Summer...or, 2016, has proved very heavy for me. I'm currently considering grad schools (I'm winking at you, England), trying to fix my senior year schedule, working as a bookshop service associate, which is both extremely exciting and surprisingly demanding, and I just got word that I get to be a research assistant to a professor I heartily admire, on a subject I didn't even realize existed (a Russian guy who moved to London in the 1920s and created Byzantine-style contemporary mosaics, how intensely awesome is that?!). Add "promote your forthcoming books, old ones, and maybe write a new one" on top of that, and you'll understand why I have these nicely shaded half-moons under my eyes.
But lo--all this angst fits perfectly in our topic for June:
How emotionally involved are you in reading or writing some scenes?
If you've ever been anywhere near the internet, you've seen those memes or text posts about people wondering if writers cackle when they kill of a beloved character, that they drink reader's tears and all that hootenanny. Now, that might be true for George R. R. Martin, but a lot of people I know actually feel sad if they write emotional scenes--especially death scenes, for example.
I've also seen writing compared to acting; you're just playing every single part. And that can be surprisingly draining. I have a character, Celeste, whom I love to pieces. But she is arguably the darkest, most cynical character with the lowest self-esteem of anyone I've ever had the pleasure to write. She's half-Gorgon (think snakes for hair, bronze fingernails, and Greek mythology) and faced discrimination and seclusion for the first eighteen years of her life. She's offset by Andro, a grandson of Zeus whose father is Captain of the Guard on Olympus. He's spunky and optimistic because, until recently, he's never had cause not to be. There are a few scene in Serpents and Flame where Celeste realizes that everything, even her safety and her greatest desire, comes at a high cost--and it's emotional.
Once, I even scared myself. I was writing Shubiao's Girls. It's a paranormal book, not quite horror, but I started with the query of why we wake up sometimes and it feels like we haven't slept. I explained this with Chinese mouse spirits--spirits that live as mice but have the ability to steal your life force while you sleep. This allows them to transform into human form, but only temporarily. I then added an eons-old name-stealing demon and a fallen angel to the mix, and whenever I would wake up groggy I would get this itchy feeling, like, what if....? Even thought I wrote the book and made up the connection!
To jump back to death scenes--I become a wreck. Even if someone's getting badly injured, really. Yes, I know they're not real. I'm going to risk sounding crazy here, so open your mind--they sort of are, though. My characters are my friends. I feel almost like an older sibling or mentor to them. Have you ever read about writers sort of creating their characters and then the characters sort of just...taking over the story? Doing their own thing? As in, you might have this loose plot ready, but once your guys and gals are up and at 'em, you get hit with "Oh, there's no way they would do that," or "nah, it would go down like this" even though YOU created them and technically you could have them do whatever you wanted? It's weird.
But yeah, I've penned a couple death scenes, maybe two or three big ones. One was even for a major villain--she was bad, really awful--but once I slammed the reader with her backstory, I felt so bad for her. It was one of the most emotional experiences I've had while writing. She was such a complex character; so chilling, actually, that my mom asked how I came up with such stuff. I get all stuffy, red-nosed, and weepy.
There's one, in Monet Evanesce--I won't tell you who, it's kind of a clincher in the plot, ahaha--but the person had come so far, and was just trying to fix someone else's mistake, and he was the person who LEAST deserved to die, ever...allow me to say I was crying so much that I had to stop because I couldn't see my laptop screen a foot in front of my face.
So, I guess I'm gonna leave off and say yeah, I get pretty emotionally involved with writing scenes in my stories. :')
If you like, follow along the list to see how emotionally tied other artists are to their stories!
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Heather Haven http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/rhobins-round-robin/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com
Hi, guys! Today I am hosting Carmen Stefanescu,
who resides in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble - the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.
Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of communist oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.
Her first novel, Shadows of the Past, was released in 2012 by Wild Child Publishing, USA.
Carmen joined the volunteer staff at Marketing For Romance Writers Author blog, and is the coordinator of #Thursday13 posts.
Here are some romantic ideas to rekindle the spark :
Learn a romantic foreign language.
Take an intro-class together for a language that neither of you speak - French, Italian, Spanish or Romanian simply sound romantic - and practice whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears, in that new language!
Cuddle up together in a horse-drawn carriage ride.
You’ll probably feel like you are in a romantic comedy, and that’s a good thing.
Read each other’s Tarot Cards.
Take turns reading each other’s fortunes using Tarot Cards. Even if you don’t believe in astrology, it will make for one fun evening spent together.
Go on a ghost tour together.
