Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Little Bits of Fall


It's odd to be a resident of coastal California in the fall.  Most of the native trees don't lose their leaves, so we don't get much fall color.  Plus, right around the first day of school, the fog disappears and leaves us with brilliant sunny days.  Beach weather.  It's torture when you're growing up, to start school right when the summer weather finally arrives!  

Enjoying fall, and celebrating it, becomes a more purposeful activity when there is less evidence of it around you.  This year I decided to look for fall.  It took some searching, but this is what I found.

The light changes.  Everything seems a little more crisp and clear and the sun leaves extra sparkles on the ocean.  




We get to see colorful sunsets over the ocean. (In summer the sun sets over the neighborhood.)




We visit the local pumpkin patch…




and get lost in their corn maze.


There are many varieties of delicious apples to snack on.




Strange, sparkly spiders take up residence over our front door.




I cut back my garden, and plan for next year.




As the days get shorter, I want to curl up in my cozy house and read!




If you celebrate Halloween, I hope you have a wonderful time. And if you live in a place with glorious fall color and crispy cold weather, please blow it all a wistful kiss from me.  I’ll be here on the California coast, continuing to look for little bits of fall.

I would love to know what fall is like where you live?  What are your favorite parts of the season?

Monday, October 27, 2014

At the Flick of a Switch

Jeannie Watt

I'm in the slow process of moving to Montana. The plan is that by
the time I'm done teaching, the heavy lifting will be done. I can pack my overnight bag, get into the car and go. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but we'll start moving things this spring and continue during my last year of teaching--next year! The most noteworthy change, to me, will be having real electricity. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around having power 24/7. I know I've blogged about generator life before, but I've got to do it again, because the thought of power at the flick of a switch is kind of heady stuff.

The biggest challenge of living on a generator is that the blasted things break down, just like cars
break down. And they run out of fuel. That doesn't happen often, since we have a big fuel tank, but it has happened. I've also had to jump start the generator on cold mornings when the battery was on its last legs. I learned to change out points and plugs and condenser on our first (propane) generator because my husband was going to college and thus became the master of the power source. It was an awesome responsibility. Lights start flickering--call mom! I cleverly refused to learn anything about the second diesel generator, thus making my husband the go-to guy there. I do know a bad noise when I hear it, and I know the sound of a bearing going out and the signs of a faulty regulator. You know what? I know more about generators than I want to. The only real blessing is that when I work on something electrical in the house, I know for certain the wires aren't live if the generator is off. Also, when other people in my valley lose power, I still have it...although that also works the other way around.

What I miss most about real electricity is being able to do things whenever I feel like it. If I want to sew, I have to wait for generator time (we only run it in the morning and in the evenings, due to the cost). If I want to wash clothes--generator time. The same with vacuuming, ironing, etc. I'm wondering what it'll be like to use the oven all day long, or to program a DVR to record a show. What will it be like to head to the bathroom at night without using my phone as a flashlight?

But there have been very good things about my twenty years (yep--twenty) of generator life. I appreciate true silence. I can arrange daily tasks according to power/no power. My kids grew up reading and playing in the creek. The entire family can walk around in the dark without hurting ourselves. And the view. I love the view.
My house is the microscopic white dot in the center of the photo.
But I gotta tell you, I'm really, really looking forward to putting some meat and potatoes in a slow cooker, turning it on and six hours later having a meal waiting for me.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Winner of the Crochet Coffee Cup Holder

As a true procrastinator would, I put off announcing the winner of my crocheted cup holder and my special cookie recipe.


Winner: Patricia Johns!

Congrats! Contact me at vicki@vickiessex.com to claim your prize!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Homicide detective murders romance novel plot

Hello everyone! I don't know if you remember, but in September I posted about the Citizen's Police Academy (CPA) class I was taking. You can check the post out here, but to summarize: the Durham Police Department offers an introduction on all its many pieces and parts that runs for six weeks. You learn about everything from the bicycle unit to forensics and it's awesome. If your police department offers one, you should take it.

The last day of the class was October 2nd. I missed it (because I had to work), but I got my certificate and a nice photo at the second-to-last class.


Now I'm applying all the research to my writing. The results have been messy.

