UNREAL HOUSEWIVES OF EVERYWHERE

One of the reasons I watch any of the Real Housewives shows is because it gives me something to discuss with my hair stylist when I see her once a month. These programs give us a built in conversation starter, so they help to keep any awkward silences to a minimum.

I’m afraid the other reason is a dark little spot inside me that is the equivalent of someone slowing down to rubber neck as they drive past a car wreck. The way these supposedly real housewives behave often makes me feel better about my mental health, friends, social skills and general approach to life.

Bet I’m not the only one. I’m guessing this helps to explain the success of these shows. No doubt much of the misbehavior is deliberately staged by show producers.

Call me crazy, but I’ve never once felt the need to approach an acquaintance at a public function to air a grievance I might have with him or her. However, these programs make it appear their participants don’t believe in simply calling or privately meeting with someone to talk through the problems they have with each other. Instead, they have to shout about them at someone else’s party or dinner and drag as many innocent bystanders into the situation as possible.

Every time that happens (just about every week) I find myself feeling delightfully sophisticated and civilized . . . which, sadly, seldom if ever happens in any other situation.

Isn’t it extraordinary that in a time when so many people are still struggling to regain their economic footing that so many viewers are willing to tolerate television programming that focuses on individuals who must seem wealthy to the vast majority of the population spend the majority of their time complaining and essentially snatching dissatisfaction and unhappiness from the jaws of privilege.

Recently, I find myself thinking about my grandmother and mother stressing as I grew up that pretty is as pretty does. These programs have brought the truth of those words home to me. There’s not enough Botox or plastic surgery in the world to make the actions of the majority of these “housewives” attractive.

So, for the holidays, and probably after, I plan to concentrate on finding programming or personal activities with a more positive and healthy note.

Guess that means no more television rubber necking for me!

HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU HAVE ANY TELEVISION PROGRAMS THAT YOU CONSIDER GUILTY PLEASURES OR THAT YOU CAN’T BELIEVE ANYONE ACTUALLY WATCHES ON A REGULAR BASIS?

WHATEVER YOUR THOUGHTS OR EXPERIENCES, I’D LIKE TO LEARN ABOUT THEM. A FREE COPY OF MRS. GOODFELLER WILL BE RANDOMLY AWARDED TO ONE PERSON WHO LEAVES A COMMENT BELOW BEFORE THE NEXT WRITERSPACE BLOG IS POSTED.

Jaycie Cash blogs on a regular basis for Writerspace.com Her debut novel, MRS. GOODFELLER, is available through most major e-Book outlets, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She’d love for you to like her Facebook Author page.

www.jayciecash.com

 

A Taste For Scandal…and Cookies!

 

Do you smell that?

If you are anywhere near my house between now and Christmas, I can tell you exactly what that mouth-watering smell is: Cookies!

And I can tell you exactly where the tradition came from, too. Every year when I was a kid, as the Christmas tree glittered in its multi-hued glory and the air smelled of pine needles and happiness, my mom would round us kids up for the one-day Christmas cookie baking extravaganza.

In my memories, the avocado green stove warmed the kitchen as bowls and measuring spoons and bags of flour and sugar cluttered the counter. Lined up on the table were the carefully hand-printed recipes that had been penned years before I was even born. Aprons were donned and hair pulled back and soon we were combining ingredients and making memories. My mother would hold the bowl as my young hands clutched to mixer. My sister would carefully measure the next ingredient while my brother waited to taste test the batch.

Over the course of the day, familiar cookies were pulled from the oven and laid across racks to cool. Stained glass ones, and plaited red and white cane ones, and peanut butter and chocolate kissed ones. Sugar cookies and powered cookies and cookies topped with gaily colored sprinkles.

At the end of the day, there would be only one batch left to make: the world famous chocolate-covered shortbread cookies. They were simple enough, with the shortbread base pressed into a cookie sheet, topped with melted chocolate, and sprinkled with chopped nuts, but something about them signaled to us that Christmas was here.

By then, darkness had fallen, and the house glowed with warmth and contentment. My brother would have given up on the baking long ago, but my mother, my sister and I remained, laughing and chattering about all the things that would become muted by time. The words and the topics are indistinct, but the joy, the sisterhood, and the taste of chocolate will linger on our tongues for a lifetime, called to mind every time the first hints of carols carry on the air and magic fills our hearts once more.

