Monday, August 31, 2015

I think, therefore I am

,Ana isn't ready to write first person stories.

When I was writing a weekly essay for my CSA newsletters, I wrote in first person. I recounted what I saw walking through the garden, expounded on ideas for the next season, held mini-rants about pesticide drift, and waxed poetic about the sightings of bumblebees and dragonflies.

Writing novels in first person is a different kettle of fish.
It means you'd type "I" a lot.
Your main character would speak and think in this immediate context. You'd be limited to one POV and go deep. The main character would have to be somewhat self-centered or self-absorbed. A bit judgmental. Opinionated.

First person seems to work well for YA/NA stories. Also novels where the "speaker" opens with a reminiscing and the bulk of the story unfolds in 3rd person.
Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series is a first person classic, but she did lapse into other characters' POV after the first book.

Have you read a first person book you really liked?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Snippet from Margaret's latest book

These are the opening paragraphs from the book I am currently working on:

This was Frazer Benedict’s favourite time of night. And this was his favourite place. Walking along the beach, the dark, clear sky filled with a zillion stars, very little sound apart from the ebb and flow of the incoming tide, it felt like an oasis of peace after a busy, meeting-filled day. He’d even sailed his first yacht in these waters long before he set up his own company.

A final late meeting had been called off at the last moment and he’d slipped away. Now he paused to inhale the fresh ocean-filled air, filling his lungs, breathing out again slowly, listening to the faint call of a sea bird. A rare moment. He was normally so busy such self-indulgence played no part in his life.

The tide was coming in fast, lapping at his toes, and he hopped out of the way, almost falling when his foot caught something lying on the sand. He frowned, visitors didn’t usually discard rubbish here. They respected it as one of the most striking natural bays and took their litter home.

On closer inspection he discovered to his horror, what he had thought was a bag of rubbish was actually a person. A woman! Asleep! Of all the places to fall asleep...

He touched her with his toe. Nothing. He touched a little harder. Still nothing. He bent low and shook her. No response.

A frown dragged his brows together as he slid his arms beneath her and picked her up. She felt like a rag doll. His first thought was that she might be dead and a shiver ran down his spine. But she was still breathing – just about.

He carried her to his parked car and gently lowered her on to the back seat before driving as fast as he dared to the nearest hospital. Which was five miles away! Never had a journey seemed so long. Even so he knew it would be quicker than waiting for an ambulance.

After explaining the circumstances to the medics he left her in their care but he couldn’t get the woman out of his mind and an hour or so later rang the hospital. Much to his annoyance, because he wasn’t a relative, they wouldn’t give him any information.

The next morning, determined to find out what was happening, he drove straight to the hospital before going to work. This time, when he explained the situation, he was shown into a doctor’s office.

“You are the guy who found her?”

Frazer inclined his head. “I am indeed. How is she?”

“First things first,” said the doctor. ‘Tell me all you can about this woman and her circumstances.”

Frazer stared at him as though he was out of his mind. “I don’t know anything. I found her lying on the beach. If I hadn’t been there she would have drowned. And it’s not often I walk there, I can tell you. She’s damn lucky. Will she recover? Have you found out who she is?”

The doctor shook his head. “She had no identity on her. My belief is that she desperately wanted to die.”

“What makes you think that?” He was stunned by the man’s theory. How could such a young woman want to kill herself? It didn’t make sense. She could have simply felt unwell and collapsed. Surely they were making harsh assumptions?

“It is the only possible conclusion.  She had an alarming amount of drugs in her body. Enough to kill most people. She’s very lucky you found her.”

“Does she know?”

“No!” The man looked sad. “She’s not recovered consciousness. But she is alive and is being carefully monitored.”

Frazer reached out one of his business cards and placed it on the man’s desk. “I’d appreciate it if you’d keep me informed of her progress.”



Friday, August 28, 2015

H is for Hearts

Margaret talks about writing from the heart


As this blog is called Heroines With Hearts I thought I’d dwell on the word Heart. What do we actually mean by it?


I was always told to write from the heart. To believe entirely in what I was writing. So that is what I do. I live the life of each of my heroines. I am that person. It’s not an easy ride, not for me, the author, or for my heroines until they actually settle down into their Happy Ever After. But what fun it is. Naturally nothing runs smoothly, there would be no story to tell if it did.


For instance, in the book I’m currently writing my heroine has been forced to marry a man she does not love, simply to make this man’s father happy. Because she tricked her way into the hero’s life (she’s a newspaper reporter and wanted to do a story on him) his payback is to fulfil his ageing father’s dream of his only son getting wed. The problem is - they live in the south of England, his father in the Caribbean. This was something she certainly hadn’t counted on. Of course things happen when they get there – but that’s not something I’m giving away at the moment. I will tell you, though, that his father falls ill and needs treatment in England, so my poor heroine has no escape even then.


