Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I'd Rather be Writing...

I was invited to participate in a cookbook with 84 other authors. I heard the title and thought, I'm SO not alone. The funny thing is, I am a pretty terrible cook. Fortunately my husband has no sense of smell or taste. (We ARE meant for each other!) But I only needed to provide one yummy recipe that can be made quickly. Not a problem. I have a couple of those that I whip up for company. I'm going to buy this cookbook for sure. I can't wait to add more of these quick recipes so I can have people over more than twice. LOL 

So, what else would I rather be writing than doing? Just about everything! When I'm on a roll, and the book is flowing--like the one I'm working on now--I really hate interruptions. I just wrote the first 3 chapters last week and now I have a new release to pimp, 3 blogs to write, contests to hold... *sigh*

Oh well, promotion is the nature of the beast. So, without further delay, here's the promo portion of this post:
Tug of Attraction! Book 2 in the Love Spells Gone Wrong series! It's one of my faves and The Endometriosis Foundation will receive part of my royalties. My heroine Brigit has endo, so this isn't your typical romance! Check it out (please.)

Barnes And Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tug-of-attraction-ashlyn-chase/1120037784?ean=9781927555675
Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/tug-of-attraction-book-2-love-spells-gone-wrong-series
or Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Attraction-Book-Love-Spells-Wrong-ebook/dp/B014YVJ2WM/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

And while I'm at it, I'd like to talk up the first ever New England Romance Reader/Author conference!
It's a year away...Oct 2016, so why am I telling you about this now? Because there's an awesome early bird discount for readers! Read all about it. Fall in Love with New England
We're planning so many fun things I can hardly wait!

What would you rather be writing than doing?
 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TV Musings and why Fall makes me happy...

I don't binge watch TV and to be honest, I don't watch a lot of shows, but the ones that I do watch make me a very happy girl.

I'm someone who loves to laugh.  For me, television is an escape when I don't have time to sit down and read.  So if I'm committing to 30 minutes or an hour of TV, I want to be entertained!  This theory makes my husband crazy.  He is the one that will search the fifteen jillion channels in search of something meaningful and interesting but still end up watching a re-run of Law and Order or Star Trek.  Me?  Just make me laugh.

Last week, my favorite shows started coming back - the Big Bang Theory and Modern Family.  I was anxiously sitting on my couch waiting for them to start and practically bouncing in my seat.  And at the end of each of those episodes I was able to get up and go about my business with a smile on my face.  And really, who doesn't want to walk away feeling happy after a good laugh??

I relate well to both of those shows.  For Modern Family mainly because I have a rather...shall we say...unique family.  Divorced parents.  My dad married a younger woman, my sister and I are competitive with one another and our kids make us crazy.  It's fun for me to watch the interactions with everyone and see so much of my reality being played out on the small screen.  We're not nearly as adorable as the Pritchetts and the Dunpheys, but we do okay.

And the Big Bang Theory has taught me that...well...nerds can still be cool.  My younger son is a bit of a nerd.  He goes to a video game art and design academy in high school and sometimes when he talks to me, I have no idea what he's saying.  And even though this is a completely fictional show, it gives me hope that he's not alone and that girls will still think he's awesome.

My older son binge watches shows on Netflix.  Some of them are new shows, some are old ones and he's big on watching as many episodes in a row as he can.  Yes, he has a job.  And a girlfriend.  I have to wonder, however, if he actually sleeps.   I've had a Netflix account for years but never really used it.  Only he did.  And I'm paying for the account and he doesn't live at home.  Hmmm... He's always recommending stuff for us to watch and most of it just goes over my head or in one ear and out the other.  But he did recommend The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and I have to tell you, I am HOOKED.  The longest "binge" was five episodes but I have laughed until I cried at times.  It's written by the amazing Tina Fey and if you enjoy her humor (think 30 Rock humor) then you should check this show out. 

I think the best part of the fall TV schedule...it gets me out of writer mode for a little while and just lets my brain relax for a little while.  For thirty to sixty minutes, I'm not focused on book sales and promotions and rankings.   It silences the voices in there that are begging for their own stories and happily ever afters and just lets me enjoy the silliness for a little while.





