Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog. Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

LOVE, BETRAYAL, AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION--THE TRAITOR'S LEGACY SERIES!

I've long been fascinated with The American Revolution, the focus of my Traitor's Legacy Series. Before touching on the series, a shout-out for the .99 kindle sale on book 3Traitor's Curse from 8-26 through 9-8. The sale extends to other online booksellers. While written to stand alone, these novels work better together. I'm happy to announce the upcoming box set.
TheTraitorsLegacySeries_w11372_300Mix mystery, adventure, romance, and The American Revolution with a touch of paranormal and the result is THE TRAITOR'S LEGACY SERIES!

Releasing as a box set in mid-September! Published by The Wild Rose Press.
This exciting series is available in pre-order at Amazon in kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Traitors-Legacy-Beth-Trissel-ebook/dp/B01L5PSE1K 
Bringing history to vibrant life (with the occasional ghost).
One main source of inspiration behind the series are ancestors who fought on both sides of the American Revolution, including a British general. My research into the Southern face of the war was partly inspired by my great-great-great grandfather, Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam, who kept a journal of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, 1781, used by historians.  I used colonial American ancestral names for the hero and heroine in Enemy of the King. And a sprinkling of other names throughout the series. 

 Book One: ENEMY OF THE KING
Enemy of the King, an award-winning historical romance novel with a paranormal element, is my version of The Patriot. A big fan of Daphne Du Maurier since my teens, I was influenced by her mystery/ghost story, Rebecca. 

Our Virginia home place, circa 1816, and other early homes left deep impressions on me. I’ve long harbored suspicions that those who’ve gone before us are not always entirely gone.  Most of all, I’m a Southern Virginia author, and it shows.

1780 South Carolina, spies and intrigue, a vindictive ghost, the battle of King’s Mountain, Patriots and Tories, pounding adventure, pulsing romance…ENEMY OF THE KING. 

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Enemy of the King. Not only are the characters memorable and the setting beautifully described, but the action is riveting and the romance between Meri and Jeremiah is tender. I highly recommend Enemy of the King to anyone who loves a well crafted historical romance.” ~Poinsettia Long and Short Reviews

*Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 
*2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle!

“An amazing and vibrant look into the American Revolution…this sexy historical is a must read!” ~Coffee Time Romance And More


Mystery, intrigue, spies, a coded letter, and stirring romance fill the pages of Traitor’s Legacy.

TraitorsLegacy_w8945_med.jpg (official cover) (2)Story Description of Traitor's Legacy (Sequel to Enemy of the King)

1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.

Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.

Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?

Historical Romance Novel TRAITOR'S CURSE (SEQUEL TO TRAITOR'S LEGACY in the Traitor's Legacy Series)
traitors curseGhostly, Gothic, historical romance novel, Traitor's Curse, the sequel to Traitor's Legacy, and the third novel in the series, came out in print and eBook autumn 2015 from The Wild Rose Press.
Set in historic Halifax, NC, on the heels of the American Revolution, Traitor's Curse builds on the central theme in Traitor's Legacy. Both novels center around the hidden treasure collected by a band of Patriots to bribe a Loyalist into revealing the whereabouts of the infamous traitor, Benedict Arnold, the man they badly wanted to hang. Although America's most wanted ultimately fled to England, the treasure remained in Halifax where the haunting mystery in Traitor's Curse unfolds.
While the historical aspects of that era are authentically depicted in the story, intriguing paranormal elements are also interwoven; among them, a ghost. Other possibilities for his presence in the home are suggested, so choose as you will. It's kind of a mind game, but significant clues are given for the discerning reader. Bear in mind that the author believes in ghosts and cursed treasure.~
"The supernatural interventions mixed with foreshadowing are well done and believable, whether or not the reader doubts the ghostly possibilities and curses, they work well in the story … and do keep the reader turning the pages. The rapidly developing love story carries with it some inner turmoil in matters of belief and trust, but the gripping external conflicts are laced with danger and evil intent. The story draws the readers into the midst of the fray. And keeps them there.
I readily recommend this novel, “Traitor’s Curse” to anyone who wants to settle into a captivating read created by Beth Trissel, as she weaves her knowledge of the South, herbs and history into this enjoyable love story." ~Marion Spicer
"A wonderfully spun novel that will keep a reader engaged till the end." ~Stephanie Lodes for InD'tale
Won Creme de la Cover monthly contest
Nominated for Reader's Choice at The Romance Review
***Traitor's Curse is .99 in Kindle from August 26 through September 8. The sale extends to other major online booksellers.

