Friday, January 29, 2016

D is for Destiny Paradise

Margaret talks about her first book

I was inspired to write this blog when a friend on Facebook posted that she had just bought a copy of my book, Destiny Paradise. It was a Harlequin edition with a different front cover to my English copy, and I was both pleased and flattered that she had added it to her collection.
Destiny Paradise was my very first book, and it took many re-writes to make it publishable. Because I didn’t know much about writing when I started it I joined a writer’s group, and was fortunate that the lady who ran it wrote for Mills & Boon. She took me under her wing and if she was still alive today I know she would be proud to see that I have now written over 80 books. It would never have happened if it was not for her.  And - it was all done on an old-fashioned typewriter! The thought of it now sends shivers down my spine.  Below are the opening paragraphs:

“Would you mind turning that contraption down?”

Lorna glanced up, mildly curious as to whom the aggressive tones were being addressed. Piercing blue eyes met her own; dark glasses tilted towards wiry brown hair which stuck up at a rakish angle as though the owner had run his fingers despairingly through it.

“I said, would you mind turning it down.”

Clearly he was speaking to her, although Lorna could not think why her transistor should cause such annoyance. She had adjusted the volume so that the music was audible without it being unbearably loud. Though judging by the way the man in the next chair was glaring at her, even this was too much for him. She raised her delicately arched brows and said coolly: “If I lower it much more I might as well turn it off.”

“That’s right.” His voice was hard, not unlike the steely eyes. “Then perhaps I can concentrate.”

Lorna noticed for the first time the sheaf of papers in his hand, the open briefcase at his side, wondering why anyone should choose to study what looked like the lines from a play on the open deck of a liner. Perhaps if he had approached her differently she might have agreed, but as it was his attitude angered her. “I’m sorry,” she returned politely, “but I’m enjoying this music. I don’t recall any rules about not playing transistors. Why not go to your cabin? You won’t be disturbed there.”

“I happen to prefer fresh air,” he snapped. “And I was getting on fine until you chose to sit next to me with that – that noise box.”

“That noise box happens to be playing my favourite piece of music,” retorted Lorna angrily, hearing the sounds of Handel’s Water Music, “and I’d like to listen to it – if you wouldn’t mind.” She knew she was being childish, but his manner irritated her.

His wide lips compressed into a thin, tight line at Lorna’s words. With a sigh he slid his sunglasses back into position and lowered his head over the papers.

What an unreasonable man, thought Lorna angrily. What an unfair request! Pop music might have disturbed him, yes – but surely not this. It was soothing and surely would help whim study? Anyway, if he chose to work in public he must expect to be disturbed. Why should other people have to suffer because of him?

A few minutes earlier she had contemplated going for a swim, but now some perverse streak made her remain on her canvas chair. She would not like to give her neighbour the satisfaction of thinking he had driven her away.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

D is for Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries

One of Debra's favorite genres is the cozy mystery.

These days I tend to read less romance and more of other genres. I still love romance, but when I'm writing (And I've been writing a lot which is a GOOD thing!), I just can't get into other authors' romance stories. Either their voice gets mixed up with my voice, or I think things like: This is the worst story I've ever read. How did she get published? I'm way better than this. (Which make me sound like an egomaniac.) OR the flip side: This is the best book I've ever read...I'll never be as good as this and make a bestseller list. (Which makes me sound pathetic and whiney.)

So I tend to avoid romance. One genre I love is the cozy mystery. I'm not into blood and guts and gore and graphic violence, but I do enjoy a good whodunit. And cozies usually have a touch of romance in them to satisfy that particular craving without going full-fledged.

So I have my calendar marked for March 1, when the new Devereaux's Dime Story Mystery is released. It's the fifth in the series and is called Between a Book and a Hard Place.

Five-and-dime store owner Devereaux “Dev” Sinclair moved to Shadow Bend for her family. But when her long-lost mother shows up in town, she realizes too much kin can be killer...

