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Friday, October 24, 2014

Reincarnation. Yes? No? Maybe?



Reincarnation. Yes? No? Maybe?

It’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to the supernatural—witches, ghosts, monsters, vampires, shifters. I want to talk about another supernatural phenomenon: reincarnation.



You don’t hear much about reincarnation nowadays, but back in the 1970’s the occult was all the rage. Along with that came interest in reincarnation. I always thought being reincarnated meant you came back as an animal. Not so. Although there may be a belief out there that says we are reborn as animals, I didn’t encounter that in my readings. If I were to come back as an animal, I want to be a spoiled housecat like my very spoiled diva cat. To feed my interest in reincarnation, I devoured books by Edgar Cayce and Ruth Montgomery, two experts on recurring lives.

Here’s the definition of reincarnation from Dictionary.com:  Being reborn in another body. Several religions, including Hinduism, believe that the human spirit returns to Earth in different forms again and again as it strives for perfection.

The object of being born again is to make up for past sins, aka karma, and try to live a better life than the last one. When a soul reaches perfection, think Mother Theresa, that soul goes to its reward in heaven and isn’t reborn again. Here’s the definition of karma from the Urban Dictionary: the Buddhist belief that whatever you do comes back to you, e.g. if you do something good, something good will happen to you, and vice versa.

When a person dies, his/her soul goes to a spiritual plane, think Purgatory. That soul has a guide who reviews that person’s past lives and determines what the person must do in the next life to atone for sins and wrongs and attain perfection. Then the soul is reborn as an infant. Young children will sometimes remember their past lives, but that goes away as they get older.

One of the theories being tossed around in those heady, riotous 1970’s was that many of the Vietnam War protesters were the reborn souls of men who had died in World War 2, and that they didn’t want any more wars. Interesting to think about.

When my son was three or four, he used to tell my husband and me that when he lived with his “other daddy” he had a black dog that lay at the bottom of the stairs. My son has had only one daddy, and we’re a cat family. We’ve never had a dog. I got chills every time my son told us that story. As he got older, any memories he had of his “other daddy” and the black dog left him. I think it’s telling that my son never said his “other mommy,” which makes me think he recognized me from being with him in a past life.

A friend once told me that when her little brother was three years old, he’d tell the family stories of living in Paris, France, in the 1700’s. He’d describe the sounds of the carriage wheels and the smells of the city. How would he have known that, especially the smells? He couldn’t even read.

Things have happened in my life to make me believe reincarnation could be real. When I was a small child, my grandmother had paintings of scenes from Ancient Rome hanging in her house. I’d stare at those paintings and know what it was like to live there. I still remember the familiar feeling and the happiness I got when looking at those paintings. Around the same time, I used to have dreams where I was dressed in flowing Roman clothes and standing in a garden decorated with Roman statuary. To this day whenever I see a wooden door in a stone wall leading to a garden, I get chills. In a past life, did I live in Ancient Rome and did I have a garden with a wooden door? I love anything to do with Ancient Rome and read all I can about it. It was a very brutal time in our history, yet, I feel it was a happy time for me.


On the other hand, I hate, absolutely hate, the Middle Ages. I rarely read Medieval romances. I think I lived a very bad life then. Of course, most of us can say that. Unless you were of the nobility, you lived a particularly harsh life in that dark period.

Some years back, I toured an old house a friend had just bought. I’d never seen that house before. In the basement was a “vault” room, a place where the original owners stored their money and jewels. As soon as I entered, I knew without a doubt I’d been in that room before. Has this ever happened to you?

Once, when my son was a toddler, a friend invited a group of us to her house to have our fortunes told by a psychic who did past life readings. A fun evening. I brought my son because my husband was working that night. Without my asking the psychic anything about my son, the man looked at him and told me that my son had been my brother in a previous life and he was with me in this life because I needed to teach him a lesson. I haven’t figured out yet what that lesson is. At the same reading, I showed the psychic pictures of my husband and also my ex-husband. He couldn’t get a reading on my husband, but he told me I’d been with my ex in another life and I’d done something bad to him. I had to make it up to him in this life. That could explain so much of what I went through with my ex and why I put up with the things I did.

