Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tell Orlando Hello For Me

By Angel Smits
           This year I’m not hastily packing to climb on board a plane to fly off to the Romance Writers of America conference.  I’m still here at home.  Pretending I’m not just a bit disappointed. 
But as I look at all the Facebook posts, and see all the photos of everyone setting out to have a good time, I am a little bit sad.  I love conference.  I learn so much, and the time I get to spend with all my writer friends—many of whom I only see when I go to those conferences—is precious.  But this year it just wasn’t meant to be. 
              I started going to conference way back in the dark ages, and it’s been the primary way I’ve been able to travel and see some amazing cities.  The other day I was thinking of all the places I’d have never seen if I hadn’t gone to conference.  Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Reno, Orlando, New York City—and all the places I’ve had a layover or caught a flight, too.  Such fun!  Such experiences. 
            Several years ago I had a co-worker who used the phrase that someone was being a Gumby when they did something that wasn’t exactly what they intended.  (You remember the little green character, with the orange horse named Pokey?)  Over time it grew, and on one of my trips to RWA, I found a Gumby statue and bought it for her. 
            After that Gumby started appearing on desks when they did something--memorable.  And it wasn’t usually in a good way.  Yeah, he became the symbol for everyone when they did something that, well, wasn’t the brightest.   No one really wanted Gumby at first, but then after awhile people began to come in and say, “Give me Gumby.  You’ll never believe what I did--”  The stories got better and better. 
            At one point, however, Gumby needed to get out of the office.  I was heading out on another RWA trip, so I slipped him into my suitcase...

Ready to go!
...and away we went.  His picture started showing up in lots of place.  At meals.  On sight-seeing trips.  In restaurants (and even a few bars.)  He had some dates, and even attended the Harlequin Party.  My editor has cozied up to him...

 and a few authors may have even discussed his leading role in their novels…  Okay, maybe the last one had more to do with the bars than reality—but hey, we do write fiction…

            When life got crazy this past year, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to conference, I was almost as disappointed that I wouldn’t be taking Gumby any place exciting, as I was that I was staying home. 
            To cheer myself up, I dug out my Gumby pictures.  We reminisced a bit, as the last Orlando conference, we were there, posing by the fountains and having a wonderful time learning and seeing friends. 
            So for those of us who are staying home this year, I pulled up some Gumby pics from years past, maybe I can add a couple of us relaxing here at home. typing on my book that’s due in a few weeks and planning our trip for next year.  We will be there!

            Have fun everyone!  Think of us!  We'll be thinking of you.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

It Happens

Kris Fletcher

For the first time I can ever recall, I didn't get my blog posted on time. Not because it's my kids' summer break, which means I got, got, got, got no time (to quote the Guess Who). Not because it was the Tsarina's night to cook dinner, which means I was up to my elbows in egg yuck as I helped her make homemade baked mozzarella sticks. Not even because it was time for my couples massage with Ryan Reynolds, though you know, it would have been rude to make him wait.

No, this time, the problem truly was beyond my control. Our power went out. Some pretty bad storms went through and while we didn't feel the brunt of the wind or rain, we still spent well over an hour in the semi-dark. (Work with me. It was five in the afternoon.)

Sometimes, life just happens, and all we can do is roll with it.

In 1998, a couple of months after we moved in our old (then new) house, we went to Maine for Labor Day weekend to visit my husband's family. While we were gone, we got a call from our new neighbors, letting us know that a possible tornado had ripped through our neighborhood the night before. It turned out to be a derecho (straight-line winds), not a tornado, but the damage left behind was pretty terrifying. We had trees down all over our back yard and no power for 10 days, but we were lucky. Two people who were staying at the state fairgrounds were killed. In fact, if the storm had hit about  an hour earlier, the fair would have still been going and the midway would have been teeming with people. A week+ of no power feels a little insignificant after an event like that.

Life happens whether we're ready or not. The best we can do is tuck our heads down, pull our elbows in, and bend our knees, because baby, it's time to roll.

Or, possibly, to fly. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July Guest Editor Post by Claire Caldwell

Good morning, Supers authors!

I’m here with your guest editor post this month, AKA a dispatch from the pre-RWA trenches. Don’t get me wrong, I’m SUPER excited to jet off to the conference. But with under a week to go, it’s getting a bit frenzied around here. My Outlook calendar is bursting at the seams, and the halls are abuzz with last-minute dinner reservations and Orlando humidity hair tips.  

And last night, I had to go shoe shopping. Between rehearsing our Series Spotlight presentation and booking author appointments, I realized the turquoise Keds I can get away with at the office and my weekend hiking sandals aren’t going to earn me any professionalism points at Nationals. I managed to find a cute pair of sandals pretty quickly, but I was determined to hunt down something a bit fancier for the Harlequin party, too. How hard could that be?

