Saturday, February 13, 2016

Weekend Wildcard -- May I Ask a Favor?

Anne McAllister is catching up to the second decade of the 21st century, albeit a few years late.  She needs your help. 

A number of years ago, like many authors, I began a website.  And after a few years, my webmistress left and I needed a new one, and I found another webmistress and we began again.  Then she decided to move on to other things, and I got another website, and another webmistress and -- guess what! -- it's that time again.

I don't know if it's me, or webmistresses, but my marriage has lasted several decades longer than my forays into social media.  Maybe they just get bored because I don't spend a lot of time there (mea culpa).

Anyway, as I -- and my newest webmistress -- are tangoing around my multitude of books (I'm writing number 70 right now. Gulp!) and she has suggested that we streamline things a bit, I am looking for advice.

You're readers, right?  Or writers? Or both?  So, let me ask you: How do you look for books?

On my current site at www.annemcallister.com you can get at my current books and my backlist through Publishers, Lines, Mini-series and with a Printer-Friendly Booklist.  Honestly, that's a lot of linking.  We'd like to cut it back.

So, how would you look for a book? What are the other things you find useful, entertaining, inspiring, worthwhile on an author's website?
What are things you love? What are things you hate? (Will try not to do those!)

Do you use social media like Twitter or Facebook or Instagram more than you check websites?  Do you like blogs? Newsletters?  Hate 'em?

Inquiring minds are avidly awaiting your responses and suggestions. To bribe you into thinking about it and making constructive comments, my dog Mitch -- ever the generous Golden Retriever -- will send you a copy of one of my books (your choice provided I can find it in the attic) if you are the commenter whose words he finds most wise.

Thanks!

Anne's most recent title, The Return of Antonides was out in October.  She's eagerly awaiting the return of three other books of hers, the Tanner Brothers trilogy, beginning with the reprint of Cowboys Don't Cry.  She'll post the cover on Facebook as soon as she's got it.

Friday, February 12, 2016

My Two Roarkes






Audio-books have become almost as important to me as the fuel I need to drive myself to work. I’m pretty much in a constant state of listening to audio-books. There are few things that will make your day more delightful than being in the grips of a great book while behind the wheel of your car. Traffic worries and the overall stress of the day to day grind seem to melt away as I listen to a work of art coming to life inside my head.

One of my favorite series is JD Robb’s In Death saga. I’ve read the entire collection and a couple of years ago, I found another way to enjoy the set when I discovered it on Audible. A new title had just been released and I decided to try it as an audio-book instead of reading the print. I thought I’d made a huge mistake when I began to listen and heard the narrator’s depiction of certain character’s voices. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an amazing performer and now I couldn’t think of a better choice for the job. I have almost the entire set downloaded and have listened to some titles more than once. Judgement In Death is my absolute favorite! That first listen however…just wasn’t what I’d expected when it came to her depiction of the hero’s voice. 

For those of you who are unaware of this series (where the heck have you been??!!) Seriously, it is masterfully written work and you’d do yourself a tremendous favor by getting into it print or otherwise. While the heroine Eve Dallas is a force to be reckoned with, it’s the hero Roarke that steals it. I read a lot-A LOT- and I’ve not found a hero written by anyone -other than myself J- that I adore more than Roarke. I don’t know where the inspiration for his character came from, I’m just thrilled that it came.



Print Roarke blew me away. Audio Roarke now holds me in a state of awe. Listening to Susan Ericksen’s depiction of this Hero of Heroes at first rubbed me the wrong way because in my mind no one could be Roarke but…well…Roarke. Take it easy I’m not losing my mind- not all of it J- I’m simply saying that for me, there’s just no one who could appropriately depict this guy. 

With all the movies and TV shows being adapted from so many dynamic books, I know an In Death series in visual format can’t be too much farther down the pipeline and I hope it stays there. I honestly don’t know where they’d find the guy who could step into that role. I can’t think of one actor right now who could play the Irish billionaire. Understand, it goes beyond Roarke’s looks- which are killer. There’s the personality, voice, style, charisma…too many attributes to name. Maybe I’m fretting for nothing and that undiscovered actor will grow on me. No rush. Print and audio Roarke are working just fine.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Time Out Thursday: Spilt Milk

Did you know that today is National Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk Day? What a terrific idea for a holiday, and what perfect timing too.   I don’t know about you, but as we wrap up this, the sixth week of 2016, there’s already a trail of disgarded resolutions and good intentions behind me.  Just take a look at this score card:
  • Write 2K words a day and wrap up revisions by January 20?  Failed.
  • Limit my time online?  Failed.
  • Resolve to not let online discussions bother me?  Double fail.

