Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Loving An Old Cemetery and a Giveaway by Abbie Roads


Enter to win a signed copy of Saving Mercy HERE



I have a confession...

I love old cemeteries.

On Sunday I found this cemetery. I've driven by it a hundred times, but never noticed it before. Probably because there were only a few scattered graves tucked way in the back--hard to spot from the road.





I find cemeteries to be serene places. The headstones, even the decayed ones, are oddly beautiful. They remind of being a child and going with my grandma to visit the graves of all the relatives who'd died decades and decades before I'd been born.








It's sad when the headstones are broken and illegible. To me it feels like that person is well and truly forgotten.










And there's always curiosity when a name is completely legible. Who was Joseph Prettyman? I don't live far from this area, and my father grew up down the road from this cemetery, but I've never heard the last name Prettyman. Did all the Prettyman's die out? Move? Where were they from? What's Jospeh's story? If I had extra time I'd look him up. 



Sometimes nature leaves beautiful things in the cemetery. The picture doesn't show the scale, but this feather was about a foot long!



Do you love old cemeteries as much as I do?





Enter to win a signed copy of Saving Mercy HERE



Abbie Roads writes dark, emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending... After torturing them for 350 pages. 



Join Abbie's Dangerously Dark Darlings Facebook Group for exclusive excerpts, access to secret giveaways, and lots of fun!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse Day!

The last eclipse I remember was when I was in fourth grade, so it must have been in the 1980s. I don't think it was a total eclipse because it didn't get very dark. I do remember that we went out to see it with our teachers and were warned within an inch of our lives not to look at the sun. I was afraid to even look up.

Now there's another solar eclipse. Here in Texas we only get to see a partial eclipse, but some of you will probably see the full thing. Here are a few cool links to help you get the most out of the eclipse.

This is NASA's Eyes. It's a web application, where you can put any location in and see what time the eclipse will occur in that place and what it will look like.

https://eyes.jpl.nasa/gov/eyes-on-eclipse-web-detail.html



NASA also has a fun activity guide with information and directions for making viewers.

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/NASA_Eclipse_Activity_Guide.pdf



Are you going to watch the eclipse? Will you be able to see it where you are? How much of it?


Friday, August 18, 2017

Weddings, Dogs & Growing Up

Twenty-six years ago, I was a bride.  It seems like a lifetime ago and let me tell you, I didn't spend a lot of time planning my wedding, I didn't spend a lot of time being part of many bridal parties and overall, I haven't gone to a lot of weddings. 

However...I love to write about things that are wedding related.

I have a series - The Enchanted Bridal Series - which is really more about friendships (a little more women's fiction with romantic sub-plots) but the stories are all related to a bridal shop.  And really, I just love the thought of having an excuse to dress up in pretty dresses!  Crazy, right?  Did you used to watch the TV show Friends?  Remember the one with all the wedding dresses?  HUGE inspiration for me!
So the latest book in that series - THE BRIDAL SQUAD - came out in May and we were trying to come up with a fun promo idea for it and ended up having my sassy pug Maylene play the part of the bride!  Because really, what's funnier than a dog wedding??  Um...almost nothing!  Every week we've been posting different aspects of the wedding planning - who she should decide to marry, what kind of dress she should wear, which flowers should she choose...and we are having so much fun with it, it's crazy!
Who knew combining my love of weddings and my sassy little pug would draw in so many readers?  If you're interested in voting and entering to win some Enchanted Bridal swag, you can enter here:
http://maylenesbridalsquad.pagedemo.co/

And as I look at weddings as a chance of beginnings, as a parent right now, we're facing an end of a season.  My youngest will be starting his senior year of high school in two weeks.  We're doing all of the graduation planning - he's graduating early - and yearbook portraits and as I sat there and watched him get his picture taken while wearing a tuxedo, I pretty much lost it.  This is my baby.  He's not supposed to be grown up like this!  Not yet!  It's going to be a rough year for me, I can feel it already.

