DECEMBER

WHAT’S NEW IN PUBLISHING

12-16 Mary Buckham

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Writing YA/NA Historical Romance

You may recall that Romancing the Genres celebrated New Adult novels in August and September, and I explained then how my books could be considered both Young Adult and New Adult. (See my post at https://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com/2017/09/new-adult-or-not-by-lynn-lovegreen.html.)

I’ve learned a lot about writing YA/NA historical romance over the years, including these points:

  • A writer can’t just take a modern young woman and throw her into past centuries.

  • The historical information must be woven into the story without slowing down the plot.

  • The romance has to be organic and appropriate for the characters involved.

For more tips and tricks, you can sign up for “Writing YA/NA Historical Romance,” an online workshop I’m leading through Hearts Through History Romance Writers on January 3-31, 2018. Here’s the course description:

Can you just throw Bella or Katniss into the nineteenth century to create a historical romance? This four-week workshop will provide the skills an author needs to write a historical romance with young characters. In this course, we will practice writing romance grounded in historical fact. We will consider setting, character, and plot points, and ensure the language is appropriate for the story. Part of our discussion will include how young women had more limitations in the past, sexuality has changed over the years, and that adolescence was seen differently way back when. We will also discuss researching and weaving in historical information. While Lynn will provide lectures and short homework assignments, participants will be encouraged to add to the conversation with their own ideas and knowledge.




Lynn Lovegreen has lived in Alaska for almost fifty years. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and volunteering at her local library. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in Alaska, a great place for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Long and Winding Road Part 2 - Promotion


Hi everyone! I am YA, and now MG author Barbara Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for adolescents and teens. My tagline tells you what I am about - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them.  My newest book, Courage, is middle grade fiction that will be coming out next summer from Harper Collins.

If you are running a business, you know that promotion is a must have part of your overall marketing plan. And being an author is like running a business.

The problem is, I am a die hard introvert.  Among other things, that makes blowing my own horn borderline impossible.

But that is a requirement for marketing and promotion. That's one of the messages I received during the Prairie Writers and Illustrators Day (PWID) conference in October.

I learned about things authors should begin doing in the months before their book is published:
  • Aggressively build a social media platform (being sure to focus on “you” and not your book) 
  • Connect with other authors (social media, online communities, new author publicity groups, associations in common, etc.)
  • Get involved with author communities (i.e., volunteer to be a judge in writers contests, to become a mentor, etc.)
  • Brainstorm marketing ideas like holiday or seasonal tie-ins and different methods of outreach. Click HERE to take a look at a prior RTG post on the outreach efforts of one group of authors a few years ago.
  • Sign up for writers conferences or other types of professional conferences occurring after your publication date at which you can sell or promote your book.
  • Reach out to book clubs or other groups who might be interested in your book and/or in hearing you speak.
  • Coordinate with your agent or editor about submitting your book to eligible awards.
As with any other product, name recognition is critical to consumers. Experts explained that for the most part, readers buy books from authors they feel they know or have a connection to.  Or an author/book that someone they know or care about recommends. That's why name brands are important and why companies have learned to Trademark valuable product names and jingles. When a customer recognizes you by name not just by product type, that name has monetary value.

Having readers know an author by name is practically a holy grail. Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, James Patterson, Jodi Piccolt - these are all name brands to their readers who feel like they know these authors personally. They actively seek out new books bearing these author's names. Finding one is like being invited over to a friend's home for dinner.

The library market can be a big boost to any author. Public and school libraries are big purchasers of both physical and eBooks. But you have to go after that market. Do not assume that having a "library edition" on Amazon will entice any library to want your book, especially if you are self-published. Two things drive library purchases - award wins and patron checkouts.

Get your fans to go to their local libraries and request your books. Many libraries listen to patron requests. After all, librarians want books that will circulate, and a request means the book will go out at least once. Use your news letters, blogs and other venues to recruit volunteers to help spread the word. Sometimes we authors call them "street teams", people who love our work and will spread the word about our new books. Make them feel a part of your family with special news items just for members, treats and give-aways. In return, their enthusiasm can get their friends and relatives to become your fans.

Side note, you should also get your fans to check your books out of libraries. The more an author’s books circulate, the more likely they are to believe future books will do the same, and therefore will more likely buy your next book.