Shadow Bend’s library closed years ago because of budgetary problems, so when a wealthy benefactor offers to reopen it, everyone, including Dev, is thrilled. But Dev’s excitement wanes when she realizes the mysterious donor is actually her runaway mother Yvette’s latest husband, Jett Benedict.

Dev suspects that Yvette and Jett’s intentions aren’t as noble as they appear, but before she can discover what they’re really up to, Jett turns up dead—and all clues point to Yvette as the prime suspect.

Even though Dev has no loyalty to Yvette, she’s in a bind. Setting the record straight could prove her mother is a killer. But doing nothing might get her mother booked for a crime she didn’t commit...

I first discovered this series when I sat next to Denise Swanson at a book signing several years ago. Gotta love arranging authors in alphabetical order! At the time, the series was brand new, so I grabbed a book mark and put it on my TBR list. Little did I know in my naivety, that she was a bestselling author of another mystery series: The Scumble River Mysteries. (Looking back, I only hope I didn't do something really embarrassing like congratulating her on her 'first' book.) I ordered the Dime Story Mystery and quickly hit my local library to catch up with Scumble River. That placement was fortuitous for me, because I was able to discover not one, but two mystery series that I've enjoyed reading over the years.

Now those release dates go on my calendar so I can grab them as soon at they hit the shelves. Which makes me a happy camper!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

D is for Daughter of Pendle

Paula reviews 'Daughter of Pendle' by Rowan Scot-Ryder

This story is set in the early 17th century in Lancashire in the north west of England. Anyone who has grown up in this area (like me) knows the story of the ‘Pendle Witches’, a group of women who were found guilty of witchcraft and hanged.

Pendle Hill is a long, low hill about 1,800 feet high which dominates the landscape of the eastern part of the county. In the 17th century, it was covered with more forests than today, and was surrounded by small villages, some with less than a dozen cottages. The area was said to be wild and lawless, and superstition was rife. Anyone who was ‘different’ was open to suspicion, including those who mixed potions of herbal remedies for the poor families who had no recourse to any other medical help.

In addition, King James I, convinced that he was being plotted against by witches, enacted a law imposing the death penalty on any practitioners of witchcraft or the ‘magical arts’. Of course, the local justices of the peace were only too anxious to obey the king’s demands and, hopefully, to earn promotion by doing so.

As Rowan says in her introduction to the story, history is written by the accusers, and not the accused i.e. in this case, the official record of the trial. Rowan, however, looks at the ‘other’ side of the story, mainly through the eyes of eleven-year-old Jennet Devize. When her family was accused of witchcraft, Jennet stood up in the crowded court room at Lancaster Assizes, and denounced them all. History has portrayed her as a vindictive child from an abusive family – but is there another explanation?

Jennet Devize is the last of the Demdike clan, and a true daughter of Pendle.
Known for centuries as the child of witches, she spoke against her whole family at the Lancaster Assizes in 1612, condemning them to death. What was the truth behind her betrayal? What happened after the trials?
Could she build a life and be loved, become a mother and a healer, or would the accusation of witchcraft follow her forever?

This story was a fascinating glimpse of Jennet’s family and the events leading up to the trial, as well as the aftermath for Jennet during the next 25 years, based both on fact and also on Rowan’s vivid, but very believable, imagination. I felt I got to know the characters well, and I was transported back to the days when belief in witchcraft was very strong. And, believe me, the last line of dialogue will bring goosebumps to every reader who has heard or read anything about 17th century accusations of witchcraft .

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

D Is For Bonnie Dune

Jennifer reviews Titanic:The Lost Child

I first heard about this book on Twitter. I often get my recommendations from there, but I rarely like the books I end up trying. This was an exception.

I loved this book!

