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April 19, 2018

Vicki Batman on What's inspiring you? #readromance #springishere #RLFblog

Nature is!
I have always liked the beautiful colors of flowers; however, my obsession really began about three years ago when Handsome and I traveled the Rhine on a river cruise. We began our journey in Lucerne, Switzerland in late June. The weather was perfect, in fact, almost like spring compared to the heat my area experiences in the summer. Many variety of flowers bloomed everywhere. I became captivated and took many photos. Some flowers resembled those grown at home. I also spotted new plants. Even the tiny orange weed in the crack next to a white-washed building captured my fancy. 
This year, the spring flowers are bountiful, most likely due to the abundance of rain and cool temperatures. The antique climbing roses is loaded with tiny pale yellow bouquets. (These are the same plants I nearly chopped down, too.) Every day, I see new things—a snowball viburnum bursting with large blossoms. Many colors of Iris. Hot pink Gerbera daises. Green roses.
The air is fresh, perfumed by the budding flowers. The breeze lifts my hair and brushes across my mouth only to stick on my lip balm (no flavor). On dog walks, Champ, our white malti-poo, toddles along, stopping to pee every ten feet. His smoky gray brother, Jones, has long straight legs and walks like he knows what he is doing, only he doesn’t most of the time. Kids handling super-hero kites which are struggling to find lift. My neighbor is dead-heading the yellow and purple pansies with their fanciful smiles along her front walkway garden.
So how is all this loveliness inspiring?
I’ve been working harder at effective descriptions by adding how I feel and what I see. Hopefully by doing so, you--the reader--are experiencing a better mind picture.




Here’s an example from Temporarily Employed, my humorous romantic mystery:

“Yuck.” Pretty much covered the whole freakin’ day.

A blinding red-white, red-white strobe, reflected in my brand new Wrangler’s rearview mirror, seized my attention. The police.

I tossed my hands skyward, ready to surrender. I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Like I’d commented this a.m. to my roommate, Jenny, “Today, anything’s possible.”

My Bad Day checklist included:

- Crappy job interview, one which might have provided desperately needed income.

- Wore gut-busting panty hose on a hot day which had now worked past my waist and strangled my diaphragm.

 - A barely blowing air conditioner indicated something had malfunctioned in my new, fun car.

Hopefully, you are seeing a young woman having a bad day, absolutely nothing going right. And the cherry on the sundae is the police stopping her.

If you would like to read more, the fun is at: Murder & Mayhem .

April 3, 2018

Michelle Miles: New Quarter…NEW GOALS! Sorta…


It’s really hard for me to get it in my head that it’s April. APRIL! The first three months of the year are gone in a puff of smoke. 

I think I’ve mentioned before I have this journal I use daily to keep me on track for my goals. I discovered, too, long ago that it’s too hard for me to plan an entire year of goals. With the Best Self, it breaks down the year into 13-week increments. I set three goals for those 13 weeks. They can be anything I want. So, because I want to produce more books and get myself out of debt, I decided to start tracking these goals.

This quarter, I’m starting my fourth journal. As I look back at my previous journals, I’m kind of a one-trick pony. I have the same goals listed. Well, the same OVERALL goals. Ultimately, I want to write full time and have zero debt. But the journal allows me to break that down into manageable pieces I can achieve.

This last quarter, I finished drafting the second book in my urban fantasy series. Book 1 is still unpublished. I’ve been asked when it’s coming out and the truth is I don’t know. At the end of 2017, when I finally got back to writing the series, I had a wild idea. Write the entire 5-book series from start to finish. So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve started book three and hope to have it drafted by the end of June. Plus, I’m still tweaking book one. What I really like about writing them all at once is I can go back from book to book and add little foreshadowing moments to make it look like it was planned all along (I’m a pantser. Please don’t ask me to plot. My brain might explode.)

Anyhoo, one of the other things I want to do is get myself out of debt. It’s so hard, folks. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because I’m convinced the Universe is conspiring against me. Just when I start to make a little extra money, the house payment goes up. Tax Refund? SNORT. What’s that? We haven’t had one in years. I hate it so much. And so, it’s a struggle to get myself in order and keep on that budget and send large chunks of money to these credit cards. I feel like I’m climbing a mountain with no day pack. I may die of exhaustion any minute now. 

And then I put on my happy face and decide to keep on keeping on. I can do this! 

Last quarter, I managed to accomplish 2 of my 3 goals. I’ll take that as a win.

This quarter, I want to accomplish all three goals. They’re pretty much the same as last quarter but that’s okay. I’m still working toward the big, overall goals. I talk more in depth about all of this over at my blog, which you can read here. Also, if you’re interested in the Best Self Journal, you can find out more here as well as purchase.

