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, January 30, 2016

Listen To Your Feedback by Suzanne Rossi

Good morning, everyone. I hope this past month has been kind to you. For all my readers in the Northeast who are still shoveling out from the blizzard, I can only say I've been there, done that, so I know what you're going through.

Today, I'd like to aim my discussion at the new writer and talk about feedback. There are several ways to achieve this, but the most common is from a critique group. If you are an aspiring author, a critique group is essential. I've had quite a few critique partners in my writing life--some good, some bad, and some downright ugly. Here are a couple of tips to look for when forming or joining a group.

First decide how many to have in the group. I've found that from four to five is a good number. You get plenty of opinions and it doesn't take forever to respond. Next, determine how often you and your fellow writers want to meet. For me once every two weeks works well. It gives you to time to make any changes your partners have suggested and for you to critique their works. Now, do you want to meet face-to-face or send your material and comments electronically? I've done both, but electronic critiquing does allow you to have out of town partners.

So, you've formed your group. The next step is to set rules. My first critique group didn't do this and as a result a couple of us were frustrated. We had one lady who never got beyond the third chapter. She continuously rewrote and sent in the same chapter session after session. Hint: Send in chapter one, get the feedback, make the changes, and then move on to chapter two. Rule number two: Try to send the entire story, chapter by chapter, to your partners. Deadlines can be an issue with this, but if you're unpublished, deadlines don't matter. Don't jump from story to story. It leaves the rest of us wondering what happened in the previous book. I actually had one partner who did this on a regular basis because she claimed she was bored with her story line and her characters. Imagine how the rest of us felt.

Critique groups are much like families--some get along beautifully, while others--well, let's just say they can be dysfunctional. This is where the bad comes in. Take a former partner of mine. She never listened to a thing the rest of us suggested, and then couldn't understand why she was rejected by editors and agents. The ugly is a whole other category. There are some people who just can't stand to see others succeed. They have very little in the line of constructive criticism. Or worse yet, can't take it. They justify every legitimate comment with telling you why they wrote it that way and how wrong you are. Jettison these people as soon as you can.

Another form of feedback is the contest. Several chapters of Romance Writers of America hold contests for both published and unpublished authors. The general format is you send in (anonymously and for a fee) either the first chapter or a specific number of pages. The first round judging is usually done by experienced writers and the judging criteria ranges from plot to characters to the mechanics of how you write. The highest scores move on to the final round where the judges are editors and agents. If you don't final, you will receive your scores and comments. It's important to listen to these comments. If one judge tells you the plot is contrived, you might be able to overlook it. But if two or three judges tell you the same thing, then it's time to rethink and rewrite.

The last way to obtain feedback is to attend conferences and pitch to the various editors and agents who attend with the sole purpose of listening to what an author has written. The usual response from a pitch is a request for the first three chapters and a synopsis. It's a foot in the door to the magical world of publishing, and sometimes feedback is included.

Just keep in mind, that rarely is the feedback from any venue personal. Most people are honest and trying to help. Listen to what they have to say. You may or may not agree with it. That's up to you. The more you write and get feedback, the better your work becomes.

Since I won't be blogging next month, I can't let the opportunity go by without a little of that blatant self-promotion. My next book, The Assassin, is due to be released on February 22, 2016 and will be available from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press and over on Amazon. Here's a brief summary and the cover.

When high-powered Memphis defense attorney, Ross Patterson, is murdered, his estranged wife, Priscilla, and his step-daughter, Hilary Watson, are two of the prime suspects. Hilary teams up with sexy private investigator, Colin Blackwood, to find the killer. Their search brings them into contact with some of Ross's sleazier, undesirable clients. The more they discover, the more they realize that Ross was less than ethical in his practice. As the suspect list grows, so does the danger. Yet through it all, Hilary and Colin find time for each other. Can they and their newfound love survive?


Thanks for reading today. Hope you all have a great February. I'll be back again in March.

Suzanne

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hello, my name is Beth and I'm a Panster

Yep. No matter how hard I try, the story will be what it will be. Ornery critter. The only way forward is by listening well to the characters and seeking the deep wisdom that guides me. Like following a hawk.

