the experiences I have in life that make their way into my stories, a lot more than the people I meet.

For example, my heroine is a ballroom dance teacher, an experience I briefly had, but she teaches all the dances, while I just stuck to Lindy Hop and other dances from the forties.  She competes, while I was never that good! 

My hero has a little brother who is fourteen years old.  I was a junior high administrator and loved working with young teenagers.  But is Paul based on any one student?  Absolutely not.  It’s more the essence of Paul, the enthusiasm, the passion for his dreams, the surprising bits of wisdom and the retreats into sullen silence or juvenile humor, that comes from the kids I knew.

And both my hero and heroine struggle with the impact of alcoholism in their lives, albeit in different ways.  I grew up living with an alcoholic, but she’s not in this book.  But what I know about the disease, and the frustrations and pain of watching someone struggle with it, did find its way into the story.

I told my friend to please reassure our former colleague that he is in no danger of being put in one of my books.  And then another thought occurred to me.  If people think they might be in my books, do they wonder if I am there too?  Do they think that I have met these incredible cowboys, ridden the mountains with them, and experienced all the romance and passion that I write about?  How wonderful!

How would you feel if someone made you a character in their book?  And if you are a writer, have you ever based a character on a person that you know? Do you put real people in your books?  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Question Of The Month: the Back to School Edition

We posed this question to the Super authors this month: 

With kids in North America heading back to school, can you share with us a "first day of school" memory?

Tara Taylor Quinn: I can only think of one back to school memory.  I only had one child, who started classes at Arizona State University when she was five, as part of a special program, and then enrolled in college level classes when she was eight.  I chaperoned her to class every single day until she graduated with her third degree when she was seventeen.  Every quarter, a couple of days before classes started, we’d take her schedule and go down to campus to find all of the rooms.  Not all that unusual, but in our case, we weren’t looking so that we’d know where to take her to class, we had to scout out electrical outlets so that I could plug in my laptap to be able to work while I waited outside of her class, and still be able to keep her door in sight.  We had to plan so she’d know right where to look for me.  And so that I knew I could keep her safe and still be able to work.  I wrote a lot of books with my backside on cold tile hallway floors!

Joanne Rock: My clearest first day of school memory was the excitement before Kindergarten. I'd chosen a Bugs Bunny book bag--blue with straps--and hung it on my doorknob before bed. I couldn't wait to use it and be a big girl and go to school. Plus, Bugs was just so *cool.* It's a happy memory for me. And I still love prepping for first days!

Pamela Hearon:  My most memorable first day happened not when I was a student but when I was the teacher in the 8th grade Language Arts class in our small town.  The first day of school that year was just a one-hour day.  Meet the students, lay out the rules, yada yada yada.  When the bell rang, one young man stayed behind, obviously wanting to talk one-on-one.  I didn't hurry him, and finally he walked over to where I was standing in front of my desk.  He took a deep breath, and said, "Mrs. H, I didn't do so good last year in the 7th grade, and I really want to do better this year."  I told him I was glad to hear that.  "Yeah," he answered.  "So if I start falling behind this year, I just want you to kick my ass."  His word choice caught me by surprise, but the look in his eyes told me he wasn't being cheeky.  I nodded solemnly and assured him I would.  He wasn't the brightest of the bunch that year, but he was a hard worker, so I never really had to kick his ass--just had to nudge him a bit.  We got along great. :-)

Jennifer Lohmann:  We used to watch for the bus through a sliding glass door. We could see it coming about a 1/4 mile away, giving us plenty of time to get out of the house and to the stop. Or, that was my brother's experience. He's six years older than I am so I watched him watch for the bus for years before it was my turn. On that first day of school, I was so excited when I saw the bus that I walked right into the door! 

Kristina Knight: I'll never forget my first day of first grade - because my grandmother was my teacher! We attended a rural school, complete with shared classrooms (1st/2nd together, 3rd/4th, etc) - and I knew she would be my teacher, but when I walked in that morning and she was right there at the desk, all my nervousness about being with older kids disappeared because I knew nothing could be bad if my grandmother was involved.