Friday, August 26, 2016

I've Been Put in a Niche by Vonnie Davis

Look at me. Do I look like I'd fit in any kind of niche? I'm no tiny woman to slip into a tiny spot. My editors at Random House Loveswept feel they have a niche I fit in quite well. I'm their Shifter author. I'm pleased--to a point. But I have to tell you, getting there wasn't easy on my writer's ego.

I've always jumped from one sub-genre to another, depending on the characters or storylines that came to me. I've written contemporary, historical, romantic suspense, and paranormal.

Another aspect has to be thrown into the mix:  My off the wall sense of humor. Readers seem to love it. My editors at Loveswept say I write slapstick and tell me to pull back on the humor. For me, that's like squeezing my size twenty behind into a size eight girdle. Ladies, it just isn't happening!

Highlander's Beloved, my first paranormal series was full of humor. Everyone's favorite secondary character was a pink-haired, crazy a loon, grandma--Effie.



Then they told me to write a series about wounded warriors. I'm sure they thought I couldn't make that subject funny. And they were right. They never expected my quirky, secondary characters in that series either.

While I never expected the low sales. I only had 128 pre-orders and the team at Loveswept considered the three-book series a bust. I'd already turned in book two, so it'll come out on schedule. Book three was already history. All this was decided before book one was ever released. Publishing is a rough business. Sell or perish.

So, I needed a third book to fulfil that three-book contract. My editor claimed my plots were too heavy--kinda like my hips. I was told I needed to "dummy down" my writing. Write us a book with a thin, thin plot focusing only on the hero and heroine with merely a mention of other characters. First person, which I'd never tried writing.

So, I started. I submitted the first three chapters. They were returned. Too funny and not enough sex.

I cut out the humor and shook my head as I wrote a sex scene in chapter two between strangers. I sent it in. They sent it back. The sex scene was hilarious. I had everyone in stitches. Well...someone pass me a chocolate bar...QUICK!

We went back and forth like this for over a month. Finally, I got a call from my editor. They realized a large part of my voice was my humor. The team had looked over my sales numbers and realized my Highlander series was a slow success. Not a "one week out and on the best seller's list" kind of success, but a constant seller. So, they want another bear shifter series.

Humor will be okay. But no secondary characters. Who are they kidding? Secondary characters are the glue that make a story strong. Wait until my readers meet Milo Rogers, an American ex-serviceman who's on an island with the bear shifters. And that's only the beginning of what I plan to toss in their laps. I'm glad to be back writing my fictional world with paranormal happenings, but I'm not overly thrilled about being put in a niche. I just don't fit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A GOOD NIGHT'S REST

by Judy Ann Davis

How do you fall asleep at night? I have friends who say they stare at the ceiling. I have others who say they run all the problems they must face the next day around and around in their heads in one whirling and vicious circle. Others rehash all the wrong things that occurred in the last twenty-four hours and get angry at themselves and others for the outcomes.

As a writer, I’m very fortunate. Fictional writing allows me to conquer nighttime anxiety and the stress which many others feel on a regular basis. Instead, when I fall into bed at the end of day, I set aside the unsettling daytime moments and dive into realigning, reviewing, and mentally writing pieces of my fictional stories still in progress. Sometimes I ponder what my next scene might be. Sometimes I contemplate how to get my hero or heroine from one place to another seamlessly with little effort and few words. And many times I take a stab at creating a new scene or some humorous dialogue to push my storylines forward.

Using this method allows me to divert any anger, pressures, and irritations that have happened throughout the day. It’s a complete attitude changer. It’s soothing. Often, I discover I have a hopeful spirit about the next day ahead. And to be honest, many times I find all this crazy mental creating just zaps me instantly into a sleep mode.

So tell me.  How do you fall asleep at night?  

To read more about my writing, visit or follow me on my blog: A Writer’s Revelations
I can also be found on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter

To obtain a copy of “Under Starry Skies,” my western, mystery and romance, visit Amazon



Blurb for UNDER STARRY SKIES

Hired as the town’s school teacher, Maria O’Donnell and her sister Abigail arrive in the Colorado Territory in 1875, only to find the uncle they were to stay with has been murdered.

