Friday, December 13, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Hi everyone and thanks for having me on the blog today. What I want to talk to you about today is why I love writing romance. Cos I reckon it's important.
I've been writing since I was twelve years old and most of my friends and family knew I loved to write. But when I finally 'came out' that I was writing romance and that I intended to try getting published as a romance author, one of the first questions they asked was 'but are you ever going to write anything else?'
And the answer to that is: Never say never but chances are I probably won't.
Romance is what I love to write. Human relationships are the glue that holds society together and I'm fascinated by them, especially romantic relationships. Love is an awesome thing and it has a lot of power, and exploring the pain and heartache and joy that goes along with falling in love is an amazing thing for an author.
Let's face it, real life can suck so hard sometimes. And part of what I adore most about being a writer is the fact that I can take two broken people who have had bad things happen to them, and give them the happy ending they deserve. Because there really aren't enough happy endings in this world.
I guess this is why I find writing romance an honour and a privilege. It's like I'm putting a little more love out there in the world. Giving people a little more of the happy, a little more of the optimism. The sense that bad things can happen but you'll be okay and that happiness is possible. In fact, it's not only possible but necessary and deserved.
Romance isn't fluff and nonsense. It's powerful and amazing. Yes, sometimes the characters are larger than life and sometimes so are the situations, but the heart of every great romance novel deals with something everyone single person in the whole world can relate to – we all want love and a happy ending (even though we won't admit it).
So yeah, I'm pretty happy with writing romance thank you very much. And I'm thoroughly stoked that another two of my broken people – Luke and Marisa – are now out in the world and have the happy ending they deserved.
What about you guys? What is it about reading romance that you love? Do you shout about it or is it a guilty pleasure? And what's your favourite kind to read?
He glanced down at her again, his expression all intense glare and stern mouth. And she had the insane urge to pull his bow tie. Mess him up. Rumple him in some way.
“I’m leading,” he said in a tone that suggested the conversation was over. “So unless you want your foot to be stepped on again, I suggest you keep quiet and let me count. At least until this is over.” A pause. “Please.”
The please did nothing for her temper. She didn’t want to stay dancing with him, pressed up against him. His hand on her back. Hers on his chest. Touching.
This attraction was already making her breathless, and the longer she stayed like this, the more uncomfortable it was going to get. When it came to men, she preferred to be the one in control because there was only one end to chemistry like this. She’d been there before and it was bad. Very bad. Attractive, womanizing men were right at the top of her list of things to avoid like the plague. Especially attractive, womanizing men who were also her uptight boss.
Marisa stared at his shirt, contemplating her options.
The cotton was very white. Snowy, it could be said. Her gaze followed the line of buttons to his throat, where his bow tie rested, straight and begging to be tweaked.
She slid her hand up his chest. Took one end of the tie in her fingers. Pulled.
Luke instantly looked down. “What are you doing?”
Maris ignored the demand in his tone. Slowly she flicked open the buttons of his shirt, one by one, exposing smooth, brown skin.
Oh yeah. Hot. So hot.
He’d come to a dead stop. “Marisa? What are you—”
She rose up on her tiptoes, leaned forward, and pressed a kiss onto the lapel of his shirt. Her signature deep red contrasted beautifully with the white cotton.
Abruptly, Luke let her go, and she wasn’t slightly disappointed
at the loss. Oh no, she wasn’t. “What the hell?” He was staring down at the mark her mouth had left, growing horror on his face.
Ah, finally, signs of life. “I’m making sure you look like someone’s been playing with you.”
Anger flashed in his eyes. “You put lipstick on my goddamn shirt.”
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This was going to be a sweet little cautionary tale about remembering, as readers, authors, and all-around busy people, to de-stress during the holidays. As an author, I’m always on some sort of a deadline, and it’s no different this season. I’m only chapters away from finishing a book draft due in January. With most of my Christmas decorations still in boxes downstairs, this is a stressful place to be.