Claire McEwen: What I remember about the first day of school is the excitement of new clothes! I was the youngest of four girls so I mainly wore hand-me-downs.  Extremely outdated hand-me-downs!  But once a year we went school shopping and I got an outfit or two for the year - and of course I wore my new clothes on the first day of school!

Amber Leigh Williams:  Memories of the first day of school always came with a good deal of fluttering in my tummy. Not the good kind, unfortunately. I was extremely introverted as a child and the idea of walking into a new classroom with a new teacher and new classmates was enough to make me beg my mother to take me to work with her when she tried to drop me off in the morning. She always left an encouraging note and Hershey's kisses in my lunch, though. And I would sometimes sneak my favorite book into my backpack. Even if I didn't get to read it, it helped knowing that it was there! 

Kris Fletcher: I am totally going to cheat here. I have tons of First Day memories, both for myself and my kids, but as the mom of a large, sprawling family (my youngest will start grade 3 next week, my oldest will be in the final year of his second Master's while working full time), my very favorite back to school memory will always be this: 

Now readers, we're dying to know: what are some of YOUR First Day of School memories?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Aaaah…kicking back

Mary Sullivan

This summer, I discovered a new way to de-stress and it is fabulous. There is a gorgeous park in Toronto called High Park that has successfully resisted encroachment by developers for well over a hundred years. It is 400 acres of landscaped views and huge tracts of natural, unspoiled land. Here's a brief list of some of what the park has to offer: a huge dog run, a children's zoo, a public swimming pool, a beautiful lake, sports fields, a stunning cherry blossom trail that attracts thousands of visitors every spring, hiking trails, ravines, a restaurant, Shakespeare in the Park on summer evenings, children's programming for the summer including a cooking course using ingredients the children have grown themselves in a small garden! There is so much more.

Every weekend finds families picnicking all over the park, setting up barbecues and volleyball nets.

The land was purchased in 1836 for sheep farming, but was bequeathed to the city in 1873. More land was purchased and added. For all intents and purposes, it has remained inviolate as a park since then.

Early in the summer, my daughter invited me to a 'tea party picnic' at the park. She hooked a small trailer onto the back of her bike and carted down gallons of homemade iced tea and goodies, cucumber, radish and cream cheese sandwiches, gorgeous meringue cakes, all sorts of home-baked cookies, all served in china tea cups and on silver serving trays. We also noshed on brie sandwiches, white chocolate cranberry scones and loads of cherries.

It was civilized and relaxing and one of the loveliest afternoons I've had in a long, long time. She had a great turnout of friends. I'm hoping she'll turn it into an annual event :-)

Since then, I've visited the park for a number of picnics. It's been this summer's go-to spot to relax. I hadn't been to High Park in the a long while and am so happy to rediscover it.

Here's a photo of the Maple Leaf Garden...
Just past the trees on the far side of the garden is Grenadier Pond, where you will find ducks, geese and swans.

This has been my very lovely al fresco dining room…

Don't the planters look like giant blueberries? LOL

My view from here while I eat, a formal garden with fountains…

A few minutes after I enter the park, tension fades. While I'm there, I can't think about worries or responsibilities. I'm just relaxing and drinking in the beautiful views and nature.

Do you have a 'go-to' spot for getting away from it all? What is it? What do you do there?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Where Do We Get Our Ideas From…??

How many times are authors asked this question throughout their careers?? It must be the most frequently asked question whenever we are interviewed or meet readers. It is also one of the hardest questions to answer…most of the time.

However, if someone were to ask me that question today, I'd be able to wholeheartedly tell them exactly where the idea for my next trilogy or series came from. I am so excited, I can barely wait to get started but until I finish my current work in progress (book 5 in my Superromance Templeton Cove series), I have to be happy with just jotting down a few notes.

So what is my new idea, I hear you ask!

Well, after a recent overnight visit to Ireland…for afternoon tea with Nora Roberts, no less, I know I have to set a trilogy or series at Ashford Castle where my husband and I stayed. I will, of course, make the castle fictional…maybe even change its Irish location, but what a place! Pure, unadulterated luxury where royalty and visiting celebrities have been known to stay.

