Thursday, November 27, 2014

Oh, those pesky stage directions

Mary Sullivan

Writing can be a joy, but of course, also a challenge. One of the challenges I face when I write is how to deal with the seemingly trivial task of physically moving characters around in a scene, of giving them something to do so they don't read like mannequins in a store window…those things that I call stage directions.

Often, I'm so frustrated by dealing with these when all I really want to do is get to the meat of the story—the falling in love, the emotion, the action scenes—that I will just throw in anything so I can move forward, but then I come back later to edit and give the characters interesting movements that make them part of the scene in more interesting and less repetitive ways.

In edits, I have to shift characters around by doing more than just walking. 'She walked across the room.' 'He walked across the field.' 'She walked toward him.' In the first draft, my poor characters have walked holes through the soles of their shoes.

There is also the issue of breaking up dialogue so they aren't a pair of talking heads floating in a scene. Too much description about doctoring their coffee (I have to watch that one!) or rattling the ice in their drinks can be irritating. Manipulating them around too much in a scene can also be tedious to read, but the characters have to do something, or the scene will be static. The reader has to see them in the room.

In my first draft, I end up writing a lot of repeated phrases that will eventually have to go. My characters do a lot of nodding. They read like the most erudite, thoughtful people on the planet. They also do a lot of looking, gazing, glancing, seeing.

A couple of years ago, I read a novel by a very well known author who 'moved' her characters everywhere. I lost track of how many times throughout the book that someone 'moved' across the room or down the driveway. The impression I was left with was that the book had been written too quickly and then not edited well enough. Kind of a shame in an otherwise good book. The clumsy stage direction had taken me out of the story time and again.

When reading, do you tend to notice whether the stage directions have been handled well? Do clumsy actions by the characters draw you out of the story?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Best Christmas Recipe Yet

Don't miss this recipe!
Here in the States it's not even Thanksgiving yet (I do have 2 more days to get my menu together, right?) but I've been celebrating Christmas over at my blog all month long with a different guest author each day. This is a special release month for me as it's the first time I've had two books out at once, and the first time I was asked to be part of an anthology. I wanted to celebrate this by reaching out to those who make it all possible--the Active Duty military and their families.
I am a Navy veteran myself and I know what it's like to be away from home for the holidays. I also know the pain and tough moments of Christmas with young children while Dad is far away, keeping us all safe.
With an idea sparked by my webmistress, I approached Harlequin for help. Would they be willing to donate books for me? The answer was an unequivocal "yes!" For every 20 new subscribers to my newsletter (aka the Geri Krotow Loyal Reader Club), Harlequin agreed to send 1 new book. They believed in this so much that they provided copies of my two November releases in advance, and I've sent hundreds of books to military and their families who will experience holiday separation at home and abroad. Belgium, Germany, Djibouti and the DC Capitol area all received books because of you--my wonderful readers.
There's still time to support the military with my book drive this month--all you need do is sign up for my newsletter here. That's it! And I'm getting ready to write and release a newsletter in December that will include my super-secret Christmas Cookie cut-out recipe, complete with a special frosting. Don't miss it!
Leave a comment and you will be entered to win a copy of NAVY CHRISTMAS along with a custom bookmark ornament!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Introducing: Nan Dixon!

Hey readers! We at the Super Authors blog are lucky enough to have new authors join us fairly often. It occurred to me that we should do something special when we have a new participant - something such as, oh, an introductory post. So here is the first of what I hope will be many introductions. Let's all welcome Nan aboard!

I’m so excited to be blogging with this group of wonderful writers.  My debut novel SOUTHERN COMFORTS releases one week from today.  **Insert eardrum breaking squeal** It’s an event I’ve been looking forward to since I left the world of finance and starting writing full-time in 2008. 

I’ve been asked a few questions – so here we go. 

