Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Blissful End

I finished the first draft of Cowboy Bliss a few days ago, effectively bringing to an end the blue funk I've been in since late July. I had put the book on hold throughout June while I wrote guest blogs for the release of Rebel on July 1st, and then embarked upon the blog tour and the madness of the RWA national conference in July. I had so looked forward to Rebel's release and the chance to visit San Antonio. Unfortunately, the letdown in the wake of those events was mind-numbing, mainly because the final chapters of Cowboy Bliss had me stumped.

Writer's block is an insidious, beastly disease that affects all aspects of your life because the problems a book poses are never far from your thoughts whether you're out mowing the lawn or shopping for groceries. That preoccupation puts a damper on your spirits, dragging you down into a pervasive fit of the dismals that only the book can cure, which is peculiar because the book is also the cause.

My dilemma in this story was the true identity of the villain and his motive for murder. Talks with my husband gave me some ideas, but ultimately, there was a moment of epiphany--two of them, actually--that made the words begin to flow again.

But of course, that isn't really the end of the story, which is why I never write "THE END" on the final page of a manuscript. A book is never truly finished, only abandoned. There will be many more edits and read-throughs before it finally goes to print sometime next fall.

Meanwhile, I've already gone back to work on the romantic suspense novel I was 50,000 words into when I dropped it last November to write the cowboy series. I read through it yesterday, and was pleased to discover that it needed only a few minor tweaks. With that one reading, I'm right back there where I left those characters--in a terraced house in West London, which is a far cry from a cattle ranch in Wyoming.
Now all I have to do is figure out how this one ends. *;) winking

To help stave off the dismals as the weather turns colder, I'm giving away a prize package of goodies from the RWA national conference. Post a comment or use the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! Earn extra points by signing up for my mailing list!



  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 22, 2014

Regency Slang by Shana Galen

Disclaimer: A version of this blog was originally published on Love Historicals in April.
I’ve always been fascinated by slang. I remember as a kid I liked using the slang I heard in the Star Wars movies. I’d tell other kids, “Now you’re Bantha fodder!” Yeah. I got some weird looks.

When I was in high school, I fell in love with the 1940s. The famous jazz singer Cab Calloway wrote a jive dictionary I just adored. I still love his songs, like “Are You Hep to the Jive?” with lines like, “Whaddya say, gate? Are you in the know, or are you a solid bringer-downer?”

But I don’t write books set in the Star Wars universe or even the 1940s. My books are set in Regency England, and if you’ve ever read a Regency romance, you know the novels have their own lexicon. Maybe that’s what attracted me to the period.

Not the final cover

I've been able to integrate slang into Earls Just want to Have Fun, the first first book in my new Covent Garden Cubs series. A cub is a cant (slang) word for a young thief. I’ve written about spies and courtesans, but I also wanted to dip a toe in another part of the Regency world—the part most of the people living in London were familiar with: the underworld. The hero is an earl, so he’s not all that familiar with thieves’ cant, and that made some of the character’s verbal exchanges pretty funny (to me, at least!).

But I have to say the thing I found the most interesting about Regency cant was how much of it we still use today. The words even mean pretty much the same thing thieves used them to mean 200 years ago. This actually created a dilemma for me because if I used certain period cant phrases, they sounded too modern. I was afraid the reader would think I was being anachronistic. Throwing in a “modern” phrase also means I’d run the risk of jarring the reader out of my historical setting. I had to be careful which phrases I chose because I wanted to be sure 1) the reader could figure out what they meant from context, and 2) the phrases didn’t sound too modern.

Here are a few examples of “modern” phrases that aren’t so modern.
Down—aware of a thing; knowing it.
In the Regency, a house-breaker might say, “There is no down,” meaning the people in the house are asleep or not alert. That’s not so far from some of the phrases we use today, like “Are you down with that?” or “Keep it on the down low.”

And what would the house-breaker call his fellow house-breakers? His cronies or possibly his gang. We still use gang as a label for a group of miscreants or kids up to no good.

There were other words I wanted to use but were afraid they weren’t in circulation in that period. To my surprise, many of the words we associate with crime were familiar to people in the Regency. Some of these include snitch, fence, to grease (bribe), job (like do a job; robbery), and pig (police officer or Bow Street Runner).