People will say they were a queen or a Pharaoh or some famous person in another life. The reality is, if reincarnation is true, most of us lived ordinary lives of quiet desperation.

One of the tenets of reincarnation is that you must do no harm to another living creature. If you’re in business, ambition is good, but you must not hurt others in your rise to the top. This is wonderful advice no matter your beliefs.

If you’re of a more scientific bent, my memories and experiences, as well as the memories and experiences of others, could be what Carl Jung called “the collective unconscious.” Here’s the definition: (in Jungian psychology) the part of the unconscious mind that is derived from ancestral memory and experience and is common to all humankind, as distinct from the individual's unconscious. In other words, my memories of Ancient Rome might be in my DNA, passed down through the ages from my Italian lineage.

There are times when I want to believe in reincarnation. It’s comforting to know we are given another chance to get things right. They say in each life you’re surrounded by the same people. It’s also comforting to know your loved ones will be with you in your new life. At other times, I feel tired and don’t really want to do this all over again. What about you? Have you had experiences like mine? Things you can’t explain. Are you a believer in reincarnation? Or are you a person who rejects it and thinks it’s nothing more than the collective unconscious? Or are you a maybe like me?

I’d love to hear about your “unexplained” experiences.


In the spirit of the season, my scary, sexy shifter romance, with elements of suspense and reincarnation, is on sale for only 99 cents.


Nick Radford is a reluctant werewolf who’s been fighting the Beast within for nearly 500 years. He’s never killed a human, but the Beast is gaining strength and Nick may not be able to ward off his inner demon much longer. Kyla Yaeger is an elite were-hunter with a scarred past. Her life’s mission is to slay the werewolves who slaughtered her parents. Her quest has brought her to Maine where she's been summoned to destroy the werewolf terrorizing the quaint little village of Heavensent. The last thing she needs is to get distracted by her mysterious--not to mention hunky--new neighbor Nick Radford. By the time Kyla learns Nick is her target, she's already fallen for him, making her task of killing him that much harder. She is torn between her love for him and her duty to kill her sworn enemy. Nick fights his forbidden love for Kyla, knowing she is duty-bound to kill him. Kyla and Nick must join together to fight an even bigger threat--one that will destroy all humanity. Only by their combined powers can they destroy the evil and bring an end to a centuries old curse.







Thursday, October 23, 2014

Interview of Author Darlene Fredette

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Darlene Fredette.

Latest Book: Law of Attraction

Buy Link
The Wild Rose Press Purchase Link

BIO:
An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loved to put a pencil to paper and plot out stories of her own. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners. When Darlene isn’t writing, editing, or reading, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab.



Q: Your novel is being made into a TV series/movie. Who’s in your dream cast?
A: When writing Law of Attraction, I saw my hero (Steven Mitchell) as Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy). My heroine (Christina Crawford) is a visual of Mandy Moore.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: Not a single smidgen of me is in my stories. I’m way too boring to write about, lol.

Q: Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
A: All of my characters are special, but in the current story I’m writing ‘Hershey’s Choice’ Britt Wells (the heroine) is turning out to be my favorite. She’s funny, crazy, sensitive, and sweet.

Q: Do you eat comfort food/listen to music when writing?
A: I can’t listen to music when writing or I’d be doing more singing than writing. And I don’t eat while writing because I wouldn’t have fingers free for typing, lol.

Q: Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
A: In the past, I wasn’t a fan of covers with a man and a woman in a tight embrace, but once I saw the cover for my Christmas novella, I quickly changed my mind. The cover artists captured the story and the main characters perfectly. I’ve been very lucky with covers.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Just write. If you’re not good at deadlines, then don’t set any. Write when you can. Everyone has daily interruptions (work, family, etc). The less pressure you place on yourself, the more the story will flow from the tips of your fingers.

Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: I’ll always write contemporary romance, but I started writing a story that has a western and time travel theme. It’s challenging yet fun to write a romance in a different genre.

Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: Not an incident from my life is in my books, but definitely places I’ve visited. In my Christmas novella, the fictional town of Redford Falls was created with pieces from a few local areas we visit.

Q: Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
A: I like the opening to Law of Attraction because it portrays my heroine’s frustration with her dating life.
“You have got to be kidding me.” Christina slammed the receiver on its cradle. “What the hell is going on? That’s the fifth guy to ditch me this month.” She gripped the arm of her chair. At least he had the decency to call

Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: Too many, lol! I have several notebooks, each for its own story. Once a story enters my thoughts, I grab a new notebook and jot down the main plot. When I think of new ideas and character names, I write them in the notebook before I forget.

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Christmas, because it’s the holiday filled with love. I enjoy the lights, decorations, music, and seeing the joy on my family’s faces when they open their gifts.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I’m quiet/introvert. I’ve been told I’m quite humorous, which surprised me, lol.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A teacher.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Dessert.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: My wedding day and the day my daughter was born.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Milk.

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Definitely, hot summer days!

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Fly in an airplane.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: The power to remove evil from the world.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Web Blog: http://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneLF
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarleneLF
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/DarleneLF
The Wild Rose Press Author Page

BLURB:
Lawyer Christina Crawford has a successful career and stable financial future, but is it enough? Her world is disrupted when a routine divorce case means working with a man she never expected—or wanted—to see again. During their first meeting, she can't deny a connection still exists. Her head warns her to run, but her heart yearns to stay.

Steven Mitchell is ruthless in the court room, but outside those doors, his easy charm, good looks and unlimited stream of female companions gives him an unscrupulous reputation. Six years ago Christina saw beyond his fa├žade, but the emotions she evoked scared him and he pushed her away. Now he wants a second chance and he is determined to get her back...even if he has to play dirty.

EXCERPT:
Heart pounding in her chest, she closed the door behind him. Wearing her best business face, she returned to this disastrous meeting and sat. Christina drew in a deep breath, and a measure of control was restored. She picked up her pen and flipped open the case file. “So, according to these documents, your client is contesting the divorce?”

Steven reached across the table and snatched the pen from her hand. “What’s the rush, Christina? We haven’t seen each other in years. There’s a lot of catching up to do.”

She clenched her teeth together, barely parting her lips as she spoke. “We have nothing but this case to discuss.”

“Come on, don’t be like that.” He leaned back in his chair, frowning. “You’re not still holding a grudge, are you? What happened was so long ago. I hoped we could start fresh, as friends.”

“Are you freaking serious?” She glared an icy stare. Forget a slow death by high heel. She’d get more pleasure strangling him with her bare hands. “You accused me of misconduct, had me fired, and now you want to be friends?” Her heart thumped a rapid beat in her ears. “You’re out of your mind.”

Anything else you’d like to add?
Be sure to drop by my web site during the month of October to enter an awesome giveaway to celebrate the release of Law of Attraction!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Take Home a Wolf for Halloween


Just in time for Halloween, a very sexy shifter.

When Jamie Dalton moved into the mouse her grandparents left her she was just looking to reconnect with her past and settle in familiar surroundings. Digging through the attic for treasures, she found a nearly life-sized statue of a wolf and a very old, very strange book, Legends of the Werewolf. Each night after returning home from her job as the town's head librarian, she curled up in a big chair with her little black cat, Mischief, fascinated by what she read. She was shocked when her new neighbor, Mike Volka, introduced himself and the eyes watching her looked just like the wolf in the book.

 Mike Volka's ancestors once owned Jamie's house and the book that is his heritage as a wolf shifter, the one that will guide his future, is hidden somewhere inside. He sure didn't expect the intense sexual heat the erupted between them. When he sneaks into her house and sees her asleep in the big chair, the book open on her lap, the temptation to have her is too great for him. Using the hypnotic power of the shifter, he draws her into his web and they have sex so hot it nearly burns down the house.

But can a union born in stealth survive? Is she the human mate his family had told him might be waiting for him? Will Jamie succumb to his hot alpha impact and can she believe what others dismiss as a fanciful legend? On Halloween night it will come to an explosive conclusion but will the heat consume them or bind them closer together.