When people ask me about my process and my research, I tell them that I research as I write and that's true. Usually that serves me fine. Usually I have enough understanding to sketch the basics of a plot and scene to fill in later with details as I do more and more research.

Yeah. That's not working with this book.

I knew television cop dramas weren't accurate. I knew I only had the foggiest idea what an actual police department did and how a homicide was investigated. I knew all this and I had a detailed sketch of my novel anyway. Because how off could I be? This method had worked for me for five other books.

Then I talked with a homicide detective about the specifics of the book I was working on and he murdered the plot. Shot the poor thing dead. 

So now, instead of writing, I've been revising the plot to fit the actuality of police detective work. And it's a messy process.


The left notebook is my notes from both the detective and the CPA class. There's a laptop in the upper right with what I had of the book open so I can go through it scene by scene.The bottom notebook has a new detailed outline of each scene (with some scenes deleted and others added) to make what I'm writing fit the real world. And there are post-its to remind me not to forget to account for something later in the book.

I have an office and a desk, but for some reason all this is taking place at my dining room table.

Here's a little excerpt from the book. I tried to find an excerpt that wasn't going be modified with my research and wasn't successful. The feeling of the book will stay the same and this should give you a good sense of the feeling the book starts out with.
Every Wednesday at eleven o'clock in the morning, two things happened in Detective Howie Berry's cubicle. First, the weather radio beeped and a scratchy female voice sounded out a test. The all-clear was always immediately followed by phone call. The bustle of the room would halt—as if by the magic they claimed not to believe in—and then Howie would strain to hear the words of another scratchy, hard-to-understand female voice through the phone.

I'm curious about what you guys and gals think of police departments in books and on television. Do you read a lot of romance novels with cops in them? Does the representation of the police in romance novels fit with your expectation and does your expectation come from personal experience or (like me) from cop shows on television?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Procrastination

I really gotta paint these spots...
next weekend...
I love getting things done on weekends. Not just the usual laundry and grocery shopping, but all those projects I have on the go, whether it’s writing (my bread and butter) or something more creative, like a crochet project. Having something tangible to show for your time and effort is always a good feeling.

This weekend, my husband replaced the screen in our kitchen window, which had been ripped since we moved in to the house. For years, I’d wanted to try to do it myself, but I’ve never been strong enough to get the windows out of the frame, so I put it off. And I didn’t ask my husband to do it, either—he just took the initiative.

It’s always the chores that I really ought to do that I put off the most—little household repairs that keep piling up on my to-do list. While I’m fairly handy, I simply lack the resolve, and find other ways to occupy my time.

A brief list of things I’ve put off:

  1. Repainting a few newly plastered spots on the wall throughout the house 
  2. Giving the hallway a much-needed second coat of paint
  3. Removing all the old rags my house’s previous owner stuffed between the joists in my basement as insulation (pretty sure this is dangerous and not to code)
  4. Reorganizing my books and DVDs
  5. Fixing various other holes in the walls
  6. Writing
  7. Blogging

Instead of these really important (in my mind) chores, I end up:

  1. Crocheting
  2. Watching TV
  3. Painting
  4. Cleaning
  5. Cooking
  6. Writing
  7. Tweeting and Facebooking

Comment to win this
crocheted cup sleeve!
Yes, I know number 6 is the same on both lists. But it’s what I end up writing that matters—like a piece of Doctor Who fan fiction instead of a book that’s ondeadline. That’s the funny thing about any project: you can always find one more thing to distract you from completing one task. For example, I’ve been crocheting a granny square blanket since last August and I still haven’t finished it because now I’m bent on making crocheted cup holders.

My only strategy for getting things done seems to be drinking at least two cups of coffee early in the day. Then I’ll spend the rest of the day zooming around the house, looking for things to do to work off the caffeine. It’s probably not the healthiest thing to do, and it never results in good writing—or any writing, since I get too fidgeting to sit still. But at least I might have something to show for it at the end.


Do you have any strategies to get certain chores done? Reply below and I’ll pick one commenter to receive a reusable crocheted coffee cup sleeve and my special recipe for chocolate chip cookies!

EDIT: Winner will be chosen Friday, October 24, 2014, 11:59 p.m. EST.

Monday, October 20, 2014

HIS KIND OF PERFECTION



Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this is still a reality. It seems like just yesterday I received the call from my agent that Harlequin Super Romance wanted to buy my book when in real time it occurred three years ago.