Oh, sweet summer child. My mission was doomed from the beginning. Apparently it’s clearance time, and every store seemed to be out of my size—even when I managed to find something appealing among the season’s castoffs, piled haphazardly on tables and crammed into racks. 

Hot, disheveled and hungry, I went into yet another store, hoping it would be my last stop. “Huh,” I thought, turning over a wedge to check the price. “I wonder what the code ‘495’ means.” It took me two more shoe-flips to realize that was, in fact, the price tag, and I was out of there faster than you can say, “I’ll try these in a 9.”

Eventually, I was forced to admit defeat. For now. Or maybe I’ll just skip straight to dancing in my socks at the Harlequin party.

The series editors have lots of great events planned at RWA this year, but even if you can’t make it to the conference, there are lots of ways to get involved. In fact, that Series Spotlight I mentioned? Today, we’re having a Twitter event to drum up excitement for the presentation. From 10am to 12pm EST, tweet using the hashtag #MakeADateWithHarlequin to tell us how you spend quality time with series books. We’d love to hear from you!

Yours in footwear dilemmas,


Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 2017 New Releases #HarlequinSuperromance

Her Secret Service Agent by Stephanie Doyle

She wants her Secret Service agent back… 

She was the president's only daughter. And like a bad movie cliché, Vivian Bennett fell in love with her Secret Service agent, Joe Hunt. Except the night she chose to confess her feelings, the night he rebuked her embarrassing advance, was the night her stalker kidnapped her.

That was ten years ago. Joe, of course, had rescued her. But that didn't stop her father from firing him, and her juvenile mistake cost Viv her best friend. Well, she's back in Washington and, even though her dad's no longer in office, she's started to get threatening letters. She needs—wants—the only man she's ever trusted to protect her a second time.

Welcome Home Katie Gallagher (From Maine with Love) by Seana Kelly

Nobody said a fresh start would be easy 

A clean slate is exactly what Katie Gallagher needs, and Bar Harbor, Maine, is the best place to get it. Except the cottage her grandmother left her is overrun with woodland creatures, and the police chief, Aiden Cavanaugh, seems determined to arrest her! Katie had no idea she'd broken his heart fifteen years ago…

Rebel in a Small Town (Slippery Rock) by Kristina Knight
He's not giving up his family without a fight 

James Calhoun has never been able to resist Mara Tyler, or her knack for mischief. Her reputation as a reckless teenager drove Mara from their hometown. So Slippery Rock is the last place James ever expected to see her, and Mara's timing couldn't be worse. With the upcoming election for sheriff, she threatens the squeaky-clean image James needs to win. Because Mara has brought with her the result of their steamy affair: his two-year-old son, Zeke. After the initial shock, James is determined to have both his family and career. He just needs to convince Mara that her home is where it's always been. With him.

Bachelor Protector (Poppy Gold Stories) by Julianna Morris

Driven to defend a woman who won't let him! 

Poppy Gold Inns should be the perfect place to relax, except architect Tyler Prentiss doesn't do slow. He's juggling his work long-distance while looking after his brother, a wounded soldier battling PTSD. And he's figuring out how to make nice with Sarah Fullerton, his mother's new boss. Helping the stubborn, sexy baker remodel her kitchens is a step in the right direction, he figures. And when someone begins harassing Sarah, he wants to do more, but the independent woman won't let him. Tyler knows all about needing space. She's in danger, and so is he…of finally opening his heart.

July Box Set

Harlequin® Superromance brings you a collection of four new novels, available now! Experience powerful relationships that deliver a strong emotional punch and a guaranteed happily ever after.

This Superromance box set includes:

by Stephanie Doyle
She was the president’s only daughter. And like a bad movie cliché, Vivian Bennett fell in love with her Secret Service agent, Joe Hunt. Except the night she chose to confess her feelings, the night he rebuked her, was the night her stalker got her. That was ten years ago; long since Joe had rescued her, lost his job and she’d lost her best friend. But now she’s back and she needs the only man she’s ever trusted to save her a second time…

Poppy Gold Stories
by Julianna Morris
Sarah Fullerton doesn’t need Tyler Prentiss to protect her. Yes, strange things have been happening and, yes, it’s possible she might have a stalker. But she can handle it on her own—and she definitely doesn’t need help from an overbearing, emotionally closed-off man. No matter how steamy the attraction is between them…

A Slippery Rock Novel
by Kristina Knight
Detective James Calhoun believed he’d put his feelings for Mara Tyler firmly in the past…until she shows up in Slippery Rock again with a toddler she says is his.

By Seana Kelly
With the end of her marriage, Katie’s decided a fresh start is in order. So she moves to Bar Harbor, Maine, and takes up residence in the cottage her gran left her. Though not everyone’s happy Katie’s back, including Aiden Cavanaugh. But despite his grumbles, Katie feels a certain heat between her and the handsome chief of police…a flame she definitely wants to fan.