There’s more, but posting the entire list of my failed resolutions would take up too much space on this blog.

Besides, they’re in the past.  There’s nothing I can do about my past failures, except let them go and try again.  There’s only one problem: I’m not very good at letting go. Instead, I carry them with me in a giant metaphorical backpack, one mistake piled on another, ready to be pulled out and remembered at any time.  If wanted, I could pull out mistakes I made in kindergarten.  (And since I mentioned it, I’m sorry Barb C for stealing Ronnie away from you during snack time by promising him Fritos.)   As you can guess,  by this point in my life, I’m carrying a pretty heavy load of mistakes.

Something tells me I’m not alone.  That there are a lot you out there.  Maybe you’re beating yourself up because of an argument you had on Twitter an hour ago, or ashamed of yourself because you submitted an online pitch with a typographical error in the first paragraph.   Raise your hand it this is true.

Don’t Cry Over Spilt was made for people like me.  It’s a reminder that what’s past is past.  Barring some change in the time-space continuum, we’re never going to be able to change what happened so waste energy beating ourselves up?   

In doing a little research, I discovered that no one is entirely sure where the phrase “Don’t Cry of Spilt Milk” came from.  It appeared in a book a proverbs in the mid 17th Century, but no one knows from where.  Some believe it began back in the days people believed in fairies.  A little spilt milk wasn't to be mourned because it  meant you were leaving an offering for the fairies (which made the fairies happy).  I like that theory.  It means that all my screw ups and mistakes are fodder for future happiness.  

Of course, it's also possible that it began because some wise mother wanted to comfort her child.  another theory is that it was started by some wise mother trying to comfort her child.  

In the end, where the phrase started.  The meaning stays basically the same.  Things happen.  Milk is spilt.  Stupid tweets get posted.   Emails get ignored by colleagues.  We can either dwell on them or we can get over ourselves and move forward.   

For today at least, I’m going to try option number 2.  How about you?

When she’s not obsessing over her many past mistakes,  Barbara Wallace writes classic romance for Harlequin.  Her latest release, SAVED BY THE CEO is on shelves now.

 


After a horribly public divorce, Louisa Harrison has escaped to Tuscany craving peace and quiet. But gorgeous local tycoon Nico Amatucci sends her heart into overdrive…especially when he kisses her! 

Nico comes to Louisa's rescue when their romance makes headlines, but Louisa's determined to prove she's no damsel in distress! Being in Nico's arms makes her feel stronger than she's ever felt before, but is she brave enough to entrust him with her just-healed heart? 

Amazon    







Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Writers Wednesday: The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Writing Fortune!

Heidi Rice talks about her lost six months in 2015... And her super busy start to 2016! And what exactly it all has to do with Hamlet...

My only release in 2015!
I had a bit of a lost year in 2015 when it came to book releases, and productive work frankly.... After finishing the revisions on my first women's fiction title in January, I only had one major deadline - for the Fairy Tales of New York continuity book I had agreed to do with Amy Andrews, Kelly Hunter and Lucy King. I loved brainstorming and writing Tempting the Knight for Tule, but once it was finished, and had been released in June, I had no other contract deadlines for 2015... Because Mira UK had pushed back the release of my first women's fiction book to February 2016, the second book on that contract now wasn't due in till mid 2016. So began six months of pratting about, writing bits of that second book, and doing proposals for other series lines to replace the gap in my career left by the demise of KISS in 2014...

I'm not gonna lie to you, it was a stressful and not all that productive time writing-wise. There's nothing like the failure of a line that you loved writing for to really knock your confidence. Suddenly I was asking myself questions like, can I really still do this? Was I mad deciding to take time out to write a longer book? Maybe I should jack this in and go back to journalism? Fun stuff like that. Seriously The Prince of Denmark had nothing on me and my voice of doom.

Luckily I had some great help from my writing mates - Abby Green, Fiona Harper, Iona Grey and Scarlet Wilson - who were kind enough to tell me to stop being an idiot! And the massive ego boost of getting a RITA nomination for 10 Rules to Sex-Up a Blind Date didn't hurt either - and also gave me an excellent excuse to go to the RWA conference in NYC and re-immerse myself in why I wanted to do this job in the first place...

But I also learned an important lesson over those six months... Ultimately the only thing you can control is your writing. Everything else is in the hands of the writing gods (who just happen to look like Jamie Dornan and Chris Hemsworth btw). And after half a year of panic and procrastination and false starts things finally started to look up. All in the space of about a week...

I got the cover and blurb for my women's fiction novel now called So Now You're Back. Yum! It was actually happening....



Tule invited me to write a Bad Boy Short.... Hell Yeah!

And Harlequin offered me a two-book Presents contract on the strength of one of those many proposals. YAY!