That brought the next lesson - Authors need to have marketing plans that include actively promote themselves. We have to communicate our product and brand...ourselves to potential readers. This is different from the "buy my book" advertising too many authors sometimes flood social media with. That kind of thing does not promote a feeling of friendship, it turns people off.

So, have a platform, something you are passionate about and are willing to spend the time and effort to share. Then find like-minded groups and do so.  Today, social media, twitter, facebook, instagram, etc., have groups and societies for almost any area. Get active. Post original content once or twice a week to show your expertise and opinions.  Also share the content of others. Comment on them early and often, but don't get sucked into controversies that could make people remember you for the wrong thing. Friend people, respond to comments on your posts.

Build a community, so when you do begin posting advertising and information about your new release, people who see you social media will know who you are. Because they know and care about you, you increase the odds they will want to get your book.  (It's kind of like not telling a lot of backstory until after readers have learned to care about your characters.)

I had a private consultation that included personalized advice from Hannah Ehrlich, Director of Marketing and Publicity at Lee & Low Books. You may have noticed I have changed my opening picture for my posts. Those were her first words, to have the new cover out front and center everywhere. Her next piece of advice was that I needed to do more with my personal blog -  http://www.babinns.com/barbarabinnsblog/. The consultant told me I had information that others would want to know about, my knowledge of diversity and multiculturalism in the publishing and educational arena. Show people what I know. Transfer what I speak about to short blog posts. Twitter is actually more fun for me, I like twitter where I have to condense. I am not a fan of the longer length. Nevertheless, I have begun doing more blogging recently, and will try to pick it up. My consultant reminded me that twitter does take time to build an audience. Hence that cycle is another of the list of things that needs to begin long before the publication date.

As an author of young adult and middle grade books, I also market to schools, and gleaned some extra tips about that. The first is that the library and school market are different and need different approaches. Librarians are primarily interested in what is new. Schools want to see what fits into curricular needs. They can be interested in a book years after the publication date if it appears useful to them and their students. That means it is feasible to continue marketing backlists to schools, as long as it fits what they are looking for.

And that means this introvert has to start planning for even more school visits and conference presentations for next fall.  Please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Treat Yourself to a Holiday Deal

by Madelle Morgan


December is the month for indulgences. The rich appetizers, traditional meals, calorie-loaded drinks, boxes of chocolates, and especially the delicious holiday baking can sure pack on the pounds.

Here's what my sister-in-law set before me. Who can resist? Not me...


However, there is absolutely no downside to indulging in seasonal ebook deals. You may have noticed the surge in giveaways and 99 cent book deals this month?

You know those advent calendars with a little chocolate treat behind each "door" for each day up to December 24? I loved these daily treats when I was a kid and continued the tradition by buying one for my son every December.


Author Pam Workman had the brilliant idea to create an advent calendar for ebooksone or two free or 99 cent books each day written by various authors. Pam also offers a free ebook.
P.D. Workman, Author
Discover a new author or authors every day from December 1 to Christmas Eve. The books cross all genres, including romance, so there's something for every reader. Here's the link to Pam's calendar. 

Although this post is dated December 12, many of the earlier deals may still be in effect. Be sure to click on all the little doors December 1 to 24 to find books that interest you. If a deal is no longer available via Pam's calendar, search for it on Amazon. 

Don't forget to check every day for a new deal from a different author. I'm enjoying this 99 cent boxed set.


All the best to you and yours.

Happy Holidays!

Madelle

**************************************

Madelle Morgan is a Canadian author who writes romance set in Canada. 

Caught on Camera is a Hollywood wedding romance set in Muskoka, Canada—summer playground of the rich and famous. It's Book 1 of the Hollywood in Muskoka series.
 Amazon | iTunes | Kobo

Seduced by the Screenwriter is Book 2 in the series. For a limited time this hot contemporary romance is available on Amazon for $0.99 and a free read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Madelle's romantic thriller Diamond Hunter is available on Amazon in Kindle Unlimited.

Follow Madelle on  TwitterFacebookGoodreadsPinterest, and Wattpad

Monday, December 11, 2017

Wrapping Up the Year!





By: Marcia King-Gamble
www.lovemarcia.com  




We’re wrapping up yet another year, and I’ve always found it a good time to reflect. I call  December my woulda, coulda, shoulda month. No time for regrets, I think about  my “didas”, and I am grateful for good health, because without it, I have nothing.




2017 was a grim year for so many. Floods in Texas, Hurricanes in Florida, Fires in California. Many lost lives.  Many lost homes. Many were despondent. My heart goes out to all those displaced people. But this too shall pass, unbelievable as it may seem..