What made you choose Supers?  I have to go back to 2011 and my second Golden Heart final, SOUTHERN COMFORTS.  
After querying agents, I had my first phone rejection and was thrilled.  (Writing is such a strange business).  I then had another phone rejection from my now agent, Laura Bradford.  She spent almost an hour talking to me about what genre I wanted to write.  She’d reviewed my 2010 Golden Heart finalist manuscript which was a single title and then SOUTHERN COMFORTS which was category.  Laura thought I had a category voice.  After sending Laura 4 manuscripts, she finally signed me on a single title book which we are still shopping.  While we waited, Laura had me do a quick cleanup of SOUTHERN COMFORTS.  She then pitched the book to the then SuperRomance senior editor, Wanda Ottewell.  Wanda passed the book to Megan Long who read the book over the weekend.  I would like to say they bought it immediately, but alas, I had 2 revision letters before that happened.  Those revisions got me my first SOLD.  

Who are some of your favorite authors? I don’t think there is enough space in the blog for all my favorite authors.  I read everyone.  Nora Roberts, JR Ward, Kristin Higgins, Susan Mallory, Susan Wiggins, Valerie Bowman, Tessa Dare, Amy Patrick, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Suzanne Brockmann just to name a few.  I read in the name of research!  And what’s wonderful is I’m getting to read so many new authors like Lizbeth Selvig, Erica O’Rouke, Erin Knightley, and Sandra Owens because they’ve been Golden Heart finalists with me.  I know I am forgetting wonderful authors and I apologize to them.

What was the biggest surprise for you about the whole publication process? Things happened so fast!  I got the call April 30th and had revisions by mid-May.  The line edits and copy edits were completed by mid-July.  I got the cover sometime in August and the books in October!  It made my head spin.  (My lovely editor, Megan Long, said I was on a tight timeline.)

Favorite holiday?  It has to be Christmas. 
My kids are scattered all over the country, so it is the one holiday we have a chance of getting together.  I put up two trees and lots of decorations and one daughter brags to her friends that the house vomits Christmas.  I have wonderful Christmas china that I pull out after Thanksgiving and it stays out until Valentine’s Day.  (I may be too lazy to pack it all away.)  And the plates are smaller—and I need portion control after the holidays. 

Where you would live if you could live anywhere on the planet? 

I think I would move between the ocean and the mountains.  I love walking along the shore and have a container full of shells from our travels.  Possibly, Costa Rica for the ocean.  My oldest son lived in Nosara for a while and the ocean was like bath water.  But I also love snow skiing so I would want to spend time in Big Sky, Montana.  (Those are my twins.) And then I would want to get back to my family’s lake cabin in Minnesota.  As soon as I drive into the woods, the stress rolls right off me.   I guess I don’t want to decide where to live!

You can find out more about me through--
Twitter: @nandixonauthor
Pinterest:  (But I’m a newbie at this)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Question of the Month: the Get 'Er Done Edition

Writing can be a joy, but there are times - especially when facing down a  deadline or juggling multiple projects - when it can be less appealing than at other times.. This month, we asked the Super authors: What are some things you do to keep yourself motivated and make the actual process as enjoyable as possible at these times?

Kristina Knight:  I use the carrot method: whenever something is stressing me out or just making me dread my time at the keyboard, I use the reward of an afternoon spent reading or a mani/pedi or playing video games as an incentive to meet my daily goal or deadline. And then, when the project is over, I
splurge with my time: a girl's night with my friends or a date night with RadioMan. I'm a big believer in rewards!

Tara Taylor QuinnI find my joy in writing by thinking about my life, about me and what I want to do and be.  Every single time I’ve done this over the years I am filled with a sense that I have to write.  I am a writer.  It’s all I have ever wanted to be.  The feeling inside drives me to the book.  It keeps me sitting in front of the screen even when words aren’t immediately there.  Sometimes I’ve had to sit for hours a day a week at a time, but the words always come eventually.  I just have to present myself to the possibility and the joy finds me.

Sharon HartleyI keep track of the words I write every day, especially when on deadline.  After at least 500 words – no matter how dreadful they might be -- I know I’ve achieved my minimum goal.  Often this relaxes me and allows scenes to flow smoothly.   If for some reason those first words just aren’t coming, I head to my yoga mat.  I close my eyes, breathe deeply, move into a few down dogs and twists, and before long I’m eager to get back to my story.

