11-28 - Paty Jager

11-30 - Vivienne Lorret

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ever have one of “those” years? ;)

In this case, “those” means the monsoon of change was gathering speed; but in 2014, we had no idea what was coming.


In 2014, our lives were floating along, as were those of our four adult children. Calm before the storm, if you will. Then in November, our eldest daughter texted me a picture of a sonogram.

Their first child when she’s 36? We’ll be grandparents?

Our official grandparenthood arrived on June 6th, weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces. I have to confess, he’s a pretty cute dude. #Gammie&LoloRock

In February 2015, our 28-year-old youngest -- frustrated by teaching common core math, parents with no control over their kids, and a salary so low she couldn’t even buy a condo -- decided to chuck teaching middle-school in central Phoenix.

Instead, she signed a two-year contract to teach 6th-grade math and science to English-speaking kids at an International School. In Shanghai, China. #SeeYouatChristmas

In July, our only son (who turns 30 this month) proposed to the love of his life: a 36-year-old divorcee with two awesome kids. What? Three grandkids, now?

The wedding is set for December 27th in the backyard of a friend. (Phoenix, remember?) #PleaseDon’tRain

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens opens December 18th. Daughter returns from Shanghai for the holidays on December 19th and will attend the film after a brief nap. Yes, we pre-bought tickets at a theater with assigned seats. #NoWaitingInLinesForMe #YouKnowYouWishYouDidThatToo

In between all of this, I wrote a trilogy of three novels between June and November, all releasing in January 2016. #ILoveNaNoWriMo #CampNanoWriMoKicksButt

And last of all, this is my final post for Romancing the Genres. After five years I’ve said all that I have to say for now. Doesn’t mean I won’t be back on occasion for guest posts, though. You never know when I might pop up again.

Goodbye and God bless! #ThanksForHavingMe

Monday, November 30, 2015

An Inside Look into a Christmas Anthology

by Vivienne Lorret

Happy Monday! Can you believe it’s the last day of November already? I haven’t even started shopping for Christmas presents yet. And if you’re in the same boat, I have the perfect stocking stuffer idea: ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A DUKE. It’s a Regency Era Christmas anthology for Avon Impulse with one main theme—every story has a duke. Is there anything better?

Here is a peek at the front and back cover copy:

The holidays are a time for dining, dancing, and of course—dukes! Celebrate the Christmas season with this enchanting collection of historical romances featuring the most eligible bachelors of the ton…

A childish prank may have reunited the Duke of Hollingsworth with his estranged wife, but only the magic of Christmas will show this couple ’tis the season of second chances…

Sophie Kinsley planned to remain a wallflower at the Duke of Hollyshire’s ball. Yet when a dance with him leads to a stolen kiss, will the duke be willing to let her go? Or will Sophie’s Christmas wish be granted at last?

To the Duke of Vale, science solves everything—even marriage. When the impulsive Ivy Sutherland makes him question all of his data, he realizes that he’s overlooked a vital component in his search for the perfect match: love.

Patience Markham never forgot the fateful dance she had with the future Duke of Kingsbury. But when a twist of fate brings them together for Christmas Eve, will the stars finally align in their favor?

In my story, THE DUKE’S CHRISTMAS WISH, Duke of Vale suddenly finds his perfectly catalogued world in disarray when an unexpected guest arrives at his Christmas party.

"Miss Ivy Sutherland of Norwood Hill—no consequence." ~ The Duke of Vale, THE DUKE'S CHRISTMAS WISH

The story takes off from there and rushes headlong into… Well, I’ll let you discover how it ends. However, I will say that frogs might play a part in the unexpected romance between North and Ivy.

“Frogs?” you might ask.

And in response, I cheerfully nod. “Yes. Frogs.”

After all, when one thinks of Christmas, frogs immediately spring to mind. Right? Wait. Did you just shake your head? But frogs must pop up in the top five things you associate with Christmas.

No? How about the top ten?


I guess it’s time for me to make a confession. The holidays don’t make me think of frogs either. At least, not until I started to write THE DUKE’S CHRISTMAS WISH.

One day, while formulating ideas, I walked past my curio cabinet and smiled at a frog that my youngest had made me years ago.

Then something happened. Since I was already in brainstorming mode, the first thing I thought of when I looked at that frog was the tale of The Frog Prince. However, instead of thinking of ways to transform my story into one that resembled the fairytale, I started wondering about the prince who’d become a frog, and also what type of man he’d become during his post-amphibian years.

Within this strange primordial pool of thoughts, a story began to form, taking me in directions that I’d never expected. But I love how it turned out, and I hope you do, too.