While we were there, the majority of the guests were from the States which made my job of writing the stories for the US market all the better. Ireland is romantic, magical and full of so many different characters, it is a canvas waiting to be painted in words.

Here are a few of the pictures of the castle…and of course, me and Nora! Keep tuned for my new series whenever I get the time to write it, ha ha!

What about you? What are your favorite locations that you've visited and have ended up being the setting for a Superromance? Or readers, what are some of your favorite global settings for our stories?

Rachel x

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Story Ideas Come to Life

My September release, Winning Ruby Heart, is one I'm really excited about. As an author, I'm probably supposed to love all my books equally, but I don't. I have favorites and Winning Ruby Heart is going to be one of them.

Five years before the book starts, middle-distance runner Ruby Heart was caught blood doping at the Olympics. She's the heroine of the book and it's needless to say that she needs to learn about making better decisions and taking responsibility for her actions. When I was brainstorming this novel with my friend Mary Margret Daughtridge, she suggested that Ruby volunteer at a local animal shelter. There are few better places to learn about how carelessness has rippling consequences than at an animal shelter. So, Ruby takes shelter dogs for runs. The dogs get to burn off some steam and Ruby learns lessons in adulthood that no one thought to teach her when she was a child.

Which is why I was tickled when I read an article about my local Animal Protection Society offering a day fostering program for their dogs. The idea behind day fostering at the APS is the same as I talk about in Winning Ruby Heart; kenneling is damaging to a dog's sociability, making them nervous and stifling an active dog's energy--all of which can make a perfectly adoptable dog seem less desirable. By taking a dog to your house for the day, or out for a run, or on a long hike, a dog comes back better adjusted and calmer for the next person who walks through the shelter doors, looking for a forever pet. For the volunteer, it's a good opportunity to help out when you can't commit to long-term fostering.

Winning Ruby Heart was already past the editing stage when I read the article about day fostering. It felt a bit like a part of my book was coming to life--and that was fun.

Instead of giving a book away, I'm going to try something different. I'll donate $5 to my local APS per unique user comment left on this post, up to $100. People have until September 17th to comment. On September 18th, I'll tally up my comments and write my check.

Need an idea about what to say?

If you had a dog for a day foster, where would you take it? Me, I'd take the dog for a long hike by the Eno River. Lots of chances to stretch legs (both mine and the dog's) and things to sniff (dog only).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Where Do You Get Your Ideas?"

Where do you get your ideas?

Every author everywhere has probably encountered this question at one point or another. I certainly have, in addition to several others I’ve had to deal with

I think when people ask this question, it’s really a two-part query: 1) what inspires you; and 2) how did you craft your story to be so awesome? The second question is only a little easier to answer than the first—understanding story structure, character archetypes and all the things that make up storytelling—and then learning to subvert them—comes with years of studying the craft, reading and watching TV shows, movies, plays and more.

The answer to the first question is more amorphous, because there’s no telling where people might come up with their unique and fascinating takes on traditional stories, or whether their remarkable characters were inspired by real or fictional characters.

The truth is, none of us creates in a vacuum. We are bombarded by art and creation every day. Everything you touch that’s man-made was designed and made with a lot of thought and consideration given to function, aesthetics, and emotional attachment, each weighed differently. So, too, is writing.

This, of course, is all a fancy way of saying, “I dunno.”

Having recently become a fan of the TV show Doctor Who, I learned that Diana Gabaldon, author of the time-travel historical romantic epic Outlander, was inspiredby a character from the older Doctor Who TV series. Jamie Fraser, the hero of her books, which take place in 18th-century Scotland, was riffed off one of the Doctor’s companions, Jamie McCrimmon. Apart from the kilts and background, as well as the bit about time travel, the Outlander series and Doctor Who don’t share a lot in common. But knowing where such a bold and interesting hero got his start fascinates me. 

I’ve written about how fan fiction inspired me before. But I’ve yet to transform any of my fandoms (including Doctor Who) into an original piece of fiction. Still, sometimes I think about the characters I have encountered, and think about the stories I have read or watched, and I’d ask myself: What would ______ do? That’s how I come up with plots twists and character development. Who would I most like my characters to become? Who would they never become? And how can I make this journey as difficult as possible, and possibly ensure they never reach their goal? 