 Nan Dixon: In my prior life, I was a financial executive.  I love spreadsheets!  They keep me on task, tell me when I'm getting off track, or when I'm spending my time on the wrong things.  I log in and out of my writing spreadsheet all day long.  There I keep track of my time writing.  I track drafting, revisions, promotions and Board work for my writing chapter.  I also create cool graphs when I need to see that I really am making progress.  Here was a graph for Southern Comforts Line Edits.

 Anna Sugden: Like Kristina, I’m a big believer in carrots … and not just to improve your eyesight or make your hair curl! I work in small bursts and give myself a small reward at the end of the successful burst. Whether it’s chocolate, playing a computer game, going on the internet or just going for a walk. I also like to end the writing session on a roundish number eg 500 words, 1000 words, 2000 words etc and will make myself push through to get the extra words needed so I can have a nice round number <g>.

I also track my work on a calendar, so I can see how many words I’ve done each day. Not just great to see how close you are to the end, but also to see how much you’ve achieved.

Geri Krotow: I bribe myself with a pedi, or massage (although for anyone who has to sit as much as we do for a living, that's more of a necessity), or new top or even new shoes. Sometimes a new workout shirt, or nice socks. A nice box of tea. As you can tell, I'll do anything to get myself to the keyboard! Just like exercise, the "getting there" is far worse than the "simply do it" part. Often I'll finish up the writing day and realize I don't really need that enticement, after all. 

Cathryn ParryI keep up my inspiration with prayer, meditation, gratitude lists, journaling and walks in nature. During "crunch times" I make an extra effort to take care of myself with small gifts like a bubble bath or play with the cat. It seems as if I'm always in "crunch times" these days!  :-)

Joanne Rock:  I try to take time off to connect with readers and other writers between books to keep me motivated. There is no greater reward for a writer than hearing from a reader who is really enjoying their work. So I seek out readers by going to book festivals or blogging. Sometimes we lose sight of what we create in the hard slog of creating it, but taking the time to enjoy the result--and remember why we write-- is important. Once deadlines start closing in, I motivate myself with rewards like lunch out with a friend after I write the next three chapters.... something tangible when a goal is met. With my current book, the reward is a big Christmas shopping outing with my family. I can't wait!

Kris Fletcher: This is so embarrassing to admit, but I recently learned of a fireplace app for my Kindle. Yes, it looks like a fire and comes complete with crackling and popping sounds. I prop it beside the computer, start 'er up, and feel ridiculously warmed and cheered every time I peek over at it.

Pamela Hearon:  As a former teacher, I'm a big proponent of rewards, even when it comes to myself.  I always set a writing goal for the day.  Sometimes it's just the number of words written and sometimes it's that plus x-number of pages edited or whatever else has to be done.  When I hit my goal for the day, I reward myself with a a food treat, a dip in the hot tub, I go for a pedicure, or sometimes my reward is simply reading time on someone else's book.  I learned from being a teacher that pushing too long on any one thing generally results in an inferior product.  I have to temper work with fun and relaxation to keep myself at optimum performance.

Claire McEwen:  I use music to keep me motivated when the writing gets difficult.  I create an  iTunes playlist for each book and fill it with music I think the characters would listen to, or just songs that remind me of the story.   When I get tired I blast it!  I also try to write in different places.  I have my favorite coffee shop where I go when I feel like the walls of my house are closing in.  And I have a stand-up desk at home, so I can alternate between writing standing up or sitting down.  And then there's always chocolate and coffee... they've helped me make it to many of my deadlines!

Mary Sullivan: To rejuvenate my mind and look for inspiration away from the computer, I take long walks. If I can afford the time to walk in one of the nature trails that run throughout the valleys and ravines of my city, then I'm really happy. If time is at a premium and I can't walk, though, I make popcorn! When deadlines loom, the stress makes me want to eat! Sooooo bad for the waistline.

Vicki EssexI believe my answer to this is the same answer I give to many things: whiskey.