Bonnie Dune wove a fascinating tale about passengers on the Titanic and a modern day potential descendant who has to solve the mystery of whether or not she’s related to the lost child, before those who want to keep the secret hidden kill her.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

One bright April day in 1912, six little girls sailed with their families on the "grandest ship ever" - the Titanic - and into the history books. But did one of them actually survive that tragic night?

When young widow Arlisle Shepherd receives an invitation to attend the 100 year anniversary memorial cruise for the descendants of passengers of the ill-fated Titanic, she is more than baffled. She is both suspicious and fearful. Suspicious because she believes she has no Titanic ancestor; fearful because of the threatening phone calls she's been receiving since the unsolved murder of her detective husband a year earlier.

As Arlie's search for her mysterious ancestor takes her deep into her grandmother's secretive past, to elderly chatty neighbors who suddenly refuse to talk, to lonely cemeteries and to increasing threats and suspicious deaths, it also pushes her toward the possibility of once more opening her heart. But - has one of those closest to her betrayed her?

And ultimately - is solving the mystery of her Titanic ancestor worth her life?

*Author's note: Both Zee's and Arlie's stories will continue in sequels to be released in the near future.

The story kept me mesmerized and although I suspected I knew which child she may have been related to, there were so many twists and turns that I was hooked until the end.

My only complaint was that the main character, Arlisle, was a little too accepting of her friends’ desires to keep her in the dark about key information. I would have liked her to be a little stronger and independent, but this desire didn’t keep me from enjoying reading more about her.

4 Hearts

Monday, January 25, 2016

D is for author Christina Dodd

Ana muses on multi-dubbed author Christina Dodd

I'm reading a historical romance by Christina Dodd right now. Almost finished it last night. It's a sensual regency with a hero out for revenge, a downtrodden virginal heroine who meets the hero under false pretenses, loses her heart (and wins his) and then elevates herself by fighting to keep him.
Very cliche plot, yet it's a very good read. 

In a 2010 article in RWA Journal, Ms. Dodd argues that the plot of every romance story is a cliche. That writers should think of them as myths--universal stories that people (esp. women) never tire of hearing. That we should not worry so much about finding new plots. We just need to tell mythical stories with a fresh voice. Our voices, unique and individual.

Readers will never tire of the same old story, as long as it is well-told. 

This is great news, as a persistent voice inside of me worries that when I finish my WiP, there will be no need for my story. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

C is for Colour

Margaret talks about colour in writing

 We tend to think of colour as colours of the rainbow, the clothes we wear, the countryside, sunsets, etc. But I’m talking about colour in language, in the words we use to convey our stories to the reader. In other words, descriptive words.

I could say something like: The conversation took place in the sitting room. Mary sat down on one of the chairs, John on the other. It’s simple, it tells us everything we want to know, but it does not set the scene. We have no idea what the room is like, it tells us nothing except that these characters need to talk. How much better if I said: John led the way into a small, cosy room with chintz covered armchairs and a plain rose carpet. Mary sat timidly on the edge of one chair while John settled comfortably on the other. At once we have a picture in our mind. We don’t quite know what John needs to talk to Mary about, except that she seems nervous. The setting conveyed the scene. Whatever John wanted to say he knew Mary would feel more comfortable in the sitting room than perhaps a more formal one.

Language can also be colourful. As an example, here is a scene from Rachel’s Retribution:
 “Liam took one look at her and a thunderous frown blackened his forehead. Thick, dark brows bristled in surprise. “You!”

All she wanted to do was turn and run, but of course she couldn’t. She had to stand and face him.

“You two know each other?” asked Steve, unaware of the tension pulsing between them.

“Oh, yes, I know her, growled Liam. “And if this woman is part of your business then consider our deal off.”

Steve’s jaw dropped and he asked the inevitable question. “Why? I do not understand. Rachel’s my partner, she’s invaluable – “

“She’s also a thief,” interrupted Liam harshly. “She won’t think twice about stealing from you.”