What are your favorite books, movies or TV shows? Have you ever researched or learned how the idea for the story’s concept was developed? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lost In Translation

Imagine this scenario: you are flying home from a foreign where you not only don't speak the language, you can’t even read the alphabet. To make your flight connection you have to take a bus from one airport terminal to another. The last time you made this trip, there were other people with you, and they helped you get on the right bus, but this time, you're flying solo. The bus comes and you have enough mastery of the language to know that it says it's the bus you want, so you hop on, pay your fare, and find a seat. The bus departs. You sit back and congratulate yourself on making it through the tricky transfer okay.
Except that after about 15 minutes, you start thinking that it didn’t take this long to get to the other terminal the last time you took this bus.
And after 20 minutes, you suspect that you have really messed up.
And after 25 minutes, you see a sign that lets you know that you might indeed have got on the right bus, but you caught it at the wrong end of the run. It's not going to the other terminal. It's going away from the airport, back into the city. Into Moscow. And if you can't get back to the airport in an hour, you’re going to miss your flight home.
Scared yet?
You can bet I was pretty terrified when this happened to me. It was six years ago, on the second trip that Hubs and I had to take to Russia for our Tsarina's adoption. On the first trip, we had managed the transfers okay (though I still don't know how we managed one of them – we ended up in a part of Sheremetyevo airport where we weren't supposed to be). On our second trip, we had to stay in Moscow a couple of days before going on to the region where our future daughter waited. That Moscow stay turned out to be my salvation, for on the trip into the city I noticed a most familiar sight – a huge blue and yellow Ikea store just off the highway.
When it was time to come home, my husband had to leave a few days before I could, so I was all alone for the return trip. Realizing that I had messed up royally and was heading away from the airport – and my connecting flight home – was one of those "holy crap" moments that really bring home what it means to feel your stomach sink.
Lucky for me, I was sitting on the side of the bus that enabled me to see the Ikea store. Not only did this confirm my mistake – meaning I now knew beyond a doubt that I had to get off that bus NOW – but I was pretty sure that somewhere in an Ikea store, I could find someone who spoke enough English or French to help me find my way back to the airport.
I got even luckier when – after getting off the bus and walking across a field to the store – I spotted a sign for a beloved word that is spelled the same in English and Russian: TAXI. And in proof that lucky strikes come in threes, the word for AIRPORT is also similar enough that my taxi driver could understand my request. He named the two airports, I sputtered out a mangled "Sheremetyevo," and he had me back to the proper terminal in plenty of time to make my connection. I tipped him heavily. I really really wanted to hug him, but I figured the poor guy didn’t need the crazy North American crying all over him. 
The best news is that on our third and final trip to Russia, Hubs was with me to navigate the connection on the way to our daughter's birthplace. On the way home, it was just me and her, but we had to stay in Moscow to complete our Embassy paperwork - so instead of getting from one terminal to another, we were met by an agency worker who drove us into the city in her car. 
You can bet I blew a kiss at that Ikea store when we zipped past.

Now tell me, readers - when have you been lost, and how did you get yourself out of it?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Winners from Cathryn's Monday Post

Otis poses with prizes
Congratulations to Colleen C and Kaelee!

Also, two more winners (just without the Queen of Your Life book): Emily Baucom and Mary Preston!

Please send me your address using the comment form at my website,  here, and I'll mail these right out to you.

Have a great August, and thanks for reading our blog!

 Posted by Cathryn Parry at

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cover Reveal: MARRIED ONE NIGHT (October Superromance)

Hi Superromance readers! My name is Amber Leigh Williams! I'm new to the Super Authors blog. I'm also relatively new to the Harlequin Superromance imprint. My Superromance debut, A PLACE WITH BRIAR, launched in April. I'm thrilled to announce that my second Superromance novel, MARRIED ONE NIGHT, will launch in October. And today I'm revealing the gorgeous cover art and blurb for the book!