That book (Out of the Depths--August 2012) was followed by two more, The Summer Place (April 2013) and Moonlight in Paris (February 2014). At that point, I signed a four-book contract, and the dream I was living became an actual second career. So it's with much pride that I present my 4th Harlequin Super Romance--His Kind of Perfection.

I love writing for the Super Romance line because it gives me a chance to make up stories about characters who could be my neighbors. Yeah, I know how wildly popular the billionaires and the sheikhs are in the romance genre. And when I'm looking for pure fantasy, I have no problem settling in with one of those guys. But the stories that truly steal my heart are the ones that convince me that hunky hero is just an ordinary guy who makes the world a better place, not with his money, but with his heart.

Enter my latest hero--boat mechanic Kale Barlow. Mmmm-mmm. I think Kale is one of the hottest heroes I've ever written, and I love him to pieces. He's just so ... so real. Despite how thin the model on my book cover looks, my hero Kale is overweight. In fact, at the beginning of the book, his girlfriend breaks up with him because he's gained so much weight, she isn't attracted to him anymore. In an effort to win her back, Kale joins a gym and enlists the help of a personal trainer, who just so happens to be the heroine, Bree Rice. In her work, Bree has been surrounded by buff guys with drool-worthy physiques, and yet it's Kale who wins her heart with his engaging personality.

I'll admit, I wasn't sure this concept would fly. I'd never read a book with an overweight hero, and my husband keeps telling me to remind people that "the fat hero" isn't based on him. :-) But the RT reviewer set my mind at ease when she wrote that Kale's weight didn't make him seem unattractive in the least.
Precisely the Kale I was going for.

To me, Kale's the boy-next-door. The one who really is out there, waiting to be noticed and appreciated and loved for the kind, gentle, and honorable way he faces life every day. He's not perfect ... but he's as close as most of us are ever going to get.

His kind of perfection is perfect for me.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winner from Cathryn Parry's Monday Blog Post

Scotland for Christmas
The winner from my Monday blog post is Tammy Yenalavitch. Congratulations, Tammy!

Please send your address via my website contact form, here, and I'll mail the book to you.

Take care, everyone!


Cathryn Parry
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Disney World and Harlequin SuperRomance and Kristina Knight!

Hi, everyone! I'm back with my very first SuperRomance cover (gah, I love it!). The book will release all over the place in January (gah, how is January only 2.5 months away?!?) so I'm sharing it with you all.

I was at Disney World when I got the news that I sold to Supers. I'd had this idea that I'd been playing around with for a while, about a woman who didn't want a man in her life but who did want a family. And a man who had wanted a family very badly and then lost everything. The characters kind of took over and the book wrote itself, a little bit.

My agent and I talked about where to send it and SuperRomance was the first place we thought of. Fast-forward a few weeks, and my family and I went off to Disney World for vacation. The day we were at The Magic Kingdom, my agent called, but my battery was practically dead so I couldn't answer. A couple of hours later we were back at the hotel, the phone was charged enough to make a call ... and she told me that SuperRomance wanted not only that book, but two more. I was flabbergasted. Seriously. Flabbergasted. I knew I wanted Harlequin to buy the book, but I tried not to get my hopes too set on the idea...just in case! So as my agent is talking to me about options and the deal on the table, and my daughter is bouncing on the hotel bed, and my husband is watching the Atlanta Braves on TV, I'm sliding down the wall and hyperventilating a little bit.

Thankfully my agent 'gets' me and she didn't freak when I couldn't really say anything in response to her questions...and how here we are seven months later and the book has been revised and edited and it's going through whatever it needs to to be a physical book ... and I have this gorgeous cover that is so much of what I wanted for this first SuperRomance.

Here's the blurb:

The Daddy Surprise

Since the loss of his wife, Alex Ryan has been living a half-life. But with one phone call, Alex discovers he's the biological father of a four-year-old girl, and everything changes.

Single mom Paige Kenner preferred to have a family without the man. Now suddenly there's Alex, who desperately wants to be a father to her little girl. A gorgeous, kind and committed father. Letting a stranger into their lives is far too dangerous, especially if his presence stirs a part of Paige that she longs to forget. . .