We’re all familiar with the phrase A picture paints a thousand words. But I think that writing paints words as well. They’re not just words on a page, they’ve been chosen carefully to add colour to the story. What do you think? Do you agree with me?





Thursday, January 21, 2016

C is for Calloway Corners

Debra remembers the first romance series she ever read.

Back in 1988 a friend loaned me one of her Harlequin Superromance books. (I have to confess...I never gave it back.) The book was called Mariah (by Sandra Canfield) and it was labeled as Calloway Corners: Book One. I immediately fell in love with the book, and it remains probably my favorite 'line' romance of all time. I still page through it from time to time, and it's extremely tattered and torn. For whatever reason, the storyline spoke to me. I've read it so many times (sometimes in its entirety, sometimes just passages here and there) that I have many of its lines memorized.

Not only did I love the principal storyline and the hero and heroine, but I loved that secondary characters were introduced who would eventually star in their own books. As the series proceeds, we get glimpses of prior characters as they are woven through the new stories. The series features four books, each by a different author. Each book is named for a Calloway sister: Mariah, Jo, Tess, and Eden. All of the sisters and their future love interests (Even if they don't know it at the time.) are introduced and have bit parts in the first book, so we get to know a little about them before we delve into their individual stories. And although I've read the other books in the series, Mariah remains by far my favorite and the only one I've read multiple times. There's just something about it: the phrasing, the voice, the storyline, and for me it has exactly the right amount of sensuality for my taste. (Although it's been a while since I've read the others. It might be time to revisit them...)

It was the interaction between the books that inspired me to write my own series. (I'd decided long before then that I wanted to write a romance 'someday'.) I loved how the books were stand alone, yet connected. I loved that after Mariah's story ended, I still got to hear more about her and how her HEA was going. I modeled my Corral series after this format. Each book can stand alone, yet the characters' lives are woven together, and we get those peeks into what happened after I wrote 'the end' at the conclusion of each story.

For that, Mariah and the rest of the sisters at Calloway Corners will always hold a special place in my heart.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


P.S. As I was scoping Amazon for a cover to post, I found four more books labeled "Return to Calloway Corners". It seems like each original author penned a new book (Well, back in the 90s) using the same setting but now named for a male lead. Interesting. Other than mentioning the original sisters in the 'teaser', there doesn't seem to be a connection, other than the setting, to the original stories. But I guess I'd need to read them to know for sure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

C is for Choosing a Narrator

Paula has had to make an important choice!

Since early December, my publisher has been sending me ‘auditions’ for possible narrators for an audio book of ‘Irish Inheritance’ (and eventually the other two books in my ‘Irish’ series too). It has been fascinating listening to the different voices, and also the different interpretations of one of the scenes in my story.

The scene my publisher chose for the audition required an American accent for the hero, and a British accent for the heroine. One ‘British’ accent reduced me to giggles as my heroine sounded more like the Queen than an ordinary British 26-year old, and another narrator gave the heroine a really high-pitched voice, almost squeaky!

In the end, out of all the auditions, we managed to select two possibles, but I said I would like to hear how they each did an Irish accent before making a final decision. I’ve heard both of the second auditions in the past 24 hours, this time a scene with the Irish lawyer as well as the hero and heroine. The first was very ‘vaguely’ Irish – just a slight hint of an accent, but not really enough to define the speaker as Irish. The second audition which I received this afternoon? Well, that was the loud ‘Yes!’ from me and an air punch! The Irish accent was a real delight – not too strong, but with an unmistakable Irish intonation and vowel sounds.

So now it is ‘all systems go’ as my publisher gives the contract for ‘Irish Inheritance’ to the one with the better Irish accent – and also the contract for ‘Changing the Future’ to the other narrator (as there are no Irish accents in that story!).

I’m not sure yet when the audio books will be available – but I’m already so excited about this new opportunity for my books to reach a wider audience!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

C Is For Connor

Jennifer reviews Claudia Connor's book...