So really, with those kinds of memories sparking a lifetime of love for baking, is it any wonder that I should create a heroine who was a baker? And not just any baker: a bakery owner who manages to teach a rakish earl a lesson or two. For fun, here is an excerpt from A TASTE FOR SCANDAL, where the hero, Richard, demonstrates how much he’s learned from Jane:

“All right,” Richard said, putting the bowl on the table and shaking out his arms. “Almost ready for the oven.”

“Do you need me to help?”

“Don’t even think about it.”

Jane put up her hands in surrender. He pointed at her in the exact way Mama used to, warning her not to intervene before dumping the dough on a baking sheet and pressing it out into one big disk. She pursed her lips, watching as he used his fingertips to flatten the dough.

“Is this to be the world’s largest biscuit?”

He chuckled, unoffended. “A broken biscuit tastes exactly the same as individual ones, and takes much less time.” He wiped his hands on a towel before lifting the pan and carrying it to the range.

“So impatient you are,” she teased.

“On the contrary,” he said, sliding the shortbread into the oven and closing the door. He turned to face her, his damp skin glistening in the candlelight. “I think I have been more patient than I’ve ever been in my life.”

He came to stand before her, his eyes roving her face in a way that somehow felt more intimate than such a simple act should. He lowered his hand to her, and she allowed him to pull her to her feet. His hands slid around her waist, gentle, undemanding. How did he always seem to know just the right thing to do? She felt protected . . . wanted. Something more than just desired.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into Jane and Richard’s romance!

Your turn! What are your Christmas baking traditions? Do you still follow the traditions of your youth, or have your started your own?

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Despite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin Knightley decided to pursue a sensible career in science. It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn't any fun at all. Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing. Together with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three spoiled mutts, she is living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina.

 

 

 

Author Three Ring Circus: 24/7

My life is a three ring circus. No wait. My husband said living with me is like a three ring circus.

A far more honest assessment, for sure. One for which I take immense pride.

Why?

Because if a writer is going to be effective in her work, she must experience life. Things have to happen. Places must be seen. People must be met, interviewed, interrogated or just plain stalked! (Just kidding. Actually, no. I’m not. Ask my friend, Heather Graham, or someone who will probably never be my friend, Bonnie Raitt. Another story for another time, but at least I didn’t leave Heather horror-struck and plastered against her tour bus!)

The writer's mantra, “you gotta live to write” stays with me constantly. Meaning an author views the world and is an author 24/7. The simplest event in an author’s life is a possible morsel for a plot.

A perfect example is when Heather Graham was to be interviewed for a PR promo. She called me and said, “Oh, by the way, a Member of the Peer is going to interview me tomorrow. Can we meet at your house?”

Heather is always doing exciting things to fill her “creative well” to the brim. And, sure enough, one of her adventures was an interview with British transplant Luke Parker Bowles (Nephew of Camilla Park Bowles) from Open Road Media in New York.

I said, “Sure!” And, the author in me took out her mental notepad and pen, because anything you do with Heather Graham is noteworthy.

Here she is before the interview. Below with photographer Tim Wu, and Luke Parker Bowles.

I had my photo taken as well because, let's face it, folks, standing next to Luke is probably the closest I'll get to the Royal Family!

Now, you may ask what makes this event a three ring circus in my life?

Well, it’s simply that this interview happened on Monday when I had just returned the evening before from a quick two day jaunt to New York for a family gathering of 75 people for a double-engagement party for my sister’s twins. Attending that party was on the heels of a five day real estate search to help another family member invest an insanely huge amount of foreign dollars in US real estate. (Yes, I am a Realtor in my secret life.)

All of which is fueling new stories. Just dealing with these family events created two new story ideas which I pitched to Harlequin and they bought!

What can I say to that?

I am thrilled for the circus that is my life because after I finish this blog, I can finish the two “romance in real life” proposals for my editor. Why? Because I gleaned story ideas from my travels and mingling with family, friends and strangers. I am an author 24/7. I live to write and I write to live. The trick is to see every moment as a writing opportunity. Oh, and to make really good use of those few hours of sleep!

Soooooooo . . .

Ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages! I invite you to tell me how your lives fuel your creative wells. This author is listening!

www.katcovelle.com

 

Meet THE WISDOM OF HAIR'S Big Beautiful Sarah Jane Farquhar

Here’s a SAD fact. I went looking for a prototype of the formidable Sarah Jane Farquhar, the protagonist’s BFF in THE WISDOM OF HAIR and couldn’t find one. I put “blonde plus sized woman” in the search engine and then “big beautiful woman” and a bunch of other combinations of these two trying to find SJF. What I got from thousands of clip art pics were photos of skinny, very pregnant women, unattractive grossly obese women, but no Sarah Jane Farquhar.I settled for this woman, who really ISN’T SJF in real life, and ask that you picture her forty or so pounds heavier.

So why is this so sad? The fact is SJF is physically based on a wonderful woman I knew when I was a kid, Vaughn Hannah, who was so beautiful inside and out, she made your forget her size.

Miss Vaughn owned a salon; her hair and makeup were always perfect, and when she wasn’t wearing her uniform, she was always impeccably dressed. I loved her for a lot of reasons but mostly because she’d let me brush out her perfectly coiffed french twist, put makeup on her and then tissue it off with Merle Norman cold cream.

I think it would be really hard for Miss Vaughn, who was every bit as formidable as Sara Jane Farquhar, to thrive in the world today. We live in a time where size matters, where big isn’t considered beautiful. BUT that’s what I love about SJF, she transcends her size.

Am I saying we should all gain a ton of weight? No, but what I am saying is there are A LOT of BIG BEAUTIFUL women out there and it’s time we gave them their due.

kimboykin.com

 

December Releases Perfect Gift for Yourself and Others

Tis the season to read, read, read and Writerspace authors with December 2012 releases offer the perfect books and opportunities for you to do just that! These include . . .

Endless Night: Switchback/Cry of the Wild
By Catherine Anderson
Mass Market Paperback
Harlequin (HQN)
November 20, 2012

Switchback
Mallory Christiani's world threatens to crumble when her daughter is kidnapped. She's warned not to tell anyone—not her family, not her friends and most definitely not the police. But private investigator Bud Mac Phearson won't take no for an answer.

Mac had failed once to keep his promise to see both Mallory and Emily to safety and he wasn't going to let it happen again. Now, with no one to turn to but each other, Mac and Mallory find that their future and happiness depend on holding nothing back.

Cry of the Wild
When her brother disappears, Crysta Meyers leaves the big city to join in the search for her missing twin. She doesn't expect that in the Alaskan wilderness her greatest threat will come not from nature, but from man. Someone is determined to stop Crysta from finding her brother—and will resort to any means necessary. Crysta's only ally is Sam Barrister, a rough and rugged mountain guide as untamed as the wilderness itself.

 

By Right of Arms
By Robyn Carr
Reissued from 1986
Digital Book
Released by Liza Dawson Associates
November 25, 2012

The Black Prince of England hungers to capture the lands of France, and Sir Hyatt Laidley is just the knight for the task. In exchange for years of faithful service, Hyatt will receive both land--and lady--of De La Noye in Aquitaine.

When Hyatt and his men attack, both Lord and castle fall, but the young and newly widowed Aurelie is not so easily conquered. Impassioned by the subjugation of her people, Aurelie pledges to forever honor her late husband. She may be condemned to marry the English bastard, but her heart will never yield!

But to Aurelie's surprise, Hyatt proves to be everything her former husband was not. Fearless, wise, and devastatingly handsome, he makes for a highly gifted Lord and protector. And try as she might, she simply can’t feign indifference to her virile husband’s passionate embrace.

Yet Aurelie is not alone in her emotional torment. Previously robbed of his inheritance and title by a deceitful stepmother, Hyatt can’t bring himself to trust his French wife. But as rivals threaten the welfare of their people, the couple must decide which bond is stronger--allegiance to one's motherland or ties forged from love.

Full of danger, lust, and love, BY RIGHT OF ARMS is a smoldering medieval romance set in 14th century France that is sure to enthrall fans of VIRGIN RIVER.

 

The Troubadour’s Romance
By Robyn Carr
Reissued from 1987
Digital format
Released by Liza Dawson Associates
November 25, 2012

New to the Windsor court, beautiful and quick-witted Felise Scelfton instantly becomes the coveted object of desire.

