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, July 30, 2017

Renovation Frustration by Suzanne Rossi

Hi everyone.

I think I mentioned a few months ago that we were going to do some renovations to the house. We wanted to add a small room off the kitchen for casual eating and sitting, and the kitchen itself was tiny, not to mention outdated. So after doing copious amounts of research, we contracted with a very reputable, reasonably priced, local contractor the end of May. Work began the middle of June.

At first, it was exciting watching the rotting, warped deck and the ugly pergola disappear. Footings were dug, the slab poured and in a day I had new steps and a walkway to the pool. Then the hubster and I went to the gym one day. When we returned, my kitchen was gone. The one working appliance other than the fridge, was the stove and that only lasted a day. It was unplugged when they relocated the electrical boxes. Now, I like eating out as much as the next person, but not every night. So off to Lowe's to buy a microwave.

My lower floor has become a war zone. All the stuff that was in the cabinets is now residing on my dining room table (thank goodness it seats eight), on my sideboard, and on the hutch. My gourmet kitchen is set up in the foyer on a portable island. The fine dining area is in my living room. The table is shoved against the hearth.

Naturally, during all of this mayhem, my final edits for "Point of View" came in. With all of the nail guns, jackhammering, Spanish radio station entertaining the workers, and other assorted noise associated with a major building project, there was no way I could concentrate on edits. Luckily, I have an understanding editor. During the weekends I can manage to get four or five chapters done. So far, I'm nineteen into twenty-three. I'm hoping I can finish up today and get it all to her. It means my release date will be later than planned, but I'd rather have edits that make sense than try to do it through all the noise and have a garbled mess.

What began as an exciting adventure is now becoming a nightmare. Even with plastic covering the doors to the foyer, dining and living rooms, there's still drywall dust everywhere. I've learned how to navigate from room to room to get cups, paper plates, and drinks from the fridge. I would kill for a kitchen sink. Doing dishes in a pedestal sink in the half-bath is just not getting it. Did I mention that in order to move what was an outdoor spigot, which became an indoor spigot when they framed in the addition, back outside, they had to cut away part of that bathroom wall? And THAT meant they had to remove all the wallpaper, which was fine with me since it was the ugliest wallpaper known to mankind. Matching it would have been impossible. I think it had been in there since the house was built in 1981. Unfortunately, that meant limited use of the downstairs bathroom.

Needless to say, my frustration level over the past three weeks has risen. I don't know whether I want to cry, scream, bang my head against the wall or curl up in a corner and suck my thumb. Arrrgh! And the odd thing is, this isn't our first renovation rodeo. We've been there, done that, and with kids running around, too. Guess our advancing age may have something to do with it.

Forgive the cliche, but there is light at the end of the old proverbial tunnel. The cabinets have been delivered and the contractor informed us that the flooring will be laid next week. The trim around the new windows and sliding glass door is finished and looks terrific. The finish date is tentatively set for the third week in August. I'll try to remember to take pictures and post them here for you all to see.

Now, I think it's time for me to quit whining and do something constructive--no pun intended. The schedule for Monday is to paint the bathroom. Guess that means I should go pick out a color. As usual, my frustration leads to indecision. I'll be spending some time at the paint store this afternoon.

So I'll say goodbye until next month. I just hope I won't be typing this from the nearest sanitarium.

Have a great day.

Suzanne Rossi

Friday, July 28, 2017

Love Is Timeless

I'm back into writing time travels again and kicking off my new Ladies in Time series with Book 1, Somewhere My Lady.  My other time travel series, Somewhere In Time, is still available at Amazon.  I find the whole concept of time travel and the many possibilities associated with it fascinating--sure keeps the wheels turning.

Before I begin any story I do a lot of research and pondering. Characters tug at me and scenes beckon, snatches of conversation play in my mind... Weeks, even months, may go by before I write a word, while the ideas simmer.