I think this is why I write romance - so that I can write about all of the beginnings and not have to deal with the ends.  Any other moms of seniors out there??  Is there a support group??

If you want to catch up on the Enchanted Bridal series, you can find all of the books here:
http://bridalsquad.enchanted.pagedemo.co/

Happy Reading, my friends!!  See you next month when we start to kick off my new release, HOLIDAY SPICE!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

It's Never Too Early For Halloween--Win A Treat!





For a chance to win a print ARC* of ALL I WANT FOR HALLOWEEN, comment below: What's the best costume you ever wore for Halloween?



Yes, I said it. It's never too early for Halloween. At least, not for me. It's my favorite holiday, followed closely by Christmas and my birthday (because yeah, that's a holiday too.)

I'm a huge fan of candy, scares, and fun. And Halloween has it all. This is the one holiday I'm okay with the big stores putting out decorations months early. Just last night I was talking to a friend about the Halloween party she went to last year, and it sounded amazing.

Normally I get my thrills giving out candy since my kids are old enough to trick or treat themselves. And yes, I'm always in costume. And not the slinky, sexy lady costumes. Oh no. I'm the demon under the mask, the hairy werewolf with huge teeth, or the zombie nun who'll make you eat those prayer beads.

When the opportunity to write a contemporary romance set around Halloween was proposed, I jumped all over it. So take a look at Sadie and Gear, two funny, stubborn, and rough-around-the-edges type characters who meet at a Halloween party, then fall scarily in love...


EXCERPT:



Sadie continued to watch the crowd, but as more drunken sailors, cops, robbers, and monsters continued to approach, asking about touching her sword, and other body parts, she gradually left the open area. She found a shadowed area off to the side that afforded privacy as well as a tall table gone unnoticed by the masses. Perfect for her to set her plate and drink on while she ate and watched the party.

As far as costume parties went, Joaquin had scored. The dance floor remained packed, and the DJ was top-notch. Dance and dub-step vibes competed for most heavily populated track. The plethora of mini-bars meant no one had to wait long for a drink, and the amazing catering company—ahem—made sure to keep the tables fully stocked on goodies.

While continuing to snack on high-calorie goodness, Sadie felt no guilt whatsoever. Tonight was her night to enjoy fat foods and with any luck, a talented boytoy for some mindless pleasure. She’d seen a bunch of contenders. Men with muscular builds engaging in guy behavior. Smack-talking with friends, checking out scantily clad women, and acting not all that bright.

Perfect.

Sadie didn’t want a date with Einstein. She wanted some quick nookie to end her dry spell. With any luck she’d enjoy herself before kissing her nameless hookup goodbye. Maybe Elliot had been right to insist she attend.

“Hey, Xena. Be my Valentine.” A drunk guy smelling of B.O., Axe body spray and cheap beer leered close.

Crap. She’d been found out. “Hey, um, what are you supposed to be?”

“Hercules.” He flexed, and she had to admit his arms impressed her. Too bad she’d have to hold her nose while praying she couldn’t taste his breath during a kiss. Gross.

“Nice to meet you, Hercules.” She took the hand he held out and tried to contain a grimace while he gave the back of it a sloppy kiss.

“Hey pretty thing, you want to go screw in the corner?” He nodded over her shoulder to the discreet alcove behind a wall of potted bamboo behind her.

Though Sadie loved frank talk, the whole “let’s screw in the corner” was a bit much even for her. Could she be that desperate? He smelled like Elliot’s dirty socks. As much as she wanted to be that kind of girl, the one who felt no guilt for a shameless hookup, she just couldn’t. Not with Hercules.

“Sorry. I’m waiting for a friend. And he already called dibs on the corner.”

“Well, shit. Can’t blame a guy for tryin’.” He stumbled back, gave her a salute that nearly had him tripping over his own feet, then turned and hit on the next woman he ran into.