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Question Of The Month: The Reader Edition

This installment of the Question of the Month is for you, dear readers. Here's what we want to know:
What would you like to see here on the SuperRomance Authors blog? 

Right now, as you know, we offer a wide variety - some insights into our writing processes, some personal stuff, some snippets from our stories and contests and reports from conferences. I think it's safe to say you can always expect something different here :-) But is there anything you would like to see more of? Anything you're not currently seeing that you wish we would include? We want this blog to work for you. so don't be shy. Let us know what you do and don't like. 

Thanks for your feedback and for sharing your day with us. Virtual flowers headed your way!




Monday, October 13, 2014

The Story of Otis (and a book giveaway)

by Cathryn Parry

Otis is our neighbor’s cat. He’s a gray-striped tabby of about fourteen, and when he first moved into our neighborhood, he adopted our back porch as both his personal hunting blind and favorite place to hang out and nap.
We were appalled at first—especially my husband, who’s been allergic to cats his entire life. I’ve always loved the idea of pets, in theory (both parents are allergic to animals), but didn’t have much practical experience to judge how I’d like it. Until Otis showed up in our lives.

How could I resist a cat who stood on his hind legs and knocked on our screen door, every single day, just to say hello?

A cat who “talks”—I swear to you he says “Out,” “Hi,” “No,” and “I want to go out.”  If he’s feeling particularly argumentative, we can converse back and forth for awhile until I finally give in and get him what he wanted just because I’m laughing so hard.
A cat who knows how to open sliding screen doors so he can let himself into and out of the house without bothering his humans.

A cat who, like a dog, will follow us down the street and accompany us on walks, although at a respectable distance. He’ll also sit and watch cars go by, and greet us personally every time we return home from wherever it is we’ve been.
A turning point came in our cat-human relationship when my neighbor’s daughter moved back home from college, bringing her new cat with her, an adorable tiger-striped male named Simba that she’d picked up at a rescue shelter in Boston. Otis, however,was outraged. To show his displeasure, he ran away from home, snuck into our house and hid under the bed—he would not budge. And in our bed is now where he sleeps, next to me on the pillow.


Otis wants to go to Scotland
Now, we have a co-cat-parenting arrangement with our neighbor, where we take turns watching the two cat brothers if one or the other of us is out of town. I even gave in and upgraded my cellphone to a smart phone solely for the purpose of texting her about Otis’s schedule.

We love Otis. Interestingly, my husband isn’t allergic to him at all, though he does get a skin reaction when he touches Simba. My theory is that Otis’s fur is different—longer—he seems to be part Maine coon cat.  (Does anyone know if this makes a difference?  Please let me know in the comments!)

Otis was the featured pet in my second Superromance (The Long Way Home), and in each book since then, I’ve written in a different pet who lives in my neighborhood in real life.  I don’t ever do this with people (do not worry, neighbors!).


Scotland for Christmas

Cathryn Parry’s next Superromance is a December release. Scotland for Christmas doesn’t include any pets, alas, because Secret Service agents and graduate business students have hectic schedules.  Cathryn's website is www.CathrynParry.com.

 
PS  I have a book to give away.  I'll choose a random name from those entered in this post's comments.  Take care! 

Congratulations, Joye. You've won a copy of NO ORDINARY HOME for leaving a comment on my post about celebrities!



Please email me at maryes@rogers.com with your mailing address.

To all of my Canadian readers and friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Writing the British Hero + An Excerpt from MARRIED ONE NIGHT....

by Amber Leigh Williams

Confession: I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I know more about the British monarchy than I should. I love English writers. Austen. Dickens. Shakespeare. Donne. Coleridge. Bronte. Chaucer. To name a few. I hoard Regency romance novels. As a teenager, I convinced many friends and relatives that Prince William would one day ask me to marry him. Nowadays, my British obsessions run more toward Tom Hiddleston, Daniel Craig, and Henry Cavill. So when I realized that the heroine of my latest Harlequin Superromance novel, Married One Night (on shelves this month!), would meet a charming and handsome Englishman by the name of Gerald Leighton, I rubbed my hands together in glee and dove into the research I would need to help craft his character.

 

A few fun facts about Gerald….


1)     He’s a bestselling author of time travel/fantasy novels.