Look for 4 compelling new stories every month from Harlequin® Superromance!

Join to earn FREE books and more. Earn points for all your Harlequin purchases from wherever you shop.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What To Do On a Sunday

What To Do On a Sunday
by Angel Smits

            Last Sunday my fellow Super Romance author Claire McEwen posed a question on her Facebook page.  Now, I didn’t answer or post because, well, I didn’t see it until Tuesday, and the comment was about what you do on a Sunday. 
            If I’d seen it on Sunday, I’d have commented—really—but I didn’t.  But it got me to thinking.  What I do on Sunday’s is actually a very big deal. 
            I work a 9-5 day job as the admin assistant to the plant manager for a large manufacturing plant.  It’s a busy job, definitely hectic some days.  So when I get to the weekend, hectic and busy is not what I’m looking for.  But, working a 9-5 day job also means there are several tasks that have to be done around the house, whether I like it or not. 
            So Sunday’s are the days where I sleep in a little.  The rest of my family can apparently sleep in a lot because I’m usually up way before they are.  I throw on my robe, walk out to the driveway and retrieve the newspaper, and put on a pot of coffee.  This is the quietest time of my week.  I relish every single minute of it. 
            Ready the newspaper is an old-fashioned habit, but a particularly important one for me.  I read nearly every story, every editorial and sometimes the advertising inserts, too.  Depending on when the rest of my family gets up.  Reading a newspaper is relaxing.  I don’t have to worry about the battery dying.   There’s no ads that stop my screen from scrolling down to the next section—I simply turn my eyes or the page.  Yeah, some of the stories are things that I saw online a couple days ago, but frequently this is the entire story, not just the headline, or the grabber paragraph. 
            I get story ideas from newspaper articles.  Those grainy newspaper photos are often the best jumping off place for a tale I want to tell.  So I sit back and enjoy every single minute--heavily laced with my coffee.  
            Eventually, though I do have to emerge from that cocoon.  And often the bridge back to reality is the coupon inserts.  I love coupons.  I’ve saved a lot of money over the years clipping and saving them.  It’s also become a ritual with my daughter and I.  We get out the scissors and clip away, a lot like cut and paste back in school.  She and I get ideas of what we plan to make for all of us to eat in the week ahead, and get reminded of things we haven’t had in awhile. 
            In the afternoon, we venture off to the grocery store.  It’s really the only day I can do it so I’ve resigned myself to it.  And my daughter loves to go.  She started going with me when she was little.  At an early age she learned how to add to the shopping cart.  At least now, she asks.  At two, she just tossed it in and this harried mother never had a clue—not until I was home unpacking bags.  Some interesting things ended up on our menu that way. 

Do we look like intrepid shoppers?
            Over time, grocery shopping became a mother daughter activity.  Sometimes it was the only time we had, just the two of us.   We’ve found that a lot of topics can be fit into the hour plus it takes us to buy a week’s worth of groceries.  And while it’s not private, no one’s really listening to us—and if they are, who cares.  We don’t know them, and they don’t know us.         
            There’s been a lot of sharing going on as we walk those aisles.  I can ask her in produce if something’s bothering her.  And by dairy, she’s filled me in and we’ve hashed out a few solutions.  In canned goods, she might say, “You know mom, I was wondering…”  And as we stroll down the baking aisle and debate which desert to get, we’ve come up with some answers, maybe even some viable solutions. 
            We never consciously decided to make the grocery store our connecting ground, it just happened over time.  And I’m glad it did.  Every parent should have a special time and place with each of their children.  A place where that child feels like they are the only person in that parent’s life.  A place where the relationship is one on one and  you can get to know the individual.  And they can get to know you as a person as well. 

            Is there a special place or event you have in your life where you connect with someone special?  I’d love to hear stories, if you’re willing to share.  And if you don’t have one?  Feel free to think about making one.  It’s definitely worth the effort.  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Have Laptop, Will Travel - And Write.

