Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Funny Moments

A lot of my funny moments come from the time when I was involved in the amateur theatre. Things that went wrong backstage ( or even onstage!) may have caused panic at the time, but they’re the things that everyone laughs about when they look back.

Take Calamity Jane, for example, which I directed with a group of teenagers. Well, there was the night when Calamity’s gun (a starter pistol I’d borrowed from school) refused to go off at the right time to quieten the crowd in the bar scene. She tried it a few times then gave up and yelled ‘Bang!!!’ The crowd went quiet, although they had to work hard to suppress their giggles.

Then there was the night when the lights went out at the end of the song “I can do without you”. Fine, we wanted a blackout, but the lighting man hadn’t realised there was another verse and he’d pulled the switch too soon. Unperturbed, Calamity and Wild Bill carried on singing until the lights came on again.

The missing flag also caused great panic. A procession of characters was coming down the aisle, singing “Take me back to the Black Hills” and the curtains had to be opened just as they reached the steps leading up to the stage. The stage was ready, everyone in their places, then – consternation, the Stars and Stripes flag was missing. One demented director (me!) rushed from side to side, whispering frantically ‘Where’s the flag? Where’s the flag?’ On stage, the actors were harmonising beautifully to the song and at the same time they were turning everything upside down looking for the flag. Two seconds to go and it was found and fastened in place. As the curtains opened, everything was perfect – and no-one could see the director recovering from a nervous breakdown backstage.

In another scene, Calamity brings some flowers back to the cottage. “I’ll put them in this vase,” says Katie and turns to the table. Oops, no vase there! Then there was the bottle of whisky (ginger-ale actually) which rolled off the bar but fortunately didn’t break, the ‘two-legged horse’ (we never could get the hang of making the sound of hoof beats with coconut shells), the ‘Home Sweet Home’ sign which kept falling off the wall, and the time Wild Bill stood on the hem of Calamity’s ballgown, yanking the poor girl backwards.

It’s the funny moments like these that you always remember. After all, ‘There’s no Business like Show Business’ – is there?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Funny moments

Well, this is an easy topic for me. We always have funny moments in our house. I may be the only woman to kick her husband out of bed until the giggles stop or I fall asleep.

Okay, examples of funny moments:

When I shave my husband's head every two - three months, I use a 1/4 comb on the razor.

Well, one evening we were having trouble with it just before I was about to make him handsome again. I took the comb off and banged the thing. He grabbed it and cleaned what he could.

"Try it now," he said.

I turned it on and placed it on his head. "Yup, it-" I bit my lip and replaced the comb. "Shoot."

"You didn't have the attachment on?"

Quiet, I was afraid to speak because I wanted to bust out laughing but I didn't want him to get mad. He had a business meeting that week.

Needless to say, he busted out laughing first.


Here's another one:

We bought an RV and my best friend and her husband came over to check it out. It was summer and she was wearing a shirt with spagetti straps.

Sitting butterfly on my friend's lap, my three year old son pulled her shirt back and peeks over the rim at her breasts.

"Buddy, don't do that," I said.

He turned around to face me. "I just want to look for a minute."

Thankfully, she's my best friend so we all laughed it off.

I could go on for hours. But how about you? What funny moments can you share?

Monday, June 28, 2010


I don't have a funniest experience to relate. I love jokes (once I get them), but can never remember them. My children did and said very funny things; I savored each moment, then waited for the next one to come.
I love puns and wit and words and wordplay.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Link to the review of 'A Saxon Tapestry'

The link given at the end of Margaret's interview on Friday just led generally to the review site - so, to save you searching, here is the full link to the review

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Friends with Margaret Blake

Our Friday Friend today is Margaret Blake from North West England.

Welcome back to Heroines with Hearts, Margaret – and welcome home from your recent visit to your family in Florida!
HWH: Your latest novel, A Saxon Tapestry, has just been published. Please tell us more about it!
MARGARET: A Saxon Tapestry is set just as William the Conqueror is "stealing" England. It concentrates on an off-shoot of the Godwine clan (King Harold was a Godwine) and Alfled Godwine's will to survive. In order to fool the Normans she pretends she is her dead twin - Alfred - but this leads her into many dangerous situations, especially when the Norman Seigneur, Rolf Le Blond, comes to take over her house and land.