There’s much to be grateful for.  Whenever I think I have it bad, there are others who have it far worse.  I have a home to live in. I have food on the table. I have supportive friends and family. I have good health. When I get down, I remind myself to stay positive. I focus on what I've accomplished. The good things that have happened,  and will continue to happen; the small difference I made in one person's life.



What did you accomplish this year? What were the highlights?  What made you smile? Where did you go? What did you do? Who did you help? Did you contribute to making our little world a better place?   

Every year I start out promising to do one act of kindness a day. Just one small thing  can make someone smile and feel special. It can simply be letting a person ahead of me in the grocery store line, or thanking a person for making my life a little better. It could be the guy who picks up my trash or the stranger who holds open a door. Everyone needs and wants to feel special.  Sometimes, extrovert that I am, I cross the room at a party to speak to the lone wallflower. I try to pay attention and be aware that not everyone is as comfortable in a crowded room as me. 

Opening your heart, and giving of yourself shouldn’t be something that happens once a year. And giving doesn’t have to be money. Giving of your time can be equally as valuable. Volunteers are needed at so many places. Find  a cause that you're passionate about and volunteer.  Mentoring young kids (our future) is a wonderful way of paying your good luck forward.

Start out each new year with a list of things you want to see, do, and accomplish. This is where a vision board comes in handy. As many of you know,  I design a vision board every year.  As I write, I’m reviewing the one I designed in January of 2017. It's a perfect reminder of what I accomplished and what I did not.  Did life take me in a different direction? How could I have done it better? 



My 2017 vision board had a newspaper article that I'd like  to share.  It’s titled the 2017 Starter Guide and it has a  list of manageable goals. Here are a few  that resonate with me and are easily transferable to 2018:

·         Learn to say no
·         Get enough sleep
·         Don’t go to bed in a state of emotional turmoil
·         Offer to help
·         Do mundane and difficult tasks first
·         Laugh and have fun
·         Have a thankful heart and stop complaining
·         Engage in physical activity
·         Choose your friends wisely
·         Do what is right
·         Compromise
·         Take responsibility for your own actions
·         Look for ways in which to demonstrate kindness

When it comes to physical activity, I’m a huge proponent of exercise. Exercise has gotten me through some of the more challenging experiences of my life. Endorphins are a natural opiate, and there are so many benefits to moving your butt.  Exercise keeps you looking young, and it  keeps you positive. Keeping those endorphins flowing are better than any prescription drug I know. It manages depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, and just think, you’re burning calories and losing weight at the same time.

The end of the year is also the perfect time for “feel good stories.” I’m releasing  two in conjunction with well-known authors, and I'm excited.



 The first is novella number 5 in The Holiday Sparkle series; another collaboration with talented author Bettye Griffin . Last year the first in the series was Love on Lakeview Drive, followed by Naughty in New York, Holiday in Houston and lastly, Loose in Las Vegas. This year we bring you Rockin' The Rockies.   



Novella number 5, Rockin' The Rockies  is set in Aspen and Denver. Yes, the rented red dress makes another reappearance and it again transforms lives. This time, my heroines experience love at a charity event, and it's told from the two heroines points-of-view.   
    


My second release, penned with author, Sandra Kitt, is titled ‘By Design.’  Welcome to the world of the retail store and all its intrigue. This series starts off on the east coast, Fashionistas get ready. Please check Amazon and Barnes and Noble for these releases in the next week or two, but certainly before Christmas.  Be sure to add both to your holiday shopping.

In closing, I'd like to thank you for your support and wish you a safe and happy holiday. Keep that attitude of gratitude going, and good things will come to you.

My wish for you in 2018 is to have all your dreams come true.

