Monday, August 31, 2020
They run together in my mind.
However, being reminded that this blog is intended for readers meant getting rid of the post I'd already written. It was about that picture up there in the corner. About having stories rejected and how it feels and about why stories get rejected. I'll use it later, on another blog.
That's what we do with stories that don't quite work in a certain place or a certain time. When you hear one of us complain (who, us, complain?) about having to dump a whole scene because it was crap, we don't really dump it--we put it into a file folder with a businesslike label that says something like "crap I've dumped" and then we pull it out and use it later. In another time and place.
In the post that isn't here, I was whining about being told I didn't start my story in the right place and about how I use too much backstory. I was pretty devastated by that because I love backstory. Not just writing it, but reading it, too. And there I go again, having readers and writers running together in my mind. But, hey, as a reader, how do you feel about backstory?
I hope you readers (who aren't writers) understand how we feel about you. You're girlfriends who go to the beach with us, who sit in tearooms and coffeehouses and the occasional pub with us. You build us up, support us and our writing habit, and sympathize when that thing up in the corner happens. We thank you for all of it. I can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate you.
My goodness, I do go on, don't I? Thanks for listening to me complain. But, come on, girlfriends, lets head on down to Last Chance Beach. It's Summer's End and there are 14 good stories I was talking about just waiting for you. And a free book of cocktails. Sit still and read--we'll fix you one.
Comment with your email for a chance to win this month's prize!
Sunday, August 30, 2020
On a writer's level -- it's a Book Birthday that excites me!
Two days ago, my first self-published book was released. After working simultaneously with four different publishers over the past 25 years, I decided it was time to take the plunge and just "do it", and this was the first result:
Unfortunately, wanting sex and actually finding it are two very different things.
Jonathan Tucker is perfectly satisfied with his bachelor lifestyle. He has a wonderful career, a kick-ass new condo, and any woman he wants. As often as he wants. At twenty-seven, he’s convinced he’s living life exactly as it should be.
Will the older, albeit sexy, ad executive and the handsome, talented artist both find there’s more to life than what they have now? Or, will they be satisfied with what the both claim to want—d*mn near perfect sex!
Warning: This book contains language and sexual situations some readers may find HAWT!
Of course, there's also a trailer.
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Oh, those Summer Nights
When the weather changed to hot and humid and night fell late, my brother and I knew it was time again for…firefly hunting. In the summer nights of my childhood, this was a favorite pastime. One year, we prepared by taking one of my mother’s Mason jar for temporary fly housing. Our other vital piece of gear was a working flashlight. Once we had our equipment, we were ready. With great anticipation, we waited for day to end.
At sunset we headed out. I carried the glass container, my brother the light. The cool, damp grass clung to the soles of my bare feet and between my toes. Annoying mosquitoes buzzed around our heads. But we continued.
The fireflies loved to hover in the tall grass. So we easily found them. Clutching our tackle, we watched them signal each other their secret messages. Then my brother shut off the flashlight. In the darkness we silently crept to their patch. Speed counted. We got ready and sprang.
My brother was much faster than I was. He scooped up one between his palms and put him in the container. We were so excited. We ran inside to show our success off. My mom was not enthused as we
tracked wet grass and dirt across her floor. She was even less happy to find a creepy crawly in her canning jar. After a few seconds of inspection, she ordered us outside. We chose a special location and released our lightening bug. He flew off, disappearing into the blackness.
This long summer when all seems topsy turvy, I remember those times. As I get ready for bed, I switch off the lamp and peer out towards the edge of the woods. And there they are. The fireflies are still flickering in the night.
I don’t chase beetles anymore, but I still dream of hot nights, sunsets, and now-romance. So I’m thrilled and fortunate to have been included in the Romance Gems first boxset Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End. Fourteen of the Romance Gems have written fourteen fantastic short stories set where dreams of love come true. And you can find mine, Beach Kisses & Sunset Wishes. (Thanks to Nancy Fraser, another Gem, for my gorgeous cover!)