 
2)   He’s the modern-day equivalent of a renegade earl.

 
      3)   He’s a trained sword-fighter and has the scars to prove it.



 
 
Needless to say, the research was a great source of pleasure. But one of the most intriguing parts of writing Gerald’s character was learning British slang. Even after months of studying it closely, I still can’t claim to be a British slang expert. I think only the British themselves can claim such a thing. However, during the course of Olivia and Gerald’s story, several of the turns of phrase he uses along the way surprised me and Olivia both as well as made us melt, laugh out loud, and even blush on occasion.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you my favorite beta hero, Gerald Leighton….
 

“Aren’t you tired?”

“I should be zonked, but it’s the adrenaline,” Gerald admitted. “Hasn’t quite worn off yet.” Reaching to grip the back of his neck with one of his wide-palmed hands, he glanced at the jukebox. “This is a good song.”

It was the Stones’ “Wild Horses.” “It’s my favorite,” Olivia murmured.

Gerald’s brows lifted in surprise. “Well, blow me.”

Her mouth dropped open and blood rushed to her face. “What?”

“I said, ‘Blow me.’” When she only continued to stare, aghast, he cleared his throat. “You know? Blow me down. Knock me down with a feather. It’s British. Slang, I mean.”

“Oh!” Olivia said, loosening a laugh that sounded nervous even to her ears. “I thought you meant—” She caught his eye, felt her cheeks darken to fuchsia, and shook her head. “Nothing. No. Never mind.”

By the look on his face, he had already caught on. He rocked back on his heels and pressed his lips together, glancing down at the floor. She thought his face might be a little red, too, but it could have been the dim lighting. She went back to sweeping and said, a little loudly, “Why does it ‘blow you down’—that this is my favorite song?”

His eyes found hers again. “In addition to Queen, I’m a Stones fan, too. ‘Wild Horses’ has always been one of my favorites.” After hesitating a brief space of a moment, he lifted his hand. “Shall we dance, then?”

Her broom stopped in midswipe as her face lifted to his. “Dance?”

“Dance with me, Liv,” he repeated. “We’ve danced before.”

Since when did he call her Liv? She really didn’t think she could handle that kind of intimacy. Not with him. “I’ve got to finish cleaning.”

Gerald tugged the broom away. “I think you’re done, love.” The words were whispered against the hair over her ear. The tingles she’d felt on her lips cascaded down her neck, back and torso until she couldn’t help but shiver pleasantly.

Before she could think up a practical protest, he threaded his fingers through hers and placed her opposing hand on his shoulder. With the subtle urging of a warm hand on the small of her back, he pulled her close against him.

 
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Married One Night! You can find Gerald and Olivia’s story on shelves now in stores or online.

 
Be sure to follow the virtual book tour for more about Olivia and Gerald and excerpts from the book at Pump Up Your Book or my blog where I’ll be posting weekly updates. Happy reading, everyone!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Signs of Characters

One of my biggest challenges when writing - besides coming up with a plot and figuring out names and getting over the procrastination and feeling like I need to hide when I write a love scene - is finding ways to reveal character. Not the big actions and choices they make, but the fun, quirky details that make you nod and say, oh yeah. I KNOW this person.

Luckily for me, the universe decided to give me a great example.



Two or three weeks ago, I spotted a sign on a neighbor's lawn. It proclaimed, in giant letters:   
My fantasy football team really sucked this week. 
I laughed and drove on. It wasn't until later that I thought, dang. I learned a lot about this neighbor without exchanging a word.
  • He's in a fantasy football league.
  • He might not be very good at it. (Final judgment reserved until I see how many times the sign appears on his lawn.)
  • He's not ashamed to poke fun at himself.
  • He accepts the consequences of his actions.
  • He probably has a great sense of humor.
I loved it. All that insight from one sign! I immediately began planning to have every character in every book I ever write take part in a fantasy football league. (You think I'm kidding, don't you?)

But the story doesn’t end there.

The sign popped up in a couple of other places around the neighborhood. Each time I saw it, I laughed. Then it moved to a different home – but with a difference. At this latest residence, the word SUCKED was covered with tape. The sign now read: 
My fantasy football team really was sad this week.
A tiny difference, right? Two little words. But I have a very different view of that neighbor than I do of the others.

