This post is not about Christmas

December … Christmas … holidays … resolutions … family … cold weather … shopping crowds … gift stress … parties.

I’m going to come out of the closet as a total Christmas scrooge. Seriously. The holiday exhausts me, taxes my creativity, and makes me cranky. My husband, bless his soul, sends out all our Christmas cards. So today I’m not talking about Christmas.

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Today is the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. I am married to a Word War II history buff. We spend the majority of our TV time watching the American Heroes Channel, and every year for his birthday I get him a new book for his library. This year it was one about the African theater.

world-war-ii-965052_640Rather than talking about Christmas, I thought I’d leave you with a few links about the war-time romances of the Greatest Generation. One captures goodbyes from soldiers who might not have made it home. The other captures the happiness of new love – both during the War and after. They’re sure to inspire a few plot bunnies if you’re looking for inspiration.

Time Magazine’s True Romance: The Heartache of Wartime Farewells, 1943

Pearl Harbor Love Stories

Thank you to the Veterans who have served and continue to serve. And thank you to their families for their sacrifices.

Happiest of holidays.

Mia KayMia 

Find me at:
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Obsessed with Sex (cough)

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Since my last blog for SMP (Insta-Love) addressed the same subject, I will qualify this entry, same general subject, as “additional research” (ahem).

As authors, we all come to realize—quickly—that book reviews are as individual as are readers. Some will love our characters, our premise, our plot lines. With others, we fall flat. As an extremely avid consumer of romance and women’s fiction novels, I will advise: never read the reviews first. Never judge a book by its Amazon star rating. Especially with books from big publishers who have hundreds, sometimes thousands of ratings. I’ve learned this the hard way (like I do everything else, unfortunately).

I recently listened to an audiobook by a Big Five published, best-selling author whose debut novel hit the charts high a few years back and has never flagged. The book has been recommended to me by a number of fellow readers, also lovers of the romance genre. Yet due to the blurb provided on both Amazon and Audible, I chose not to listen to a book in this author’s FIRST series. I began instead with Book I of another, more recent series.

Why? Because the story line interested me more. Pure and simple.

pair-97059_1280I loved, loved, loved this Book I of the new series. It was a five-star read in my opinion, although since I listened to it on audio, a less-than-perfect narrator kept the “performance” rating at a four. Still, I will most likely be returning to read/listen to the subsequent books in this series. The setting was vivid and lushly described, the characters so real and believable they jumped off the page (or through my ears and into my head!), and the plot just twisty enough to keep me guessing until the very last page. The story sucked me in, had me emotionally involved, and evoked both tears and laughter along with a few “aww” moments (and, okay, a few face-fanning moments as well).

After finishing this book, I thought, “I need to go back and read this author’s debut novel,” since this is where her fame, apparently, all began. How could I go wrong? The debut has over 2,500 reviews with an overall rating of 4.5 stars. I downloaded the audiobook and eagerly began my journey.

Sad to say, I will probably not finish it. It features an unlikable, wishy-washy heroine, a cookie-cutter, alpha rich-guy hero, and a flimsy premise at best. After barely halfway through, the book has deteriorated into one graphic sex scene after the other, with repetitive phrases used ad nauseum (enough with the soaked panties, already). The characters barely interact with their clothes on anymore, and when they do, it’s to talk about getting their clothes off.

I am bored. And, considering this book was NOT labeled as either erotica or erotic romance, but “contemporary women” and “women’s fiction,” I feel as though I’ve been misled.

Yet the other book by this author that I loved, although it has only 150 reviews as of yet (it is a recent release), has an overall rating of only 4.2. Why? More than one of the reviewers (which I read AFTER finishing the book) say “It’s okay, but it’s no Blah Blah Blah (the author’s smash debut). Both books are listed under the same genre categories.