Friday, August 28, 2020
But...he's not the focus of this romance. He is a secondary character and holds a supporting role.
But, let me tell you, it was fun writing each one of his scenes. He's grumpy. Abrupt. Blunt. And...he has three sisters. They all live with him. And run his general store.
In this one book, he ends up walking each of his sisters down the aisle. The drama that enfolds throughout this romance just makes him ALL kinds of happy! Ha!
So, this got me to thinking...are there more secondary characters I like written by other authors? Hmmm...
I pondered this for awhile. I love to rank my likes. I give it a lot of thought, and this list was no different. Now, some of you might not consider some of these secondary characters, which is fine. I suppose my criteria could be wrong, but I couldn't stop myself from making my list.
So, without further ado, here are my favorite secondary characters:
1. Jane Bennett from Pride and Prejudice -- because she is Lizzie's touchstone
2. Mrs. Jennings from Sense and Sensibility -- because she is hilarious
3. Elizabeth McKenna from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society -- because she has an amazing amount of courage
4. Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter -- because he is courageous and kills the snake
5. Rudy Steiner from The Book Thief -- because his cheerfulness and exuberance and sweetness during Nazi-controlled Germany made my heart squeeze every time
6. Miss Havisham from Great Expectations -- because her eccentricity was so sad and my heart broke for her
7. Wulfric Bedwyn from Slightly Married -- because, well, he just stole the show with his intelligence, his presence, and his melancholy demeanor
8. Deets from Lonesome Dove -- because he was always so cheerful no matter what happened and because he wore pants made of patches
9. Dallas Leigh from Texas Destiny -- he loses his bride to his brother, but still steps to the side with kindness and humor and I fell in love!
10. Mr. Collins from Pride And Prejudice -- because he is amazingly ridiculous but I still hope he's happy with Charlotte
And there you go! It was hard. I have an honorable mention, though...Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird because he saved the kids and was so mysterious. (I just couldn't stop myself from adding one more.)
My character, Thomas Miller, does get his own story. But that's a post for later.
Now it's your turn! Tell me your favorites in the comments and one lucky person will a free book from my Texas Brides of Pike's Run Series! Make sure you leave your email address and spell it out, too!
But, while Eulalie makes it her mission to protect her sisters from men, she can't stop Brady Callahan, the saloon owner, from turning Susannah's head. Nor can she keep Harold Dawson, recently widowed, from stealing Lucy's heart. And when Richard Morrison comes calling for Eulalie, expecting courtship, marriage, and her love, Eulalie’s world is turned on its axis.
As the "Spinster Sisters" tumble into romance, the people of Pike’s Run might have to seek a new title for them. One of distinction and hope…
The Miller Brides.
Our COMMENT TO WIN giveaway is back! If you wish to enter, just leave a comment with your email address spelled out! Return everyday for more chances to win!
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Just like magazines put together their spring collections the previous summer and their holiday model shoots in July, writers need to pen seasonal and holiday books waaaaaaaaaaay before the joys of the season descend. For me, that means writing a Christmas love story in June/July/August when snow and carols and Christmas trees are the furthest things from my mind.
This year, my holiday Romcom is another San Valentino entry, and this time it's the Aunt Gracie branch of the crazy-family-tree. If you've ever read any of my San Valentino books, you know Aunt Gracie is the member voted least likely to be a member of Mensa.
And that's not being mean. Gracie has a heart of gold but she tends to say inappropriate things at the worst of times. Gracie's daughter, Madonna, who -admittedly - is much smarter than her mother, is the central actor in the current book.
Here's the blurb for Mistletoe, Mobsters, & Mozzarella:
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
I know you have at least one. That dreamy hero straight from the pages of a book you love. Perhaps even from a book you’ve written! He’s that guy you think about long after the story is done. Is he a tall, dark, and handsome super-spy or ex-Navy Seal? Maybe he’s a ginger-haired warrior from the Highlands? Or a rancher, firefighter, doctor, or single-dad next door? Could be he’s not a man at all, because he lives on a mythical planet, or he’s a vampire! Tell me… Who is your FAVORITE book boyfriend? Let’s talk!
