APRIL GUESTS - HIGHLIGHTING CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
4-19 Kate Curran - Contemporary Romance: FALLING FOR YOU...AGAIN

NEWS
May 5 DARK OBSESSION by Terri Molina: Romantic Suspense with Mexican Mystical elements
May 6 DARING MISS DANVERS by Vivenne Lorret: Regency Romance

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Contemporary Romance Chose Me by Author Kate Curran

KATE CURRAN
I originally started writing time travel historicals. At about that same time, I started reading authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown.

Suddenly, contemporary romance chose me.

The stories that speak to me have deep emotional issues beyond the romance.  I love writing stories that are more than just about falling in love, but also secondary stories about building stronger relationships with family and friends.

In my first book, Only for You, my hero and his father have been estranged for nine years, and the hero returns home when he learns his father is seriously ill.  So alongside the romance is a story about a father and son rebuilding their relationship.

With my second book, Falling for You…Again, I took on the challenge of a couple surviving the death of a child.  The book opens two years after their daughter died in a boat accident, and their marriage is hanging by a thread.  I wanted to show that couples can survive a tragedy and embrace each other and life again. 

My current work in progress, Leave Me Breathless, deals with domestic violence. Even with as heavy a topic as this one, there is a lot of fun and laughs, and I think really lovable, memorable characters.

With every book, I strive to give my readers a few tears, some laughs, romance and an ending that warms the heart. 



Friday, April 18, 2014

Holidays past and future

Hello, I'm Pippa Jay, author of SciFi and the supernatural. Right now I'm drowning in edits for three separate books, and the idea of a holiday is *very* appealing! >.<

Holidays these days tend to be very child-orientated to keep my three monsters entertained. They're mostly beach related. I've never really been a sun, sea and sand person - I burn far too easily with my pale skin - but there's something quite relaxing about sitting by the sea and listening to the waves rush in and out...even when drowned out by excited screams and the odd shrieks of sibling rivalry. :P


It's hard to pick a favourite holiday. Before the days of little monsters, two holidays stick in my mind. The out-of-the-ordinary visit to Taiwan to stay with a friend who was working out there was probably the most striking. It's also an experience that I've used as a basis for how someone might feel when arriving on an alien planet for the first time - the contrast in culture and surroundings was that sharp for me. But the best? I think that was my trip to Sweden with my husband and his parents. We had this little log cabin quite literally in the middle of nowhere, with private woodland and our own lake. The quiet and solitude were amazing. No traffic. Very few birds. If you wanted to write something post apocalyptic about being the only human being left alive, it was the perfect setting for inspiration. I loved it. We went canoeing and fishing on the lake. I saw my first red squirrel, a firecrest, and a Camberwell Beauty butterfly. Some people might find the silence and isolation creepy, but I adored it to the point where I even considered moving there. I'm not great with languages, though, so I'm not sure it would have worked out. But I'd love to go back again.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to our yearly holiday booked for the end of May. This time we're having a week in a house styled to look like an African hut, up on a cliff top setting by, yes, a beach. I'm hoping for dry weather. The beach is huge, and the dunes between us and the sea are a haven for butterflies. And hopefully by then, all my edits will be done!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vacation Memories


So we’re talking vacations this month. It’s a bit premature since most vacations happen in the summer. 
I never really took vacations until after I was married and had kids and my husband retired from the Coast Guard and found another job, because we just couldn’t afford to. Our first family vacation was 2002. A trip to Florida. My nieces Heather and Sierra joined us, along with Sierra’s brother Nik. We went to both Disneyworld and Universal studios and had a blast! The kids were all at the perfect age to enjoy the rides and shows.  As much fun as that was though, I think my most memorable vacation was the one I took in 1975, with my whole family. It was the first and only vacation I can remember us taking and the last because a few months later my mom passed away.  I can still remember when she came to tell us we were taking a trip. She just walked in the room while we were watching TV and said, “We’re going on a trip, so pack some clothes and get some sleep. We’re leaving very early in the morning.”  Yeah, it was a spur of the moment thing. I think my aunt and uncle talked her into it, they came with us.