Excerpt:

She closed her eyes for just a moment, to clear her head…and opened them again as the stroke of a hand on her cheek roused her. She inhaled sharply at the sight of Mike Volka leaning over the chair, staring at her with those hot amber eyes. His dark hair had fallen forward like a silk curtain, just enough scruff on his chin to give him that extra sexy appearance. Her breath caught in her throat when he slid one thumb lightly over her bottom lip.
“You sleep so nicely, Jamie. But this chair has to be uncomfortable.”
She shifted her body and gazed down at her lap. “Where’s my book? And Mischief?” She frowned. “What have you done with them?”
His smile set fire to her nerve endings. “I put the book over there on the coffee table. It had slipped to the floor. I didn’t think it was good for something so old to just be lying there.”
“And my cat?”
“Is sleeping peacefully.” He gestured toward the couch.
Sure enough, the little ball of black fur lay curled up against one of the throw pillows, deep in a kitty dream.
“But how—?”
“Sshhh.”
His scent tantalized her nostrils, clean and earthy, soothing and arousing at the same time. He leaned closer to her and brushed his mouth over hers. Somewhere in the back of her mind, a little voice asked her why she didn’t feel this at all odd. She was not the least bit afraid or worried or frightened by what was happening. Instead, she had a sense that this was all preordained—her moving into the house, finding the book, meeting Mike, this thing happening between them. Then her brain shut down, any chance of rational thought disappeared, and she gave herself over to the feelings consuming her.
The simple contact of his lips woke the pulses in every one of her erogenous zones. His tongue traced a path along the seam before pushing gently and coaxing her to open to him. When he thrust inside her mouth, the contact, almost animalistic, stole her breath.
Jamie lifted her hands and tunneled her fingers in his hair, the mane of black silk rich and luxurious to her touch. Reason fled as the kiss drew her into an erotic vortex. She clutched at his hair as if it were a lifeline, anchoring her as his tongue plundered and his lips bruised. When he lifted his head at last, she gave a cry of protest at the loss of contact.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Meet InkHeart Authors Lauren Blakely, Elena Aitken, and Eden Bradley!

Hello romance fans! I hope you're enjoying your fall days and catching up on reading the books from your TBR file now that the weather is cooler and pleasant. I know I'm looking forward to finishing a few of mine in the next couple weeks.

As you know, I'm a member of InkHeart Authors and I absolutely ADORE them. They are some of the most gracious, generous, and down-to-earth authors you'll ever meet. And their romances are to-die-for!

That said, I wanted to give back to them for all they've given me. So, in the next few months, I'll be featuring a couple of them at a time. Trust me, these authors are definitely worth reading! (And yes, that is a personal recommendation as I've read many of their books since joining them.)


Lauren Blakely
Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in her novel, FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. She loves hearing from readers! Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He's Mine, Playing With Her Heart, Trophy Husband, Far Too Tempting, The Thrill of It, and Every Second With You, Night After Night and After This Night. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.

Find Lauren Blakely at:


Caught Up In Her
A sweet romance so perfect it could have been scripted by Hollywood. But can a first love survive past the first summer?

I'm not going to say it was love at first sight when I met her. I don't believe in that. Because love isn't about falling for someone's looks. Though she was beautiful in every single way, from her dark, wavy hair to her gorgeous brown eyes, to the soft curves of her body. But that's not why I fell so hard for her that summer. She took my breath away for reasons that had nothing to do with her looks. It was the the movies, the conversations, the walks through the small town, the nights on the beach with the waves rolling in, the way I could hold her hand and feel as if the world had simply melted away and we were all that was left. So, there was no love-at-first-sight. That would come later, and if it happened first it would take away all the reasons that stayed with me for the next five years. Even though you're not supposed to fall for your best friend's little sister. But that didn't stop me...

Caught Up in Her is a prequel novella in the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Caught Up in Love series.