Inspiration for Somewhere My Lady came in various ways, but if I had to choose one, I’d say music. Edith's Theme, the hauntingly beautiful song from Crimson Peak, stirred my imagination long before I watched the movie, which was after I finished the book. Other songs in the soundtrack also sent my imagination soaring, but that one really did. Scenes took shape in my mind, especially the ghostly dance I wrote in chapter one.

Another draw for me is old homes. I’ve lived in them most of my life and visited many others. The stately brick home in the Shenandoah Valley where my father grew up dates back to 1816. It’s called Chapel Hill and lies behind many of the homes I write. I also love gardening and have sprawling beds filled with heirloom flowers and herbs. Some plants have been here for ages and our valley farm-house was built in the 1870's.

The gardens in Somewhere My Lady are especially beautiful and I used herbs in the story. Old homes exude an indefinable sense of place. Families filled them with the emotions accompanying the events taking place in their lives. The walls witnessed their sagas, good and bad, and absorbed the energy. A much lived in home is never really empty. Perhaps the spirits of those who once dwelt there come back and visit, or they leave a part of themselves behind. I don't know, but I like a good ghost story.



Harrison Hall, the colonial era home in this story, is loosely based on Shirley Plantation, a magnificent 18th century home built along the James River in Virginia. In the story, this wonderful manor sized house is a paranormal hot spot, concealing a deadly mystery Hart and Lorna must solve.

‘Somewhere My Lady is a fun supernatural romance that will have you slipping in and out of the past and future as if you were a spirit yourself.’’ ~Colleen’s Book Reviews

"Quite simply, one of the best paranormal, time slip stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to read," ~Splashes Into Books

Story Blurb: 

Lorna Randolph is hired for the summer at Harrison Hall in Virginia, where Revolutionary-War reenactors provide guided tours of the elegant old home. She doesn't expect to receive a note and a kiss from the handsome young man who then vanishes into mist.

Harrison Hall itself has plans for Lorna – and for Hart Harrison, her momentary suitor and its 18th century heir. Past and present are bound by pledges of love, and modern science melds with old skills and history as Harrison Hall takes Lorna and Hart through time in a race to solve a mystery and save Hart's life before the Midsummer Ball.~



Excerpt:

Something about him held her spellbound…the tilt of his head, arch of his brow, glimpse of his profile… She followed his every move with the fixity of an owl.
He turned blue-gray eyes toward her and sensuous lips curved into a smile on his handsome face. Hands down. No contest. He was the hottest guy ever. Her heart beat a thrilling new rhythm.

He circled closer to where she stood rooted in the foyer, not moving a toe, scarcely drawing breath. Did he truly see her backed tremulously against the wall, or did it only feel that way?
Unlike the others in the ghostly assembly, his eyes didn’t skirt past her. He paused in the dance. Bending at the shoulders, he tipped his hand to her in a genteel flourish.

He’d freakin’ bowed. Her jaw dropped. He most definitely saw her. And she sure as heck saw him.

A sparking sizzle jumped between them, awakening her as she’d never been roused before. Even more than when the house charged through her at her arrival. It was as if she were plugged in—to him.

How that could be, she had no idea, but when he gazed into her eyes, time seemed to stop. She spiraled into moonless stars, and back again to this dizzying realm. To him. Even if she were dreaming, she’d never forget this moment.~

Somewhere My Lady is available from all major online booksellers. In Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/Somewhere-Lady-Ladies-Time-Book-ebook/dp/B071VTNC7V


Images are from my garden.

Follow my Amazon Author Page where all my books reside:
https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Trissel/e/B002BLLAJ6


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Something More

by Rain Trueax


In writing romances, always I want something more than the love story, which is, of course, at its heart. When something more deals with a tough topic, it's not necessarily going to be liked. As a writer, what should take priority--
Write what it is believed readers want based on popular trends and understanding that romances fulfill a desire for a momentary escape from what can be a difficult time,
or
Write what comes by serendipity—that which cannot be planned, which can mean a dream, event, or experience, and sometimes deals with difficult issues readers might be trying to escape.
Although because of a vacation (Yellowstone National Park) and family time (grandson at the farm), I am not starting to write my fourth Hemstreet Witches romance, I've been considering an issue for its plot. I know the characters, the big problems they are facing and then in the midst of that, I had a dream, the kind that could potentially prove to be a secondary thread-- emotionally, a big one. 