Find the nearest ghost tour in your city and head out on the adventure together. At least you’ll have someone’s hand to hold onto should things start to get a little spooky.
Feed each other fondue at home.
It really doesn’t get sexier than feeding each other chocolate dipped strawberries.
The book Carmen would like to talk about today is
Till Life Do Us Part, a paranormal romance by Solstice Publishing and chock full of mystery and suspense. It was released June 9, 2016, which means you can buy it now! Below is the blurb you would find on the back of her book jacket:
Barbara Heyer can hear voices of dead people. They whisper of their deaths, seek comfort for those left behind, and occasionally even warn her about future events. But when Barbara’s brother, Colin, is accused of murder, it will take more than her gift to prove his innocence.
Becoming smitten with the handsome investigator, Detective Patrick Fischer, is a serious complication given his assignment to her brother’s case. Barbara senses there is something far deeper—and perhaps much older—than the surface attraction between them. Could that be why she’s visited by a mysterious woman named Emma in her dreams? Could past life regression tie all the seemingly unconnected events together?
Barbara and Patrick must overcome heartache to find the truth to save Colin, and perhaps themselves.
And if you liked that, here is an excerpt:
He watched the windows of the house for several days, hidden by the mantle of the falling night. Taking advantage of the cover the lime trees in the garden offered, he avidly followed her every movement across the bedroom. He could have hidden in the attic as he had a few times, watching her through the peephole he’d made, but from here, he could see her better.
He had a cautious nature, yet wasn’t afraid of being spotted. There was little likelihood of his presence being announced to the police as a stalker. After all, they’d been seen together quite often.
The first drop of rain fell with a splash on the windshield jolting Barbara back to reality. She opened her eyes and slipped her small handbag into the glove box. The money she received would help her solve many of the “not-for-now” things, like replacing the floorboard in the bedroom and repairing the leaking pipe in the kitchen.
She looked through the windshield at the pelting rain washing over her car. She reached for the key to start the engine when a faint light flickered on top of the steering wheel.
Barbara, Barbara, a voice came, more like a whisper, in her mind. He killed me. He just killed me...
Who are you, dear? Who killed you?
Kathleen… He killed me.
“Detective, please, don’t think I’m raving, but I have to ask. Do you know someone called Mabel?”
The man riveted Barbara with his dark blue eyes for a moment. Barbara cringed inside. He’ll rebuke me. The man passed a hand over his face and nodding, he answered, “Yes, I know a Mabel. My... my wife.”
“How long ago did she pass away?”
In a voice that was more than a little surprised he asked, “How on earth did you know she’s dead?”
“She’s here,” Barbara replied in a small voice.
His eyebrows shot up in disbelief. The steel in his voice was hard to miss. “What? What are you talking about?” He spun round and looked at the apparently empty space behind him.
Tell him I no longer suffer, Barbara heard Mabel’s voice.
Detective Fisher was still staring blankly around him.
“She wants me to tell you she no longer suffers. She hopes you’ve found in your heart the power to forgive her for committing suicide... for jumping off the bridge.”
The detective looked straight into Barbara’s eyes. The grief she saw in them was almost palpable.
I hope everyone enjoyed Carmen's guest post on my blog.
For more on Carmen and her book, you can stalk the author here:
Trailer for Till Life Do Us Part: https://youtu.be/UbuntlWISc0
Short URL for Amazon: https://goo.gl/H0dqkb
Elizabeth Harmon is the guest and star of today's #RomanticIdea guest post! She's come to share her killer cover art (I mean, it mixes Cyrillic and Latin alphabets), romantic date idea, and of course, her book!
Elizabeth Harmon loves to read and write romances with a dash of different.
A graduate of the University of Illinois, she has worked in advertising, community journalism and as a freelance magazine writer. She feels incredibly blessed to have a career that allows her to spend her days imagining “what if?” and a loving family that keeps her grounded in the real world. Her debut novel, Pairing Off is a 2016 RITA Award Finalist.
An adventurous cook, vintage home enthusiast, occasional actress, and entry-level figure skater, Elizabeth makes her home in the Midwest.
Cook a romantic dinner…together!
Choose a favorite recipe (or something new), and if you have a nearby farmer’s market, shop there for ingredients. Then turn on the music, pour the wine, and prepare it together.
Bike to a weekend getaway!
For a romantic getaway close to home, book a room at an in-town B&B or hotel, and ride there on your bike!
Outdoor concert and picnic
Pack a picnic supper and head to a local park that hosts outdoor summer concerts. Music under the stars, what could be better?
Join a couple’s sports or game league! It doesn’t matter whether your sport is softball, sand volleyball, bowling or even trivia. Win or lose, you’re having fun together.