So we all piled into our Suburban…seven kids aged nine to seventeen, a two year old toddler and three adults and took a road trip south along the Texas gulf coastline. I remember we made stops in Alice, Kingsville, Corpus Christie and Brownsville….visiting with family mostly. Then we took a trip across the border to Mexico to do some shopping.  I don’t remember which town it was, there are a few you can cross into that welcome tourists.  Along the river on the Mexico side, you’ll see children of all ages begging for money and scrambling like ants for the measly coins people toss down to them. Once you cross the river via the international bridge and you’re accosted by merchants trying to sell you everything from candies to clothing to wall hangings. Even children, some as young as five, will try to sell you packets of gum.  The streets are lined with stores and the sidewalks are crowded with carts filled with leather belts, handbags, jewelry,  everything you can think of. And, occasionally you’ll pass a store and your senses are filled with the spicy aroma of Mexican food.  I don’t remember if anyone bought anything, although I’m sure we did.  But, you have to be careful who you turn down because if it’s the wrong person, you could end up cursed. I saw a woman give my mother a dirty look when she told her no and a couple of months later mom got sick. (Superstitious much?)

I’ve made a few trips back to Mexico over the years and not much has changed.  The children are still begging for loose change, merchants are still trying to make deals, and you won’t find better Mexican food. Of course, I avoid eye-contact, for obvious reasons. Hah

A few years back, while I was working on my book Dark Obsession (available May 5th), my aunt, cousin and I took a trip back down the Rio Grande Valley (the gulf coastline) so I could get some visuals. Dark Obsession takes place in the valley….almost all of my stories do, actually.  I got some great stories from my aunt’s in-laws as well as some great scenery to use in the story.  

Anyway, speaking of Dark Obsession, the book is being re-released May 5th. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and help spread the word. =)

Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt for your reading pleasure.

 

DARK OBSESSION

A chance encounter seals the fate of a reclusive farmer and a mysterious woman who's on the run from a man who will stop at nothing to control her--including murder.

Ray Chavez  doesn’t believe in visions or omens or the mysticism of his Mexican/Indian heritage. When he’s awakened by the spirit of this great-grandmother with a message that something is coming, Ray passes it off as a bad dream. But he may just reconsider his position when he finds Lexie Solis stranded on the edge of town, in search of a new life. Ray feels an instant attraction, as well as a connection, to the skittish young woman, and he pursues a relationship with her. But what Lexie doesn’t tell Ray or his family, is that she is on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend and he may be more powerful than even she wants to believe. When Lexie is assaulted by an unseen force, they learn that the man she is hiding from is a master of the dark arts and his obsession with Lexie goes beyond his need to control her; he wants to possess her soul as well. As their past lives parallel, Lexie’s only hope for salvation is in Ray’s hands. But can he accept his destiny in time to save the woman he loves? 

Excerpt:

Sylvia dropped onto the kitchen chair and scowled at her brother. She’d rushed straight from work after her grandmother called and told her about their new visitor. She couldn’t help but wonder if it were the same visitor her cards had been warning her about for the past week and even after she voiced this concern Ray still had the nerve to patronize her.

She’s not some stray puppy you picked up from the side of the road, Ray,” she said. I’m just saying you don’t know anything about her.”

Ray leaned against the counter, crossing his legs at the ankles, and sent her a crooked grin. Damn. And I was really looking forward to teaching her a few tricks.”

Stop thinking with your glands and think with your head, Big Brother,” Sylvia snapped.

I’ve been thinking with my glands since I was fourteen. It’s a hard habit to break.”

Sylvia curled her lip at him and turned to her grandmother for support. She had sensed a mal puesta in the young woman and performed a limpia to heal her. It was a ritual they often worked for the families in town who came to see them about their curses. The inflicted would lie on a small cot and her grandmother would wave an egg over them, chanting a series of novenas.

She did this same cleansing on the young woman in Ray’s old bedroom. When she finished she took the egg and cracked it into a glass of salt water. The egg sizzled and cooked, curling its way to the surface like a snake trying to escape the flames of hell.

 Look for this and other works at my website: www.terrimolina.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Wallflower Wedding Vacation

by Vivienne Lorret
Our April theme is all about favorite vacations. Since I have a wandering spirit by nature, I’m glad to say that reading has always given me a sense that I’ve been to some exciting places. I feel the same way about writing. Each story brings new friends, new sights, and new experiences.

