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.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Heart, Humor and Healing the Soul, by Jude Bown


I’m honored to be a guest today at SMART GIRLS READ ROMANCE.  Thank you.
 
One of the greatest pleasures in life is living the best bits over and over and over again in our mind.  The most treasured experiences are replayed in 3-D, engaging all of our senses.  The scent of Coppertone may bring to mind the permeating warmth of exotic island sunrays.
 
Aroma triggers memories.
 
Sipping tart lemonade may instantly transport us to a lush garden, surrounded by 50 shades of  birdsong, two chattering squirrels in a nearby tree, and the gleeful squeal of a toddler running through a cooling sprinkler…even though the mountain’s bitter December winds whistle outside our hearth.
 
One sip can change a season.
 
Universal emotions know no bounds.  Do we ever forget a stranger’s look that pierces our soul?  Or the electricity generated from a lover’s touch?  No.  We relive every crystal-clear detail, as though it happened moments ago.
 
We filter information and interpret meaning through the lens of our personality traits, beliefs, behaviors and dreams.
 
The unwavering faith and tenacity of my mother, who lived four years when she was given a cancer-related expiration date of two weeks, carries me through troubled times.  The adventuresome spirit of my dad gives me the fearless confidence to traverse uncharted territory with the verve of Sally Ride.
 
When we read a great book, we are transported to a setting, a time period, a lifestyle.  We become intertwined with the townsfolk, invested in the heroine’s plight, and lay claim on the hero as our own.
 
We don’t read stories…
 
 
 
…we LIVE them.
 
Romance authors fascinate me.  The ability to paint with all the colors of the human heart intrigues me.  Creating stories—that are so authentic we hope, laugh and cry as though the fictional character’s heartache was our personal burden to bear—calls to me.
 
Every romance author yields to their siren song differently.  Yet, the appeal of writing happily ever afters is not without struggle or sorrow.
 
For many years, I was an International Speaker, specializing in personal and professional development—averaging 250 days per year on the road in a different city every day in six countries.  During that time, my last living parent passed following unexpected and extremely difficult circumstances.  As is the case with many, we ignore our grief and work harder and faster to numb the pain and outrun demons.
 
Two years after Dad’s passing, I enforced a self-imposed hiatus.  There’s no longevity in physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological exhaustion.  It didn’t take long for grief—and what-if’s from decisions I had made regarding life support options—to fill the battered cracks of my soul.  Nine months passed and I had not regained my footing.  To promote the healing process, I signed up for two writing courses; one non-fiction, the other fiction.  Hoping creativity would release my grief.
 
When I arrived at the fiction writing class, the over-exuberant registrar insisted the “genre” blank be filled.  Her frustration ratcheted several notches when I confessed I didn’t know yet.
 
She harrumphed and proclaimed, “You write romance!”  The tone of her voice mimicked talons clawing a blackboard.
 
That night, when the demons stoked their evil flames, extinguishing all hope of peaceful slumber, I dragged my battered soul to my bright little orange office.  Cracking the spine of a leather-bound journal, I wrote the words:
 
Shep sat on a cracked, vinyl bar stool sipping coffee from a faded mug.
 
 
 
I relied upon the precious roots of my blink-and-miss-it Montana hometown for inspiration.  Molly Kirkland, the heroine of REEL ME IN (Book One in a series of small town contemporary romances) has been pulled from the depths of that same battered soul.  Her pain seeped out of the cracks in my heart.  I wrote with the passion of innocence.  My demons became Molly’s burden to bear.
 
I tapped my wit.  My heart.  My will.
 
Writing REEL ME IN not only broke the chains of pain that bound me, the experience freed my spirit and brought the balm of healing.
 
We don’t write stories…
 
 
 
…with every cursive curl or keystroke, we pour forth our heart and soul, our deepest sorrow and an unwavering hope that every story ends with a happily ever after.  Even our own.
 
 
Several Editors and Agents are currently reviewing REEL ME IN for publication.  In the meantime, I’m tapping another scarred nook in my soul to create a happily ever after for Book Two in the series.  Excavating bruised emotions to honor our beloved military warriors—and calling forth the power of every heart that heals them when they return home.
 
Please visit me at www.JudeBown.com for updates and further information.  Also, subscribe to my twice-monthly blog at www.JudeBown.com/blog/ to receive posts at your cyber doorstep regarding your best self, quick and easy recipes and other time-saving tips.
 