Teen-age date night
If there’s a drive-in theater in your area, head out to watch a summer blockbuster under the stars. Or hit the County Fair for funnel cakes, lemonade and a kiss on top of the Ferris Wheel.
Go ice skating!
Yep, even in the summer. If you’re lucky enough to have a rink nearby, it’s a great way to cool off on a sweltering summer night.
In this second-chance romance, a former top men's figure skating champion is willing to risk everything for a comeback--except a new start with his long lost love.
An unexpected phone call from the man who broke her heart offers Amy Shepherd an opportunity to return to the work she loves, training elite figure skaters. Except it’s just one figure skater: Him. Can she finally forgive and forget?
Figure skater Mikhail “Misha” Zaikov once had it all: medals, money and the adoration of millions. But a devastating injury put an end to his career and his romance, leaving him with nothing but regret over what could have been. His last chance to re-join the world’s top skaters is now. And there’s only one person who can help him: Her.
On Russia’s unyielding ice, Misha must reclaim what he's lost while facing off against a talented young rival and risking further injury. But Amy soon discovers Misha's much bigger challenges lurk off the ice. And she's determined to keep Misha whole and healthy, even if doing so ends his shot at the gold.
Don't miss any of Elizabeth Harmon's Red Hot Russians. Pairing Off and Turning it On are available now!
The next morning, Amy awoke first. Misha lay beside her in bed, still sleeping. He’d brought over clothes last night. His toothbrush was in the bathroom cabinet. This was just like back in Ohio, only better. Misha was no longer searching for direction. He knew what he wanted, and they were working together to help him achieve it. But she couldn’t deny that she was nervous about what would happen today, when he returned to training on the ice.
She got out of bed, and changed into her running clothes, put coffee on, then returned to wake Misha. “Hey,” she sat on the edge of the bed and gently shook his shoulder. “Time for our run.”
“Nyet,” he said in a sleepy voice, and reached for her.
“You agreed to it last night. Nothing too strenuous, just enough to get your heart pumping and muscles working.”
“Don’t need running to make my heart pump,” he pulled her down onto the bed, cupping her butt through her black running tights. “As for muscles…maybe we can stay in and work this big stiff one?”
She laughed and squirmed away. “Nice try, but that muscle’s getting plenty of exercise. Rise and shine, big guy.”
She threw back the blankets, leaving him no choice but to fumble around for his pants. She waited outside and he joined her a few minutes later. They took off at an easy pace, following the path behind the center’s main buildings, then out around the pond and back. Nothing too strenuous, just as she’d promised. Their lungs filled with clean fresh air, the morning mist was cool on their skin. They returned to the guesthouse and she bent over her knees, breathing out cold air. Misha did the same. He straightened easily. “How is your back,” she said.
“Perfect. No pain at all.”
“And the rest of you? Knees? Head?”
“Knees are fine, and my head is in good place, too. Thanks to you, Amy the tiger.”
She grinned, and stood on tiptoe to kiss him. “Ready to get back on the ice?”
“Can’t wait,” he said decisively.
“You’re going to be great.”
He brushed a kiss across her lips. “For you, I will be.”
Intrigued? To purchase Elizabeth's book, check out any of the buy links below:
Barnes & Noble
To learn more about the author herself:
Amazon Author Page:
Thanks for visiting, Elizabeth! Be sure to show her some love in the comments section, or by clicking on a few of her links. :)
Morning! So I'm doing something a little different today: I've hosted a couple people before this, but this summer I'm going to be hosting a handful of lovely writers as part of #RomanticIdea, where authors share their romances while also opening their blogs to others...all the while sharing romantic summer ideas. It was just a very cute idea and I couldn't resist such a good promotional idea. So that's it for me, the rest of this post is centered on author Victoria Pinder and her novel Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush, a rereleased New Adult 2016 romance that everyone should really check out!
Now, for Victoria's...
Romantic Ideas to spend this spring with your favorite guy…
1. Visit an art museum
2. Walk on the beach (I know cheesy but it’s what my husband likes to do when we’re bored)
3. Go food shopping together and pick out something for each other to add to the cart
4. Plan a vacation or a cruise for a year away and talk about what you want to see or do (sometimes the planning is the fun part.)
5. Watch a movie together while snuggling
6. Take a dance class and use a groupon coupon
7. Visit a winery or local agriculture (perhaps apple picking)
8. Rent a boat or a canoe or kayak and hit the water (Or water ski if you’re adventurous)
9. Picnic in a local park somewhere
10. Go online to one of those places where you get coupons, like groupon, and pick something together that you’ve both never done… in Florida they have everything from helicopter rides, hot air balloons and
Synopsis for Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush:
Penny moves back to Miami to start her new job. She must start on Monday, so she has a list of things to accomplish.