Here is another sneak peek into THE DUKE’S CHRISTMAS WISH:

“Have you always been impatient and impulsive?”

“Even as a child, I’m afraid,” she admitted, nodding to herself. “I could not wait for the next footrace over the hill, or the next adventure. I could not stand to linger in bed when I was wide-awake, even when it was before dawn. Nor could I tolerate being kept from my slumber when that was the only thing keeping me from beginning a new day.”

Caught in a memory, she continued. “There was one summer, many years ago, when my aunt, uncle and younger cousin came to stay with us. She had a pet frog that she kept in a box by her bedside table. She had an absurd notion that if she gave him a kiss, he would turn into a prince, but was waiting for the day when she had the courage to find out. Apparently, the sound of constant croaking did not hinder my cousin’s sleep. Across the hall, it had the opposite effect on me. Therefore, I decided to liberate the frog from his confines.

“In my own defense,” she said after a short pause, “I never thought the frog wouldn’t be able to hop from such a distance.”

“What was the distance?” the duke asked, his tone warmer and suspiciously amused.

“A third floor window,” she murmured. “Over a stone patio.”

Vale laughed, a hearty, rough-hewn sound that shook the small room. Automatically, she reached out for support and, as luck would have it, he was the closest thing to seize. His hand settled on her hip, steadying her. Gradually his laughter died, but she could still feel his warm puffs of air against her cheek. “Your cousin never had the chance to see if her frog was a prince in disguise.”

“Oh, he wasn’t. I made sure of it… just in case.”

If you are interested in some of the other things that inspired THE DUKE’S CHRISTMAS WISH, I’ve posted them to my Pinterest page.

Warm wishes and happy reading,


~USA TODAY bestselling author Vivienne Lorret loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order ... but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is an Avon Impulse author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series, The Duke's Christmas Wish, and the Season's Original Series. For more on her upcoming novels, visit her at

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Holiday Themes- Do You Love Them? by Paty Jager

I have a new Christmas novella and was invited to post this month about holiday themed books. I enjoy setting stories during the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. 

With Thanksgiving you can write a theme that deals with thankfulness, forgiving, and family. All wonderful elements to put in a romance story. The scenes are easy to write when you have families gathered around tables enjoying a meal, or making a pie. There are so many ways to bring the feeling of the holiday into the story and have characters interact. Even the reluctant ones. If they've had wonderful family memories and are for some reason pulling back, you can show their resistance and lure them in. If it's a character who has never had a family gathering, then you can use different holiday events to draw them in.

Christmas has the elements of caring, giving, birth, and forgiveness. Again, you can't beat those for themes of a romance or any story. Christmas, like Thanksgiving is about family and giving. If you watch the Hallmark Christmas movies you see the same plot in many of their movies but the characters and the way the couple comes together is different. Usually, in the end it's one or the others family who brings them together. My husband was upset with me because I switched channels in the middle of a Hallmark movie so I could watch The Voice. I told him the movie would be on again, they just circle them round and round. Sure enough the night he went elk hunting the movie played again. LOL And it will be on again before Christmas is over.

The New Year brings hope, resolutions, and renewal. Everyone likes a story that in the end gives the main characters a new look at their life or a way to start over. There aren't as many stories written about the New Year, but it is a great time to set a story. There is the midnight kiss that one character or another could be either dreading and can't wait for. Lots of people propose on New Year's Eve. I see New Year's as a time of new beginnings, which also plays into a romance.

Which holiday is your favorite to read stories about? Why?

A Husband for Christmas
Final Novella in the Halsey Homecoming and Halsey Brothers Series
Shayla Halsey wanted to be home for Christmas, but never imagined her travels would include spending the night in a brooding stranger’s cabin. Snowballing events cause her to look inside herself and recognize maybe it wasn’t being home she wanted as much as it was to have a home. 
Mace Walker has his life in order and doesn’t want it disrupted again. Yet, when he discovers a woman stranded in the snow, he has to help her—despite her overbearing and reckless fiancĂ©. In a matter of days, Shayla turns his life upside down and forces him to decide if he should leave town or face the consequences.

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All Paty’s work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story
You can learn more about Paty at
her website;  
Newsletter: Paty’s Prattle:
twitter  @patyjag.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Merryvale is a village everyone would like to claim as a hometown once Santa starts loading his sleigh. Luckily for readers who love Christmas stories, author Robin Weaver is whisking us there once again this holiday season for a delightful laugh-filled visit.  

