2

It’s déjà vu all over again for my time-travel novella

by

By Jackie Braun

October 6 mark the release day for my time-travel ebook, Mine Tomorrow. If hearing me say that gives you a feeling of déjà vu, that’s because the novella already came out in July as part of a Harlequin E bundle that featured four paranormal stories.

MineTomorrow_FC(2)This time, however, it’s all by its lonesome, and I feel sort of like I did when I stopped walking my kids into their elementary school classrooms: anxious with fingers crossed that all goes well.

I get this way to a certain degree with every book release. But this time is especially nerve-racking because the story marks such a departure for me. I’ve never dabbled in paranormal romance before, even though I’ve long been a fan of the subgenre.

And then there’s the fact that I know how it sold while packaged with works by three other authors. So, I find myself wondering, how will it do on its own?  About the same? Better? Worse? (Ack!)

If you’ve already bought it when it was released as part of the bundle, my thanks. Like all writers, I appreciate the support of readers. In fact, I couldn’t afford to keep writing if people weren’t will to buy what I spend months creating.

If you haven’t bought it, come next Monday you can pick it up for a buck ninety-nine U.S from Amazon or another ebook seller.  Not a bad price for a fun little story that packs way fewer calories than a candy bar or latte. Just saying.

And, it you’ve already read it and want to show it a little love by sending out a tweet or posting a review on Amazon, etc., I’d be most grateful.

Happy reading!

 

Jackie Braun is the author of more than 30 books and four novellas, including the aforementioned Mine Tomorrow. She can be reached on the web at www.jackiebraun.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Christmas At Seashell Cottage – Donna Alward

by

On October 7, I have a digital-only release coming out from St. Martin’s Press. I’m really excited, because this book is part of my Jewell Cove series and Oh My Gosh writing about Jewell Cove during the holidays was SO MUCH FUN!

When my editor asked if I’d be interested in writing it as an addition to our planned books, I had to come up with a couple to write about! I automatically thought of Charlene (Charlie) Yang, the town’s other doctor, and her new husband, Dave. How did they meet? What obstacles did they face getting to their happy ever after?

Keep reading for an excerpt – where Charlie and Dave attend the town’s Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony!

It’s Christmas in Jewell Cove…

And local doctor Charlie Yang finds her quiet, steady life disrupted by both an abandoned baby in the nativity manger, and a real-life mystery man. Sure, she’s always wanted a family of her own, but she didn’t imagine it coming from a baby that wasn’t hers and a man who was more interested in living day by day than making long-term plans.

Ex-SEAL Dave Ricker hadn’t planned on making Jewell Cove his forever home, but the talented and tender-hearted Charlie has him reconsidering his position on settling down. Can a beautiful woman, adorable baby and a small-town full of holiday spirit change his mind for good?

Amazon / Barnes and Noble iTunes Kobo

 

“Hey, is there room for one more to hide over here?”

A delicious shiver ran up her spine. She looked over her shoulder and saw Dave, cradling his own cup of chocolate, a thick knitted hat on his head and a heavy winter jacket making him look even bigger than he had yesterday. She vowed that she would not be as awkward as she’d felt in front of the church.

She smiled. “You realize you’re ginormous, right? Good luck hiding anywhere.”

He chuckled. “It’s in my genes. My dad’s six three and my mom’s five eleven. I was bound to be big.”

“Brothers and sisters?”

He raised his eyebrows. “Two of each. I’m smack in the middle of the birth order.”

Good heavens. Five of them? “You must be intimidating when you’re all together. Any big plans to get together for the holidays?”

“We’re all grown. My older brother and sister are both married and have kids. My younger brother, Jason, is engaged and my baby sister, Samantha, is just finishing college. We’re spread out too, so having us all together doesn’t really happen very often, though we try. This year Mom and Dad are spending Christmas in Texas at my brother’s, spoiling grandkids.” He took a sip of his chocolate and then looked down at her. “What about you? Siblings?”

