4-12 Su Lute - Contemporary Military Romance

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Wallflower Wedding Vacation

by Vivienne Lorret
Our April theme is all about favorite vacations. Since I have a wandering spirit by nature, I’m glad to say that reading has always given me a sense that I’ve been to some exciting places. I feel the same way about writing. Each story brings new friends, new sights, and new experiences.

As some of you may have noticed from last month’s post, I have a new book coming out in less than three weeks. I’m so excited about Daring Miss Danvers! Writing the Wallflower Wedding Series for Avon Impulse has been a dream come true. And I feel inordinately blessed, each and every day. Thank you for sharing this adventure with me! <3

release: 5/6/14
It's all fun and games … until someone falls in love.
Oliver Goswick, Viscount Rathburn, needs money—and soon. With time ticking away and his inheritance held hostage until he's properly wed, Rathburn's slim options point to a single solution: a faux engagement. In need of the perfect bride, he knows of only one candidate: his best friend's wallflower sister. The plan seems flawless, except for one problem … He can't help falling in love with her.
Poised, polished Emma Danvers knows nothing good can come of Rathburn's scheme. Spending the next two months engaged in a mock courtship is not what she'd imagined for her final season. Yet, charmed by his roguish ways and the inexplicable hammering he causes in her heart, she accepts his challenge.
For Emma, keeping the secret seemed easy when it was just a game … But as Rathburn begins to see past her reserved exterior to the passionate woman within, the risk of losing her heart becomes all too real.


  She looked at Rathburn, watching the buttons of his waistcoat move up and down as he caught his breath. When he looked away from the door and back to her, she could see the dampness of their kiss on his lips. Her kiss.

  He grinned and waggled his brows as if they were two criminals who’d made a lucky escape.  “Not quite as buttoned-up as I thought.” He licked his lips, ignoring her look of disapproval. “Mmm…jasmine tea. And sweet, too. I would have thought you’d prefer a more sedate China black with lemon. Then again, I never would have thought such a proper miss would have such a lush, tempting mouth either.”

  She pressed her lips together to blot away the remains of their kiss. “Have you no shame? It’s bad enough that it happened. Must you speak of it?”

  He chuckled and stroked the pad of his thumb over his bottom lip as his gaze dipped, again, to her mouth. “You’re right, of course. This will have to be our secret. After all, what would happen if my grandmother discovered that beneath a fa├žade of modesty and decorum lived a warm-blooded temptress with the taste of sweet jasmine on her lips?”


Also, for a sneak peek of the first two chapters, you can download Springtime is for Lovers for free on April 22, 2014. Or you can preorder your copy of Daring Miss Danvers, the first book in The Wallflower Wedding Series. For more information on my latest writing adventures, visit www.vivlorret.net

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vacation good, vacation bad...?

Greetings from my own vacation (around here we call them 'holidays', but that's a whole nother post) in sunny France!

When you live in the UK, anywhere where the sun shines is good vacation material, especially at this time of the year, while we're waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for 'summer' to arrive. Brittany, which is where we've been for the past few days, in the north-west of France, is sunny and green this week. Lovely wine-drinking and cheese-munching weather. You all envious? Excellent. I'll stop now.

The down side? Vacations can be difficult for writers. It's the only time I ever wish I had a 'normal' job. It's great to be your own boss, keep your own hours, choose your own projects. But it also means that when you're away, the work crashes to a halt. There's no office to leave behind that will go on nicely without me. If I'm not there, nothing gets done.

And it's amazing how reliant we are on having the internet at our fingertips 24/7. This post, for instance, is popping up late today, simply because I'm sitting on the train without mobile internet.

Tonight, I get home, and I've gotta say: I'm not looking forward to spending the entire day tomorrow catching up on vast mounds of email, trying to remember where I'm up to in my WIP and wondering if I'd have been better off with the 15,000 words I could have written if I'd stayed home.