I get my book recommendations from a variety of sources. One of the things I love about Amazon, though, which is where I purchase most of my books, is their wish list. Any book that sounds interesting to me can be saved to my wish list. My wish list can then be organized by a variety of different methods, including price. For new-to-me authors, I can wait until their books go on sale and then purchase them on my Kindle. My TBR list gets quite large, as I’ve mentioned before, but I get to try a variety of authors without spending a ton of money.

Claudia Connor is one such author I recently tried. Her contemporary romance, Worth the Fall, is the first book in her McKinney Brothers series. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Purchase from Amazon here
They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

These characters were three-dimensional and fun to spend time with. Both Matt and Abby were well developed and memorable. To see a tough Navy SEAL so tender and wonderful with children was heartwarming. And to see Abby be portrayed as such a strong character, when she could have easily been portrayed as a weak victim, was tremendously refreshing. When Matt’s family showed doubt about him getting a ready-made family, I could see understand their point of view. When Abby showed fear about having let Matt get involved with her kids too soon, I could completely relate. And the conflict that kept them apart was believable.

I can’t wait to read more in this series, which I’ve already added to my TBR list!

4.5 Hearts

Monday, January 18, 2016

C is for Cabin Fever

Ana muses on the benefits of winter.
Yesterday's high temperature was minus six degrees Fahrenheit. It was -24 at 8 p.m with a wind chill of -40. Alerts are being broadcast via radio, television, school, and Internet alerts: exposed skin will freeze (frost bite) within thirty minutes. Schools may start two hours late to protect underdressed children. (Think middle schoolers who'd don't want to miss a minute of pre-class social time and run  out of the house wearing indoor shoes). I talked to my employees on Friday about staying home rather than braving the cold.

This is life in Minnesota. It gets cold here in the winter. As long as the electricity stays on, I welcome it.

I can write without feeling guilty that I should be out weeding the garden.
There are no mosquitoes, deer flies or ants.
The freezer is full (thanks to the above).
Baking does not turn the house into an oven. It supplements the heaters. Ditto the clothes dryer, which adds welcome humidity. (I don't have to freeze dry washed clothes.)
The first cup of coffee in the morning warms my hands, cupping the mug, and my core.
No worries about sunburns that lead to "senior skin."
I never tire of soup.
Deer herd up in the woods and don't dart out of the brush to cross the road in front of our house as often.
Seed catalogs with glossy color pictures are fun-reads.
I have a reserve stash of boots and hats and gloves and scarves and coats. And a serious pair of OshKosh insulated coveralls.
We have someone who will plow our three driveways and the soup business parking lot.
Right now, we're gaining a minute of daylight each morning and and half a minute in the afternoon.
When spring comes in late April, early May, we truly appreciate it. Minnesota residents plant more flowers per capita than any other state.

Friday, January 15, 2016

B is for Bought for Marriage

This is a book Margaret wrote ten years ago but is still one of her favourites.

Dione’s father’s business is facing ruin and he begs her to ask Greek billionaire, Theo Tsardikos, for cash to help him out. Her meeting with Theo goes like this:

Theo smiled, his very even white teeth looking predatory in her heightened state. Like a wolf about to pounce, she thought. This was a man she had to watch closely. He looked relaxed, leaning back in his chair, his shirt collar undone, but his mind was as sharp as a razor.

“Your father’s using you, you do know that? Like he uses everyone he comes into contact with. The best thing you can do, Dione – do you mind if I call you Dione? – is to go right back and tell him the answer’s no.”

Dione drew in a pained breath. What a heartless brute the man was. “You haven’t even asked how much he wants,” she retorted, her back stiff, her eyes sparking resentment.

“It’s immaterial,” he said. “I wouldn’t lend your father one euro, let alone thousands, which I presume is the kind of amount he’d want. What’s happened?”

Dione shrugged. “All I know is that he’s nearly bankrupt.”