And now, readers, tell us - how do YOU keep yourself going when the tasks become a challenge? 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scorched Earth Cleaning and Life Lessons

As readers of this blog or my followers on Twitter (@iferlohmann) know, I'll be divorced come December. The end of a marriage is heartbreaking, it's true, but I'm at the end of the state-mandated one-year separation period and am at a point in the process where I am building my own life. This means learning to enjoy my life as me and not as part of a couple. And the freedom is pretty great, especially when it comes to my house. The walls are painted the colors I want them to be, the art is art I want, and the house is as clean as I want it to be.*

Throughout this process, I've been mindful to evaluate how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking about my new life and my new future. One of the lessons I should know from writing novels is that as soon as you think you've got your shit together, you realize you've been pulling the wool over your own self and that realization comes in ways you couldn't predict.

In my case, it came as I was hunting for Halloween costumes.

My ex-husband is a pack rat. And my first sign that I was healing emotionally was that I started cleaning, really cleaning. I took boxes home from work and went through closests, the attic, dressers, etc, packing up whatever I hadn't used in years and taking it to the Goodwill. There's still stuff to be gotten rid of, but I realized I had to take a break. I thought I'd been thoughtful about each item that had gone into a box, but the week before Halloween, I learned I hadn't been as mindful as I thought.

I'd gotten rid of most of my Halloween costumes.

I work in a public library and most of us dress up for Halloween for an entire week before the actual holiday. I don't need one Halloween costume; I need seven. And I'd built up many costumes over the years. I was using those random pieces of clothing. But in what had been a scorched-earth cleaning frenzy, I threw away small but important pieces of my life. When I packed up a vest, I saw only a vest I don't wear, I didn't see a key piece in my cowgirl Halloween costume. And I did this for a number of items--never for the whole costume, but always for the piece that makes or breaks the costume.

Now, not only am I building my new life, but I'm also building my new costume collection.

I probably needed the reminder that I'm not as mindful as I'd like to think I am. Or perhaps the lesson here isn't to be more mindful, but to be less confident in how much thinking and evaluating every last details prevents me from doing something stupid. Overthinking doesn't stop me from occasionally being an idiot, it just means my idiocy comes as more of a surprise.

What about you? Have you gotten life lessons in unexpected places?

*Don't get me wrong, I think marriage to someone you love and respect, someone who really sees and understands you, is worth compromising paint colors and a vacuumed floor for. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be writing romance novels.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Robots & Writing Characters: Humanity Comes with Flaws

This weekend I went to see the film Christopher Nolan film Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey. The story takes place in the near future where a dying Earth plagued with crop-killing disease is slowly starving the human population to extinction, forcing McConaughey’s character to embark on a mission to find a new habitable planet in another solar system.

I won’t say much more about the film, but what I actually want to talk about is robots. Interstellar features several uniquely designed robots with artificial intelligence. These rectangular, monolithic entities stride around on transformable articulated legs, like giant dominoes, and can morph into other hinged, geometric shapes to complete certain tasks or make their way over rough terrain. Best of all, each one has its own name and customizable personality. Tars, the main robot companion on the interstellar mission, has a quirky gallows humor, and was, weirdly enough, one of the most human characters in the film.

In fiction, robots and androids have long been analogs to human life and creation. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster to the droids of Star Wars to the too-human replicants of Blade Runner, we seek betterment, perfection or some leap of evolution in our creations.

While I appreciate the more human-type robots like Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Data, or Alien’s creepily conniving Ash, I’m partial to the classic chrome-and-lights-type robots like the above mentioned Tars, WALL-E and R2-D2. For me, putting the best aspects of humanity into less human shells somehow gives these characters more depth; they know what they are capable of, know their limits, and they work within them to achieve heroic deeds.

Creating fictional characters is a bit like making a robot that way; to make them believable, they have to have flaws, limitations and rules that govern their behavior. They must also strive to better themselves, to reach a goal, to carry out their purpose. A robot or a character with no purpose, no specific job or function, is a sad one indeed. Just ask SpaceStation commander Chris Hadfield, who reassured a five-year-old that theVoyager space probe wouldn’t be sad or lonely exploring the farthest reaches ofspace.

