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Showing posts from June, 2011

Conference Week, Loser Style

In honor of this month's topic on fabulous women, I was going to chat about the amazing women who have influenced me over the years. But, alas, I'm feeling a bit "woe is me" since I'm sitting at home, unable to attend the annual Romance Writers of America national conference in New York City. However, after my editor tweeted she'd had lunch with my agent and that my name only came up when they drooled over my new cover for ENRAPTURED, I decided to stop haunting Twitter and Facebook for updates. Instead, I'm now focusing on the positive. Who needs New York City? I can have just as much fun here at home, and so can you. Wanna know how? Read on. 1. Forget shopping Fifth Avenue. Do like I did today. Hit Wal-Mart. Not only can you restock your grocery closet for cheap, you'll find hours of entertainment all right around the corner from your house! I mean, seriously, this is more fun than people watching in Times Square. (And I ask you, where else can you


Our theme for this month is fascinating women, and at first I considered talking about some fascinating women from history, since I use historical backdrops in my books. Ladies like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the first woman’s rights activist. Or Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor. Or Madame C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. Although these women made the history books, the truth is, I meet fascinating women every day. And I don’t always meet them in person. If you’ve read our CasaBlog for any length of time, you’ll know many of the women I’m talking about. Read back through the posts, and you’ll find women brave enough to share their private lives with you, whether it’s about their triumphs or hardships, personal or professional. Women that I’ve never met in person…although I hope to do so one day. I’ve been fascinated by the women I’ve met in my writing career, from agents to editors to reviewers and of course, other authors—authors who continu

The road to the book store

by Mary Margret Daughtridge The paths life takes us down… I can’t say I ever had any ambition to be a writer. I just wanted to write a romance—just because it looked like a fun challenge. “Looked like a fun challenge ?” my inner critic raises her eyebrows in ladylike incredulity at the above sentence. “What is the matter with you?” “Well,” I shrug. “It did.” First, you must understand I’m a reading addict. I can’t not read. If I don’t have a book, I will read catsup bottles, all the pamphlets in any waiting room, including the soil analysis reports. I must read whether I want to or not. Wallpaper with words on it drives me crazy. It does not matter how many times I have already seen it; I will still read it the next time. This ability/curse makes me able to read the same book over and over. Trust me—that’s an indispensible ability for a writer to have. You will read your book over and over, in draft after draft. After draft. After draft. And that’s before your editor gets

The heroines in my life

By Cheryl Brooks E ver notice how your turn to blog comes at the worst possible time? I'm leaving for New York this morning, and, as I write this on Sunday afternoon, I not only have to pack, I have to come up with a fascinating woman to write about. Most of us have written about a relative or a favorite historical figure, but I'm going to write about some ladies who are the unsung heroines in my life: My friends and coworkers at the hospital where I have worked for the past twenty years. They've supported me throughout my writing career and read my earlier efforts like they were NYT bestsellers. I used to print up my stories, put them in Amazon boxes, and take them to the hospital. I've watched my buddies pass the pages they'd just finished reading across the desk to the next reader while our patients were snoozing, leaving me to answer all the call lights, which I was more than happy to do! Let's see if I can get a shout out in here for all of them.... Na

A Fascinating Woman by Shana Galen

Here’s a little known fact about me. I have a minor in Women’s Studies. What I thought I was going to do with a major in Psychology and a minor in Women’s Studies, I’ll never know. But the point is, I’ve studied a lot of fascinating women. But the most fascinating to me is my grandmother. She’s 92 years old and still going strong. She attended Calvin College in Michigan in a time when women didn’t usually go to college. Not only did she attend college, but she majored in pre-med (or whatever they called it back then). She was the only woman in her class. And she was not welcome. One time a professor gave her a B on a paper, and she asked why. He said she did A work, but he couldn’t give her an A because then all the men in the class would feel bad if a woman did better than they did. Seventy-something years later, my grandmother is still mad about this! Sad to say, my grandmother didn’t become a doctor. She became a science teacher and a wife and a mother and, of course, my grand