I know I have my work cut out for me and to that I say BRING IT ON.

Oh, and happy April!

March 15, 2018

What makes a good Ending? #readromance #RLFblog #writing

 

Hi, everyone! It's Princess Vicki and I want to chat about THE END. You just finished the book,  close it, and sometimes, sigh. The last line sets the tone for how the book ends, a resolution, and is a counterpoint to the opening line which sets the story in motion.
Sometimes, there are lines that stay with us forever. For example:
“Tomorrow is another day.” From Gone With the Wind
“Thank you, God, she thought. Thank you.” From A Knight in Shining Armor (When I reached the end of this one, I sat for about a minute with the book in my hands, then started it again instantly.)
When I finish a story or book, I think a lot about the last line. I have been accused of writing a cliffhanger and maybe so.

“Taking another breath, I mustered every ounce of bravery I possessed and said, “Choose me.” Find Temporarily Employed at: Amazon 

 
 
 
 
He took a deep breath and said something I never never, ever-ever thought I would hear, “Come on, sweetheart. Let’s get lucky.” Find Temporarily Insane at: Amazon 


 
   


The relationship isn’t resolved in TE, and in TI, Allan Wellborn is trying really hard to win Hattie back. Will he get the girl?
 
Today, I’m sharing last line from the Princess’ books. Take a look:
“I sold my soul to the devil.” Find The Devil Take Me at: Amazon

 

 
 
Without calling to Alexandra or the others, he sauntered past them and toward the street. Find Saving Hope at: Amazon

 

 
 

“Gie it laldy, now lass,” he murmured as they faced the rector. And she did, because at last the bright autumn sun shone high overhead, and everything was exactly as it should be. Find Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Marry at: Amazon

She threw her arms around his neck, and somewhere, in between sobs, he found her mouth and began to complete her happiness with unmistakable kisses. Find Mistaken Kiss at: Amazon






 
 
Then he gently picked her up, cradling her in his arms, and crossed the threshold into their home, and into the bright future they would make together. Find A Family for the Rancher at: Amazon






 
She walked back to kitchen sink to finish up when she glanced through the window into the dark…and swore she saw Tessa wink at her. Find Heard it Through the Grapevine at: Amazon
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
As she took her silver throne as queen for the first time, Aoife realized she had at long last fulfilled the prophecy. Find On the Hunt for the Wizard King at: Amazon


 
 

 
 
But then again, what did he know, other than he'd willingly slay dragons, fight giants, and face down a wild beast with his bare hands if it brought him the right woman. Find Brooks: Book 2 in Farraday Country at: Website 
 
 
Dear Readers: Do any of our endings compel you? Happy reading!

 

March 6, 2018

Michelle Miles: Let's talk crafts


I had a hard time coming up with something to blog about. I’m not sure what my mental block is with blogging lately, but I literally stare into space and then … I got nothin’.

I thought about talking about the Oscars but, let’s face it, they were #OscarsSoBoring. I was glad to see Gary Oldman and Sam Rockwell win. The Shape of Water just looks weird to me and I doubt I’ll ever see it.

There’s not much else going on in my life other than writing, editing and stitching. I’ve started an Etsy shop and I’ve been stitching my little fingers to the bone. I make cross-stitched Christmas ornaments. If you follow me on Facebook, you likely have seen me post progress photos of them. They’re fun and they give me a sense of accomplishment because I can finish one in about a week.

I’m also trying to teach myself how to crochet. I have no idea why other than I saw the most gorgeous crocheted blanket on Facebook. It looks like this:



Isn't it gorgeous? I have these grandiose ideas that I’m going to be able to do this. Let’s be real here. This is all I can do:



I guess it’s a start. Cross-stitching was easy for me to learn. Crochet? Not so much.

I’ve done all sorts of crafts—made wreaths, flower arrangements, stitched just about anything I could find a good pattern for. But crochet and knitting seem…daunting.

Anyway…that’s about all I’ve been up to. Aside from working the day job and trying to get the teen to finish his driving hours so he can go for his driving test. He is SO not interested in that.

What fun crafts do you know how to do? Or do you want to learn?

February 20, 2018

Where Did You Get that Story Idea? by Kathleen Baldwin #CreativeInspiration


Good morning! I’m Kathleen Baldwin, author of the award-winning Stranje House novels. Like most authors, the question I’m asked most often by readers is, “Where did you get the idea for your books?”

Every author has her own answer. 

I love adventure in real life and in books. Guess where I get my ideas for my adventurous heros and heroines . . .
You guessed it. For me, adventuring in the wild is a powerful source of inspiration. I love being out in nature. But hey, I also enjoy doing research. How's that for a dichotomy?  Dusty musty old books are often a source of inspiration as well.