The dream:
She was a celebrity (undefined, as to what, but once an important person), who was dying. She had a younger male friend, who she’d been avoiding along with the world. Her friend wrote something about her and her illness, that he was considering publishing. He showed her the words. Reading it, she liked it. He said he’d been going to add a section on the rituals of crossing over. She also liked that and told him they could meet again to discuss what she had also been learning about this process of letting go of life. He then went to a girlfriend’s home. She wasn’t going to let him in as he hadn’t been around and she was irked. Suddenly, her door swung open. He had opened it with magick. He stood outside until she invited him in. The dream ended.
Through the years, off and on, I've had dreams like that. They tell a story and some have worked into books or at least part of a book. I always consider a strong dream, full of images and meaning, to be a gift. To use any of my dreams, it generally takes looking past the dream images to the message. 

So, in my next book, what if my hero, in spite of dealing with another major crisis and meeting again the love of his life, is called to help someone he loves to cross over? I'd already been planning that this book would move from Tucson to Navajo land because the musician hero had a Navajo mother and black father (all negotiable to change once writing begins). 

The part that especially attracts me is the Diné have long been a people whose spiritual beliefs have interested me. For a story that incorporates someone coming to the end of life, belief in the chindi would add questions and interest in a paranormal. What else might be lurking around the red rocks?

The grandmother would have lived much of her life isolated, living in a hogan, where she tended her flock and wove rugs. What if she is someone the reader would want to survive? I have my something more-- and angst. How much would the heroine, being a witch, impact what was to happen? Is a death, whose time has come, unchangeable-- even with magick? Those are questions (and more) that I'll be thinking about before I start writing a book, which looks as though it will definitely have that something more I seek. Thanks, as always, go to the muse, which I don't try to identify in concrete terms but which has blessed me many times.



For more about my books and me, check out: 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Drowning? Car Wreck? Poison?

By Sandra Nachlinger


    “He has to die.” Jackie’s forehead creased in a frown.
    Linda paused before answering. “Well, you could always drown him.”
    “Yeah, I thought about that, but he’s a pretty good swimmer. He might live.”
    “That could be a problem.” Linda booted up her laptop and typed a few words. “It says here that the most common cause of accidental death is related to car wrecks. Number two is falling objects.”
    Linda laughed. “Like in those old Tom and Jerry cartoons? Drop a piano on him or a huge flower pot? I don’t think so.”
    “Hmmm. How about poison?”

(Names have been changed to protect the guilty.)

Are we listening to dialogue between two would-be assassins? No, just a sample of brainstorming at one of my writing group meetings. We’ve often speculated that if something bad should happen to one of our friends or family members, a review of search history from our computers could be problematic.

“Honest, officer. I was just trying to put together a realistic scene.”

What research could be held against you in a court of law?





Illustration source: HERE


Bluebonnets for Elly - A Sweet Contemporary Romance
I.O.U. Sex (Co-authored with Sandra Allen) - A Spicy Baby-Boomer Romance


  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer Reading by @JoanReeves #SmartGirlsReadRomance

It seems as if summer time is reading time for many of us. I guess we're not as driven in the summer so we take--or make--more leisure time.

I've spent a lot of time gardening at our house in the country. When the noonday sun is overhead, I quit for the day and go inside.

Once I'm showered and ready for a leisurely afternoon, I settle onto a comfy chair and read. I'm always browsing for good books--free and in Kindle Unlimited once I subscribed.

To help you spend more time reading, here's a free short story for you and a few books in Kindle Unlimited that you can read for free if you're a subscriber.