I know the story will have a happy ending but how they get to it even I don’t know yet.






Thursday, August 27, 2015

H is for Heather

Heather Morgan is the heroine in Debra's A Christmas to Remember.

Heather has just been dumped by her boyfriend. They'd planned on spending the Christmas holiday skiing. Instead, he decided to go to the Caribbean with his secretary. However, since she'd already paid for an airline ticket, a room at the lodge, and copious amounts of new ski gear, Heather decides to take the trip on her own. However, going down to dinner...alone...on her first night, is a bit more humiliating than she bargained for. She feels like everyone KNOWS. It took her forever to work up the courage, and then the hostess tells her there are no tables available without a reservation.

Enter Sam.

He's handsome and mysterious. And he persuades Heather to have dinner with him. He happens to have a reservation at the restaurant, and since his brother ditched him for a ski bunny, he also happens to have an extra spot at the table.

And thus begins our love story.

A quote from Heather:
”You know.” She gestured toward him. “A mysterious stranger asking me to dinner. Stuff like that only happens in romance novels. It’s not something that happens in real life.” Not to her.

And a bit more about her from the blurb:

Newly single, Heather Morgan gathers her courage and decides to take a Christmas ski vacation on her own. However, the festive holiday atmosphere reminds her how dispirited and alone she feels. When she meets a mysterious stranger, her lonely vacation takes an unexpected turn.

Sam is at the resort at the urging of his brother, who thinks he needs to get out and have a little fun. Having no desire to get involved with anyone, Sam needs a way to get his brother off his back. The intriguing Heather seems like the perfect solution to his dilemma, so he makes her an offer she can't refuse.

Sam restores the joy of the season to Heather. Their time together is magical, something she'll never forget. Soon her feelings for him deepen beyond their romantic holiday fling. But Sam has a secret, one that could prevent the fantasy from ever becoming real.

And, finally, a glimpse of Heather through Sam's eyes, the first time we're in his POV:

At eight forty-five the next morning, Sam glanced at his watch for the thousandth time since he’d sat at the small table in the corner of the coffee shop.

He grimaced. The damn thing was shock resistant, water resistant, the hands glowed in the dark, it could measure elapsed time and split time, and tell him to the nanosecond what time it was in twenty-nine different time zones. What it couldn’t do was speed up time.

Would Heather show? She still had fifteen minutes until the proposed deadline. How long would he wait once the hour had passed? He imagined himself sitting in the same spot all day. Staring at the pine boughs draped across the front of the barrister’s stand. Slowly going insane from the endless tracks of Christmas music playing subtly in the background.

After all, chances were good she wouldn’t accept his offer. Who in their right mind would? She probably figured he had several thousand ulterior motives. He still wasn’t quite sure what prompted him to ask her to have dinner with him. Offering to teach her to ski in exchange for spending time with him had been nothing short of lunacy.

Which was exactly what she must think of him. A raving lunatic. Who else would propose such a preposterous idea? Of course she wouldn’t show for breakfast. Most likely she’d spend the rest of her vacation in her room to avoid the chance of running into him at all costs.

Still, he hoped she’d accept his offer, as crazy as it must seem. He couldn’t say why. He didn’t know her. Had only spent a couple of hours with her. But for some reason he wanted to get to know her better. He admired her courage in coming to the resort on her own even after her asshole of a boyfriend jilted her. She deserved better.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


A Christmas to Remember - from The Wild Rose Press

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

H is for Health and Hospitals

Paula thinks about our characters’ health problems.

Many of our UK 'soap operas' frequently have either some major health issue for one of the characters, or a dramatic hospital scene where a character hovers between life and death or seems to be half paralysed for life.

Miraculously, most of them recover the following week – and everyone seems to accept this! None of them seem to go through any post-op trauma or repeated visits to the hospital for physio or some other therapy.

For non-soap writers, this doesn’t work, unfortunately. I’m sure our readers would soon point out that someone who breaks a leg in Chapter 2 wouldn’t be climbing a mountain in Chapter 3 (unless there was a long gap between those chapters). They wouldn't even be driving a car for at least six weeks.

If we want one of our characters to have an accident or some health problem, obviously we need to research the facts carefully (assuming we haven’t experienced the problem ourselves). In the first draft of one of my novels, my heroine broke her ankle. This led to some good (although I say it myself!) scenes between her and the hero, but in the end I had to scrap them all. It can take weeks, if not months, for a broken ankle to heal, and a heroine’s immobilisation for such a long period can slow a story down to crawling pace (literally?)