Who are your favorite robot characters? Who are your least favorite? Comment below!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Winner from Cathryn Parry's Monday Blog Post

December, 2014
Congratulations, Joye!

Please send your address using the comment form on my website, and I'll send you an advance copy of Scotland for Christmas.

Thank you, everyone, for reading our blog!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Teen Drama

My most recent—okay, my very first—Harlequin Superromance is a romance for my main characters Nina Spencer and her long-ago sweetheart, Mack Finley. That’s the main drama that I brainstormed, the characters who clamored for me to tell their story. I’m happy with them. I loved their romance.

But the interesting thing about Superromance is that there is so much more going on than just a primary love story. I am currently writing my third title for this long, complex series, and I’m still marveling at all the story threads I can weave into the books. It’s fun and rewarding.
And in my books for Super, it’s also a lot of teen drama.

You see, the secondary characters who walked on the scene for PROMISES UNDER THE PEACH TREE weren’t just the heroine’s best friend or the hero’s buddies from his hometown. The characters that demanded the most attention were the teens in the tiny town of Heartache, Tennessee. My secondary heroine, Ally, stole my heart with her storyline. On the surface, her family sees a quiet, sweet girl getting straight As and doing everything right. Sure, she might be upset because her parents’ marriage is going downhill fast, but Ally is still a very good girl.

But, as we get inside Ally’s head, we learn how much is NOT right in her world and how much it’s costing her to hold herself together through the inevitable drama of teen years.

I’m fascinated by this the longer that I write and the more I look back at my youth. I wrote some Young Adult books recently with my sister in law (Karen Rock under our pen name J.K. Rock (check out Camp Forget Me Not, currently an Amazon bestseller in YA Contemporary romance!). To study up on the genre, I read lots of books that have been released in the last five years. And oh, did I love that!

YA is very appealing for the teen drama and I’ve decided it’s because we were all teens once. Who can’t relate to the sense of being shunned and feeling awkward in high school? It’s a universal story. Show me the person who was well-adjusted in high school and I’ll show you someone who put on a good act! Truly, we all had those years when it felt like the world was against us. It makes it fun to read YA and realize—wow, it wasn’t just me. Everyone else was holding on by their fingernails during that time, too.

That doesn’t make the teen experiences any less real. I wouldn’t go back in time to those high school days for anything, not even to see my pre-baby body or touch that silky, never-been-colored hair again! High school is a hard time and no matter how well adjusted the teens in your life might seem, they’re having whole years of hardship, whole battles you don’t know anything about. As a parent, that’s really daunting to think about. But as a former teen—you know what I mean.

What was your favorite part of high school? The friends? The dances? The first kiss? Share with me on the forum and I’ll give one random poster a copy of my sister in law’s most recent Harlequin Heartwarming, SOMEONE LIKE YOU!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Introducing Christmas At The Cove...

My latest Superromance release, Christmas At The Cove, was my first attempt at a Christmas story and to say I was nervous about writing it, is an understatement! As much as I love Christmas, I do panic over gift buying, decorations, time to wrap and prepare what I hope will be a home people enjoy visiting over the holidays.

Of course, the panic often leads to a waste of time because everything works out well enough come Dec 25th :)

So what did I want to achieve with my first Christmas novel? Well, the most important aspects for me was children, family, community…the secondary aspects was a reunion and all the festive stuff like snow, the tree, gifts, good food and drink. Luckily, I have an ongoing series set in the fictional UK seaside town of Templeton Cove with Superromance and a Christmas book was just perfect timing for Templeton Cove.

It wasn't long before my hero and heroine pushed themselves forward and along with them came a Secret Baby which is another trope I haven't included in the series before. I had a ball! It's amazing how festive a writer can feel during the Spring/Summer, LOL! I hope I've managed to translate the feel of a traditional UK Christmas along with enough emotion to keep the reader laughing and cry in equal measure.