Sometimes the muse is silent. Dratted muse. Then I must wait for the oracle to speak. And ponder. I'll think I know what's going on, but I don't really. Only in part and pieces. Those of you who map your entire tale from start to finish amaze me. I stand humbly in your presence. I should be like you, I strive to be, but I'm not.

Sure, my dreaming and scheming are invaluable, but the realization comes that I don't actually have a clue what's next and can but hope 'the gang' does. Inevitably, they do. 

For me, writing involves a lot of faith. Like Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, that scene where he takes a leap of faith and steps out into what appears to be chasm, but then he sees it's a clear bridge between the jutting mountain sides. Or whatever they are. So, kind of like that. And I don't have a problem with being like Indy.

I'm currently writing book 3, The Panther Moon, in my YA fantasy series Secret Warrior. Yes, it's also a romance, and filled with twists and surprises, especially for me. Book 2, Curse of the Moon will be out later this year. Release date TBD. Book 1, The Hunter's Moon, was released mid-December. I am really enjoying this series and trying hard to garner recognition for The Hunter's Moon (signed on for 3 book tours, plus, pus). Breaking into a new genre is tough, which likely comes as no surprise. Some of the reviewers/bloggers this go round are the meanest I've ever encountered in all my published years. But that's OK, because now that I'm writing characters with super powers, they are easily disposed of in my fantasy world. I killed off an annoying high school basketball referee (one of my daughter's) in the fort assault scene in my historical romance novel, Through the Fire. I disguised his name, but I knew. So take that. Ha. 

Excerpt from The Hunter's Moon:

Oh, no. Was the wolf hit? Morgan prayed not. She sensed him trying to protect them, and couldn’t imagine why, or why he seemed like ‘her wolf’.

Cries, like the shrieks of a panther, carried through the trees. A chill crawled down her spine. Were the woods filled with creatures she thought long gone from these mountains?

More wolfish snarls erupted and snapping, tearing. Good. He lived. She nudged Jimmy. “Can you see anything?”

He craned his head around the rocks. “Not through the smoke and fog.”



Eerie howls rose from the surrounding woodland on every side. A whole pack must be gathering. Morgan wasn’t certain whether to be frightened, fascinated, or hopeful of rescue. Still light-headed, not sure she even saw clearly, she watched the black wolf reappear; with him, a great white wolf whose green eyes shone like starlight. The most extraordinary yet. Together, the two loped after the brown and gray one. Judging by the high-pitched calls, there were more wolves out there. And panthers, or were they mountain lions?

Snarls, growls, and the shrieks of enraged felines ripped through the smoky shroud. The pack wasn’t after her and Jimmy. Not now, anyway.~

The Hunter's Moon is available from every online bookseller you can think of.

For more on me and my work, please visit:  https://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Coming Soon--Love is in the Air--It's Among the Snowflakes by Vonnie Davis

I'm writing this on the 22nd and the snow is falling in Lynchburg, Virginia, like crazy. Considering we rarely wear a winter coat, this is "big doin's" for us.  Few cars have dared travel our street since we live on a hill. No one is stirring except for a man near the bottom of the hill, who is shoveling out his car and occasionally shaking his fist heavenward. It's quite the sight.

On February 1st, a romance bundle I'm part of releases. For me, this is my first foray into the world of self-publishing. Thank goodness one of the authors knows how to make covers, do the formatting, and get the bundle listed on book selling sites or we'd be lost--shoveling caa-caa and shaking our collective fists like the man down the hill.

"Love is in the Air" is a special bundle for me. It includes the first book I ever had published--Storm's Interlude--winner of the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit (a nice way of saying runner-up) and Book of the Year at Long and Short Reviews, five years ago. I'd gotten the rights back from The Wild Rose Press, made some changes that needed dire attention--like a set of twins, three years apart in age. I'd decided partway through writing the book, I wanted the hero three years younger and meticulously went through the book looking for any age references for him. I just forgot to do the same for his twin sister and, although her age was only mentioned once, there it was in all its glory. Some readers didn't like he was already engaged when he met the heroine, so I had the engagement ending a month earlier with the ex-fiancé refusing to accept the break-up. Somehow, with everything I took out, the book grew another 2000 words. I'm still scratching my head over that one.



Working with these fabulous, fun-loving authors on this project was a trip. We did a lot of chuckling over facebook messaging. Some of them were hard to control at times, but I managed to do it. Quick! Hand me a mirror! Did my nose grow on that lie?
 