"My favorite book boyfriend is Lucas Ross from PRINCE CHARMING by Julie Garwood. He is (like my husband who I call Hero) a man who encompasses fine qualities: selfless, protective, compassionate, kind, and competent at a wide variety of things. He is versatile and can function in English society, in criminal-riddled Chicago, or in the rough and rowdy Old West. He accomplishes his goals even at heavy personal cost. This is also one of my all-time favorite books and I re-read it about once a year." ~ Carolyn Clemmons
~ Cheryl Bolen
"My favorite book boyfriend is Ilona Andrews' Mad Rogan. He's protective and fierce when it comes to what's his, and he's strong, knowing when to fight versus when to walk away. A true alpha male without being an alphahole ;) He's a good leader, and his men would follow him anywhere. I have re-read the Hidden Legacy series so many times, that I'd say he qualifies as my book boyfriend." ~ Laura Hunsaker
~ Nancy Fraser
(Eye of the Pharaoh is currently on sale for 99¢!)
“All my heroes in all my 13 books are my book boyfriend because I created them to be the way I want a book boyfriend to be. However, my most favorite book boyfriend superhero is Chris Jamisen in Book of Love, a release I had in December 2014. He’s Native American, has four children, runs an auto repair business, and is active in his community. He does his best to keep Janice’s “car from hell” running for her. In the beginning he thought of her as a gold digger looking for a rich husband. Boy was he proven wrong!” ~ Constance Bretes
Ghost Mountain Ranch series. A fraternal twin with an over-achieving twin sister, he doesn’t know what he wants to do to his life. Of course, he meets his true love in the book, but learns about himself in the process. He saves the heroine from a grizzly bear, and helps find answers to a mystery.” ~ Jan Scarbrough
“This was so hard. I can’t even tell you. But I am going to make myself choose, and I’m not picking someone from a Jane Austen novel for once. My book boyfriend is Wulfric Bedwyn from Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh. He is the oldest of six children, and he has to take care of all of them. He does his duty well, and, as a result, takes no happiness for himself. He is strong. Steady. Calm. Patient. And SMART. There’s one scene where he fixes all the troubles for the woman he loves, and it’s perfect. The perfect hero.” ~ Kara O’Neal
~ Maddie James
“I love reading romance books but can't say I ever imagined myself with one of the heroes. If I had to choose one who made me truly swoon, it would be Colin Bridgerton of the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. We see this younger brother as a bit of a rake throughout the first three books, but when it’s time for his turn, Colin goes and falls for the chubby little wallflower who’s been made fun of for years. And he falls hard and fast and can’t figure out how he hadn’t seen her beauty all these years. Yup, swoon!” ~ Kari Lemor
~ Liz Flaherty
“I must admit I have had many book boyfriends during my lifetime. However, the one I remain true to is Lynx Maddox, champion rodeo bull rider and hero of my first published contemporary romance. Tall, handsome, with a deep voice and a sexy Texas drawl. What woman cannot resist a man with a dangerous reputation for taking chances and tempting fate? Lynx Maddox comment, the ‘Wild-Cat” of the rodeo circuit is determined to win the heart of the woman he loves.” ~ Connie Vines
~ Kathleen Lawless
“I’m of a certain age and don’t necessarily have a book boyfriend. But my I pick for the man I’d like to spend eternity with who sprang from the pages of a novel is ROARKE from the JDRobb IN DEATH novels. Described as having a face sculpted from the Gods and a poet’s mouth, Roarke is a gazillionaire, Irish-born, has a shady and violent past and loves his woman more than life itself. Who wouldn’t want a man like that, I ask ya?? Le swoon….” ~ Peggy Jaeger
"Such a tough choice. I love all my own heroes. Of course, Robert Pennington from Haunting Highland House is my personal favorite because he's my first. BUT there is one book I've read repeatedly since I adore the hero – Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. Her leading man, Derek Craven, is rough and tough, wonderfully wicked, and runs a gambling house. Yet he loves and admires the heroine beyond all else. A sassy, mischievous writer who dares enter his shadowy world. Need I say more? I met Lisa Kleypas some years back, and we totally girl-gushed over Derek Craven. 😊”
~ Kathryn Hills
Okay, it's your turn to join the conversation! Add your comments below or send via email through the "contact us” link on the bottom of the left sidebar. You can also make suggestions on what you'd like to discuss here in the future.