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REEL ME IN
 
Welcome to Hays River, Montana, home to rampant gossip, vicious busybodies and a cocky rooster with a red mohawk and a vendetta.  562 residents, each quirkier then the next.  Is it any wonder Molly Kirkland flung her mortarboard in the air a dozen years ago and created a new life in Chicago?
 
Molly knows things have hit rock bottom if Hays River is looking like home again.
 
On the verge of losing a promotion, Molly returns to her hometown to secure the area’s natural resources for her professional projects.  While there, she finds her aunt’s B&B nearly bankrupt.  Desperate, she recruits Mac McKay, a B&B tenant with expertise restructuring organizations.
 
Mac McKay has finally found a place to belong in Hays River.  While building his house on the river, he discovers valuable resources are being wasted and plans to open a reclamation warehouse, creating jobs and generating money back into the community he now calls home.
 
Wood chips fly when their trust and growing love is tested as they race to find solutions for Aunt Veeda’s bankruptcy, Molly’s promotion, and Mac’s reclamation warehouse.  Or will the choice be taken out of their hands when the past Mac turned his back on casts a shadow on the B&B doorstep.
 
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Thank you for sharing your time—and comments—with me today.   Please leave a comment below (along with your name and email address) to be entered for a chance to win a $10 Target gift card.
 
SPECIAL INVITATION:
 
To celebrate their Grand Opening, throughout the month of June, the chance to win prices is offered every other day to those who leave comments.  MARK YOUR CALENDERS.  On June 30, a Grand Prize winner will be selected from the comments to win a KINDLE FIRE HD 7” with Dolby Audio, Dual Band Wi-Fi, and 16GB.
 
Help me thank our gracious hosts by subscribing to http://smartgirlsreadromance.blogspot.com/...a blog for romance readers written by romance authors.  Visit often and please spread the good news!
 
Happy Saturday!

34 comments:

  1. Great blog, Jude!

    Here's to hoping Reel Me In is published soon, it sounds like a great story! I can't wait to visit Hays River, Montana!

    Di

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    1. Good Morning, Di. Thank you for stopping in today and your kind wishes for the success of REEL ME IN. I will admit, Hays River is bursting with characters who will steal your heart, just as they filled my heart with healing tears, laughter and hope for their happiness. Happy Summer Saturday

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  2. Welcome Jude! All writers use what they know and have felt to bring forth the emotions they want their readers and characters to feel. This book sounds like an emotion packed, fun read. Good luck with the publication and sales.

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    1. Hi Paty. I agree, writers have the innate ability to pull from their emotions, hopes and dreams...giving us an experience that, oft times, we're sad to read the last page and leave our dear friends. Thank you for the added luck and for spending part of your Saturday with us!

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  3. Jude, Thank you for guesting with us today. I absolutely love your writing in your blog posts. Reel Me In sounds like a fun emotional story and I eagerly await reading about Mac and Molly and their journey to their happy-ever-after.

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    1. Hi Carra. I appreciate the opportunity to hang out with all the smart girls...and your support of my regular blog posts. The writing community is so rich with talent and the readers of romance are such a delight to chat with and share experiences. Pealing away the layers of Mac and Molly to reveal their true desires was heartbreaking and rewarding. I eagerly await their debut with you! Thanks for popping in.

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  4. Jude, yours is a wonderful post and so typical of what authors use to survive. Writing is often cathartic, and we each draw on past experiences to fuel our story. Thank you for sharing with us today. I look forward to reading REEL ME IN.

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    1. Thank you Caroline, I'm thrilled to be here today. You're absolutely correct--writing is cathartic. Even though writers visit some deep corners we'd prefer left in darkness, healing comes from shining light on universal feelings and realizing we're not alone in our sorrows and joys. Squeals of giddy delight will certainly be heard throughout the land when REEL ME IN gets the nod, thank you! Happy Weekend

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  5. Hi Jude.
    Enjoyed your post a lot. just reading how the different senses are invoked had me remembering all those special times. Can't wait to see how the lucky publisher will be that gets REEL ME IN!

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    1. Thanks for joining us, Stanalei! You're my special wizard behind the curtain. I truly couldn't have created such a masterpiece without you. I'm hoping the wait will soon be actualization! Thanks again for your undying devotion. H.U.G.S.

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    2. It's been my privilege to read your story. My note above should have said that I can't wait to see WHO the lucky publisher will be that gets this story. (Need to edit myself better.) REEL ME IN is treat for all readers.