A: Find a place to live.
B: Avoid her mother.
C: Reconnect with old high school friends. There was her best friend, Sandra, the dramatic Eva, the dark Michael, her half-brother Wyatt, and her old high school crush Jay.
Jay had never looked twice at her except as a partner in math league, but at least these people respected her.
Jay spots Penny immediately and sets a plan in action. He needs her to pretend to be his date this week. She’s practical minded and stable, which is what he needs his investors to see in him.
Penny’s caught in a whirlwind of plots. Her gold digging mother, Jay’s, Jay’s mother whose out to stop him, and her own plans are being thrown off course. Worst of it is that she’s falling for Jay, all over again.
Like what you see? Victoria and her novel can be further explored at the links below:
A Little about the Author:
Victoria Pinder grew up in Irish Catholic Boston before moving to the Miami sun. She’s worked in engineering, after passing many tests proving how easy Math came to her. Then hating her life at the age of twenty four, she decided to go to law school. Four years later, after passing the bar and practicing very little, she realized that she hates the practice of law. She refused to one day turn 50 and realize she had nothing but her career and hours at a desk. After realizing she needed change, she became a high school teacher. Teaching is rewarding, but writing is a passion.
During all this time, she always wrote stories to entertain herself or calm down. Her parents are practical minded people demanding a job, and Victoria spent too many years living other people’s dreams, but when she sat down to see what skill she had that matched what she enjoyed doing, writing became so obvious. The middle school year book when someone wrote in it that one day she’d be a writer made sense when she turned thirty.
She’s always been determined. She is amazing, adventurous and assured on a regular basis. Her website is www.victoriapinder.com.
Member of Florida Romance Writers, Contemporary Romance, Celtic Hearts and Savvy Authors.
For a free novella of Returning for Valentine’s Please Click here: http://victoriapinder.com/returningforvalentineshorttimeoffer
And last but not least, an excerpt from Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush:
“Home, sweet, err…coffee.”
Getting out of her car, Penelope brushed her worn jeans to get out a small wrinkle. Not that it mattered. She smelled the coffee drawing her to the door. The delicious aroma of freshly brewed java that could wake her up waited inside. Gainesville had coffee shops, but nothing that held her heart like this place. In high school, this place was her mecca. Her stomach grumbled for the familiar drink.
The coffee shop looked almost the same as it had years ago, except for the aluminum tables and wooden chairs with red cushions. She remembered the plaid chairs and brown tables, but the place still calmed her, like she was coming home.
She stepped up to the counter. “I’ll have a cinnamon dulce nonfat latte, please.”
Leaving Gainesville after college had always been the plan. Just never back to Miami, but she’d changed. She could live here now.
She checked her lip gloss while she waited for the latte at the counter.
When she accepted the promotion from part-time to full-time, she knew she would have to face her mother and the catch of the month, Lars, her mother’s plastic surgeon. What that woman would do for a free tummy tuck.
The job she’d accepted had offered to triple her salary, provided she moved to the Coral Gables office. Somehow, she’d avoid her mother until necessary. What was the man’s name with money this week? Penny ignored that last call, knowing the man with the largest wallet always took precedence over whatever Penelope needed. She watched the barista get the nonfat milk and finish her latte. She’d succeed here, now.
She had to.
She’d call Sandra, Eva, John, and Michael later. Wyatt, her half-brother, was stationed overseas, so she’d wait for his weekly call. These people were her real family.
The man handed her the latte. The first sip gave her the strength to do this. The tightness of the ride dissipated while she tasted her liquid savior. Sighing, she tasted heaven, the wake-up to her day.
Though the unmistakable voice was deeper, she knew who it was without even turning. Her high school crush, who never noticed her beyond her brain. Pulling at her pink tank top, she wished she’d worn better clothes. “John Jay.”
His steely blue eyes and sandy blond hair were the same color, but his build had grown more muscular. The leanness of his youth had given way to broad shoulders and hard, muscular arms. He had a straight, faded scar on his left cheek that was new—probably a bar fight. Rich boy wore his fancy, perfectly fitted polo and jeans, and was definitely hotter with age. His million-dollar smile and devastating dimples sparked a warm flush that sped through her all the way to the tips of her toes.
“I’m going by Jay these days. It’s less formal.” He winked at her, turning off his tablet and pointing her to his table.
“It’s a good name, but I still prefer Dimples,” she teased. “It’s what I called you on online whenever I needed you.”