Sadie sighed and returned to people watching, sipping from her cosmopolitan now and again. To her amusement, she spotted one hell of a hot devil getting accosted by a drunk and giggly genie very close to falling out of her bikini top. The devil wore a half mask hiding his face, a dark red cape over broad shoulders, and black from head to toe. He held a plate of food in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other as he tried to gently nudge the woman back, but her hands were everywhere.

Oh boy. Talk about grabby. He swore when lady fingers grabbed at what appeared to be a generous package.

Sadie felt for the guy, even as she had to laugh at his desperation. He had his hands full, for sure. It was like looking at a picture of herself as she’d stood on the dance floor. Minus the crotch grabbing of course. She’d have skewered any jackass who tried. Devil glanced around, and she felt the heat of his gaze when it landed on her. Despite the half mask which covered the upper half of his face, his stare penetrated. 

His lips curled into a dark smile before he turned to the genie and said something. She pouted, took a good look at Sadie, then flounced back into the crowd. The devil took his time walking toward Sadie, now striding as if he owned the place.

She nodded at the vanished genie. “Problem?”

“Yeah. I’m not a fan of being molested while trying to save my food and beer. I mean, at least let me eat before you knock me down and mount me.” His voice sounded like gravel licked with fire.

She laughed. “You have a way with words.”

He stared at her, then slowly grinned. And man, the sight of that square jaw and those full lips grabbed hold and wouldn’t let go. “So I’ve been told.” He paused. “You mind if I share your table? I’m dying to sink into these crab thingies.”

This close, she could see that his eyes had been darkened by black makeup but were actually hazel in color. Wow. Talk about a handsome…devil.






*RE: Contest--print ARC U.S. only 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Lazy Days of Summer


The middle of August already! Are you on vacation? Have you had a vacation? Where’d you go and what did you do?
I'm paying my first visit to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
So along with a beautiful, historic city in Scotland, I’m getting all the theater you can imagine. The printed program is almost an inch thick! And in among all those comedies and dramas, there’s this talk – The Romance Novel as High Art.
Here’s the description:
Anyone can write a romance novel. Or can they? Amy Burge (University of Edinburgh) did a whole PhD on romance novels (yes, you can do that) and reckons there’s more to them than you think. Come along and join Amy in this 60-minute brainstorming session and decide for yourself if romance novels deserve more esteem. Amy will introduce you to popular motifs and you’ll get a chance to suggest characters, costumes, settings and even the title! Will you leave with a higher opinion of this seemingly frivolous genre?
You can bet I’m going to be there. And good for Dr. Amy Burge, who blogs, seriously, here. I look forward to meeting her.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Diversity in Romance

But first... The first book in my Edwardian series for Sourcebooks is on sale now! Thornbrook Park $1.99 for Kindle... go get it! The price is already back up at Nook and Google Play. I hate for you to miss a good sale. 



Now, back to diversity. I've been on a Young Adult kick and I finally read Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. I loved it. It's not just for the teens. The themes and feelings inspired are universal. 

After I read it, I raved to my daughter (a younger adult), who informed me that she has been in some discussion groups that were highly critical of Rowell's depiction of Park, a Korean and Irish American, and mostly, Park's mom, a Korean woman in America. I thought Rowell's depiction was fair enough, but I'm not a Korean American. My knowledge is limited. And that might be the problem of writing about people different from your own culture and experience. 

But what's the solution? I am not a man, but I write male characters, and I think I do it well. I want to fill my fictional worlds with people of all races, colors, sexual preferences, identities... because that is our world. The Romance Writers of America organization is currently promoting diversity in romance, and I applaud. We owe it to ourselves to learn, grow, and read books by diverse authors, books with diverse characters. We live in a diverse world. Embrace it! Read, learn, grow! 

Check out Book Riot's Diverse Historical Romance List (Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons is on it!). 

Have you read Eleanor and Park? Would you read a Young Adult book or do you think they're mostly just for teens? What are you reading now?