Thursday, June 30, 2016

Linda Broday: Fairy Tales in Romance?

Long before I could read, I loved listening to fairy tales. I remember the magic I felt at the impossible happening. Fairy tales still fascinate. I savor good overcoming evil and bask in the knowledge that deep personal trials reap huge rewards. I’m still a sucker for stories like Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzul, Beauty and the Beast, and The Ugly Duckling to name a few.



The prince or princess always had to go through some horrible tragedy to get the person of their dreams in the end. Like Cinderella, they’re often the underdogs. And sometimes they might’ve been ugly. Remember the princess who kissed the frogs until one magically turned into a handsome prince? (I tried that and it worked.) In the Ugly Duckling, the poor little duck who lost his mommy became a beautiful swan.

Do some of these sound like our romances?

Actually, a lot of romance stories are based on fairy tales. Love has to be tested to know if it’s real. Our characters have to prove how badly they want the person of their dreams. We put them through a lot of hardships in order to reach the prize. And in some cases they have to learn to trust what they feel by sometimes losing it only to find it again and recognize it as a precious treasure that’s worth any cost.



Cinderella had to endure taunts and meanness to overcome and get the prince. The Beast had to show the Beauty that he had a pure heart capable of great love and she had to learn that what’s on the inside is more important than the physical.

In fiction as in real life we all search for a place to belong. The gunslinger, the outlaw with a good heart searches for that one place where he’ll find acceptance and maybe love with a special woman.

Belonging is a common thread in my books. In the old west, people braved such hardships, searching for a place to plunk down strong roots. They were often alone and needing a home, love and family.

In my upcoming book, TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER, Sam Legend thought he didn’t need roots. He left them behind when he joined the Texas Rangers. He burned with a need to see what’s over the next hill. But Sierra Hunt who’d been yanked from pillar to post, harbored a deep dream for permanence and stability and she wouldn’t settle for less...not even for Sam.

  

The best stories I think are ones where the happy ending seems impossible. Those are page-turners. Even though we know the guy will get the girl (or vice versa) in the end, we want to see what he has to go through in order for it to happen. And we want to root for him every step of the way.


What are your thoughts about fairy tales? Can you see them in our romance stories? And if you have a favorite fairy tale romance, share it with me.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Reads by Terri L. Austin



Summer is upon us, and for me, that means YA all the way!
Here’s a look at my TBR list:
The Epidemic, by Suzanne Young is a sequel to the prequel The Remedy. This series has been completely addictive. 


From A.G. Howard’s Splintered series, I have Unhinged. 


And Ensnared. If you like an Alice in Wonderland theme with a teen twist, this might be up your alley. 


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo has been on my list for some time, as well as the sequels: Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising, and Six of Crows. 















So what is on your summer reading list?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Heroines


Today is the 127th anniversary of Maria Mitchell’s death. Mitchell (1818-1889) was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer. Her life would make a fine (fictionalized) biography for a feisty intelligent heroine.
Born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, Mitchell was a first cousin four times removed of Benjamin Franklin. Her Quaker community was unusual for its time in insisting on the same quality of education for girls and boys. She attended local schools, and her father taught her astronomy using his personal telescope. She opened her own school in 1835 and allowed non-white children to attend, a controversial move as the local public school was still segregated.
Using a telescope, she discovered "Miss Mitchell's Comet" on October 1, 1847, winning a prize established some years previously by King Frederick VI of Denmark for comet spotters. Mitchell became the first female Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was named Professor of Astronomy at the new Vassar College in 1865. After teaching there for some time, she learned that despite her reputation and experience, her salary was less than that of many younger male professors. She insisted on a salary increase, and got it. (Go Maria!) The Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket is named for her.
Now we just need a worthy hero to match. 


Monday, June 27, 2016

I'm late! I'm late!

I went to play all weekend. With the Book Obsessed Chicks. They had a fabulous beach BBQ and I was there! But I stayed late to tour wineries and forgot to blog. Have you ever been to Long Island? It's gorgeous.

