July - Celebrating Inspirational Romance Authors

07-02 - Inspirational Romantic Suspense Author, Terri Reed

Hunting Outlander begins July 5th.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Setting the Stage for "Hunting Outlander"

One way to get to know a country is to read books set in that country from historical fiction, through historical romance and into contemporary times. Because Romancing The Genres is gearing up to host Hunting Outlander, a Facebook Event, we are taking a few days before the actual "hunt" begins to set the mood.

RTG's Outlander STARZ Hunting Outlander Facebook Event starts Tuesday, July 5th and ends Wednesday, July 13th. Winners will be announced Friday, July 15th. Details are available here.

In addition, you'll have the opportunity to share who your favorite Scottish Hottie is, including pictures.

Starting July 5 through July 10, two questions about Michelle Monkou's reviews of the STARZ network's second season of Outlander will be posted on the Event site. Links to the episode's review will be included.

The last question will be posted on July 11, the day of Michele's review of the last episode of Season Two. Again, you can read details here.

Today, however, is about setting the stage by talking about books set in Scotland.

In February 2015, Romancing The Genres Celebrated romance authors whose books were set in Scotland.

We were excited to host

Collette Cameron


 Amanda Forester


Claire Delacroix


Amanda Scott.

Genre-istas were also featured in the Windtree Press anthology, The Gifts of Christmas.

Maggie Lynch's "The Hogmaney Stranger" is a favorite from that collection.

By using the "search" feature on our blog (type in Scotland) you'll get eighteen or so posts that have something related to Scotland included. It could be about a trip to Scotland, a character who has Scottish ancestry or books set in that country.

This is in no way an exhaustive list!!!

Please add your favorite Scottish Romance author's name, favorite book set in Scotland, and if it is PG-13 or lower heat level, include a link to website.

Of course you can always go to your favorite e-book distributor and search for Scottish Romance or Scottish Historical Romance.

Tomorrow we continue our adventure in Scotland.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

HARNESSING THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP by Sarah McDermed

(Courtesy Guide Dogs for the Blind)

One of the most amazing service organizations I’ve ever encountered is Guide Dogs for the Blind. While doing research for my upcoming romantic suspense novel, BLINDSIGHT, it was my pleasure to visit their Oregon school campus and learn how these amazing animals are raised and trained, and how these magical human-canine partnerships are crafted—partnerships that have the power to change lives in amazing ways.

Did you know that two of Guide Dogs for the Blind’s co-founders were pioneering women who refused to accept the limitations society put on them?
(Courtesy Guide Dogs for the Blind)

Blind since infancy, Hazel Hurst had been partnered with a ‘Seeing Eye’ dog trained at the organization school in Morristown, N.J. She was a tireless advocate for the blind and fundraiser who in 1941 partnered with a former Seeing Eye Trainer, Don Donaldson, and fundraiser/administrator Lois Merrihew to found the Hurst Foundation in Monrovia, California.

Lois Merrihew had always dreamed of training guide dogs for the blind, but when she applied to an East Coast school to become a trainer, she was told women were not physically or emotionally suited for this type of work. Before long, Don Donaldson mentored Lois to become a guide dog trainer. (Kudos to Mr. Donaldson!)

LOIS MERRIHEW
Through tireless lecturing and demonstrations of guide dog activity Hazel Hurst, the Donaldsons and Lois Merrihew promoted the idea of a 'Guide Dog School for the Blind' in Northern California. When the United States entered the war, many people anticipated a growing need for guide dogs for blinded veterans returning home. Lois and Don shared their expertise with officials of the American Women's Voluntary Services (AWVS). With the support of key people, Guide Dogs for the Blind was established.

Although their first students were civilians, by 1943 GDP paired their first blinded veteran with a dog named Blondie. Many more veterans would be introduced to the joy and freedom of a Human-Guide partnership. Lois went on to become the school’s Director of Training.

"Of any of my accomplishments, I am most proud of Senate Bill #2391, passed in 1947, setting standards and licensing for both trainers and schools," she said. "Before then, anyone could 'train' and sell dogs to blind persons, without any guarantee of proper training." Lois was the first woman to become a licensed dog guide trainer.

30-second Video
Courtesy of Guide Dogs for the Blind)

Guide Dogs for the Blind is a tax-exempt charitable organization that receives no government funding. Private donations and thousands of volunteers make this school possible. Volunteers donate time as Breeding Stock Custodians, Guide Dog Puppy Raisers, Campus Volunteers and members of the Speakers Bureau. Their two school campuses are located in San Rafael, California, and in Boring, Oregon.