Still, poor me, right? Can't complain. Not everyone gets to leave the dreary UK weather behind and swan around in France for a week in spring, eating lovely food, seeing the sights of Paris and then off into the wilderness to breathe sweet country air. So I'll just keep on taking vacations. Even if it means a bit of work doesn't get done.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inspiration from Unexpected Sources

by Shobhan Bantwal

Authors are constantly seeking out story ideas, consciously or unconsciously. Whether we are shopping for groceries, sitting in church on a Sunday morning, showering, or pulling weeds in our yards, our writer minds are always on the prowl for juicy story ideas.

Some of us are disciplined enough to carry a notepad to jot down those ideas that suddenly strike in the most bizarre places like an airport rest room or a crowded restaurant. I am not very diligent about such things, so I have to try harder to recall those thoughts at a later time. And if I can't, I chastise and torture myself for my lack of foresight.

However, we all know that inspiration can come from the most unexpected avenues. A newspaper article, a neighbor's death, a dog's uncanny ability to sense danger, an obscure superstition, or even something as minor as a child's forgotten homework can trigger an epiphany. A writer's mind works in strange ways.

As a sociology major in college, I had always been interested in women's issues in contemporary India. While I had considered them appropriate subjects for serious non-fiction books, I had never thought of them as possible fiction themes.

Years later, when I read an article about dowry deaths, a horrible and contemptible practice that continues to plague modern India, I was inspired to write my debut book, The Dowry Bride

Later, when I heard about sonogram technology making it easy for some unscrupulous doctors in India to abort unwanted female fetuses, I decided to use that topic as the basis for my second book, The Forbidden Daughter. Both books were a great way to introduce controversial hot-button social issues via an entertaining and romantic story.
Model in a Sari

The inspiration for The Sari Shop Widow came while shopping at the Little India community in New Jersey, where colorful sari shops abound. The trials and tribulations of my own petite stature led me to write The Reluctant Matchmaker, the story of a tiny woman falling in love with an unusually tall man, and the crazy challenges she faces.

I would love to hear about your book ideas, and who and what inspired you to write them?

Website: www.shobhanbantwal.com   Facebook page

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Contemporary Romance – What Makes It Fun To Read...And Write

By Susan Lute
According to Wikipedia, in 2004 over half of the romances published in the U.S. were contemporary romances. That's probably still true, though today, as then, there are many sub-genres that rise and fall in popularity. What makes the contemporary novel fun to read? Different romance genres take the reader to different places. Romantic suspense puts them on the edge of their seats. Paranormal romance crawls inside their skin, taking them to the other side of reality. A good historical will transport them back in time. For me, what makes contemporaries fun to read is that ultimately they bring the reader home, whether they are about Jenny from the block,  girls in the city, life in small towns, community, families. Finding love in today's confusing and fast-paced world can be a challenge. Contemporary romances remind the reader, while falling in love can have it's ups and downs, it still feels like nothing else in this world.

I like to watch House Hunters International because it's all about couples leaving everything they've known behind to start over in a brand new life. Reading a contemporary romance is like that. Fun. Exciting. Triumphant. Really, these stories could be about any of us.

To write a contemporary is sometimes more challenging than any other romance genre because the framework of suspense, 1830's London, warlocks, and shape shifters are elements that can carry a story all the way to the end. In a contemporary romance the location can become a character, but it's the characters themselves that move and shape the story. There is nothing more exciting than finding out what moves the hero and heroine, what molds their hearts, how love changes them and helps them grow.

I especially like to write the unexpected, and  roll reversal stories. A Marine heroine who is lost, and the man paying dues for his own mistake who shows her the way home – Jane's Long March Home. A single dad bringing his heart-wounded daughter back to his hometown, only to find the girl he left behind about to spread her wings, determined to escape small town life and take on the big city – The Return Of Benjamin Quincy. A former Marine suddenly responsible for his grieving nephew, who takes a job as “secretary” to the boss determined to prove to her CEO father she can fill his shoes – A Marine's Christmas Proposal. Currently I'm writing a small town contemporary, slightly humorous I think story, where our heroine is the Sheriff. Finding out if she will get her man is almost more fun than going to Disneyland.

