Friday, July 31, 2015

ROMANCE NOVEL HEAT LEVELS

I write all heat level except erotica. I think whether or not the couple has sex depends on the characters and their situation but some readers don’t understand the difference in the ratings. Please let me explain the way I see these ratings.


 Sweet – This involves no touching below the neck except the arms and hands. I have written sweet novels over the years. More of them later than earlier. A great author to read for sweet romance novels is Debra Holland and her Montana Sky series and Mail Order Brides of the West series. Another, if you like humor, is Kirsten Osbourne. My sweet novels are O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE, WINTER BRIDE, STONE MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS (novella), TABITHA’S JOURNEY (novella), LONG WAY HOME (novella), STONE MOUNTAIN REUNION (a short story) and the contemporaries HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME and mysteries DEATH IN THE GARDEN and ALMOST HOME. One of my favorite sweet with a hard edge series is the 1947 serial WOMEN OF COURAGE: LOVE RELEASED by Geri Foster. This is superb writing that keeps me hooked on every line. I feel as if I know these characters personally.



Sensual – Many of my novels fall into this category. There’s consummated sex but it’s not of the super-steamy variety. Those include GABE KINCAID, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME (novella), THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND, OUT OF THE BLUE (time travel), MAIL ORDER PROMISE (in the duet MAIL-ORDER TANGLE with Jacquie Rogers) and the contemporary BE MY GUEST. In fact, some of sex scenes are between a hero and heroine who are married. Those would be BRAZOS BRIDE (now free), THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE (now free), THE MOST UNSUITABLE COURTSHIP, BLUEBONNET BRIDE, McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE, and THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE. If you like sensual novels, you’ll enjoy reading books by Cynthia Woolf, Callie Hutton, Jacquie Rogers, and Sylvia McDaniel.

Steamy – Involves more graphic sexual terms and longer sex scenes. I’m not sure I’ve written any novels in the steamy category, but if I have it’s the contemporary SNOWFIRES.  Someone who does steamy extremely well is Anna Jeffrey. Her THE TYCOON and THE CATTLEMAN will leave you breathless. I can hardly wait until she releases the third in the Sons of Texas series, THE HORSEMAN. In the meantime, you can preorder her super steamy DESIRED for only 99 cents.



Erotica --  Graphic and may include BDSM. One I’ve read that was well-written was by Sylvia Day. Other well known authors are E. L. James and Desiree Holt. I haven’t written anything in this genre.  



Every reader has specific expectations from a novel. Whatever you want from your time spent reading, there’s a romance novel waiting to take you on an exciting adventure with a happily ever after ending.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SIZZLING SUMMER CASH FROM AUTHORS

sizzling summer giveaway

Sizzling Summer $250 Cash Giveaway
July 27th to August 16th

An Awesome Group of Authors & Bloggers have joined with me to bring you 1 fabulous prize!!

We’re giving away $250 in Paypal Cash!

Sponsor List – Thanks to these great authors & bloggers for making this giveaway possible!

I Am A Reader
Ann Swann - Suspense and more
Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author
Suzi Love
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
The Page Unbound
The Discerning Reader
Unshelfish
Raven Haired Girl
Author Inger Iversen
J.C. Whyte, author
Glistering Bs Blog
inspiredboosguide
Lori's Reading Corner
The BookBarn
Simple Wyrdings
Stacy Claflin, Author
Caroline Clemmons
Diana's Book Reviews
Kelly's Lucky You
Katie's Clean Book Collection
Aubrey Wynne: Romantasy Through the Ages
D.E. Haggerty author
Rockin' Book Reviews
B. Kristin McMichael
Chapter by Chapter
Jenny S. Burke
Julia E. Antoine
Jennifer Faye, Romance Author
Heather Gray, Author
MagicalCoolCatMysteries


Giveaway Details


$250 in Paypal Cash (alternately the winner can choose a $250 Amazon.com Gift Code)


Ends 8/16/15


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Monday, July 27, 2015

INTERVIEW WITH HEBBY ROMAN

Please welcome Hebby Roman to the blog today. I’ve been acquainted with Hebby for many years through writer groups plus she lives not that far from me. She graciously agreed to an interview today.

Caroline: Tell us something about yourself.