Please consider donating some of your hard-earned money, or better yet, time! Visit their website (source of the information and photographs in this blog post)at http://welcome.guidedogs.com/ for more information.

Thank you for reading my post. ~ Sarah Raplee

Monday, June 27, 2016

Michelle Monkou's Recap of Outlander, Season 2, Episode 12

Outlander Season Two, Episode Twelve - Hail Mary
(See below for links to all recaps)
(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Televsion)

Rewriting history is a nerve-wracking and tedious affair. Not only must Claire and Jamie worry about their roles and actions as they try to reset world events, but they must worry about other major players who can also tilt the balance. This constant state of affairs drives Jamie's strategy when handling the prince and when Jamie's desire to march on and fight the Redcoats.

But his plans never materialize for that pesky prince who either wants to go headlong into battle with a weary, underfed army or doesn't have a sense of direction when it matters. And so, Jamie and his men must retreat to fight another day.

In the meantime, Claire runs into Mary who is not thrilled to see her. Remember when Claire talked Alex into leaving Mary during her stint in Paris? Well, Alex turns up with consumption, but well enough to tell Mary about Claire's advice. Learning that Alex is ill, Claire tries to make amends with an offer to help Alex and simultaneously apologize to him.

(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)

And so Claire is in the middle of tending to Alex when - holy moly - Jack Randall appears. He's equally surprised, while she is more horrified. I couldn't stop laughing because the man was like a bad rash that keeps popping up at a bad time. Mary and Alex gush over Johnny's kindness and generosity. Claire decides to get the heck out of the room, but Jack chases after her to ask her to look after his brother. Always shrewd and seizing opportunities, Claire extracts the necessary information about the British army's location before she'd agree to help Alex.

On the other hand, Jamie faces a surprise visit from Colum. And he's sure that his uncle is there on business regarding the Jacobite cause. However, Colum is clearly ailing and in much pain from his debilitating disease. And Colum has come to request from Claire assistance to ease his transition into the afterlife.  I must admit to being surprised that Claire did help him and not go on her soapbox for political correctness sake.  Colum's visit and tying up of loose ends before he passes on allows for the big reveal that Gaelis and Dougal's baby is alive and well.
(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)

Once Jamie learns of Jack's appearance, he finds it difficult to let Claire be alone in that man's presence. Murtagh who makes one ferocious bodyguard will accompany her as she tends to Alex. But there is no nursing Alex back to health. He is dying. Something that Jack Randall can't accept. But his head is about to spin when he hears his brother's dying request for him to marry Mary so that she and the baby can inherit his property, her widow's pension, if necessary, and (remember he will be Frank's ancestor). He vehemently refuses and with good cause as he reveals his fear
 that his inner monster may not be tamed enough for Mary.

But in the sweetest gesture and sincerity, Murtagh volunteers to wed Mary. And Claire can't allow him to do that because of Frank's existence. Although now she knows the truth about Frank's lineage and he wasn't descended from such a vile creature. Before Alex dies, he is able to witness Mary's future secured with marriage at his bedside. And in great Jack fashion, he takes out his frustration and grief with a fit of punches on Alex's dead body. It was the perfect reminder to let us never forget what Jack is.

But this emotional episode isn't over because Colum is still taking care of his personal business by giving Jamie the enviable position as guardian of his son (remember Dougal's the biological father) until he's old enough to take over as the laird. A position that Dougal wants and makes no bones about his disappointment that Jamie, a Mackenzie shall be the surrogate father of a Fraser. But Colum doesn't back down. And in a heartbreaking scene - the kind that would be sent in for nomination consideration - Dougal is there with Colum in his final moments, but he misses telling him how he feels from the heart. Truly a beautiful scene between an often rancorous relationship between brothers.

Share with me what you thought of Season 2, episode 12. While you’re compiling your thoughts, I asked K. M. Jackson, author of Romancing The Fashionista to share her thoughts of Outlander and tell us about her latest releases. 

The secondary male characters ruled the day. With regard to Dougal - is he the big loser with all that will occur in the Mackenzie family affairs (including Geillis’s baby)? Did you feel sorry for him?

KM: Having not read the Outlander books (am I committing an Outlander sin here? Please don't throw tomatoes) I don’t know if Dougal is the biggest loser since if Claire turns out to be right in her predictions and they are not successful in their quest then none of them will come out on top. But I will say with this past episode for the first time I felt a surprising bit of sympathy for Dougal as the second son. He showed a tender side and love for his brother that was heartbreaking and relatable. Though he is not a typical hero his convictions are strong and he’s loyal to his clan. With Dougal, I feel whether you like it or not, you know where you stand. That’s respectable.
 