What happened in Vegas…followed her home! 
Olivia Lewis is not the marrying type. So when a wild weekend in Vegas leaves her with a surprise husband, she's happy to sign anything to erase her mistake—even if that mistake is handsome, charming and comes with an English accent. Fortunately, her groom has other plans. 
Bestselling author Gerald Leighton knows he can make his new bride fall in love with him—he just needs time. In exchange for a quickie divorce, Olivia grudgingly gives him a few weeks to attempt to woo her. And whether Olivia likes it or not, Gerald plans on using every second to win her heart!

If you can't wait until October to reserve your copy of MARRIED ONE NIGHT, it is available for Amazon preorder in both mass market paperback and Kindle edition....

I hope you enjoyed this exclusive teaser for MARRIED ONE NIGHT. Though the story stands on its own as a novel, it could be considered a sequel of sorts  to A PLACE WITH BRIAR, since it involves several of the colorful secondary characters from the first book. A PLACE WITH BRIAR received 4 Stars from RT Book Reviews. Here's what the reviewer had to say about it:

Great description and engaging characters make this story an entertaining read. Cole is nicely developed and his despair over losing his son and Briar’s worry over the potential loss of her inn are both well drawn. The secondary characters, such as Briar’s tenants, are also quite fun and nicely crafted.
If you'd like to read A PLACE WITH BRIAR, now is the perfect time to do so before October. The Kindle edition is on sale for $3.82!  
Google Play

For more info on my Superromance titles, visit my website! Readers can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Cathryn Said...

Cathryn Parry gave us such a wonderful recap of RWA14 in San Antonio, Texas on Monday that I thought I'd add some of my own photos (hey, I'm not above using the good ideas of others!).
Here's Super authors Jennifer Lohmann and Jeannie Watt with me at the Harlequin Party:
 And my roommate, Harlequin Carina author Ann DeFee at her signing:
 Both of my roommates, Ann DeFee and Heidi Hormel, laughing at some wonderful joke I just told (I wish!):
My favorite part of RWA is seeing authors that I met maybe even at my very first RWA National (in, gulp, 2000). It is so heartwarming and thrilling to hug a sister (or sometimes fellow) writer who has continued to write and publish through all of life's tribulations. You know, the kind of tribulations we write about in Superromance, but with often better endings than we might get in real life!
I haven't attended each and every RWA since 2000 due to our previous military life, with all the moves in the summer. But since being back (and retired from military life) Stateside permanently, I've made the last three in a row: Anaheim, CA, Atlanta, GA and San Antonio, TX. I have to say the weather in CA was most agreeable. GA was great for me because I was able to see relatives I usually don't (they moved from Western New York when I was a girl to escape the cold winters). TX was the absolute best for food (Mexican--the REAL kind!) and "other things to do." I finally got to see the inside of the Alamo after several trips to San Antonio for my Navy life. It was like all sacred places are, where people gave their lives for a cause. Quiet, hushed, somber and sad. A reminder of what really matters.
The absolute most fun was dining and exploring the Riverwalk. A great way to take a break from the constant noise that is inherent in a large conference, and cozy places to enjoy great food with fantastic people.
As for a giveaway, my Geri Krotow Loyal Reader Program gives away a free book every month! All you need do is sign up for my newsletter (which I send out only when I have a new release or something very special to share). Be entered for the next drawing by signing up here.
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Celebrating Read a Romance Month

by Liz Talley

First....I know. I haven't been here in forever. And I have to apologize. It's not that I didn't want to blog here. Of course I did. It's that it took me forty forevers to figure out how to log back on. Silly as it is, I kept putting the wrong combinations of email accounts, passwords, etc. Computers sometimes confuse me, so thanks to wonderful Kris Fletcher who looked up the proper account. After I rooted around on my messy, I'm-in-the-middle-of-deadline-panic desk, I found my cheat sheet of passwords and I FINALLY figured out how to post.


So it's been a while since I've posted and I must say I've missed the being able to post on a blog where I can talk about general things - my cat, the fact the summer has been so nice in Louisiana or what I've been reading lately (mostly YA). I often post on a blog for writers so it's usually about the business or craft of writing. So it's nice to be back in a place where we can talk about all sorts of things.