Spurred on by her flirtatious manner and rumors of her dowry, knights brandish their swords for her hand in marriage, but King Henry II has already decided her fate--His royal command gives her hand to Sir Royce Leighton, the scarred and brooding lord of Segeland, in order to seal a political alliance. Despite a tempestuous beginning, their arranged marriage gives way to desire, and Royce’s bitter memories are soothed by his alluring young wife.

However, the King isn’t finished plotting, and old suitors seek revenge. Felise and Royce must weather enduring court scandals, but will their love be enough to survive the cruelest of betrayals?

Set in 12th century England, THE TROUBADOUR'S ROMANCE is full of political intrigue, greed, and passion and is sure to dazzle Robyn's fans.

Robyn Carr is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Virgin River Series, published by MIRA. THE TROUBADOUR'S ROMANCE is one of her historical novels, which will all be reissued as digital editions in the coming months.

 

The Blue Falcon
By Robyn Carr
Reissued from 1986
Digital format
Released by Liza Dawson Associates
November 25, 2012

IN LOVE AND WAR, SOME OATHS ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN...

Riding into the arena under the furling blazon of the blue falcon, Sir Conan de Corbney accepts a token from the young beauty, Lady Chandra, sparking a romance foretold long ago.

That is, unless Conan’s mother can help it.

Colluding with her son’s rival, Sir Tedric, Lady Udele secretly arranges a more lucrative marriage for her son and weds him to Edwina--Chandra’s older sister--while Sir Tedric claims the fiery Chandra for himself.

Thus begins the star-crossed lovers’ quest, amidst treachery and betrayal, for the path back to each other’s arms. When a knight is pledged twice, once for loyalty and once for love, which oath will prove stronger?

From private chambers to the distant bloodstained shores of the Crusades under King Richard’s reign, THE BLUE FALCON is a timeless tale of adventure, treachery, and above all, an unforgettable love story.

 

The Everlasting Covenant
By Robyn Carr
Reissued from 1987
Digital format
Released by Liza Dawson Associates
November 25, 2012

Anne Gifford's dowry--or lack thereof--is of no concern to Sir Dylan DeFrayne. Wrapped in each other's arms, what more could they possibly need? Yet the young lovers' passion can never be sanctioned--the DeFraynes and Giffords have been sworn enemies for decades. Lest more blood be shed, the two must keep their affair a secret…and plot their elopement.

Clad in threadbare hand-me-downs, Anne never expects the powerful and aged Brennan Forbes to remember her face, let alone propose marriage. Anne's parents hastily accept--the union aligns the Giffords with the Duke of York, while the DeFraynes pledge allegiance to the House of Lancaster, on the eve of the War of Roses.

The arranged marriage looming ever closer, Dylan must brave the battlefield and bypass enemy lines to rescue his beloved. With a dynastic war and bitter rivalries standing in their way, Anne and Dylan must embark on a tortuous path that only the strongest of loves can endure.

Set in 15th century England, THE EVERLASTING COVENANT is an irresistible mix of danger and passion, guaranteed to ensnare readers.

 

Surrender (The Spymaster’s Men #3)
By Brenda Joyce
Mass Market Paperback
Released by Harlequin (HQN)
November 20, 2012

A Desperate Widow
Once a penniless orphan, Evelyn D'Orsay became a countess and a bride at the tender age of sixteen. But the flames of revolution forced her to flee France, with the aid of a notorious smuggler. Recently widowed and without any means, Evelyn knows she must retrieve the family fortune from France for her daughter's sake—but only one man can help her…the smuggler she cannot forget.

A Dangerous Spy
Jack Greystone has been smuggling since he was a small boy—and he has been spying since the wars began. An outlaw with a bounty on his head, he is in hiding when he becomes aware of the Countess's inquiries about him. He is reluctant to come to her aid yet again, for he has never been able to forget her. But he soon realizes he'll surrender anything to be with the woman he loves….