Hebby: I grew up in Del Rio, Texas, a small town in SW Texas on the Mexican border that my mother who was from North Little Rock, Arkansas deemed the edge of the world, and it was pretty desolate out there. We had lots of sheep ranchers, they were the local aristocracy and the real world intruded via Laughlin Air Force Base. I had one older sister, who was nine years older than me and because of the age difference, we weren't that close. I was definitely a "bookworm," carried books everywhere I went, was well known at local library, and had read all the classics by the time I was in high school.

I'm married, going on 28 years now. I have two step-sons and a son of my own from a former marriage, Kevin. I have a two year old granddaughter, Mackenzie, and another grandbaby on the way in January 2016.

Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and genres?

Hebby: Okay, that's a loaded question for an author with author friends. J I'm a fan of almost all kinds of romance and all us hard-working romance authors. Jodi Thomas is an old time favorite of mine. I also love historical fiction, and I usually read anything Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, and Helen Hollick write, to name a few historical fiction writers.

Caroline: I’ve read all of Jodi Thomas and Philippa Gregory’s books so I’m happy to have a couple of new names. What’s your favorite way to relax?

Hebby:  During the summer, I love to get in the pool, especially with my grandbaby. I like to cook and try new recipes. I'm addicted to all forms of electronic solitaire and mahjong. I love duplicate bridge but I don't have a partner right now. And the last thing I do each night is read. I may be a writer, but I still love to read, it's my number one "go to" escape.

Caroline: I love to read also and never trust an author who says he or she doesn’t have time to read. What’s your favorite quote?

Hebby: Live each day to its fullest.

Caroline: Good advice, too. I’ve known you 20 years. How long have you been writing?

Hebby: Since I was 10 years old when I wrote a 100 page notebook book. I started writing seriously for publication in 1990, was first published in 1996, dropped out of writing in 2002 due to family pressures, and dropped back into writing in 2012.

Caroline: Where do you prefer to write?

Hebby: In my study with music on. I don't like interruptions and I use a laptop.

Caroline: I also write to music. Are you a plotter or a panzer?

Hebby: Definitely a plotter.

Caroline: Me, too. Do you use real events or persons in your stories?

Hebby: Yes, I definitely use real people and events in my stories, but in bits and pieces. I take a piece from someone I know and a piece from a family member and event that happened in my past and weave them together. Then again, there are some parts of characters or events that are completely made up. For instance, I've never been to a formal ball in the 1860's but I've read about them and written a couple of them, too.

Caroline: So, true, which is why we are sticklers for research. Do you set daily writing goals?

Hebby: Yes, I set a goal but seldom make it. Life intervenes, usually. I try to use page count for my goal, not words, I still think in pages and words, too, but mostly pages, when it comes to goals. I don't get to write every day. I used to, during the summers, in traditional publishing when I was teaching. Wrote every day, but now social media and promotion gets in the way. Sigh.

Caroline: Isn’t that the truth! What do you hope your writing brings to readers?

Hebby: An easy escape from the cares of today's world, and a sense of justice that doesn't happen in real world. Everything turns out fair in my books, but not in the real world!

Caroline: Which is why I read romance novels. If I want unhappy, I’ll watch the news on TV. What long term plans do you have for your career?

Hebby: As fast as everything is changing, all I want to do is be around tomorrow and turning out quality writing.

Caroline: Again, so true. Share a fun fact about yourself.

Hebby: I'm definitely a warm-weather and beach girl. Both of my releases this summer take place in tropical locales with beaches nearby. TEMPT FORTUNE is set in Key West, Florida and CATALINA AND THE WINTER TEXAN is set on South Padre Island, Texas.

Caroline: Oooh, I’m so not a warm-weather person, which is odd for someone who lives in Texas. Share something about yourself that would shock readers.

Hebby: In the wake of Fifty Shades of Gray, you want moi to shock readers? Really? Okay, how about, my hubby of 28 years is my third. This one took!

Caroline: LOL Tell us about TEMPT FORTUNE.

Hebby: TEMPT FORTUNE is a stand-alone book. It has two main love stories and is the longest book I've ever written, topping 105,000 words. See, I do think about words, just not when I'm setting goals.

Caroline: That length is unusual in today’s fast-fix world but I know your writing is excellent and will doubtless keep readers intrigued and turning the page. Can you share a blurb?

Hebby: (this only talks about one of the love stories—the other love story is involved)

To escape an arranged marriage, Angelina Herrera flees to Key West to start a new life. But when her past catches up with her, she agrees to an arranged marriage in name only. Drawn to the independent Angelina, Alejandro Estava marries her. Outwardly he agrees to a platonic relationship because of his secret past. But forces more powerful than the hurricane descending on them unleashes their mutual passion and threatens their happiness.