She turned her gaze to the very tall Christmas tree in the center of the square. His family sounded wonderful, even if they were spread out across the country. She focused on the huge star at the top of the tree as she answered. “There’s just me. My parents live in Boston.”

“So close enough you can all be together for Christmas. Lucky.”

He’d think so, wouldn’t he? Because that’s what families did. But not hers. She forced her voice to be light, nonchalant. “Oh, they’re traveling over the holidays. A cruise or something.”

She knew how it sounded. The problem was, the situation was exactly how it appeared. They weren’t a warm and fuzzy family. Being together felt like work. She supposed it had been nice of them to invite her along for the trip, but the idea of being stuck on a cruise ship for Christmas, playing third wheel to her parents wasn’t Charlie’s idea of a perfect holiday.

They stopped chatting as the mayor, Luke Pratt, got up to make a short speech. The elementary school choir then performed three verses of “O Christmas Tree,” their sweet, youthful voices filling the air as a few errant flakes of snow drifted through the darkness. As the last note faded into the night, there was a breathless pause and then the tree came to life, multicolored bulbs lighting up the square and causing a chorus of ooohs and aaahs to wave through the gathering, and then clapping broke out, the sound muffled by heavy mittens and gloves.

“That’s pretty impressive,” Dave remarked from behind her.

She nodded, staring at the tree, the beautiful colored lights sparkling in the chilly evening. “I’ve always liked the lights with all the colors.” She looked over her shoulder and smiled at him. “White ones are elegant, and I know some people like all red, or green, or whatever. But I think the variety is so cheerful, don’t you?”

“Oh, absolutely.” He was grinning, and she knew he was teasing her a little bit. She liked it. It was far better than the formal “Dr. Yang” she got when she crossed the square.

They were interrupted by someone from the church, thrusting a caroling booklet in Charlie’s hand. “We’ve got a bigger crowd than we expected,” the woman explained. “Would you mind sharing?”

“Of course,” Dave answered. He stayed where he was, a few steps behind her, even as the church choir led the first carol, easing into the evening with a familiar and rousing rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

Charlie turned around and stared at him. “Either you’re incredibly farsighted, or you’re not singing.”

He squinted at her—and then laughed.

“Nuh-uh,” she chided. “If I’m expected to sing, so are you.”

“Believe me, you don’t want me to.”

“Then fake it.” She smiled at him sweetly. “Aren’t we supposed to be suffering together, here?”

“You’ll only suffer if I sing. We could demonstrate our solidarity by abstaining.”

They were talking during the singing and a few dirty looks were aimed their way.

She shoved the booklet in his hands. “Just mouth the words,” she commanded. “And smile.”

He held the booklet, but had to hold his arm straight down so it was low enough for her to see. Not that they needed the words to “Jingle Bells.” Charlie joined in, feeling awkward and singing softly. Just enough so she could hear herself, but not loudly enough that anyone nearby could discern her voice from the others.

And then she heard it, a deep rumble an octave below hers, slightly off-key, slightly mumbled, as Dave started jingling all the way. She hid a smirk behind a sip of hot chocolate, then joined in for the last chorus.

As the next carol was announced, he leaned over, his mouth ridiculously close to her ear. “I saw you laughing.”

She put on an innocent expression. “I swear I didn’t.”

“I told you I couldn’t sing.”

“Yes, you can. What you should have said was you can’t sing well.” And then she did giggle.

And he gave her shoulder a nudge as if to say, Brat.

The next song was more somber, and the crowd started singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” That was followed by several others, both religious and secular until Charlie’s hot chocolate was long gone and her fingers and toes were starting to get cold. She shivered and wrapped her arms around her middle, shifting her feet to get warm. How long did these things go, anyway?

And then Dave moved closer behind her, blocking her from the cold with his broad body, putting his left arm around her and pulling her back against his puffy coat while the right one encircled her, holding the lyrics booklet so they could both see.