Thanks for joining us!
~ The Romance Gems ~
Romance Gems authors.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2020
I first visited Bath, England, in 1996. I didn’t know then how important it would become to me. I had wanted to see it because it had been immortalized by my all-time favorite author, Jane Austen (1775-1817). She not only set her Persuasion there, but she also spent a great deal of time residing in Bath.
During the Georgian era, people flocked to this city for the baths, first established by the Roman occupation nearly two-thousand years previously. It was thought that “taking the waters” and even drinking the city’s water could restore good health to the infirm. Invalid chairs—what we now call wheelchairs—were a common sight in eighteenth and nineteenth century Bath.
It was also the era of the sedan chairs which were borne by strapping young men, front and back. The city even regulated the fares for these “chair men,” many of whom were Irish immigrants.
Bath rivaled London for social offerings, too. There was a Theatre Royal, assembly rooms for weekly balls, and the famed Pump Room, where the finely dressed would gather daily for a cup of the supposed medicinal waters. While at the Pump Room, newcomers to the city would sign the guest book which was eagerly examined by all.
No city could rival Bath for its aesthetically pleasing architecture. Almost all the buildings were constructed in the Georgian era by the Woods, father and son architects. Not only do the structures all display the classical features that characterize Georgian architecture, but they are also built of golden Bath stone. To provide relief from the grids of most cities are built upon, Bath features a Royal Crescent of a couple of dozen upscale townhouses that face a huge park, Crescent Fields. There’s also a round street of townhouses known as the Circus.
Bath Cathedral is a central feature of this watering city, and the lovely River Avon winds through the imminently walkable town. The Pulteney Bridge, lined on either side with shops, is another of Bath’s distinctive features.
Today's visitors can view the Assembly Rooms that have been restored to their eighteenth-century grandeur, and the magnificent Pump Room has become a lovely restaurant where we always take high tea to the accompaniment of chamber music. (My husband loves eating there as much as I do.) All that was attractive in the eighteenth century remains today, and museums have been added--housed in those wonderful Georgian buildings.
My Brides of Bath Series
In 2000, I came up with a proposal for a series of Regency romances to be called Brides of Bath, and my editor at Kensington bought it. The first of my seven Brides of Bath books, The Bride Wore Blue, was published in paperback in 2002. It wasn’t available in eBook until 2011!Love in the Library, was published, and that Christmas saw the publication of the series' Christmas novella, A Christmas in Bath.
I’ve been back to the city two more times since that initial visit, and the last time I had the opportunity to stay at the luxury Royal Crescent Hotel. It was an incredible experience. The Regent’s brother, the Duke of York, once stayed in the same place.
Worldwide, the series has sold about half a million copies. I’m so grateful to the thousands of fans who’ve read my Brides of Bath, and I’ve listened to their requests for the bachelor known as Appleton to get his own story. Preorders are now being taken at all retailers for his story, Once Upon a Time in Bath, the seventh Brides of Bath book.
I eagerly await a vaccine for COVID-19 so I can return to Bath. Its pull is strong.
Enter our August giveaway here.
Find out more about me and my books at these sites:
Monday, August 24, 2020
Kindle Unlimited, or KU, is an Amazon package where voracious readers can download and read as many ebooks as they want from the over one million books in the Kindle Unlimited library for the flat rate of $9.99 per month.