Kris Fletcher

One of the things I like best about writing is what a portable career it is. For example, this blog post is coming to you from the hallway of my church, where I am holed up while my daughter is in the sanctuary having a voice lesson. It got me thinking about some of the many and varied places I have carried my writing with me over the years. Care to travel down memory lane with me?
  • My office, of course. We've owned three houses over my writing time and I've been lucky enough to claim an office in each one. In fact, when we were house-hunting last year, the list of requirements was pretty simple: same schools for my girls, at least three bedrooms, and an office for me.
  • School concerts. Don't fret - I don't work during the concert itself. But before the music begins? Fair game. Transition time between groups? That works, too. 
  • Waiting rooms. Oh yeah. And exam rooms, while waiting for the good doc to appear. 
  • Hotel rooms, both solo (when racing to meet a deadline) or with the family. Of course, that writing is usually done in the bathroom while everyone else is still asleep :-)
  • Outside. The glider, the Adirondack chairs, the picnic table, the playground - they have all seen
    their share of action.  The car. Not as much as you would expect, given the amount of traveling we do, but the thing is, taking time to write means that I have to let my husband drive. Can you say, watch the control freak totally lose it?
  • Libraries, coffee shops, cafes. Come on. I think those are practically required. 
  • Planes. Again, not as much as you would expect, but since I'm usually traveling with at least one child, most flights have been spent keeping kids amused (and making sure they don't spend the entire flight ringing the call button). But they are getting older, and unlike my husband's driving, they are constantly getting better.
  • Writing retreats. These are the best. Good friends, no distractions, abundant snacks.Does it get any better?
And let's not forget the many times inspiration and plot points have hit in the least expected places - the shower, the grocery store, in the middle of a sermon, during school performances, while cooking dinner - basically, anywhere and everywhere. My family has grown accustomed to having me stop them in the middle of something while I frantically jot a note on paper or dictate a memo into my phone. Sometimes they're not even embarrassed.

I've written on three continents, in at least seven countries, and in more cities than I can count. No matter where the road leads, it seems there's always a story - either one I bring with me or one I find there. Definitely one of the best perks of this gig.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 2017 New Releases from #HarlequinSuperromance

Airman to the Rescue (Heroes of Fortune Valley) by Heatherly Bell

She's off-limits…and perfect for him! 

It was supposed to be easy. Sarah Mcallister was going to flip her late father's house and head back to Colorado for a fresh start. But when her shady contractor gets arrested, taking most of her budget with him, she's at risk of losing everything. Enter Matt Conner…sexy pilot, single dad, Sarah's brother's best friend…and far too good with his hands for her peace of mind.

Moving into Sarah's spare bedroom is just asking for trouble, but Matt's trying to make amends with his troubled teen son, and a key step is finding a decent place to crash for as long as it takes. And the woman needs his help…

Her Amish Protectors by Janice Kay Johnson

She had wanted a simpler life in Amish country… 

The caring community in her new Missouri small town was a healing salve for Nadia Markovic's wounded spirit…until someone broke into her apartment above her Amish quilt shop and robbed her while she was sleeping. The thief made off with all the funds they'd just raised through the sale of her neighbours' handmade quilts. And police chief Ben Slater can't rule her out as the prime suspect. Only her Amish friends are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. People are angry enough to even target her with violence… But while Ben might not trust her, he's committed to protecting her, confusing her feelings for this man who's pulling her apart!

Shelter in the Tropics by Cara Lockwood

She's got nowhere left to run 

After a year of searching, ex-marine turned private eye Tack Reeves has finally located Cate Allen. She's traded in her high heels for flip-flops but Tack would recognize the stunning beauty anywhere. He just needs proof. Posing as a tourist at her Caribbean resort is the perfect cover. Except that the closer Tack gets to Cate, the less his case makes sense…and their intense attraction is only fueling the confusion. When he learns that the mom and her four-year-old son are hiding from her abusive ex, he vows to protect them. But Cate may not let him when she learns why he's on the island…

Unexpected Attraction by Stella MacLean

She swore never to trust him… 

Hardworking single mom Andrea Taylor thought she knew everything about her teenage daughter. She doesn't. Her teen is being bullied, and the school has brought in Jake Polegato to help. But the charming psychologist is the last man Andrea wants meddling in her family affairs. 

Andrea has good reason to despise Jake, but her daughter comes first. Yet as Andrea and Jake work together, she begins to see the man he really is. As tensions turn into undeniable attraction, Andrea finds herself in dangerously unfamiliar territory. Because now she doesn't just need Jake's help…she needs him.

June 2017 Box Set

Harlequin® Superromance brings you a collection of four new novels, available now! Experience powerful relationships that deliver a strong emotional punch and a guaranteed happily ever after.

This Superromance box set includes:

by Janice Kay Johnson

Heroes of Fortune Valley
by Heatherly Bell

by Cara Lockwood

by Stella MacLean

Look for 4 compelling new stories every month from Harlequin® Superromance!

Join to earn FREE books and more. Earn points for all your Harlequin purchases from wherever you shop.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Family Anniversary on the Bay

Our wedding anniversary isn't really a romantic occasion, it's more of a family event.  That's because my husband and I didn't get married until our son was almost one year old, so I carried him at the wedding instead of a bouquet.

And then, when we finally saved enough money for our dream honeymoon to France and Italy, we took our son with us.

So now my son talks about how 'we' had a wedding.  And 'we' went on a honeymoon.  And when May 27th rolls around, he calls it 'our anniversary'.  I think it's pretty cute.  My husband and I always go on a romantic date to celebrate the day we met, but the wedding anniversary is definitely a family holiday!