She should pull away. She should simply say she was getting cold and leave. But she didn’t. It felt too good, having the bulk of his body close to hers, barely touching and yet sheltering her just the same. He was near enough she could feel the gentle vibration of his voice through his chest as the crowd started singing “Silent Night.” The mood had turned soft and reverent, the voices blending beautifully as the earlier cloud cover shifted away and left a sky full of twinkling stars. Something stole through Charlie then, a lovely yet wistful sense of contentment. Maybe she wasn’t perfect. Maybe she didn’t quite fit in here. But right now, the heart of Jewell Cove wasn’t such a bad place to be.

Her eyes stung a little and she blinked quickly, picking up the words of the second verse. It had always been her favorite carol, so calm and peaceful and beautiful. A few voices sang in harmony, and Charlie realized that this was the happiest she’d been in a long time.

The song faded into the night and there was a pause while everyone, by tacit agreement, let the last note linger on the air.

 

www.donnaalward.com

 

10

Help Me Become Hip by Barb Wallace

by

textconvoIt’s time to accept the truth.  I’m not hip.

I don’t have a Netflix subscription, I don’t watch Showtime or HBO.  I can’t tell the difference between Katy Perry, Katherine Perry and the Band Perry (okay, I can but it takes a minute).

I’m three versions behind on my iPhone. I don’t listen to iTunes and if you look at my photostream, you’ll find no selfies. (Unless photos of me and Captain Pete on vacation count.)

I write sweet romances.  I don’t read erotica or bondage books.

I do own hipster glasses, but they have progressive lenses.

I own a cat sweater.

And, as you can see from above, my attempts to be cool with my son, Lt. Tattoo, fall flat.  (By the way, according to Tattoo, the cat sweater alone seals my fate.)

Sadly, up until recently, I lived under the illusion that I was at least semi-hip.  (Of course, I also live under the illusions that I still look like I’m in my thirties and that the body I had at age 26 is still obtainable.  Delusion is clearly this girl’s best friend.)

But now that I have been awaken to my complete unhipness, I’ve decided it’s unacceptable.  I promised myself when I turned fifty, I would be embrace life.  When the time came, I would be the cool grandma.  (Note to Tattoo: It’s not time yet.)

Therefore, I think I need a  hipness intervention.  I need your help on what I need to do in order to stay in touch with the young and the cool.  Do I start reading Cosmopolitan? Do I start hanging out at wine bars (please say that one – I really want to drink more wine).  Or is hipness more an attitude that comes from inside?  what should I do to recapture being young and cool?

Give me some tips.  My very-very-very-in-the-future grandchild will appreciate it.

 

Larissa cover 2Barb Wallace is still hiding in her deadline cave, dutifully banging out her next Harlequin Romance.  Her latest release, THE UNEXPECTED HONEYMOON, hits shelves October 7.

Amazon         Barnes & Noble        Amazon.UK

.

 

10

Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance – the paperback…

by

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00069]It’s been a while since I launched Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance as an ebook but so many people have wanted a paper version, a physical book so that they can underline the bits that leap out at them, with margins to scribble in. Well, here it is, published this week and I’ve kept the cost as low as I possibly can. And I think – if I pressed all the right buttons – that if you buy the paper book, you will get the ebook too. Magic. :)

So,for those of you who haven’t come across it, what can you expect?

My Little Book of Writing Romance is, basically, a primer. A beginner’s book of writing romance. The book I wish I’d had when I was a new, know-nothing writer hoping to be published by Mills and Boon.

There were very few books about how-to write back then. There was no internet where you could go for advice, no opportunity to chat to authors, take a class. (Now I’m sounding like the Ancient Novelist, but honestly, it wasn’t that long ago!)

When I first put pen to paper (and it was a real pen and real paper) and wrote the first books that were rejected, I was on my own.