Huh? I’m confused.

smartphone-1445489_1280I understand that I am just another one of those “individual reviewers,” and everyone’s tastes differ. But the major difference between these two books (and I would assume, series) is that although they are both considered “contemporary,” one is a rich-bodied, fully developed love story with a few steamy sex scenes scattered throughout, while the other (the big debut) focuses much less on the development of the emotional relationship, and more on the sexual.

I also noticed this author’s new series (the one I like) came out from a different publisher (though still one of the big five). Hmm. That’s interesting as well.

So I ask you, fellow Soulies who write contemporary romance or women’s fiction—what are our readers really looking for? I’ve actually asked my own fans this question, through my newsletter: which do you want to see more of in my books—the story, or the sex? The answer I got was overwhelming—we like the spice but want our hearts to be captured by the characters and their journey first.

As an author, I am constantly trying to improve my craft. Researching books that are out there and doing well in my genre, hoping I can learn how to make my stories better. That’s why I’m a romance junkie, consuming books in paperback, ebook, and audio at an embarrassing rate. But I write contemporary, so I read/listen to contemporary. And lately, what I’m finding in this genre are books that truly belong in the erotica or erotic romance genre instead.

I would love to hear feedback from my colleagues as I put the finishing touches on my WIP and wonder—do I have enough sex scenes? Too many? Share your kernels of wisdom with me!book-1760993_1280

~~~

Claire Gem writes intensely emotional contemporary romance. Find her at her website or her Amazon author page.

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THE AGONY & THE ECSTACY

A pun on Michaelangelo's sculpture

A pun on Michaelangelo’s sculpture

Pain and pleasure. Entrepreneurs find out the hard way about earning a living. If you have a job, keep it until your dream comes to fruition. For me, I have had both success and failure, (pain and pleasure). My most successful endeavor provided ultimate satisfaction, the founding of my school, Interior Design Institute. I was degreed and well-studied in interior design and architecture, and after  research (before social media), I discovered there was a resounding response to founding a local school of Interior design. I had no capital, but two of my client friends provided a building in Woodcliff, NJ. entrepAll I had to do was fix it up, get the state to approve and run an inexpensive ad. Instant success . . . with enrollment, financial success followed later. This was not a get-rich quick scheme. Prospective students signed up and more came. My faculty came from New York and New Jersey. Of course I taught classes as well. Love teaching! The school, after much hard work and dedication was nationally accredited. What I loved about the whole idea was the opportunity offered to a community of students who were thrilled not to have to commute into NYC. The structure of the courses offered professional opportunities upon graduation, or for those who were not seeking a career, to redesign or decorate their own environments.

Businesses each were started by an entrepeneur

Businesses owned by entrepreneurs

So, what brought up this whole thing about starting a business?

entrep3Once again, I am an entrepreneur, this time though, I am an author. Honestly, I cannot believe that I’m working so hard on promoting my book, Indigo Sky. After having been in business and familiar with marketing and promo, I thought no more, I don’t want to to that anymore. But I have this book that no one seems to know about. A few read it and gave it resounding reviews. Maybe my book is good after all? I need to let readers know that it exists. One year after its release, I decided to run a promotion. Don’t ask, putting the promo together consumed me. I had looked for someone to do all the work, yeah right, no one available, not even for money, So I donned my marketing hat and knuckled down, asked questions, got answers, and offered my book free to several promo companies. The first day of the promotion, Friday, October 28, 2016, the book ranked #15 in Amazon’s top 100 free Historical Fiction.

Indigo Sky in 3 formats

Indigo Sky in 3 formats

Where is my book today? It is lagging in numbers. I was told that all authors have to keep promoting, as in any business. Look at companies like Apple, Bloomingdale’s, Samsung, all the same. Ads, ads, ads in your face. Books are no different, authoring is a business, so I am doing another promotion this week, Thursday, 12/1, Friday, 12/2, and Saturday, 12/3 with ChoosyBookworm. If you are reading this, and let me know that you purchased my book, sign up here on my blog and your name will go into a drawing for a free Indigo Sky audio, or if you are already signed up, then send me an email at gail.ingis@gmail.com.  This offer is good through Monday, December 5, 2016, midnight. Buy Link: http://amzn.to/29NYE5w