Wild West Women

My cowgirl heroines Libby Brown, Charlie Banks, and Jodi Brand are three very different women, but they all have one thing in common: they're part of a long tradition of women moving west to build new lives. The West is the best possible setting for a girl-power fish-out-of-water story, because throughout history this rough open country has inspired women to escape society's constraints and accomplish things that would have been impossible elsewhere. I've collected three of my favorite wild Western women here - women who met the challenges of the frontier and did much more than merely survive. Wild West entrepreneur Nellie Cashman traveled west seeking her fortune as a prospector and worked as a cook at various mining camps in Nevada until she saved enough gold dust to open the Miner's Boarding House in Panaca Flats in 1872. Described as "pretty as a cameo and tougher than a two-penny nail," Nellie ofen fed and housed down=-on-their-luck miners for free.

All the remarkable women who helped me get here...

You want to hear about some remarkable women? How about all the authors, workshop coordinators and booksellers who have unselfishly helped me along this journey. The only way to thank them is to pay it forward. So--to that end, I've made a top ten list of advice for the newly published. Advice for the newly published A top ten list Ashlyn Chase One: Yes, you have to be your own #1 fan, but don’t annoy people with so much promo (and only promo) that they groan when they see yet another one from you. Two: Try not to “hang onto” what others think of you. There will be a dozen good things and one bad—but it’s that one bad thing that will stick in your mind. Some people are just mean and don’t deserve your tears. Trust me. Three: Don’t believe your own hype. At least keep it in perspective. A lot of people helped you get where you are—and will keep you there. No one can afford to be a snob. There are a couple of writers I won’t even share an elevator with, because they act like

In Celebration of Independence Day

  By Deb Werksman  Editorial Manager Sourcebooks Casablanca   In celebration of Independence Day, and the fact that Sourcebooks is the largest woman-owned independent publishing house in the country (if not in the world), I will take pitches posted to the Casablanca Authors blog through to midnight on July 4, and I’ll have all the responses posted by Bastille Day (July 14) . We are celebrating our latest New York Times and USA Today bestsellers: Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown The Heir by Grace Burrowes The Soldier by Grace Burrowes The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley Miranda’s Big Mistake by Jill Mansell The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick We’ll be celebrating at RWA next week—hope to see as many readers and authors as possible: *Spotlight on Sourcebooks, 9:45 am Friday 6/1 *Our authors at the Literacy Signing on Tuesday 6/28 5:30 to 7:30 pm *Our very own Sourcebooks hosted signing Thursday 6/30 3:00 to 4:00 pm. *Joanne Kennedy and Amanda Howells are up for RITAs—keep you

Amazing Women...????

by Judi Fennell So I've been reading through everyone's wonderful posts about wonderful, exciting, ground-breaking, inspirational women, and I have to say, our gender has put out some wonderful examples for the younger set to emulate. So then, explain these women to me: Yes, I admit, I'm hooked on the show. And before you start booing or throwing tomatoes, let me tell you why. With the rare rare exception of a (sadly) small number of cast members, I'll tell you my reasons, but first, the qualifiers: I do not like these women. I do not admire these women. I do not want to be like these women. I do not think these women are role models. I do not think most of them have the common sense, humanity, or professionalism that God/Karma/Fate/the Universe gave a gnat. So why do I watch this show? Well, if you know me, you know that I love certain reality TVshows. Lost, The Amazing Race , sometimes even The Apprentice . I love the competition and the aspect of triumphing o

I Owe a Debt of Gratitude to...

by Terry Spear I owe a debt of gratitude to my mother, who instilled in me a love of the Highlands and our Scottish heritage, to seek out the truth about our Highland roots, and to keep our oral history alive. And so because of my mother, I wrote HEART OF THE HIGHLAND WOLF, with more Highland tales to come. Heart of the Highland Wolf ~Terry Spear Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca Publish Date: June 1, 211 ISBN-10: 1402245521 ISBN-13: 978-1402245527 ASIN: B004Y5AV1K Each holds a secret they can't possibly overcome alone... Julia Wildthorn is sneaking into Argent Castle to steal an ancient relic,but reluctant laird Ian MacNeill may be the key to unlocking the one answer she really wants discovered... From brilliant storyteller Terry Spear, modern day werewolves meet the rugged Highlands of Scotland, where instinct meets tradition, and clan loyalties give a whole new meaning to danger... **** All month, I've been guest blog

