This week I have been asked to write about an author who has influenced my writing. That’s a hard question to answer in a paragraph or two. There are so many. There are the NYT best-selling authors who I read extensively and admired from near and far. There are all the wonderful authors in my local writing group. There are all of the authors I’ve met at writing conferences and ones I’ve met in various online groups, some of whom I consider friends but have never met in person (like the lovely ladies in this Romance Writers’ Weekly group). But maybe the one who’s influenced my writing the most is my long time critique partner, Cassidy Wells. We met in an online class ten years ago, and have read each and every word the other has written all of these years. I don’t know how I would have done this job without her. She cheers me on when my writing is good, and kindly points out when it’s awful! I can’t imagine writing without her. Sadly we’ve never met (I don’t know if we ever will because we live on opposite sides of the country, but she is a forever friend. We’ve grown to know each other so well over the years. Here’s to many more! Now hop on over to PG Forte’s blog and see who has influenced her writing at http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com Speaking of PG Forte, just like me she has a new release. Check it out below.
This week we have been asked to answer the following: Writing can be a lonely business. Share how you stay connected. Do you have an in-person writers group? Or chat with other writers on social media? Share your experiences. I am very fortunate to have belonged to an amazing author group, Front Ranger Christian Fiction Writers for the past twelves. The other amazing authors in this group have become my close friends. We meet once per month, in person, to inspire, and encourage each other as well as work on our craft. During the pandemic we continued to meet via zoom, until it was safe to meet in person again. I know I would not be where I am in my writing career today, without these amazing people in my life. In addition to that, I have stayed in touch with many other authors whom I’ve met at various writer conferences, and have made many author friends in various online and social media groups, including this Romance Writers’ Weekly one 🙂 It may be a lonely business, but it’s something I couldn’t do alone. Now hop on over to Brenda Margriet’s blog and see how she stays in touch at https://www.brendamargriet.com/blog
And just to let you know, Brenda and I both have new releases you don’t want to miss. My new Christmas romance released last week, and Brenda’s new romance releases this week. You can buy them at the following links:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CH5KP3TP and https://bookstoread.com/TooGoodForWords
This week we have been asked to: Write today’s blog as one of your characters. Have them introduce themselves, share their hobbies, interests, what they think of other characters, etc.
“Hi, my name is Belle Brooks, and I’m sixty years young. Along with my son, Ryder, I own and operate the Pine Mountain Horse Ranch in the beautiful Montana Pine Mountains. I love it here, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Although, I live with my son, his wife, and their two small children, sometimes life can get a bit lonely since I’ve buried two husbands. Especially, around the holidays. Don’t you just love the Christmas season! If only, I could get Ryder to slow down long enough to put up our Christmas lights! I was going to do it myself, but he caught me on a ladder the other day and demanded that I get down. I wasn’t going to fall. Anyway, this stranger, Bart Stockton, showed up looking for work. He looked down and out so I hired him to hang the lights. It’s Christmas and the season of giving, after all. And there was just something about him… Under his long hair and beard, I could sense a kind soul, and those light blue eyes, swoon. Anyway, if you want to find out what happens next, get your copy of Christmas in the Montana Pines, now at Amazon.
Now hop on over to Brenda Margriet’s blog and hear from one of her characters at https://www.brendamargriet.com/blog
This week we have been asked to answer this question: Tell us what other author writes books most similar to yours and why? If I want to compare myself to well-known authors, I would say that my books are similar to those written by Robyn Carr and Roxanne St. Claire. Robyn’s Virgin River Series, in particular, centers around the residents of the small town of Virgin River. All of my series are based in small towns with citizens who feel like family. Roxanne’s Dogfather and Dogmother series all have dogs who play a major role in her stories. Many of my books also feature dogs or cats that help to bring the hero and heroine together. Also both of these authors write similar heat levels to mine. Now hop on over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and see who she writes like at https://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com
I have a couple of deals for you today. First, my novel, Come Home to Love, is free for your kindle until Friday at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07T6B6M67 also, my new Christmas novella, Christmas in the Montana Pines, is now available for pre-order for only $2.99 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CH5KP3TP
I hope everyone had a wonderful, long holiday weekend. My was nice, with a couple of barbeques fit it and a little time at our swimming pool when it opened. However, in writer world, we really never get holidays, so much of my weekend was spent working on my next book.
