akissforlady

When Characters Break the Rules

Manners, manners, manners. Most of us had them drilled into us at an early age. This was certainly true of the gentry and aristocracy of the Regency’s upper ten thousand. As historical romance writers trying to get the attention of a modern reader we sometimes let that slip a bit for our characters. But what happens when your characters refuse to play along? That is what happened to me in A KISS FOR LADY MARY.
thelist

Nice Guys Don’t Always Finish Last

"I was never really into the bad-boy. I’ve always preferred the nice guy. The one I could bring home to meet my parents. The one who is mature and stable and sweet and puts me first. That’s the kind of man I not only found for myself more than thirteen years ago, but he’s also the kind of guy I want to read about when I pick up a nice romance..."
50WaystoRuin

Embracing the Trope

"I don't like thinking about tropes. They're a requirement in my job, and so I do it, but it's not something I enjoy. But first: What the bleep is a trope?"
RememberMe300x450-2

Passion from the Past

There are many theories regarding the soul and soulmates. The concept of a soulmate originates as far back as Ancient Greek writings. A soulmate was said to be the other half of an androgynous being who had been split in two by a wrathful god and only by reuniting with the other half of their soul would that being experience nirvana. Throughout the ages, its meaning has changed into today’s romantic notions of two souls traveling a number of lives, and in each subsequent lifetime they search, even unintentionally, for the other until they meet once again. In crafting Remember Me, I explored the notion of what if soulmates truly do exist?
scoundrelslover

Historicals Heat Up

Jess Michaels joins us to talk about the hot category of erotic historicals.
slowandsteadyrush

The Romance of Sports

Laura Trentham stops by today to talk about the perfect marriage of sports stories and romance, and her favorite films that have elements of both.
Cowboyinherits

Tricks of the Trade: The Series “Bible”

How do authors keep track of all those tricky plot twists, love triangles, and character names in long-running series? Cora Seton is here to share the tricks of the trade.
KendraCaste

Settings: The Great Escape

As readers, we all have our favorite mental escapes — destinations we’ve returned to so many times in our minds that we know them as well as if we journeyed there physically. Everyone has their own taste—there are days I slip off to Hogwarts, while on others I want nothing more than to put on a pretty dress and dancing slippers and run away to Regency England. Books are a “uniquely portable magic,” as Stephen King says, and part of that is their ability to provide us escape hatches that can take us…well, anywhere.
lefttoforever

Setting the Scene For Romance

I’ve been asked many times: how do you chose the setting of your stories? And why? I’ll be completely honest: I like to choose settings where I’ve actually been. So that means Texas! The reason is that I know what the cities look and feel like. Knowing where I am makes it easier to actually visualize the story taking place.
jaguarpride

When Paranormal Meets Suspense

Authors Terry Spear and Paige Tyler join us today to share how – and why — they combine the three elements of romance, paranormal, and suspense.   Terry Spear: I love suspense, love mystery, and the paranormal. And a HEA — the happy ever after — is a must. But mostly, I like the conflict that lends itself to suspense stories, and even better if they’re romantic suspense, and even better if they have some kind of other world—either paranormal or like in my Highland historicals. It just gives the story more…meat. More to enjoy. At least for me, and since I’m writing them, they make it more fun for me. Now, the key is really staying true to three different elements: Romance, suspense, and the paranormal. This is because as the story develops, the… Continue
love me tender

Love in Mind, Body, and Spirit

"For me, a romance novel is about challenge. It’s about meeting someone who, on the one hand, you’re powerfully attracted to, yet on the other hand brings significant challenges to your life. It’s never easy for the heroine and hero of a romance novel because the story is about character growth."
her winning formula

My Heroes: Writing What I Know

As a romance reader, I love all kinds of heroes—from totally caveman alpha to sweet, geeky beta. I fall for them all. As a writer, I tend to write a slight mixture of heroes, except for the extreme alpha. I don’t think I’ve done one of those yet. What has inspired me as an author when I develop my heroes is looking at guys I know.
familyplotfront

Our Love Affair with Regency

Sheri Cobb Smith dives into the reasons why readers and writers continue turning to Regency romances for their historical fix.
MyDarkHighlander

Front Row at the Highland Games

Nancy Lee Badger shares her notes from the front lines of the Highland Games in New Hampshire. Find out about kilted athletes and get a look at an excerpt of her new novel, My Dark Highlander.
white fire

The Power of What If?