HWH: Where did your idea for this novel come from?
MARGARET: I have always been fascinated by the Anglo Saxons and while reading about the loss of the great King Harold, I was inspired to tell the story of Anglo- Saxon life and culture, which was not at all as barbaric as the Normans would have had us believe! Seeing the Bayeux tapestry also inspired the title of the novel, as it really tells the story of the Anglo Saxons!

HWH: What attracts you to this period of history?
MARGARET: My admiration for King Harold and his prowess!

HWH: How much research did you have to do?
MARGARET: I did loads, really went to town on this, reading the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and lots of other sources. I also read the stories that the Anglo-Saxons told one another, these are sadly neglected! Also seeing the jewellery of the period and how the craftsmen were so gifted. Of course not everything was perfect, there was slavery and this is something of which I could not approve, but often - and I hate saying this - the slaves were better off than being lowly peasants eking out a meager living. In fact some people would sell themselves into slavery to gain a better standard of living. How about that? Shocking really.

HWH: Your last two novels have been historical romances. Why do you like writing this kind of book?
MARGARET: I enjoy writing about a period without modern communications, you can really spin out the suspense because of this. There is also great distance too, so that someone can be up to something bad and it would take the protagonist a long time to find out what is happening. Also I find it so romantic, I know the reality would have been far from that, but my imagination conjures up real romance!

HWH: What other genres have you written – and what kind of story would you not consider writing?
MARGARET: I could not write science fiction, or paranormal novels, just not into that genre even though they are very popular. I write contemporary romance and also romantic suspense. I love all three genres and I do not really have a favourite.

HWH: You’ve been writing novels since the 1980’s. What are the differences between writing for British publishers in the 80’s and writing for American publishers now?
MARGARET Communication and proofs by computer is the main difference, and also the availability of e-books. Dealing with publishers is not that different. Both Robert Hale and Whiskey Creek Press let you know quickly whether they want to publish your book. I know some other publishers take ages to decide, but my experience in this respect has always been very good. I have written for Hale recently and things have not changed at all. The advantage with the hardback novel is that they can go into the library and of course you do get PLR, (Public Lending Rights) which is a nice little earner!

HWH: Last week on HWH we were discussing where our story ideas come from. Where do yours come from?
MARGARET: I wish I knew, all these people pop into and out of my head, and then I just have to start writing. It has always been like that for me, the ideas just come but I cannot seriously get down to work until I have the name of my hero and heroine.

HWH: I know that, for personal reasons, you recently stopped writing for a while. How did you get back into it again?
MARGARET: I think it was coming to stay with my son and his family, it really helped me reassess my life. I kept trying to write and couldn't, and then before I left for the States, I managed to write three hundred words. I really thanked God for it coming back. Writing is such an important part of my life, not writing is really like losing a part of my self.

HWH: What are you working on now?
MARGARET: I am currently writing a romance and have a romantic suspense half done, these are the novels I had not been able to work on because of the difficulties in my life, so it's all points go.

HWH: We wish you every success with ‘A Saxon Tapestry’ and hope that your muse has well and truly returned now!
MARGARET: Thanks, Pauline, and thank you for inviting me to contribute to Heroines with Hearts.
A great review of ‘A Saxon Tapestry’ can be seen at

‘A Saxon Tapestry’ is available from,, Not yet available in print, just e-book and kindle but will be available in print very shortly.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fave Romantic Movies

Wow...this is a tough one. I mean, there are simply SO many movies out there.

I guess I'll go with what I like to call cozy and romantic movies. These are the fall backs when I need a little 'me' time: in other words, girlie movies! (Although I can talk my wonderful hubby into watching every once in a while...he's so fabulous!)

In no particular order here are some of my faves...

Pretty Woman: What's not to like about this classic Cinderella tale?

Dirty Dancing: Ah, I really miss Patrick...this is him at his sexiest, dancing best.