His rich, deep laugh sent that familiar spark through her.
Damn. Rich boy knew his effect on women, including her. He could manipulate her when she went quiet, but she’d learned a lot in college. She’d not let him weaken her.
Ooo! I wonder how that's all going to go down.
Once again, Favorite Coffee, Favorite Crush can be purchased at http://amzn.to/1SrKB7I.
Thanks, Victoria, for letting me host you!
Today's guest is MM Jaye! MM Jaye’s mother claims that she spoke her first word at the age of six. Months. As a kid she would record fairytales in her own voice, play them back and then re-record, adjusting the pitch and tempo. Later, she used her voice to inspire young adults and teach them the art of translation. But there came a time when life took a turn for the worse, and her voice temporarily died out. That’s when she turned to writing.
Fate Captured is the first book in her Greek Tycoons series, set on the Greek island where her husband proposed. MM Jaye lives in Athens, Greece, with her husband, daughter and Kindle.
Romantic Idea to enjoy this summer:
Have your partner read your favorite romance novel and ask him which romantic scene he enjoyed the most and then re-enact the scene! It could be candlelit dinner at a location similar to that mentioned in the book, wearing similar outfits, with the night progressing exactly as the book describes. Do your best to keep the script *winks*
In Fate Captured, the hero re-enacts the final scene of the heroine’s book (she’s an aspiring writer) even changing the dining room’s furniture to resemble those in the scene, and that’ show he won her back. He did need a grand gesture after the way he treated her, after all.
Can two wrongs win Mr. Right?
Trish Swan is living her dream. She gave up chilly Boston for a sunny Greek island to write her novel. But she likes hot crime between the pages, not before her eyes. Yet, she doesn’t think twice about turning in a video she captures of a cop roughing up a man--but maybe she should because fate throws her a curve ball she least expects.
The mind-numbingly hot Greek from the bar isn't just a cocky bad boy in need of a little love. He's a shipping heir wrongfully accused.
Career in ruins, Markos’ life is a hot mess, all thanks to one sexy do-gooder who keeps popping up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Touching her becomes addictive, so maybe he could forgive her for doing her civic duty. But when she dredges up ghosts from his past, messing with his sanity, his Greek blood boils. And someone is bound to get burned.
With a man’s life on the line, Trish prepares for a head-on collision that will push Markos over the edge. What does she stand to lose anyway? Her heart?
He already owns it.
Balancing the tray on one hand, Trish turned to take the drinks to the couple snuggling on the cushioned bench that lined the side wall. She gave Hot Guy a wide berth. Although initially she wanted him to watch her dance, she also had to think of her reputation at her workplace. Branding herself as an easy waitress was the last thing she needed.
She spotted the sleazo leaving his seat. His eyes were pinned on her, his upper lip curled. Now she worried more about putting space between her and him. She sidestepped clumsily, and her foot caught on the protruding leg of a bar stool, sending her careening forward.
A hand of steel around her arm steadied her before she fell flat on her face. As bad luck went, it was the arm with the tray, and by the time she pushed her tumbling hair out of her face, the drinks intended for the snuggling couple were soaking her savior’s jeans-clad thighs.
She looked up. As if she needed his steel-gray gaze to be petrified.
“Was that Plan B or a payback?”
At the sound of the guy’s low, deep voice, her heart rate went from fast to frantic. Trying to ignore the burning sensation his large fingers had left on her arm, she focused on what he was saying. Which was gibberish.
Hot guy quirked a thick, dark brow. “Do you make a habit of throwing yourself at men, or was that your way of getting back at me for not falling for your little dance routine earlier?”
Anger thickened her blood to the point of clotting it, and her heartbeat markedly dropped.
“Did you just imply I stumbled on purpose?”
Trish opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Glancing about, she saw that Bo had gone to the back room, and the snuggling couple were about to start making babies, oblivious to the fact that their drinks were now pooling on the floor. She inched closer to the bar and leaned against it, giving him her sweetest smile.
The hard expression on his face remained, but his gaze fell on her mouth, his eyes widening just a fraction.
She had a killer smile, and she knew it.
Taking advantage of his momentary distraction, she threw out her hand, snatched his tumbler and brought that drink down on him as well.
His gaze dropped to his lap.
“Now that was payback.” She pivoted and tossed her long hair with such gusto, it had to have whipped his face.
Like what you read?
Amazon Purchase Links (all markets)
Spicy version: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30052119-fate-captured-spicy-romance
Clean version: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30056131-fate-captured-clean-romance
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/MM-Jaye/e/B00OX44NSO
Thanks for coming, MM!