How far would you go to save one life? Ten lives? A million? What if you knew the future? Would you change things? This is a complex question. If you’d known about the latest outbreak of Ebola, would you have tried to stop it if it meant risking death yourself? What about a war? An assassination? What if the only way to change these events was to travel to the past, where one small change might mean you would never be born?
smoldered

Strip Club Confessions

Today novelist Rachel Blaufeld joins us to talk candidly about how going to strip clubs inspired her novels Electrified and Smoldered.   The question I’m asked the most is, “Did you go to strip clubs before, during, or after writing this? Are you going today? Now? Tomorrow?” Friends ask my husband, extended family members question my mother, readers are extremely curious if I have friends who are strippers, and most of my husband’s gang has offered join me in doing research. Okay, are you ready? Cue Drumroll. Yes. The answer is yes. I have in fact been to a number of strip clubs before writing Electrified. While the Electric Tunnel doesn’t really exist and all the characters that work there are fictitious, I don’t think it would be wise to write a book… Continue
DarkRedemption

My Romance with the Outdoors

I’ve always been an outdoorsy person. My mom called me a tomboy. I hated dresses (still do). And I spent more time roaming the woods catching frogs than playing inside with Barbie dolls. One of the benefits of being a military brat is it afforded me the opportunity to explore a variety places from the woods on the Air Force base in Maryland, to the tropical jungle on Guam. My favorite outing was going fishing with my father when we lived in in Louisiana. Not only because of the quality time we shared, but because of how magical the swamp seemed to me as a child. It captivated me with a heady blend of danger and beauty. And I learned fairly quickly to abide by the posted “Don’t feed the alligators” signs by not swimming… Continue
UptoMe

The Devil Is In the Details: Why Research Isn’t Just for Historicals

I joke that I write contemporary romance because I’m too lazy to do research. Friends of mine write epically wonderful tomes on Roman and European history, and the months they spend compiling detail upon fact upon footnoted quote boggles my mind. However, all joking aside, I’d like a little credit for the hours I do actually log on the Internet doing research. Is it as much as an author writing historical fiction? Nope. But contemporary romances are based in reality, so there’s even more pressure to get it right. Because trust me—people will notice if you get the tiniest detail wrong. I research for one of three reasons. Okay, four reasons, but number four is the aforementioned ogling of hot men to use as prospective heroes. Reason #1: I hate when people gloss over the… Continue
Say Yes to the Dress_Feat Image

FiveThings I Learned by Appearing On SAY YES TO THE DRESS

Last year was a year of several firsts for me but one that really stands out is my appearance on the reality TV show, Say Yes to the Dress, Atlanta. For the complete story of exactly how I came to be on the show, check out Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book Blog, here. Today, I’m sharing  the story of what I learned by agreeing to tape an episode of the show. 1.  When they cast you for the show, the producers send you a big list of dos and don’ts including what to expect. One was don’t wear white or houndstooth. Certain colors and prints aren’t great for the small screen and white and houndstooth are at the top of the list. White can make you blend into the background and look like a floating… Continue
aquestionofclass

Scandal, Society & Historical Romance

I was inspired to write my debut historical romance after a visit to the splendid Morris-Jumel Mansion, located in New York City’s Washington Heights. Imagine an estate from Alabama or Georgia, complete with solid white columns and lush gardens, dropped onto the island of Manhattan, and you’ll get a good idea of the place. Startling, to say the least. But even stranger than the existence of the house was the story of the woman who lived there through the 1800s. Eliza Jumel was born into poverty in Providence, Rhode Island as the daughter of a prostitute, and used her beauty and wit to become the richest woman in New York City by the time of her death in 1865, at the age of 92. It couldn’t have been easy, to say the least. In the… Continue
WorthTheWeightcover

When Sex is WORTH THE WEIGHT

I’m probably the only woman in America who skimmed past the sex scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey.  It’s not that I’m a prude.  I don’t hide under a pillow when Hannah walks around naked on Girls, or fast forward Sooki having sex with Bill, Eric, or that creepy Warlow on True Blood.  Watching a sex scene on TV doesn’t seem as voyeuristic as reading one when the bedroom door stays open in a novel. After one round of submissions for Worth the Weight with no luck, my agent told me I should spice up my G rated rom-com since Fifty Shades of Grey had amped up the heat in the romance industry. “No whips and chains.”  I said.  “Or bondage.  I’m definitely not adding bondage.” My agent laughed and told me… Continue
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Of Monsters and Men

