Saturday, May 30, 2015

MY LATEST FAVORITE THINGS!


By Michele Summers

It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days. Living with a chronic illness really changes your perspective. So I’m always looking for something…anything to brighten my day. These are my latest finds:

Let me start by saying, I’ve never been a big believer in vitamins, because I’ve never seen any results positive or negative from consuming them, but I have dutifully choked, gulped, swallowed and chewed them for years. (now, I’m superstitious…if I stop, will something bad happen?) But, I do believe in Biotin. It hasn’t grown hair to my liking, but it sure as hell has grown nails! 


I have long, strong, beautiful nails! Haven't had great nails since giving birth to my first child. Better than acrylic nails and much healthier. I’m giddy with happiness over this. Love hearing them click against the keyboard and love using my index finger to point…just to show off my gorgeous long nail. 
I know…it’s the little things.



And that leads me to my next favorite thing: Miracle Gel by Sally Hansen. This polish is awesome. But there’s a trick: you have to put on TWO coats of the topcoat and your polish will last two weeks. If you only do one coat, doesn’t last as long.


I’m also a sucker for lotions and creams. If I’m not feeling well, at least I smell good. A few weeks ago, my sweet sister treated me to a lovely facial; I must’ve looked particularly horrid and she was trying to lift my spirits and then she gifted me with my next favorite thing: Clarisonic cleansing brush. LOVE it! Give it a try. It really brightens your face in a non-abrasive, gentle way. Again, it doesn’t take much to make me smile. ;-)))


And for my final favorite thing: TA-DA! 
NOT SO NEW IN TOWN, second in the Harmony Homecomings series will be releasing July 7th. #sohappy! Been waiting a long time and I’m thrilled it’s right around the corner. Stay tuned for an excerpt next month.



What are some of your favorite things? Please share.

Please visit me at: www.michelesummers.com where you can sign-up for my newsletter and access all my Buy buttons.

Friday, May 29, 2015

RT Goodness Terri L. Austin



Conference season is here yet again, and this year I was fortunate enough to attend RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas. The reason I love RT so much is that readers and writers mingle and bond over what we love most: books. 
The romance world is a diverse, wonderful place. Whatever your preferred genre or trope, we’ve got you covered. There’s no judgement here, kids. There’s something for everyone. And that’s what I love about the romance world. 
The tiaras Sourcebooks handed out to authors this year were a bonus, because who doesn’t want to wear a tiara? I’d wear one to the dry cleaners if I could pull it off. Seriously.

 I had many fangirl moments along the way. I spotted Charlaine Harris three times, but never had the cajones to go up and talk to her. I saw Sandra Brown strolling through the lobby. Like a normal person. I rubbed elbows with Nicole Peeler in the elevator. Literally! And Patricia Briggs bought one of my books at the book fair. (Fangirl moment of the con. I was so excited, I forgot to take a pic with her. Now I’ll never have proof. Damn!)
When I met Rosanne Bittner and Sharon Sala…smelling salts were required. 

I got to hobnob with my publishers, too. I can’t say enough wonderful things about my editors and all the awesome people behind the scenes who get books into the hands of readers. I totally geeked out, and talked about—yeah, you got it—books.
A few side notes. I bought this kitschy tote bag. Because man abs.
From my hotel room, I could see the infamous book depository. 

Next year it’s in Vegas. I may need a week to recover from that one.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

SENSE-ational

Mmm. Bet that tastes good. And gee, he smells like Old Spice! Win win.

Today I thought I'd talk about our senses. I'm going through a bout of sinus troubles and haven't been able to smell or taste for two days--and it's killing me. I have a pretty keen sense of smell, and not having that makes the world seem duller.

We have five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. All of them combine to paint a vivid picture of any one experience. So when reading a story, and all I come away with is the way everything looks, I feel like I'm reading through a fog. There are details missing that could make that story so much clearer to me.

I think it's great that the hero is strong and muscular and handsome. Or the heroine has a nice build and pretty blue eyes. But what does the guy smell like? A cologne? The ocean? A sawmill? If he smells salty like the sea, maybe it's because he's a fisherman or surfer. Does the heroine have a light, lilting voice? Is it weak and trembly, or deep and assertive? Husky and sexy? The pitch and tone will tell a lot about her character, and that minor detail ends up fleshing out so much more.

Senses make everything richer. In the story I'm working on now for Sourcebooks, one of the characters is a mechanic and the other is a nurse. He loves coming to work to the smells of oil and grease, the noise of classic rock filling the garage. She deals with antiseptic smells, the rolling of a gurney's wheels, the beeps and trills of hospital equipment, and that welcome smell of coffee.