THE CAUGHT UP IN LOVE SERIES:



BOOK 0.5: CAUGHT UP IN HER (Bryan & Kat's story begins)

BOOK 1: CAUGHT UP IN US (Bryan & Kat's story continues)

BOOK 2: PRETENDING HE'S MINE (Reeve & Sutton's story)

BOOK 3: TROPHY HUSBAND (Chris & McKenna's story)

BOOK 4: PLAYING WITH HER HEART (Davis & Jill's story)

BOOK 5: STARS IN THEIR EYES (William & Jess' story - October 2014 release)
Caught Up in Love Spin-off: FAR TOO TEMPTING (Jane & Matthew)

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Elena Aitken
I’ve been writing in one form or another since elementary school but although I always knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, instead I earned university degrees in Marketing and Psychology and writing got put on the back burner. After my twins were born I was buried in diaper changes, middle of the night feedings and mountains of laundry—obviously it was the logical time to start writing again. I guess it took me while to grow up.

I turned to non-fiction and became a regular contributor to local parenting magazines, published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, and a compilation by Seal Press. It wasn’t until 2005 that I tried my hand at writing fiction and wrote my first novel. It’s buried on my hard drive where it should be, and ever since I just keep writing more.

Like a lot of my readers, I’m a busy mom. It often feels like life is pulling us in a million different directions, which is why I love to write romance!

There’s nothing better than knowing you have an escape waiting for you at the end of a long day in the form of a good book.
I’m lucky enough to live in the shadow of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the foothills of Alberta, where I can write the stories I love. Whenever I get the chance, I escape into those amazing mountains and I can usually be found sitting with my feet in the lake, working on my next book.

As well as contemporary romance novels, I also like to write women’s fiction and my collection of stand alone novels are all part of the Escape Collection. I’m always trying something new, so stay tuned to see what’s next!

Find Elena Aitken at:


Tempting Gifts

Working in the children’s club at the Lodge, reputation is important which is why Lisa Gibbs is tired of the party boys only looking for a one-night stand. She’s serious about her life and career, and she won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of that.

Jason Porter will do anything to make his twin sister and his favorite nephew happy. Including attending a dreaded family reunion at the Lodge. But hanging out in the mountains has its perks—like the beautiful woman in charge of the kids club.
And flirting’s safe, because the last thing he wants is a relationship.

And the last thing Lisa wants is any sort of attention from Jason—no matter how funny and handsome he is—especially if it could cost her the job she loves.

But when their concern for the little boy they both care about, forces the two of them together, will they let their walls down long enough to see that what they’ve both been avoiding, may be the one thing that saves them?

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Eden Bradley
I’ve been reading and writing for as long as I can remember. When I was 3 ½, even though I wasn’t quite clear yet on my alphabet, I decided there were never enough adults around to read to me and demanded to be taught to read myself. My Auntie Mo took the time to teach me. At age eight, I volunteered for summer school so I could take a creative writing class. My friends thought I was crazy; all they wanted to do was climb trees, go roller skating, swim. But I knew even then that what I was doing was even better.

I wrote my first novel at age twelve with a good friend who is also still writing, as far as I know. At a sleepover at her house, instead of sleeping, we stayed up all night crafting a rather horrible romance novel. Hopefully I’ve improved since then, and I now have enough sense to sleep at night and write during the day. Usually.

I didn’t get serious about my writing until the summer of 2000. I went into it writing romance novels, since that was what I thought I could sell, but eventually I returned to what I truly love: writing erotica, and eventually blended erotica and romance in many of my books. It’s been a difficult and wondrous journey, learning about the craft and business of writing, but well worth it. And now, here I am, doing what I love.

Fortunately, someone other than myself loves my work, too. I write for Bantam/Delta, Berkley Heat (as both Eden Bradley and Eve Berlin), HQN and Harlequin Spice, and Samhain Publishing, and I have a few self-published novellas out, as well. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but mostly it’s wonderful and exhilarating. I also love to cook, eat, go to the beach, hang out with friends, shop – especially for shoes – and read everything I can get my hands on. I’m fascinated by art, tattoos, and what goes on inside people’s minds, which is what I love to explore in my books. I’m dying to travel more, and would love to spend a few months at an Italian villa, cruising the Greek islands, or exploring Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, I get to write, and someone actually reads my books, which is a pretty good life!