I wrote three whole books — every word of 55,000 words — before I picked up on the fact that I only had to send three chapters for Mills and Boon for them to know it was tosh. I don’t regret that. Finishing a book is a huge step forward. Each one was a huge learning experience and when, with my fourth attempt (three chapters!), I caught an editor’s eye and she asked me to submit the full, it wasn’t a step into the unknown. I knew I could do it.

Before then, the only feedback I had was from the editor who’d read my efforts. I still have the letters – they are very precious to me, even the one that said my efforts were a little “wooden”. Kindly editors pointed me in the direction of writers I should read — Sara Craven, Elizabeth Oldfield — and said they would be happy to read my next mst, but there was no solid advice (it wasn’t their job to teach me how to write).

I learned by reading, by practice (you learn a lot writing three books). I taught myself to be a writer. I also learned that I wanted it badly enough to keep doing it through those rejections. There is a word for that. Bloodymindedness? Sticktoitness?

Since I received “the call” on a sunny summer afternoon and An Image of You became something more than an idea in my head it has been translated into more languages than I can count and is, apparently, going to be digitised in the near future. Still going strong after more than twenty years. In that time I’ve written more than sixty books (there’s a list on my website), won awards, been given a Lifetime Achievement Award by RTBOOKclub Magazine and had a wonderful career. It’s time to pay it forward to a new generation.

It started my involvement in Mills and Boon’s New Voices competition (I mentored Charlotte Phillips who became a colleague and friend) and that experience inspired me to put together some of the stuff I’ve learned over the years.

Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance is a straightforward, no-nonsense book that helps the new writer to translate the story in her head into the written word.

How to start. How to grab your reader on the first page, tackle conflict, dig deep for emotion. How to give your reader a hero and heroine who had a life before your book begins, who are meant to be together — who don’t just fall in love because you put them together in a book — and who your reader can imagine having a life after they read the last page.

Real people, taking the journey of their lives.

You can buy the paperback and the ebook here

7

(Splat!) This is my brain on Jet Lag, by Samantha Hunter

by

As I write this post, I remember this time last week, when I was traipsing through the Tower of London, and heading back to our towerneighborhood in Holborn for a great Italian dinner. London was a fantastic trip that totally whetted my appetite for more international travel.

I wondered how I would handle the time changes and if I would get jet lag. Our trip over was sleepless, so I was tired, but adjusting on the London side was easy.

Coming home was a whole different matter.

Waking up at 5am London time (midnight, EST, where we were heading) wasn’t bad. We had our breakfast, headed off to the tube, and had a very easy and pleasant flight home. Spending about four hours on a layover in Detroit, I felt great, no problems at all, and I was quite proud of myself, and relieved. I had a great trip, but I was also very much looking forward to being home.

Then my brain, somewhere around 4pm EST, simply went splat. Suddenly I couldn’t and didn’t want to talk, move, or do anything but sleep — but we still had to fly to Syracuse, and get our bags, get home, etc. By the time we did so, we’d been awake 22 hours.

Big freakin’ splat. I hit the mattress hard that night, sleeping like a dead person for about 6 hours until waking up in the middle of a nightmare, standing in the middle of our room, having NO idea where I was (I actually thought I was on the street somewhere back in London, but it was dark and I was barefoot, hence my confusion). My husband turned the light on so I could see, since I had frozen to the spot, not wanting to move, I was so confused. Then, I got up again a few hours later, and took an early left into the hall, walking directly into our bedroom door.

splatThe next day, I felt more or less like something you step in, all day long, sick and tired to the bone. Mike was tired as well, but we powered through. That night, I had a great night’s sleep for about ten hours and was much more human by Sunday.

I found out that my sister had had a very similar experience, that jet lag had caused her to sleep walk and she also had had an experience of waking up not knowing where she was. It’s extremely freaky.