But today I wanted to talk about a cool event happening as we sit here sipping or coffee (or tea...or wine :)) August is romance month. Didn't know that. But it is. I heard an advertisement on the radio urging husbands to order their wives a little pick-me-up bouquet. As if we didn't need another reason to nag their poor husbands and boyfriends. So I think the hottest month of the year is, well,  officially the hottest month of the year, and the romance writing industry has gotten involved. Over at journalist Bobbi Dumas created a wonderful event that brings top-notch, best-selling romance authors together in one place to blog each day about the impact and value of reading romance. There are also great prizes and fun opportunities for readers to be introduced to new writers.

How great it is that we have an entire month to celebrate romance?

Well, I think it's fabulous.

So let's share a bit about why you love reading romance as opposed to, say, books about trimming your toenails. For me, reading romance was an extension of a fairy tale. As a child I loved Cinderella. Yeah, I know we all like Cinderella. But I loved the drama - the whole drudgery, mean stepmother and, of course, the clueless prince. The worse it got for Cinderella, the more I couldn't look away. But always, always I knew that good would triumph. Somehow she'd find a way to slip her dainty, perfect little foot into that sparkling slipper and become what she was always meant to be - special. Romance made me believe that one day, I, too would be special. That I would find a man who would search the entire kingdom for the perfect woman. And when it happened to me (no, I don't have glass slippers but it did happen), I wanted that feeling to happen again and again.

That's what romance brings to me - that feeling, that sigh, that knowledge that the bitchy, mean stepsisters don't get to win.

So tell me why you love romance....and don't forget to pop by the RARB blog to celebrate romance with other best-selling authors. You can also visit the FB page at

And I'm celebrating my 13th SuperRomance this month - The Sweetest September - and a rerelease of A Little Texas. I've got much to be thankful of which is being back on the blog with YOU!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Free Books In Exchange For Review (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Looks like a photo we purchased, but Tim took this
with my phone yesterday.
I'll talk about this month's ttq offer in a moment.  First, I wanted to share a really cool experience I had yesterday.  Tim and I were celebrating our anniversary.  We'd gone away for the night, just the two of us.  No dogs to cater, to.  And while we had our cell phones in case of emergency, we neither texted, nor checked our email.  Neither of us had or made a single phone call.

We had tentative plans.  We had a room, a wine and romance package, up the mountain a bit from Phoenix.  We had a great time.  And got up Monday morning for the trip home with neither of us wanted the celebration to end.  He suggested we stop at this place we'd both heard about, Out of Africa.  I knew of it because years ago, it had been housed not far from my home.  He knew about it because of a road sign that read that it was only a few miles from where we were staying.  I used my phone just long enough to google them.  And found out that I got in free because it was my birthday month.  It seemed like an omen.

We went, not knowing what to expect.  And maybe not expecting all that much.  We were happy just to be spending some time outdoors, exploring, and being together without responsibility weighing us down.  What we found was the most incredible experience.  It was as though fate had led us there, as the sights and sounds were of a quality to raise excitement.  Like we were kids again.  We, the people, were the caged animals in many parts of this huge animal resort.  The rhinoceros had six acres of natural desert and we had to stay off his land.  But we got to watch him.  The crocodile had his own natural habitat where he was free to roam.  A giraffe came right up to the open air all terrain vehicle we were on.  We fed him celery. 

And the lions and tigers and bears...most of these animals were rescues.  There is a single owner of the land and the animals - a couple - who have been rescuing exotic animals for more than thirty years.  These animals are their family.  And they have been raised in a protected 'wild.'  Their natural instincts are catered to, and respected.  The people who care for them do so at their own risk.

In my mind, I was witnessing, becoming a part of, the blending of spirit and heart and nature that every living being could experience if we were so willing.  It's all just a matter of respect.  Of being willing to respect.

And now, for the offers...

1.  You are all invited to join my open Friendship board on Pinterest.  We're just getting started, there are only a few of us there (some Super authors and former Super authors, too) but the idea is to pin quotes and pics of friends.  To celebrate friendship.  To focus on one of the most vital aspects of survival - our friendships.  Please join us!  It's completely free.  No strings attached.