Monday, September 28, 2015

Love and Marriage Through a Child's Eyes by Linda Broday


We write about love and marriage in our books and even have strong personal opinions about the subject. Surprisingly, so do children. Many years ago (way more than I want to share) Art Linkletter had a segment on his TV show called Children Say the Darndest Things. It’s fun looking into the mind of these kids. Some are pretty wise for their age and some are hilarious.

How do you decide who to marry?

One girl said, “No person really decides before they grow up. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.”

A boy said, “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”

What is the right age to get married?
“Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.”

What do most people do on a date?
“Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.” (A wise girl if I say so myself!)

“On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that Usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.”

What would you do on a first date that was turning sour?
“I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.”

When is it okay to kiss someone?
“When they’re rich.”  (I like the way this girl thinks. Wish I’d have listened to her advice.)

“The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.”

Is it better to be single or married?
“It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.”

How would the world be different if people didn’t get married?
“There would sure be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?”

How would you make a marriage work?
“Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.”

One thing for sure, children sure have a unique view of the world. I love writing about them and usually put at least one in every story. They can add a lot of depth and emotion.

In the second book of my Bachelors of Battle Creek series called TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE (May 2015,) I have a six-year-old boy by the name of Toby. His father is a horrible outlaw and his mother is dead. All he wants is a kind decent family. Someone to love him.

In one of scenes, Toby is holding his baby sister and telling these other kids, "She grows her own teeth, too. When she gets big as me, she'll even be able to eat and chew."

He also announced that he was taking care of his baby sister while his mama and papa danced so the fiddlers wouldn't get sick of playing music and go home.

Do you know any funny things that children have said?

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Look for the thrilling conclusion to my Bachelors of Battle Creek series December 1, 2015!  FOREVER HIS TEXAS BRIDE!!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Wonderful Year As An Author

Greetings!

My first book, THE RAKE’S HANDBOOK, was published in November 2014. My third book in the series, TO CATCH A RAKE, will be published in February of 2016. A little over one year of authorial bliss.

How did it go?
 
It wasn’t at all what I expected, but what did I expect?
Hard work is a given if you plan to write a novel. My life’s career was in a scientific field, so I had no training as a writer. “Well brain, you large pile of margarita-addled noodles, let’s do this!”

So a little research revealed Romance is a best selling genre, over fifty percent of mass-market books sold. “Fabulous. What’s a romance?” A friend, Eve, gave me a list of books she loved, so I started to read. Then I found FREDERICA, by Georgette Heyer. Like the rest of the planet, I was charmed, entertained, and amused by Heyer’s story. “Okay, a romance novel like that one is my ultimate goal.”

Time to train the vestigial right brain (if the neurons still fired). So I joined the RWA. At the first meeting, someone asked the person next to her, “What do you write?” The lady answered “paranormal.” I wasn’t quite sure what that was, but it must be good, because it wasn’t normal. So, I figured that question was the polite thing to do, I turned to the lady next to me and asked the same question. She answered, “RS.” Well, I thought this was exciting news, so I replied, “I write Regency Stories too!” 

Clearly, all those years ago, I was starting at the bottom. The great thing about starting at the bottom is that there is no place to go but up.

That beginning led to today, my first completed year as a published author. And yes, there were bad reviews and writer's block and stress over re-writes. But overall, my first year of being a writer can be summed up with these words: “It’s ALL good.”



Do you love to write stories






Friday, September 25, 2015

A New Release



As you know, I write contemporary romance for Sourcebooks. The second Beauty and the Brit installment, His Kind Of Trouble, is coming out November 3. But I also write a humorous mystery series. Diner Knock Out will be released October 20.

The fourth book in the Rose Strickland Mystery series finds our heroine at a crossroads with her criminal boyfriend, and she’s on the hunt for a missing MMA fighter. 
 Here’s an excerpt:

            As I walked through the bar’s parking lot, I dodged potholes as big as moon craters. The remaining blacktop had melted into a gooey mess, leaving the soles of my flats tacky with tar. Good thing I wasn’t wearing kick-ass boots, now wasn’t it? That’s me, Rose Strickland, finder of silver linings.