Interestingly, the word rap, which I didn’t have occasion to use, meant to take a false oath or curse. For example, “He rapped out a volley,” meaning he swore a lot of false oaths. Isn’t that similar to the definition of rap/rappers we have today?

By the same token, the word rogue, which shows up as part of the title of many Regency romances (including one of mine), didn’t have the meaning it has today. Today it’s sort of a compliment, meaning someone who goes out on his own or a man who's somewhat debauched (not a word we use a lot today!). In the Regency, a rogue was more or less a thief or a person who made a living by dishonest means. The arch rogue was the leader of a gang of thieves, think Fagin in Dickens’s Oliver Twist.

Just for fun, I thought I’d give you a little quiz. See how you do.

1.    Dub the jigger means
A.   stab the man.
B.   open the door.
C.   bribe an official.

2.    Dead cargo is
A.   worthless booty.
B.   a man who’s been hung.
C.   a lazy rogue.

3.    A flash ken is
A.   a rich man’s house.
B.   a container to hold gunpowder.
C.   a safe house for thieves.

I’ll post the answers later today, and I’ll be checking in to answer comments all day too. One person who comments will win a copy of my new latest release Love and Let Spy (open internationally). Winner announced Sunday!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bake, Love, Write

I'm part of a group of over 100 authors who put together their favorite dessert recipes along with recipes for lasting love and writing advice. Bake, Love, Write was edited by Lois Wilson, and just came out yesterday!
It's kind of funny that I should be in that collective since I consider myself a terrible cook. But I did have a recipe for carb free chocolate cake, and after having just lost 45 pounds doing a high protein/low carb diet I figured I should share it.
Find Bake, Love, Write at Amazon as an Ebook for only 99 cents and  Paperback for $10.99.
Barnes and Noble 99 cents to keep handy on your nook.
What a wonderful Christmas gift this would make for your favorite writer!
What do most authors have in common, no matter what genre they write? They love desserts. Sweets sustain them through pending deadlines and take the sting out of crushing rejection letters and nasty reviews. They also often celebrate their successes—selling a book, winning a writing award, making a bestseller list, or receiving a fabulous review—with decadent indulgences. And when authors chat with each other, they often talk about their writing and their lives. Recipes. Writing. Relationships. In this cookbook 105 authors not only share their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on writing, and their advice on love and relationships.
Authors represent a variety of genres, including mystery, romance, fantasy, paranormal, young adult, women’s fiction, new adult, non-fiction, and children’s books. Each entry includes an author bio, website (where applicable) and publication credits. So if you love the advice — or the recipe — you can check out the author and, maybe even buy their book(s)!

The authors, in no particular order, are: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, and Karen Rose Smith.

On Sat I'll be heading down to Cape Cod for our family reunion. One of the fun things we're doing this year is having a bake off! For years we've had a difference of opinion on 1 ingredient in what we all call Nana Cookies. These wonderful soft ginger cookies were made by our Nana, and that's how they've been known since she was alive and baking them for us. My cousin is making a double batch the way their family thinks it should be done, and I'm baking a double batch the way I saw Nana herself make them. Hey--I grew up under Nana's roof and saw her make these many times. In other words, I'm right, but I'll have to prove it. So, with all of our many cousins as judges, we should finally have a verdict. Or if not, we'll have loads of cookies to send home with everyone!
 In Bake, Love, Write, we were also allowed to mention our latest books. Mine--The Cupcake Coven--went right along with the dessert and love theme! And now it's only 99 cents at Amazon, B&N, Apple iBooks, and Kobo! If you've ever wanted to check out my light paranormal romances, here's a great way to do so for less than a buck!
It's also in paperback here: createspace, but not for the 99 cent price! It's $12.99 in print.

Of course, you can find all my Sourcebooks light paranormal romances at Amazon, B&N and many other outlets! I have links to lots of information, reviews, and stores on my website

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Silver Wolf Christmas is Done! & Four More Book Sales!--And Total series set giveaway!!!

Horde of arctic wolves in a zoo 
There’s nothing more fun than finishing a book! Then after I finished reading it and sending it off to beta readers, it was time to cut out more bear orders. Received 4 more orders yesterday, have 25 to do already. Somehow, I don’t think I’m getting ahead of the game!