We're donating all our proceeds to the "Wounded Warrior Project" and will offer the bundle for 4 months before splitting into single books. Amazon buy link is: http://amzn.com/B0181NC92E
 
 
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And because Grandma can't help herself, my grandson, Ryan, was accepted to MIT in their early acceptance program and he's having a great wrestling season. His next win will be his 100th high school career win. How can he be a high school senior already when it was just a couple years ago he'd crawl onto my lap with an armful of books for me to read to him?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

PANTSERS, PLOTTERS AND PROCRASTINATORS

I have been blessed with wonderful critique partners. They have put up with my bad habit of dragging my feet when it comes to my work in progress. Yes, my name is Brenda and I am a procrastinator.

So many times, the plotter of my group has sat with me and gone chapter by chapter in plotting out a story. I've tried. Really, really tried. The problem is, my characters do things that have nothing to do with the plot. New characters pop up. A situation we never discussed  messes up my neatly plotted out grid.

The pantser (you notice I don't name names.) is fantastic at sitting down and pumping out a few thousand words every day. She doesn't worry about spelling, grammar or obsessing over making it perfect the first time.  Ok. I've tried that and came up with gibberish. Let's face it, she made a deal with the devil.

Then, there's little old me, the procrastinator. I have to mull over my characters' motivations, goals

and an interesting plot. I'm never satisfied with forging ahead and worrying about the technical stuff later.

How do other writers  do it? I never even know what my subject will be when working on this blog. Which is due tomorrow.

I've met other well established authors who never get out of pajamas and lock their office door for days. No distractions, no hesitation. I admire their dedication. Also hate them, but it works for them.

So, my work in  progress lingers on my aging computer waiting to be finished. My critique partners give me the stink eye and drum their fingers.

I'm working. Yeah, I know it looks like I'm malingering, but in my brain, the book is almost finished.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Keeping it real

When writing contemporary or fantasy books, dress can pretty much be whatever the author wishes. This is not not the case with historicals. Both men and women had certain characteristic garb, which related to class as well as location. Wealthier women were more bound by the styles of their times, whereas, poorer women were lucky to have clothing that held together and looked clean. How much of the bust was shown also varied with period of time, community, and styles.

In an historical, the consideration of what class the woman is in (true for men to some degree also) as well as where she lives has to be a consideration in the descriptions of her garments. Some writers go into extensive descriptions of the gowns while others provide only a few notes. Readers also vary as to their preference for these kind of details.
 
Living as we do today where any length or style seems to go, it's hard to remember back even to my youth when a hem had to be a certain length or it was out of style. Being out of style didn't just matter to the wealthy back then but to the middle economic classes. I found this article useful in understanding how the bustle came to be and was modified through the years.


Covers are one of the main places where, if the heroine is on the cover, her garb better suit her time period and class. Put a country gal in an expensive looking satin gown and it misleads the reader. The more knowledgeable readers will also know if a certain style is wrong for say 1880 Kansas. I don't think there has ever been a time with more knowledgeable readers in terms of historic details. Historic romances are not intended to be non-fiction, but they do have to have the feel of the period in which they are set and dress is part of that.

When describing a character, I am always torn as to how much time to give her garments. Clothing can be revealing. Does she like dressing up? How complicated is it for her to put this dress on? Does she dress for herself or others? Her garb also defines where she fits into her community. She might delight in being scandalous. If she throws on what is convenient and clean but doesn't care much what it looks like, that reveals character as would it if her concern is matching shoes, dress, and hat. If she wears pants when it's totally not the 'thing' to do, it gives more clues to her character.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

#Bluebonnets

By Sandra Nachlinger


On a sunshiny spring day I topped a hill outside Dallas and the scene before me took my breath away. Flowers carpeted the hillside in a dazzling blanket of blue. The state flower had made its annual appearance.

Bluebonnets have awed Texans throughout history. Some believed bluebonnet seeds had been brought to Texas by priests, but the native blooms existed long before the padres arrived from Spain. Native American legends about the source of the flowers involved warriors knocking pieces of blue from the skies and a sacrificial maiden’s blue headdress falling to the ground, resulting in fields of flowers. Comanche lore tells of a little girl who sacrificed her doll, adorned with a blue jay feather, to bring rain to her village. The next day the tribe awoke surrounded by fields of bluebonnets. Not only was the flower edible, it brought small game as well as buffalo back to the area, thus saving the tribe. A modern urban myth warns that picking bluebonnets is against the law (not true).