One ploy we are warned against is the melodramatic reunion of the hero and heroine (at the end of the story) when one of them has an accident or illness that sends the other rushing to their hospital bedside to pledge undying love. This may create a tear-jerkingly sentimental conclusion to a story, but it probably doesn’t resolve any of the issues/problems the hero/heroine might have been having, at least not in a satisfying way.

I’ve only used health/hospital scenes as a plot device in a couple of my novels. In ‘Changing the Future’, the heroine’s son is taken to hospital after a minor accident at school. This actually created more problems for the heroine because she had to rush off to the hospital without telling the hero where she was going, which added to their problems.

In ‘Fragrance of Violets’ which I’m currently editing for re-publication, my heroine goes to see her father (who is dying in a hospice) and makes her peace with him. It’s a life-changing event for her, but comes too late (or so it seems) to resolve any of the problems between her and the hero.

Thus my health/hospital scenes don’t solve anything for my characters but invariably make things harder for them!

I’m curious about what health/hospital incidents other writers use – and how these contribute to their stories. Over to you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

E is For Emotion Thesaurus

Jennifer returns to the letter “E,” since she missed it the first time around...

Paula turned me on to this resource and it is gold for a writer! The Emotion Thesaurus helps writers show their characters feelings in more than just the basic ways.

For me, when I write my stories, I hear my characters talking in my head and I write down what they’re saying. I know what situations I’m putting them through (or they tell me), but I don’t always “feel” what they’re going through. Part of it is that I’m in such a rush to get it on the page, I subconsciously skip over what seems obvious to me. It’s only when I go back to read it that I realize I haven’t shown my characters’ reactions to what has happened. I haven’t made the reader understand or feel what the characters are experiencing.

And that’s where The Emotion Thesaurus comes in. The book is divided alphabetically by emotion. Each emotion is given a definition, physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term emotion and cues of the suppressed emotion.

So instead of saying, “Claire was happy” or “Claire smiled,” I can say, “Claire’s eyes danced” (physical sign), “Claire felt breathless” (internal sensation), “Claire wanted to make everyone else feel as good as she” (mental response), “Shaking with excitement, Claire hung up the phone” (acute/long-term), or “Taking deep, calming breaths, Claire turned to her boyfriend” (suppressed).

Which one I choose to use depends on the situation as well as the POV. I tend to use physical signs when I’m in the other person’s POV because they can see it. I tend to use internal sensations when I’m in my character’s POV because they can feel it. I might intersperse one of the other responses if I feel they are necessary. The key is to keep it simple and not to overuse them, or use multiple ones all the time. Our readers don’t need to be hit over the head.

Have you used this resource? Tell me about your experiences.

Monday, August 24, 2015

H is for Happily Ever After.

Ana confesses: I never remember my wedding anniversary.

My husband and I eloped after I suggested we get married, and he said, "Okay." We'd known each other for six weeks. I was eighteen. He was twenty-three, an ex-Marine who'd mesmerized me with his honesty and intensity. We had karma.

We got the required blood tests. Found a minister who would marry us. Asked his best friend and his best friend's girlfriend to be witnesses. I wore my favorite purple bellbottoms and cowboy boots. He wore his best light blue jeans and a long sleeved shirt. (It was 1969.)

Perhaps reflecting the after doubts of my impulsive decision, I have a perpetual blank of the date we tied the knot. It's either November 6th, 7th or 8th.

My hubby remembers. He's got a mind like a steel trap.
I wait until he asks me what I want to do for our anniversary and then I know it's that day.

After 40+ years, I'm convinced he wanted to marry me. I still don't regret not having a fancy - crazy wedding.  And I believe in happily ever after.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Snippet - A Peek at Debra's "Family Secrets"

Chapter One

“Why didn’t you call me?”

The bold words took Erika Garrett by surprise. But no more so than the man standing on her doorstep who had uttered them. She gazed up at him. An errant lock of dark hair fell over one eyebrow, daring her to reach up and brush it back. His chiseled features bore a dark, even tan, evidence of his outside work in the summer. A hint of stubble shadowed his jaw and made him look sexy as hell. Warm brown eyes crinkled at the corners when he smiled.

Chase Stewart was as gorgeous as ever.

“Hello, Erika.” Once again the deep timbre of his familiar voice washed over her, and she stared, caught up in the penetrating gaze of the man who evoked such powerful memories.

“Chase. What are you doing here?” She couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen him. What was he doing on her doorstep?

Instead of answering the question, he asked one of his own. “It’s hot as blazes out here today. May I come in?”

She hesitated. But then, as if to underscore his words, a blast of hot air hit her like the heat from an open oven. The scorching afternoon sun poured into the house. Nothing like a Midwest summer to make you feel like a fried egg. It had been so hot this year the evening news had done a story on kids literally frying them on the sidewalk. And it was only June.