Steampunk and Rainbow Bears in Process
Steampunk and Rainbow Bears in Process

It’s amazing what a few hours will do–turn fur into fun creations. The two on the left are finished, though I still have to embroider all their paws. But the bears and outfits are made. And here they are! The other 4 are ready with their vests in their laps and their hats in progress. Have to make new style dresses for them.  On the rainbow bears, the one is ready to be embroidered. The next needs a nose and she’s ready to be embroidered. The last needs a head, eyes, ears and a nose, and then he needs to be embroidered.

Steampunk Bear--Sold
Steampunk Bear with navy vest–Sold
steampunk bears for dani 005 (525x640)
Steampunk Bear with Tapestry Vest–Sold!

Here's a finished Rainbow Bear Mom and Baby--Aren't they cute???
Rainbow Momma Bear and Baby
Rainbow Momma Bear and Baby
This shows the pose-ability of the large bear!
Rainbow Momma Bear Reclining and Baby Bear
Rainbow Momma Bear Reclining and Baby Bear
Momma Bear is sold!
Rainbow Momma Bear and Baby Sitting
Rainbow Momma Bear and Baby Sitting

If I was only making bears, I’d have them all done by now. But my day job…and night, is writing. So I work on the bears AFTER I get my writing done. Or…like yesterday while I was working on rereading A Silver Wolf Christmas for the last time, I was working on the two Steampunk bear hats at the same time. I usually don’t do that, but they’re not furry, so I could. Fur in the keyboard probably wouldn’t help my writing.

HOWLING!!! This just came in and I HAVE to alert you!!! Please share!! You could be in WOLF HEAVEN!!! And JAGUAR HEAVEN.
Royal Reviews is giving away my ENTIRE shifter set to one lucky commenter on her site. The WHOLE entire set, and this is worldwide!!! I’m not sure if that means through Hero of a Highland Wolf, but if so, that’s 14 wolf books and the autographed copy of Jaguar Hunt. That’s book 3 in the Jaguar series, plus the other two, Savage Hunger and Jaguar Fever.
Wolf books
1 lucky winner will win the ENTIRE set of Terry Spear’s Shifter books published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, including a signed ARC of Jaguar Hunt.
Go here to comment for a chance to win!
Giveaway is open worldwide and ends October 1. Winner will be announced on October 2 

So next project to finish up? Call of the Cougar. If I can figure out the ending, I’ll have it made! 
But in the meantime, I did cut out another 5 bears and they’re now in process. I still have more to cut out for orders. Waiting on fabric for two of them.

And....I love to take pictures--so I was grabbing another cup of tea when I saw this and had to grab my camera. Baby sparrows on the hedge right next to the window. They're not afraid of me. The cardinal, and bunnies.

 sparrows 2 (640x427)cardinal feeding (2) (640x601)

bunnies eating seeds (640x427) sparrows up close (640x427)
Okay, off to write.

Oh, some of us are in the box set for TALL, DARK and Paranormal! 825,000 words of paranormal hot alpha bad boy hunkiness for ONLY 99 cents. They're all full length novels! And an excerpt war with a $100 gift card giveaway and 10 free ebooks! https://www.facebook.com/TallDarkandParanormal

Only 99 cents! Limited time offer!
Preorders Available from Amazon Now:
All Romance Ebooks:
Barnes and Noble:

Also, I'll be hosting a Christmas party on FB for some of us who are having new Christmas releases!
It's an all day, all genre Christmas party of new Christmas book releases!


I will be giving away A SEAL Wolf Christmas and a teddy bear! One of my Christmas Elf bears made of alpaca wool, with suede paws! They have tapestry vests and velvet hats with purple glitter. Just come to the party and comment on my post for a chance to win.

 Elfinberries (640x484)

Hope you all have a lovely Friday.

Have a super great TGIF!!

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Wilde & Woolly Bears

Thursday, September 18, 2014

It's Thursday, Answers to Do You Know Who Your Reader Is?

First, I must provide the answers to the questions I posed in my last blog.

The magnificent Jane Ashford took a stab at answering these questions, and I’ve provided the answers below hers—way to go Jane!!!:
Jane AshfordAugust 30, 2014 at 12:21 PM Taking a stab
What is the median age of the romance reader?
4. 40ish
First of all, my bad, because the stat I have is actually the average age, not the median age, and it’s 42 years old.