I doubt I'll ever come up with something that inspired to give insight into my characters, but I must say, it was fascinating to see the difference that was created by two little words. My question for all of you: which of those neighbors would you would like to live beside?

EDITED TO ADD: Guess what? The sign moved and changed again! This morning it was on a different yard. Now it says,
My fantasy football team really needs a new coach.

I love watching how this develops!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Celebrity sightings

Mary Sullivan

Sometimes I feel bad for celebrities.

We've all heard how difficult it can be to live in the spotlight, to have your privacy invaded regularly. I would find it hard to be under a microscope every day, with everything I said and did made public. We've all seen the train wrecks of young movie stars going off the rails. The media delights in exposing their mistakes and public meltdowns.

I understand that movie stars put themselves into the position by seeking fame, or perhaps for some it just comes about as a side effect of being driven to choose acting as a career.

I've never been one to chase celebrities. I have a friend who isn't a celebrity chaser, either, but does love to attend TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival, every year in hopes of seeing a few of the actors she admires. In this situation, they are putting themselves out there willingly to promote their movies.

She lined up for the showing of The Imitation Game hoping to catch a glimpse of Benedict Cumberbatch. We both think he is an amazing actor. She got a spot in the front of the crowd, but pretty far down the line from the central action—where he would exit the limo and then head into the theatre. I can't wait to see the movie. It sounds excellent. In the interviews conducted during TIFF, the cast and directors were blatantly sincere in how important they thought it was for everyone to know Alan Turing's story.

Anyway, Benedict arrived and the crowd went wild. He was gracious and obliging, signing autographs and talking to people. Then he started to walk down the line toward my friend, and came closer, and closer. The young women around her were screaming his name. She stood smiling quietly and holding a magazine article about him in an envelope.

He smiled and waved to everyone as he walked the line. He passed by my friend and she was so happy that he had come so close to her. Then…he halted, backed up a few steps, stopped a few inches in front of her and said, "Hello." To her.

More on the ball and less tongue-tied than I would have been, she told him how much she truly admires his acting and asked whether he would give her an autograph. He thanked her for the compliment and took the envelope from her, signing slowly and carefully so his signature is legible. When she said, "I'm going to see the Imitation Game the second it comes out in the theatres," he looked her in the eye and said, "Please do," quite earnestly. He smiled, handed her the autograph and moved on.

She was ecstatic and phoned the second she got home to gush about him.

Up close, he is very beautiful, with gorgeous eyes and lovely skin. Or so I've been told. I'll never be in a situation that will bring me that close to Benedict Cumberbatch :-)

Have you had any celebrity experiences? Or is there one famous person with whom you would love to sit down and have a long chat?

The heroine of my October Super, NO ORDINARY HOME, knows plenty about the voraciousness of the paparazzi. Please leave a comment today for a chance to win a copy!




Friday, October 3, 2014

We Are Proud To Announce ...

We here at the Super authors blog would like to make our readers aware of a very special event that  happened this week.

Each month, the editors of Romantic Times Book Reviews choose one book that - as they say on their website -
is not only compelling, but pushes the boundaries of genre fiction. This book stands out from all the others reviewed that month, in the magazine issue and on the website

The best romance novel for the month of September, as chosen by the editors of RT, is none other than WINNING RUBY HEART by Jennifer Lohmann. And do you all want to know why this is doubly/triply/OMG amazing? 

Because, dear readers - this marks the FIRST time that the Seal of Excellence has ever been awarded to a category/series romance.

Stop and think about that for a minute. There are currently six Supers released each month. Harlequin offers books in about forty gajillion lines, including Supers, and there are usually at least four per line per month. How many books does that make in a year? Way more than my math-challenged brain can compute this far past my bedtime, that's how many. And yet this is the very first time one of those (OUR) books has been
chosen as the best of the month.

To say we're proud of Jennifer is putting it mildly.

So here's a giant WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO, JENNIFER  from the rest of the Super authors. Readers, please chime in and add your congratulations. It's celebration time!





Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wonders All Around Us or a Pile of Dirt?