I hope this gets better with more travel experience, since I plan to travel much more, and hopefully will not always find coming home so difficult. But either way, I have to say, it was worth it! Even if I continue to have terrible jet lag, it won’t keep me from traveling. :)

Have you experienced terrible jet lag? Do you have any good jet lag stories or experiences? Tips for surviving it better? Please share. :)

5

The glamorous life of an author by Kate Hardy

by

First of all, I should admit that an author’s everyday life isn’t that glamorous. This particular author’s life revolves around the school run, the gym, and getting words down with a dog snoring beside me. If I’m seen wearing lipstick (let alone full make-up) it means I’ve got an interview or I’m doing a talk… or, on rare and joyous occasions (as in maybe twice a year), off to London for an author do or lunch with my editor.

Last Friday was one such day – the annual Harlequin Mills and Boon Author Lunch – and it was WONDERFUL. (Thank you to fellow Chocolate Fiona Harper for organising such a brilliant lunch.)

I’ll apologise in advance for this post being a bit pic-heavy. But glamorous author days are rare enough to – well – deserve a bit of a fuss. (And note, yes, I am in black trousers and one of my favourite long-sleeved silky T-shirts, but there are also black pearls, a Pandora bracelet, lipstick and a Radley bag in evidence – which is as glam as I get ;) .)

So it started on the train – halfway between Norwich and London, I met up with Caroline Anderson and we talked all the way there. (We always do!) And then we met up with lovely Sarah Morgan for a cup of coffee and a catch-up.

Kate Hardy and Sarah Morgan

Kate Hardy and Sarah Morgan

Then it was over to the Charing Cross hotel – and I think our view from the balcony was pure London for me. Beautiful white stone buildings and big red buses! (Just behind this is Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery.)

View from Charing Cross hotel

View from Charing Cross hotel

I also got to meet up with lots of my fellow authors – it’s so wonderful that we have email and social media to keep us in touch, but there’s really nothing like having a proper hug in person and chatting face to face. (That’s about the only thing I miss about my old ratrace job – I don’t get to see my colleagues very often!)

Here are two special ones: Liz Fielding, who’s written three of my all-time top favourite Harlequins, and Sara Craven (whose books I’ve loved since I read her first at 13 years old, and then gave my mum grey hairs by writing my first M&B and basing my love scenes on Sara’s… obviously, I know better now than to copy someone else’s style, but Sara herself laughed uproariously when I confessed the story to her).

Kate Hardy and Liz Fielding

Kate Hardy and Liz Fielding

Kate Hardy and Sara Craven

Kate Hardy and Sara Craven

I got to chat about ballroom dancing with my mate Annie Burrows (Historicals) – we do this on Facebook the morning after dance classes, but seeing each other means we can really have a laugh about it. We thought we needed to do the promenade a la Strictly. ‘Keep Dancing!’ (Strictly Come Dancing is the UK version of ‘Dancing With the Stars’, btw. And I will shut up before I burble about Darcey Bussell and the RoNAs.)

Kate Hardy and Annie Burrows demonstrate the promenade hold

Kate Hardy and Annie Burrows demonstrate the promenade hold

I got to chat to Abby Green about her new boyfriend (!!! – Jamie from Outlander – she and Heidi Rice tell me that I must must MUST read Diana Gabaldon).

Abby Green and Jamie!

Abby Green and Jamie!

I got to meet up with my Medical author mates – here are Louisa George (all the way from New Zealand), Annie Claydon and new author Annie O’Neill whose very first comes out next month (which was the position I was in 12 years ago, at my own first AMBA lunch – ah, memories!).

Louisa George, Annie Claydon and Annie O’Neill

After lunch, it was time to chill out – aka a trip to Fortnum & Mason’s to buy my very favourite tea (their Countess Grey blend) and violet biscuits (a special request from my daughter), and while we were there it made perfect sense to go and have a cup of tea. And it was nice to have the chance to catch up with fellow Romance author Sophie Pembroke.