What is the household income of the majority of romance readers?
5. $45,000
It’s $55,000

What is the education level of the majority of romance readers?
6. some college

In what region does the highest percentage of romance readers live?
7. the South

In what region does the second highest percentage of romance readers live?
8. the Midwest

Where do the majority of romance readers buy their books?
9. Online
They buy them in stores! First in Barnes & Noble, next Walmart.

Where do the majority of romance readers discover new authors?
10. personal recommendations
Browsing in a bookstore!

What I Did Today
1)      We have an acquisitions meeting this afternoon, so this morning I picked up all the submissions I’ve reviewed in the past week, and got to work prepping them for today’s meeting.
·         I had one that I was bringing back from last week’s meeting—I needed to do some more research on competing and comparable titles.
·         I have several from my own authors (yay!) so I needed to look back at their sales history, publishing program as it’s currently planned, and make sure I’m going in with the best possible pitch for each new project.
·         There was one this week that after much deliberation I decided wouldn’t work, but I’m interested in working with the author, so I set up a conference call with her and her agent and we talked about what’s next for her in her career and what she might want to write for us.
·         I have one that I’ve been carrying around with me and finally I sat down to look it over. It’s from a successful self-published author, with a good premise. Alas, it’s way too short for my list. We don’t have a digi-first program, so I can’t take on a novella unless it’s coming with a set of full-length novels.
·         Finally, there was one to turn down. The author seems great, but I couldn’t find a hook in the proposal that will allow me to break the project out in a very crowded field.

2)      The romance monthly launch for August 2015 titles was scheduled for today also. We had some work to do to get completely ready, but we had internet issues (AT&T apparently had internet issues) so we had to reschedule the meeting. We were going to launch 9 romance titles, with positioning statements, description, sales handles or data relevant to the sales department, cover design direction from editorial as well as from the author, and competing and comparable titles. We also prepare a Powerpoint presentation so this has a visual component as well.

3)      I gave the PR department a quick quote about Christmas romance for a trade media outlet.

4)      Yesterday I had given an author editorial notes on a manuscript, but I’d left some of the manuscript pages at home. (My house gets messier and messier as the week progresses, then on Sunday I straighten it all up and start over on Monday morning. Can anyone relate?) Today I brought them in and gave them to Susie so she could reassemble the complete manuscript and get it moving through to Bookmaking.

5)      Yesterday I also finished the review of a revised manuscript, let the author know, gave small cx to Susie. I’m now editing one new manuscript and have a revised manuscript right behind it.

6)      Today I had a regular weekly meeting with one of my colleagues, and coming out of that we scheduled an “All Brains on Deck” meeting for tomorrow afternoon so the Romance Editorial Team can start planning our presentation for the general Fall 2015 launch that will take place on Sep 30.

7)      I got a contract back from the accounting department, so it’s now ready for me to update and send to the agent.

8)      I drank two large cups of Jasmine Green tea.

9)      I ate 1/3 of a Lindt 99% Excellence Dark Chocolate bar.

10)   I answered some incredibly large number of emails, but even more came in.

11)   Two of my authors called me to discuss some plot points and character development in two manuscripts that are in progress.

12)   I wrote this blog!

Any questions? How was YOUR day?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Chronic Multi-tasker
Hey gang! I’m very excited to be posting...finally. I’ve been a member for a few short months and have enjoyed lurking and reading about all your great books and adventures. And I’m happy to present my debut novel Find My Way Home. A contemporary story about a small town Southern interior designer, wanting more from life and thinking if she could only hit the road for the big city, she might find what she’s looking for. *cough, cough* Well, we all know that’s not necessarily true.

My heroine Bertie suffers from being an out-of-control multi-tasker (much like her author). Bertie not only designs lovely homes for a living, but you can find her dog-walking, feeding her housebound neighbor, decorating for the downtown festival and waitressing at her brother’s diner, especially on Roller Derby night (and she can’t skate!) Her need to be needed stems from losing her parents as a teenager, but it also makes her most famous and hunky client Keith very nervous. Can she finish his job in time? Because he needs her tempting, curvaceous self out of his house and his head before he does something really stupid...like fall for her!

