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, October 30, 2016

Best Moonlight & Magnolias Conference Ever by Suzanne Rossi

Hi everyone.

I promised in my last post to give you a blow by blow description of my experience at the 2016 Moonlight & Magnolias Conference sponsored by the Georgia Romance Writers. I've always loved this event. The workshops are informative for all levels of writing and the members are warm and friendly. Have a question? Just ask. There's always someone to help out or give you an answer.

This year's conference did not disappoint. My book, The Good Twin, had finaled in the Maggie Awards Contest, so I attended with an added bonus.



I arrived late Thursday afternoon, checked in to the hotel, and took an hour to decompress from traveling before heading down to register for the conference. When handed my goodie bag, I proudly wore my badge that stated, Maggie Finalist on a bright purple ribbon. My next stop was the lounge for a glass of wine and an early dinner. Within minutes another lady approached and asked if she could join me. Naturally, I said yes. This is how it works at conferences. You say hello to people you don't know, and then talk about anything that comes to mind. Not long after, two more ladies joined us. Thanks to a good conversation I now have two new Facebook friends.

My Friday morning was filled with good workshops, and I met an old friend, whom I hadn't seen in over fifty years, for lunch. The afternoon was a repeat of the morning, and dinner that night saw me with another group of new friends discussing the days' events.

I woke up on Saturday only slightly nervous. The Maggies would be announced at the dinner that night. I tried not to think about it, but couldn't stop myself from composing an acceptance speech. Silly, I know, but sometimes that's how it is. Later in the afternoon, I was waylaid by the Maggie Chairperson and asked to give a short speech in front of a video camera on what the Maggies meant to me. Wanting to be humble, I said I didn't care if I won--that just being a finalist was like the cherry on top of the sundae. I lied. I did care. I really wanted to win, but at this stage, the competition was top-notch.

Everything went fine until I walked into the ballroom and saw the cameras set up. They would be streaming the event live on YouTube. Now, I got nervous--so nervous I could barely eat. After a heartfelt and tearful dedication to a GRW member who had passed away the week before, they got down to business. Thankfully, they presented the Published Maggie Awards first. I'm not sure my nerves could have stood waiting any longer. Win or lose, at least I could relax and hit the dessert bar.

My category, Single Title, was second on the list. The chairperson read off the finalists in alphabetical order. I was last. "And the 2016 Maggie goes to..." was announced. I held my breath determined to clap and cheer for the winner because by this time I was convinced it wouldn't be me. I stared at the video screen. "Suzanne Rossi for The Good Twin!"

Hey! That's me! I won! Somehow I made my way onstage. To this day, I'm not sure what I said as I accepted the award, but friends assured me I made sense and even made them laugh with one comment. I honestly don't remember, but I do know I thanked my editor, Johanna Melaragno. This was the last book she edited for me before leaving the company. I also thanked my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.



It took a week for me to return to reality. I have the certificate in a nice frame and the Maggie Medallion pendant on a lovely chain. I can honestly say it was the proudest moment of my career.

I want to publicly thank the judges, GRW, and especially, Maggie Chair and Coordinator, Christina Crayn. You guys put on a spectacular show. I will never forget the 2016 Moonlight & Magnolias Conference.

Oh, and before I forget, my book, Killer Conference, the second in the Snoop Group series, was released in all formats this month, too. It's all about a critique group that solves murders, and of course there's a healthy dose of romance in the bargain. The first book was A Novel Death. Number three, A Taste of Death, is going through critique at the moment.



Wow, this was some October! I hope you all have a great month of November and I'll be back with tales of Thanksgiving.

Suzanne

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Poltergeist In Our Old Farm House

Years ago, my son moved into the big white Victorian house on our other farm. We have two farms quite near each other in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and both homes are well over one hundred years old. Some of his guy friends moved in, too, and everything was fine, then he and his fiancée (now wife) began remodeling the house. At first, no one thought much about the noises. Neither of them mentioned a thing to me. Then one night my son called, alone and uneasy. He was hunkered downstairs with the cat. His opening question was, had I said cats ward off ghosts?

No, I'd said they have a heightened awareness of them.