But, I have a few secret ways to spend the moments I’m not writing, and one of them, supposedly, is getting those boxes upstairs and prepping for the holidays. I thought, in my naiveté, I’d write about how to make that fun in the midst of writing. I started by living a couple of my own pre-holiday rituals so I could give you examples, one of which is washing all the linens, doilies and things that have sat around collecting dust for the year. I’m here to report, my wonderful how-to de-stress blog idea literally blew up in my washing machine. I was suddenly looking at typing out a shrill warning about the very stressful dangers of washing a 45-year-old pillow that read “Litter Laws Strictly Enforced” with black socks and your mother’s hand-sewn Hardanger doilies.
After thinking it through, however, I realized there wasn’t much to say. “Don’t do it, it totally stresses you out,” pretty much covers the subject. And if you don’t believe me, a picture is worth a novel’s-worth of words:
So, after a few deep breaths, I rethought the whole de-stress subject and came up with a little change. My new topic: “Things less stressful than deadlines, cleaning out washing machines, OR prepping for the holidays.” In truth, my real secret thing to do when I want to relax and not think of another single, solitary word that has be typed, or gift that needs to be purchased, is to sew.
Quilting—the precision of cutting fabric, the satisfaction of sewing a perfectly straight quarter-inch seam, and the excitement of putting together coordinating fabrics to create a thing of beauty—is usually the perfect antithesis to holiday stress and the messiness of writing a book.
But here’s the real story. Because of this belief that quilting makes everything better, my sister-in-law and I signed up earlier this year for a quilting class in a new-to-us technique. Advance my skills, I thought. A lovely little change of pace. Something fun for Christmas.
Enter THE QUILT CLASS FROM THE INSANE ASYLUM.
I’m talking about an innocuous-sounding, three-Mondays-for-three-hours course called Paper Piecing Technique. Cool. Make a pretty wall hanging or pillow. Write a nice little blog about it, right? Not so fast.
When we went to pick up patterns and supplies, “surprised” doesn’t begin to cover our reactions. Can you say biggest quilt I’ve ever made? Can you say pointy pieces of fabric, reams of paper with indecipherable markings on them, and intricate designs?
We should have backed out then and there. But—no.
Our first task was to assemble fabrics. Now, SIL and I live by the credo that she who dies with the most fabric wins. SIL is currently winning – has been for years – but I’m doing my best. I needed 19 different fabrics, and I had 13 of them in my stash. (I think that says something about my mental state.) This might have been the first moment when I wondered if this particular sewing project might be a tad on the not-relaxing side.
Then came the first class. Three hours of total confusion. (Okay, so the last half hour we did figure out how to cut apart the forty-five sheets of indecipherable pattern pieces.) I started to realize this might not be done for Christmas—and if I worked on it too much, neither would my book. All I’d wanted was a nice little distraction to rest my typing fingers for an hour or so. Instead I got six or seven hours of homework.
Don’t get me wrong. After all the classes, we decided paper piecing is a gas of a technique to learn, but, make no mistake, it is NOT a restful respite from my deadline pressures or a way to relax from the bustle of Christmas. Restful sewing about now would be making a patchwork quilt for a Cabbage Patch Kid.
And, so, I ended up with a cautionary tale after all: It’s important to relax during the holidays. Imperative, in fact. But when you think about how, remember even things you love can be overdone. Set your priorities carefully. Spend time with your family. Get your writing done. Get your reading done. But everything else is only important if it truly makes you happy. (Shopping? Sorry, I got nothin’ for that—it’s a built in stress-creator.) De-stress by being happy.
As for my brilliant, relaxing Christmas quilting class/project—let’s just say creating a story is no harder and cleaning up after an exploded pillow was less stressful. I think I’ll save that quilt for after the holidays.
What about you? Do you have a sure-fire de-stressor for the holiday season? What do you do to relax from your job—be it writing or working at a day job—or both!
As a present to one lucky commenter, I have a pair of e-books—my first two Avon releases: “The Rancher and the Rock Star,” and “Rescued by a Stranger.” May they bring you a few moments in which to relax! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years!