Laws of Attraction: What can I say? Pierce Brosnan just does it for me.

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days: It's the perfect love story for romance writers to learn has it all...goal, motivation, and conflict. And two people who ultimately fall in love but are in the relationship for all the wrong reasons. (Not to mention while watching I get to drool over the very yummy Matthew McConaughey.)

The American President: There is no other word to describe this movie besides cozy.

My list could go on, but these are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.

Until next time,

Happy Reading (or watching)!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Favourite Romantic Movie

I have lots – Gone with the Wind (even though Scarlett was a spoilt and selfish brat!), Dr Zhivago (oh, the sweet agony of Yuri and Lara’s doomed passion), Somewhere in Time (with Christopher Reeve travelling back in time to meet actress Jane Seymour), even South Pacific and The Sound of Music.

But I think I’ll have to go for ‘The American President’ for several reasons – the romance, the comedy, the politics all combine well together..

Michael Douglas plays a credible President Andrew Shepherd, a widower who falls for environmentalist lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening). Their relationship gives the President’s political opponent the opportunity to launch an attack on his character. Politics also comes into it when the President does a deal which means he breaks a promise to Sydney in order to salvage his political career. When he realises what a huge mistake he has made in not being honest to himself, he makes a speech to the press that is guaranteed to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The movie is a feel-good romantic comedy with a lot of fun moments as well as the serious political stuff, and when Sydney arrives breathlessly in the Oval Office after Shepherd’s speech, it’s the ‘awww!’ moment that everyone loves in a romantic movie.

Maybe I also need to add that a certain Mr Sheen also appears in this movie, as Chief of Staff - which seems VERY strange once you’ve watched ‘The West Wing’ and seen him playing the President for seven seasons!

When I discovered that Aaron Sorkin, who wrote ‘The American President’, also wrote the first four seasons of ‘The West Wing’ (and the same Oval Office set was used in the first season too), I decided to buy the first season of TWW. The rest, as they say, is history! As a result, I finally returned to writing fiction after many years, West Wing fan-fiction to begin with and then novels again. So I will always be indebted to ‘The American President’!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Favorite Romantic Movie

ONE FINE DAY...staring George Clooney and Michelle Pheiffer.

The entire story happens in one day. Women who have been hurt by men can relate to Michelle's character. She's a single mother trying to provide for her son. You feel bad for her when George's character steps in and messes up her day. He's such an irresponsible guy that makes you want to slap him upside the head and say "Grow up."

But as you will see, he learns what parenting is all about, love, and you can't help but fall in love with him.

What's your favorite movie?

(See link for more information:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Favorite romantic movie--and why

My favorite romantic movie is: well, I have two:

The Philadelphia Story with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. I love Cary Grant as a romantic lead. Hepburn is a classy lady who trumped with wit, rather than curves. Jimmy Stewart is cute in the supporting dumb role. The sprawling manor in black and white is fascinating. Everyone wore long gowns and tuxedoes, and smoked cigarettes incessantly. (Great product placement.) The father was a philanderer; the mother strong and long-suffering. Iconic characters. It is a joy to watch Hepburn’s character rediscover her love for Grant. Who wouldn’t love him?

The Thomas Crowne Affair with Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo. The setting is modern in this remake: he is the bad boy (with sufficient backstory) and she is out to bring him down. Yet he outplays her (again with ample justification). The sex scenes in the uncut version are sizzling. The verbal sparring is never tiring. I watch it every chance I get.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

big news from Tami Hughes

Exciting news aboutTami Hughes, one of our featured authors.
She won first place in the Sheila, and Alicia Condon at Kensington asked for a full.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Friends With Morgan Mandel

I am so excited to bring you this interview with Morgan today. Not only is this the first time I've been the interviewer instead of the interviewee, but Morgan is one of my dearest friends. Without her, I might not be a published author today.

So, without further ado, I'd like to welcome Morgan Mandel to Heroines with Hearts!