Romantically Yours,


Marcia King-Gamble,


About Marcia King-Gamble
Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This former travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, and caring for her animal family.
Visit Marcia at www.lovemarcia.com or “friend” her on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1MlnrIS


Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Year of What's New!

by M. L. Buchman

I have this thing that I do each year, I label the next year:

  • 2013 - The Year of Transition. Crossing over into being a full-time writer. It was a leap of faith, deeply motivated by my inability to find a job at the tail of the recession.
  • 2014 - The Year of Production. It probably should have been named the year of terror. My hybrid writing career was taking off, but would it be fast enough? We'd made a huge gamble, dumping a large portion of our savings into giving me a shot at a writing career. Thanks to the faith of my wife. It paid off in 2015.
  • 2015 - The Year of More Production. But I'll also call it the year of relief. We paid back our savings account.
  • 2016 - The Year of Transition. A different transition this time: from hybird to full indie. Could I make it on my own? Well, the numbers of my prior three years spelled that out clearly: ~70% of my writing time went to my traditional books, but they accounted for just 17% of my income. Still there were doubts. Were my indie books held up by my traditional ones? 2017 would answer that with a resounding NO. My indie income grew, despite having to abandon most of the money-making series snarled up in my traditional publications. 
  • 2017 - The Year of Marketing. At least that's what I labeled it at first. Except it didn't really work out that way. Instead, it turned out to be The Year of What's New. For the first time in a decade, I attended two national conferences as well as a pair of UnCons (top writers getting together and just talking business for a few days). That was on top of my normal networking, co-teaching a week-long Master Class on the Oregon Coast, hiring a consult or two, and four or five other events. Let's just say that my thinking evolved immensely.


So, here I sit with 150 published works (and 2 more due this month): 54 novels, 57 short stories, collections, 23 titles also released in "sweet" versions, and 10 titles in audio (with more coming soon). This doesn't count third-party bundles which number around a dozen.

Here are two particularly cool ones running at the moment:
An amazing Christmas Bundle of novels and three anthologies:


And an awesome collection edited by Blaze Ward:

With all of this published work, you think that I'd have a good grasp of what was going on in the industry. I can only say that I was utterly and totally gobsmacked at how much new I learned this year. Here's just a few choice pieces:

  • Focus 2016 version: That was the year I tried to do everything. I released an entire small-town contemporary series set on the Oregon Coast. (http://www.mlbuchman.com/eagle-cove/) as well as novels in four different series:
    • Firehawks
    • Night Stalkers
    • Night Stalkers White House
    • Delta Force
    • Might have thrown in a little science fiction while I was at it.
    • A few collections.
    • The 13 short stories that year covered 9 different series across 4 different genres.
  • Focus 2017: I narrowed that down and will continue to do that even more. I'm going to stop supporting the series that my traditional publisher still controls, because every time I write a story in those series, I make them more money, but not me. Am I abandoning my fans? Not even close. Focus is essential in order not to confuse your fans. See my next point for why.
  • The Fan Guide: No, it's not a book on how to get more fans. It's using them as a guide. What are they drawn to in my writing? What is less successful? What may sell a little less at the moment, but gets me an overwhelming fan mail response? This is any writer's single most important (and perhaps underutilized resource). I've started working very hard on thinking about my fans, much more than I did a year ago.
  • The Importance of Estate Planning: I started in on this one as a way to help my wife and kid better understand what they'd inherit someday. By the time I was done, I think this may be the most important work I've ever done for them. Intellectual Property belongs to me and my heirs until 70 years after my death. If poorly managed, it will equal zero (or soon enough). However, well managed, it could be supporting my great-grandchildren, even though my kid isn't even married yet. 
  • The importance of having fun. I somehow had lost sight of this one. Because, trust me, if I'm not having fun while I'm writing, my fans won't have fun while their reading. That's why on December 30th, I'm launching a brand new series called The White House Protection Force. It's the most fun I've had writing in quite a while! Sign up for my newsletter to make sure you don't miss it: www.mlbuchman.com/newsletter
I'm thinking of calling 2018 The Year of Fun!


Booklist has selected his military and firefighter series(es) as 3-time “Top 10 Romance of the Year.” NPR and Barnes & Noble have named other titles “Top 5 Romance of the Year.” In 2016 he was a finalist for RWA's RITA award. He has flown and jumped out of airplanes, can single-hand a fifty-foot sailboat, and has designed and built two houses. In between writing, he also quilts. M.L. is constantly amazed at what can be done with a degree in geophysics. He also writes: contemporary romance, thrillers, and SF. More info at: www.mlbuchman.com.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Stress!!!



I am reusing this old post because I'm feeling stressed again.
I have up dated it to reflect this year's stress!

Christmas is fun!

Ha!  I sit here at my computer with piles of presents sitting on the floor waiting to be wrapped.  There’s menu’s to plan, grocery lists to make, cookies to be baked, cards to be addressed and sent, and the house needs a thorough cleaning!