I'm not sure if it's because I'm a reader or because I'm a writer, but I've always been tuned into nature and my surroundings. I can still remember the smell and feel of the dirt behind the home I grew up in Western New York. It was tangy, rich and earthy (of course) as compared to where I live now in Pennsylvania where the ground is solid clay and filled with rocks of all sizes. Yet a volunteer pansy made its way through the cracks in our patio!
Volunteer Pansy or Weed?

I notice the expression on the grocery cashier's face and wonder if she's a college student worried about mid-terms, or a grandmother wondering how much longer she'll have to work past what's considered "retirement age."
If my family isn't as enthralled as I am with my foray into Indian spices or Japanese cuisine, I chalk it up to my reader/writer malady: perception. I perceive things differently.

Do you, too?

I think that readers and writers all share the common need to experience life on a different plane. Sometimes it's to escape or entertain, but a lot of the time it's to appreciate this moment, today.

Romance is my go-to genre for being led through a story that I know will not only be emotionally satisfying at the end, it will be colorful on the way there.

I felt that way when I read Great Expectations, and I feel that way with the novels written today. In film, The Sound of Music remains my measuring stick for romance amidst the harsh realities of war. More recent examples of a wide-range of perception for me on film include American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks. Though neither is a romance, per se, they both have that sense of HEA for the protagonists.

What stories--written or on film, have filled your life with a rainbow of experiences?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Releases: Harlequin Superromance October 2014

Jake's Biggest Risk
Julianna Morris 

Could they be a picture-perfect family?
Daredevil photographer Jake Hollister has never stayed in one place. But after an injury, he has no choice. No more photographing polar bears in the Arctic or documenting the wonders of the world—he's in small-town Washington State for at least a year. A year with his wholesome, beautiful landlady, Hannah Nolan, and her young son. 

The longer Jake stays, the more he's drawn to Hannah. She's passionate about her community and her family, things Jake has never experienced. And suddenly, because of her, these things are starting to appeal to him. Jake has always been a risk-taker—maybe now it's time to take a risk on love.


Reclaiming the Cowboy
Kathleen O'Brien

This cowboy isn't so easy to catch!
When Mitch Garwood ran away with Bonnie O'Mara, he thought he'd found forever. But all his dreams crashed the morning he woke alone. Months later, he's immune to her reappearance. Even if she's now using her real name—Annabelle Irving—and ready to tell him her secrets, he's done. 

Too bad the situation is not that simple. Annabelle's willingness to leave her money and position behind so she can work at Bell River Ranch and be near him surprises Mitch. Despite his resolve, the spark of attraction flares again. The most compelling part? Her determination to win him back!




No Ordinary Home
Mary Sullivan 

She's not who she seems… 
Gracie Travers has a secret. She's not the down-on-her-luck drifter she appears to be. Once America's sweetheart, Gracie needs to keep below the paparazzi's radar until she's thirty. Then she'll get her money and get off the street. 

But one small mistake brings Deputy Sheriff Austin Trumball into her life. He's attractive and oh-so-dangerous. If he learns who she really is, her anonymous days are over. Worse, Austin's hard to resist, and their connection is terrifying. Soon he makes her want what she can't have—a lover, a family and a home of her own.


Married One Night
Amber Leigh Williams 

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!


Too Friendly to Date
Nicole Helm 

One little white lie…one big explanation! 

Okay, pretending her sexy boss is her boyfriend is more like a huge white lie. But electrician Leah Santino will take the risk. If her parents think she has someone, they won't go back to smothering her, and they can all be a family again. 

Problem is, Jacob McKnight isn't just her boss—he's her friend. And faking a relationship when the Santinos come to visit means those sparks she's always tried to ignore are hotter than ever. This thing between them is starting to feel real, but Leah has a very good reason to stay independent. Unless that's one lie that's outlived its purpose…


His Kind of Perfection
Pamela Hearon

A very personal trainer… 

Personal trainer Bree Rice is happy to help Kale Barlow get in shape to win back his ex. Kale's drive and enthusiasm make him the perfect client. He's such a great guy, it's easy to be his friend, too. All too soon, though, their friendship develops into something deeper…something off-limits. 

Bree knows love and work don't mix—been there, felt that heartache. But it doesn't seem to matter how many times she reminds him of his original goal. Kale is nothing if not determined, especially when it comes to convincing Bree that they are the perfect partners, both in and out of the gym.
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