1) First, tell us a little about yourself.
At first I freelanced for the Daily Herald newspaper, which I really enjoyed. Still, I had the urge to do more. Realizing I didn’t have enough time to work on a book plus do newspaper features, I gave up freelancing in favor of book writing. I credit my longstanding membership at Chicago-North RWA with helping me achieve my publication goal. I’m also thankful to Chicago-North for the many friendships I formed there, including the one with my good friend, Debra St. John.
I’m also the Library Liaison for Midwest Mystery Writers of America, belong to Sisters in Crime and EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection).

2) What are you working on now?
That’s a loaded question. I’ve got three books going at once and am determined to get at least one of them finished. The one I’m currently concentrating on is my Nanowrimo book from 1 ½ years ago, which I never managed to get done, since at the time I was in the midst of marketing Girl of My Dreams and getting Killer Career started. I’m also working on Forever Young, which is targeted for the Baby Boomer generation, plus a children’s book based on my dog, Rascal.

3) Where do you get your ideas?
Experiences that happen to me in real life worm their way into my subconscious and somehow end up in my manuscripts. Sometimes it’s obvious, but other times, I’m not even aware it’s happened until afterwards when I analyze what I’ve written.

My Nano Book, which so far is called No Way Back, features a young woman who out of desperation becomes a country singer. I’m very much a country music fan, so it was a natural for me to include that in one of my books.

Forever Young has a universal theme of never growing old, and Our Little Rascal is self-explanatory. She’s my dog child.

4) What's the best writing advice you've ever received/read?
Get the book finished. Everyone says that, but it’s still the best and hardest advice to follow. Once the book is done, then it’s time to do the edits and make it shine.

5) What have you learned from being published that you wish you knew before you were published?
There are not enough hours in the day to live a normal life and also pursue a writing career. That said, I keep trying anyway. I enjoy social networking immensely, yet sometimes I have to ignore the Internet and concentrate on getting my WIPs done. No matter which I choose, I feel guilty about ignoring the other.

6) Any advice for new writers?
Be persistent. Keep at it. Use critiques as a springboard to improve your writing, instead of taking them personally. We all have to learn sometime. Not many writers start out knowing what to do right away.

7) You write both romance and mystery/suspense. What's the biggest difference in how you approach each?
If you didn’t see my name on the cover of Girl of My Dreams, I’m not sure if you’d know it was the same person who wrote Two Wrongs and Killer Career. My mysteries definitely have a darker current running through them. It’s fun to write according to my light or dark mood. I’m considering using a new pen name for future romances to make the delineation more obvious.

8) Let us know where we can find you and your books on the web.
Signed print copies plus e-books of my current romantic suspense, Killer Career, about a lawyer whose career change could be a killer, are available at .

Killer Career, Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams are also available at, in print and very competitive kindle prices.

You can find me at lots of spots on the web. There are too many to name them all, so I’ll leave you with a sampling. Everyone’s welcome to come over and visit, plus exchange links and writing experiences.

My website is, You can find me at Facebook at or .
I’m on Twitter at

My personal blog is: I’m also on these group blogs:,,

Thanks so much for the interview, Debra. I enjoyed sharing my writing experiences with you and your readers.

Morgan, thanks so much for joining us today! It's been such a thrill watching your career blossom, and I'm looking forward to seeing your current projects in print soon!

Readers, please leave a comment for Morgan to let her know you stopped by...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Everywhere and Nowhere

I have to say that for me, story ideas come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Just about anything can spark an idea: the lyrics of a song, a passing comment made by someone, a location. The other day I was working on a scene for my WIP and I clicked on the thesuarus tool to help with one particular word. The words that came up set a completely different tone for the scene I hadn't thought of before. Or sometimes an idea will just pop into my head and I can't really explain where it came from.

For my latest release, "Wild Wedding Weekend", that's the case. People ask me all the time where I got the idea for the story, and the best I can come up with is "It just came to me." I did use a real-life trip my husband and I took on our honeymoon for part of the setting, and that helped moved the story along, but the overall idea for the story popped out of the blue.