What is your favorite contemporary romance novel, and why?

Susan Lute is a traditional and Indie published author of Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction, and Paranormal Romance, The Dragonkind Chronicles. You can find her on the web at her website, www.susanlute.com, Pinterest, Facebook, and Goodreads

I'm  giving away three copies of Jane's Long March Home. Leave a comment and sign up for my newsletter to be put into a drawing to win.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

By Diana McCollum

I want to give a shout out and thank you to Kate Curran at http://katecurran3.blogspot.com who tagged me in the Blog Hop. Kate is the author of  “Only For You and “Falling For You” two wonderful contemporary romances.

In February I published the “Love& Magick” anthology with Sarah Raplee and Judith Ashley.  What I am working on now is the story of Ella Stone.  She is one of the witches featured in the story “The Crystal Witch”, from the “Love & Magick” anthology.  I plan on doing a short story about each of the witches in the coven.  At some point, I’ll release the series of short stories as “The Costal Coven series”.

When starting a new manuscript, I start with my characters and a premise.  In “Love & Magick” I knew I wanted Hettie to be a witch from the 1600’s who travels to the present day.  I started with that, added my cast of characters and began to weave the plot.

Now I’ve found I have to tell the stories of the other witches from Hettie’s story. 

They all want to be heard!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?  I don’t mind adding several different paranormal elements to my romances. For instance, Ella’s story will have witches and some mythological characters.  Individual authors each have their own voice and I believe this is the major thing that sets each author apart.  This is what makes one Vampire book different from the next Vampire book.  I always have to have a Happily Ever After.

I enjoy writing stories with magic or paranormal elements.  I find it entertaining, so it must be entertaining to my readers too.

I strive to write every day.  Some days are more productive than others.  I now follow an online group of writers through, Rose City Romance Writers, who all encourage each other daily and this accountability has increased my daily word count.

I try to do a straight write through to the end on the first draft.  However, I am constantly fighting with my inner editor, who wants to go back and edit the previous work.  I made a deal with the IE that she could only edit and re-read the previous two pages each morning right before I begin to write.  She seems to be satisfied with this arrangement.

After the first draft is complete, it is time for revisions, editing, finding stronger words, or a new way of saying something.  Another go through for setting, details, powerful emotions, make sure eye, hair color stayed the same.  Find weasel words like: that, as, it, just, very or any over used words and replace, and when I’m sure  the manuscript is the best it can be, off it goes to the editor.

When the manuscript comes back, I sit my butt in the chair, Internal Editor on my shoulder, and we work really hard on fixing what needs to be fixed.  This process can take as almost as long as writing the original draft.

Then off to Beta Readers.  Back for any corrections, and then it’s published.

I want each story to be the best it can be.  My readers should expect an escape from reality, and a love story to boot.

What comes first in your writing process characters, title, premise or ...?

Bio of next authors to share their writing process & Links:
April 18th- 
If you love a tale with courageous heroes and heroines, where their unconditional love for each other gives them strength to defeat their inner demons, Cyndi Faria, award winning author and best selling author of Short Romances, invites you to enter the pages of her romances and find happily ever after. 

Cyndi Faria is an engineer turned romance writer whose craving for structure is satisfied by plotting heartwarming romances with a dash of American folklore.

On and off her sexy romance pages, this California country girl isn’t afraid to dirty her hands fighting for the underdog and caretaking rescued pets. Find her helping fellow writers and leading readers to happily ever after at www.cyndifaria.com

April 18th-
With sixteen published books, four novellas, and two anthologies, award-winning author, Paty Jager is never at a loss for story ideas and characters in her head. Her rural life in central and eastern Oregon, and interests in local history and the world around her, keeps the mystery and romance ideas flowing. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. 

April 22-
Sarah Raplee honed her love of adventure growing up on a tropical island. After high school, Sarah married her firefighter-cum-Coast Guardsman boyfriend, who is the inspiration for all her heroes. Paranormal experiences run in Sarah’s family, so naturally she writes paranormal romance stories. Her stories examine difficult issues with humor and insight. She writes to entertain, educate and uplift her readers. Plus, writing is more fun than most of the alternatives!
Sarah and her husband have settled near Portland, Oregon, with a cat who loves to fetch, a German Shorthair who doesn’t and a feline phantom who ignores them both.
Blog: http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Favorite Vacation?