Oh. He informed me about the footsteps he couldn’t account for and an upstairs bedroom with a door that wouldn’t stay shut. No matter how many times he closed it, come morning it was always open. Earlier that week, his fiancé had been distressed when the bathroom doorknob turned and the door opened on her. No one was there. It freaked the cat out. Didn’t do her much good either. She was promptly converted from a disbeliever in ghosts to one strongly considering their reality.
Now, she’d gone away on a trip with her church and none of my son’s other friends were around. The last of his roomies had moved out. I suspected all the remodeling they’d done to the house had stirred something up. So, I went over.
Here, I’ll digress to say I’d dreamed earlier of a small grave plot way back in the fields behind the house and of a restless spirit associated with both. As it turned out there is just such a cemetery, an antiquated one. After I arrived that evening, my son and I went upstairs to the suspect bedroom and shut the door. I wanted to scream, and not just because I’m claustrophobic.
We held hands and I repeated the Exorcism prayer sent to my mother from an Episcopalian woman in England. She’d written my mother about visiting her church manse at the invitation of the new priest who was plagued by a poltergeist–one so violent, it had flung portraits down from the hall and hurled a saucepan lid across the kitchen. But the congregants, along with the priest, had prayed it out. As this was a Christian prayer, my son and I did the same. Never again did he or his fiancé hear footsteps or have any more trouble with doorknobs turning. That bedroom door remained as they left it and the chill feeling I had in the room dissipated.
Now, what do you think of that?
Here’s the Anglican prayer. Do not try this alone if the presence you sense is evil, only with a strong group of Christians, the more, the better. And join hands. Even if you think I’m nuts.

“In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, may this distressed soul be relieved of his obsession with this world and sent to where he belongs.”
I added, ‘go to the light,’ although a truly evil presence won’t, but a troubled, restless one may. Seems only right to offer that as an option.
This is one of the experiences that influenced the writing of my ghostly time travel romance novel Somewhere My Love.

Story Blurb for Somewhere My Love (Somewhere in Time series)



Fated lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it’s too late?

Two hundred years ago Captain Cole Wentworth, the master of an elegant Virginian home, was murdered in his chamber where his portrait still hangs. 


Presently the estate is a family owned museum run by Will Wentworth, a man so uncannily identical to his ancestor that spirit-sensitive tour guide Julia Morrow has trouble recognizing Cole and Will as separate. 

As Julia begins to remember the events of Cole’s death, she must convince Will that history is repeating, and this time he has the starring role in the tragedy. 


The blade is about to fall. 

"A beautiful love story with plenty of suspense and mystery. With a murderer on the loose and a house haunted by the ghosts of the past, can William and Julia figure everything out and survive? Visit Foxleigh Hall and find out."~Night Owl Romance, a Night Owl Top Pick  

"As I read Somewhere My Love, I recalled the feelings I experienced the first time I read Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca long ago. Using the same deliciously eerie elements similar to that gothic romance, Beth Trissel has captured the haunting dangers, thrilling suspense and innocent passions that evoke the same tingly anticipation and heartfelt romance I so enjoyed then, and still do now." ~joysann for Publisher's Weekly


To keep up with me follow my Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oh Look! There Goes Something Shiny!

~~ Vonnie Davis

You be the judge. Do I have ADD, an overactive imagination, or trouble finishing what I start? Or do all writers' minds simply work like mine--easily distracted by shiny things?



I was writing the first book of a new paranormal series--The Shifters of Sonas Isle--and was about ten chapters into Kendric's story, when I received a few emails from readers, telling me how much they adored Effie my pink-haired hippie from the first bear sifter series. When could they expect to hear from her next?

I'd always felt I'd stopped Highlander's Beloved series too abruptly. My publisher's choice, not mine. We talked and arrangements were made for me to continue the series on my own since six months had passed since publication of the final book of the trilogy. So, to please my Effie fans, I began to plot book four of Highlander's Beloved--The Doctor's Bearside Manner.

Before I had chapter one written, a publishing company to which I'd submitted three chapters and a synopsis of a contemporary romance requested a full submission. Only there was no full to be had. I'd laid the book aside to work on my paranormals. I explained to the editor and she said she'd wait. So I shifted mental gears from the Highlands of Scotland to Philadelphia.

I've been working on that book for hours every day. Ignoring the idea that came to me a couple weeks ago about a group of writers. Okay, so I made a list of their names, but I've not gone any farther with it...honest.