In my first book, "This Time for Always", I used the bar where my husband and I met for the setting. I wanted to use a somewhat country theme, and the story evolved from there. When it came time to write the sequel, "This Can't Be Love", I used another real-life setting. I knew Zach needed his own story, and as I played around with the setting, the story eventually came to me.

Okay, I guess I do see a common theme here! For me it seems, the setting comes first, and I build the story to suit it. Not always an easy task, but eventually the story gets written!

And on that note, I need to get some writing done...

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Story Ideas

I’ve been thinking about this topic and have come to the conclusion that I really haven’t a clue where my ideas come from. Somewhere inside my head, I think, as I don’t recall any specific ‘triggers’ for any of the stories I’ve written.

I start with a very basic scenario – a kind of short ‘blurb’ that you might send in a query letter. Two people with a problem (or problems) they have to resolve. For a story to work (at least, to my own satisfaction), I have to empathise with their problems and I have to feel very involved with my characters.

The twists and turns in the plot don’t come from any external triggers either, they come from the characters themselves. And even if I’m not in love with my hero to start with, I have to fall in love with him while my heroine is falling for him!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Story Ideas

I once wrote an entire story in two months. I loved how the story played like a movie in my head and I couldn't stop. I would get out of bed and go to the computer to write because I didn't want to forget. And of course, once there, you just keep going and lose track of time.

Not sure where I get my ideas. I started a story just from a postcard I received in the mail. I noticed the missing children on the back and a story came to mind.

I used to get a lot of ideas while reading. I haven't done much reading because I've been busy writing, but I'm sure once I get into that mode again, new ideas will pop up.

But I've discovered my muse hangs out around water. When I'm doing dishes (which is why I refuse to get a dishwasher) or while I'm in the shower, my brain tends to go into a fantasy world. Can't say that it works at the beach because I'm too busy watching my son and/or curled up in a blanket, depending on how windy it is.

How about you? Where do your ideas come from?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Story ideas

I have many wisps of story ideas. They float through that not-here, not-there time-space just before I come fully awake in the morning. They jump up and down when I watch the news. They parade right in front of me as I listen to the people around me talk about their everyday troubles and joys.
My challenge is to take the right number of ideas (plot lines), prioritize them (main, secondary), and weave them together into a workable fluid outline.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Friends with Monica Burns

Thank you, Monica for joining us on Friday Friends!

HWH: KISMET is your current release. I LOVE the cover! Tell us about the book and other books that you have written or being released.

MB: Thanks for having me. I’m delighted to be here. I love the cover of Kismet too. It was my January release, and Assassin's Honor just hit the shelves last week. Although I can't take credit for Kismet’s cover, I think it’s beautifully rich and stunning. The cover reflects the book's old school type of feel of the story. Kismet is the story of Allegra, a courtesan, and an English nobleman, Shaheen, who's disappeared into the desert and turned himself into a Sheikh. A courtesan in Shaheen's past helped destroy his life and naturally he's not too happy to come up against another courtesan, particularly one who stirs up his desire.

Assassin’s Honor, which was released June 1 is an action-adventure HAWT paranormal romance. It has dangerous alpha heroes who carry swords, villains who are truly nasty (they’re very cathartic to write! LOL), heroines who can hold their own with the heroes and in some cases drop kick their butts, a mysterious artifact and the Sicari culture is an ancient one, steeped in ritual, mystery and traditions of ancient Rome. For me, it’s like mixing up a historical with my love of paranormals. It doesn’t get any better than that for me.

What comes first, the plot or the characters?

It depends on what I'm doing at the time. I love sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal movies and TV shows. I'll be watching one of my favorites when I'll see or hear something that makes me think. WOW! What if....and I'm off and running with the plot. Characters generally occur to me when I'm working on a story. For instance, the book I just recently turned in had a character come out of nowhere. The hero's sister was beginning to be developed, when suddenly her love interest appears on the page, and I've got the characters for the next historical I'd like to write. Characters just show up to me, I don’t think them up, they just show up. They’ve got a mind of their own. *smile*

HWH: How do you know when to stop 'tweaking' your manuscript?