Jack Randall - a walking man with a death sentence because Claire shar
ed the info. Did you feel for his pain or empathize with his reluctance?

KM: Oh Jack. Though I can’t look away from him, I live to hate him. He’s a man I just can’t feel sorry for and the more Claire does to stay in his path, the more I get annoyed with her. Try as I might I could not feel the same pain for his loss as I did for Dougal. Jack feels like a different kind of monster to me. A man completely into feeding his own appetites, who cares not for his fellow man, yet alone his brother. There is nothing respectable or relatable for me when it comes to Jack.

That Jack is a super villain.

So now tell us about your current release and the one on the horizon.

KM: My current release is a flirty novella from Samhain called Romancing The Fashionista. Here is a bit about it: When fate offers a second chance, only a fool waits for the other shoe to drop. The Flirty Fashionistas, Book 1


Manhattan fashion maven and magazine editor Melinda Mitchell shuns the social media spotlight. That is, until a tipsy girl’s night out ends with her first Facebook account and a friend request from none other than her secret high school crush, Nolan Parker. 

When Nolan lost his chance at the big leagues, he signed on with Doctors Without Borders and never looked back. Now he’s back home to help out his ailing father. Running into Mel at his fifteen-year high school reunion rekindles old feelings he thought he’d buried for good. 

Intrigued by Nolan’s irresistibly sexy profile, Melinda heads to the reunion with her best friend to see if the picture matches up to the man. Their instant attraction flares brighter than the Manhattan skyline. 

Although the tough fashionista and accomplished ex-jock rub each other the very right way, a few stumbling blocks will decide if the heat between them is a symptom of forever love, or a past that should be left where it belongs.

Enjoy Romancing The FashionistaAmazoniBooksBarnes & Noble
KM: And coming in October of this year I’m thrilled to be in a holiday anthology from Kensington Publishing with two incredible bestselling authors: Donna Hill and Farrah Rochon. It’s a dream come true! My contribution is called From Here To Serenity. Here is a little about Holiday Temptation and From Here To Serenity which is available for pre-order now.

Here is a bit about HOLIDAY TEMPTATION:
’Tis the season to satisfy your holiday desires with this festive trio of sexy stories…

A GIFT OF LOVE Donna Hill 
Drama professor Traci Long spends her free time at the CoffeeMate cafĂ©, pursuing her true passion—writing her own plays. Meanwhile, sexy barista Noah Jefferson is doing his best to distract her. But once they get involved, past betrayals make Traci wary. She’s right that Noah is keeping something from her—but it might be something that will make this Christmas as sweet as a rave review—and steamier than her favorite chai lattĂ©…

HOLIDAY SPICE Farrah Rochon
A Christmas-time tragedy took photographer Miranda Lawson’s holiday spirit with it. Since then, she’s traveled the world, determined to outrun her demons. This year she’s off to Istanbul. But the scenery isn’t the only gorgeous site she spots through her camera lens….Kyle Daniels loves Christmas, but he’s looking for escape too—and soon he and Miranda find it in each other’s arms. Yet their connection doesn’t end there. Maybe staying put isn’t such a bad idea after all—especially when there’s someone to celebrate with…

FROM HERE TO SERENITY K.M. Jackson
Unstoppable real-estate developer Ross Montgomery is under orders to get some holiday R&R. A cruise to Miami on his yacht, “The Serenity,” is the perfect place to start—especially when he meets his new personal chef, Essie Bradford. Between her calming presence, her amazing food, and her delectable beauty, Ross just might develop a taste for the good life. And when the two discover they have a lot in common—including an irresistible attraction—the next course may be a spicy New Year…


Pre-order HOLIDAY TEMPTATIONAmazoniBooksBarnes and Noble


Thanks so much again for having me, Michelle. Happy Outlanding! 

To stay updated with K.M. Jackson, visit her website.

My Weekly Recaps
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Michelle Monkou writes for Harlequin Kimani, Evernight Publishing, and her indie pursuits with Stella Maris Publishing. Michelle’s website is michellemonkou.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Charity Can Find a Home in Fiction

By Courtney Pierce

One of my goals in life is to create a charitable trust that supports what is personally important to me―funded through book sales. We all want a legacy, and while my books will live on after I’m gone, there’s more I can do to maximize their impact on the world. Authors are in a unique position to communicate their personal wants and wishes by infusing their stories with an inspiration to help others. Like-minded readers will connect and spread the word. Plus, benevolence feels good.