I thought I was ahead of the holidays this year.  I bought my Christmas cards in October, all the stamps in November, and now I ask you, where did the time go?

We bought our tree on Saturday and decorated it Monday and Tuesday.  I’m starting to get in the mood for Christmas.

Seems like I’ve just now recovered from Thanksgiving, we were lucky enough to have wonderful visits from family near and far.  So enjoyable!!  And as I said my last goodbyes to departing family, I remember thinking a few days to recover and rest and then I’ll start on Christmas.  Ha!  I let that thought fly right out of my head.

Tomorrow I’ll get my Christmas cards addressed and sent.  (At least I don’t have to wait in the Post Office line, since I did already buy my stamps.  That’s terrific isn’t it?)  Then I can scratch one more thing off my to-do-list.  I’m feeling better already!

I want to wish you all a stress free, lovely Christmas! OR if you don't celebrate Christmas, the best Holiday of the season.

Okay, enough stress! I think I'll have a lovely cup of hot chocolate and start a new list . . . 

Now I’m thinking about what kinds of cookies I should make?

Watch out Christmas, here I come!


What is your favorite thing to do to get ready for Christmas?  My favorite thing is baking cookies!!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I GOOGLED MY NAME THE OTHER DAY . . . by Michelle Somers

I googled my name the other day. One of those, ‘I wonder if anyone’s mentioned me lately’ moments. You know, checking if anyone’s written any nice reviews or anything nice about my books or my writing that I’d previously missed.

I found a mention, but not one I was expecting – a reader’s angry post about my newly (back then) published short story, Love Through Time.
At first I was indignant – that knee-jerk reaction that comes from anyone daring to criticize my work. But when I took a moment to calm and then read her post again, I hung my head in shame. She had every right to be angry.
As authors, we have a responsibility to our readers. We write a certain style, a certain genre, and as we write, we need to bear in mind the expectations of our audience.
For example, if a reader picks up a crime novel, they expect a crime. Not only that, they expect that particular crime to be solved, or at least some sort of satisfactory conclusion to the crime, by the end of the story. For romance, the reader expects a romance, and with it comes that sigh, that satisfaction, that long-awaited happy ever after.
All that said, there is one more responsibility we as authors must shoulder. A responsibility to our story. We need to be true to our characters, our plot, the world we’ve created. We need to follow our instincts and write what’s right for our narrative.
But what if one responsibility counteracts the other?
I met with this dilemma just recently. One which lead to this ‘mention’ on social media which gave me a well-deserved wake-up call.
My writers group, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild (MRWG), decided to release a second anthology following on the tails of success of our first silver anniversary edition last year. I was excited. I’d surprised myself last year with my ability to write outside my comfort zone and write something short, and this gave me a repeat opportunity. I’d be able to sink my teeth into something different. Shorter definitely, but more, I could transcend genres and dip into something I’d never tried before – time travel. After all, my next series will have elements of this, so why not see if I can in fact write it before I dive in?
So, with a deep breath I sat down and gave it a go.
As I began to write, I began to see a story unfold, unlike any story I’ve ever written before. This was darker. Doomier.
No happy ending.
Oh, no.
I wrote one anyway. After all, I write romance, right? How could I produce a story that doesn’t end happy? I love romance. It’s my all-time, go-to read. In fact, even when I read other genres – crime, suspense, thrillers – my reading experience is all-the-more richer when romance enters the mix.
So why did I write something that didn’t end well? I can’t answer that question, any more than I can answer the question of where the story came from in the first place.
I ignored my instincts and wrote on. I rewrote that ending – tied up all the loose threads, made a happy ending I as a reader would expect if I picked up the story understanding it was romance.
It didn’t work. Every critique I had on the story said something didn’t fit. It was too forced. Too fake. My story wasn’t romance, so why had a written it so?
So here came my dilemma – what to do?
My story had romantic elements, it just wasn’t romance.
No happy ending.
At this point, I made a decision that I didn’t fully think through. I decided to go ahead and include my story – my non-happy-ending story – in the anthology. From that decision I made a trail of mistakes and I let my readers down.
Mistake one: I considered my story, but I didn’t consider my readers.
Big mistake. Let’s go back to one of the central responsibilities that we as authors carry – a responsibility to be true to our readers. I’m a romance author, therefore by definition, my stories should be true romance – they should contain a happy ever after.
Love Through Time doesn’t do this. Whilst it contains elements of romance, a hero that is very hero-worthy and a love that does continue through time, there is no happy ending. No satisfying sigh-worthy joy or bliss. Just sadness and a knowledge that nothing – least of all time – will ever change this.
It’s not a romance, should never have been labelled as such. And I’ve let readers down by not making this crystal clear from the onset.
Mistake two: I didn’t correctly identify the genre of my story.
I’m a romantic suspense author, right? So, I labelled my story as romantic suspense. Wrong. I should have stated it was suspense with romantic elements. I should have warned readers that although they were picking up a romance anthology, the first story in that anthology wasn’t romance. Through my decision to include my story, not only did I let down readers, I let down my writing group.
Because, let’s face it, if the first story isn’t romance, what stalwart romance reader will want to read on?
Mistake three: I didn’t give the readers an option.
There are several ways I could have done this. I could have made it clear there would be no happy ending and readers could have skipped my story if that was a problem for them. Or I could have provided the alternate ending for those so inclined – a kind of ‘choose your ending’ style story. Or I could have published my happy ever after ending, regardless of my thoughts that it didn’t fit, and self-published the original story at a later date under the correct – romantic element – genre.
In my defense I have little to say. I’m glad I came upon the mention of my name, as much as the post initially upset and disturbed me. It was an awakening I needed, and one I appreciate from the reader who wrote it.
I’m sorry I didn’t do right by my readers in Love Through Time. I’m sorry I didn’t give you the happy ever after you – rightfully – expected.
I’m human. As a consequence, I make mistakes. And I consider this a big one – one I intend never to make again.
I’m sure as an emerging author I’ll make other mistakes. I can’t promise I won’t. That’s all part of being human, and entering a world where everything is a huge learning curve. What I can promise is to listen to readers and learn from those mistakes. To grow from them and do better. And to own up and say sorry when I’ve done my readers wrong.
Taste of Romance is a celebration of all things romance. It was created to promote and support aspiring and emerging in the genre, and to provide my writing group with knowledge and insight into the complex world of publishing.
And as an author, it’s taught me one very valuable lesson, one I vow never to forget. When I write, when I publish, when I promote, I will always consider you, my readers.