Find Eden Bradley at:


Pleasure Point

The island always knows what you need…

Miranda lives in paradise— the exclusive Eden resort, the ultimate in fantasy retreats.

Roan, the resort’s dungeon consultant, lives part-time on the island and full-time in the past.

When the sexy Dominant and the sultry pastry chef both receive one of the island’s mysterious invitations they spend a sizzling week together in the dungeon suite. They’re left breathless, wanting more… and hopelessly falling.

Both have been scarred by loss, both have created a nearly impenetrable shell. The intensity and intimacy of kink might be the perfect recipe to open Miranda’s heart again. But can the man who fulfills her every secret desire ever give her what she needs the most?

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Connect With Us At:


Monday, October 20, 2014

Guest Blog: M.S. Spencer: If I'm Happy and I Know It, Can I Write Romance?


Does your own love life help or hinder your romance writing?

I had a writer friend who'd been publishing romances since she was 19. Her earlier books were nice and steamy (or as steamy as Harlequin allowed), but her later books exhibited a slower, more deliberative, even hesitant approach to romance. I asked her why. Her response? "If you ain't gettin' any, it's hard to write it."

I've been wondering about that. Many of my author friends who write erotic—even BDSM—often turn out to be in blissful marriages with small children. Perhaps the balance in their real lives allows them to break out into all kinds of fantasies. Perhaps they like the contrast. How does a mind work that, on the one hand, can live a bucolic existence in a suburb of (say) Des Moines, and on the other, write about shape-shifting vampires from another planet?

From the reader's perspective, is the writer's writing impaired if she has an active love life? Does it bubble up in the writing? Does it distract the reader if he thinks he's reading an autobiography? These are indeed interesting avenues of inquiry, but today I want to address a different issue, this time from the writer's perspective. Does having romance in your own life make it easier or harder to write romance?

Romance writers tend to have two things in common—they like happy endings, and they like the push and pull, play and by-play, of the romantic story. The question becomes, if you're supremely happy—on your honeymoon, or celebrating the birth of a first child, or in your twentieth year of wedded bliss—does it hinder your ability to sit down and write a  story that effectively conveys all the necessary bumps on the path to happiness? Alternatively, if everything in your own life has gone wrong—death in the family, or divorce, or you despair of ever finding Mr. Right—can you still write a story that sails tranquilly over placid blue water into paradise?

Does it perhaps differ from writer to writer?

It's often been assumed that a true artist must suffer in order to create powerful emotional scenes.  Some people work better with a little angst in their lives--they can immerse themselves in the story and forget their troubles, or use the story as a release for their emotions, or create a sublime and harmonious world that they can manipulate any way they want.

On the other hand, some (like me) do much better when we're happy. It may sound odd, but when I'm with someone I care about, this little itch starts in my side and crawls up to my head and whispers, "Write, write, write now." When I don't respond, it usually hisses, "You moron, use it or lose it." On the other hand, if things are going badly, I'll do anything rather than put fingers to keyboard—activities that usually include staring out the window, making lists, and in my youth, smashing wine glasses.

Eventually, however, as with most authors, I'm driven to write no matter what the circumstances in my life.  But in this case,  the heroine tends to have a bit of a hard time getting to that happy ending and the story can get bogged down in booby traps, misunderstandings, and criminal elements. When my life is going smoothly, the story tends to move along a bit more quickly and the hero and heroine have fewer obstacles to overcome.

As to actual research into the psychology of the thing, I've found academic articles that examine how expressive writing affects the reader's mood—but not the other way around, i.e., how the writer's mood affects the expressive writing. I did find one blog by Darren Cormier written in 2010 that picks up the theme in a very interesting way: http://www.darrencormier.com/2/post/2010/10/how-does-personal-mood-affect-writing.html

I would love to have readers of Romance Books 4 Us weigh in with their perspectives. To a comment that sheds new light on the subject, I'd like to offer a beautiful keychain, suitable for holding the key to your heart, your home, or your planet.