In my books, charity takes shape in the humorous way my characters react to problems. They do the right thing for the wrong reasons, or they’ll do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Their choices create tension and moral dilemmas that force characters to push their limits. The result sparks a predicament. In the first book of my current trilogy, The Executrix, about three middle-age sisters, my characters sneak a standard poodle into a hospital by disguising it as a therapy dog. Of course, the nurses believe the ruse and send the dog on patient rounds. Humorous and poignant chaos ensues. Over three books, the importance of therapy dogs and their service becomes a major subplot, a touchpoint of emotion for my characters. Animals show what they can’t voice.

The addition of a benevolent plot device or personality trait promotes empathy for flawed characters. Even villains fall flat without a redeeming quality. When a fleeing bank robber stops to throw change into a homeless man’s collection cup, readers will see a new dimension to the character. He or she becomes 3-D and real. Readers make an emotional investment to see what happens next.

And then there’s using a charity plot device as a marketing strategy in the process of selling books. This is where I aim to go in my writing. Supporting a cause, either through a direct donation or cooperative marketing arrangement, provides a targeted strategy for promotion, event creation, and publicity. Now I’m cooking with gas.


Heightening awareness of our books in a crowded marketplace is the most challenging step for an author. In the creation phase the words flow freely, but once finished we must climb out the storm cellar to rebuild the barn. Even with a framework of social media, bookstores, and online distribution outlets in place, positioning a new work is difficult without an emotional connection. If the themes in my books can resonate with a specific community, I’m able to raise the stakes.


The writing mantra of “show, don’t tell” can apply to sending the message of charity. My strategy is to show generosity in my characters and incorporate a charitable angle into my plots. Fiction just might turn into something real.


Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon. She writes for baby boomers. Her novels are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. Courtney has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, Courtney is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, She Writes, and Sisters in Crime. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:


The Dushane Sisters are back with Courtney's latest release of Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's latest trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in early 2017. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Authors and Charities—Is It Win-Win?

By Linda Lovely

Let me begin by saying I admire the many authors who generously donate time and potential profits to raise funds and awareness for their favorite charities. They do so by arranging for charities to sell their books and pocket the profits, by forgoing speaking fees to headline charity lunches and dinners, by spending countless hours organizing charity auctions.

In most cases, the partnership offers a win-win for charities and authors. The charities pocket money they might not otherwise receive, get free publicity, and have an opportunity to expand their donor base. Authors gain name recognition and, hopefully, fans, who will become dedicated readers of current and future books.

Earlier this month fellow RTG blogger, Marcia King-Gamble, suggested folks consider charitable efficiency when making donation decisions. She noted, for example, that the Red Cross spends 92.1% of its income on programs that benefit the community with administrative expenses representing less than 5% of total overhead.

That prompted me to consider at what point author-charity partnerships might become more advantageous to authors than charities. Let’s look at a hypothetical charitable event where an author will sell books. The nonprofit provides lots of free promotion in exchange for the author donating a “portion” of the profits.
The Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum
sells NO WAKE ZONE and keeps all profits--.
about $8 per book. We had a signing &
books are sold in the museum gift shop.

In this instance, shouldn’t the people who are urged to buy books to support the charity know the split? If the book retails for $16, how many dollars will the charity pocket versus the author? Let’s say the actual book costs $8, leaving $8 profit. If the author donates only a quarter of the profits, the charity is asking donors to spend $16 (on something they might not otherwise want or buy) in order to reap $2. This isn’t a terribly efficient way to raise money. However, it’s definitely a win for the author who gets all the benefits—promotion, sales, income.

As an author, I can argue this is no different than all the other businesses that donate a “portion” of profits on specific products to charities. When I buy from one online retailer, I’m told the charity I identified as my recipient will get a piece of the action. While I’m sure that “piece” is very, very small, I signed up because I’d make the purchase anyway, and my favorite charity might as well benefit.

So, fellow authors and nonprofit organizers, I’d love to hear what you think. If you’re involved in such an event, should you let your audience know what the various parties will gain?

So far, I’ve been involved as an author with two fundraising initiatives. In one case, I spoke at a luncheon. I received nothing for speaking and the nonprofit made its money from its sale of luncheon tickets. I benefited from the publicity and from a post-luncheon book-signing handled by a local bookstore. However, book purchases were entirely voluntary for attendees.

In the second instance, I provided signed paperback copies of one of my mysteries at cost to a nonprofit that’s near and dear to me. The nonprofit didn’t front a penny. It pocketed ALL profits as it made sales, and it reimbursed me for actual book costs after the fact.