Scott Walker is a long time resident of the Cove who had a brief affair with visitor, Carrie Jameson - and now Carrie is back with a surprise for Scott…but you'll have to read the book to see how the surprise is received…Happy Reading!

More family for Christmas? 

Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news. 

Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

Rachel x
Christmas At The Cove - Nov 2014
What Belongs To Her - Mar 2014
A Man Like Him - Aug 2013
Finding Justice - Feb 2013

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

With Gratitude...

Today is Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada, the U.K. and Australia.  So today I'd like to set aside all talk of books and writing and just say an enormous and heartfelt thank you to all of our veterans.

My stepsister served in the military.  When my stepmother asked her why she'd decided to make her career there she answered, "because I'm a warrior."  It was what she felt called to do.  It was what she needed to do.

I am NOT a warrior.  Far from it!  The sacrifices our veterans have made are mind boggling for me.  From the obvious and terrifying thought of fighting in wars, to the everyday sacrifice of missing out on important milestones in their families' lives, my brain can barely fathom the size of the commitment our veterans made for our countries.  And I'm a writer -  I have a pretty good imagination!

So Happy Veterans Day.  Happy Remembrance Day.  And most of all, THANK YOU!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dedication to my Grandmother (and a giveaway)

by Cathryn Parry

Scotland for Christmas

At Superromance, after we are after finished with our line edits, our editors ask us to send them a Dear Reader letter, a short bio and the book’s dedication.
When I’m thinking about the book’s dedication, I consider all the people who’ve helped in my life, specifically in the making of the story. I am very grateful for the inspiration and the love they’ve given me.

Last Thanksgiving evening while I was writing a synopsis, the beginning of a story-proposal process for the book that would be titled Scotland for Christmas, I was in a hotel room feeling very discouraged with myself. My left arm was broken and in a huge cast that was making it impossible for me to type on my computer. I had to write longhand and then type the words into the electronic document by pecking with one finger. I was also feeling discouraged that the story might not be good enough and might not be accepted. I was letting fearful thoughts spiral me into a sad, dark place. Winter was coming, and I was just struggling to keep pressing on day by day.

And then, my mom came into the hotel room and sat down on the bed beside me. She had sad news, she said. She’d been on the phone with my aunt, and she was sorry to tell me that my nana had passed away moments before.
After my mom left, I kept my computer on my lap, closed my eyes, and thought of my nana. I couldn’t feel sad, because when I thought of her, I just didn’t feel that she’d left me. When I thought of her, her spirit was with me, and her spirit was laughing, as she always did.

Nana, Cousin Toni and Cathryn (right)
My nana was a huge part of my life, especially during my childhood and adolescence. My writer friends have heard many of my “nana stories,” and they would tell you, with humor, that my nana was strong, funny, independent, fierce, and special. She was just thirty-four years old when her beloved husband died unexpectedly in a heart attack on a moving job, leaving her with three children aged twelve, nine and six. This happened in an era where there wasn’t the economic safety net that we have in the United States today, and so Nana worked hard to keep her family together using her own resources. She had no special education or skills, just her strength of character, her faith and her love of family.
That night in the hotel room, I just closed my eyes and quietly let my nana talk to me. She made me laugh, she made me cry, she lightened my load. A short while later, my six-year-old niece came in and snuggled in bed with me, as did my husband. My brothers and their families popped in and out of the room. That synopsis didn’t get finished until weeks later, but it worked out anyway, and I did get the contract in the end, and my editor helped shape the story into a beautiful book. I’m a very blessed woman.

There was no question about who I was to dedicate this book to. About the time I passed along the Dear Reader, bio and dedication notes for Scotland for Christmas—the story I privately thought of as “Nana’s book,”—I thanked her by doing something that my mom’s eulogy for her had inspired in me. I planted in her honor a tomato plant on my condo porch.  Now, I usually have a brown thumb when it comes to growing vegetables—my husband laughed when he saw the little seedling and didn’t think it would do much—but that sprout grew like Jack and the Beanstalk and provided an abundant source of cherry tomatoes well into our New England autumn. It completely astounded me, but maybe it shouldn’t have. My nana was a force of nature all her own.