There are lavender fields!


And there's wine!



Plus lots of farm stands and of course, beaches and boating.

And romance readers. Who could ask for anything more? My thanks to the Book Obsessed Chicks for a fabulous weekend!

And as penance for being late to blog, I'll share my Sexy Fail of the week. Maybe the decade.

I read a tip that if you wrap your wet hair in little coils around your head, you'll end up with soft, sexy beach waves. I tried it and... I ended up looking like Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter. Uh-huh. Not doing that again. Fortunately, I was able to tame the waves in time.





Have you been to Long Island? Do you prefer beach or mountains? Any beauty tips to share?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer Fun



When I lived by the coast, ironically I almost never went to the beach. I love to watch the water, but now that I live in the mountains, moments and meals beside the ocean have become time spent listening to the waterfall behind my house while I relax in the sunshine and read a good book.

I have become a member at the Biltmore House, and I enjoy going for walks on the beautiful grounds. The sun stays up hours after I leave my day job at the bank, so there is time to stroll in the beauty of that place and take in the scent of the flowers and the quiet shushing of the river as it slides by.



More Things I mean to do this summer:

*Yoga on my porch while the birds squawk nearby, wondering why this human has invaded their domain and what on Earth I'm up to.


*Walk in DuPont Forest and watch Triple Falls wind its way down its mountain.

*Watch the sun set from the top of Jump Off Mountain, and see the night rise up from the valleys below.

I'll report back in a couple of months and let you know how many of these things I actually did. :)

What do you love to do in the summer?


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.



Only $1.99 this month on Amazon Kindle

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Be The First to Read AS RICH AS A ROGUE

Hello all!  I’m under such a deadline with getting ready for my new release, this blog is going to be pretty simple. Just leave a comment on what you’re reading now. One lucky commenter will get a signed advanced copy of AS RICH AS A ROGUE!



Coming August 2, 2016 
Third in the saucy, vibrant Rakes & Rogues Regency romance series from USA Today bestselling author Jade Lee
A most unusual wager
Mari Powel’s fiery Welsh temper is up. Peter Norwood, Lord Whitly, is back in town after six years romping around India making his fortune. Mari blames him for her social downfall and has spent all this time clawing her way back into the ton’s good graces. How dare he show up on his first day back and publicly embroil her in a bet involving long-awaited apologies, illicit kisses, and Lady Illston’s unruly parakeet? Mari is outraged, and is going to show him-and everyone else-what she’s made of. Little does she know, the unrepentant Lord Whitly has been dreaming of her all this time. Now he’ll do anything to win the wager-along with Mari’s heart.
Praise for One Rogue at a Time:
“Vivid and energetic…with a delightfully dazzling edge.” –Night Owl Reviews
“Readers will enjoy every enchanting moment [of] Lee’s lively, humorous romp-may be her best book yet!” –RT Book Reviews, Top Pick!
“A magnificent romp.” –Fresh Fiction







Wednesday, June 22, 2016

And Such a Fine 4th It Is!

by M. L. Buchman

Wait, the 4th? As in July 4th?

Yep! For authors, holidays start months ahead of time. Christmas books are released in October, which means they're written over the sweltering summers. Valentine's Day stories make some sense, written in the dark of winter about the hopes of, well, not spring, but at least February.

And for my second Independence Day romance, the novel started well before that. For the fun of it, I thought I'd trace back through my notes for the origin of this one.

Huh! Okay. In a way it started three years ago when I released my first July 4th romance: Frank's Independence Day.
Now Frank Adams, head of the Presidential Protection Detail, has turned out to be one of the more popular characters in my Night Stalkers series, and not just the Night Stalkers White House series either. Of course his wife, Beatrice Ann "Beat" Belfour might have something to do with it.

Two years ago they figured prominently in the President's love life in Peter's Christmas

Then the next step happened last November while publishing the Vice President's story in Zachary's Christmas. 

That I knew I wanted to revisit the Secret Service White House Detail, but that I wanted to come at it from a new angle. All through the winter and into the spring I kept poking at the idea until I was starting to be afraid that I'd have to wait until next year to find what I was looking for.