Rancher Tye Ashmore is content with life until he meets quiet and beautiful Maria. He falls in love at first sight, but her reluctance to jeopardize her teaching position by accepting his marriage proposal only makes him more determined to make her part of his life.

When their lives are threatened by gunshots and a gunnysack of dangerous wildlife, Tye believes he is the target of an unknown enemy. Not until Maria receives written threats urging her to leave does she realize she might be the target instead of the handsome rancher.

With the help of Tye, Abigail, and a wily Indian called Two Bears, Maria works to uncover her uncle’s killer and put aside her fears. But will she discover happiness and true love under Colorado’s starry skies?



Monday, August 22, 2016

To Speak of Things Unseen

Book 2 is now available in the Barrio Viejo Series. When I began the first, of what will be five books, I was not sure of a series name but called it the Hemstreet Witches. That ended up not feeling right (wish I’d realized it before the first one was out). Naming a series is challenging when you are trying to create a vision for the reader of the essence of the stories—all of them. While Hemstreet Witches would describe the heroines, it missed the energy behind the stories—which is the impact place has on who we are and what happens.
“Where we choose to be—we have that power to determine our lives. We cannot reel time backward or forward, but we can take ourselves to the place that defines our being.” Sena Jeter Naslund in Ahab’s Wife.
I believe the old neighborhoods of Tucson have that energy and in particular, Barrio Viejo, which provided the inspiration for these books with its mix of history, mysticism, beauty, and renovation. It really brings to the romances the magic I wanted in books with supernatural elements. 
 
To Speak of Things Unseen is Elke Hemstreet’s turn to face the challenges. Seeing increasing threats to her family by those who believe witches to be evil, Elke believes she has an answer—create a play from a bestselling fantasy novel. Witches have had too much bad press. More need to understand who they really are.

The mysterious and reclusive Mitchell Ford, author of Vislogus, refuses her request. As a sorcerer, he’s fought the other side. Writing about it has made him a target. He’ll not let that happen to others—especially not a woman he finds all too tempting.

Mysticism, ethics, love, and family are at the heart of this book. Mitch and Elke travel from Tucson to the Verde Valley and the mystical and beautiful Sycamore Canyon, searching for ways to make humans safer—even those who would kill them if they could. Together they face life threatening challenges.


To Speak of Things Unseen, 61,000 words with heat and strong spiritual themes, is available at Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KDCI9VG) and for paperbacks at https://www.createspace.com/6498879.

Read more about my life, writing, and ideas on my blog-- Rainy Day Thoughts.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Nightmares & Novels by #SandyNachlinger

I’ve always believed that dreams have meaning. After all, they’re stories provided by our own brains, with plots, characters, and settings graciously provided by our own subconscious.  They’ve got to have their roots in something somewhere in our gray matter. I’ve found that sometimes dreams can be interpreted and applied to what’s going on in my life. Of course, the trick is to figure out their message!

Recently, I dreamed I climbed into a plastic capsule—a giant-sized version of those pneumatic tubes used at my bank’s drive-in lanes—with the goal of being transported somewhere in a strange city. An old friend entered her tube ahead of me, gave me a smile, waved, and was whisked away. My claustrophobia made me hesitate. However, my fear of separation from my buddy in an unfamiliar place was stronger than my dread of being enclosed in a small space. So I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and stepped inside the cylinder. The door hissed closed. I opened my eyes, and … nothing happened. Trapped! Just as I’d feared. The walls of the chamber seemed to shrink. My throat closed. I gasped for breath. I pounded the red button. Nothing. The green button? Same result. I scratched at the sides of my transparent cage, screamed… and that’s when I woke up. An hour of aerobic exercise couldn’t have produced a faster heartbeat.

 
SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcHSHQ5x2f4

So what does this nightmare mean? Usually I dream of driving my car up a hill that keeps getting steeper and steeper until it’s straight up! That dream seems to occur when I’m in a situation where I need to take control of something that’s happening in my real life. But this pneumatic tube scenario was a new one. What was the dream’s message? My best guess is that the nightmare has to do with a book I’ve been working on for a long time. I’m stuck. Trapped. Seemingly unable to go forward or backward.

After taking a long walk (in the real world of my neighborhood) and thinking about the situation, several possibilities emerged.