So now I’ll close my blog post and invite comments. Is there someone special in your life who inspires you when you have your down times?
I’d like to give away an advance copy of Scotland for Christmas.  From the comments to this post by the close of Saturday at noon EST, I’ll choose a winner by draw of the hat.

Thank you for reading!
Cathryn Parry writes Harlequin Superromances from her home in New England. She has a booksigning scheduled for December 13th, 2014 at the Barnes and Noble in Leominster, Massachusetts from 12-4 PM. Please stop by and say 'hello' if you're in the neighborhood.

For more information, please see her website at

Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Talk!

by Kris Fletcher

Back in, oh, August or so, a fellow writer posted a message on her Facebook page. The PBS station for orthern New York was putting together a limited series profiling local authors. Would any of us be interested in participating?

I loved the idea, raised my digital hand, and was lucky enough to be included. In September I made the hour or so drive north to Watertown to visit the home of WPBS-TV and tape the interview. In October, the authors, host, and station personnel gathered at the local library for a kick off. And on Halloween, BOOK TALK was on the air!

My episode featured three authors of fiction - Ellen Marie Wiseman, who got this ball rolling in the first place; my dear friend and critique partner Gayle Callen/Emma Cane; and moi. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, even those of us outside the WPBS viewing area can still see the show. So if you have ever wished you could sit for for half an hour and chat with three authors, here's your chance!

I can't get Blogger to recognize the link because it's not on YouTube. But if you'd like to have a look, hop over here. (My part starts around the 9:40 mark.) And check out this screenshot: my books, (sort of) on TV!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

HEAs for Everyone!

Custom Bookmark/Ornaments for my two November Releases
My favorite part about reading and writing romance is the Happily Ever After, HEA. I need the emotionally satisfying ending--otherwise, what's the point? This has spilled over into real life as I try to support active duty military and their families as much as I can. Each one of us can do our part--if you're interested in doing yours, just pop on over to my blog this month (it costs nothing more than subscribing to my newsletter). Together with Harlequin I've sent over 200 books to the military and their families who will be away from home this holiday season. It's thrilling (and a bit daunting) to put up a different author each day, and you should see the shipping center I've set up in my college kid's room (how many weeks before American Thanksgiving do I have to clean it out?).
The best HEA ever for me to write is in my current release, Navy Christmas. My editor suggested I offer to raffle off a character name when I was approached by the National League of POW-MIA Families for a donation to their fundraiser. They expected a book and got an eager author!
Here's where the magic happened, however. The winner of said raffle used the name of her grandfather--who was a World War II veteran, like a character in my book. Navy Christmas has a WWII subplot which my publisher asked me to include as my first book with Harlequin Everlasting,  A Rendezvous to Remember, had parallel contemporary and historical plots as well. Readers seem to like the integral plots, and I love writing about World War II. Not only was the winner's grandfather a WWII vet, he'd served in the war in the Pacific, where I have my character serving. It worked out to be an HEA for all of us, including the character and his real-life inspiration. If you're interested, please read about it here.
Do you have a special HEA in your life you're willing to share? Please do! And thanks for letting me have my HEA by being such a wonderful, loyal reader. All commenters are entered to win a custom bookmark/ornament as pictured. Canada and the US only, please. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Comment To Win (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Happy Voting Day, Everyone!  I'm a firm believer in taking the opportunity we've been given to be heard.  I understand that my vote is only one in millions and that if I don't vote, my lack will hardly be noticed as one in millions.  I also understand that if a million others don't vote, that does create a ripple.  But neither of those are the reasons I vote.  I vote because I believe that every time we take an action, every time we put our word out into the universe, we make a difference.  Somehow.  Somewhere.  We are heard by someone.  We put our vibrations out there.  We say I am here.  And that matters. 

In other conversation...they say you can't judge a book by it's cover.  As the author of this book, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement!