Kate Hardy and Sophie Pembroke

Kate Hardy and Sophie Pembroke

And then it was over to the Meridien in Piccadilly for the second part of the evening – the author toast, where Harlequin celebrates the achievements of their authors over the year, including raising a glass to the winner of the RoNA Rose (some woman called Kate Hardy), the RITAs, the R*BYs, the Koru (New Zealand Romance) and the Festival of Romance (congratulations to Fiona Harper for winning for the third year in a row!).

toast at the Meridien

Author toast at the Meridien

Joanne Grant toasting the authors at the Meridien

Joanne Grant toasting the authors at the Meridien

It’s a lovely chance to meet up with the editors (and I was delighted to see both of mine!).

Editors Charlotte Mursell and Sheila Hodgson with Kate Hardy

Editors Charlotte Mursell and Sheila Hodgson with Kate Hardy

I also got to meet the social media manager, which was nice as now she can put a face to the name and could nag me in person about doing a blog for the release of my 60th Harlequin Mills and Boon next month. (She wants me to write it as I speak. Um. She met me while I was on a sugar rush. I checked with lovely Sheila: ‘Are you SURE she can cope with full-on over-excited Kate Hardy???’ But apparently it’s yes, so there’s some partying going on next month – dear readers, keep an eye on the Chocolate Box Facebook page because there’s a chance of winning books and stuff!)

As well as being spoiled with cocktails, we were spoiled with scrumptious dessert canapés.

How to make an author happy...

How to make an author happy…

And it’s a great chance to catch up with friends you didn’t get the chance to chat to over lunch:

Scarlet Wilson, Caroline Anderson, Kate Hardy and Louisa George

Scarlet Wilson, Caroline Anderson, Kate Hardy and Louisa George

And we were also spoiled with a goodie bag when we went home :)

Goodies! :)

Goodies! :)

It’s once a year and it’s just a sheer joy from start to finish. We did have a bit of a difficult journey home – made the 8pm train by the skin of our teeth following a signal failure on the Tube, only to discover that the train was standing room only (despite the fact that we had seats booked). Apparently the three trains before ours had been cancelled due to flash flooding in Essex. But we made the best of it, and we were serenaded by a drunken choir who couldn’t quite remember the words to ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ and ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’. Bless them, they were happy drunks, and in our carriage we were all filling in the words and laughing (with them rather than at them). (The nice man who gave Caroline his seat was travelling with his mum, who’d grown up in post-war London and told us absolutely TONS about what it was like – my editors should start being nervous now, because all kinds of lightbulbs were pinging in the back of my head…) I got home a good hour later than expected and was dog-tired all Saturday, but it was definitely worth it.

Glam days like these are definitely worth their weight in gold, and they keep us going through the tough times of a book.

Do you get to have glam days out with your colleagues? Do tell me about them!

4

Guest Blogger Amy Rachiele: The Lure of Vampires

by

 Rachiele.author picToday’s guest chocolate is indie author Amy Rachiele.  Known primarily for her Mobster novels (Mobster’s Girl, Mobster’s Angel, etc.) she’s recently branched out into paranormal/historical.  She joins us today to talk about her latest book – Sybrina.  Welcome Amy!

What is so fascinating about Vampires?

Dark beauty

Immortality

Strength

Night Dwelling.

The ideology surrounding vampires has existed for hundreds of years.  The thread of the vampire continues to captivate readers.  From Stoker to Rice to Meyer, the existence of vampires continues to find its way into stories, novels, and movies.

Sybrina is a cross genre novel that twists romance, action/adventure, and vampires into a historical piece.  It is told in alternate first-person point of view by the main characters, Sybrina and Elijah.  The entire story takes place on a clipper ship in 1866.  The culminating question the book poses is without change and the stages of life, would existence be bland and not worth living?