In 1907 the Texas State Legislature named the bluebonnet as the state flower, but because there are five species native to Texas, controversy raged for the next sixty years as to which one should serve as the official flower of the state. In 1971 the legislature finally solved the dilemma by lumping all five species into the designation, as well as “…any other variety of bluebonnets not heretofore recorded.”

Excerpt from BLUEBONNETS FOR ELLY 
(to be re-released in February):
“My wife liked to dabble in oils, and most of these are hers. She painted them years ago.” He gestured toward the one that had captured Elly’s attention. “That bluebonnet painting is from a hillside not far from here—one of our favorite places, known to a few locals. We’d go there every spring, and she spent days capturing the state flower at the height of its beauty. She always said that if fairies exist, that’s where they go to play.”

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful bluebonnet paintings I've included in today's post. They were created by Robert Julian Onderdonk in the early 1900s and are now in public domain. (Click on paintings to enlarge.)

Sources:

Monday, January 18, 2016

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION




Finding a location in which to plop our characters has tremendous bearing on the story, but can be a bit of a dilemma for the author. Several elements come into play and must be considered. For instance what is the time period? Is the story a historical, contemporary, or futuristic? Is the story a time travel or paranormal?

I decided early on that all my stories would take place in my native state of Texas. This seemed the best plan for me because I'm comfortable writing about Texas and would be able to research easier here than in distant states. Next, Texas has varied terrain for any time period and with its multiple areas to choose from, each story can be unique unto itself.






When it came time to choose an area in which to base my Brides of Texas Code Series, the natural choice for me was right here in North Central Texas. The history of the Bennings and McTiernans started in Civil War when Ian Benning and Dermot McTiernan came from Ireland with its political unrest to start their lives anew in Texas with the land grant amended in 1850. The Texas Emigration and Land Company offered 160 acres to single men, plus a free cabin, seed, and musket balls.

The two men received their land located north of Dallas in the originally named Peters Colony. Each generation will have a chance to tell their stories in and around the fictitious town of McTiernan, along with the ever changing landscape that will either be a blessing or a challenge all the way to present day.












In Katie and the Irish Texan, A Brides of Texas Code Series, Book 1, the story took place in 1873, Dallas. The lusty town suited Dermot McTiernan's rowdy personality.



Texas & Pacific Passenger Train, Dallas 1870s



Dermot McTiernan is determined to move on with his life after losing his one and only love to another man. He decides to try his hand at ranching in North Central Texas with his friend, Ian Benning. He figures if that doesn't work out, there are many other opportunities in the booming post-war state. When the luscious red-head from County Cork, Ireland shows up in Dallas, can he retain the courage of his convictions and move on without her?


Kathleen O'Donnell made a monumental mistake marrying, Kelsey Gilhooley. Her decision for entering the union, no matter how honorable, had made her life a living hell. Even though still married, she holds out hope for finding the man of her dreams. When she comes across her tall, dark-eyed Irishman in Dallas, Texas, will she be able to abandon happiness and walk away a second time?



Book 2 of the Brides of Texas Code Series, Matelyn and the Texas Ranger, is set in 1875 Galveston in the middle of the 1875 hurricane that devastated Galveston and Indianola.












Overcome by the death of his wife, Ian Benning leaves his small son in the care of best friends, Katie and Dermot McTiernan. He rejoins his old outfit with the Texas Rangers to keep his mind off the loss of his only love, Emma. His assignment takes him to Galveston on the Texas Coast in pursuit of a group of bank robbers, and to the middle of a horrific hurricane.
Matelyn O'Donnell accompanies her employer, Veronique de Marceau, from New Orleans to Galveston, Texas to reunite Veronique with her cruel and conniving husband, Gerard. Introduced to Ian Benning while aboard ship, Matelyn dismisses him as a criminal in cahoots with Gerard. When their ship is capsized from the vicious winds and waves in the Gulf of Mexico, Ian Benning rescues her from certain death.
Will she accept that he is undercover and help him bring de Marceau to justice? 