 

Here and Then: Here and Then/Dalton’s Undoing
By Linda Lael Miller
Mass Market Paperback
Released by Harlequin
November 20, 2012

Rue Claridge's cousin Elisabeth had disappeared, and Rue was determined to find her. But she never dreamed that when she followed Elisabeth's footsteps, she would find herself more than one hundred years in the past…and in jail, courtesy of Marshal Farley Haynes.
She knew Farley was baffled but intrigued by her modern ways—and Rue was just as fascinated by the rugged marshal. Enough to dream that maybe he could live in her modern world and find a place with her on her Montana ranch. But could she ask him to choose between everything he had ever known…and a future with her?

 

The Rancher
By Diana Palmer
Mass Market Paperback
Released by Harlequin Special Edition
November 13, 2012

Days are hot on Skylance Ranch, and the nights even hotter!

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Diana Palmer brings her readers back to Branntville, Texas, with Cort Brannt's story. The heir to the Skylance Ranch empire has women gallop into his life, but the handsome lone wolf sends them just as quickly on their way…until a pretty, vivacious neighbor appears on the range. Has the most eligible bachelor in Branntville met his match?

 

The Rancher & Heart of Stone: The Rancher\Heart of Stone
By Diana Palmer
Mass Market Paperback
Harlequin Special Edition
November 20, 2012

Days are hot on the Skylance Ranch, and the nights even hotter!

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Diana Palmer brings her readers back to Branntville, Texas, with Cort Brannt's story. The heir to the Skylance Ranch empire has women gallop into his life, but the handsome lone wolf sends them just as quickly on their way…until a pretty, vivacious neighbor appears on the range. Has the most eligible bachelor in Branntville met his match?
Don't miss the classic tale by Diana Palmer Heart of Stone included in this book!
Boone Sinclair is the ultimate Long, Tall Texan—reticent, noble and blessed with a Texas-size stubbornness! Can lovely Keely Welsh convince him that she's no longer a girl in need of protection, but a woman out to win his heart?

 

Midnight Rider
By Diana Palmer
Reissued from 1998
Mass Market Paperback
Released by Harlequin HQN
November 20, 2012

Count Eduardo Cortes's fortune—and future at his beloved ranch—are in question. Tragedy, money woes and family pressure are now driving him toward a marriage of convenience. That is, until he encounters Bernadette Barron, wandering frightened and disheveled after a society ball.…

Beneath the grime, it's clear Bernadette is beautiful and rich. But is she just another heartbreak waiting to happen or has Eduardo finally found the one woman who can save his ranch and heal his heart? The Spanish count can provide Bernadette with the title she needs—but can he return her feelings?

Gazing into her husband's penetrating eyes, Bernadette sees not only his calculating ways but also his quick arousal to passion. Will their growing desire be enough to overcome the mounting challenges they face…and to claim the love she will not be denied?

 

A life of its own

I’ve been an avid read of romance novels for longer than I care to admit, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would ever write one. THE MERGER MOGUL is my first venture into fiction (I’ve written three non-fictions) and it was a wonderful experience.

When I look back at my notes, I realize that the end result bears little resemblance to my initial thoughts. Not only that, but I feel as if the book took on a life of its own and just evolved in a number of ways. For example, I had always intended for the book to be set in Manhattan and I hadn’t really planned on including Barbados, even though that’s my home. However, as Daniel (the hero) was driving home one night in winter and the snow began to fall he decided to escape to Barbados for two months and stay at his condo on the West Coast. Well he didn’t decide exactly, but the thought dropped into my head and therefore made its way into his.

That led me to write about some of the interesting places to visit and things to do in Barbados, like take a cruise down the West Coast on the catamaran Jammin’ and swim with the turtles. I hope it encourages my readers to come to our wonderful island or, if that’s not possible, to enjoy it vicariously through Daniel’s and KT’s (the heroine) experiences.

My friends played an important role in the writing of the book, by reviewing it for me before it went “live” and giving me constructive advice like: the end is too abrupt; the proposal is not romantic enough and you need to include a confidante for KT. I’m really grateful for all their input.

All in all, the experience of writing this novel has been so enjoyable that I’m already doing research for my next one which will be a historical romance based in Barbados and highlighting the Barbados-South Carolina connection. In 1671 a group of settlers from Barbados arrived at Charles Towne (as it was called then) in South Carolina and settled there. Their influence has resulted in a number of places in Charleston having the look and feel of Barbados even today. I’m really looking forward to writing that story so stay tuned.