“Bad management,” drawled Theo uncaringly.

“So that’s your final answer?” she snapped, her heart dipping so low it almost touched her shoes.

Theo leaned back in his chair, a smile playing on well-shaped lips, and an unfathomable gleam in his eyes. “There could be another solution.”

Dione’s heart leapt with hope.

“I could save your father’s business – on one condition.”

“And that is?” asked Dione eagerly.

There was a long pause before he answered, a space of time when his eyes raked insolently over her body, sending a shiver of unease through her limbs. But she didn’t let him see it; she sat still, her hands folded primly in her lap, and waited to hear what he had to say.

“That you become my wife.”

The shock of his suggestion couldn’t have been greater. This man was a stranger to her, as she was to him, and yet he was talking about marriage! Was he out of his mind? Would he lend her father money just to get his hands on her? Dione shivered as rivers of ice raced down her spine and she jumped to her feet. “That is the most outrageous suggestion I’ve ever heard. What makes you think I’d marry a total stranger?”

A faint, insolent smile curved his mouth. “I thought you had your father’s best interests at heart. Otherwise why would you be here?”

“I do,” she admitted, “but that doesn’t include giving myself away to you.” The man had no idea what he was asking. He was probably a fantastic lover with years of experience, but it meant nothing to her. She didn’t know the first thing about him. And nor did she want to if these were his tactics.

“It’s your choice,” he said, as simply as if they were discussing a normal business proposition. “If your answer’s no then we have nothing else to discuss.”

“Of course my answer’s no,” she spat. “What do you take me for?” And with that she whirled on her heel and stormed out of the room.

His mocking voice called after her. “I’ll be waiting should you change your mind.”

“Then you’ll wait a lifetime,” she hissed beneath her breath.

By the time she reached the hospital she was almost able to laugh at Theo Tsardikos’ suggestion. But her father didn’t laugh. “You could do worse,” he said. “I’ve always wanted you to marry a proud Greek and Tsardikos is as good as they come.”

Praise indeed coming from her father.

“I’ve been afraid that on one of your trips to England you’ll fall in love. It would break my heart.”

It was on the tip of Dione’s tongue to tell him about Chris, but at the last moment she decided against it. Yannis’s health was so bad that such an admission might finish him off altogether. In fact he looked even worse than yesterday. His breathing laboured, his skin a ghostly yellow, and Phrosini hovered, not knowing what to do to help her beloved husband.

“I can’t marry a complete stranger,” Dione said miserably.

“Not even for me?” demanded Yannis in a rough, angry voice. “Not even though my life and my livelihood depend on it? What sort of a daughter are you?”

He made Dione feel guilty, but even so she stuck to her guns. “I’d be prostituting myself.”

“With Tsardikos? He’s an exciting male. Half the female population of Greece are after him. You’ll be the envy of thousands.” And then he slumped in his chair and hardly seemed to be breathing.

Phrosini beckoned her out of the room. “We must leave him for a while,” she said.

“Don’t you know he’s asking the impossible?” asked Dione as they made their way to the hospital restaurant. “I haven’t said anything to my father, and I don’t want you to either, but there’s a man in England I’ve promised to marry.”

Thursday, January 14, 2016

B is for Beverly Long

Debra enjoyed these time travels from a fellow RWA chapter mate.

I'll be the first to admit, it's been forever since I've attended a meeting of my local RWA chapter, and if I'd go I probably wouldn't recognize half of the faces there. So, I thought it would be fun to give a shout out to members I knew back when I was a much more faithful attendee.

Stay with Me is Beverly Long's debut romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and the really fun part for me was I had heard the first chapter during a critique session before it was published. And while I originally read the completed story in paperback (and have an autographed copy!), it's now available through Kindle at Amazon with a new cover to boot! (I don't know if the story has been updated or not, since I've only read the original.)