When I ended the Dark Warrior series after 14.5 books that included six books in the Dark Sword series, I still wasn’t ready to let go of the world I created. Luckily, my publisher asked me to spin off the DW series and the Dragon Kings were born! I wanted to call the series Dragon Kings, because, well, that’s what they are, but because it’s a spin off series, they wanted to stay with the “Dark” theme, which is where the Dark Kings series name came from. If you’ve read any of the Dark Sword or Dark Warrior books, you know I love Scotland. There’s just something about a guy in a kilt with that brogue that does it to me every time. J Few can resist a hot man in a kilt! I love… Continue
UnexpectedDuckess

Regency Romps and Valerie Bowman’s Odd Inspiration

I have a confession to make. My latest novel, The Unexpected Duchess, (which comes out today!) was inspired by my intense desire to break up with my friend’s boyfriend for her. Okay, okay. So it was actually more than one friend. The fact is that right around the time I was thinking up a brand new Regency romance series, I had two different friends whose boyfriends were acting like colossal jerks. On more than one occasion I’d say to either of my friends, “Just give me the phone and I’ll break up with him for you!” Of course, my friends never took me up on my offer. Hmm. Seems it was much easier for me, with no emotional involvement, to want to break up with someone who they loved. Imagine that? But the experience… Continue
SoulSurrender

Paranormal Inspiration: Katana Collins on Chasing the Muse

Muses. They come in all forms, huh? Anything from that first warm day after a long winter to the hunky guy in plastic glasses reading across from you on the subway. We’ve all got them. And we all crave more. For myself, and probably a lot of authors out there, a huge source of inspiration is other authors and novels. After all, Stephen King said it best in On Writing: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” So, on the eve of completing my first ever trilogy, I wanted to offer a nod to the top five paranormal authors and/or books that inspired me as a writer. Laurell K. Hamilton and the Anita Blake series. There’s just something oh, so delicious about a dark… Continue
Island Peril

Romantic Rivalry? Or Slut-Shaming?

The romance genre is for women, about women, by women. I know when I open the first page that I can leave the troubles of gender inequality behind and settle in for an uplifting story full of positive lady affirmations. Girl power and healthy body images. Strong heroines. Men who sweep women off their feet, treat them like queens and fantasize about all-night cunnilingus. Chicken Soup For the Vagina. No? Okay, I guess I can’t count on any of that. I don’t think it’s possible to take gender dynamics out of the equation when you’re writing about men and women. Many romance readers enjoy a dominating hero who takes control of everything. That’s fine with me. Get it, girl. I don’t like reading about heroes who cross the line into abuse, and I also find… Continue
death taxes

Finding the Love (and Laughs!) In Tax Day

It’s that time of year again. April 15th is here and all of us are thinking about our taxes. While paying money to Uncle Sam might not bring a laugh to your lips, I’d bet IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway would. She’s the star of my hilarious romantic mystery series, and is such a fantastic sharpshooter that she’s known as the Annie Oakley of the IRS. Of course, she’s also got a good-looking guy – or two! – in the mix. All work and no play, after all… What is it that makes the combination of romance and comedy so popular? I have several theories. The first is that love makes us feel scared and vulnerable. We are both intensely self conscious and keenly aware of our new partner. Let’s face it. New love… Continue
Sweettalkme

A Recipe for Romance

I grew up in the South, and it’s a lot about cooking.  In fact, in my new contemporary romance, Sweet Talk Me, my characters live in a fictitious seaside village near Charleston, South Carolina, called Biscuit Creek. It seemed apropos because biscuits are a way of life here. We eat ‘em for breakfast. They go great as a side with fried chicken  or pork chops at lunch or dinner. And of course, you can have a biscuit with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert. I’m not a big biscuit maker. I’ve made them, and I even have a go-to recipe, but it’s no easy task. It takes time and practice, a lot of gentle handling, and even intuition. How much is too much flour? When should I stop rolling out the dough? Some would… Continue
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Playlist and Giveaway: SEX AND THE SINGLE VAMP

When I’m not writing romance (or working the EDJ, loving my hubby and kiddos) I sing in a band.  You never know what wedding or bar mitzvah you might attend and hear me belting out covers of popular songs. So, it will come as no surprise that I use music in the creation of my story.  I have a playlist for every story before I put one word on the paper and when I hit “play”, I am immediately drawn into that world. I’m really not sure if I could write without one and I’m too chicken to try it out. So, I thought I would share my Top Five favorite songs from the playlist for SEX & THE SINGLE VAMP:
  •  Gravity by Sara Bareilles: This song gets me from the first piano
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