Now might be a good time to sign up when, due to the Corona virus, it is often difficult to get to the physical library.
And bonus - e-books arrive germ free!
You may have noticed the tantalizing price of $0.00 on many kindle ebooks and wondered, how can I get that? Well if you're enrolled in KU you can!
How do you know which books are in Kindle Unlimited?
Above is one of my books on Amazon, and you can see the $0.00 Kindle Unlimited price as circled on the Amazon book page above.
Because I live in Canada, my KU account is attached to my Canadian Amazon account. And yes, there are only 2 reviews on my Canadian account, because Amazon won't share the American reviews.
Come on fellow Canadians, show me some love!
You don't have to have a kindle e-reader to take advantage of Kindle Unlimited. You can download a free Kindle app to your phone or tablet, as in the other circled item in the picture above. (I talk more about how to do that here.)
Americans can find KU on amazon.com, and customers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, India, China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and Australia can sign-up for Kindle Unlimited in their local online Amazon store. Amazon is planning to continue expanding the service to other countries soon.
And yes, you can find many of my Fortune Bay books HERE on Kindle Unlimited.
PS. Don't forget to enter the Monthly Gems Giveaway.
It could be your month to win!
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Like many this summer, I’m spending a lot of time outdoors, and our vegetable garden is bigger than ever. Each day I’m proud of the bounty we harvest – an array of squashes, cucumbers, string beans, tomatoes, and herbs. But there’s one part of our garden I’m particularly proud of. My pumpkin patch!
Everything has gone better than expected in my personal pumpkin patch. Seeds, growing into great hunking, thriving plants. I chose bush variety pumpkins – small, multi-colored ones (named Kandy Korn – Cute!) and big, jack-o-lantern carving types. They’re fantastic! Promising an abundant crop in just a few short weeks.
Okay…no big deal you might say. What did you expect? You live in the north woods of New England. There are bound to be many creatures, checking out what’s good to eat in your garden. But this is MY PUMPKIN PATCH! The one I’ve tended and nurtured for months now. The one with special flowers to attract the bees, and bunny fencing, and scarecrows. I’m sorry Mr. Squirrel and Mrs. Chipmunk, but with harvest time just around the corner, this means war!
After much hemming and hawing, an ultrasonic, solar-powered animal repeller is on its way from Amazon. I feel giddy. Like Harry Potter when he received his Nimbus 2000. My techno-toy, rodent repeller will arrive any day now. I’ll keep you posted on how well it works. Or, if I simply horrify the neighbors. TOTALLY could happen! 😊
As of today, the woodland creatures are winning the war. BUT we’ll see when that brown package arrives on my doorstep. MUAHAHAHAH
If you have any sage advice for stopping pilfering pumpkin poachers, please share.
Until next time... Stay safe and be well. Thanks for reading!
Friday, August 21, 2020
By: Marcia King-Gamble
OK, we’ve hit the dog days of summer, and yes, down south, days are sizzling and nights sultry. We are hot, hot, hot! My question to you is what have you done in the heat of the moment? By heat, I don’t mean temperature. I mean on the fly. Something that was fun, something you took a chance on, something that felt like it might be good karma, and would make you feel good. What was the end result of this impulsive/feel good behavior?
Back in the day when I worked for an international airline, my then hero and I would look at each other on a Thursday, and say, “So, what do we want to do this weekend? Sometimes the answer would be, “I feel like having good pasta,” and off we would head for Rome. If it was winter, the answer would be “anywhere warm.” Then off to Mexico or Rio de Janeiro we would go.
We weren’t rich. Remember, I said, I worked for an airline, meaning, back then, free travel, and the opportunity to sit First or Business Class (should space allow) were perks. Airlines had agreements with hotels. While lodging wasn’t free, a 40 or 50 percent discount at a 4 or 5 star hotel was not something to turn your nose up at. Often our weekend jaunts cost us less than a nice dinner at an upmarket restaurant.