This past weekend was our wedding anniversary, and my husband surprised my son and I with a sail on Monterey Bay.  We were so excited!  We live near the bay, visit its shores at least once a day, but my son and I had never actually been out on the water.  So on Saturday we headed for the harbor, boarded a catamaran, and sailed out to sea for a fun adventure!

Now, since this is a romance author blog, I'll just mention that the handsome crew members made me wonder if I should write a story about sailors!  Or harbor patrol officers!  I tried to get a photo of this gentleman, but he zoomed by a bit too fast for me.  But he had a romance-novel hero aura about him for sure!

Anyway, I cannot recommend an anniversary boat-adventure highly enough. We had so much fun! We loved seeing our town from the water.

And The Boardwalk is always fun to see from any angle.

And the critters!  We were hoping to see the humpback whales and orcas that live in the bay, but I think they were hiding out due to the choppy water.  We did find sea lions by the wharf and swimming alongside the boat.

And we sailed by an otter, who looked a little upset that we'd interrupted his meal.  Can you spot the shell in his paws?

Although we see pelicans in our neighborhood every day, it's usually from a distance.  It was amazing to see them swoop right over the boat!

We couldn't have asked for a better anniversary celebration.  As we chugged past the lighthouse and into the harbor, all we could think about was when we could head out onto the bay again!

Whether it's for an anniversary or just for fun, what kinds of adventures do you enjoy with the people you love?

Thursday, May 25, 2017


by Angel Smits

            Some weeks just don’t go quite like you plan. 
Last week was one of those.  My husband and I had been planning a trip to the Preakness Horse Race for months.  We planned to meet some of the people he’d gone to school with at the Air Force Academy—people we haven’t seen in a gazillion years. 

            Early in the week the announcements came from Harlequin that they were restructuring the lines.  My heart hurt thinking about how hard I’d worked to get this far, and how much I still wanted to accomplish.  I worried about what was ahead.
            Then in my day job, I had to cram five days of work into three.  It was crazy and I came home every night exhausted.
            Like I said, it wasn’t going like I planned. 
            To top it off, I was getting ready to head home on that last day, packing up my laptop for work when it froze.  It wouldn’t turn off.  Wouldn’t restart.  Wouldn’t do a blessed thing.  Then the dreaded blue screen appeared. 
            Panicked, I ran down to IT.  They would have to keep the laptop to see what was wrong.   There wasn’t anything they could do. 
            Now, I was heading out for a few days of vacation, so I didn’t need it to work.  But I don’t like to come back to 100+ email, so I do look through and weed out the useless stuff and get my brain prepped for the next week sometime when I’m off. 
            But I wouldn’t have the laptop.  I’d be disconnected.  Completely. 
            We packed up and planned to leave early in the morning.  I was still in the dumps about my writing, and decided I wasn’t even going to pack a notebook.  It was going to be a short vacation, and we were going to be too busy for me to write anyway.  Besides, all good hotels have notepads available, and I’ve been known to write entire plots on coffeeshop napkins.  If all else fails, my phone has a notes app.   
            I woke up in the middle of the night and heard it raining hard.  Great.  It only got worse—when we woke up in the morning, we learned it wasn’t rain—it was snow!  I do live in Colorado, so spring snow isn’t unheard of, but—really?  We had to drive to the airport two hours away.
            This week, this trip, was starting to feel doomed. 
            Sometimes, however, the universe knows what I need more than I do. 

Leaving Colorado

Arriving in Washington, DC
             We landed in Washington DC to a beautiful sunny day.  We used the GPS function on my phone to find out hotel, and throughout the weekend.  Our friends were in our room visiting, so we didn’t turn on the television.  In the car, we were talking and laughing.  No phone.  No computer.  No TV.  No radio. 
            It’s been years since I’ve been that disconnected.  It was wonderful!! 
            And we didn’t even have to go to the boonies to get away—we were smack in the middle of one of the country's busiest metro areas.
            The Preakness is held in Baltimore, Maryland, and is the second race in horse racing’s triple crown.  The Kentucky Derby and the Belmont are the other two races, which the Preakness is in between.  If it isn’t on your bucket list, it should be.  Just the experience of it.  The horses, the people watching, the fresh outdoors--it was all wonderful and a lot of fun. 
            I came home more relaxed than I’ve been in ages.  Yeah, the whole vacation helped, but honestly, being unplugged was a huge part of escaping.  I can’t recommend it enough. 
            Now back home, things aren’t all “fixed.”  There’s still a lot of uncertainty in my writing career and, yeah, I had over 100 emails waiting for me.  But I was rested up and I can handle it.  I’ll figure out something.  I always do. 
            Maybe we all should unplug sometimes, and not wait until the universe does it for us.  Just a thought. 
            Oh—and no I didn’t win my millions by betting on the right horse.  My horse was edged out at the end of the race.   But what fun it was to cheer him on while he was ahead! 
            And not do anything with my phone—but take pictures! 
The track was so close!