BIO:
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five continents, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent.
Ms. Spencer has published nine romance novels. Six—LosersKeepers, Triptych, Artful Dodging: The Torpedo Factory Murders, Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine (a Sarasota Romance, Lapses of Memory, and the Mason's Mark —were published by Secret Cravings.

BLURB: Her latest is Whirlwind Romance, published September, 2014
In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious castaway. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken far from civilization to a tiny, remarkable island in the western Caribbean. With the help of her son Crispin, a small, but proud young boy named Inigo, and a cadre of extraordinary characters, Lacey and Armand must confront pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue if they are to restore the once idyllic tropical paradise to its former serenity and find lasting happiness.




Sunday, October 19, 2014

What's In Your Hat?

Thank goodness writers have choices these days! Used to be a writer had to write what their publisher told them to write. I've heard horror stories of requests for authors to change their names, adopt new pen names for different genres, or adopt a new pen name when a writer's book didn't sell well, giving a "fresh start" to things. Authors often trusted these decisions handed down to them, such as, "I don't think you can write suspense" or "you need to make this paranormal very dark and gritty and strip out all the humor." Some authors were able to accept and embrace these changes, and others could not. 

Just to be clear, some of those decisions and requests were good ones, and I don't pretend to understand or question the motivation of the Big 5. But we all know authors who didn't take their suggestion of tossing their manuscripts into the circular file, or sitting on them in boxes under their bed for twenty years. And let's not talk about what it does to an author who has had ten or fifteen manuscripts rejected, only to see something similar to one of their WIPs wind up on the shelves published by the same house. Good books were rejected due to shelf space, or "we already bought two titles in that line," and not because the book wasn't any good.


Today, if a writer can work hard to build a readership and audience, he or she can write in any genre, even in multiple genres and do it without changing their author profile or persona, depending. Things such as merging YA and Erotica would be obvious exceptions to this. But the secret to success today isn't necessarily in a "fantastic book" as in the promotion and the readership it gains, and how prolific the author can be. Authors who can churn it out quickly, have a distinct advantage in this market. And yes, the series is king. Once you sell them on the world, you don't need to sell it to everyone, you just need those people coming back over and over again.

I was floored when we asked readers how many books they read in Romance this year. Do you know what the average was of the 80 or so people who responded to that question? How about 200 books!! And did you know that there are some romance readers who read 1-2 books a day. I had a handful that said they'd read over 1000 books this year, and this year isn't even over yet! The average U.S. Citizen reads 5 books a year. That's right, 5.

So, when you have an avid public, looking for good reads and wonderful new authors to follow, because they have this insatiable appetite for reading, why would anyone want to restrict the number of books being written?

Mark Coker of Smashwords has said there is about a 413% increase in new titles this year. Do you think that will even make a dent in the shape of things if readers are reading 300 books a year? And with the ease of getting iBooks now on over a billion new iPhones and iPads out there today all over the world, with just one click, the market is certainly expanding. 


Some will argue the quality has suffered. Yes, we all know of some recent blockbusters that were poorly written, poorly edited and yet were loved to the point of making authors a household name, set for life. While it has worked for a few, I also don't advocate an author should aspire to this either. Putting out a professional book, looking professional, with professional detail to craft and editing, is still the goal. And today, we have readers who read everything from sweet cozy mystery to BDSM and back again.

So, I say hooray for choice and cross genre readerships, for series that go on for 25 books or more, for characters that blend elements to give us compelling stories in a wide variety of  textures and fabric that make up the quilt of the reader's desire. The world is becoming more connected through social media, some say getting smaller. But the world is also getting more and more varied as subgenres are able to flourish in this Indie Revolution.

And I think that's a good thing.


NYT and USA/Today and Amazon Top 100 Best Selling Author Sharon Hamilton’s SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love. Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany earned her a #1 Amazon author ranking in Gothic Romance.

A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place.

Sharon's 8th book in the SEAL Brotherhood Series, SEAL's Promise is available for preorder now, and will launch on Veteran's Day, 11/11/14. Lots of parties are planned to sign up for the newsletter and find out how you can be a part of this exciting time for Sharon!


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