Donna Every lives in Barbados with her husband, two children and five dogs. THE MERGER MOGUL is her first novel and is available on Amazon.com. See Contests to win downloads of THE MERGER MOGUL.

donnaevery.com

themergermogul.com

 

 

Introducing J.K. Rock

This month, I’d like to introduce you to my alter ego, J.K. Rock. I’m sure you’re used to writers with multiple pseudonyms. J.R. Ward has her Jessica Bird side (wait… reverse that!) and there’s Amanda Quick/Jayne Anne Krentz, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb.

But J.K. Rock isn’t quite like those, because J.K. isn’t just Joanne. The “K” in there is key! Last year, I started penning some stories with my sister-in-law, Karen Rock. We had a great time and sold a book together, so J.K. Rock was born. How easy to share a last name! It gives us lots of buy-in to our pen name.

I thought this month would be a great time to introduce you to my pseudonym side since Karen and I are eagerly awaiting a big Cover Reveal this month from our publisher, Spencer Hill Press. Our first release is a fun and romantic Young Adult story, CAMP BOYFRIEND. The book launches a three book series for us and- excitingly- it’s also kicking off Spencer Hill Press’ new contemporary imprint. We are so excited.

So please join us online December 14th for our first ever Cover Reveal. I can’t give you all the details yet, but if you Like us on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/jkrockwriters or Follow us on Twitter @KarenRock5, @JoanneRock6, we’ll give you updates as the time draws closer! Also, to sweeten the deal, I’m giving away five copies of my adult romances (your choice!) to new Twitter Followers in the month of December.

In the meantime, here’s a little about Camp Boyfriend:

They said it couldn’t be done, but geeky sophomore Lauren Carlson successfully transformed herself into a popular girl with the help of transferring to a new school half-way across the country. Amazing what losing your braces and going out for cheerleading will do. Only trouble is, the popular crowd is wearing on Lauren’s nerves and she can’t wait to return to summer camp where she’s valued for her brain instead of her handsprings. She just needs to break up with her jock boyfriend, Matt, so she can head to camp with a clear conscience to see Seth –her endearingly nerdy equal and long time camp boyfriend.

Then Matt reveals his parents are divorcing and his world is falling apart. He needs a break from the chaos so he’s attending Lauren’s summer camp. Now, Lauren’s worlds are colliding. Will Seth understand why she needs to be with Matt this summer? Soon, Lauren’s friends are turning on her, both guys question what she really wants, and her older sister texts weekly with a request for the name of Lauren’s date for her August wedding. If only Lauren knew…

Please help me in welcoming my sister-in-law Karen Rock to the writing world (and look for her debut Harlequin Heartwarming story coming soon!) and consider spreading the word about our fun new adventure as J.K. Rock. I’ve got a bonus $10. Amazon Gift Card – perfect for buying my new Harlequin Historical Undone, MAID UNTIL MIDNIGHT- for one random new “Like” on the J.K. Rock Facebook page this week. Thanks so much, my Writerspace friends!

 

I’m Not a Kid, I Just Play One on TV

Okay, so I admit I’m not the typical mother. Autistic children have different issues than other children. But I’m an aunt to several of the little monst-- . . . er, darlings . . . and my friends have them, and some of them come to my office occasionally. And I WAS one, for heaven’s sake—that ought to count for something. I figure I’m not that different from the average person.

So why is it so hard for some writers to create believable children? I’m not a man, yet I write male characters. Paranormal authors aren’t vampires, yet they write blood-sucking heroines. And if thriller writers had firsthand experience of the kind of characters they write … yikes!

We’re fiction writers. We make things up. It’s expected. Still, writing about children is … well, different. The little buggers are hard to pin down. Too many TV shows and books have kids spouting clever one-liners to show up their parents. While kids can come out with some real zingers, they’re usually unintentional. Ever heard a six-year-old tell a joke? Was it funny? Really?

That’s why I took great pains to create a real child for my present Christmas release, 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS. Jasper hates his new skeleton suit (typical attire for a little Regency boy) and is always angling to get sweets and has the sly ways of most little kids bent on getting their way. Oh, and he believes in flying reindeer. There’s that.