Book 3, Angel and the Texan from County Cork, is set in 1879, around the Denison, Texas area in North Central Texas, in the middle of the worst snow and ice storm on record.

Jamey O'Donnell loves his family, but feels the need to once again answer the call to adventure. On his way to join the Silver Rush in Leadville, Co., Jamey stops to help his old friend, Will Rivers. When he finds out his friend has been killed, he seizes the opportunity to repay an old debt. He decides to stay to help the widow rebuild her life and find who murdered his friend. Can he ignore the long buried emotions she brings to the surface and then walk away?
Angel’s second husband, Will Rivers, has been shot and killed leaving her with an impossible dilemma. Either marry her neighbor to satisfy her husband’s debt or the stranger she shot in her barn who says he’s a friend. Which one does she trust? Will she be able to bury the feelings stirred by the stranger to live a life alone?


In addition to the surrounding areas of the story, the weather can also be used to set the scene. Katie's story dealt with a severe flood in Dallas, Matelyn had to survive a hurricane, and Angel had the deadly ice storm.



My most recent book, Laurel: Bride of Arkansas, had a tornado. Yes, I broke my own rule and journeyed to a neighboring state. (grin)








Thanks for stopping by, it's always great to see you here!
Carra



Saturday, January 16, 2016

9 Signs You're Over-Scheduled

I have a confession to make. This post was supposed to have been written and scheduled so it would publish early this morning.

Oops!

The fact that I didn't get it done on time underscored a truth that I already knew. I'm over-scheduled.

So I thought I'd discuss that issue today since I suspect that I'm not alone in feeling that way.

10 Signs You're Over-Scheduled

1. You slip up and forget to follow through on an obligation.

2. You wake up dreading the day because there's so much to do.

3. You have breakfast--a cup of coffee and whatever is fast and easy--at the computer because you need to dive right in.

4. You feel pressed for time so you just skim email and delete rather than take time to actually read and respond.

5. You eat lunch at your desk because you can't take at least 30 minutes away because your computer will explode from the volume of email and social media requests.

6. You long to write more but you keep getting sucked in by requests to which you feel you must agree.

7. You long to read more, but never have the time.

8. You never have time to sit and do nothing. If you're watching TV, you're on the laptop.

9. At the end of the day, you feel depressed because you didn't accomplish enough even though you worked from sun-up to sun-down.

Bottom Line

Now, what's the underlying truth? You're focused on the wrong thing. You've forgotten that you have a real life involving real people rather than online relationships.

Your focus should be on the writing, not the tasks that can be done after the writing is completed. The writing time should be protected and not frittered away. Believe it or not, your world won't implode if you place a lower priority on social media, group activities, and email.

By the same token, your personal life should be protected too. Personal relationships and fun nourish the soul.

Find your priorities and tackle the most important first. Do the best you can. At the end of the day, leave your office and enjoy your personal life.

Takeaway Truth

It's easy to get caught up and feel you have to do it all, but there is something very important to remember. Despite all the propaganda to the contrary, no one can do it all. Do what you can and tackle it again tomorrow.

Post Script

In Romeo and Judy Anne, high school principal Judy Anne Palmer is overwhelmed by all of her business and personal obligations. That's a contributing factor for the uncharacteristic action she takes the night she meets Roman Carlisle.

Ebook: All Romance Ebooks * Kindle * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * SmashwordsAudiobook at Audible.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

DOABLE RESOLUTIONS.....

I can’t believe it. Seems like only yesterday I posted a similar heading, yet it was a year ago. I hope 2015 was a good year for you. As for me, I’ve had better. But on the other hand, I’ve had worse. All in all, I have a lot to be grateful for.

So do you make resolutions? And do you stick to them?

I don’t make resolutions so much as I make plans. And I’ve already got 2016 pretty much planned. Of course you know that old saying : Life is what happens while you’re making other plans. (That quote really did not originate with John Lennon. It originated with a guy named Allen Saunders.)
DixieCash_YouCanHaveMyHeart 
Number One on my list is to finish the Dixie Cash book I’ve got underway, YOU CAN HAVE MY HEART, BUT DON’T TOUCH MY DOG. It’s full of the usual madness and mayhem only Debbie Sue and Edwina and their friends can generate. I had planned on releasing it before the end of 2015; however, my day job took over my life for about six weeks and I didn’t get it done. If I’ve made a resolution at all, I have resolved to not let that happen again. 