I started the actual manuscript in March and by April I had a good start on the book, liked the characters, but I didn't have much else worked out.

Part of the problem was that I was gearing up for a massive vacation / research trip. For the last fifteen years between the recession and having a kid in college, money has been tight. And for ten of those years I've had this really cool idea for a short romance series (probably 4 books, I'm not sure yet) set in Italy. (Yeah, Italy!)




The problem was that I'd never been there and knew I couldn't write it until I'd been there. (I'm hoping to start this series next spring now that I've been there.)

The odd part about this trip was, there is only so much walking and poking around you can do. So after we'd done our 10-20,000 steps of exploring every day, we'd put our feet up. Sometimes we'd be in a tiny cafe, at other times on our balcony just watching the world go by.

And that's where my Independence Day story caught up with me. In that most unlikely of times: my spare minutes tucked away here and there in Italian B&Bs and cafes. The fact that the book was set in the White House and Paris (much to my surprise on the latter but the characters insisted). Thankfully I've been to both a couple of times so that research didn't slow me down.

I played with snipers on White House rooftops outside of Milan. I met the new National Security Advisor by the bridge in Dolceaqua Bridge painted by Claude Monet (picture above). I journeyed along the Seine on a dinner boat while lounging in the little towns of Cinque Terre (the other 2 photos above). I had a chance to walk once again with several of my characters: Frank and Beat, Peter and Zachary, and even Kee and Dilya visited along the way. I actually finished their love story on the flight home. The book just poured out of me.

And it did it in time for a June publication. Welcome to Roy's Independence Day

In many ways it was a journey of three years even though the writing occurred over a quick three months. And oddly, in some ways it was a journey of a decade as my desire to finally travel to Italy (which was amazing, I might add), ended up being the place where I wrote it.

I know that I've mentioned this before, but I love being a writer.

CIAO!

Those Autumn Nights...During Summer

Last fall, I had the chance to work on a historical romance anthology with authors Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, and Kate Noble. I’m delighted to call all these ladies my friends—but before I got to know them at all, I was a reader and fan of their work. As you can imagine, it was a lot of fun working with them. 

The result? An anthology called A Gentleman for All Seasons. We each set a novella during a different season of the year, with locations, characters, and events peeking into the different novellas to unify them.

But. Each novella can also stand on its own, and so we’ve got some choices for readers. Maybe you want the whole anthology? Great! Go for it! But if you just want one of the novellas? We’re offering that choice too. Within the next few months, we will all re-publish our novellas as stand-alone titles. The anthology will still be available, but now readers can pick and choose if they want to.

My novella, Those Autumn Nights, is the first to come out. Ok, maybe I should have waited until fall to reissue it, but the weather here is so. Hot. Right now I could use a little reminder of autumn drizzle and castles of ancient stone, heated by fire and...well, I'll let you read the rest for yourself. Those Autumn Nights is a second-chance-at-love story, and it's available now! For a short time, you can grab it at the discounted price of only 99 cents.

 kindle • nook • ibooks

Next week, Shana's novella--The Summer of Wine and Scandal--will be out. Kate's will be available soon after, and Vanessa’s holiday historical will be out in the fall. If you want to read them all, of course, the anthology is still available.

Happy reading! And wherever you are, I hope the weather is nice. :) 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What's Brooklyn Ann Been Up To?




Hey all! Brooklyn Ann here. I've been busy with so many things! My second Hearts of Metal book, WITH VENGEANCE released on May 19th and hit #1 in Heavy Metal on Amazon. I love that this is a category!

I also finished my 4th Brides of Prophecy novel, Unleashing Desire! It's up for Pre-Order now. 



And I've also been busy painting squares for my Horror Movie Quilt. Here are some I've done.



Now I'm currently working on my 5th Scandals With Bite book and getting ready for the RWA National conference next month.

How have you been doing?