Monday, December 9, 2013
Sugar Springs #2
Releasing January 1st, 2014
Joanie Bigbee, cupcake baker extraordinaire, likes to keep her options open--and she's good at it. She's started and sold some 30 businesses in her postage stamp-sized Tennessee town, and at the moment she can be found in a short skirt and go-go boots, selling cupcakes out of the back of a converted Volkswagen van. What she moves on to next is anybody's guess. She knows better than to be tied down. In any way. She's watched every woman in her family fall head-over-heels, only to find themselves wondering how to pick up the pieces when love is lost.
When Nick Dalton shows up at the groovy cupcakery, all Joanie wants is a taste; a fling with no strings suits her just fine. But for Nick, a bite is not enough; he wants the whole cake: a big house, a family, true love. But love only makes you stupid, right? Joanie has to decide whether to follow where her free-spirit leads? or hold on to the sweetest thing she's ever known.
Sweet Nothings, book two in the SUGAR SPRINGS series, get it NOW with Kindle First!
What is Kindle First? That means that Amazon Prime members get to choose one of four editor picks (one month before release date) and get the book for free. Non-Prime members can choose one of the four books and pay only $1.99. This goes for the whole month of December, and then the books officially release on January 1.
Link to Follow Tour:
Award-winning author Kim Law wrote her first story, “The Gigantic Talking Raisin,” in elementary school. Although it was never published, it was enough to whet her appetite for a career in writing. First, however, she would try her hand at a few other passions: baton twirling, softball, and music, to name a few. Voted “Bookworm” and “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school, she went on to earn a college degree in mathematics.
Law spent years working as a computer programmer and raising her son, and she now devotes her time and energy to writing romance novels (none of which feature talking raisins).
She is a Romance Writers of America’s RITA® finalist, a past winner of the RWA’s Golden Heart® Award, and currently serves as president for her local RWA chapter. Her books can best be described as a light-hearted mix taking her readers on a sexy, fun, and emotional ride. A native of Kentucky, she now lives with her husband and an assortment of animals in her Middle Tennessee home.
Rafflecopter Giveaway (Grand prize will be a cupcake basket with: A jumbo cupcake pan, A cupcake recipe book, Jumbo cupcake liners, Cupcakes sprinkles, A cupcake decorating kit, Cupcake measuring cups, An autographed copy of Sweet Nothings, And a cupcake recipe unique to my book)
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
All I Want for Christmas is...
Time. Time to spend with friends and family, catching up on old times and new. Pot luck dinners and cocktail parties with colleagues and friends.
Time to take a friend to lunch, swap stories about our kids, and eat a meal I didn't have to cook.
Time to attend my kids school party and make paper ring garlands for them to count off the days until Christmas.
It used to be I loved Christmas for all the wonderful presents I'd received. The anticipation of seeing the packages stacked under the tree and counting how many were for me. Now, it's the time I spend with family and friends that brings me the most joy. Those moments I treasure with my little girl and my boys, making memories that last far longer than the excitement of a new gift.
I want Christmas carols and cookies I baked with my kids. I want wrapping paper littering the floor and dishes piled in the sink because we're all too busy having fun and talking to care. I want my family surrounding me around the dinner table, sharing a good meal and great laughs.
I want my kids tucked in bed, exhausted from all the fun, and that moment my husband and I fall into bed exhausted, knowing it wasn't the presents our kids will remember, but the memories and traditions we created that they'll hold onto and share with their own kids.
My fans would probably say the next book in my series.
All I Want for Christmas is a Cowboy, including Can't Wait
Before The Hunted Series began, Summer and Caleb shared a whirlwind romance.
Though she is the woman of his dreams, Caleb Bowden knows his best friend's sister, Summer Turner, is off limits. He won't cross that line, which means Summer will just have to take the reins if she wants her cowboy for Christmas.
What do you want for Christmas this year? Leave a comment and I'll pick four lucky winners to receive a free digital copy of All I Want For Christmas Is A Cowboy.
About the Author:
Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series, writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home, and how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.
Please visit her website at www.jennifer-ryan.com for information about upcoming releases.
Follow her on:
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Dec. 7th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Heather will be giving away a copy of Forget Me Not to one lucky person leaving a comment or email entry.
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Dec. 5th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.