If you're not a subscriber, you can buy them for a very low price.

LuvU4Ever, A Moment in Time Romance

A Moment in Time is all it takes for Love to be revealed.

This short story is always free at all ebook sellers.

There are 2 other short stories in this series: Last Chance New Year and Blame It On Chocolate. Book 4, The Book Worm and The Globetrotter is scheduled for the Fall.

Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones

A billionaire, a movie star, a beauty queen--not a Gilligan's Island re-run!

Just your typical high school reunion, right?

Review: "If you like Sweet Home Alabama, you'll love Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones!"

This bestselling romantic comedy is now in Kindle Unlimited.

Heat Lightning, Book 1, Outlaw Ridge, Texas

Secrets, lies, passion. What Tessa doesn't remember may mean the death of her.

Read this romantic thriller for free on Kindle Unlimited or buy for $2.99.

In August, Dead Heat, Book 2, Outlaw Ridge, Texas, will publish.

For box set lovers, I have a great contemporary romance box set for you with sweet to sexy novels so you're sure to find something you like.

Kiss Me, Thrill Me Romance Collection is in Kindle Unlimited.

If you're not a subscriber, then buy this box set because it's only 99 cents!

Wow. What a bargain for 7 novels by bestselling authors.

Takeaway Truth

Grab some freebies and enjoy this hot July Sunday.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Potholes in the Writing World by Paty Jager

I don't think there's a person in the world who hasn't driven a car or rode a bike and had the jarring experience of a tire dropping into a pothole in the road.

The same goes for writers. I don't think there's a writer out there who hasn't hit a pothole with a story or character at some point in their writing career.

I don't believe in writer's block. If one story isn't working, I move on to the next in my ever-growing file of ideas, or go for a walk, or ride my horse. Eventually, I realize what is wrong with the story and go back to it. I've never been at a point where I couldn't write a thing. But I've had times when a story needs readjusting.

The month of June was a non-writing month for me. I did promotion and kept up the business side,
but I had too many commitments and family to sit down and write every day. Because of the non-writing month, this month was to be a marathon of writing to get projects finished. Except, I took on a project not on my white board. Which meant I had to write even more.

Because I added a project that needs to be completed by August, I decided to write two books at once. Work on one in the morning and one in the afternoon. No problem. It was working well, until I decided, if I worked on the one only, I would have it done in no time. So I switched to the one book, but then I discovered the information I had taken at face value as being correct, wasn't. I began to contact people who would have the answers. And their replies had me scurrying to take out a subplot in the story and rewrite half of the book. Whew! That is done, now I'm back to writing on the one project and heading full steam ahead.

This year has been a year of backing up and rewriting projects. I don't know if it's because I jump into stories too quickly because I'm so excited to write the characters' stories or if it is because I haven't been doing all of my research before I start a project. I've found lately I do some, but most of the research is done as I write and that is what causes the need to do rewrites and restructure. That is not a constructive way to get projects out in a timely fashion!

The project I'm working on now is a novella that will go in a box set. It has a woman bull rider and a male ER nurse. Do you see the conflict? ;) This has been a fun book to write because the chemistry is so hot between them, but they have her thrill seeker nature warring with his need to protect.  It's titled Eight Seconds to Love and will be out in September.

Here is the tentative blurb:


Lacey & Jared

Jared McIntyre can’t believe his eyes. The bull rider brought into his ER is none other than his best friend’s tomboy cousin, Lacey Wallis. The girl he couldn’t get out of his head the last fifteen years. During his tour in Iraq he lost another thrill-seeking woman and he isn’t about to let this one destroy her life.

Lacey Wallis is injured during the bull ride that moves her up in the rankings to go to National Finals Rodeo.  Her dream. But the guy she had a crush on when she was thirteen is back in her life, and trying his darnedest to make her give up on the bulls and get her adrenaline rush from him.

Bio:

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32+ novels, a dozen novellas, and a passel of short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty's Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest



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