Monday, June 20, 2016

“Sumer is i-cumen in…”

Today, June 20th, is the solstice, and the first day of summer! And while spring is probably my favorite season overall, I have a longstanding affection for the early days of summer and the surge of energy and enthusiasm that often accompanies them.

Celebrating the solstice, which can include Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Day  (June 23-24), can take many forms. In Santa Barbara, where I lived for several years, there would be a parade on the Saturday nearest the official date. Spectators would line up for blocks to watch fantastically dressed people and/or elaborate floats travel from lower State Street to Alameda Park. Usually, there would be a theme. Last year, it was “Sci-Fi”—this year it will be “Legends.” (Click on the following link to see the 2015 parade in full swing.)


A similarly festive atmosphere can be found in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, where the solstice is celebrated with floral wreaths, dancing around the maypole, and—of course—a big feed, featuring herring, schnapps, and strawberries!


And in several parts of England, blazing bonfires are lit on St. John’s Eve (June 23), though as a native Southern Californian, I admit to being wary of fires—even celebrational ones—on general principle. Not to mention being reminded of a certain climactic scene of The Wicker Man...


Open-air music festivals are another popular way to mark the occasion. Like the Secret Solstice/Midnight Sun Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland. Or the Glastonbury Festival, which is held over three days on the same dairy farm that introduced it way back in the ‘70s. (In recent years, bands as famous as U2 and the Rolling Stones have performed there.)

Photo by Paul Holloway
Others prefer to observe the solstice more quietly. Like travelers who make a special pilgrimage to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise above the Heel Stone. (It should be noted that dancing, drumming, and kissing often accompany this ritual.)


Finally, June 21—a date on which the solstice often falls—was recently designated International Yoga Day, which is supposedly less about exercise and more about finding inner harmony and balance.  


But however one celebrates the solstice, and whichever aspects of it one chooses to celebrate, putting more positive energy into the universe can be only a good thing.

Happy first day of summer!


Pamela Sherwood


Friday, June 17, 2016

Fun on the 4th!

by M. L. Buchman

Who doesn't love the 4th! 

Well, okay, the bad, bad aliens in Independence Day for one. And maybe, just maybe they blew up the White House before being destroyed, but as I said, bad, bad aliens.


And after all, they were trounced so thoroughly that it took them 20 years to come back for a sequel (which we'd like to think was a record for Hollywood, but sadly it isn't even close. I just saw the trailer for the remake of The Magnificent Seven...which I can't wait to see.)

Of course it is hard to complain about Hollywood filming in series when I write in series. Especially when I have so much fun doing it! I counted today and in my Night Stalkers series alone, there are four main series and a couple of minor ones.

Uh-huh! Uh-huh!

The reason this is cool is that one of my series within the Night Stalkers series is the Night Stalkers White House Holiday series. (If this isn't making sense, you can always check it out on my newly rebuilt webpage about The Night Stalkers.)

Behind the scenes of the most dangerous helicopter regiment in any army, lies a political machine centered on the White House. And the denizens there are no more safe from falling in love than the pilots I've sent soaring into the skies.

For this July 4th holiday, I'm celebrating with:

  • Roy Beaumont -Secret Service Counter Sniper (in other words, the good-guy sniper who spends his days on the White House roof ready to shoot bad-guy snipers. He's a sniper sniper.)
  • Sienna Arnson -President Matthews new National Security Advisor. (Meaning that she certainly wasn't planning on falling for some Secret Service sniper, who is busy ogling her through his scope as she crosses the South Lawn, on her first day.)
But when Roy is assigned to be the head of her protection detail, neither of them can resist.




“Check out this. Southwest Gate.”

By the tone over his radio headset, there was no question what Roy was being asked to check out. Not some depressed loon looking for “suicide by cop” achieved by jumping the fence. Nor some a-hole who thought he could actually cover the seventy yards between the fence and the White House without tripping a dozen alarms and alerting the ground teams.

Secret Service officer Roy Beaumont swung his sniper rifle around until he could see the Southwest Gate. He had the broadest field-of-view of the grounds from his perch on the roof of the Residence. 