“Well, I guess there’s no use cooling the outside.” The air conditioning bill would be high enough anyway. She stepped back and opened the door wider.

Chase stood in the foyer of the historic row home and studied her as she closed the door. “You look terrific.”

“Thanks.” She self-consciously touched the curling locks she’d pinned to the top of her head in an effort to control the humidity’s effect on them. She adjusted the slim strap of her tank top, and then smoothed her palms over her shorts.

He looked terrific, too. No surprise there. Had she always been turned on by men in jeans and work boots? Not to mention white T-shirts that drew attention to the muscles beneath. A blush warmed her cheeks and she looked away. Had he noticed her staring?

“So this is your new place.”

She glanced back at him to find his gaze had moved to the living room behind her. Two beige sofas faced each other in the middle of the narrow room. A coffee table sat between them, resting on a colorfully patterned rug. Centered on the side wall, built-in book shelves and stained glass windows framed the fireplace. Past the stairs a narrow hallway led to the kitchen.

What did it look like through his eyes? Professional eyes. What did he see? Would he notice the fading paint and battered woodwork?

She shrugged. “It’s home.”

"It's nice.”

Unable to hold his mesmerizing gaze, hers dropped to her toes. The scuffed hardwood of the floor stared back at her. “It, uh, needs a little work, but it’s getting there.” She planned on doing some of the interior painting during vacation.

“That’s why I’m here.”

Her head jerked up. “What?”

“I heard you need some things done around here.”

“How did you hear that?” Surely Lauren hadn’t said anything. She barely spoke civilly to Chase. Erika couldn’t imagine the topic of home repair—her home repair—coming up.

“Not many people around here do what I do. It’s a small world. A buddy mentioned he gave you a quote.” His dark eyes bored into hers once again. “So, why didn’t you call me?”

“I thought it would be awkward, with my family and all.”

“The family?”

“You know, Mom and Lauren…” Her voice trailed off.

“What about them?”

“Oh come on, Chase.” He couldn’t really be so obtuse, could he? “They would have a fit if they knew you were here. Can you imagine what they would say if I hired you?”

“That’s ridiculous. Why would they care?”

Did she have to spell it out? “You know how Lauren is.” She didn’t want to speak badly about her sister-in-law, but the other woman didn’t have many good things to say about her ex-husband these days. Or
ever. If Lauren found out he’d been at Erika’s place…

“Oh, I know how Lauren is,” Chase said wryly.

All of Debra's books are available from The Wild Rose Press and other major book sellers.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Please welcome guest blogger Joanne Guidoccio.

Joanne, we're so glad you could join us again. We are so tickled you wanted to 'play along' with our A - Z challenge.

While imagining the protagonist of

A Season for Killing Blondes, I

realized she could easily be my

literary twin. In fact, I like to tell

people that Gilda Greco is 70

percent of me. As to how I came

up with that particular number,

let’s just say my well-honed left

brain did all the work.

Some similarities...

1. Born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Gilda and I lived in Gatchell, the Italian section of town.

2. We love to read and could spend hours curled up with our favorite books.

3. In school, we were high-achieving, happy nerds who majored in mathematics and then decided to pursue teaching careers.

4. In spite of our mathematical knowledge of probability, we buy lottery tickets. Gilda hit the jackpot and won $19 million in Lotto 649. As for me, I’m still buying tickets and hoping! BTW...the probability of winning Lotto 649 is 1 in 13,983,816.

5. We spent the early years of our teaching careers in Sudbury.

6. We relocated to Southern Ontario and ended up teaching in Guelph.

7. We completed the Career Development Practitioner program at Conestoga College. I had hoped to pursue a second career as a career counselor but personal and health circumstances intervened. Instead, I am living vicariously through Gilda who has set up her own ReCareering office in Sudbury.

8. We love our zebra colors. Black pantsuits are staples in our wardrobes.

9. We are non-foodies. That’s right, we don’t like to cook or bake. But we have a great appreciation for all foodies who possess that special gift.

10. We love cheesecake. And one of our favorites is Blueberry Delight, an easy-to-prepare recipe that actually calls for frozen blueberries. We invite all non-foodies (and foodies) to try our recipe.

Blueberry Delight


½ cup brown sugar
2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup butter
8 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
32 ounces sweetened whipped cream
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 ½ cups frozen blueberries


Combine brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and butter.
Press into the bottom of a 9” x 13” rectangular pan.
Bake for ten minutes at 325o F.
Cool the crust.
Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice.
Add whipped cream and fold in blueberries using a wooden spoon.
Pour mixture into the pan.
Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Servings: 15

Note: Seven more easy-to-prepare desserts are featured in A Season for Killing Blondes.


A lucky commenter will receive a free eBook of A Season for Killing Blondes.

