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Showing posts from November, 2014

How Much Alpha is Too Much Alpha?

Like so many romance readers, the occasional alpha male makes me smile. A strong man who knows what he wants and how to get it is definitely one of my favorite things about the genre. Of course, there are some characters that pass from the realm of the alpha, into the realm of the jerk. Never a good thing.   This happened a lot in romance novels in the 1980's and 90's. (Okay, yes, I am definitely dating myself here.) One of my favorite romance novels when I was younger was WHITNEY, MY LOVE by Judith McNaught. While a lovely story in many ways, filled with fabulous, sexy situations and compelling characters, it had an alpha who crossed the line more than once. The duke who was our hero lied to the heroine for months about who he was, only to rape her when she pissed him off. How, I ask you, does a woman come back from that? Somehow, the leading lady took him back and made it all ok for the both of them, after a bit of groveling on his part, but honestly there is not en

It's DONE!!! by Jade Lee

It's DONE!!!  By Jade Lee Guess what??? A. Martians have landed in my back yard and they're pooping gold! B. My 3 year old niece has just created the formula for the cure for cancer in crayon! Or was that cancer in crayons? Not nearly as exciting. C. Her dog Molly insists on putting her nose in my suitcase and slobbering on my clothes. D. I turned in the manuscript for my Nov 2015 book on time!  Er...assuming you add 2 months to my deadline. Answer D!  And honestly a month ago the Martians were more likely. As for C, I managed to close the suitcase so poor doggie is foiled! So after this miracle created thru hard work and coffee was emailed to my editor, I celebrated by... A. Dusting my house from top to bottom. B. I took a shower. Believe me, I needed it. C. I went grocery shopping for something other than chips and chocolate. D. I watched a marathon of a new TV show called Get off your Couch, you fat slob. Answer: B. Yes, needed to

The Best and the Worst of Thanksgiving with the Casablanca Authors

Happy Thanksgiving, Readers!  While you wait for your pies to cook and the house is filled with delicious smells of cinnamon and pumpkin, sit back and enjoy tales of our best or worst Thanksgivings. Share your own memories in the comments section.  As always, readers, we are thankful for you! My favorite Thanksgiving story is when my son went back home to have Thanksgiving with his friends, but my mom, daughter and I had the most fun. We had the traditional lovely turkey dinner and it went downhill after that, although in a totally funny, wild, crazy, and memorable way. Kind of like the way I write. Anyway, I’d had roof damage in storms a couple of weeks earlier, and I didn’t realize it, but the roofers had covered the chimney with roofing paper because I’d lost my chimney cap. So here I’m trying to start a fire in the fireplace with one of those 6? hour burning logs and lo and behold, the smoke begins pouring into the living room. At the same time, my daughter

Pop Quiz from Editor Deb Werksman

POP QUIZ (Please check all that apply, and please share your thoughts/questions/comments)—I want to hear from you, I want to hear what your readers are telling you, and I want us to shape the future together. 1) What do readers want next in paranormal romance? a. More vampires b. More shapeshifters (including mythical creatures like dragons) c. Reincarnation d. Ghosts e. Psychics/Telekinesis, etc. f. Fantasy/Futuristic/Sci-Fi g. Magical Realism h. Other, please specify:_________________ Comments about what you’re reading or writing in paranormal romance, what you wish there was to read, what your readers are asking for, and/or pitches for books you’d like to write/publish:_________________ 2) In romantic suspense, besides military and law enforcement, what do you buy, what do your readers ask for or talk about, what do you see working in the marketplace? a. Ordinary people caught in circumstances beyond their

I Say It's Her Birthday

Today is my sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Sister R! As you can see, she has always been fond of me. Weren't we a snuggly pair? She's the curly-top. I'm the immense pouty-faced baby. When we were kids, there was no one I admired more than my sister. There was also no one I fought with more. When we got older, my admiration stuck around, though fortunately our foot fights came to an end. (She ALWAYS won. Grr. No, I'm over it.) When each of us got married, there was no question who would be the maid/matron of honor. We're godmothers to each other's kids. We live far apart, so we send each other books all the time. And when we do meet up, we enjoy a serious get-together where we act serious and do serious things. I just turned in a book in which sibling relationships are important for both hero and heroine. Some are close; some are distant; some are tense and some are relaxed. People don't get to pick their families. Still, I'd have h

A little slice of Australia...