FULL CONTACT DECORATING is the newest title in Weaver’s series that starts with the mood-lifting CHRISTMAS TREE WARS. Her new novel, aptly dedicated to Christmas Tree Lovers everywhere, brings back many of our favorite characters.

Here’s a preview:

Katrina Snodgrass believes she can get her life back on track. If she can regain her title as the Christmas Tree Contest champion and re-snare the man of her dreams. Too bad soap-opera star, Tripp Anthony, isn’t interested—at least he’s indifferent until Hunter Montgomery arrives and convinces Katrina she needs to make her former flame jealous. The plan succeeds, but Katrina finds herself equally attracted to Tripp and Hunter, the man she loves to hate. Her heart is torn, but can she truly choose either man while she guards a horrible secret?

Here's a link to make it easy for you to buy an ebook copy of FULL CONTACT DECORATING for just $2.99. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 26, 2015



 Why do I write historical romance: Because I love history.

The most important aspects are:
You must be passionate about your subject in a historical novel. You might get away
without this passion in a contemporary but you won’t in a historical:

Historical Accuracy. Without that, your novel is doomed and so are you.

Write about an era that you are interested in.

I am not into Medieval or Regency, so it would be tedious tyring to do the research required for this, and I wouldn’t have the passion about it, and I am sure this would show in my writing.

 Research Options:
The internet (use with caution as you can’t be 100% sure that the person who posted knows what they are talking about).
Library reference books – a great place to start.
Quizzing elderly relatives (depending, of course, which era you are writing about)

2nd World War, Vietnam, Great Depression – all o.k. because they would have lived during these times.
Reading family diaries and/or letters.
Actually visiting places where you story takes place or somewhere similar.

e.g. I visited the old Melbourne jail for my novel, Daring Masquerade, because my heroine was jailed for being a spy. I wanted to see what it was like. The walls were solid bluestone, and cold, even on a warm day. The cell was small etc.

Name towns: Know the area. What grows etc. I always set most of my stories in N.E. Victoria because I know the area well. Mention a few main towns, but I never be too specific, because you can get easily caught out.  I always make up a fake town near a main town or city.

In my novel, Allison’s War, set in 1916, I said the heroine lived at Dixon’s Siding (made up name) i.e The left the farm at Dixon’s Siding, and after an hours riding (horses) reached Wangaratta.

I PURPOSELY DID NOT SAY Dixon’s Siding was (10 miles west of Wangaratta on the Greta/Myrtleford Road, because I didn’t know for sure, that there wasn’t a giant lake there or a massive quarry at that time (1916).


 Lauren’s Dilemma

1.30a.m., 25th April 1915. Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey

Private Danny Williamson shivered in the chilly air as he waited on the deck of the troopship. In the darkness he couldn’t see land, even though someone said it was less than three miles away. When his turn came, he climbed down the rope ladder and found himself in an open boat. Excitement surged through him. He had travelled halfway around the world for this moment and was keen to give a good account of himself.

A.    Landing at Gallipoli 0130 hrs – not 1.30a.m. No soldier would say 1.30a.m. The army always uses the 24 hour clock

 My novel, A Wicked Deception is set in 1854 on the goldfields.

 On arrival at the homestead, Melanie unsaddled the mare and let her loose in the stockyards James had constructed from split logs. Surprising how neglected a house became after being left empty for a few days.
Within 5 minutes she had dusted the kitchen and was sitting down having a cup of hot milky tea?


Where did she get the milk?

  1.  Not out of the refrigerator that is for sure. She would have had to milk the cow. Water would have to be boiled on wood stove? She would have had to light the stove, maybe even cut the wood.
In Daring Masquerade 1916. The heroine goes to ring Colonel Andrew Smith. She punches in the telephone number –  and waits for him to pick up the phone? No.

 A.      She dialled the operator at the telephone exchange etc. And she certainly didn’t use her mobile phone.

On her wedding night, her nightgown was exquisite, a soft, white polyester, lavishly trimmed with lace.
A. No polyester in those days.
Know the area you are writing about:  In my novel, A Rose In No-Man’s Land, the heroine is in England. It was December, the sun streamed down from a cloudless blue sky and Amy felt so hot didn’t know how she would be able to walk back to the railway station.

A.        It would be winter in England in December.

 Beware of modern language and slang.
A poor, uneducated person wouldn’t speak the same way as a rich, educated person.

 So, as you can see there are many pitfalls to writing historical fiction, but if you have a genuine love of history it is a pleasure to write in this genre.

Margaret's Website:

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All the books mentioned have been published by Books We Love and are available at Books We Love or Amazon