Face of an entrepeneur

Face of an entrepreneur

An entrepreneur, as described by the Small Business Association, puts together a business and sometimes accepts the associated risk to make a profit. Most believe making their idea, their dream available to the world is something everyone wants. While this definition serves as a simple but accurate description of entrepreneurs, it cannot explain the phenomena of entrepreneurship itself. A number of theories exist, but all of them fall into various categories.

sayingWhat Are the Theories of Entrepreneurship? An interesting article by Eric Dontigney
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Eight years, not wasted By: Rose Lange

“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”

                                                      ~Maya Angelou~

My romance writing journey has been twenty years in the making, as I began when I was fourteen. And holy cow, as I write that sentence I cannot believe that much time has already passed! I tell you what though, as crazy, stressful, and tough as its been, I would not trade it for the world. I still have those two first attempts from high school, tucked away. As crummy as they were it was a start, and a blessing. I had a great support system behind me, my parents and my English teacher, and so I kept going. Then graduation hit in June of 2001. I met my would be husband that summer on a blind date, started college, moved into the dorms, and forgot all about my writing. Before our son was born, I hardly wrote a thing. College papers, poetry, newspaper articles, and things along that line, were the only things I wrote.

Writing romance always got tossed to the back burner, and in fact, was not even on the burner. It was in the freezer, neglected, and waiting to be taken out and thawed. Then, between getting married, taking a semester off, graduating college, and having a baby, writing for the pure of joy of it, had been absent, and seemed unimportant. Something I told myself I would do again “someday.” Before I knew it, someday passed from days, to weeks to months, and into eight years. That time passed, but not without thinking about writing, without that little voice in my head nagging me to write, begging me, because that’s what I was meant to do. But, I ignored that voice, flicking it aside like some pesky bug, because I told myself I had no time.

Eight years of nothing, and for a long time, I felt guilty, as though it was wasted time. I don’t remember at point it was, but I eventually shook that guilt free. I now realize, not one moment was a waste of time. Because during that time, I grew, and matured, having experiences that shaped me into the person I am today. Into the woman I am today. I also realize, I was not ready at the point in my life, not willing to take the time, effort, and energy it would take to hone my craft. I was not ready to stick my butt to the chair, fingers to the keyboard, and get down to brass tacks. I was not yet ready to take that plunge. I was not ready to commit, and understand that first drafts are shit, revisions are necessary, and that you’ll need a beta reader, or several, to look over your work. That I would feel like giving up at some point, because writing was more difficult than I could ever imagine, and would test my patience, resilience, and strength.

I’ll admit, even with two published works under my belt, and another in the revision stage, I still have doubts, and feel like tossing my hands in the air. At times I feel like giving up because my story is not cooperating, or I think what I’ve written is total crap, or that nobody will care, and that I’ve just wasted two months of my life. I’ve experienced this several times during my third work in progress, but I continued despite my doubts. Just what made me continue, I don’t know. Because honestly, the doubts came in, sat down and were not leaving. Despite the hurdles, along the way, I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. The story has come to life, and my characters are telling me there is so much more to say than what’s written on the page. And just when I think I’m done…bam! Another surprise, more magic, more layers, and just more.🙂

Eventually, slowly, me and my writing, met in the middle and came full circle.

http://www.roselange.com

Facebook: Rose Lange, Author

Twitter: @writingdiva82

 

Posted in Rose In The Garden!, Soul Mate Publishing | 1 Comment

The Power of Music