I've always been fascinated with history, and last weekend my boyfriend and I had a chance to explore a little piece of local history.  I live in a small town in country Victoria, Australia. The discovery of gold in the area in 1857 set off a bit of a boom, though most of the area is known for farming, and there are some beautiful old homesteads in the area from that era that remind me a little of the one from The Man From Snowy River, which is one of my favourite movies (I'm not sure if this is a movie Americans might have seen, but its definitely a fun one!).  So when one of the local homesteads, 'Lexington' was opened for the day for an Open Garden, I was keen to explore. Market stalls, a band, gorgeous gardens, and delicious food. Count me in.  Here are a few of the photos, to show a little bit of a different Australia to the one usually seen in tourism photos.  The style of the house is set facing the South, which is Georgian apparently. 


Today is the day thousands of Hunger Games fans have been waiting for. Mockingjay (Part 1) has arrived in theaters! W0000T! So far I've been very impressed with how the films are staying true to the books. I had been especially leery of CATCHING FIRE and was relieved that it did not disappoint. I admit to being disappointed about the movie being split into 2 parts, mostly because it'll be torture waiting yet ANOTHER year to see the next installment, but also because I worry that there is not enough material to merit 2 movies. They'll have to put stuff in, or extend battle scenes, or something. Let's hope they don't put in anything ridiculous or out of character, or turn the movie into an overdose of gratuitous CGI explosions. I also admit that I won't be joining the masses on opening day. I have major issues with crowds so my son and I are going on Monday. Who else is looking forward to Mockingjay? Do you think it will live up to the book?

AUTUMN COMFORTS: Scalloped Potatoes (A Recipe Post)

November may not be the shortest month of the year, but it always seems to fly past--possibly because it’s one of the busiest. Holidays, elections, shopping at its most insane (Black Friday, anyone?), personal challenges like the Great American Smoke-Out and National Novel Writing Month . . . finding the time to relax, reflect, and simply be in November is an ongoing challenge, even with that extra hour we regain when Standard Time resumes. This year, after a challenging summer, I’m trying to take autumn slow and easy. That doesn’t mean being less productive--while I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, I am on course to finish my WiP this month--but rather to enjoy the journey and not stress out so much about the destination or how fast I get there. And to savor whatever comforts the season has to offer. I count cooking among those comforts. As the weather cools and the days grow shorter and darker, I find the kitchen one of the pleasantest places to be. Especially when someth

A Time for Thanks by Victoria Roberts

Meet James Theodore. Wee Jamie is the newest bairn to our clan. He's my handsome nephew who was born on September 30, 2014. Can you believe all that hair? He was welcomed home by his big sister, Maisy. I was fortunate enough to spend a week at my sister's house to help her out after the baby was born. How quickly we forget how much it truly takes a village to care for a newborn. But don't get me wrong. There's nothing like the feeling of a new life curling up in your arms. Babies truly are a miracle. My sister and I had a great time, and I really enjoyed being able to help her out. I didn't get the chance to do that when my niece was born because my niece and my son are only seven months apart. The two of them are so funny because they fight like an old married couple one minute, and the next minute they're playing like BFF's. This was wee Jamie's first trip to Toys 'R Us. He makes for a fine pirate. Aargh! Our clan has a lot to be thankfu

Feeling a Lot Like Christmas

by M.L. Buchman I've been discovering one of the great joys of the Christmas season that comes with being a writer. Throughout the year I work at my craft, I develop my novels, I consider where I want my series to go. And, because I'm a research hound, I plunge off into the world of research to learn about attitudes, practices, equipment, world events, etc. etc. etc. And then comes Christmas! Christmas comes early for a writer. In July or August, we start to consider what story we want to tell. What character wishes for a cheery holiday season. Which one wants to just cut loose and find a holiday romance. Will everyone else (at least north of the equator) is sweating it out, writers wander off to far cooler climes. Through August, September, even October (and occasionally November because after all we're writers and schedules can be a severe challenge when a book takes far longer than you planned), we delve away on Christmas tales. It is a splendidly merry time of