When I lived in the “islands,” popular back then, were “Come as you are Parties.“ This literally meant come as you are. A caravan of cars would unexpectedly arrive at your home, honk their horns and the party was on. Which meant, you went to the party in whatever state of dress or undress you were in. And that was the reason for the convoy. No getting out of it, you had to get in.
A couple of years ago, instead of making New Year’s resolutions that never worked out, I vowed to do one small act of kindness each day. It could be as simple as allowing someone to get in front of me on the grocery line, or making a phone call to a lonely, elderly friend. It made me feel good. It made the recipient feel good. As a person who believes in karma, I believe in some way those good deeds come back to you tenfold.
This summer, in the heat of the moment, my girlfriends and I started having monthly dinner parties. Each month it’s at a different house and we do it safely. There are so many positives to these gatherings. First, it gives us an opportunity to bond and catch up. Second, we get to step out of our PJ’s and sweats and wear something fun in our closets. There are times we even bring the fine jewelry out.
In the heat of the moment, I’ve taken up crafting. I’ve mended broken jewelry and repaired furniture. I even hand painted this heart, Trust me, I’ve never been talented in this area but I'm learning. I’ve also reconnected with friends and made a few with a completely different perspective on life than I have.
This summer I’ve allowed myself to breathe. The end result is my creativity is on the rise, and I’m writing up a storm. Stories like One Last Shot, one of the fourteen stories in the Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End box set were created in the Heat of the moment. It was the result of a what if. What if an up and coming sitcom star in hiding has a sex tape that goes viral? And what if the guy next door just happens to be a disgraced celebrity photographer?
Here's an excerpt:
“So, do you live here year-round?” Kael asked, taking a piece of freshly baked bread from the basket and slathering butter on it. He was curious about the woman who sat across from him.
She had the most amazing bone structure but was doing her best to downplay her looks. She was doing everything to make herself unattractive, even adding that hideous nose ring.
Delia sipped on her coffee, and took her time answering. “Actually, I’m not from around here.”
Getting a full sentence out of her was like reeling in fish. “Airbnb. Did I tell you that
already?” He knew he hadn’t, but someone needed to jumpstart the conversation.
Delia shook her head. “I didn’t think we did BNB’s in this town.”
“Times change. Things change. People change.”
“Sure, you’re not a local?” Kael asked, softening his words with a smile. Delia certainly
Their kippers and scrambled eggs, a Rods staple, arrived and they dove in.
“How did you find this community?” Delia asked, the sun bouncing off those mirrored
sunglasses. “It doesn’t seem to be your style.” She fed Bob a generous portion of scrambled eggs when she thought he wasn’t looking.
His khaki shorts must shout tourist.
“I needed somewhere off the beaten path to take photos,” he said, while discreetly clicking pics of the arriving patrons. “And I can work from anywhere in the world.”
Delia looked like she might jump out of her skin. “So, what are you a photographer or something?”
I used to be one before I was fired.
Instead, Kael said, “I’m just an IT guy and an amateur photographer.” Now he was.
The blasting TV competed with their conversation. Two construction types exited discussing the news.
“Wat she do dat for? She was America’s sweetheart. World was her oyster,” the shorter of them said.
“Probably trying to keep some man.”
The taller one shook his head. “Yeah, would have to be a bad break up to send that sex tape out to the media.”
Be sure to pick up Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End
and read these 14 stories. To win the Last Shot beach/gym bag sign up for my newsletter here https://bit.ly/3eBlYnf or email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of purchase of Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End. Added bonus, download the free cocktail book.
For an additional opportunity to win a $20 Amazon gift card in the monthly drawing, please comment on this blog to win.
Tell me, what have you done in the Heat of the Moment? Be kind and be safe.
Find Marcia King-Gamble Online
Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, caring for her animal family, and trying to keep sane.