My favorite vacation is one that will never be repeated. It's buried deep in my memory and even deeper into my soul. You're probably wondering why I feel so strongly about something that would be so common for most people right? Two words, My Dad. That's right, my dad. As most of you know by now I didn't grow up with my dad. All I had of him growing up were stories of what my mom remembered. Which wasn't much.
In 2009, my mom, my kids and I made a special trip to meet him after hiring a private detective to find him. It was actually much easier than we knew and only took the guy two weeks. We spent two weeks with him in New Mexico, getting to know him and visiting places around the town he lived in.
We visited White Sands, which used to be a military base but is now open to visitors; farmers markets, an old military fort, and Carlsbad Caverns. We also made a side trip to San Diego, where my uncle still lives, and took the kids to the San Diego Zoo and to the tide pools out at the Cliffs.
Several months later, my dad moved back up to Oregon to be with us and it's felt like a vacation all on it's own getting to know him and have memories to last the rest of my life.

What vacation stands out in your heart? Why does it mean so much to you?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When The Journey Is As Important As The Destination.

Hi everyone!
I am YA author B. A. Binns and since spring has finally sprung I, along with many of the other genre-istas, are thinking about vacations. I'm here to say that my favorite vacation is always the one in the future, and I have that one planned. 

A few months ago I was contacted by Bailey Ortiz, a teen librarian in Connecticut. She had heard about my 2013 talk to the 8th National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL) on Empowering the Voice of the Black Male in Children’s and Teen Lit. She wondered if I would be willing to travel to Connecticut to give that talk to the librarians attending the CLA (Connecticut Library Association)

Minor digression:
I happen to be a very shy person. That's why I started out as a Biochemist (closeted inside a lab) and then moved to Computer Science (holed up with a machine) and now I am a writer (a more solitary profession has not been invented). Only I quickly learned that writing also involves speaking, it's part of the promotion thing. Lo and behold, I discovered I liked speaking in front of large, anonymous groups.
Digression ends.

Of course I said yes. I've never been to Connecticut, so the crowd would be totally anonymous to me and I would be facing librarians, people with a mission I respect. And that meant I could treat this as a partial vacation. Which is good, because the stipend is pretty much non-existent. Seriously, it will cost me more to board my dog than the Honorarium I am receiving from the conference. But I get the opportunity to spread the message, because diversity in YA literature is important to me, to kids, and to the future.

And I get this nifty mini-vacation.

I will board a train and overnight it to Hartford, Connecticut. I get to walk in and go directly to bed (yes, I said bed) It will be shaky, but relaxing. I wake in the morning, shower, have breakfast and look out the windows to see a new landscape, the kind of thing you never see from the heights of an airplane. I'll meet people, because there is a difference between squeezing in up-close-and-personal with passengers in an airplane, and walking down the halls in a train, sitting at a table and eating, visiting the lounge car with people who are feeling as leisurely as you are. The other  passengers are not your competition the way they feel like on a plane. 

I'm taking Amtrak because I readily admit that I hate flying. It's not a fear of flying, exactly, almost more a fear of airports
  • having to arrive hours in advance and taking off my shoes for TSA
  • being squeezed into a too-small seat inside a crowded fuselage
  • listening to kids crying because their ears are popping
  • rebreathing air that has gone through smokers and people with colds
  • lost luggage or just the struggle to get your suitcase into the overfull overhead compartment
  • turbulence
The nightmare list is endless.
I get to look around and seek out potential characters for my next book.  And I get to spread the word about my books to new people, including the men and woman who work on the trains.  A year ago on the City Of New Orleans I sold two of my books to Amtrak  employees.

 I will enjoy my trip, see parts of the U. S. right outside my window, meet nice people, spend two days in Hartford with friendly librarians and return home unfrazzled.