Now I’m shooting for a release date in February or March.  This was quite an undertaking for me. My sister threw in the towel at around 50 or 60 pages, so I’ve written it on my own. People who have read it tell me it’s funny, but I’m nervous. I’m the first to acknowledge that she’s the funny one. 

Second on my list is to finish THE HORSEMAN, Book #3 in the Sons of Texas trilogy. It isn’t acomedy. This will be Troy Rattigan’s story, plus it will tie up all of the loose ends and reveal the villain who’s got it in for the whole Lockhart family.
                                      *****

Along with these two projects, I’m going to attempt to narrate my own audio book. I know. Don’t laugh.  …..  I’ve already bought the equipment I need and am ready to roll. I don’t know how my Texas twang will sound trying to narrate an audio book. A person should have good elocution and be a half-assed actress for it to work. In fact, most of the audio book narrators *are* actresses or actors. My advantage, if I have one, is that I know how I mean for the dialogue I wrote to sound. We’ll see how it goes. Believe me, the money I’ve invested in the equipment is a drop in the bucket compared to paying for a professional narrator. They are very expensive.

Another project on the drawing board is to write Book #2 of Miranda’s Chronicles, a sequel to DESIRED,  the  40,000-word steamy  novella I released in 2015. Book #2 will not be a novella. Writing a novella is harder than it looks. I will never do it again. My home is in 100,000-word tomes. The title will be CLAIMED and I’ve already bought the image for the cover. That way, with money invested, I’ll be motivated to get it done.

AnnaJeffrey_LoneStarWoman_800
978-0-451-22959-5_ManOfTheWest.inddI’m also still trying to get my copyright back from my former New York publisher on MAN OF THE WEST, a book I wrote under the pseudonym, Sadie Callahan. I so want to re-write that book and re-release it as an Anna Jeffrey book. It’s Book #2 of The Strayhorns series and a sequel to LONE STAR WOMAN. It's also a loose end I would like to get tied up. I had originally planned to write Book #3 in this series and that story is still sort of floating around in my head. I might go ahead and work on it whether I get my copyright back or not.

So those are my plans for 2016. I think my day job is definitely going to have to take a backseat. Still, don’t bet any money that I’ll get all of this done.

How about your resolutions? Are they doable?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

He may not do dishes, but he's learning to cook by Paty Jager

My hubby of 37 years has never been a house husband. He's all about the outdoors. As a farmer/rancher, he doesn't feel housework is something he should do when he comes in from working outside. And over the years, I haven't pushed it because I felt that was my job- to keep him fed and clothed.

This past weekend, I caught the bug that's going around. I slept for nearly two days straight and when I did wake up didn't even want to stand up. Hubby made me tea, brought me crackers, and kept me company. He even watched hour after hour of Hallmark movies even though I was sleeping mostly. I guess he figured I needed company.

The first day, he had cereal for breakfast, scrounged together a banana and sandwich for lunch and I'm not sure what he heated up in the microwave for dinner. I didn't get out of the recliner to find out. ;)

The second day, he made oatmeal and toast for breakfast.  Lunch he made a sandwich and even cooked an egg. Guess he was getting tired of cold food. ;) For dinner He made a grilled cheese sandwich. If I hadn't been feeling so under the weather I would have giggled. This is a man who swore off cooking when he tried to cook for the kids when I was gone and they refused to eat. I'm proud that he is learning to cook. Before we moved out to the boonies, if I wasn't home to make him a meal, he'd go to the neighborhood restaurant or his mom's. But now that we live far from anywhere, he's having to learn new skills, which is good for him.

I've always envied my sisters-in-law, because my brothers both cook. A lot. At our house I'm the cook- Always. I even to do the barbecuing, hubby doesn't even to that.

Does your significant other cook or is it all up to you?