Women of Rock!

by Olivia Cunning There aren't very many women rock stars. I admire those few have crushed the glass ceiling (guitar?) and made it in a male-dominated music genre. One of my favorite rock bands is Heart. Ann Wilson, who has one of the most beautiful voices in rock 'n' roll, and her younger sister, Nancy Wilson, who has amazing skills on the electric guitar, became superstars not once, but twice. In the mid-seventies, they released several successful albums and had hits such as Barracuda , Crazy on You , Magic Man, and the softer Dog and Butterfly . In the late 80s, Heart had several more hits, including These Dreams , What About Love , Never , and Alone . This summer they are on tour with Def Leppard. You know I want to see that show. I heart Heart. (and had major crushes on the members of Def Leppard in the 80s...) Another group of women who made it big in the rock 'n' roll genre are The Runaways. This was a band completely composed of teenage girls. Ther

Following Crazy Dreams

by Amanda Forester When I think of the most amazing women I know, the first person who always comes to mind is my grandma, Ester. Born in 1905 in rural Missouri, the expectations for her life were simple and clear. She would get married as soon as decently possible and have as many children as she could to work the farm. Ester, however, had her own dreams. Tragedy struck early, and Ester lost her father when she was just six-years-old. Her mother was now a single parent of three girls, trying to scrape by as best she could, long before there were any government programs to help families in difficult circumstances. Despite this, at a time when most girls stopped their schooling at the eighth grade, Ester not only finished high school but also went on to college. An amazing singer, Ester graduated from the University of Kansas, with a major in music. She also was dating an incredibly handsome Olympic athlete. He was a year older than her and had moved away after graduating, leaving h

Mentors and then some...

Whenever anyone asks for writing/career advice, the first thing out of our mouths is, “Are you a member of RWA?” In retrospect, we should probably print that up on business cards because we have said it quite a lot. And while the parent organization is great in many ways, we believe the true stars are the members of our local chapter - Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. Probably everyone feels that way about their own chapter, and we are no different. We often say that we don’t believe we would be where we are today without ladies and gentlemen of HCRW. Certainly Lydia Dare as an entity wouldn’t exist without this organization, as the two of us live more than an hour away from each other and would never have met without HCRW. But even before we dreamed up the idea of Lydia Dare, we were both struggling, new writers. And the seasoned authors of HCRW inspired, encouraged, and mentored us. In our newest release IN THE HEAT OF THE BITE, which hits shelves early next month, we dedicated

The Grande Dame of Romance

By Robin Kaye I met Kate Duffy at my very first writer’s conference—the Washington Romance Writers’ Retreat. On the first day, I sat at a table on the patio next to Kate. I didn’t know she was the Grande Dame of Romance; I didn’t know she started Silhouette; I didn’t know she was the editorial director of Kensington and the creator of Brava. Hell, I was such a newbie I didn’t even know she was an editor of anything. One of us started a conversation and all I knew was that I liked her immediately. After that, we met on the patio for coffee or drinks at every conference we both attended. We rarely talked about writing. We always seemed to end up talking about her family or mine, and over the too few years I knew her we became great friends. Kate was someone I’d call a real mench. She was the person I’d want in my lifeboat. Not only would she come up with the perfect solution to any problem, she was the kind of person who would make me laugh as we’d watch the cruise ship sink. She

Conference time!

by Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor One of my favorite parts of the job is traveling to conferences and getting to a chance to see in person our fabulous, fascinating authors and the many other published and unpublished romance writers across the country. At the beginning of the month, I was in Cincinnati for Lori Foster's Reader & Author Get Together and wanted to share with you some fun photos: Hello, inspiration! C.H. Admirand & cover model Bill Freda. Old friends: Leanna Renee Hieber, Donna MacMeans & me An absolute riot to hang with: Sidney Ayers & Cheryl Brooks Signing buds: Leanna Hieber, Elle James, Stephanie Julian The ever-beautiful Judi Fennell and her--ahem!--genie The gang's all here: me, Sidney, Jeanette Murray (of the forthcoming Semper Fi series--hot stuff!), Judi, Stephanie, C.H. & Leanna And last Friday, uber-talented Assistant Editor Aubrey Poole (middle, seated) & I attended the

Amazing to Grace by Grace Burrowes

In keeping with our theme regarding Amazing Ladies, the following thoughts befell me: My mother gave birth to seven children, starting off with a set of twins. The babies were lying athwart each other and sixty-five years ago, there were no sonograms at sixteen weeks to warn a lady of her impending good fortune. The obstetrician figured it out late in the pregnancy but kept the realization to himself lest he “upset” his patient. Mom found out she was having twins when baby No. 1 came squalling into the world, and the nurse told her to keep pushing, because, “Mrs. Burrowes, you’re still in labor.” Mom coped. She’s been coping ever since. In her late eighties, she copes with hearing loss, diminution of energy (I can almost keep up with her now), failing eyesight, and a few other blessings of great age. My mother never got me. Domestication was pretty much her identity, which was fortunate if the laundry were going to get done (using

Great Scot

Update: The winner of Mia Marlowe's random drawing is Carrie! Please contact Mia through her website with your snailmail so she can mail out your prize. If you didn't win, don't despair. Mia has a contest at that will end June 26th. The prize for that contest is a Ready for the Beach Box of Books! Our theme for the month is fascinating women. Since my Casablanca debut ( Sins of the Highlander , January 2012) is set in 16th century Scotland, I've had great fun researching this setting and time period. In my digging, I've discovered some intriguing things about Mary, Queen of Scots. I always knew she was Elizabeth I's cousin and that she met her end on the chopping block, but I didn't know much about her life. It was like a medieval soap opera, with ill-considered marriages at the heart of her downfall. Made me think Elizabeth was wise to remain the Virgin Queen. When she was five years old, Mary Stuart was sent to France to avoid a forced

Florence Nightingale: Victorian Rebel

by Tracey Devlyn Must I pick only one woman who fascinates me? LOL Ah, well, then I select Miss Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910)—nurse, writer, statistician, and hospital reformist. Florence Nightingale was a Victorian rebel. Born into a well-connected British family, Nightingale was expected to marry well and produce a bevy of children, the same as any wealthy young lady of that era. But Nightingale followed a different path, one that would put her at odds with her beloved family and one that she believed to be a calling from God. Florence Nightingale became a nurse. In 1854 (Crimean War), Nightingale and 38 volunteer nurses set off for Scutari, Turkey after hearing about the deplorable conditions of the wounded British soldiers. W hen she arrived, the situation was much worse than she had anticipated. The soldiers were malnourished and without proper bedding, and many were filthy and still wearing their gore-covered uniforms. In addition, she soon learned that the army hospita

The Incomparable Cynthia Riggs

By Anita Clenney Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to Martha's Vineyard with my husband, my agent and several of her clients for an agent/author panel at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore. A wonderful bookstore that was voted PW Bookstore of the Year in 2002. My husband went with me because in almost 14 years of marriage, we had never really had a honeymoon, so we decided this was it. The bookstore event went great, but it was my first time on a panel, and I was a little nervous. A couple of the others were too, since we had expected a dozen or so aspiring writers to attend, but it turned out to be standing room only. The bookstore was pleased and the audience was excited, and I survived my first panel, and my first TV interview. Each author had a 30 minute interview for a show that will run on the local TV station. The event was set up by mystery writer Cynthia Riggs (pictured here with me), who writes the Martha's Vineyard mysteries starring 92 year old amateur sleuth Victoria Trum