Friday, May 19, 2017

Balancing Contemporary and Historical Romance - How I Divide My Writing Styles...

I often get asked how I divide my time between contemporary and historical novel writing and in an ideal world, I like to alternate the two subgenres to keep my writing fresh and interesting. For the reader and me!

I began my career writing contemporary because I’d always been told to ‘write what you know’. I have devoured romantic suspense for as long as I can remember and so my first two novels with The Wild Rose Press were romantic suspense. I then wrote a romantic comedy. Throughout writing and promoting these books, my mind started to wonder whether I could attempt an historical….after all, I didn’t ‘know’ how to abduct or murder anyone as the characters did in my first two books J

Like most (if not all) writers I read voraciously and reading historical work, whether novels or biographies, is amongst my favorite choices. I love history! I am drawn to British Royal history especially, but also love the social and industrial changes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. As I was and, still am, intimidated by including real people and events in my work, I decide my first attempt would be Victorian and focus entirely on fictional characters and their emotions.

Emotion is key in romance. Love, hate, revenge, loss, joy and tenacity would have been felt in the same way in the late 1800s as they would today. So with this thought at the forefront of my mind, I dove straight in and wrote The Arrival of Lily Curtis (The Wild Rose Press). It sold a lot more copies than my previous contemporary work so that gave me the confidence to continue.

Today, I am lucky enough to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington.  I love that my writing has fallen into a routine that I find so satisfying. I now aim to alternate my releases between contemporary and historical…although this year, it is a little more heavy on the contemporary!

The best aspect of writing in two genres is the research – it doesn’t matter where I go, what places I visit or what non-fiction books I read, I am always looking for story ideas. Whenever I go to a new place, learn something I didn’t know before or come across a story or character who fascinates me, I think how I could write both a contemporary and an historical story around this new discovery. I usually come up with an idea for each which means I have two new stories at my disposal. Result!

I’d love to know if you prefer contemporary over historical or vice versa? Or, like me, do you like the mix of both?

Happy Reading!

Rachel x

Ethan's Daughter - coming August 2017
Saved By The Firefighter - Nov 2016
Her Hometown Redemption - Sept 2015
Christmas At The Cove - Nov 2014
What Belongs To Her - Mar 2014
A Man Like Him - Aug 2013
Finding Justice - Feb 2013

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When The Rumors Are True

By Abdullah Freres - Library of Congress, Public Domain,

Mark Twain is famous for saying that, "The reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated," but unfortunately there are times when the reports are true.

This is one of them.

The news has been all over social media, but in case folks haven't heard yet, Harlequin authors were informed yesterday that five lines will cease publication in 2018. Superromance is one of them.

We are all still waiting to hear more, so there's really nothing else to share. The bright spot on the horizon is that Supers will not end until next June, which means we have another full year to share with you, our wonderful readers and supporters.

Thank you for your concern. Thank you for understanding that we are still processing all of this. Most of all, thank you for being here, and reading our stories, and being our friends. We are so very grateful for each and every one of you.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Kris Fletcher's Winner

Many thanks to all who offered suggestions for a topic for me to use when I speak to my church group. I am soooo grateful for your input. I now have a plethora of ideas - AND I got to use the word "plethora" in a blog post, which automatically makes me feel wise and learned!

Summer, you're the winner of my drawing of a $10 gift card to the online bookstore of your choosing! Please shoot me a line ( and we'll get you all prized up.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Journey Itself Is Home

Gable Mansion, CA
Amber Leigh Williams

"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home." - Matsuo Basho

In Woodland, California, there is a historic Victorian manse called The Gable Mansion. Built for two brothers, pioneer ranchers Amos and Harvey Gable of the post-Civil War era, it is arguably the greatest example of Victorian architecture in America.

In my latest Superromance novel, Wooing the Wedding Planner, it was part of my evil writing plan to plant my hero, Byron, and his heroine, Roxie, in the same house and watch the tug-of-war over its possession play out between them. Byron is finally recovering his life after tragedy while Roxie is a year divorced and eager to start fresh. Both see the grand Victorian home on Serendipity Lane in Fairhope, Alabama as their chance to do so. When I saw an image of The Gable Mansion, I knew that it (or some close reincarnation of it) was perfect for my characters.

I started to write down the details that Byron and Roxie would see when they first walked in. I could envision it vividly – the sea-glass chandelier in the foyer. The charming trim and chair-rail throughout. The transom windows in the sitting room. The once wood-burning stove and glass-front cabinets in the enviable kitchen. The curving staircase with French Creole-style wrought iron railing and the fleur-de-lis accents throughout. The odd pitch and angles of the upstairs rooms and ceilings and the hidden alcoves sprinkled throughout. Maybe most of all, I could see the stained glass window on the second floor landing blazing with color and refracted light when the sun dips low enough to touch it.