 * Try ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to get the book going again! Keep pushing buttons, banging away at whatever comes to mind. Maybe I’ll hit on something worthwhile.  
* Take a deep breath, step back, and closely examine the characters in my story before leaping ahead. Their faults or weaknesses should logically result in problems for them. (Just like my claustrophobia resulted in an out-of-control situation in my dream.) Maybe I don’t know the characters as well as I should.
* Step completely outside of the box I’ve created for my main character. What outrageous thing could happen to her?
* Switch from writing romance to writing sci-fi. Maybe start a story where the characters routinely zip from place to place in pneumatic tubes.

Whatever I decide to do, I sure hope that nightmare doesn’t come again. But if it does, it would be really great if my subconscious would provide an answer to getting me out of that tube before I awaken in a panic.

Do your books invade your dreams or provide inspiration for plots, characters, or settings?





I.O.U. Sex (co-authored with Sandra Allen)

  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Release and Galveston Hurricane Anniversary


Hi! Hope y'all are having a good week. I know, I know, but we have gotten past hump day and tomorrow is TGIF, so I hope for the best. My week is going well, I think. The book I just finished is back from my editor and readers, so I'm making final edits. The timing is later than I'd hoped, but, as it turns out, the release will coordinate with the event the story is centered around. My husband says, "Even a blind hog finds a acorn." Now, you know I got a might touchy at his bluntness, but truth is truth, no matter how you slice it.

For those who've read my books, you know, in addition to family, I build my stories around actual weather events that happened in the book's time period. If you didn't notice, that's okay, it didn't register with me either until a good friend pointed it out. The heroes and heroines have to deal with floods, blizzards, tornadoes, and hurricanes. You know, it gives them something to do in case they get bored.

The book I'm talking about is, FAITH AND THE TEXAS LAWYER, A Brides of Texas Code Series Novella, Book 4. Faith Daniels and Joe Benning, unfortunately, have very little time to get bored since this is a time-travel. The story is set in Galveston, Texas, and centers around a house they both own, except Faith is from 2016, and Joe is from 1900. The obvious weather event is the devastating Hurricane of 1900, or Isaac's Storm, that occurred on September 8.







Blurb: 
  Faith Daniels had a hard time fitting in all her life, from the time she was left on the steps of a firehouse to her recent divorce. The only time she felt connected was when she rehabbed old houses. Often she wished she could experience life in a simpler time. Her current project, a 1900 Galveston mansion, is all she ever wished for and more. When some mysterious force transports her from 2016 to 1900, just prior to the most devastating natural disaster on record, will Faith give up all she has attained in her present life to stay in the past with the sexy turn of the century lawyer?

Joseph Benning has serious trust issues. He is still recovering from the jolt of being dumped by his fiancé shortly before their wedding. In order to prove to himself he can manage on his own without a woman in his life, he decides to reach outside of his comfort zone and buy a house. Suddenly, a strange woman shows up inside his house telling fantastic stories of disaster and destruction. Will Joe be able to make the right decision and let her go, when it comes time to save her life?

Faith will debut on the anniversary of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, September 8, 2016. Please follow me on Amazon.

School starts soon, and I know you'll be busy with all the end of summer stuff. Be careful and stay cool if you can.

Hugs,
Carra

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What Makes a Hero by @JoanReeves

As a romance author, I think about heroes a lot because each romance novel calls for a hero.

What Is a Hero?

Is he the guy in the picture to the left? He's got looks and muscles. Does that make him a hero? People claim football heroes, rock star heroes, and generally use the term hero to mean anyone they admire. Does extreme success and likability make someone a hero?

No. Popularity, personality, and skill in a demanding field just makes an admirable person. Maybe it makes someone a potential hero, but it takes more than a pretty face, good body, and charm to be a hero--in a romance novel or in real life.

Real Heroes Give

In my humble opinion, a real hero--male or female--gives unselfishly to help others...often, to protect those in harm's way. Most people don't think about the heroes in their own family, but I think you should look no farther than your own family to find heroes. Think of the fathers--and mothers--who work hard to give their children a better life. They're heroes. Far better to idolize them than some hip hop artist or bad boy football star.

Real heroes give. They sacrifice--often for strangers. Sometimes that sacrifice is the ultimate one that claims the hero's life.

Real heroes? Try Fire Fighters and Police Officers who put their lives on the line every day of the week. They and other first responders are heroes.