romance among the stars

Some of my favourite TV shows are sci-fi. I grew up watching Doctor Who and Star Trek, moved on to Farscape, returned to the rebooted Doctor Who, and loved the rebooted Battlestar Galactica (I never saw the original). There is something about sci-fi that I love. Maybe it's tech or the cool aliens (Farscape did aliens so well)...or simply the human drama of being in space and trapped on a ship with limited supplies where danger is never far away. Farscape and BSG also threw in some romance which I loved:)  Who didn't want John Crichton and Aeryn Sun to get together? It was only a matter of time before I started writing sci-fi romance. The ES Siren series has no aliens but plenty of human drama as the ship makes it's way to the new colony. What's extra fun about this series is that Mel Teshco and Denise Rossetti also write books in the world so on release day the publisher puts out 3 books...yep 3 at a time so there's no waiting around to see how the mini cri

Turkey, turkey, turkey!

Remember that movie, Homeward Bound, when the two dogs and the cat make their way back home and the younger dog runs in the house saying, "turkey, turkey, turkey"? That's the feeling that we get around our house as Thanksgiving approaches. It's the holiday when all our kids, their friends, their in-laws or whoever they can get in the van, the truck or in the car to bring with them come home for Thanksgiving. And just like Chance, the dog in the middle in the picture, I can just hear them saying, "Turkey, turkey, turkey" as they park those vehicles and come running toward the house. Dinner, served buffet style, goes on the bar, the fold out table, the dry sinks in the dining room and the stove. Feasting begins at noon as soon as the blessing is said. Sometimes Mr. B says grace but he has been known to call upon the youngest child in the house to say the prayer before "turkey, turkey, turkey" begins. It's our holiday to the kids so they do

How Do Eyes Frame Truth and Emotion?

Your eyes give you away. A split-second, angled glance speaks volumes to the person facing you. You may be rolling your eyes, thinking: "Come on. A quick glance up means something?" Yes. Every tick, every angle, every number of blinks. Think of your iris (your eye's colored circle). Researchers have measured 360 degree shifts of the iris to decipher our non-verbal communication. Those little movements mean big messages. Here's how those findings translate to you: 1. Length of a look Have you ever wondered about that guy who made eye contact with you in Starbucks? Is he attracted? Or do you have a smear of latte foam on your face? Here's how "the glance" breaks down. Two seconds or less is purely investigational. A noise might have distracted the guy and he looked your way. If his look is at least four out! Once you break the four second threshold, attraction is in play. He's interested. He likes what he sees and

What A Lady REALLY Needs for Christmas.... by Grace Burrowes

Where I live, the first frost has hit. My daughter in Denver has seen snow on the ground, and slightly north of her, the bitter cold and heavy snow accumulations have already started. It's November, our next holiday is Thanksgiving, and for some people, that makes this the toughest time of year. Cold keeps us indoors, shorter periods of sunlight can affect mood and energy. Most of us are making less Vitamin D, and that has all manner of metabolic implications. Flu season is upon us, driving can become perilous, and soon we'll be expected to come up with clever, insightful, tasteful, but not too expensive gifts for half the people we know or work with. This can be a tough time of year, but NOT FOR ME. I recently figured out that I sleep better in the colder weather, and thus I have more energy than when it's warm--despite the lack of sunlight. I also have more time to myself, and being a Warp Nine introvert, time to myself is another place I find more energy. Bec

Start of a New Series from Mia Marlowe!

I always tell the writers who pop by my Red Pencil Thursday that the beginning of anything is a delicate time. In the case of a series, a writer has to introduce a large enough cast in an interesting enough world with enough unresolved situations to make readers ready to come back for Book 2, but not so many that they don't feel Book 1 didn't address enough of them to be satisfying on its own. As I said, delicate. So far however, the reviewers seems to think I've managed it with A Rake By Any Other Name . Here's what some of them say: "Marlowe shines with a delightful and delicious comedy of errors for the first book in her new series, Somerfield Park . There's an heiress, a reluctant groom, a superfluous fiancee, secrets and scandals galore. Fast-paced, well-plotted and populated with authentic and lively characters. Regency fans will love this page-turner!" ~ RTBOOKReviews "If future installments are anything like this little gem,