My Tule short...
But then suddenly I had a mad scramble on my hands. I had two books to finish - the Bad Boy Short, now called Daring the Bad Boy, was due in at the beginning of January. The first Presents was due at the end of January. I also had to do a total redesign of my website, set up a newsletter (the first one has yet to be written!),  create a proper author page on Facebook, redesign my blog and judge the Scantilly Tales competition. And then of course there was also a family Christmas and New Year to fit in somewhere too (and buying presents for my guys and my EIGHT nieces and nephews is no joke! ). But I'd never been happier. Because as stressful as this job is at times, it's always better to be writing than worrying about writing.

Now it's February and I've got that Presents to my editor, Daring the Bad Boy is out and proud, my website is about to launch, So Now You're Back will be out on 25th and I'm looking forward to two more projects to finish this year - the second Presents and the second women's fiction book - not to mention a glitzy trip to the RNA awards do in March to cheer on my super brilliant writing mates Scarlet and Iona...

So thank you Chris and Jamie, for finally pulling your oars out! About time too...

Have you had any major ups and downs in the last year? How is the new year looking writing wise? I'd love to know I'm not the only one riding this rollercoaster.

Heidi is currently writing her second women's fiction book, doing promo on her two new releases... And looking for a new posh frock for the RNA awards in March. Not necessarily in that order.




Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Tuesday Talk Time: I Miss Bookstores


Today on the Pink Heart Society, columnist Candace Shaw shares her memories of
bookstores.

Almost every weekend as a little girl my parents and I would do either two things: go to the beach  or to a bookstore. Like my mother and her father, I’m an avid reader. My nose was always in a book for as long as can remember. I enjoyed our weekend trips to the bookstore and sometimes the library when I’d spent all my allowance on books.

As I grew older, so did my love for reading and my journeys to bookstores. When I met my husband, he was surprised that for one of our dates I suggested lunch and then Barnes and Noble. I think he thought I wanted to pick up one or two books not spend two to three hours browsing the shelves, sitting on the floor surrounded by books, skimming the non-fiction section and reading magazines. And of course my favorite was stopping by the coffee shop for caramel cappuccino and a Danish. After awhile he began to enjoy the outings as well and considering we’re educators, we were both buying books for our classroom reading centers.

It became a routine for many years well into our marriage to the point of just passing by one, we’d stop by it. However, now with most of the bookstores closed in Metro Atlanta, including our favorite one where we knew the employees, shopping for books on line just doesn’t have the same passion for me. And I love to shop. The closest one to me is miles and miles away and while we do go occasionally, I find myself downloading books to my Kindle because it’s quicker, and I don’t have to leave my home.
Apart of me is grateful for the easy access to the books thanks to technology. However, there’s another part of me that’s sad because one of my favorite outings since childhood is gone.

Do you miss bookstores or are you happy that a book is just one-click away? Let us know in the comments.

Candace Shaw writes fun, flirty, and sexy romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google Plus. Check out her books on her website at CandaceShaw.net. Below is her latest release, For the Love of You.
Zaria Richardson is determined to make her event planning company, Precious Moments, the most sought after on St. Simons Island, Georgia. When Dr. Garrett Braxton approaches her with shocking information about their rendezvous last year to Las Vegas, the perfect life she’s created for herself comes crashing down. All of her mixed emotions over the suave, irresistible doctor rise to the surface, and now she’s faced with a life-changing decision.

Garrett has been in love with the ravishing, sassy beauty since he first laid eyes on her. However, with an unexpected circumstance, he now knows more than ever that Zaria has always been the one for him. Can he convince her that they’re truly meant to be?

For the Love of You is the first novella in the Precious Moments Series.

Monday, February 08, 2016

The Many Ways to Love a Hard Man by Lindsay Evans













Greetings, everyone! I’m Lindsay Evans, a new columnist for The Pink Heart Society. I’m chatting about one of my favorite men today, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a big piece of perfection.

He can be the ideal Alpha top, his delicious Dorito-shaped body tattooed and bulging with muscles as he sweats and grunts his way through any action he runs into. And I imagine him being a more than serviceable Beta baby. His smile is to swoon for, a thing of beauty that can drop panties at a thousand paces while he’s being all sweet and accommodating, singing adorable songs as he calls you “darling” and runs the perfect temperature bath water. He’s a versatile man and that’s one of the many things I enjoy about him.


The Rock DJ, as I call him in my sometimes complicated fantasies, has been on my radar for years. Wrestler. Actor. Daddy. All around Good Guy. He plays many parts and plays them incredibly well, and while also being incredibly well-dressed. From tailored suits to sweat-drenched workout gear, he just makes you want to strip him down and lick the salt taste from every possible surface, nook, and cranny. A rock of love, if you will.