2.  For the month of August - and in celebration of my September Superromance release Husband By Choice, the third book in my Where Secrets Are Safe series - I'm giving away e-copies of both books one and two - Wife By Design, Superromance 2/14; and Once A Family, Superromance 6/14 to EVERYONE who posts a review on Amazon of my June MIRA release, The Friendship Pact.  One review of The Friendship Pact on Amazon, and you will receive my two most recent Superromances.  Email once the review is posted to receive free offer.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A San Antonio Trip Report (and a Giveaway!)

by Cathryn Parry

What's it like attending the Romance Writers of America National Conference as a Harlequin author?

Fun, inspiring and educational! 

I've been very privileged in my writing life--this was my 15th year attending this event, and 4th as a Superromance author.  To me, the best part of the conference is meeting with other writers, as well as participating in the workshops, editor pitches, and networking events.  I also love the romance publisher get-togethers and made sure to partake in all Harlequin had to offer. 

Here is my short photo essay of some of the highlights for 2014: 

Cathryn Parry with The Sweetest Hours
First is the annual "literacy autographing."  On Wednesday night, RWA sponsored the massive autographing book sale open to the public, with over 400 authors participating.  Publishers donated books, and all the proceeds went to literacy organizations. 

Harlequin sent copies of my Scottish-set contemporary The Sweetest Hours, and a volunteer arranged the books beautifully on the table, complete with a red Harlequin balloon and author button.  This photo was taken before the doors to the Marriott ballroom opened.  (There was a very long line of readers waiting!)

Vintage Harlequin Covers

Another fun event on Thursday night was the annual eHarlequin pajama party.  I don't participate on that forum as often as I would like, though I do look forward to the annual Superromance Christmas Week celebration. 

Here are two of the fun giveaways from the pajama party.  These notebook covers are from vintage Harlequins.  I chose "Doctor Scott"  and "Anna...She lived like a wicked little animal."  (Sorry, ladies, I am keeping these!)

On Friday, there was a Harlequin booksigning session open to all attendees at the conference.  Jeannie Watt and Beth Andrews represented us at Superromance.  In this overview photo, you can just see Jeannie busily signing her books amidst the crowd in the background:

The 2014 Harlequin Booksigning

Friday night is the famous Harlequin party.  I clearly remember being an unpublished writer, wistfully watching the Harlequin authors in their cocktail dresses walking through the hotel lobby en route to the festivities.   I'm sorry that I couldn't get clear photos of the fun on the dance floor, but I did record some of the food and favor tables outside of the action:

Ice Cream Buffet

Dancing Socks inside Vases

Candy Favors
S'mores Table


On Saturday night, the conference was capped with the Rita award ceremony (see Kris's post last week, with photos).  We have Superromance authors with news to report, but I'll leave that happy task to them!

Lastly, I have two prize packets to give away, each containing take-homes from the conference.

The first item in the packet is an autographed copy of Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-up Woman's Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life You Deserve, by Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff.  This is a Harlequin-published book, and we received copies during Cindy Ratzlaff's excellent breakfast speech.  Kathy Kinney was also present--she is best known as the actress who played Mimi on The Drew Carey Show, and yes, she autographed the book, too! 

Next is a mini-poster I picked up in the Goody Room, for Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, beginning August 9th on Starz.  Is anyone else looking forward to this adaptation?

There's also a copy of my Scottish-set Superromance, The Sweetest Hours.  This is Book 1 of a series--Book 2 (Scotland for Christmas) is coming out in December 2014, and Book 3 (Rhiannon's Story) is in process. 

That's it--Otis the cat is not included.  Winners will be randomly-selected from this post's commenters from now until Saturday, when I list the results.  (Good luck!)  If we get lots of commenters, I can include a few more prize copies of The Sweetest Hours with the Outlander mini-poster. 

I'm interested in hearing from you.  Please say hello, or mention what you're up to in August.   Any trips or things you are looking forward to? 

Take care, and thanks for reading!