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    3. Thanks Stanalei! HAHAHA Thanks to the art of texting and Wheel of Fortune, our brains flip, flop and translate with ease!!! I know one of your favorite bits from REEL ME IN is the karaoke scene. I can't wait for readers to meet the feisty great-granny mayor who uses a fund-raising opp to strut her bony stuff on the bar at Ruby's Bar and Grill. Oh...and R.U.B.Y! Wait until readers get a load of Ruby! It's worth the price of admission just to see what Ruby pulls from the cups of her overflowing bra every now and again! Yes, Friends, REEL ME IN is jam-packed with big-hearted townsfolk who will keep you in stitches one minute and virtual-hugging them the next for their never-ending generosity.

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  6. What a truly lovely post, Jude. I with you the very best of luck on your submissions, but don't stop subbing and writing while you're waiting on an answer. I tweeted.

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  7. Thanks Ella. I sooooo appreciate all the support with shout outs today and your best wishes. You're so right. Waiting is a brutal business! REEL ME IN addresses Molly's demons of dealing with the what if's regarding the decision to continue her dad's life via life support, or not. Throught the waiting process, I've been keeping busy by diving into another tough topic... post traumatic stress of our warriors. I've witnessed how my family members have been changed by the war experiences throughout generations of time and am so intrigued by the strength of loved ones who never stop loving and aiding their healing. Thanks again for joining us today. Happy Island Breezes

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  8. I am excited for readers, who love books like I do, to be able to get a glimpse into the soul of a author. I have been even luckier than them. You have given me the privilege of getting more than just a glimpse. I truly appreciate and enjoy you sharing your whole writing experience with me. Thank you for that! I also cannnot wait for REEL ME IN.

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    1. Misty, I'm so happy to see you here! Thanks for sharing your Saturday with us. You truly have seen the inside of my soul--even the bruises and battered bits. An author choses a BETA reader with great care and I count my blessings daily that circumstances brought you into my life. I'm a lucky girl, indeed. Special thanks for all of your hard work on my behalf to make me shiny and brilliant! H.U.G.S.

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  9. Love your post, Jude. Writing can be amazing, and the cool thing is, readers get to reap the benefits, too!

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    1. Hi Jacquie! Thanks for popping in today. Certainly the readers are a big reason why we continue to tippy-tap away day after day, particularly through the rough bits. I can't think of a better way to spend a day...unless of course there are peeled grapes and frond-wavers involved... Happy Saturday Eve

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  10. What a wonderful post, Jude. It was a story unto itself. I'm so glad you've found writing (or, writing has found you :) ). Keep pounding on that keyboard and pulling memories and experiences out. ~ Viola

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    1. Hi Viola, thank you for the FB shout out and for joining the party. I'm glad writing found me, too...it's given me so many opportunities to meet folks with a high fabulocity factor, such as Little Miss You! Here's to filling the air with the sweet sound of pounding... Have a great weekend

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  11. Wonderful post, Jude. I look forward to reading REEL ME IN. Mary

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I'm so glad you joined us. I can't wait until read about that whack-a-doodle-do rooster! The inspiration came from the cocky feathered fiend next door. I lived within the city limits(city is a loose term for 200 residents!) Every day, my mom made me sacrifice my bony ankles on the loose gravel roads to go get the mail. I had to make sure that devil-possessed rooster was occupied somewhere behind the neighbor's house, so I could at least get a head start before I heard claws tearing up the turf behind me. One day, while mom hauled us kids to church, that rooster met his maker. For some reason, Dad was out in the yard (probably closing the gate to deter cows, or horses, or dogs, or deer, or moose from wandering onto our pristine grass). That rooster terrorized his last victim when he flew up and pecked my Dad's cheek, frighteningly close to his eye. One B.L.A.M. and not even a thank-you Ma'am later, that cocky bag o' bones was donating his white feathered finery to the angel wings factory... Just another day in my beloved home town! Sweet Dreams cozied in on your fine feathered pillow, tonight Mary!

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  12. great post I had never read a romance novel until my mom started writing it. so to support her I started reading it and now I'm hooked

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    1. HAHAHA Mercedes, my mom was a voracious reader of romance, but it took awhile for me to get hooked! Once while suffering a headcold in my early teens, I raided my Mom's packed romance shelves...thinking I was going to escape my utter misery by reading all about the *gasp* nasty! I hid 7 or 8 books within the folds of the bedcovers. I read one. Then another. Then another. I'm embarrassed to admit, I was still less than hooked. It appeared only the names and exotic locales changed. Thankfully, a few years later, the flowing tresses of bare-chested Fabio on the oh-so seductive covers, beckoned me. I gave reading romance another whirl. And another. And another. When chick lit became the rage I was hooked. For me, it took the outrageous collision of heart and humor to reel me in, so to speak! I was A.D.D.I.C.T.E.D! Here's a special shout out to our mom's for reading and writing romance... Happy Reading!