I envision Sybrina as savvy, strong-willed, and smart—a contemporary for the era.  Elijah, the vampire hero, encompasses the contemplative immortal, struggling to let go of his past and find his way in a world he cannot leave.  The antagonist, Vadim, is a vampire that is suffering from a malady of the mind that comes from the long years that immortality offers.

I anticipate this to be the first book in a series that will touch on other elements in vampire mythology.  Researching the extensive lore of the vampire uncovered an unbelievable amount of superstitions and tales.   Through Sybrina, I am weaving them together into a story of my own, piecing together the shards of history that compile the timeless legends of the vampire.

Excerpt:

“May I kiss you, Miss Sybrina?”

Darkening irises show me the fire that burns under her skin.  She wants me, just as much as I want her.  Her entire body stiffens except her head, which nods very subtly yes.  I reach out my arm to caress her around the waist, hauling her close to me.  I stare into her eyes that are distinctly thirsty with need, using my hand to tip her head up and lean down, pressing my lips to hers.  My need is triumphant, reveling in the sensation, kicking away the blandness that tortures my spirit and replaced by sweet berries in springtime.   A flood of core memories stabs at the vibrancy awakened in me.  The touching and kissing become ravenous, stronger than bloodlust. Sybrina is wild with passion… for me.  My hold tightens and my hands roam, wanting more.  It is a feverish awareness that in all my long years I have never experienced.

An alarm whirrs in the deep recess of my mind.  Sybrina is fighting against me.  The cloud of passion pops like a boil.  Audible now is her struggle to be free of me.

~Elijah

amy cover

Fleeing for her life, Sybrina leaves behind everything to escape the dark
and ominous creature that killed her family.
She stows aboard a clipper ship and poses as her dead brother, Paul. The year is 1866,
an age in which science is a man’s field.
Can she solve the mystery of the creature that exsanguinates its victims before it claims her?

AVAILABLE as for e-readers at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Amy Rachiele is a military spouse and brat who spent many years volunteering and on staff for the Army National Guard and Department of Veteran Affairs with Family Support, Family Readiness, as well as, Families of the Fallen.  Amy devoted 10 years to teaching English to at-risk students in the Providence School System.  She holds a Master’s degree from Rhode Island College in English and Secondary Education.  Amy published book one in the Mobster Series, Mobster’s Girl, in 2012, and has continued to self-publish since.  Her novels have climbed to the bestseller lists nationally and internationally on Amazon.com for romantic suspense and family saga.  She is an active member of New England Independent Writers and has volunteered her time at her local library facilitating a writer’s group in the hope of inspiring other writers.  Amy hosts a public access cable show called Book Talk. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, sewing, and traveling.  Amy lives in Massachusetts with her son and husband.

Connect with Amy at:

amyrachiele’s website

Amy Rachiele’s FB page

@amyrachiele

12

Epic Booksigning with Nora Roberts

by

IMG_5502.JPG

As a romance writer, I often write about dream dates, dream locations and dreamy men :-). But one of my own dreams was to sign my books alongside Nora Roberts. I got a taste of that at the Berkley Books signing at RWA and it was awesome. Then I was invited to sign at Turn the Page Bookstore, her bookstore in Boonsboro, MD, directly across the street from the Inn Boonsboro, the setting of several of her novels.

It was the quintessential small town bookstore, quaint and charming and wonderful. The staff was friendly and savvy, well versed in hosting huge booksignings. We signed books for four hours straight, with a steady stream of wonderful readers. At the end, there was a desperate search for one more copy of The Sweetheart Bargain (we sold out) and only a handful of my books left on the table.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking. :-). Scroll down for a question and a giveaway too!

IMG_5499.JPG

IMG_5498.JPGclass=”alignright size-full” />

IMG_5502.JPG

IMG_5500.JPG

IMG_5524.JPG

IMG_5523.JPG

IMG_5507.JPG

Tell me–do you attend booksignings? What has been your favorite booksigning experience? Coolest bookstore? Nicest author? Best new-to-you book? Have you ever been to Turn the Page?