Cathryn Parry lives in New England with her husband and her neighbor's cat, Otis.  Her next Superromance, Book 2 in the Sage Family of Scotland Series, will be out in December.  Please see her website at

Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Releases: Harlequin Superromance August 2014

The Sweetest SeptemberThe Sweetest September
by Liz Talley
Harlequin Superromance 

A mistake that's meant to be… 

All John Beauchamp wants is a simple life. He's happy running his Louisiana sugar cane plantation and doesn't want more than that. Then Shelby Mackey breezes in, announcing that she's pregnant. Their one crazy night of passion has changed everything. 

Except Shelby insists John doesn't have to be involved—she'll raise the baby herself. But John can't let her go that easily. Even without the baby, Shelby is a breath of fresh air. Her call-it-as-she-sees-it attitude intrigues and attracts him. So when Shelby agrees to stay temporarily, John's determined to make that stay permanent—and as sweet as can be. 

Rodeo Dreams
Rodeo Dreams
by Sarah M. Anderson
Harlequin Superromance

Love is one unpredictable ride

Ride straight to the top of the rodeo circuit—that's June Spotted Elk's dream. Yes, bull-riding is a man's world, but she won't let anyone—not even a sexy, scarred stranger—get in her way.

Seasoned bull rider Travis Younkin knows what it's like to make it to the top—and then hit the bottom. Back in the arena to resurrect his career, he can't afford a distraction like June. No matter how far he'll go to protect her from the danger. No matter how deeply the stubborn and beautiful rider gets to him…

The Firefighter's Appeal 
by Elizabeth Otto
Harlequin Superromance

Reliving the past…or letting it go?

Lily Ashden is finally ready to have fun again. It's been a year since she survived a deadly house fire, and she wants to celebrate being alive. Enter Garrett Mateo—gorgeous, funny and extremely capable of arousing her flirtatious side. He would be perfect…if only he wasn't a firefighter. After what happened to her, she refuses to consider him. 
This Just In...Too bad Garrett is suddenly everywhere, tempting her to look beyond his job. His charm proves irresistible, and Lily lets herself fall…until she learns his devastating secret. Now she must decide if her future happiness depends on giving him another chance….

This Just In
by Jennifer McKenzie
Harlequin Superromance

A lead on love

Sabrina Ryan is a successful reporter—until a mistake sends her back to her hometown. But when she takes a job at the local paper, she finds an unexpected perk: an interview with the town's oh-so-sexy mayor, Noah Barnes. He's hot, he's charming and suddenly her days are looking up.

But even as things heat up between them, Noah seems hesitant. Okay, so Sabrina has a reputation for slanting her articles to get what she wants. That doesn't mean she's using him, does it? As Sabrina starts to earn Noah's trust—and glimpses the man behind the mayoral role—she finds it'll take more than words to win his heart.

To Be a DadTo Be a Dad
by Kate Kelly
Harlequin Superromance

Ready or not…they're a family now!

Dusty Carson knows he isn't exactly father material. But his friendship with single mom Teressa Wilder has recently become a lot more intimate. Now he has less than nine months to prove that he can be the man she needs. And the first step is moving her and her kids in with him. 

The Reasons to Stay
Except living with kids turns out to be more complicated than he'd thought. Between temper tantrums and toilet training, when is a guy supposed to get a minute to himself—never mind a chance to woo Teressa? This isn't what Dusty thought he was getting into, but he'll do whatever it takes to win her over. Even be a parent.

The Reasons to Stay
by Laura Drake
Harlequin Superromance

Where she belongs?

Free spirit Priscilla Hart doesn't get tied down, to anyone or any place. Then she arrives in Widow's Grove and meets her half brother. The ten-year-old tough guy has no one else but her. So Priss stays—for now.

But her sexy new landlord, Adam Preston, is interfering with her ideas. He's everything Priss normally steers clear of—committed, stable and no rebellious urges in sight. As opposite as they are, each conversation, each touch, each kiss they share feels so right. Can a little gangster-wannabe, an irresistible "nice guy" and an odd assortment of new friends make Priss want to stay for good?
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