TRUTH: Inspiration comes from many places. 
Here's several wonderful authors answering that question.

February 15, 2018

.@VickiBatman - What Makes me Stop Writing? #readromance #RomanceLivesForever #MFRWauthor



I remember the first time my brain didn’t want to write. I’d been working on my first romantic comedy mystery for a few months when Handsome was diagnosed with throat cancer. My whole world stopped. (FMI see Romance Lives Forever at: Romance Lives Forever .)
But how to keep the creativity going? I did develop a game plan—I took writing classes (didn’t comment much but worked on all lessons), played my favorite Word Search no Vowels, I critiqued with friends, journaled, attended my local romance writing chapter meetings. Most importantly, I set a deadline for after when his treatment would end and our lives would be back on track.
On the designated date, I booted up my computer and found my book. It had been haunting me, and when thoughts popped in my head, boom! I wrote them down and saved them. I had decided if I could only write twenty words, that was what I would do. I started with chapter one and worked. I was so nervous because I thought what if I can’t get back in my groove? The next day, I did better, and after that, better, till finally, my fingers were flying again.


February 6, 2018

A Family for the Rancher by Allison B. Collins #CowboystoGrooms #AFamilyfortheRancher #PlottingPrincesses #MFRW @allisonbcollins

Hi, everyone! It’s been ages since I blogged with the Plotting Princesses. So much has happened, but I’ll try to keep it short.

Under my real name, Allison B. Collins, I have a three book deal with Harlequin for a new series, Cowboys to Grooms!  It’s been a dream of mine for years to be a Harlequin author.  I’ve been reading their series for more years than I care to admit, and to now be writing for them—it’s better than the richest of chocolates and the bubbliest of champagnes. It really hit home last summer when I was invited to the Harlequin party at the Romance Writers of America conference.  Strictly for Harlequin authors and employees, I really felt like part of the Harlequin family. (I might have to write about it after the next one, so stay tuned!)

The first book, A FAMILY FOR THE RANCHER, just launched, and I’m over the moon excited about it. This series started out as a dream I had a couple of years ago. As soon as I woke up that next morning, I knew I had to turn it into a series of books. There are five brothers, so five books.  Nash is the oldest brother, and definitely a wounded hero home from the war in Afghanistan. I was so into writing about him that it made me cry several times. Kelsey Summers is the physical therapist Nash’s father hired to help Nash get better.  Kelsey arrives at the ranch with her mother and young daughter in tow. 

Blurb:

January 25, 2018

#NewRelease DEVIL TAKE ME by Karilyn Bentley #urbanfantasy #supernatural #magic

I'm excited to announce that Devil Take Me, the fourth book in the urban fantasy Demon Huntress series is now out at an online retailer near you! Gin Crawford returns for another adrenaline-racing adventure. This time a demon is loose in Dallas wreaking havoc and her demon-killing employer seems to be harboring its own demon. She needs the help of her guardian mage, Aidan Smythe, to track down the demons, but he's not speaking to her. What's an demon hunting empath to do? Check out the blurb and excerpt, then get your copy to find out!

Happy Reading!

Blurb:

January 18, 2018

Handbag and Book: Oldies but Goodies. @VickiBatman #readromance #RLFblog #MFRWauthors


At age fourteen, my mom introduced me to romance books. On our summer breaks, she took us to the library. Our reads had to last two weeks and then she would take us back. I was such a fast reader. I read mine, sometimes twice, and sometimes, my sisters’ books too.

One day, I was totally bored. Nothing new to read. So I asked Mom if we could go to the library, a day off from our regular schedule. She firmed her lips and gave me an interesting look. Then she reached for her handbag, stashed on a shelf in a built-in bookcase. She pushed a small paperback in my hands and said, “Read this.”

On the front was a picture of a couple, a dark-headed girl turned away from a man with brown hair wearing a suit. The author’s name was Emilie Loring. I flipped the book over and read the back cover blurb. Hmmm, I thought, and went to my room where I plopped on my bed and began.

January 2, 2018

Michelle Miles: Dream Big


Oh, hello, there. It’s 2018.

Last year was trying in a lot of ways for lots of people including me. I had a lot of changes on the job front and the home front. But that’s all in the past and I’m ready to move forward in the new year.

I wrote a lot in 2017 but some of it hasn’t made it to publication yet. I finished three novels, one a major revision, one new and as-yet unpublished and one published and for sale (On the Hunt for the Wizard King).

I’ve made some career decisions for 2018 regarding the books and have decided to phase out all the contemporary romances on January 20. They’ll be gone and permanent out of print. I may do something with them someday, but for now, they’re all going away. It wasn’t an easy decision, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized those books are not really part of my brand anymore.