Caroline: That captured my interest. How about giving readers an excerpt?

Hebby: Of course.

The magistrate cleared his throat loudly and intoned the opening words of the ceremony. Angelina strained to listen, but the words didn't quite register.

            She felt strange, as if she were standing outside her body and looking on. She'd acquiesced to their marriage because it was better than returning to Cuba and facing what her father had planned. Alejandro had promised she could live her life as she saw fit.

            But somehow, all his reassurances rang hollow. She was more than aware of their attraction to each other. How could they possibly withstand temptation, living together as man and wife?  And if they succumbed to temptation, there would be no easy annulment.

            The magistrate met her gaze and frowned. Impatience colored the tone of his voice when he repeated, "Will you, Angelina Herrera, take this man for your lawfully wedded husband? For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to honor and obey?"

            The word "obey" stuck in her mind.

            What had she gotten herself into?

Caroline: You hooked me. Share the buy links:

Hebby:

The Wild Rose Press


Hebby Roman, Author

Caroline: How about sharing your author contacts?

Hebby: Happy to share those.

Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?

Hebby: Yes, please check out my Pinterest Boards. I've got some seriously cool pictures up there and lots of history, too.

Caroline: Thank you, Hebby, for sharing with us today Best wishes for continued success in your writing career.





Friday, July 24, 2015

HERO AND HEROINE CHARACTER STUDIES

My recent release, McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE, McClintock book three, has met with enthusiastic sales. This is what every author hopes for. We write—usually in solitary confinement—while hoping our efforts will produce a book that readers love. Thank you to those of you who’ve bought my book! A double thank you to those of you who’ve left a review!

Today I wanted to reward readers by giving the backstory for Nettie Clayton and Josh McClintock. Ladies first.

Nettie Sue Clayton
Nettie Sue Clayton was born in Newcastle, England to Grace and Council Clayton. Her older sister, Stella Grace Clayton, became Nettie’s best friend. The two were usually together and loved school and music. While in England, the Clayton family owned a piano that had belonged to Grace’s parents. The opportunity to move to the U.S.A. meant they had to sell much of their belongings, including the piano.

Like the other members of her family, Nettie is musically inclined and has a beautiful singing voice which blends perfectly with that of her sister and brother. While they lived in England, Nettie’s younger brother, Colin, died of diphtheria. This resulted in a gap of four years between Nettie and Lance.

In the U.S., the Clayton family came to Lignite, Texas where Council worked as a coal miner and crew chief. Although the family members were disappointed in the town, Council viewed his time in Lignite and Farland Coal Mine as a stepping stone. He and Grace kept that to themselves rather than build false hope in their children.

Nettie Wants her father out of the mine
Nettie and Stella convinced tight-fisted Mr. Farland to let them use a building for a school. He agreed, but the sisters didn’t get a salary. Nettie taught children up to eight, concentrating on teaching them English due to the fact immigrants from numerous countries worked at the mine. Stella taught students from ages nine until they left school. They hoped one day to teach in a paying position. In addition, both wanted their father to leave mining and work in a safer and healthier job. He’d already developed a miner’s cough.

When Stella married Finn O’Neill (O’NEILL’S TEXAS BRIDE), Finn arranged for the Clayton family to move to McClintock Falls, Texas. Nettie had a huge crush on Josh, even though Finn warned her Josh was not marriage material. She knew she had no chance with Josh, but that didn’t prevent her from dreaming about him.


Josh McClintock
Joshua “Josh” Victor McClintock was born the eldest child of Kathryn and Austin McClintock. His younger brother, Daniel, and younger sister, Rebecca, completed the family. Kathryn had a stillborn son between Daniel and Rebecca. When Josh was nine, his cousin Dallas McClintock came to live with Kathryn and Austin and became like a big brother to Josh and Daniel.

Josh and his brother (including Dallas) worked on the ranch and received a portion of the profits. Dallas used his earnings to purchase his own ranch. Rather than doing ranch work, Rebecca assisted her mother with her midwifery and herbal healing practice.

Josh works hard on the ranch
Josh’s grandfather, Victor, and great grandfather had settled McClintock Falls. The family was wealthy and well-respected in the community—even Dallas was respected for his skill with horses although people sunned him because he was half Cherokee (THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE now FREE). By the 1880s, the McClintock families were quite well to do for the time.