Right now I miss the smell of coffee the most. I LOVE that smell, that taste, because it wakes me up and starts my day. I'm happiest when writing a book with my coffee in a mug on the warmer next to me while I type.

One particular smell always brings back my childhood--Love's Baby Soft. It was the first body spray "perfume" I was given as a child, and the rare times I've smelled it as an adult, I've been immediately transported back into the past. It's odd and immediate and familiar, and it always makes me smile.

What about you? What senses bring memories to life for you?

Marie
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Now from Sourcebooks: The McCauley Brothers

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Regency Romance Turns 80

Did you know that the Regency romance, as pretty much invented by Georgette Heyer, is turning eighty this year? The Beau Monde chapter of the Romance Writers of America is celebrating this anniversary with a year-long series of articles about Heyer’s Regency novels, posted in the order of their publication. Rather than standard reviews, these posts range far and wide in the realm of the Regency romance in general. You can see my contribution here, and browse those of many other great writers as well.
Romances set in the Regency period have come a long way in those eighty years. I love the way authors are taking advantage of all the things happening outside aristocratic ballrooms for new plots and character types. And of course they’re also adding varying degrees of spice to the love stories – from warm to scorching.

I used that latitude in my Regency historical Charmed and Dangerous, being reissued June 2, which takes place in Vienna during the famous congress. As England and its allies discuss dividing up Europe after their first defeat of Napoleon, my hero and heroine investigate a plot that will ruin all. There’s time for some passionate exchanges when they’re marooned on an uninhabited island together. Which rather complicates their renewed hunt for a wily set of spies. 
What's your favorite thing about the Regency period?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Adventures in Cooking

I love cooking shows! Chopped is my favorite. Four chefs are presented with four weird ingredients per basket and somehow have to make the ingredients all work together through three rounds including (usually) appetizer, entree, and dessert. If you're the chef who fails to make a harmonious dish, you will hear host Ted say "You've been chopped!" Four goes to three goes to two, and one winner emerges. Fun!

I also love Master Chef, which just started a new season, featuring amateur chefs, Hell's Kitchen, and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. I've always liked trying new foods, no matter how weird or different.

 I guess it all started when I was a little kid and my grandfather would take me out to dinner to distract me when my older sister got cool party invitations that did not include tagalong me. I would order foods that would astound the grown-ups in my midst. I lived to hear "How old are you, honey? Are you sure you want escargot?" Yes, very sure. And always very happy to try something new.

Did I ever find a food I do not like? Hm. Not really. Though lima beans are not my favorite. I will eat almost anything. "Try it once," my grandfather would encourage. "You won't know if you don't try."

In keeping with my philosophy of trying new things, I recently joined Blue Apron. They deliver recipes and ingredients, some I've never tried, like Napoles (cactus). And I prepare and cook the food. The best part? No grocery shopping. I love food. I hate grocery shopping. And it has been fun to cook with new to me ingredients.


www.blueapron.com There are quite a few similar services around now, some with more homestyle meals, and some more gourmet. Have you tried any?

One of the things my hero does to impress his estranged wife in the upcoming The Great Estate is to learn to cook. In Italy. He makes gnocchi with a butter sage sauce. I love a man who can cook!

Do you love cooking shows? Trying new things? Can you recommend any romances involving cooking/food/chefs? 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day - Images from Bonaventure Cemetery

by Susanna Ives

As I was visiting friends in Savannah, I received a reminder that I would be blogging on Memorial Day, a day when we honor and remember our brave American soldiers who died in active duty.  Over one million soldiers have lost their lives in U.S. Wars. Our hearts go out to the families of the nearly seven thousand soldiers who perished serving their country in the war on terrorism. 

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day after the Civil War. The war between the states cost almost half a million lives. 

Savannah was part of that terrible conflict. So I decided to head over to the famous Savannah cemetery Bonaventure located on a bluff beside the Wilmington River and take some pictures. Below are images from the American Legion and Spanish American War veterans sections of the cemetery, as well as some veterans of the Civil War and images of the beautiful monuments.  



American Legion Field

American Legion Field


Spanish -American War Veterans

Spanish-American War Veterans


Civil War Veteran





Saturday, May 23, 2015

Savannah or a Little Regency in the South

I adore the city of Savannah. Every time I go there, I fall in love with it just a little more. The people are friendly, the whole downtown is relaxed and welcoming, and when I'm there, you can find me with a libation in hand, strolling the beautiful shady streets and taking in the historical loveliness.


My favorite place in Savannah so far is the beautiful Owens-Thomas House. One of the most well-preserved Regency homes in the US, this house boasts a beautiful garden as well as a lovely interior. I highly recommend a visit if you ever find yourself in the deep South.



When you visit this amazing city, you'll see why Sherman decided not to burn it.

Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. Sometimes an actor, always a storyteller, Christy works happily with Sourcebooks Casablanca to bring the knife-throwing women of her novels to life. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in  western North Carolina.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Interview with My Six-Year-Old Daughter

Not long ago, my daughter (known online as Little Miss R) brought this essay home from her first-grade class.

Look at that! I have a cool job! I was pretty delighted by this.

This past weekend, LMR picked up a pretty bad virus that kept her home with me for four days straight. To pass the time on one of those days, I decided to interview her. Here's how it went. I typed exactly what she said--except for the end, when she begged me to let her have a turn at the keyboard.

*     *     *
Me: You’re home today because you’re sick. And I’m home with you because this is where I do my work. What do you know about my work?

LMR: You write books. And you write them about ladies in dresses. They all have shiny words on the front.

Me: That’s all true. What are your favorite kinds of books?

LMR: Ones that are Garfield books and princess books. I like them because there are movies based on them and I like movies that are from books.

Me: So you like when you get a lot of a story you really enjoy.

LMR: Yeah.

Me: What are you reading this morning?

LMR: I finished reading Junie B., First Grader Aloha-ha-ha! and I’m more than half done with Wait Till Helen Comes. I like scary things and I like Junie B. books.

Me: What about books about boyfriends and girlfriends? Do you like those?

LMR: Gross.

Me: Well, that’s what I write.

LMR: Ok, then I probably won’t want to read your books until I’m like your age and I get to be married and stuff.

Me: That’s ok. My books are meant for grown-ups. But we can both enjoy looking at those pretty covers.

LMR: Yeah.

Me: Which book cover is your favorite?

LMR: I like Season for Scandal because it’s pink and it has a pretty dress. And The Chocolate Kiss because it’s pink and I love macarons.

  


Me: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re home sick?

LMR: Do perler beads and watch something. Like SpongeBob.

She picked these pieces as the ones she's most proud of. "Put them on the website so I'll be famous."

Me: Ok, maybe we can do that later. Before we end the interview, what’s the coolest thing about Mommy?

LMR: She is very nice. And she doesn’t care if I call her “man” or “dude.”

Me: Do you want to do some typing now?

LMR:  kljfghjhrjgjnjvcvnjvbvigjn jjjgjj hjhghgghhghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghghhghghhghgjghghgtuyghgrghj    
Hhjfencvbhgr ggnngbf

Me: No words? C’mon, you’re a big girl.

LMR: ok fine!12345678910 yo yo yo yo  LLLLMMMMMRRRR that's     MMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*     *     *
Ah, well. So my stories are still gross to my six-year-old. That's...actually ok with me for now. (We'll revisit in another twelve years or so, maybe.) 

Want to ask her a question of your own? She's home from school again today; her last day of first grade was yesterday. Or want to tell me about your favorite book cover? Little Miss R's favs are heavy on the pink. We'd both love to chat with you.

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest. Find her at theresaromain.com or on Facebook or Twitter.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

REGENCY BUCK 80th Anniversary



...by Deb Werksman

 

This year is the 80th anniversary of the publication of Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer—the very first Regency romance!




I’ve always thought of Heyer as the perfect combination of Jane Austen and William Shakespeare—wicked smart, clever and funny, with a profound understanding of human nature. 

A couple of my favorite passages are the one in The Talisman Ring where Ludovic and Sir Hugo Thane go into the cellar for a shooting competition (after Sarah Thane persuades them not to go into the courtyard, because Ludovic is, after all, a fugitive). Also the scene in The Foundling when Sir Lionel calls on his son Gideon and animadverts bitterly about the state of his son’s apartments, shattering the nerves of Gideon’s batman, who then vents on the hapless kitchen boy. And of course, there’s the denouement of The Unknown Ajax, and the highwaymen scene in The Convenient Marriage…I could go on and on…



To celebrate Regency Buck’s 80th year, we had tiaras to give away at RT, and I’m still in a giveaway mood.

First, post on this blog—tell us any or all of the following:
a)      Your favorite novel by Georgette Heyer
b)     Your favorite Sourcebooks Casablanca author of any subgenre
c)      Your favorite romance author of any subgenre, any publisher
d)      Anything else

Next, have one friend or relative who is not a Sourcebooks author post on this blog as well. She can say anything she wants (of course, you can too!)

Finally, send me an email to deb.werksman@sourcebooks.com and I will send you back a coupon code for you and your friend for one free ebook each.

If you haven’t tried a Heyer yet, go for it! If your daughter, niece, young next door neighbor, or anyone else you know and love, hasn’t tried a Heyer yet, and you need a printed book, email me at deb.werksman@sourcebooks.com –I’ll give away 10 print books by Georgette Heyer as well. Please specify which title you want to gift.