I've enjoyed DJ in everything I've seen him in, even those wrestling outfits (maybe especially those). For years now, I've been teasing a friend of mine that I'll write a romance novel about him or RPF (real person fan fiction) with his name just thinly veiled enough for me to avoid a law suit. In these fictional scenarios, I can never decide whether or not to make my friend his love interest or take that role on myself. I suppose I can always make us co-lovers. I’m pretty sure The Rock DJ can handle both of us. He strikes me as a man who can multitask well.

In addition to being able to successfully complete more than one task at a time, in real life, I also adore a lover with a sense of humor. Make me laugh and the panties are already half way off. The Rock DJ’s got jokes for days. Whether hilariously posing with his cheat day meals or rescuing a puppy from certain death at the expense of a (wet) shirt, The Rock DJ is my man.



The other thing about DJ that makes him like no other is that grille. His teeth are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! That smile and the way he effortlessly flashes it and seems authentic and warm even in the most canned of publicity shots makes all the basements flood. I’m a teeth lover from way back, so this man and his gorgeous set of pearly whites are the very definition of perfection.

And while I can’t always smell what The Rock is cookin, I’m fully ready and eager to receive whatever he serves up.

But what do you think? Do only Alpha guys do it for you? Would you kick slimmed-down and sweet DJ out of bed? Leave comments and/or pics of your favorite Beta men below.



Sunday, February 07, 2016

Weekend Wildcard: Stefanie London's new adventures

As an author, I expect to be asked a lot of questions. For many people, meeting a published author is a rare occurrence and it’s the kind of career that many people are curious about.

Telling people that you write romance often means you’ll be asked the following:

  • Is it like 50 shades of Grey?
  • Is it a trashy Mills and Boon novel? (to which I delightfully reply ‘yes, but it’s not trashy’)
  • Are you writing romance so you can break into real fiction?
  • Do you have to do a lot of research? *wink wink nudge nudge*
  • Don’t you think you’re setting false expectations about love/sex/marriage/life?
  • How much do you get paid for a book?

Thankfully there are also questions that I love getting asked: ‘where can I buy a copy / will you sign it for me?’ I want to hug those people.

At the Niagara Falls Library
Knowing that people will always ask these questions I always smile and offer a myth buster about romance novels. I love to show my passion for the genre, though it often falls on deaf ears.

But do I ever get sick of being asked questions? No way, not even the ones that make me cringe. Honestly, I could talk about my job all day. I love it more than anything I’ve ever done.

This week I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at a library here in Ontario. Meeting aspiring authors is always a treat—I love their enthusiasm, their passion for the genre and their excitement at what the future may hold for their writing.

It’s food for my writer’s soul.

It’s on that note that I must let you all I know I’m no longer going to be doing regular columns for Pink Heart Society. I’m very sad about this, but my workload is getting bigger and one of my personal goals for 2016 was to make sure I have time off.

Like some time off…any at all. Which is not what it was like last year.

If you’re interested in what I’m working on and what I have coming up, then here’s a snapshot:

  • My ‘Dangerous Bachelors Club’ series for Harlequin Blaze is growing! Book #2 (A Dangerously Sexy Affair) is out in April and I am currently working on Book #3 (A Dangerously Sexy Secret). There will be six books in total.
  • I’m continuing to write romantic comedies for Entangled Lovestruck and my next one is out in March! Details below.
  • I’m also kicking off a new series with Entangled Indulgence, which is based around a super wealthy family in Melbourne who own a luxury department store company.

There will be more, I’m sure. But I’m trying to learn how to pace myself. It’s not easy, let me tell you. My husband jokes that I only have two speeds: sleeping and pedal to the floor.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the amazing PHS editorial team and all the other wonderful authors who blog here. I’ve enjoyed working with you all so much. Thanks for making me feel so welcome and for giving me space on this fabulous blog.


Stefanie London's latest romantic comedy, Loving the Odds, is out in March!

Risk analyst Bailey Reuben might be in Las Vegas, but the last thing on her mind is sin. She’s there to find her jerk of an ex and get her grandfather’s watch back. Instead, she finds a smoking hot stranger. A stranger with a crazy plan to help her retrieve her family heirloom and get revenge. It’s a bad idea—she calculates risks for a living, after all—but she can’t say no.

Bad boy PR guru Lance Fulton is all about helping the gorgeous, quirky Bailey. She’s in desperate need of some fun, and pretending to be her new boyfriend is the perfect way to help her see how sexy she is, get the watch, and show her ex what he’s missing. But the more they get to know each other—and the hotter their attraction burns—the higher the probability one of them will end up with a broken heart…