Joanne, thanks so much for guesting with us again! You are welcome back anytime...

Friday, August 21, 2015

G is for Gardening

Margaret talks about comparing writing to gardening


You might ask what gardening has to do with writing, but there are many similarities. For instance in your garden you sow seeds (the germ of an idea), shoots begin to show (you begin to develop your idea), the plant grows a little larger (you develop your idea further) and with patience and care you have beautiful flowers or vegetables (a whole book).


It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Perhaps if we broke down the writing process like this it wouldn’t feel such a daunting task when we first look at that blank page.


We’ve typed, Chapter One, but where do we start? The seeds have been sown in your mind and hopefully you’ve written them down. The first step is to grab your reader. So you start with a bang. It has to be something that makes them want to read on, and if you can do that then they’ll hopefully buy the book.


Some people actually take a peek at the end but I could never do that. I want to be led slowly to that point. I want surprises along the way, and I don’t want to read the happy ever after until I really have to.


Below are a few of my opening sentences:


“Theo Tsardikos? You expect me to go and beg him for money?” Dione stared at her father in disbelief. “I can’t do that.”  (Bought for Marriage)


From the first moment Penny looked into Santo De Luca’s eyes she knew she was in trouble. (The Italian’s Ruthless Baby Bargain)


Peta’s chin had a determined thrust as she knocked on the door. Many tales had travelled around the company about the dynamic new owner. He was the literal clean-sweeping new broom. (The Mediterranean Tycoon)


Vane Oliver was every bit as intimidating as Debra had been warned. He sat on the other side of the desk, a giant of a man, wide-shouldered, thick dark hair, eyes that seemed to be permanently half closed making it difficult to read what was going through his mind. (Divided Loyalties)


Smoky blue eyes looked with shocked disbelief into delicate green ones. Seconds ticked away. Zane was the first to speak. “You!” he exclaimed. (The Rich Man’s Reluctant Mistress)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

G is for Gail

Gail Robbins is the heroine in Debra's "Valentine's Day at The Corral".

We first meet Gail in This Feels Like Home. She is Amber's cousin, and provides the emotional support Amber needs as she works her way through a relationship with Jake. After I finished The Corral trilogy, and those niggles kept nudging me to write a few shorter spin-off stories set there, I knew Gail would star in one. When I decided those spin-off stories would have holidays themes, it was always in the back of my mind to put Gail in the Valentine's Day one.

I never dreamed I would be writing it this summer. The deadline for submitting a VD story was long past for a 2016 story, so I decided I'd focus on the Fourth of July one. Little did I know my muse had a completely different idea. One morning, I woke up, long before I wanted to be out of bed, with the opening lines for Gail's story in my head. They kept pushing me until I got out of bed, grabbed the notebook on my nightstand, and scribbled away. Before I knew it I had not only the opening line, but several paragraphs to follow.

What followed that was simply a whirlwind. I wrote the story in eleven days. Now granted, it's a 13,000 word novella, but still...I was proud of myself. I sent off a quick e-mail to my editor asking if there way any chance for a 2016 release or if I should put it in the hopper for 2017. (Which just seems like so far away.) She checked with the powers that be and told me to send it ASAP. I did a quick, but deep (hopefully) edit, and sent it off. Either she knows my writing really well or I wrote one heck of a synopsis, because she passed the story right along to the reader (a step in the process at TWRP) without doing a read herself.

Now I wait to see if Gail will get her story in 2016. The mss needs both reader recommendation and senior editor approval before a contract would be offered. If not, the story will go into the hopper for some revisions and edits before I submit it again at the beginning of next year for a (hopeful) 2017 release.

So let me tell you a little bit about Gail. She's thirty, has lived in the same small town her entire life, works as a receptionist for an accounting firm, and has never found Mr. Right. She lets her cousin talk her into attending a pre-Valentine's Day singles' mixer/speed dating event, where she runs into her new boss. Scott has just taken over the company for his ailing uncle. And while sparks and an attraction have been there from the start, Gail is not keen to mix business and pleasure and date her boss. Besides, she likes cowboys in boots, hats, and jeans, while Scott is all city business man in his suits and ties. However, when Scott begins to woo her with candy and flowers and gifts for Valentine's Day, she finds her resolve wavering. Perhaps he's just her type after all. Now all she can do is hope he discovers small town life is to his liking and decides not to return to the big city.

Here are the opening paragraphs and a peek into Gail's mindset at the beginning of the story:

Payback was a bitch.

Gail Robbins assessed the surprisingly crowded barroom and wondered for the eighteen-thousandth time how she’d gotten herself talked into this. Hundreds of people milled around the spacious room. Tension hung thick in the space, almost like the smoky haze of days of old. Were there really so many desperate people in this small corner of Texas?