This book is about a ten year old boy with emotional issues.  People think he's devastated over the loss of his mother in a car accident.  He did grieve, as kids do, but there's so much more going on with this guy.  As his birth mother, a stripper who gave him up when she was sixteen, finds out.  Talia Malone is a college graduate now.  Back in her home town of Santa Raquel, California, working in the schools.  No one knows the troubled boy is hers.  Most particularly not his father as he relies on her to help him with his son.

Child By Chance is Book Four in the Where Secrets Are Safe Series.  Books one, two and three were all out earlier this year.  If you haven't visited The Lemonade Stand, a unique women's shelter where secrets are safe, you might want to stop in.  I know I love it here. 

Most of the Where Secrets Are Safe books are complete stand alones.  The only thing joining them together is The Lemonade Stand.  But Child By Chance has a closer relation.  It's the direct sequel to June's title, Once A Family.  You might remember that book as the one where the fifteen year old girl, Tatum Malone, shows up at the shelter claiming that her older brother beat her.  Tatum is sixteen now.  She's sticking close to home and family and hero-worships Talia.

So, what do you think about judging a book by it's cover?  Or it's title?  Would you be angry to see the above cover and end up with a deeply emotional, messy story?  Leave your opinion and I'll leave an e-copy of Once A Family to one commenter!  But first, please vote! 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

New Releases: Harlequin Superromance November 2014

All That Glitters
Mary Brady

The rarest treasure of all 
Discredited journalist Adriana Bonacorda has a lead on the hottest story of the year—billionaire business titan Zachary Hale is accused of cheating investors! She's so determined to talk to him that she follows him to the charming town of Bailey's Cove, Maine.
When a hurricane traps Addy and Zach together, it's her one chance to revive her career. But she's shocked by the passion that springs up between them. Is Zach really a criminal? Or is there a reason for his silence? In a place founded by pirates, where a legendary treasure is supposedly hidden, Addy just might find something truly precious….

Christmas At The Cove
Rachel Brimble

More family for Christmas? 

Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news.
Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

Navy Christmas
Geri Krotow

Home is where the love is. Especially at Christmas! 

Commander Jonas Scott got through a tough deployment by thinking about his family home on Whidbey Island. The same home his deceased stepmother, Dottie, had promised him. His Navy homecoming turns sour when he discovers that Dottie left his house to a stranger named Serena Delgado….
Serena, an Army widow with a young son, is fixing up her house. But as Christmas approaches and she gets to know Jonas, Dottie's plan becomes clear. It wasn't about fixing up the house, it was about fixing up Serena and Jonas!
One Frosty Night
Janice Kay Johnson

Unexpected Christmas plans 
Olivia Bowen would rather avoid this holiday season. Even her satisfaction at improving the family business doesn't make up for the loss of her beloved father and the sudden tension with her mother. Olivia questions how much longer she can live in her hometown. And her decision is further complicated by Ben Hovik.
She should keep her distance—he broke her heart years ago. Yet his compassion and their still-sizzling attraction are seductive. Could she be falling for him again? When she spends Christmas with Ben and his teenage son, she wonders if this might be the first of many more….

The South Beach Search
Sharon Hartley

Not the treasure they expected to find 
Trading the past for a simpler life in Miami is part of yoga teacher Taki's path to better karma. But when a devastating theft brings federal prosecutor Reese Beauchamps into her life, things are suddenly a lot more complicated!
She's drawn to gorgeous Reese in ways she can't explain. His analytical mind prevents him from understanding why spiritual intuition guides her…and he reminds her of what she'd rather forget. But chasing a criminal, they can't dodge the sizzle of attraction. Now, unless Taki trusts Reese's determination to protect her, she might run again…and leave love behind.
Until She Met Daniel
Callie Endicott

Opposites are irresistible! 
If something feels right to Mandy Colson, she goes for it. That's why she never stays long in one place and why she's landed temporarily in sleepy Willow's Eve. That's also why she's got a huge problem with new city manager Daniel Whittier. Sizzling attraction aside, the gorgeous single dad is all about control and playing it safe—and Mandy isn't.
So why does everything change when their arguments turn into combustible kisses? Now, instead of moving on, Mandy's edging closer to Daniel…and falling deeper for a man who might not compromise, even for love.
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