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  13. I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to thank Bev, my childhood bestie, who tried not once, but twice to post a comment today. I'm certain she was going to spill embarrassing tales of our youth! Here's the thing about small towns...when you know everyone and everyone's business, anything out of the ordinary isn't all that embarrassing. It's just a diversion from rocking on the porch listening to the crickets and gazing at the bright blanket of stars above. I spent many an hour hanging on for dear life as Bev terrorized the upstanding citizens of our hometown with her pedal-to-the-metal penchant for speed on her motorcycle. The wind whipped her long blonde locks into my face as we squealed to high heaven in appreciation of sun, fun and the summer freedom of our youth. It was a real thrill when Bev accepted the responsibility of being one of my BETA readers. She not only has the biggest heart of anyone I know, she throws a knockout punch...which made her the perfect candidate to eagle eye every word and scene. True to form, she held nothing back. She commented she would know every one of my characters if she saw them on the street. Bev laughed and cried more deeply, simply by fact of knowing the hardships and joys of the hardworking, generous people in our little mountain community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and the roots of my soul, Bev. As a side note, Bev has upgraded her motorcycle to a Harley...think of the terrorizing we could do this summer through the gravel streets of our hometown!!!!! Come one everybody...let's ride!

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  14. Very nice post.

    I follow via email

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thank you for sharing a part of your Saturday with us. I'm glad you enjoyed today's blog and am happy to hear you have subscribed. I'm really excited about Smart Girls Read Romance. Have a great weekend and happy reading!

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  15. As the day comes to an end, I want to thank all of you who have taken a few moments out of your weekend to join us today. I've had a marvelous time and appreciate all of your comments and well wishes regarding REEL ME IN. Please keep in touch. You can find me at www.JudeBown.com or hanging around several social media watercoolers! You're always welcome to visit my bi-monthly blog posts, which you can subscribe to through my website. Gargantuan T.H.A.N.K.S. to our lovely hosts, SMART GIRLS READ ROMANCE for a great day...and for creating the perfect blogspot so we can come together to chat about romance. Happy Romance! All the very best to each of you, my friends.

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  16. great post. books are a great escape for me. and I love writing books because I get to decide how it ends. well unless the characters rebel, but that's another issue...

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    1. Thanks for popping in, Nora! I totally agree, the escapism in reading and writing romance can't be beat! I laugh. I cry. I fuss 'n fight. I beam with pride. HAHAHAHA We only think we're in the driver seat when writing, don't we? I've learned a thing or two about a heroine's tenancity...those gals know what they want, (eventually!) and there's no stopping a woman in locomotion. As for the heroes, their behavior was no surprise...I have all brothers and one Forever Guy who have proven that they're going to do what they want to do whether you're on board or not!!!!! And heaven forbid they would tell you ahead of time so you'd know what jewelry and which shoes to pack for the wild ride!

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  17. Good luck on your adventures in the publishing industry. You have a great voice and your series sounds like just the ticket....Anna Jeffrey

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    1. Good Morning, Jeffery. I appreciate the good luck wishes and your lovely compliments, thank you. The industry is truly an adventure...thank heavens for Costco-sized bags of Cheetos and Sev-Elev Double Gulp sized Diet Dr. Pepper! Happy Summer Sunday!

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  18. I can't wait to read one of your books. Sounds very interesting to me, right up my alley. I enjoy a story set in a country setting, someone hitting rock bottom and climbing out with others help. Exciting, like a mystery. :)

    Happy day,
    Donna, BookTiger

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    1. Thanks for sending your comment to my personal email address, Donna, BookTiger! I appreciate the extra steps you took on my behalf, thank you. I'm with you, I love stories with a country setting, particularly in the heart of a mountain range...in my case the Rocky Mountains of Montana. It is fun to see stories unfold as the characters rise above their challenges. We all live vicariously through them and draw upon their journey to bring perspective and hope to our own view of life. With every romance I read, I see something that has been in front of my nose the entire time which provides my happy ending. Our happy ending is now! Happy Happy Endings to You!

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