The whole thing made her see red. Literally. Cherry-colored cherub and heart cutouts plastered the walls. Pink and white twinkle lights twisted around the wooden columns framing the parquet dance floor. A single blood-red carnation in a bud vase centered on a paper doily on a red or pink plastic table cloth scattered with confetti stood on each high table. Supposedly to set a romantic, Valentine’s Day mood, instead the insipid decorations turned the cozy, rustic barroom of The Corral into her own personal hell.

Most of the soon-to-be participants wore shades of red as well. Gail’s stomach knotted behind the navy and white striped sweater she wore over blue leggings. Her hand shook slightly when she sipped her drink. Chardonnay. Not merlot. Refusing to give into the nauseating color scheme even a little bit, she’d stuck with white wine.

A slightly balding man in his late thirties/early forties wearing a red and white plaid sweater vest…yep, no lie…caught Gail’s eye and smiled. She half smiled in return, but quickly averted her gaze, not wanting to encourage him.

She was going to shoot Amber. Favorite cousin-almost-like-a-sister or not.

When Amber had first suggested Gail attend the singles’ event, she’d laughed it off. When Amber had handed her an already-paid-for entry ticket and reminded Gail about the auction where Gail had set her up on a date with Jake, a sneaking suspicion had wormed into her mind.

Was this Amber’s idea of revenge?

Amber had no reason to complain. Jake was…well, had been…the hottest commodity at The Corral. Gorgeous. Charming. The most eligible bachelor…yada yada. Not anymore. Now he was officially off the market, and he and Amber were as happy as clams. All due to Gail.

And this was how her dear cousin paid her back? A lonely hearts speed dating event? The whole thing was just so…humiliating.

Why hadn’t she put her foot down and refused?

Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

G is for Guy Sinclair

Paula interviews Guy Sinclair, the hero of ‘Irish Inheritance’.

I’m at Dublin Airport, hoping to catch Guy who has just arrived from New York. Oh, there he is! Guy, can you tell us why you’ve come over to Dublin?
(Guy stifles a yawn.) Yes, of course, although you’ll have to excuse some incoherency. I managed to sleep for a while on the flight, but these overnight flights are a killer, aren’t they? Anyway, yes, I’m here to visit a Dublin lawyer, Daniel McGrath.
Good question. My New York lawyer has told me I’ve inherited a half share of a house here in Ireland from some 90-year-old dame who died last year.
You don’t know who she is?
No, never heard of her before. Someone called Helena Keating. She named my grandmother in her will, and, as my father died a few years ago and had no brothers or sisters, it seems I’m the only living descendant of my grandmother.
Where’s this house?
I don’t know and, to tell you the truth, I’m not really interested in it. I’m only here because the lawyer insisted I had to see it before making any decision about it. It would have been much easier to stay home and simply instruct him to sell it.
You said you had a half share in the house. Do you know who has co-inherited it with you?
No idea. My lawyer didn’t have that information. Maybe it’s someone who’s as mystified as I am about all this.
If you want to sell the house, presumably this other person will have to agree to that too?
Good point, but I’m hoping there won’t be any problems about that. I’d much rather have the money than a house in Ireland.
Well, I wonder who is Guy’s co-inheritor – and whether he will change his mind about selling the house?
Irish Inheritance
English actress Jenna Sutton and American artist Guy Sinclair first meet when they jointly inherit a house on the west coast of Ireland. Curious about their unknown benefactress and why they are considered 'family', they discover surprising links to the original owners of the house.
They soon unravel an intriguing tale of a 19th century love affair. At the same time, their mutual attraction grows, despite personal reasons for not wanting romantic involvements at this point in their lives.
A local property agent appears to have her own agenda concerning the house while other events pull Jenna and Guy back to separate lives in London and America. Friction builds over their decision about the house and its contents.
Will their Irish inheritance bring them together – or drive them apart?

And here's Guy for you to feast your eyes on!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

G is for Gideon

Jennifer talk about what’s in a name…

So, if you’ve read this blog more than a few times, you know a lot about the regular contributors to Heroines with Hearts. You know Ana is very into astrology and uses it to come up with her character’s personality traits. You know Paula likes her heroes to have one-syllable names. You know Debra uses country music as inspiration and you know Margaret writes amazing alpha heroes.

As for me, I use baby name books (or rather, I did, until I got rid of my actual baby name books and now depend on the naming sites on the Internet). For me, the number one way to learn about my character is with his or her name. Not only do I want it to sound pleasing to the ear, but I want the name to mean something appropriate for the character. Or, I want the reader, just by hearing the name, to immediately know about the character’s traits.