I must confess that in the midst of writing him, I fell in love, as I do with all those little pesky children that crowd my life. It’s hard not to love that combination of innocence, slyness, and wonder that seems to be in all small children.

So who’s your favorite fictional child? Do you enjoy children in fiction (books OR TV/movies)? Do you ever find them unrealistic?

www.sabrinajeffries.com

In the last 13 years, New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries has penned 35 Regency romances, five novellas, and three short stories (some under the names of Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas— becoming a regular on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and winning more than a dozen industry awards in the process.

New Orleans-born and Thailand-reared, Jeffries attributes her success to listening to what peers, her publisher, and her own common sense told her she should be writing: “I write what I enjoy reading: lighter, sexier historical romances, with more dialogue and more sensuality.”

Writing about 19th-century English life comes naturally for Jeffries. Not only is she a lifelong Jane Austen fan, but she has a doctorate in English lit from Tulane and a specialty in Early Modern British literature. Yet the impetus for her stories, Jeffries says, is always “what if”—not what if her hero likes this or that, but what if this happened and this happened… what would it do to a person?

And she writes, she says, because “I can’t not write… I have stories in my head, and I have to get them out.”

Today, the novelist has more than 5 million Sabrina Jeffries books in print. She writes at her home in Cary, NC, where she lives with husband, Rene, and their son, Nick. When not answering e-mails as she logs miles on her treadmill or doing jigsaw puzzles (“my reward for finishing a book”), Jeffries can be found championing the cause of autistic children in the name of her son.

 

Mischief and Mistletoe: ‘Tis the Season to be Wicked!

And we Word Wenches had a wicked good time with this anthology! The Word Wenches are eight authors of historical romance (among other things), who have had a group blog for over six years. (That’s forever in internet years!)

Life being what it is, we’ve had some changes in the group over the years, but the Wenches are currently Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott/Andrea Penrose, Anne Gracie, Susan (Fraser) King, Patricia Rice/Jamie Quaid, and me. A Cool Thing about us is that we live on three continents: Anne is Australian, Nicola is English, and Jo Beverley is a two-fer—born and raised in England, lived most of her adult life in Canada, and has now returned to England. As I like to say, the sun never sets on the Wench Empire.

We blog three times a week on a variety of topics, generally with a historical element. We chat about our research, our travels, our books, and writing issues. And I believe we are the first romance blog to write an anthology: MISCHIEF AND MISTLETOE.

Our webmistress, Eileen Buckholtz, was the first to suggest this. I thought the idea was a non-starter—most romance anthologies are proposed by publishers, and author generated anthologies are fairly rare. But during the 2009 RWA national conference in Washington, DC, several of us met in person and kicked the idea around a bit—then returned home and forgot all about it.

Until 2010, when Pat Rice said she was procrastinating, and what about this anthology idea? So we decided to play. We kicked around possible themes, including “wicked wenches.” Most of our heroines are more naughty than wicked, but still, the idea was fun.

My Kensington editor suggested that Christmas anthologies were most popular, so we decided to go with a holiday theme. Each of us produced a two page synopsis, Susan King pulled them together into a proposal, and each of us sent a copy to our own editor, since they were the ones most likely to be interested.

I still thought the idea was unlikely to fly, proving that I am a terrible prognosticator. We received not one, but two good offers. After still more discussions, weighing things like having input on cover art, having all our names on the cover (not easy with eight Wenches!), and reversion and e-book issues, we decided on the offer from my Kensington editor.

The anthology contains eight Regency stories of novelette length. (That’s between a short story and a novella—our stories run from 12,000 to 15,000 words.) Another Cool Thing is that each of us wrote—exactly what we always write. Joanna Bourne’s story is about spies, Susan King’s is set in Scotland, Cara Elliott wrote adventure, etc. So naturally, I wrote about an emotionally tortured soldier returned from the Peninsular wars.

My story, “She Stoops to Wenchdom,” was inspired by the 18th century play by Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer. In the play, the romantic lead, Marlow, is very shy around girls of his own class, but jolly and outgoing with lower class girls. Kate, the heroine, realizes that she can use this.

The heroine of my story, Lucy Richards, does something similar, but she’s more interested in getting over Gregory Kenmore. Here’s an excerpt from the evening when they meet for the first time in years at a Christmas ball. (In a small link to my Lost Lords series, the ball is given by the hero and heroine of NEVER LESS THAN A LADY.)