MB: When I have to turn it in. I'm a slow writer, which means I've only got a few months to write a book before the deadline shows up to slap me in the face. I work hard to get the book done early so I can go back and improve it. That NEVER happens. I get one brief look through before I have to turn it in. Then I get the actual edits from the editor and I have to make changes. After that I get one final look for copy edits only, which means no changes except for typos. Essentially the process itself tells me when to stop tweaking the book.

How do you edit? Do you use a critique partner or group? What have you learned to look for when editing your work?

MB: I haven't used a critique partner for several years now, but I do have a couple of beta readers. These terrific women read my manuscript as it develops and they tell me what they think reads off or what they're not buying. What's so great about it is that one of these readers is highly critical, but she's a reader only. So her input and observations are very different from what a writer's perspective is. It's a completely different dynamic, and I love working hard to try and meet the bar that she raises for me. For brainstorming, I've got a terrific friend who I can bounce ideas off of. I love her to death and she's saved my butt a number of times.

When it comes to editing, I do it as I go. I tend to review the last three to four pages I wrote so that I can get back in the mood and allow the writing to start flowing. When I've reached a point in the book where I'm stuck or I'm losing my grip on sanity, I'll print out what I've got up to that point and read the book from beginning to where I left off. This gives me renewed perspective as to how to proceed. It's a good way to help me move forward and solve plot or characterization problems.

A couple of things I've learned to look for are craft issues, things like dangling participles, using certain words too much, things of that nature. I've recently been working even harder to develop characters that talk to each other more. Readers seem to want more interaction in this area, and I aim to please my readers.

HWH: What do you think makes a good romance novel?

I think a good romance novel, or any book for that matter, is one that completely takes you out of your current environment and drops you into a world the author has built. I want to be swept away if I've had a bad day at work, the bills are piling up or just needed to be cheered up for whatever reason. I want to feel that sense of hope that love can conquer all. A good romance gives me a healthy dose of fantasy with the themes of love, empowerment, and hope as the foundations. For me, I want my heroes dark, dangerous, and totally alpha because they fall harder that way. I want my heroines to be strong and self-sufficient, yet vulnerable. Last but not least there has to be a HEA, no ifs, ands, or buts. For me, it's just not a romance without those ingredients, and they're items I work hard to put in all my books.

Thanks so much for being with us, Monica. Come back any time.

Okay, visitors, Monica will be around today to answer your questions. Be sure to visit her website at view updates and other books.

Remember, while you're here, become a FOLLOWER of Heroines with Hearts.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Time for Everything

My favorite quote comes from the Bible in Ecclesiastes. I just love that is assures us that there is indeed a time for everything...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

favorite poem

Lyrics are poems I am able to memorize. Rod Stewart’s Reason To Believe served me well during one point in my life. It’s when I discovered I loved romance stories.

If I listen long enough to you,
I'd find a way to believe that it's all true.
Knowing, that you lied, straight-faced,
While I cried.
Still I’d look to find a reason to believe.

Someone like you makes it hard
To live without somebody else.
Someone like you makes it easy to give
Never thinking of myself.

If I gave you time to change my mind,
I'd find a way just to leave the past behind.
Knowing, that you lied, straight-faced,
While I cried.
Still I’d look to find a reason to believe.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Favorite quote or poem

I have to be honest... I don't have/know any.

Music has always been my forte. Words in lyrics were my literature growing up. I could buy a new country music CD and tell you the next several hits that would be released. I had a battle with one guy who was convinced that a song on a Lorrie Morgan CD would never get air time. Three weeks later, we heard it on the radio. Needless to say, he was speechless.

I'm glad kids today have to read a certain amount of books each quarter. I don't remember having to do that. If only I'd been introduced to Harlequin Blaze novels back then, I probably would have LOVED to read!!!

If someone read me a poem, my eyes crossed. I didn't get it. Boring! I guess its like opera, some get it, some don't. Odd twist of fate, my husband writes poems and I LOVE them. Maybe because they are about/to me! :)

Since becoming a writer and having gone 8 years of collecting rejection letters before I FINALLY sold, I came up with this quote: "Dream big or else you'll never know your full potential."