This week we have been asked to write about this topic: The secondary characters (friends, family, colleagues, etc) in a romance novel can greatly influence the story. Describe a secondary character you’ve written that you can’t forget. So, as an author most of my secondary characters are thought out before I begin to write a story. They are strategically placed in a story to either introduce characters who will star in an upcoming book (since I write series) or characters who will either help or hinder the romance such as a character’s child, best friend, former lover, etc. Then there are incidental characters, think a waitress or a store clerk, who a character interacts with. They are not planned and usually play a bit part in one scene. That’s how my favorite secondary character, Marissa came to be. In my novel, Colorado Cabin in the Pines, the third book in my Peakview Series, my heroine needed a reason to stay in the small mountain town of Peakview other than falling in love with the hero. She was a school teacher on summer break, so I created a mountain adventure camp for disadvantaged youth were she could work. Her first day on the job, she was supposed to help get the new campers up on their horses. To put some life into the scene, I had her reassure a small girl sitting off by herself who was afraid of the horses. During the conversation, she asked her name, and she said Marissa. She was only intended to be in that one scene. But I instantly fell in love with her, and she ended up taking on a larger role and even helping to get the hero and heroine together. At the end of the summer when my characters fell in love and started their happily ever after, Marissa, like the other campers, went back home to her not-so-great foster home. Boy, did I get unhappy emails from readers, although my main characters fell in love at the end, as always, everyone wanted to know what happened to Marissa. So, in my next book, Colorado Wrangler, my heroine becomes her foster mom and the hero and heroine end up adopting her after they get married. She developed such a great personality that she appears somewhere in all remaining 7 books in the series 🙂 She’s my favorite because she was so unexpected, even to me, the author. You never know where characters will take you.
Now hop on over to Jenna Da Sie’s blog and learn about one of her secondary characters at https://jennadasie.com
In case you missed it, my latest novel, Montana Pines Spring Forward, was released late last week. Get your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C4K33CWS
This week we have been asked the following question-If you could time travel, what period of time would you choose and why? I had to think about this one. I’m not a huge fan of the whole time travel genre. At first I thought about the old west, which has been romanticized in movies and on TV, but in actually, it was a very hard life without any modern conveniences, so I decided, no. So, my answer, if I were to go somewhere for a few days or weeks, would be the 1950’s when I was a child. My favorite thing about the 1950’s? No air-conditioning. Don’t get me wrong, my home is air-conditioned and I enjoy a nice, cool office to write in and a cool bedroom on hot summer nights, but here’s what I liked. Growing up in a mid-west city we also didn’t have microwaves or take out food. Women cooked dinner in the oven every night, further heating the already hot homes. So when dinner was done, everyone, I mean everyone from age one to one hundred headed outside. It was just too hot to stay inside until the sun went down. Kids played and rode bikes, parents gardened and mowed their lawns, old people sat on their porches and sipped iced tea, while groups of neighbors congregated and shared their lives. No one had tiny screens to look at instead of carrying on conversations. We all knew each other-everyone on our city block. Even as pre-schoolers, our parents didn’t worry about us riding our bikes around the block alone. No one bothered us, instead everyone said hello. And when we were lucky, older neighbors would invite us up onto their porches for warm, fresh out of the oven baked cookies or to share the stash of popsicles they kept just for the neighborhood kids. I knew everyone. It’s been 56 years since I lived in that home, and I can still picture who lived in every house and tell you all their names. The sense of community was awesome. Recently, as I walked my dog around the block on a nice, summer evening, I didn’t encounter one other soul. Instead of the sounds of laughter and conversation, the only sound was that of the air-conditioning units clicking on and off beside closed up houses. I miss those times of socializing. I won’t be turning off my air-conditioning this summer or giving up my cell phone, but sometimes I long for those simpler times.