Doctors and Nurses who volunteer for Doctors Without Borders are real heroes. Many doctors and nurses and other medical staff, from every field, volunteer in free clinics and in countries where villagers never see a doctor. Two of my doctors do this.

Dentists do the same, providing care for the poorest of people who have little access to quality care. My dentist does this every year.

Volunteers who who work in poor villages and countries to bring people the basic necessities that we take for granted like clean water--they're heroes. Every year people volunteer to dig wells in places where the nearest water source might be a creek or a river miles away. The number of places in the world that lack the things we take for granted like clean water, septic systems, etc. is shocking.


Soldiers who protect and serve that we might have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are heroes. National cemeteries are full of these heroes who have given their lives in every war and conflict.

Real Life Heroes Inspire Fictional Heroes

If you read romance, you know how popular the military hero and law enforcement heroes are. I had a former soldier in Old Enough to Know Better, April Fool Bride, and Heat Lightning.

In fact, the hero of my current work in progress, Last Christmas, is also a former soldier who is now in law enforcement. In other books I've written, I've had heroes who were in law enforcement.

Is a romance novel hero vastly different from a real life hero? Maybe the romance hero is a little better looking and has six-pack abs rather than love handles, but the qualities of protectiveness and unselfishness exist in both the romance novel hero and the real life hero.

This desire to protect and serve is why so many romance heroes are soldiers and cops.

In my romantic comedy, Cinderella Blue, I have a cop hero, but I did a bit of a flip-flop with what the reader might expect. In most stories involving a cop hero, the cop avoids commitment at all costs.

In Cinderella Blue, Detective Bruce Benton, first introduced in Nobody’s Cinderella, is commitment phobic, but so is Detective Andrea Luft, his new partner who he realizes is perfect for him. He's the first in their growing relationship to want commitment.

I had fun solving Andie’s problems stemming from her emotional baggage. Here's a short excerpt to show you these two cops in action.

Excerpt, Cinderella Blue

Heat shimmered in waves above the pavement. Across the street, Bruce Benton saw a cluster of shops that created one-stop shopping for women looking to drop a few grand on a pretentious wedding. He crossed the street and headed to the flower shop. As he passed the glass storefront of a photographer’s studio, he saw a woman inside. A nano second later, he stopped abruptly. The heat must be frying his brain. He retraced his steps, casually glancing in again. The woman wore a wedding dress, but instead of a bridal bouquet, she held a handgun.

Bruce drew his Glock and eased the door open. A bell over the door jingled. He cringed as he slipped inside. Maybe she was deaf. The woman whirled. Nope. Not deaf. She held her gun in the same shooter’s stance as he. “Take it easy, lady. Maybe the photographer took some lousy pictures of you. That’s no reason to shoot him.”

“That’s funny.” The blonde suddenly grinned, but her gun never wavered. “You’re cute. Anyone ever tell you that you look kind of like Karl Urban?”

“Let’s not talk about some Aussie actor. Let’s talk about you. Why would a sweet thing like you have a gun?”

“Sweet thing?” Irritation replaced her grin. “Lower your gun. Lay it on the floor.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that. You see I’m a–”

Everything happened at once. A man rushed from behind her, slammed into her, and sent her flying into Bruce. They went down in a tangle of arms, legs, and miles of white satin. She came up snarling.
Bruce leaped up, gun in hand. “Freeze!”

He grinned and pulled out his handcuffs. “I always wanted to say that. Just like a TV cop. You lost your gun, sweet thing.”

He stepped toward her. With a snarl, she whirled. He saw a white blur and felt agony in his hand. A roundhouse kick to his solar plexus cut off his gasp of pain. He hit the floor. Wheezing, he tried to rise, but the blonde stood over him with her gun–and his–pointed at him.

She smiled. “Uh uh, sweet thing. You stay right where you are.”

Bruce groaned. Not from pain so much as humiliation. Crap. He’d never live this down.

What kind of a hero do you like best in romance novels? Do they reflect the qualities you admire in your real life heroes?

Post Script

Joan Reeves writes Sassy, Sexy Contemporary Romance. Her books are available at all major ebook sellers with audio editions available at Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes.

All of Joan's books have the same underlying theme: It's never too late to live happily ever after. Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State.

Subscribe to Joan's free newsletters: Writing Hacks, tips about the art, craft, and business of writing, and WordPlay, her email list and book chat for readers. Find Joan online: Blog, Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.