Hank lay on the East Wing roof and wouldn’t see squat, which would totally bum him out. 

Fernando’s post on the West Wing roof had prime sightlines to the Southwest Gate. 

Mike was on the other side of the roof facing Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Square and couldn’t see this direction at all. Mike’s was the most boring post because idiots always came across the wide South Lawn, rather than bolting for the short crossing to the North Portico, probably because of the attraction of the Oval Office overlooking the South Lawn.

As Secret Service counter snipers, they were set up for overlapping fields of surveillance and fire. They provided overwatch protection for the ground security teams, but their primary duty was to monitor the distant stretches of D.C. in search of threats. Any decent sniper could attack from a half mile away, a good one from a full mile or more. The shot could be taken from a hotel window or a parked van. It was the counter sniper’s job to find them before they found the White House.

And on the incredibly long, boring watches, they also had overlapping views of any distraction. Sometimes it was a cute kid with a balloon out on The Ellipse (and it never hurt that cute kids often had cute moms in tow). Or a gaggle of dumb-ass protestors whining about something the Secret Service snipers couldn’t even figure out from their signs—they really needed better PIOs, Public Information Officers. It could even be a cool car, though after a while it took a lot to be cool. By the fortieth or fiftieth Ferrari to swing past the White House even that sweet ride began to pale. Only one thing didn’t.

Roy spotted her through his open left eye and let instinct guide the rifle scope to her face so that he could see her with his right eye. No question who Fernando was on about, just the way the woman walked was something special.

Monday morning on the last day of June had dawned beneath a brilliantly blue sky which left Washington D.C. sparkling. By midday it would be cooking his brains lying out on the roof on overwatch, but for the moment the day felt fresh and alive.

And the woman walking up from the Southwest security gate embodied life. There was a spring in her step. She wore professional clothes, which at the White House seemed to be synonymous with damned dull, but even they couldn’t hide this woman. A shock of dark red hair, which  gathered fire-gold highlights from the summer sunlight, framed her fair complexion. Her shape was very nice indeed and even professional clothes couldn’t hide her overall fitness. He scanned down. Good legs wrapped in sheer hose, runner’s or cycler’s legs. Despite the youth of her face, hers wasn’t the wild energy of some teen or twenty; this was a woman grown and powerful, and she absolutely knew it.

“Damn!”

“Told ya,” Fernando sounded very pleased, as he should. This woman was prime material.

“Shit, man. Can’t see a thing from here.” Hank was definitely missing out.

Suddenly the woman was gone from the scope. She’d jinked sideways out of his view fast enough to mistrack even his sniper instincts.

Roy scanned the sidewalk, but he saw no cause such as someone else in her way or an unexpected mountain lion on the South Lawn. He re-centered on her face.

This time she was looking right at him with brown eyes beneath strong brows and she looked eight kinds of pissed. She gave him the finger, then disappeared out of sight into the West Executive Avenue entrance to the West Wing.

He laughed. Not one in a thousand noticed the snipers lying on the White House roof—though they were always there if the President or First Lady was in residence. If either of them came out, whether to walk the gardens or to cross to Marine One, a full SWAT team would be up here as well. No planned movement today, so it was just the snipers and the sky. The few people who picked out the counter snipers typically cowered down and scuttled a bit. Not this one.

Attitude. A hot redhead with attitude. A seriously fine start to a long summer watch.

“Enjoying something about the view, Agent Beaumont?”

Any warmth of the morning drained out of Roy as he rolled over to look up at the speaker. How six-two of barrel-chested, bad-ass senior agent moved so quietly was a constant mystery to all of the counter snipers. Dressed in a charcoal gray three-piece, the head of the Presidential Protection Detail looked completely out of place on the White House roof and yet there was no question that he absolutely ruled the roost.

“It’s,” Roy cleared his throat and tried again. “It’s a beautiful day to be sitting overwatch, sir.”


“Uh-huh.”

Hope you enjoy the romp of Roy's Independence Day.