            I pulled open the glass door and stepped into the dim interior, taking a minute to stand in place and drink up the cool, dry air. I drew a few glances from the patrons before they quickly lost interest in me.

            Lynyrd Skynyrd played over the speakers, almost drowning out the hum of voices, and flashing neon beer signs livened up the dingy walls. The after-work crowd from the hospital was here to represent. Men and women dressed in colorful scrubs sat at various tables and noshed on fried cheese sticks. My stomach growled in protest. That fortune cookie wasn’t cutting it.

            A gaggle of mechanics, wearing grease-smeared t-shirts, sat at the bar and watched the ballgame on an ancient TV anchored to the ceiling. No big screen for Ernie’s.

            As I scanned the place, I noticed my boy, Ted Benson, was MIA. I headed to the far side of the bar to make use of the facilities. And as I entered the small alcove, I shot a glance at the men’s room. I wanted to report back to Andre that I’d exhausted every possibility in my search for Ted, so I walked to the door and eased it open, taking a peek inside. Fortunately, the urinals were empty. Smelly, too. The floor…ugh. Why did men have such terrible aim? Was it really that hard to point and shoot?

            The door to the only stall stood open. I looked inside, just to be thorough. No Ted.

He had to be out back, having a smoke or a breath of fresh air. His wife hadn’t mentioned a nicotine habit, but maybe he was hiding it. She seemed extremely health conscious. Was this Ted’s big secret? An occasional beer and cig? Mr. Vanilla—living on the edge.

            After using the ladies’, I returned to the main room and spotted an exit near the pool table. Stepping outside, I glanced up and down the side street. There was no sign of him anywhere. A knot formed in the pit of my stomach.

            Damn it. Ted Benson had flown the freaking coop.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Feisty vs Feminine?


Deb couldn't blog with us today, but I have a re-post of a great blog from 2013. Enjoy!

 


by Deb Werksman
Editorial Manager
Sourcebooks Casablanca


I've been doing a lot of exploring in my personal life about men and women, masculinity and femininity. A great topic for a romance editor, don't you think? I've been reading books and listening to tapes by Allison Armstrong in addition to applying all the transformation I get from the courses I take at Landmark Education.

As you may already know, one of my editorial criteria for the romances on my list is, "a heroine the reader can relate to." So I got to thinking about the balance between feistiness in a heroine and her femininity and to what degree a heroine needs to be independent in thought and action and to what degree her femininity (what Allison calls "a strong woman voluntarily vulnerable") empowers the hero to be the man he needs to be to fulfill one of my other criteria, which is "a hero the reader can fall in love with."

I think about, for example, M.L.Buchman's kick-ass military heroines and the ultra-alpha heroes who tame them, or the lovely self-possessed Regency heroines of Grace Burrowes and the gentlemen who initiate them into love and pleasure. I just finished editing Shana Galen's newest Regency spy romance, where the heroine breaks out of her traditional role to find a new expression of her own strength and power, and she becomes even stronger and more powerful as a wife and mother as her wayward husband falls even more in love with her. Also a new Rebecca York romantic suspense where the heroine rescuing the hero starts off the action, and in the end they've both rescued each other. I could go on and on because all of my authors are doing such a great job with this balance.

So, tell me, authors and readers, how do you see this?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Look at The Body Shop Bad Boys




Today, I thought I'd tease you with a look at my new series, Body Shop Bad Boys, which arrives in bookstores in June 2016. The first book is tentatively titled, TEST DRIVE. Enjoy the mechanics of Webster's Garage, and forgive a swear word or two. They do work in a garage, after all. (Note: these guys first appeared in What to Do With a Bad Boy



“Hey, princess, turn up the volume,” Sam growled, probably at Lou since the radio was closest to his station.

The stench of oil, sweat and grease warmed the interior of Johnny Devlin’s favorite place in the world. Classic rock drowned out Lou’s response, which must have been a doozy because Foley laughed his ass off while Sam yelled something back at Lou.

Just another day at the office. Or in his case, at Webster’s Garage.