As some of you may have noticed from last month’s post, I have a new book coming out in less than three weeks. I’m so excited about Daring Miss Danvers! Writing the Wallflower Wedding Series for Avon Impulse has been a dream come true. And I feel inordinately blessed, each and every day. Thank you for sharing this adventure with me! <3

 
release: 5/6/14
 
It's all fun and games … until someone falls in love.
 
Oliver Goswick, Viscount Rathburn, needs money—and soon. With time ticking away and his inheritance held hostage until he's properly wed, Rathburn's slim options point to a single solution: a faux engagement. In need of the perfect bride, he knows of only one candidate: his best friend's wallflower sister. The plan seems flawless, except for one problem … He can't help falling in love with her.
 
Poised, polished Emma Danvers knows nothing good can come of Rathburn's scheme. Spending the next two months engaged in a mock courtship is not what she'd imagined for her final season. Yet, charmed by his roguish ways and the inexplicable hammering he causes in her heart, she accepts his challenge.
 
For Emma, keeping the secret seemed easy when it was just a game … But as Rathburn begins to see past her reserved exterior to the passionate woman within, the risk of losing her heart becomes all too real.

Excerpt:

  She looked at Rathburn, watching the buttons of his waistcoat move up and down as he caught his breath. When he looked away from the door and back to her, she could see the dampness of their kiss on his lips. Her kiss.

  He grinned and waggled his brows as if they were two criminals who’d made a lucky escape.  “Not quite as buttoned-up as I thought.” He licked his lips, ignoring her look of disapproval. “Mmm…jasmine tea. And sweet, too. I would have thought you’d prefer a more sedate China black with lemon. Then again, I never would have thought such a proper miss would have such a lush, tempting mouth either.”

  She pressed her lips together to blot away the remains of their kiss. “Have you no shame? It’s bad enough that it happened. Must you speak of it?”

  He chuckled and stroked the pad of his thumb over his bottom lip as his gaze dipped, again, to her mouth. “You’re right, of course. This will have to be our secret. After all, what would happen if my grandmother discovered that beneath a fa├žade of modesty and decorum lived a warm-blooded temptress with the taste of sweet jasmine on her lips?”

 :)
~

Also, for a sneak peek of the first two chapters, you can download Springtime is for Lovers for free on April 22, 2014. Or you can preorder your copy of Daring Miss Danvers, the first book in The Wallflower Wedding Series. For more information on my latest writing adventures, visit www.vivlorret.net

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vacation good, vacation bad...?

Greetings from my own vacation (around here we call them 'holidays', but that's a whole nother post) in sunny France!

When you live in the UK, anywhere where the sun shines is good vacation material, especially at this time of the year, while we're waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for 'summer' to arrive. Brittany, which is where we've been for the past few days, in the north-west of France, is sunny and green this week. Lovely wine-drinking and cheese-munching weather. You all envious? Excellent. I'll stop now.

The down side? Vacations can be difficult for writers. It's the only time I ever wish I had a 'normal' job. It's great to be your own boss, keep your own hours, choose your own projects. But it also means that when you're away, the work crashes to a halt. There's no office to leave behind that will go on nicely without me. If I'm not there, nothing gets done.

And it's amazing how reliant we are on having the internet at our fingertips 24/7. This post, for instance, is popping up late today, simply because I'm sitting on the train without mobile internet.

Tonight, I get home, and I've gotta say: I'm not looking forward to spending the entire day tomorrow catching up on vast mounds of email, trying to remember where I'm up to in my WIP and wondering if I'd have been better off with the 15,000 words I could have written if I'd stayed home.

Still, poor me, right? Can't complain. Not everyone gets to leave the dreary UK weather behind and swan around in France for a week in spring, eating lovely food, seeing the sights of Paris and then off into the wilderness to breathe sweet country air. So I'll just keep on taking vacations. Even if it means a bit of work doesn't get done.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inspiration from Unexpected Sources



by Shobhan Bantwal


Authors are constantly seeking out story ideas, consciously or unconsciously. Whether we are shopping for groceries, sitting in church on a Sunday morning, showering, or pulling weeds in our yards, our writer minds are always on the prowl for juicy story ideas.