My husband, on the other hand, likes: "Dream small and you'll never be disappointed."

Which one do you like?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Favorite quote or poem

Paula will be in Ireland this coming week and is not sure if her hotel will have wi-fi or wired internet connection, so she forwarded her Thursday post:

The main reason for my visit to Dublin is to see Stockard Channing play the aristocratic snob Lady Bracknell in ‘The Importance of being Earnest’ which has been my favourite play since I was in my teens.

Therefore it seems appropriate to quote from the play, although there are so many wonderful lines that it’s hard to know what to choose. But, apart from Lady Bracknell’s line ‘A handbag?’ immortalised by Edith Evans, the other line I am sure Stockard will deliver perfectly is in reply to Jack telling her he has lost both his parents: “To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

Then, after Jack has confessed he was ‘found’ as a baby in a large handbag at Victoria Station (the Brighton line), Lady Bracknell concludes their interview by saying:

“The line is immaterial. Mr. Worthing, I confess I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. And I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? As for the particular locality in which the hand-bag was found, a cloak-room at a railway station might serve to conceal a social indiscretion - has probably, indeed, been used for that purpose before now - but it could hardly be regarded as an assured basis for a recognised position in good society.”

Oscar Wilde created a wonderful caricature of late Victorian upper-class snobbery!

And I’ll conclude with the quotation which has given me the title of my WIP, Fragrance of Violets:
“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Friends with Vicki Lewis Thompson

First, Vicki, thanks for being with us on Friday Friends. You have NO IDEA how excited I was to see that your newest novels are from Harlequin’s Blaze line. For those of you who don’t know Vicki’s work, she knows how to write a love scene that will burn the tips of your fingers, but still make you want to hold on to that book.

There is a lot to talk about so let's get started.

HWH: Tell us a little about the three new books you have coming out this year: WANTED, June; AMBUSHED, July; CLAIMED, August.

VLT: Thanks for giving me a chance to talk about one of my favorite subjects, cowboys! Although I've been writing other kinds of books recently, I've missed my cowboys, so I was thrilled when Harlequin asked me to write a nine-book cowboy series. Welcome to the Last Chance Ranch, where the cowboys are hot and the women are happy! The series, set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is called Sons of Chance, and will have three books coming out each summer through 2012. The first round features the three yummy Chance brothers. Nick's story -- WANTED! -- is available now, and it will be followed by Gabe's story -- AMBUSHED! -- and Jack's story -- CLAIMED! I fell in love with these three guys, who are all struggling with the unexpected death of their father the previous fall and the inevitable changes that brought. But each of them is dedicated to preserving the ranch, established by their grandfather and grandmother during the Great Depression. It's a place created to give both people and animals a last chance at love and happiness, and every time I start a new book, I can hardly wait to go back there!

HWH: Your career went from writing contemporary novels to paranormal novels in the past four years. How is that working out for you? Which one do you enjoy most?

VLT: My move into paranormal romance is all J.K. Rowling's fault. I fell in love with the Harry Potter series and realized that magic is the ultimate imaginative tool for a writer. I can do anything, as long as I'm consistent. What a rush! That said, I can't say that I like writing one kind of book over the other. Moving from one to the other helps keep everything fresh, and I love the variety.

HWH: Congratulations on winning the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. What has this award meant to you and has it changed your career at all?

VLT: Thank you! That award means so much to me. During the 2008 RWA Conference in San Francisco, I felt like Cinderella at the ball. I can't say that winning the award had any affect on my career, but it certainly added to my invitations to speak at conferences, and it motivated me to run for the Region 5 position on the RWA Board of Directors. I'm serving the first year of a two-year term, and what a fantastic group it is! I'm much richer for the experience.

HWH: How do you prepare yourself to write three books that are scheduled to be released one after the other? Do you plot or are you a panster?