Then a butterfly flew past. An historical editor put out an idea for books set in Scotland, near the Highlands, in 1877. Why? There was a huge mine explosion in this area at that time. I could use ancestors of my Matheson bears and...

See what I mean? I wonder how I've written 18 books in 5 years when I can't seem to stay on track? Certainly I'm not the only writer who deals with this. I'm not special. Scatterbrained, maybe, but not special. Something shiny flits by and I have this compulsion to chase it. I think it's a sickness.


*** If I don't respond until the evening to your comments, please understand my Calvin is in the hospital. He had a minor heart attack, so my days are spent with him until the nurses chase me out.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Finding a Leisure Activity



by Judy Ann Davis

Many writers are often shy or introverted people by nature. They feel right at home behind a computer, insulated and isolated from the daily hustle and the bustle that others, with a more social life, enjoy. But writers, just like others who work at solitary occupations, need leisure activities to steal them away from the computer screen, keyboard, and the multitude of ideas and stories tumbling and spinning inside their heads.

Leisure activities allow a person to examine personal values, focus on what’s important, and gain a healthy balance needed to deal with work. It’s a way to gain relief from stress and boredom while promoting emotional and physical health. Enhanced communication skills, self-esteem, and a feeling of control are some of the many benefits as well. Leisure activities allow us the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and restock the mental writing cabinets in our brains with food for thought.

Never in a million years would I have thought I’d become a golfer. I took up the game several years ago when I realized I needed a leisure activity. I wanted one where I could be outdoors and interact with my husband. What I found was double pleasure. Not only was I getting exercise, but also I was experiencing the most beautiful, peaceful places on earth, full of nature, bodies of water, and glorious landscapes. And no, I don’t play for score. I don’t even keep score. I play for sheer fun and a change of pace from writing.

But you don’t have to choose golf as your activity. There are literally thousands of leisure activities to enjoy. Practice a different craft, learn to play a musical instrument, join a community choir or weekly pinochle or bridge game, try your hand at painting, sewing or woodworking. Select a hobby you personally think might be relaxing. Find an activity you can do with your children or spouse or friend. But most of all, make it pleasurable—so you can take a break and rejuvenate.


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 Website



Hard-working Kate Clark opens a thriving coffee shop that quickly becomes the local hang-out for students and the community. Her one wish is to eventually buy out her sister’s share of the old Florida home they inherited. However, Violet is in desperate need of cash and has other plans.

Tappe Vanderberg, Kate’s childhood friend and high school sweetheart, has sold his lucrative internet security business to return to Little Heron Shores and fulfill his dreams of owning a marina. Now the handsome Dutch-born businessman is making waves with single women all over town—including loony, post mistress Eva May Poole who’s in search of husband number three.

But it’s Kate Clark who’s wreaking havoc with Tappe’s heart, not Eva May. Can he find a way to shake the dingbat post mistress and convince Kate to give him a second chance and the sweet kiss he remembers from an earlier time?


Saturday, October 22, 2016

weather as a character in a book


While we are having a blustery fall with rain, wind and thunderstorms, weather is on my mind. One night we were awakened with a thundering roar of thunder right over our house-- which in Tucson would be more usual, but here, not so much.

Weather is something I add to my stories-- not just blizzards that create a disaster, but ordinary weather that is part of daily life. A dark foggy day for winter can suit a character who is going through a bad time. A light rain, misting, fog, even a gentle breeze adds reality to a scene.

While weather impacts all our lives, it is even more important for characters in agriculture. A windstorm isn't just significant for a chance to stay inside and build a fire in the fireplace but also what it will do to fences, the wildlife, to the livestock that might be caught out in it. Big storms bring predators closer to ranch buildings.

To use weather requires either having lived or spent a lot of time in the setting of the book or research
to see what kinds of weather is most likely in what seasons. This can involve, with historicals, checking out the moon cycles as full moons have their own impact on weather. Good information can be found in old newspapers, which are in archives online to get an idea of what they were dealing with in say 1883. Was that the year of a drought? An unusually cold winter? A windstorm that hit historic proportions?

Even when it's a contemporary, I look for the possibility of big things going on during the time my stories are set. If a huge storm was coming through, it can become part of the plot. After a storm sometimes comes a great sunset.

What do you smell on the air after a storm? How does the sky look ahead of it? How does the breeze feel on your skin-- rain drops? All are tiny details, but so important to make the scene come to life.