I’ll draw one lucky winner to get either a print copy of THE SWEETHEART SECRET (US only) or ebook copy (if you prefer or are outside the US). Drawing on Sunday, and extra entries are given for sharing this post on FB/Twitter and liking my author page or following me on Twitter!

Shirley

2

My Experiment with Seeds

by

I’m the kind of gardener who goes to the home improvement store (after the last frost) and buys oodles of plants, flowers mostly, that can be transplanted into my flower beds. One day I have no gardens. The next my yard is a veritable sea of color. :)

This year, for some reason or another, I decided that was cheating and instead of plants, I bought seeds.

my seeds

 

It took most of the summer for them to grow into flowers. Seriously. I had two, three and even four-foot green stems and some vine thing that tried to take over the entire front yard, even spreading under the porch and around to the front stairs! But no flowers.

 

under the porch

So suddenly around August 1 everything began to bloom.

 

sunflowers

My front flower beds looks like a jungle. LOL

almost up to the window now

My back porch planters are alive with color.

backporch flowers

 

I haven’t decided if the beauty and craziness was worth the long wait. But I do know that I love the surprise of the flowers and the riot of color.

So now I sit on my back porch and pray that we really don’t have the early winter they are predicting! Or at the very least that frost holds off!

How about you? Do you plant seeds or transplant ready-grown flowers? Are your gardens still alive?

susan meier

 

 

 

15

You can’t stop the music with Michelle Douglas

by

I’m of the firm belief that creativity is a muscle that can be developed and strengthened. The more you use it the stronger it gets, and one of my favourite creativity exercises is lying on the lounge staring out of the window up at the trees with music blaring playing in the background and letting my mind wander. What happens is that a set of lyrics will eventually detach themselves…and then the game begins.

music_headphones_listen

Want an example? Smokie’s Living Next Door To Alice has these lines in it [set up in case you aren’t familiar with the song (but, seriously, you guys know it, right?)]: The singer/narrator has been in love with Alice forever but she’s leaving home and it appears he’s lost his chance with her. Sally has been in love with the singer/narrator forever and she says to him: “Now Alice is gone, but I’m still here. You know I’ve been waiting
 for twenty-four years.”

So…what if the singer/narrator and Sally now have a marvelous romance? But what if in twelve month’s time Alice comes back? Sally is going to be seriously insecure, right? Alice might have left hoping he’d come after her and now decides to fight for him. It’s a set-up for a nice juicy conflict. And then I play with taking that conflict further, developing a story…idly, while I’m humming and staring out at the trees. The story can go anywhere I want it to. [Aside: in this particular instance I did decide he was a big whoosy wimp so Alice and Sally become best friends, leave together for the city and have marvelous adventures.]

Want another example? The Split Enz song “I Got You” is about some possessive agoraphobic guy who never leaves the house and who worries whenever his lover does—where does she go, who does she see, and why won’t she stay in with him? My writer brain rubs its hand together in glee! Ooh, why is he like this? How could I turn him into an attractive hero? What heroine would put up with him? This story is still germinating…but it excites me. It has potential. :-)

music_background_2_203133

Last week I watched a documentary about the Bee Gees. There are four songs I can’t get out of my head: Don’t Forget To Remember Me, You Win Again, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Alone. There’s a story hidden within those four songs that I will discover. Eventually. :-) Whether I ever decide to write said story is another matter entirely. The object of this exercise is to make connections, to play, and to just have fun. It’s giving my creativity muscle a workout.

Would you like some more inspiration? Try listening to these songs:

* Babooshka by Kate Bush

* You’re So Vain by Carly Simon (and then follow it up with Jesse)

* Rolling in the Deep by Adele

There’s so much potential for story ideas in those four songs alone!

So what about you—do you create stories in your mind around certain songs? Is there a song or two you think might set my writer brain on fire?

1 2 3 4 5 48 49