Byron and Roxie’s Victorian might be my own dream house. The master bathroom alone would make me sing – rain showerhead, periwinkle tiles, claw-foot tub? Yes, please! However, this house was imagined in every way for these two lucky people—together. They simply had to come to that understanding themselves.

As I crafted the house on Serendipity for Byron and Roxie, I could see the individual (often opposing) touches each would wish to implement in the interior. Roxie’s lace curtains and purple settee in the living room. Byron’s gym packed wall-to-wall in another and his big-screen television on the master suite armoire. His business brogues kicked off helter-skelter by the welcome mat. Her apron on a hook by the pantry door. A bottle of wine left to breathe on the prep counter for her. A six-pack of Stella Artois in the fridge for him….

More than I enjoyed watching their dreams for the Victorian come to life and even coalesce, I’m moved by how the eternal optimist and the trusty cynic not only learned to cohabitate but realized what the house really represents. In Wooing the Wedding Planner, they learn what “home” means, whether it’s a place, an ideal or another soul.

Writing Byron and Roxie’s story was a pleasure. I love how their house came to life and how, through it, they came to understand what living really means. Wooing the Wedding Planner is on sale now for $3.99! 

No more wedding marches for her! 

Wedding planner Roxie Honeycutt can make happy-ever-after come true for anyone except herself. Freshly divorced and done with love, she's okay with watching clients walk down the aisle. What's not okay? Sharing a charming Victorian house with accountant Byron Strong. He's frustratingly sexy and determined to keep her confused. 

Roxie thought Byron's expertise was numbers, yet somehow he sees her for who she really is. Somehow he understands the hurt she hides behind a trademark smile. Suddenly romance is tempting again, even if it means risking another heartbreak.

For more behind the story of Wooing the Wedding Planner, visit the book's inspiration board on Pinterest!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

May Superromance Authors Are Having a Party!

Hi, Readers! The May Superromance authors are having a party today, to celebrate their new books - and you're all invited! All the fun will happen over on Facebook. You can click here to join the party.

We'll have lots of games and giveaways, some teasers from all of our books, and a lot of fun. So grab a glass of wine, jump in your PJs, and tell your friends!

The party starts at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific.

Don't forget to invite a few reader friends - and here's that link again so you can join the fun! 

Please Give Me Something To Talk About

Kris Fletcher

A few months back, my minister pulled me aside after church and asked to speak to me for a few minutes. My immediate reaction was to ask what I messed up this time :-) He assured me that I hadn't screwed up anything (for the moment), and that he wanted me to speak at an upcoming Lenten service. Fool that I am - and because I had just finished reading Year Of Yes, by Shonda Rimes - I agreed.

The first hint of trouble came when I realized that I had absolutely nothing to say. Oh, the minister had given me some guidelines, but "serving with our minds" wasn't exactly the bullet point outline I needed. I finally cobbled together something to fill the seven minutes allotted to me and set out, confidant that if I could not speak intelligently, I could at least grunt out something that sounded like words.

My second whack of trouble when I looked out over the group and remembered that there is something very special about my church, and that is the number of retired pastors among our membership. They're like their own little gang, complete with their own turf (a pew affectionately known as Preachers Row). Individually they are wonderful, kind, and loving people whom I adore.

Collectively, they scared the crap out of me.

I got through my talk somehow. I remember very little of what I said. And I can honestly say that it's
the first time in my life when I have come home from church and gone directly to the bottle of Irish Cream in the fridge.

You would think I had learned my lesson.

You would be wrong.

A few days after my debacle debut, the head of the women's group gave me a call. Could I possibly talk to them at their June gathering?

I should have said no. I should have said that I would be celebrating my son's birthday. (It is the same day. So what if I'm in central New York and he's in Boston? I can still celebrate!) I should have assured her that I was having elective surgery that day, preferably to have my tongue removed.

Instead, because she is a wonderful, kind, and loving woman, I said yes.

And now I am doomed.

I have nothing to say. I talked to this group once before, two or three years ago, so they have already heard my comments about the myths and realities of writing romance. (Summary: no to feather boas, yes to sweaters with holes in the sleeves.) I see them every week, twice weekly for my fellow choir members, so they know all my stories already. Worse, I can't pretend to be witty, charming, or intelligent, because they have all seen me in my Spongebob costume, and believe me, there is no coming back from that.

I need to come up with a truly wow-worthy topic. And so, dear blog, I am coming to you.

What would YOU like to hear from a romance writer? What do YOU think would be worth leaving home to listen to? All suggestions will be welcomed with sobs of joy, and all comments will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift card to the online book retailer of the winner's choice. (Drawing to be done Sunday May 14 at whatever time I get a chance to do it.)

Help me, Obi-Blog-a-Roni. You're my only hope.