How my characters feel about the weather adds another element to their personalities. If she hates a big wind, is there a reason? When she loves a season-- why was that? When he doesn't look forward to winter it says something especially if he's a rancher, and he knows winter means not only more work but potential risk to the livestock.

Loving weather as I do in books I buy or read, I also love to capture it in photographs. These can be used for inspiration as well as reminders. The hardest one for me to capture has always been rain, the sound of which I love, also the feel of it going for walk, but capturing it in a photo so far hasn't happened. I haven't given up trying-- recently there has been plenty of opportunity.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Little Free #Libraries

By Sandra Nachlinger

Driving down 132nd Avenue N.E. in Woodinville, Washington, on our way to the Chateau Ste Michele Winery, my husband and I spotted a delightful surprise – a Little Free Library! My first sighting of one of these book giveaway stations occurred on an urban hike through Seattle’s Montlake and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. Curious, I later did research online and I’ve been keeping an eye open for the free book stands ever since.


According to the Little Free Library website:

"In the beginning - 2009 - Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse. It was a tribute to his mother; she was a teacher who loved to read. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard. His neighbors and friends loved it. He built several more and gave them away. Each one had a sign that said FREE BOOKS." 


Together with Rick Brooks of the University of Wisconsin – Madison – they started the Little Free Library movement. The idea took off. "In June of 2016, we reached 40,000 libraries worldwide."

I think this "take a book, return a book" exchange is a great way to encourage reading and promote literacy. Are there Little Free Libraries in your neighborhood? If not, have you considered creating one yourself?

Information on participating (either by creating your own library or through donations) and even a video on how to build a little library can be found on the Little Free Library website: HERE





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

  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Flowers Speak a Language All Their Own






                                  THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS





In Victorian times, each flower had a meaning and bouquets were given with much thought given to the recipient. This was first brought to my attention in the movie, The Age of Innocence. Daniel Day Lewis's character gave Michelle Pfieffer's character flowers specific to how he felt about her. In, Kate and Leopold, Hugh Jackman taught Kate's brother how to show his feelings with flowers. In previous years, I remember an ad that appeared in magazines that said, Say It With Flowers. Ah, romance!

Popular Flowers & Their Meanings
• ASTER Symbol of Love, Daintiness
• AZALEA Moderation, temperance, fragile passion, your blush has won me (Chinese Symbol of Womanhood)
• CALLA LILY Magnificent beauty
• CARNATION (GENERAL) Fascination, Woman Love
• CHRYSANTHEMUM (General) You're a wonderful friend, Cheerfulness and rest.
• DAISY Innocence, Loyal Love, I'll Never Tell, Purity
• HYDRANGEA Thank You for Understanding, Frigidity, Heartlessness
• IRIS Fleurdelis, Emblem of France, Your Friendship Means so Much to Me, Faith, Hope, Wisdom and Valor, My Compliments
• LILY (WHITE) Virginity, Purity, Majesty, It's Heavenly to be with You, I'm Walking on Air
• LILY (yellow) Coquetry, falsehood, flirtation
• ORCHID Love, Beauty, refinement, Beautiful Lady, Chinese Symbol for many children
• ROSE (pink) Perfect Happiness, Please believe me
• ROSE (orange) Fascination
• ROSE (red) Love, I Love You
• SUNFLOWER (large) You are splendid

• TULIP (general) Perfect lover, Flower emblem of Holland
Have a great week!
Carra



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Crazy Busy: Love, Christmas Release by @JoanReeves

Life has been crazy busy for the last 2 weeks. I was up until 1am last night which is why my post is late today.

My friends and I are gearing up for the release of our Love, Christmas Romance Collection.

This holiday romance collection with each novella bearing the title of a popular Christmas song was first conceived in January of this year.

We've been working on it one way or another since then, and now we're in the agonies of promotion because the box set publishes Tuesday, October 18.

With 20 all-new novellas by New York Times, USA Today, and national bestselling authors, we have high hopes that the collection will please readers immensely.