Josh is soft-hearted hidden behind a charming, rogue-like demeanor. He arranged a place to live for the Claytons that was within easy walking distance to town. In addition, he encouraged his grandfather to find a job for Council. Grandpa McClintock arranged for Council to take over the local barbershop, which provided a safe occupation indoors and without the physical demands of mining.

How the McClintock ranch might have appeared.

Knowing one day half of McClintock ranch would be his, Josh worked hard to not only preserve the land, but improve the ranch. He thought Nettie sweet and beautiful, but he knew she was the marrying kind and he had no plans to marry for six more years. When his best friends began to wed, however, Josh felt he no longer fit in their lives and found the companionship of bad influences. That’s where readers find him when the book opens.




There you have the lowdown on Nettie Clayton and Josh McClintock from McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE. In the event you haven’t read the book yet, I hope you will soon! Here are the buy links:

Amazon in Deutschland  http://www.amazon.de/dp/B011LGDP8U


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SERIES VS. SERIALS -- WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of people asking the difference between a series and a serial. With this in mind, I thought I’d explain the difference.

THE SERIES:

I write series. In each series title, a problem is introduced and solved in that book. All loose ends are tied up nicely and you’re not left wondering what happens next.  

Each book or novella in my series stands alone. You don’t have to have read any of the other books in the series to understand a title. A few characters from previous books pop up in additional titles. However, if you haven’t read other books in the series, you won’t be lost.

My current series are the Kincaids, Stone Mountain, and the McClintocks. Most of the singles in my publication list are actually the first of a series I’ve yet to develop. I always want to know what happens to the characters later, don’t you? In fact, I think of books as a group. My next series will be THE BRIDE BRIDGADE, set in fictional Tarnation, Texas, and will come out later this summer and fall and into next year. This series will have seven books, each the title of the woman who is the main character. JOSEPHINE is the first book. I already have the covers, which were designed by the talented Skhye Moncrief. (Skhye is also a writer.)



I compare a series to movies like those made from Louis L’Amour books or Indiana Jones. Each movie continues with the same main character/characters but the problem is resolved by the end of the movie.

I love reading series novels. What a joy to find a new book I like and discover it’s the first of a long series. My latest series acquisition is a book by Jodi Thomas. Whether historical or contemporary, her novels always engage me.

By the way, the first of my Stone Mountain books, BRAZOS BRIDE, is now free!


Here's the Amazon link: http://amzn.com/B007HS10SY

The first of the McClintock series, THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE, is also free:


The Amazon link is http://amzn.com/B008V1UG54


THE SERIAL:

In a serial, such as Geri Foster’s emotional WOMEN OF COURAGE: LOVE RELEASED books, the plot continues from one book to the next. In the first book of a serial, several problems are introduced. Some of those are resolved in the first book while others are left dangling. The book ends in a cliffhanger. As you move through the serial, new problems are introduced as others continue. The arc for characters and plot continues throughout the serial.

Think of 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS. That story is of a master serial teller. No doubt having her life at stake sharpened her imagination. 

I compare a serial to a television series such as “White Collar”, “Cedar Cove” or the Bourne movies. Although each episode introduces a new plot problem for the main characters to solve, some initial concerns continue. We don’t learn the outcome of the quest until the final episode. At that time, we see the main character/characters having achieved his/her/their goal to find contentment or happily-ever-after--or, rarely, having failed and resolved to fate.

When I was a child, I used to go to the movies on Saturday while my mom went to the laundromat and did her grocery shopping. There was always a serial which ended with a cliffhanger so the audience would be sure to come the next week. The plan worked because my friends and I wanted to see every episode of Jungle Jim or whoever the characters were.



Serial novels are very popular now. I resisted them until my critique partner, Geri Foster, wrote one so compelling I can hardly wait for the next installment. Wow! She so hooked me with engaging characters and episodes packed with emotion and action. If you haven’t read WOMEN OF COURAGE: LOVE RELEASED, the first episode is free here.  Just when I think Geri’s writing couldn’t possible improve, she proves me wrong and excels even more. The Amazon link for her free copy of LOVE RELEASED is http://amzn.com/B00WOG0GVG

By the way, next year you can look for a new WOMEN OF COURAGE serial titled LOVE RENEWED.


There you have the straight information on series vs. serials. Which do you prefer? Do you read both?