And if you, like me, are now humming along to that old Bonnie Raitt tune, well ...

Friday, May 5, 2017

Famous in a Small Town ~ @AuthorKristina Knight

You guys! It's here! It's finally here! This week the first book in my brand new here! I'm super-excited to share these books with you because Slippery Rock - while completely made up! - is really special to me. 

I grew up in a small Missouri lake town - the kind of town that rolls up the sidewalks by 8pm most nights, where in the summer the tourists can out-number the residents, and where everybody knows everybody else. 

I wouldn't trade that upbringing for anything - my brother and I would traipse across a field to go and play with our cousins, or we would walk the mile or so from my grandparents house to the corner store to pick up a gallon of milk for our grandmother...we spent afternoons fishing with our rancher grandfather or playing intricate games of cowboys-and-indians in our other grandfather's hay barn...

Writing about that kind of town has been on my mind for a while, and as I was writing Protecting the Quarterback, I decided my next book would be my based-on-my-town small town. I also wanted to write about family, but not just parents and siblings and cousins...I wanted to write about a family of the heart - people who choose to be family, because I think we all, at some point in our lives, choose who will be our family. That is where Collin, Levi, James, Adam, and Aiden came in. They were five guys who played football together, who took their team to state. All five of them, for reasons of their own, have come home, and while they are still very much the stars of their hometown, they are also figuring out who they want to be as adults. Enter Savanna, Mara, Jenny, Camden, and Julia - the women these guys will fight for. 

I'm hosting a fun giveaway throughout May to launch the series, you can enter on my blog (I can't get the silly rafflecopter widget thingy to do what it's supposed to do - sorry!). 

I hope you enjoy your visit to Slippery's a little peek into the first book:

He was probably in the orchard, anyway, but she could at least check the door near the back of the barn with the sign reading Office.
Before she could talk herself out of it, Savannah marched back into the barn and knocked on the door. No answer. Just like a man to not be around when a woman wanted him to see how not-hung-up-on-him she was.
Probably for the best, anyway. Chances were she’d say something she would regret later. Or find it impossible to not kiss him again.
“No one uses that office anymore,” Collin said from behind her.
Savannah whirled, putting her hand to her chest. “What are you doing here?”
“I work here, and I own the place. What are you doing here?” He looked scrumptious in another pair of cargo shorts, this time olive-colored, and a black T-shirt. The man had to have stock in some cargo shorts company, as often as he wore them. He had old Nikes on his feet, and a Slippery Rock High ball cap on his head. His sunglasses were perched on the bill. “Finished with your inspection?”
“I was buying apples.”
“Nice try. The apple stand is at the end of the drive.”
“I needed irregulars.” He raised one eyebrow in disbelief. “For Mama Hazel. She’s making pies. For the farmer’s market. Caramel apple.”
“And the apples are?”
“In the trunk.” She pointed to the blue sedan.
“And you’re knocking on the office door because?”
“Because I don’t want to have sex with you.” Savannah immediately wished the words back. “That came out wrong.” She fisted her hands at her sides. Well, she’d started this. She could finish it. “I, uh, wanted to let you know I’m okay about how things ended the other day. I’m not interested in starting anything up with you, either. So, we don’t have to avoid one another or feel weird around one another or…tell anyone else about what happened.”
There, that almost sounded like something a self-confident adult would say. Collin looked bewildered. Or something. She couldn’t quite read the expression in his clear, blue gaze. He tilted his head to the side and the movement reminded her of his sister. The Tyler family definitely had that resemblance thing down. Longing squeezed Savannah’s heart. She’d spent so long pretending to find resemblances between herself and her adoptive family, and then so long pretending it didn’t matter that she was so different from them. Her skin lighter, her hair different.
She wasn’t like them, though. Her parents and her brother always did the right thing. Savannah made all the wrong moves, although it was hard to remember that having sex with Collin was a wrong move when he was standing three feet away from her, the embodiment of a bunch of her teenage fantasies.

Kristina’s latest release is Famous in a SmallTown, the first in her brand new SlipperyRock series!
Lifestyles of the small-town famous
Forced to leave Nashville after a scandal, Savannah Walters has come home to Slippery Rock, Missouri, with a bruised ego and her singing career in jeopardy. As if that isn't humiliating enough, on her way into town she's rescued by her swoon-worthy childhood crush, Collin Tyler.

His hands are full running the family orchard and dealing with his delinquent teen sister, so Collin doesn't need to get involved with someone as fiery and unpredictable as Savannah. But the intense attraction between them can't be denied. And when disaster strikes, they'll both be surprised by who's still standing when the dust settles.

Kristina Knight is a contemporary romance author, part-time swim-kid wrangler, and full-time Thin Mints enthusiast. You can find out more the book and Kristina on her website, and feel free to stalk follow her on FacebookTwitter or Instagram
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