Titles, Authors & Blurbs

We Need a Little Christmas by Leanne Banks – Can a handsome cynic become a Christmas believer?
Frosty the Snowman by Mimi Barbour – Stranded in an Alaskan snowstorm, strangers Hali and Terry are forced to rely on each other for survival.
Last Christmas by Joan Reeves – Annabelle gave him her heart, but Rick threw it away. He wants redemption, she wants revenge.
Holly Jolly Christmas by Mona Risk – Pregnant at 18. Adoption would save the baby’s future but may cost her the man she loves.
Do You Hear What I Hear? by Patricia Rosemoor – Live-in-lovers Shelley and Jake are now in a cold war of their own over Christmas.
White Christmas by Rebecca York – Was she in a coma, or was she in a Christmas fantasy?
So This is Christmas by Denise Devine – He was her child nemesis, now he’s her best friend forever.
Grown Up Christmas List by Donna Fasano – All she wants for Christmas is to feel safe… then she meets her guardian angel.
Blue Christmas by the Sea by Traci Hall – Alone for Christmas, Tamsyn helps mystery writer Evan find his mojo–love is a gift neither can refuse.
Santa Baby by Taylor Lee – Lily’s only hope was that this time, he wouldn’t be able to find her.
Let It Snow by Stephanie Queen – A stranger and a snow storm on Christmas Eve create the ultimate test for Dane & Shana.
Merry, Did You Know? by Jennifer St. Giles – Can a Christmas Miracle change the future of a woman who doesn’t believe in love and a man who can’t love again?
O Christmas Tree by Alicia Street – Can Piper convince Cody to let go of his painful past and embrace the hope of Christmas and possibly love?
Sleigh Ride by Katy Walters – Miss Sophia Vale faces poverty. Enter the Earl of Breconbridge, renowned as a rake hell with a conscience.
Deck the Hearts by Rachelle Ayala – Can Holly’s jolly Christmas spirit help Grinch Gordon Gills save the town of Christmas Creek?
Silver Bells by Jacquie Biggar – Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants?
Hark the Herald Angel Falls by Michele Hauf – To earn her halo, angel Merit must convince the person who holds her earthly soul in limbo–her husband–to stop loving her.
Little Drummer Boy by Dani Haviland – How could a mere drummer boy help those stranded in the worst winter storm of the 18th century?
I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Nancy Radke – When former a former Navy SEAL plucks a woman from the Mediterranean Sea, he discovers a fighter tougher than he.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Cynthia Cooke – A big city girl reunites with a small town boy–magic. A Santa in need of an elf–Christmas magic.
Rafflecopter Giveaway

Enter today for fabulous prizes in our Rafflecopter giveaway






But Wait There's More

We created a Sampler Book for Love, Christmas--the perfect way to "try before you buy" so you know you'll be happy with a book. I'm happy to offer you a free copy of Book Bites 7: 20 Holiday Samplers.

Buy Links for Book Bites 7: Holiday Sampler Amazon * Kobo * Nook.

One benefit of getting the free book is that it contains the answers you need to play the Love, Christmas Treasure Hunt.


I don't know if you've done a treasure hunt online before, but it's a lot of fun. Authors post clues or questions, and players follow the clues/answer the questions.

There's a very nice prize for the winner so I hope you'll pop over to the Treasure Hunt page and check out the action.

My Holiday Romance

My novella in the Love, Christmas Collection is Last Christmas. Here's a short blurb.

Last Christmas, Annabelle fell in love at first sight with a mysterious stranger. After a week of unforgettable passion, he walked out of her life.

A year of heartache accompanied by the dirty tricks life can serve up finds her back in her hometown, determined to forget the man who still haunts her dreams.

Who should walk into her grandmother’s Christmas party? Why the man who seduced her, lied to her, and betrayed her! He has a new name and a new identity, but his effect on her is as old as time.

Rick Lassiter thinks he can woo Annabelle back to him—and his bed. But, he didn’t count on the passionate sweet-tempered woman he remembered as having a will as strong as his and a desire to make him pay for breaking her heart.

Only 99cents!
Parties and Prizes Recap

This week there will be many events: Facebook parties with prizes, the Treasure Hunt, and the  Rafflecopter prizes. Here are the important links again.

Buy Love, Christmas Romance Collection from: Amazon * Kobo * Nook * iBooks.



Join the Love, Christmas Treasure Hunt.

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway (see above) which started Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 25.

Best of all, join us Oct. 17 and 18 for the Facebook Parties thrown by Book Partners. All authors are giving away prizes. I'll be hosting at 4:30 Easter time on October 18,

I hope to see you there!

About Joan


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