Some of us are disciplined enough to carry a notepad to jot down those ideas that suddenly strike in the most bizarre places like an airport rest room or a crowded restaurant. I am not very diligent about such things, so I have to try harder to recall those thoughts at a later time. And if I can't, I chastise and torture myself for my lack of foresight.


However, we all know that inspiration can come from the most unexpected avenues. A newspaper article, a neighbor's death, a dog's uncanny ability to sense danger, an obscure superstition, or even something as minor as a child's forgotten homework can trigger an epiphany. A writer's mind works in strange ways.


As a sociology major in college, I had always been interested in women's issues in contemporary India. While I had considered them appropriate subjects for serious non-fiction books, I had never thought of them as possible fiction themes.


Years later, when I read an article about dowry deaths, a horrible and contemptible practice that continues to plague modern India, I was inspired to write my debut book, The Dowry Bride

Later, when I heard about sonogram technology making it easy for some unscrupulous doctors in India to abort unwanted female fetuses, I decided to use that topic as the basis for my second book, The Forbidden Daughter. Both books were a great way to introduce controversial hot-button social issues via an entertaining and romantic story.
Model in a Sari


The inspiration for The Sari Shop Widow came while shopping at the Little India community in New Jersey, where colorful sari shops abound. The trials and tribulations of my own petite stature led me to write The Reluctant Matchmaker, the story of a tiny woman falling in love with an unusually tall man, and the crazy challenges she faces.



I would love to hear about your book ideas, and who and what inspired you to write them?


Website: www.shobhanbantwal.com   Facebook page
    

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Contemporary Romance – What Makes It Fun To Read...And Write

By Susan Lute
SUSAN LUTE
According to Wikipedia, in 2004 over half of the romances published in the U.S. were contemporary romances. That's probably still true, though today, as then, there are many sub-genres that rise and fall in popularity. What makes the contemporary novel fun to read? Different romance genres take the reader to different places. Romantic suspense puts them on the edge of their seats. Paranormal romance crawls inside their skin, taking them to the other side of reality. A good historical will transport them back in time. For me, what makes contemporaries fun to read is that ultimately they bring the reader home, whether they are about Jenny from the block,  girls in the city, life in small towns, community, families. Finding love in today's confusing and fast-paced world can be a challenge. Contemporary romances remind the reader, while falling in love can have it's ups and downs, it still feels like nothing else in this world.

I like to watch House Hunters International because it's all about couples leaving everything they've known behind to start over in a brand new life. Reading a contemporary romance is like that. Fun. Exciting. Triumphant. Really, these stories could be about any of us.

To write a contemporary is sometimes more challenging than any other romance genre because the framework of suspense, 1830's London, warlocks, and shape shifters are elements that can carry a story all the way to the end. In a contemporary romance the location can become a character, but it's the characters themselves that move and shape the story. There is nothing more exciting than finding out what moves the hero and heroine, what molds their hearts, how love changes them and helps them grow.

I especially like to write the unexpected, and  roll reversal stories. A Marine heroine who is lost, and the man paying dues for his own mistake who shows her the way home – Jane's Long March Home. A single dad bringing his heart-wounded daughter back to his hometown, only to find the girl he left behind about to spread her wings, determined to escape small town life and take on the big city – The Return Of Benjamin Quincy. A former Marine suddenly responsible for his grieving nephew, who takes a job as “secretary” to the boss determined to prove to her CEO father she can fill his shoes – A Marine's Christmas Proposal. Currently I'm writing a small town contemporary, slightly humorous I think story, where our heroine is the Sheriff. Finding out if she will get her man is almost more fun than going to Disneyland.

What is your favorite contemporary romance novel, and why?


Susan Lute is a traditional and Indie published author of Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction, and Paranormal Romance, The Dragonkind Chronicles. You can find her on the web at her website, www.susanlute.com, Pinterest, Facebook, and Goodreads

I'm  giving away three copies of Jane's Long March Home. Leave a comment and sign up for my newsletter to be put into a drawing to win.