There is nothing that inspires me more in my writing than music. I can be suffering from writer’s malaise, or even a failing of words or ideas, but when I hear the words of certain songs, something happens. I’m suddenly bombarded with a plethora of fresh ideas and direction. It is uncanny, the connection that occurs. It often feels as if the music forces the computer to reboot, untangling the knots of inertia that are strangling my creativity, and like an infusion of nourishment, my brain’s neurons fire up and the engine once more chugs forward. I have pretty much convinced myself that there is no such thing as “writer’s block”, only a temporary clog that calls for a dose of writer’s Drano—for me it’s musical catnip.

In every book that I write, there is always a song inspiring the emotion of a scene. Oft quoted, inserted like a love…

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The Power of Music

There is nothing that inspires me more in my writing than music. I can be suffering from writer’s malaise, or even a failing of words or ideas, but when I hear the words of certain songs, something happens. I’m suddenly bombarded with a plethora of fresh ideas and direction. It is uncanny, the connection that occurs. It often feels as if the music forces the computer to reboot, untangling the knots of inertia that are strangling my creativity, and like an infusion of nourishment, my brain’s neurons fire up and the engine once more chugs forward. I have pretty much convinced myself that there is no such thing as “writer’s block”, only a temporary clog that calls for a dose of writer’s Drano—for me it’s musical catnip.

In every book that I write, there is always a song inspiring the emotion of a scene. Oft quoted, inserted like a love object, it breathes life into the scene. In my first book, The One, my heroine Adelia’s marriage has imploded and she faces a bitter custody battle with her wealthy ex-husband. She is at the lowest point of her life. Her best friend, Detective David Weiss, is determined to help her pick up the pieces of her broken heart. Believing in her, he knows that she must fight to live again; that the curtain of darkness dropped into her life will disappear if only she can see her way through to pull the cord and raise it, flooding the room and her life with light.

He brings her a compact disc and the printed words of a song that he hopes will better express the depth of his feelings, whereas he fears the ineptitude of his words might fail. The songwriter is Peter Gabriel, the version I use is sung by P!INK and John Legend, the words are simple:

Don’t give up

‘Cause you have friends.

Don’t give up,

You’re not the only one.

Don’t give up.

            She cries, they embrace, and she gains the fortitude to fight.

In the third book in The Only One Series, One More Time is Not Enough, which released on July 13, my hero and heroine, now divorced, are thrown together again and sparks fly. In a romantic scene, where what they still feel for each can’t be denied, they dance to John Legend’s All of Me. That was my original concept, however, I soon learned from my editor that I couldn’t use a song written by another writer, so instead of dropping the music I wrote my own lyric. The lesson being, when someone tells you no, remember there is always a way to work it out. I thought I might share that excerpt and the lyric that I wrote to replace All of Me.

EXCERPT:

She was prepared to spend the night loving Miles without guilt, blame, or remorse. Lovers, ready to discard the insecurities that separated them.

Breaking from his embrace, she caressed his cheek where tension tightened his jaw. He watched her rise from the lounge chair and extend her hand to him.

“Come, Miles. You do want to make love to me, don’t you?”

He followed her through the house and into her bedroom. Ribbons and photos of her on horses jumping fences lined the walls. A bookcase displayed dozens of silver plates and trophies. She closed the door behind him and lit the gas fireplace.

Adelia hit a button on her iPod and a romantic song filled the silence. Then she grabbed a bottle of champagne from the wine fridge and filled two flutes. Handing him a glass, they sipped and listened to the music.

“I heard the door slam

When you walked out on me

What happened to our love?

Baby, don’t leave

She didn’t know if what she was doing was wrong or right, and she didn’t care. She felt an inexorable need to follow it through. Perhaps it was possible to love him again.

Everywhere I turn

Memories burn

I’ll never get over you

She stood inches from Miles, and when he opened his arms, she walked into them. They slow-danced, turning in circles to the music.

The way you smile when I’m kissing your lips,

Or the rush on my skin from your fingertips,

I’ll steal your breath

Make you cry out my name

When you’re lying beneath me,

There’s no escape

“Did you pick this song for a reason?”

“Maybe.”

Baby, come back

I’m the one you need