Now that I'm feeling semi-normal, I need to the dishes!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Release: JEWEL OF SOLANA Romantic suspense

My third novel releases this month, Jewel of Solana (Jan 22, 2016), and it’s still an incredible and nerve wracking
Click here to preorder
experience. Just as much as my first release.
This novel took me forever to finish. Having a baby in the middle of the first draft tends to put a major dent in the writing time (although it’s a fantastic excuse!) But for a sequel in a trilogy, I had hoped to have it released sooner.
Nevertheless, I’m so excited to share these characters with the world. To see if people love them as much as I do. That’s the quasi-terrifying part. As much time as I’ve spent with these characters in my head, listening to their stories and struggling to put them on paper, of course I want the world to love them as much as I do. Particularly the hero. He’s on the Autism Spectrum (Asperger's), and his quirks, mindset and analytical thinking processes are very personal to me. Raising a child on the spectrum myself, it’s important that people see these truly special individuals for their gifts, their sweetness, and their incredible desire to be liked. Accepted. Just like the rest of us.
If you’re interested in reading a romantic suspense, set in a tropical and exotic location to get you out of the dreary, winter doldrums, please pick up Jewel of Solana. The second in the Royals of Solana trilogy. You don’t have to have read the first one, Prince of Solana, to understand the story. In fact, if you enjoy Jewel of Solana, you’ll love the first one just as much. (Secret tip: it will be on sale starting Jan 15th for only 99 pennies!)

Jewel of Solana (2nd in the Royals of Solana trilogy from Wild Rose Press)
Romantic Suspense, Full length novel by Susan Sheehey
Release Jan 22nd, 2016
Preorder now (purchase links below)

Princess Alanna Peralta escapes a brutal attack on her island home after a vicious cartel assassinates her family. To save the royal bloodline and family legacy--the priceless necklace Luna de Azul--she conceals her identity and boards a mega-yacht...Into the arms of a brazenly handsome engineer, who might be her guardian angel--or the devil in disguise.
Gabrial Flynn can't look anyone in the eye. Until an obsidian-haired beauty begs for help. Committed to a solitary life at sea, he's shocked to be captivated by the woman's exotic, espresso eyes, and further amazed when she seems intrigued by his eccentricities.
With danger at every turn, Alanna and Flynn discover the limitless reach of the cartel's power. Flynn must decide how much he trusts her not to betray him. As danger closes in, Alanna is torn between sacrificies--her life, family legacy, and country...or her heart.
 



Susan Sheehey writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and women's fiction. Follow Susan at www.SusanSheehey.com, on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads and Amazon.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A REVIEW OF PATY JAGER'S TARNISHED REMAINS

by Mary A. Adair

I just finished TARNISHED REMAINS, second book in Pat Jager’s Shandra Higheagle Mysteries. A Big 5 Stars!



This story is a murder mystery set in Idaho on Shandra Higheagle’s farm. Shandra grew up with little memory of her father who died in an accident when she was a small child. Thanks to her grandmother she grew up understanding her Native American heritage. This is a part of the story I really liked, after her grandmother’s death, her grandmother still visited Shandra in her dreams. Shandra accepted that she dreamed of her grandmother and the visits seem to help her through the rough patches in her life, which includes solving murder mysteries, but she still feels the visits are actually her mind‘s own way of working through the issues.

Well, it seems Shandra has a knack for finding dead bodies. In Tarnished Remains Shandra unearths a body while digging on her own property to retrieve the clay needed to fashion her pottery. Can you imagine just digging away in your garden and unearthing an old boot with the foot still in it?! 

Detective Ryan Greer is the first person to come to her mind as the person to call. If you haven’t read book one in the series, she and the detective worked together before. Shandra was his main suspect in book one. This is mentioned in book two and flows with the story. TARNISHED REMAINS is a complete story and stands on its own. So don’t worry if you haven’t read book one, it is not necessary to understand the second book.

TARNISHED REMAINS kept me on my toes. Just when I thought I knew who the murderer was, I changed my mind. I just loved the small town atmosphere and all the quirky people living there. I reminded me of the small town I grew up near and went to school in. I swear, everyone in this book looked at least a little guilty at some part of the story. It had me guessing till the very end. When the true culprit was revealed it made perfect sense.

I give TARNISHED REMAINS 5 stars. It is a small town murder mystery with a hint of budding true love. There is also the dream-visiting grandmother. I always love a touch of super natural.  I also love a big, loveable, and scared-of-his-own-shadow-dog.  I have one of those and I love her, love her, love her! What else could you ask for? I loved it.

It is a stand alone story so you don’t have to read them in sequence, but if you haven’t read book one it would be great fun to read it first.