In A Heart of Little Faith, the hero’s name is Gideon. Because his character is in a wheelchair, I wanted a name that conveyed strength. The meaning is Destroyer. While he’s not a violent man, you can’t get any stronger than that. I’ve also heard the name means Rock. Again, a name of strength.

Once I had the name chosen, I was able to keep that strength in mind when picturing him and able to put him in situations and describe him in ways that conveyed that strength.

The first time Lily, my heroine, meets him, they are in an art gallery. She immediately sees he’s in a wheelchair, but that’s not what sticks out to her. In fact, when asked to describe him, this is what she says:

“So, what’s he like?
Arrogant boor flashed in her mind like a cheap neon sign.
But then she remembered the way his smile shone brighter than the paintings on display, how his husky laugh tickled places inside her long dormant, the way his hand gripped hers as if to promise to take care of her forever.
A magnetic energy had emanated from him, drawing her closer, almost against her will. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from him.
Lily blushed.

And hopefully, right from the start, the reader agrees.

Monday, August 17, 2015

In Ana's mind, G is for George

In both my WIPs, George is the first name of a major character. I have no idea why the name George is significant in the deep recesses of my brain. Maybe I sensed a British royal baby. Maybe because General Motors is the biggest corporation in the world. I can change Blade Master's father's name. The time travel is more complicated, with similar names in both the past and present.

            In Stormy Hawkins, George Masters is a self-made tycoon who expected his eldest son (the hero) to work in the family business and be groomed to take over when he was ready to retire. He dominated his son from a young age and drove him to run away at age seventeen. Father and son will have words soon (this is where I am at in my rewrite.) When they reconcile, the hero's inner wounds will heal, and at the black moment, he appears to choose his family over the heroine.

In my time travel story, the heroine, Angel Foster, meets the antagonist George Montague as he stands in front of a massive picture window overlooking Boston Commons. He is tall and fit, with thick, silvery hair and a strong profile. His hands are clasped behind his back, and he appears to be fidgeting with his wedding ring. He married into money, runs the posh private school set up by Brahmin wife, and secretly preys on poor, international, female students, who have granted visas and full scholarships.  
An uncontrollable impulse sweeps through her when Montague first turns toward her. She bows her head and sinks into a made-for-tv-movie curtsey. She's sure her irrational act will get her fired from her firm, but Montague loves it.

Here is her past-life father, in bed with his concubine, Lilli, describing the past-life Montague:

"Baron Godefroy Charlemagne du Montagne will not be pleased to hear his betrothed did not survive her rescue.”
“But it was his own son who gave chase.”
“Captain Thonon du Montagne is stationed far from Paris for a reason. The baron is not fond of any of his children.”
“Especially those who are in love with Angelique. Thonon confided he had written his father and asked him to release her.” She cradled his head on her chest. "Why does the baron have such an appetite for young wives?” 
“Think on yourself, my dove. What could be better than learning from a man of experience?”
“But how can he spend so many? This last one endured less than two years."
"The eighth Baroness was weak and prone to fainting spells.”
“You think that is how she fell from a third-story casement? I heard she jumped because she could no longer bear the lashes of his riding crop in bed. It makes my skin crawl just to think of it.”
“Nonsense,” he humpfed. “You know how tittle and tattle grows as it travels."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Excerpt from Paula's 'His Leading Lady'

An excerpt from Paula’s novel His Leading Lady, first published in 2011,and revised for re-publication at the end of last year.

The scene takes place in Jessica Harper’s Stage and Dance shop in a small town in Yorkshire. Her partner has told her a man with the surname Drummond is asking for her in the shop.

The man’s gaze travelled the full length of her body, and Jess glanced down at her short peach skirt and her silky cream top, wishing it wasn’t quite so low-cut and didn’t reveal the upper curves of her cleavage. She looked up again and found his shrewd eyes studying her.

“Yes, you’re definitely twins, but your hair’s longer, and you’re slimmer than Lora.

Her natural cordiality cooled at his blatant appraisal of her figure. “I don’t like being inspected, Mr. Drummond.”

“Why not?” Eyebrows raised, he appeared completely unabashed. “You’re a beautiful woman. Why not be proud of that? Your sister certainly is.”

“Lora and I are two very different people, and I don’t take kindly to a stranger assessing me on some ten point scale.”

“How many points did you give me?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“How many points?” he repeated. “When you were inspecting me from the back of the shop? You must have stood there for a good two minutes.” Wry amusement flashed across his face. “I saw your reflection in the shop window,” he added by way of explanation.

“Oh!” A fire of embarrassment heated her cheeks. “I—er—”

“Don’t apologise and I won’t either.”

His disarming smile caused an odd flutter somewhere inside her, but she reverted to the formal approach. “Obviously I don’t need to introduce myself, and I assume you’re Kyle Drummond.”