So let’s hear your opinions. What model should authors and charities adopt for fundraising? Should charitable donations per sale of a book or the percentage of charitable proceeds from a luncheon or dinner be made public?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

MY FAVOURITE CHARITY - MARGARET TANNER



AN ENDURING LEGACY – MARGARET TANNER

As the centenary years of the 1st World War are upon us. I thought it appropriate to mention a charitable organization known as Legacy. It was started after the 1st World War by returning veterans who wanted to help the widows and children of their fallen comrades

There are certain charities that I will always donate money to, The Red Cross and The Salvation Army, I am sure everyone would have heard of these wonderful organizations and the great work that they do.

Legacy, which is dear to my heart, would be virtually unknown outside Australia.  This organization is dedicated to supporting the widows and children of Australian service personnel who die during their war service or after it.  They look after nearly 100,000 widows and close to 2,000 children. Each widow and child is provided with a Legatee, that is a volunteer, usually a veteran or a serving member of the armed forces who will act as a mentor and friend. A Legatee might have several children and widows they look out for. It is a voluntary organization and receives no government funding.

Most of the widows now are from the 2nd World War, Korea or Vietnam, but sadly, there are younger widows and children joining the Legacy ranks because of the war in Iraq, Timor and Afghanistan.

I have personal experience of the wonderful work that Legacy does. My late mother was a Legacy Widow, and they were extremely helpful to her. They fought the Veteran Affairs Department on her behalf and made it possible for her receive a War Widow’s pension from the government.  Her Legatee was a returned soldier in his 80’s, and he used to regularly drop in for a chat, and to make sure she didn’t need anything, he also visited her when she was in hospital for no reward, other than the knowledge that he was helping the widow of a fallen comrade.

My novel, The Loves We Left Behind, is a Special Edition, three book collection to mark the centenary of the 1st World War. It is published by Books We Love and is available in print and e-book formats.

I intend donating any profits from the sale of this book to the Melbourne branch of Legacy in memory of my mother.




THE LOVES WE LEFT BEHIND

A hundred years ago, from the far flung corners of the British Empire, young men rushed to fight for Mother England. They left their wives and sweethearts behind. Many of these brave women waited in vain for their men folk to return. How did they cope with the loss and heartache? Could they ever hope to find happiness with another man? Three full novels, each telling a brave young woman’s story of triumph over tragedy and adversity. Allison’s War, Daring Masquerade and Lauren’s Dilemma.












Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Writing Romance in Two Worlds

by M. L. Buchman

Most of the time I write Romantic Suspense. I love the genre and find the possibilities endless and exciting. It takes the thriller reader in me and wraps it around the boy raised on Broadway and Hollywood musicals. Fred Astair I have pretty well covered from The Gay Divorcee to The Towering Inferno. Bing from The Big Broadcast to Stagecoach. No, No, Nanette to Pippin. Favorite movie? Notting Hill. I grew up to be the one in our relationship who cries at happy endings which still makes my grown daughter giggle no end.

There something about romantic suspense that snares me. Taking that heat of danger and the slowly tightening bands of tension and leveraging them to crank up the pressure on the romance with no emergency relief valve... Actually, there's a tip for anyone who wants to write good romantic suspense, when you get to that upper relief valve limit, don't give in. Let your characters suffer without it until they are forced to "blow" and face whatever truth or reality it is that they must face.


The Latest Firehawks novel

The Latest Night Stalkers novel
The next Delta Force novel (coming August 2nd)
But that mad romantic in me comes out every now and then. He comes out when he went to bended knee and forgot every word he'd ever intended to say and had to point mutely at the ring he held forth as a proposal. (And I won't mention the part of the ceremony that my bride had to read because I was too busy crying.)

My first adventure into straight contemporary romance led me to the Pike Place Market and Seattle's waterfront. It is an area that I've haunted by land and sea for over two decades and is very dear to my heart. To take that passion and all of that joy and bring it to five love stories was just so much fun. It all began when my wife gave me a calendar of a dozen lighthouse and we decided to make that our mission for the year: to visit them all. That was when I had the idea to send my own hero and heroine on the same journey in Where Dreams Are Born.

Several years later, I now live on the Oregon Coast. And if there was ever a more romantic place, I haven't been there. The first two novels in the Eagle Cove series are out and two more will be following soon. I grew up in a town of twelve hundred people and ten thousand head of dairy cow. I've lived on islands with a total population of seven hundred and one general store. And someday, my ridiculously romantic heart, hopes to live in a town just like Eagle Cove.


Romantic suspense and contemporary romance are a world apart, and I'm so glad to be in love with both of them.

M. L. Buchman has over 40 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” placing two titles on their “Top 101 Romances of the Last 10 Years” list. He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.


He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife and is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing and receive exclusive content by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.