I’m putting it all on the line

Betting the house you’re still mine

“What happens when it ends?” he whispered in her ear.

“I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t end. Maybe it just continues.”

“The song or us?”

She smiled. “The song.”

His brows furrowed.

She placed a finger on the deep vertical line between his brows, smoothing his questions away. “What if I said, us?”

“I’d think I was dreaming.”

“Why do you love me, Miles?”

“I’ve tried not to.”

“I know. Me too. I’ve tried not to love you.”

Give us one more chance

Let me show you our love is real

“We belong together, baby.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do.” He stroked her face, then bent to kiss her. “It’s playing again.”

Her eyes were closed, and her lips held a shadow of a smile. “Is it?”

“It is.” His kiss was like the song. Feelings swept through her. She could feel his body tense against hers. She slipped her hands beneath his shirt, resting them on his strong back, encouraging him to touch her.

“Since we first met, there’s never been anyone or anything that I wanted more than you.”

His powerful erection pressed against her. Without hesitation, she returned the pressure, her body molding to his. Losing herself in the union of their bodies seemed so natural. How calculating had she become that she’d fooled herself into believing she didn’t love him?

Following her lead, his hands sought the round contours of her derriere. He kneaded her flesh pulling her against him. Fervent kisses traced a path down her neck, sucking. He smiled. “I’m marking you with a hickey, so you won’t be able to escape the proof of our lovemaking.”

A deep, resonant moan escaped her lips. “Who says I want to escape?”

His cock pulsed against her in response.

“I don’t know what’s happening to me.” She sighed.

“You’re . . . letting . . . me . . . in—not fighting . . . us.”

His lush lips journeyed up and down her neck.

“I-I don’t know, but it feels so good.” If the years had taught her one thing, it was that he knew her body better than she did.

With a gentle sweep, he moved her hair aside, exposing her ear to his probing tongue. “I love to bring you pleasure, baby.” The gravel in his voice drew goosebumps.

Posted in Belle's Best Bytes, Soul Mate Publishing, Suspense | 5 Comments

Thanksgiving in the USA is Family Time! by Susan Hanniford Crowley

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This is my husband’s masterpiece. I know a lot of ladies prefer their men as hunks or brainy with various talents. It happened that I married a chef!🙂 Here I am sharing a few family pictures of our recent family gathering. My youngest daughter who is in her 30s with a family of her own took these photos.

family-on-thanksgiving-2016

I am the one in the middle with the long hair. We had turkey, cranberry sauce, peas, corn bread, mashed potatoes and gravy.

abby-on-thanksgiving-2016

Ah, here is the beautiful sleeping baby Abigail. She slept during most of the event but woke near the end of supper in time to eat a little.

This is the time I count my blessings. They were at my house so it was easy.  Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family.

Friday however is shopping day. I have to admit I shopped online but mostly for books.
It you love paranormals, vampires in particular, and vampire family especially, I can recommend two book.
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This is the story of King Max’s daughter Noblesse and how two men profess to love her. It’s filled with suspense, lies, adventure, and extreme passion.

It’s also very much a family saga of people who love and depend on each other. They happen to be vampires that are building a brand new world for their kind, wanting an utopia where humans and vampires can live side by side. Family is everything to them.

Vampire Princess of New York is in Kindle on Amazon for only $2.99. Since it’s a full-length novel, this is quite a bargain.vampyrekingofnewyork_600from-blog

If you’d like to read the full-length book about Noblesse’s father, Vampire King of New York is also available in Kindle for $2.99
This one is also in Print for $14.99.

King Max is handsome and the CEO of VMeer Industries, but he’s a Viking at heart. When he prays to the Norse Goddess Freya and she shows up, he is held to his words. If he doesn’t find the one woman who can heal his heart, he will be encased in ice forever.
On the up side, she tells him to go to the city he helped build – New York. So the king is back, reunited with family, and searching for his true love.

So whether you’re still eating turkey and mellowing our or on shopping spree. Have a great time. If you’re fortunate to be with those you love, cherish them.

All the best,

Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
and Grandmother

 

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