Seattle’s unseasonably warm autumn temps continued to be a pleasant surprise this year, and they kept the garage doors open to let the air cool off the stickiness. Even at nine thirty in the morning, Johnny had worked himself into a lather.

He turned a wrench and scowled down at a stubborn pump assembly that refused to cooperate. He loosened it, got to the fan belt, then glared down at the problematic power steering pump. After looking over his shoulders, paranoid about his anal retentive boss, he muttered, “Shitty Cadillac.” The woman had a hard-on for swearwords lately. As if the shop going clean would prevent her from slipping up at her wedding.

He imagined her dolled up in a white gown, tats, piercings, and her hair all done up in some funky twist, looking like a million bucks. She’d be glowing at her behemoth of a fiancĂ© before letting loose with an “I fucking do.” With a snort, he buried himself back under the hood of the bastard of a car and did his best to calm his frustration. He never had anything pleasant to say before ten a.m. anyway. God knew he needed a jolt of caffeine, and soon, before he took a tire iron to the gray piece of crap he just knew was laughing at him.

He cursed under his breath again when he scraped his knuckles on the pump. But the sounds of coins clinking against glass had him tense. Attuned to ROP—the Rattle of Oppression, as the guys called it—he heard it again, even under the blast of ACDC.

“Seriously, guys?” Del growled.

Sam and Foley bitched about the new no-swear policy even as he heard them drop change into the jar. Johnny knew better. Dubbed the smart one of the crew, he kept his nose out of trouble and everyone else on the straight and narrow. Mostly.

He heard her coming near, grazed his already sore knuckle against the frame as he removed the assembly, and let it rip. “Fudge.

A grunt. “See?” Del yelled to be heard above a grown man on the radio screeching about shaking all night long. “At least someone can keep his friggin’ mouth clean.” She patted him on the shoulder, and he did his best not to flinch. Woman had hands like rocks. “Thanks, Johnny.”

He kept his head down and continued to tinker, listening as her footsteps faded over the cement floor. Then an office door closed, and he found it safe to look up.

“You are such a kissass.” Sam frowned. 

Next to him, Foley crossed massive arms over a broad chest. A glance across the garage showed Lou shaking his head, looking disappointed.

“What?” Johnny threw up his hands. “Am I the only one smart enough to know you catch more bees with honey?” He smirked at the plethora of middle fingers shot his way. 

“Thought so. Dumbasses.”

Of the four of them currently in the shop, Sam was the one whose temper could turn on a dime. He’d gotten better over the years, but Sam in a mad bore avoiding. Only Foley could talk him down, the pair closer than most brothers. Lou had a sense of humor like Johnny’s, but without the quick wit. Or so Johnny liked to constantly tell him.

Keeping on Sam’s good side would be the smart thing to do.

So of course, Johnny had to prod him. “Hey, McSteroid, you and your boyfriend got plans for tonight?”

Foley sighed. Lou grinned.

Sam’s frown darkened. “Why? You got a death wish, stick boy?”

Johnny flexed a greasy arm. “Seriously? Stick boy? Man, I’m ripped. And it’s all natural.” He raised a brow at Sam and pushed his bicep up from the back, trying to appear bigger.
Sam tried not to grin but couldn’t withstand the Devlin charm. “Whatever. No, I don’t have plans. And Foley—not my boyfriend, dickhead—has his own life.”

“So.” Lou looked Foley up and down. “No plans for you then.”

“Suck it.” Foley made a hand gesture at Lou Johnny wasn’t familiar with.

But Lou grinned. “Back at you, hombre.”

“I thought we’d hang at Ray’s if you losers have nothing better to do. Darts rematch?” Johnny offered.

The others agreed.

“You’re on.” Lou looked eager. The only one of the group who gave Johnny a serious run for his money at the game.

“Cool.” Johnny gave them a thumbs up. “Winner doesn’t pay for drinks. So make sure you idiots bring your wallets.”

“Dream on, motherfu—”

Foley,” Del snarled from the office door. “What the hell did I say about swearing?” The ROP had returned.

Johnny buried his head back in the car. He was pretty sure the others did the same. Survival of the fittest only worked if you let the weaker ones, like Foley, take one for the team.
____________________________

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!
Marie