VLT: I'm definitely a pantser, but writing connected books means some advance plotting, for sure. I have two secret weapons. One is my daughter/assistant Audrey, who reads the books and creates a story bible for the series. She's way more of a left-brained person than I am, so her notes on the books keep me straight. Also, I have two wonderful plotting partners, Jennifer LaBrecque and Rhonda Nelson. We all live in different states, but we meet face-to-face for a plotting weekend twice a year. They help keep me straight, too. In other words, I couldn't do this series without a little help from my friends.

HWH: As a writer, I’m always interested in any tips for revisions. Do you have any?

VLT: The best revision tip of all is one I seldom ever have time for. If a writer can put a book away for at least two weeks and then go back to it, problems will be much more obvious. Or so I've heard. I'm usually on a tight deadline and have to revise immediately after finishing the book. I can usually "hear" the book as I read, but if I couldn't hear it in my head, I'd read it aloud or even record myself reading it. That would help with awkward phrasing. And you would probably also become aware of overused words and phrases. Many years ago I listened to John Grisham's THE FIRM and noticed that he overused the phrase "he breathed deeply." In print I might not have noticed but in audio it stood out. I'm sure I have similar phrases I overuse, and hearing them read aloud would make them stand out like a flashing red light.

Thanks so much for being with us, Vicki. Please come back when your next book comes out.

Okay, visitors, Vicki will be here all day. Leave comments/questions and she will answer as soon as she can. For more Vicki information, visit her website at

Remember, while you're here, see the link to the right and become a follower of HEROINES WITH HEARTS. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Prologues that Work?

It's been interesting hearing what people have had to say about prologues this week. I've never used one, and generally series contemporary romance in general doesn't seem to make use of them often, if at all.

I was curious, though, as to who out there uses prologues and how they make them work. In the friendly confines of my bookshelves, I found some examples from some well-known (and definitely best-selling) authors.

Dan Brown uses a brief (one to two page) prologue to set up his stories. His prologues are told from the point of view of the villian or another character associating with the villian. They are not told from the point of view of his main character. I thought that was interesting.

Clive Cussler uses a long prologue (the length of a regular chapter) to set up his stories. His prologues give details about a historical event. Later, this event will play a part in the actual story as Dirk Pitt searches for an artifact related to it. The adventure revolves around the recovery of this artifact.

Stephenie Meyer uses a "preface" in her books. This is a short (usually a page or less) piece that whets your appetite for the story. Later, the story will "catch up" to this part, but the actual lead in will not be repeated word for word. It gives a bit of an emotional "what to expect".

In all of these cases, I thought prologues were used effectively. Now, that's not to say I'm going to run out and use one in my story! Maybe more of a "if the shoe fits" kind of situation.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I'm rather at a loss what to write, as I've already said in my comments to Ana's and Toni's blogs that I don't really know what is acceptable as a prologue and what isn't.
However, I did 'google' the subject, and came up with this article which I thought was quite interesting, even if it didn't completely clarify my confusion about prologues:
A couple of sentences in this caught my eye: "Perhaps they [key facts or other information] occur in another time or place, and have too much weight to mention by-the-by. Or they might choke the narrative to death with background details."
I have this problem in my first novel (yes, you know the one, M & B have had it for 10 months!). At it stands at the moment, I've included 'chunks' of backstory because it's necessaary for the reader to understand what happened 5 years earlier. But I've always had the feeling that it 'chokes the narrative' - so now I'm wondering if I should put the backstory as a prologue, or simply call it Chapter One.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I have to say, if I pick up a book and open to a prologue it is an immediate turn off for me.

I did write one, a short one. It showed my pregnant heroine at 16 in her father's office. He gave her an ultimatum once the baby was born. She decided then to give the child up for adoption.

Then chapter one starts with her moving to a different state, away from her father and forgetting about the child she gave up and the man she loved whom her father kept her from.

But after writing the entire story, I decided to cut the prologue and filter the information in through dialogue with the hero. He learns, as well as the reader, that her choice was to give the child up for adoption, or have the hero go to jail for raping her because she was 16. Hmmm... what's a girl to do. She was in love with this guy. So she gave her father what he wanted.

It reads so much better and I'm glad I made the change.

Do you write prologues? Tell us about it.