Like Bertie, I have a constant need to be doing something…anything. It’s a terrible sickness. Not sure how I got this way except I’m from a very large family (one of nine siblings) of Type A personalities where we all kept busy avoiding chores we hated like: cleaning the basement, picking up sticks, and unloading and putting away four baskets of groceries every week. Everyone, including our entire neighborhood block, knew to be scarce on Friday afternoons when my mother would roll up the driveway with a packed station wagon of groceries.

The problem with being a chronic multi-tasker is you never learn to relax and smell the roses…literally. I have to force myself to really hear my child's story while I read a recipe, text a message, make a list, sweep the floor and toss another load of laundry in the washer. That’s manic! I’m not proud of this ability, because quite frankly, it’s exhausting. But I’m not alone here. Come on…show of hands. Yep, there’s a bunch of you multi-taskers reading this right now, making a mental grocery list or thinking about paying bills, or remembering you need to add the final coat of lacquer to the seaworthy boat you built. Am I right??? *nodding*
For me, it has become a way of life. Yes, I love to write, but I’m also an interior designer like Bertie, personal chef to several clients, and mother to two great, wonderfully, self-sufficient kids, who still need me every now and then. So, like my energetic heroine, I create pockets of time early in the morning and late in the evening devoted to writing/working. And when I break and go for walks, I force myself to stop…and smell the roses, gardenias, honeysuckle...and remember to breathe.

How many of you multi-task with relish or under duress?
Find My Way Home, First in series
Not So New In Town, coming 2015
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/michelesummers5/

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Real Women Can Kick Ass Too

 In a recent post, I confessed my love for all things British. So it should come as no surprise that I adore UK television, as well. One thing that I appreciate about British TV are the talented actors who look like ordinary people. Their teeth aren’t always straight. Sometimes they have a spare tire or bad hair. Frankly, it’s downright refreshing to see a wrinkle or three.

I’m a binge-watcher, preferring to park myself and take in several episodes at once. And Netflix recently did me a solid by releasing Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire as police sergeant Catherine Cawood. Set in the Yorkshire valleys, the gritty, tense plot about a kidnapping gone awry kept me on the edge of my seat. It was possibly one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. The writers and actors portrayed the characters with a stark, sometimes bleak, honesty.   

Catherine is divorced, living with her recovering addict of a sister, and raising her grandson. She’s had her share of hard luck, but what really sucked me into Happy Valley was the fact that our heroine is Everywoman. She doesn't have a blinding smile and a perfect C cup. Instead, she wears her difficult life in her face and sad eyes, but that's only half the picture. Catherine is also tough, smart, engaging, and can kick bad guy ass when she needs to.
Personally, I’d like to see more of this—extraordinary main characters played by real life women. Women that could be a neighbor or my best friend.Or me!
Look, I enjoy staring at flawlessly beautiful faces as much as the next girl--I managed to sit through five seasons of America's Next Top model, people. But sometimes it’s nice to see a fabulous actress in a meaty role who didn't used to grace a catwalk.
So in that vein, I thought I’d give you a couple more recommendations of realistic women who play flawed, smart, edgy characters who are lovely because of their imperfections, not in spite of them. 
 Scott and Bailey. Two female cops from Manchester who are great at their jobs, but don’t always make the smartest decisions in their personal lives (read: train wrecks). The chemistry between the two female leads is fantastic. You may have to check your PBS station to find this one, but it’s worth the search.

Prime Suspect. You’ve probably seen this one, but if not, give it a try. If you have seen it, it’s worth a second viewing. The always wonderful Helen Mirren plays chain-smoking DCI, Jane Tennison. Filmed in 1991, Tennison is one of the few female DCIs on the force. She has a lot to prove to her chauvinistic male counterparts, while she struggles with her inner demons.

On the lighter side: The Café. An endearing comedy about three generations of women who run a café in an unfashionable seaside town. Pulling. Three female friends, all with questionable morals, are well, pulling (hooking up with guys who have questionable morals). You’re not sure if you should be rooting for them or against them—either way, their antics will give you a smile.
Now I want to know your take. Do you like watching not-so-perfect people as main characters? What’s your favorite show with a kick ass female lead?

About Terri L. Austin: As a girl, I thought I'd outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, I've made a career of it. I met my own Prince Charming and together we live in Missouri. I love to hear from readers. You can find me at TerriLAustin.com.