Blast it, she was supposed to get over him, not want to kiss him! But a vicar’s daughter learned to control her expression, and she managed to say calmly, “Welcome home, Captain Kenmore.” She offered her hand.

Ignoring her hand, he just stared, his gaze flat and forbidding.

Her heart sinking, she said, “I’m Reverend Richards’ daughter, Lucinda. I often plagued you when you were attending tutorials at the vicarage.”

His gaze moved down her and he gave a stiff little bow. “Miss Richards.”

He didn’t recognize her. He didn’t recognize her! The knowledge was like a dagger in her heart. Yes, she’d been young when he left for the army, but they had talked often. Taken walks, laughed. He’d welcomed her when she’d brought tea and cakes into the study to refresh her father and his student.

She hadn’t changed that much. She was taller and had grown a figure, but otherwise she looked much the same. Blond hair, bland face, modest white gown.

But he had changed, and not in a comfortable way. After too long a pause, he said, “I’m glad to see you well, Miss Richards. Are your parents here?”

“No, they were engaged elsewhere so I came with the Bridges.” Remnants of pride forced her to pull herself together. “I’d heard you were avoiding society, Captain. What brings you out tonight?”

“Major Randall was my commanding officer in Spain,” Gregory explained. “He ordered me to come. He said people were curious to meet me again, so I could take care of all my social obligations at once.”

“Very practical.” She inclined her head. “I hope I shall see you at church.” She glided away, glad that she hadn’t collapsed and howled. It had been foolish of her to think there could be anything between them after all these years.

Yet damnably, she’d felt drawn to him. That spark of connection, of rightness, still burned in her breast.

How long would for her to get over him?

Gregory stared after Lucinda Richards, stunned to the marrow. She’d always been the sweetest and prettiest of little girls, but even so, he couldn’t have predicted that she would grow into such a beauty. The vicar’s little angel.

Now she was an angel in truth, all golden and innocent and pure. As he watched her laughing with a friend, he knew that she would haunt his dreams.

But there could be no more than dreams between them. Not when he wasn’t fit to touch the hem of her gown.

Poor Gregory! But trust me, he’s a much happier man by the time the story ends. Since Christmas is drawing near, I’m giving away a copy of MISCHIEF AND MISTLETOE. The stories are fun, and a perfect size for reading in quiet moments between holiday busyness!

Happy holidays to all—

Mary Jo

www.maryjoputney.com

 

OF ALL THE THINGS I’VE LOST IN LIFE I MISS MY MIND THE MOST

My mother must be laughing in heaven.  

I used to poke merciless fun at her for her penchant to forget things. Guess who can’t remember diddly now. Karma really is a bitch!

These days I find myself calling my female dog “him,” my male dog “her” and my general response to life has become “huh?”. I have to write things down if I want to have any chance of remembering them, then I have to remember where I wrote it.

Mostly I just forget things.

Regularly scheduled tasks have added to the mystery in my life as:

1. The fact that they need to be done might have totally escaped me
2. I might remember I need to do it ahead of time, then forget to actually do it when the time comes
3. What were we talking about?

I’m guessing the holidays this year are going to be quite the adventure. No telling what will actually get done and who’ll end up getting what present.

I just hope I remember to have my camera ready so I can capture the look on folks’ faces—mine included—when they open their presents.

Guess it’s a good thing I love a mystery!

And my deepest apologies to Susan at Writerspace.com for all the times I’ve forgotten to send her my blog or have run late doing so. Surely, dear and gracious lady, if there is any justice in life at all, great will be your reward in heaven.

HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU SOMETIMES FIND YOURSELF FORGETTING THINGS AS WELL? IF SO, I’D LOVE TO LEARN ALL ABOUT IT. A FREE COPY OF MRS. GOODFELLER WILL BE RANDOMLY AWARDED TO ONE PERSON WHO LEAVES A COMMENT BELOW BEFORE THE NEXT WRITERSPACE BLOG IS POSTED.

Jaycie Cash blogs on a regular basis for Writerspace.com Her debut novel, Mrs. Goodfeller, is available through most major e-Book outlets, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She’d love for you to like her Facebook Author page.

www.jayciecash.com

 

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