As always, have a fabulous month, and I look forward to seeing you all again in the new year. Wow, where has the year gone!

What hard lessons have you learned lately? How did they come about? What changes have you made in light of these lessons? I’d love to know.




Michelle Somers is a bookworm from way back. An ex-Kiwi who now calls Australia home, she's a professional killer and matchmaker, a storyteller and a romantic. Words are her power and her passion. Her heroes and heroines always get their happy ever after, but she'll put them through one hell of a journey to get there.
Michelle lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her real life hero and three little heroes in the making. And Emmie, a furry black feline who thinks she’s a dog. Her debut novel, Lethal in Love won the Romance Writers of Australia's 2016 Romantic Book of the Year (RuBY) and the 2013 Valerie Parv Award. The second in her Melbourne Murder series, Murder Most Unusual was released in February 2017.
You can find out all about Michelle, her adventures and her books at www.michelle-somers.com
Please pop by and say 'hi' 😊





Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Snippets Overheard While Raising My Non-Domestic Goddess

By Robin Weaver

My daughter has matured into a delightful young woman and I’m extremely proud of her.  The journey to this delightfulness hasn’t always been so…pleasant.  Like most moms with rather—shall we say headstrong—teenagers, there were more teeth-grinding moments than smooth roller-blading. In hindsight, some of the interchanges with my daughter now seem a bit comical.

As part of this month’s potpourri, I thought I’d share some of the more amusing comments (even if they did result in me pulling out my hair when initially released. 😊) Here are some of my daughter’s comments from years past.

§  What? 2,227 text messages in one month is a lot?

§  Whaddya mean I’m outta money? I’ve still got a whole book of checks.

§  How many cups in a gallon? Isn’t that a song by N-Sync?

§  Why can’t I dry just one pair of socks and nothing else?

§  Brittney’s cousin Scott…that’s “who the hell” told me I didn’t have to file a tax return.

§  I was going to tell you about my report card…next semester when my grades are better.

§  For the millionth time… I cannot hear you knocking over my blow-dryer.

§  Said to my late husband… Of course, I haven’t forgotten what you said about wasting shampoo. I just need more than you. You wash your head with a facecloth.

§  I thought the guy at Jiffy Lube was supposed to tell me when I needed an inspection sticker. I can’t read those things.