Monday, July 20, 2015

A TIME FOR EVERYTHING CREATES HOPE FROM DESPAIR




A TIME FOR EVERYTHING
by Mysti Parker


Mysti Parker will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter 

A TIME FOR EVERYTHING Blurb:

After losing her husband and only child to the ravages of the Civil War, twenty-five-year-old Portia McAllister is drowning in grief. When she sees an ad for a live-in tutor in another town, she leaves everything behind in hopes of making a fresh start. But as a Confederate widow in a Union household, she is met with resentment from her new charge and her employer, war veteran Beau Stanford.

Despite their differences, she and Beau find common ground and the stirrings of a second chance at love—until his late wife’s cousin, Lydia, arrives with her sights set on him. Burdened with a farm on the brink of bankruptcy, Beau is tempted by Lydia’s hefty dowry, though Portia has captured his heart.

In another time and another place, his choice would be easy. But love seems impossible amid the simmering chaos of Reconstruction that could boil over at any moment into an all-out battle for survival. Will Beau and Portia find their way into each other’s arms, or will they be swept away by raging forces beyond their control?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A TIME FOR EVERYTHING Excerpt:

Brentwood, Tennessee — December 25, 1865

The angels are coming.

Portia lay on the frozen ground between her husband and daughter. Snow fluttered softly toward the earth in delicate flakes, each one melting on her face with a pleasant sting. She wouldn’t have to wait much longer.

The sunrise, hidden by snow-laden clouds, gradually lit the gray sky. With numb fingers, she traced her husband’s name, carved into the stoic slate. Jake McAllister, but let her hand drop to the ground before she touched that wretched date. December 16, 1864 — the day her whole world began to fall apart.

It had been a day as cold as this one when Jake returned. Portia had stood on their porch, holding Abigail, both of them wrapped in shawls and a quilt. Yet the cold had managed to seep inside, wrapping icy fingers around her heart. Her husband lay lifeless in the back of a wagon. His once-rosy face had turned ashen. Blood caked his Confederate jacket. His hands, large and strong, yet once so gentle, were posed across his belly. His fingers were stiff and claw-like, wrapped around a phantom gun. He did not look like Jake. It had to have been a mannequin with a wig the same dusty red shade of his hair.

“That’s not him,” she’d repeated to the men who’d so methodically carried him into the house. Jake would pop out from somewhere, still the jokester he had always been, and she would slap him for playing such a cruel prank. Then she would laugh with him and hold him tight because he had finally returned to her and Abby.

But the longer her eyes absorbed the wretched sight, the more evidence she had discovered. Little freckles and scars she knew so well. The pea-sized patch on his jaw where his beard never grew. The missing end of his middle finger, taken by a vicious dog when they were children.

It wasn’t a joke. Jake was dead.


Mysti Parker, Author

Mysti Parker is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series and The Roche Hotel romantic comedy series. Her short writings have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her award-winning historical romance, A TIME FOR EVERYTHING, will be published this summer by EsKape Press.

Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University's seven week online course, F2K. She has published two children's books (QUENTIN'S PROBLEM & FUZZY BUZZY'S TREASURE) as Misty Baker.

When she's not writing fiction,Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specific publication. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Author Links:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, July 17, 2015

THANK YOU AND GET READY FOR THE NEXT PARTY WITH THE COWBOY HEROES OF THE WEST!

Thanks to those of you who attended my Facebook Launch Party on Thursday evening for McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE. We had a lovely party.

Special thanks to Cynthia Woolf, Jacquie Rogers, Callie Hutton, Debra Holland, and Hildie McQueen for helping host the party. Thanks to Sara Benedict of Your Elemental Solutions for setting up the party and helping things go smoothly.

Each of us gave away her own prizes and I lost track of who won what from whom except for those I awarded. Congratulations to my winners:

The overall Grand Prize of a $25. Amazon gift card went to Shirl Deems. 


Morse Dawn, Debbie Chinault Underwood, and Katherine Boyer won an e-copy of McCLINTOCK’S RELUCTANT BRIDE.


Aleen Davis and Tina Hairston won an e-copy of MAIL-ORDER TANGLE.
Thanks again to everyone involved!



I can’t fail to mention the big party on July 25th https://www.facebook.com/events/421024208081678/ to celebrate NATIONAL COWBOY DAY, Celebrating the Heroes of the West. Join over 30 authors who’ll be giving away prizes all day. You won’t want to miss this!