Here's the blurb:

It’s a case of mistaken identity when Sarah Jane Tremont is swept off a California beach and tossed more than a hundred years back to 1888 Wyoming Territory, onto John Beckett’s doorstep. He has her confused with his former sister-in-law, the woman he believes responsible for his brother’s death. Can Sarah convince the handsome rancher of the truth? Can he convince her to stay in his time?

Here with Me is a forward-in-time travel. The hero from the past travels to the present.


Sheriff George Tyler time travels from 1888 Wyoming Territory to modern-day Napa Valley and meets Melody Song, a woman badly in need of a temporary husband. He agrees to help and quickly realizes that Melody needs more than just his name. She also needs his protection. Someone is intent upon harming her and her unborn child. Can George save them both?

If you like time travels, you'll enjoy these two romances by author Beverly Long!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


P.S. I posted the covers from the original books, not the new Kindle ones, since that's how they looked when I read them! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

B is for Beginning

Paula is ready to start a new novel.

In the first two weeks of 2016, I have sent one novel to my publisher, edited another one ready for re-issue, and edited the manuscript of another author prior to publication

In other words, my desk is now 'clear' for me to start a new novel. However, I find myself in a situation I have not encountered before. I have no idea what this new story will be about!

I have a basic scenario i.e. a backstory for both main characters, and I have two possible starts for the story – but can’t yet decide which to use.

Beyond that are blank pages! Ideas flit through my mind, and last night a friend produced a list of 15 possible events in the story, but I haven’t yet been able to develop any real story arc – apart from knowing there will be a happy ending, of course.

So now I am not sure what to do! Do I start the story, and hope the characters will take over and tell me their story? Or do I keep rolling the ideas around until something jumps out at me to show me which way the characters are (or should be) heading?

I’ve always said I am a pantser, but at the same time I usually have a vague outline in my mind when I start a story, or at least some of the major events/turning points in the story. At the moment, however, my mind (and my computer screen) are very blank!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

B Is For Brogan

Jennifer reviews Tracy Brogan's Love Me Sweet...

Tracy Brogan is a new author to me and she had me in stitches! Her book, Love Me Sweet, follows Delaney and Grant in the town of Bell Harbor, Michigan and later in Nashville, as they both try to start their lives over. With a klepto mother, a wannabe country music band, a group of Elvis impersonators, siblings who don’t understand them and sexy times, this book was one of my most fun reads in a while!

Here's the blurb from the back cover:

Delaney Masterson isn’t looking for fame.
Yes, she has famous parents and a reality TV show, but she’s not the wild-child celebrity the paparazzi have painted her to be. Until…The Scandal. When an old boyfriend releases a private video, Delaney’s name becomes every comedian’s favorite punch line. To escape the media, she sneaks away to Bell Harbor, Michigan—during the worst winter in fifty years.
Adventure show cameraman Grant Connelly has stayed away from Bell Harbor—mostly by choice—but when a family obligation converges with a spontaneous career decision, it’s time to return home.
When bad weather, missing money, honky-tonk musicians, and Elvis impersonators throw Grant and Delaney together on an unexpected road trip, emotions get all shook up. They know only fools fall in love, but they can’t help falling. Still, Delaney has a secret that could tear them apart forever.
Can they weather the storm? Or will this romantic ride end at the Heartbreak Hotel?

Brogan is great at creating memorable characters who could be cliché, but aren’t. Grant’s mother steals things when she’s stressed. She could be portrayed as a villain in this story, and she definitely causes problems for both Grant and Delaney, but she’s portrayed sympathetically and made me feel for her. The country music band was full of honkytonk men who made come-ons to Delaney, yet each member was distinct and loveable at the same time.

Although not the first in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone, and it made me want to read the rest of the Bell Harbor series. I highly recommend this book, if only to find out who the heck escapes FROM California TO Michigan in the middle of winter!

Rating: 5 Hearts

Buy on Amazon here