§  As a matter of fact, I DO know several guys who would wear an orange jumpsuit in public.

§  Overdraft Protection? No I didn’t read the Debit Card Agreement, I specifically told that guy at the bank that I wanted an account that would tell ME when I was out of money.

§  Tons of my friends have three-hundred-dollar cellphone bills. You’re so old school.

§  They said they’ll turn my phone back on just as soon as I come up with the three hundred dollars…duh.

§  How am I supposed to get a job if my cellphone is shut-off…I mean how would they get in touch with me?

SIDE NOTE: God bless the unlimited text/data plans. 😊


Below all some all-too-rare occasions when Mom got the upper hand…

§  Said during the cramped time we lived in a tiny apartment while building our house: I’m well aware that we have only one bathroom. Are you aware that its only three blocks to the Texaco station?

§  No, I can’t turn my music down so you can pretend to do your homework.

§  No, you cannot eat Oreos for breakfast.  The elves said “no.”

Final score: Her-2,227, Me-3.
But I have the best consolation prize ever. No matter if it’s Christmas, Mother’s Day, or even St. Patrick’s Day, my card is always signed with those three little words that make everything else worthwhile: “Love you bunches.”
We’ll overlook the fact she still doesn’t know how many cups in a gallon. 😊


Wishing you a holiday filled with love and laughter.
Robin




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Lindsay Evans Visits the 1900s in Decades: A Journey of African American Romance

Note: A Delicate Affair is the first book in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance series. This series consists of 12 books, each set in one of the 12 decades between 1900 and 2010.  Each story focuses on the romance between African American protagonists, but also embraces the African American experience within that decade. Join the journey on our Facebook page.

I absolutely love historical romance. Ever since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed reading about love in the past. Regency affairs of the heart? Give it to me. Victorian flirtation and ever-after? I can’t get enough. Turn of the 20th century seduction? Still one of my very faves. I adore it all.

I discovered these historical romances lying around our house when I was a pre-teen in Jamaica. These novels, usually thick paperbacks with long-haired couples flashing acres of pale skin, were breadcrumbs more than hinting at my mother’s voracious reading appetite. Whatever books she bought or brought home from the library, I promptly devoured. Enraptured by these sensual and sensational images of the past, I fell completely in love with the same type of books my mother did.

There weren’t many contemporary books in her collection and I had no issues with that fact at the time. After all, sometimes reading about contemporary lovers in real life situations just felt too Real. If asked as a child, I would’ve probably said that having those historical romances around gave a pretty look into the past and gave us the chance to revel in a little bit of harmless nostalgia. But now as an adult, I’ve become a bit cynical and imagine the prevalence of these books in Jamaica was just another way to stuff colonialism and the illusion of a perfect and jewel-bright England down the throats of the inhabitants of current and former British colonies.

After being nurtured on the genre for years, however, I couldn’t quite turn away from it. Luckily, I don’t have to.

Not too long ago, I watched a documentary on Pompeii and its destruction during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. In that documentary, the narrator talked about the remains of bodies found buried under the volcanic ash. One of these bodies, the archeologists found, belonged to a black man. This man was wearing the jewelry and other signifiers of someone possessing great wealth and/or position in that society. This man was not a slave or servant. What he might have been was simply another unfortunate citizen caught by the volcano, or perhaps a wealthy traveler passing through at the wrong time. This was an amazing revelation to me. Black people, people of color, rising from the ash of history where they had been buried and forgotten.

My amazement comes from the fact that, in so much of history, whenever black people are mentioned, it is mostly in the context of slavery or servitude. And so when the light is shone on the past and on people who look like me, it’s validation of the most important kind. And it’s wonderful. It is no less amazing and wondrous to see this validation in a novel of historical romance.

That’s why I love books by Alyssa Cole, Beverly Jenkins, Kianna Alexander, Piper Huguley, and other amazing writers working today. Their books are filled with the beautiful brown skin, undeniable historical presence, and inspiring black love missing in the books I once found on my mother’s bookshelves all those years ago in Jamaica. I’ve shared these books with my mother and now, she’s in love again, too.

Lindsay Evans is the author of the upcoming historical romance, A Delicate Affair. It is the first in the Decades: A Journey of African American Romance novella series set from 1900 to 2010. Her latest contemporary novel with Harlequin Kimani, The Pleasure of His Company, is available now. Find out more at www.LindsayEvansWrites.com.