“You’re right. Where the hell is your sister?”

The abrupt demand threw her off balance again. “Wh-what do you mean?”

“Lora—where is she? I’ve spent the last three days trying to track her down, and the whole of today trying to find you.” He made it sound as if it was all her fault.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Would you explain please?”

Kyle Drummond fixed her with an intense stare. “Don’t cover for her, Ms. Harper. If your sister thinks she can play silly little games with me, she’d better think again, and so had you.”

His Leading Lady is currently in my publisher’s Summer Sale at 99cents/99 pence on Amazon.

Jess Harper’s life is turned upside down when her twin sister disappears a week before rehearsals are due to start for a new West End musical in which Lora has the lead role. Jess decides to impersonate her in order to save her career, despite her initial dislike of Kyle Drummond, the determined and arrogant director. The last thing she expects is the irresistible magnetism that draws them together, but there’s also evidence Kyle had been dating Lora.
Is Jess simply a substitute, in real life as well as in the show? And what will happen when Lora eventually returns?

Friday, August 14, 2015

F is for Feelings

Margaret talks about expressing feelings


Feelings are possibly the most important part of a romance novel. We have the storyline, the conflict, and whatever else is going on but feelings are vital. As we read a book we (hopefully) experience the character’s feelings and emotions. I know I’ve felt tearful, surprised, joyful, as well as lots of other emotions while writing and also reading other author’s books. I actually called one of mine Feelings where my heroine was jilted the day before her wedding. Naturally it put her off men but eventually the inevitable happened. Not that it was love at first sight when she met the man she was to ultimately marry.

 Here’s how they met:

 “Melly, love, I’d like you to meet Benedict Burton. Beebee for short. And this Beebee, is Melissa Sutherland, the daughter of a very dear friend of mine, and a very competent secretary.”

Melissa was horrified. This was Beebee? And she was expected to work with him for the next three days? It was not a woman as she had expected, but a man. The despised sex. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t! But she was forgetting he wasn’t interested in her. All she had to do was be good at her job. There would be no unwelcome advances.

He nodded his head curtly in acknowledgement of Vivienne’s introduction, but did not offer his hand. “Have you experience in advertising, Miss Sutherland?”

Vivienne answered for her. “No, she hasn’t, but she’s a quick learner, and I have no doubts that she’ll fit in. And you can’t call her Miss Sutherland. It’s Melissa, or Melly if you prefer.”

Benedict Burton clearly had doubts about her qualifications, many of them. His smoky grey eyes were taking in every inch of her, from the thick reddish-brown hair scraped back from her shining face, her eyes which looked smaller without mascara on her pale lashes, the shadows beneath them, her bloodless lips, right down to her feet in a pair of flat-heeled sandals.

Melissa caught Vivienne’s eye and accepted the challenge. “I’m sorry, Mr Burton – or may I call you Benedict? – if I don’t exactly conform with the image you have in mind. I’ll just have to make sure that my work more than compensates for my lack of – beauty.”

His lips thinned. “It’s nothing to do with me what you look like.”

“But I did hear you tell Aunt Viv that I looked like a mouse – or was it a lame duck? I’m not sure.” Melissa did not know what was driving her. She simply wanted to humiliate him as he had her.

“Didn’t you know that eavesdroppers never hear good of themselves?” His voice was ominously quiet, betraying his anger far more than if he had shouted.

“How could I help it when the door was open and your voice was loud enough to be heard in the street?”

“Children, children,” intervened Vivienne. “I think that’s enough.”

Melissa felt the blood rush to her cheeks. “I’m sorry, Aunt Viv. That was very rude. I don’t know what came over me.

The older woman smiled. “I think I do. Beebee can be extremely overpowering. You’ll soon get used to him.” And in a louder tone, “Won’t she, Beebee? Tell her your bark’s worse than your bite.

He merely grunted and turned back into Vivienne’s office, this time closing the door firmly.

Vivienne shook her head, smiling broadly. “I should have warned you about Beebee. He’s a law unto himself. He’s my godson; you must have heard me mention him?”

Melissa shook her head.

“He worked his way up in the business until eventually I made him my partner. I don’t know what I’d do without him now. I love that boy.”

Boy? Melissa did not class him as a boy. He was a man, all man, as masculine as they come. Ruthless, arrogant, domineering. And she did not see how she was going to work amicably with him for the next three days. Although, on the other hand, it might be fun proving she was not the dimwit he had dubbed her.

   Feelings are an integral part of our lives, the emotional side to our character. Do we have feelings when we write romantic fiction? Most definitely. We feel everything that our heroine or hero goes through – we live their lives for them. You simply cannot write without entering into that person’s mind, whether you’re writing romance, crime, science fiction or any other genre.