Now, hop on over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and see when she’d travel to at https://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com
In writing news, you can now pre-order my new novel, Montana Pines Spring Forward, at the following link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C4K33CWS
Hi Everyone. I have been absent from writing for a few weeks. First due to the holidays, and then I’ve been busy packing and getting ready to move in two more weeks! But, I’m back. This week on our blog hop, we have been asked-What is your favorite kind of weather? and Does it inspire your work? The first part is easy for me. I am way more a summer person than a winter person. I’d rather be hot any day than cold. That being said, my favorite season is autumn. I love the warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights. I live in Colorado because the sun shines here almost every day. There’s nothing like a cloudy day to bring my mood down. The question, does it inspire your work made me laugh! NOPE. Beautiful weather inspires me to be outside-walking my dog, riding horses in the mountains, hiking, gardening, or just sitting on my porch in the sunshine. The last thing I want to do is sit inside and write. We are supposed to get up to ten inches of snow this week. Now, that will inspire me to sit at my desk and write with a cup of warm tea. Who knows, a snowstorm may even appear in my WIP 🙂 Want to get away from winter? Check out my latest release, Montana Pines Summer Love. It’s available on Amazon in all formats. Next hop on over to PG Forte’s blog and find out what weather she likes at https://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2023/01/romance-writers-weekly-lets-talk-about.html
This week we have been asked what is the one dish or treat we can’t do without over the holidays and if we make it, share the recipe. Mine would have to be homemade caramels. The recipe I use was passed down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother, and then to me. Although they would be delicious any time of year, we only ever make them at Christmas. They melt in your mouth and are always a favorite of friends and family members alike. It wouldn’t seem like Christmas for my children and grandchildren without them. As I savor them each year, I often think I should make some at other times of the years–maybe a nice, summer batch, but I never have. There’s just something about a once a year treat that makes it extra special. I’m going to make a batch tonight 🙂 If you’d like to try them for yourself, here’s the family recipe:
1/2 lb. melted butter, 2 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup Karo corn syrup, I can Eagle Brand Milk, I tsp. vanilla, mix all ingredients in a large saucepan and boil slowly to 238 degrees. Pour mixture into a 9×11 glass dish and cool in the refrigerator. Cut into squares and wrap individually with plastic wrap. Enjoy 🙂
Once you’ve tried this recipe, hop on over to Brenda Margriet’s blog and she what her favorite dish is for the holidays at https://www.brendamargriet.com/blog and check out her latest romance, Turn the Next Page, which is available for pre-order and will release on Thursday at https://books2read.com/TurnTheNextPage
And check out my latest, romance, Montana Pines Summer Love, releasing on Dec. 27th and now available for pre-order at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BNNL7T9Z
This week we have been asked to answer these questions-what’s special about your books? What makes you stand out? and share a snippet or two from one of your books. When I thought about these questions, the obvious answer is I write about characters who are older in age than mainstream romances have historically been. I’ve written characters in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and even one couple in their 90’s. You are never too old to fall in love is a constant theme in my writing. Besides that, all my stories, event the ones with younger characters have the themes of hope and second chances. We all need that in our lives. I can’t tell you how many readers have written to tell me that my fictional characters have enabled them to not give up on love and have hope in their lives. If I can do that for even one person, then this writing career of mine is all worth it. I think I stand out for those reasons, too. Readers are not disappointed in the endings of my books. Here’s a snippet from Remember Christmas-“Grace wrapped her arms around her new husband’s neck. Her memory failed her sometimes these days, but this was going to be a Christmas she’d remember for the rest of her life and beyond.” And one from my new Christmas Stocking of Love-“When Charlotte had wished for a cowboy for Christmas, who knew her wish would come true like this? It truly was a Christmas miracle of the very best kind.”
Be sure to check out my newly-released Christmas in Aspen Ridge Box Set where you can get all three Aspen Ridge Christmas romances at 50% off the price of buying them separately https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BLHJZLBW
This week for Romance writer’s weekly we have been asked to write a flash fiction autumn scene using the words water, leaf, and coffee 🙂 here’s mine:
Before she even got out of bed, she knew that Autumn was here. She could tell by the cool, crisp breeze that blew in the window of the small cabin she’d rented for the weekend. It smelled like autumn. She didn’t know how to describe the scent, but she knew it when she experienced it.
She yawned and climbed out of the cozy bed, slipping into a soft, oversized sweatshirt and a pair of yoga pants. She made her way down the narrow wooden staircase to the country kitchen and hit the start button on the small coffee pot. Next, she opened cupboard doors until she found a stash of various coffee mugs. One called to her. It was plain white with red, block letters reading “you can do it!” She needed that this morning.
When the machine stopped, she filled her mug with the dark, brown liquid, and breathed in the aroma of coffee beans. She grabbed her latest romance novel, opened the back door, and walked out onto the small, wooden deck. Sitting down on one of the two Adirondack chairs, she gazed out over the lake. The crystal clear water lapped against the sandy beach below.
As she sat, a small, red leaf flitted down from one of the maple trees overhanging the lake and landed in her lap. She picked it up and turned it over in her hand, examining its bright color and small veins. No doubt, a few weeks ago it had been bright green and clinging tightly to a branch above. It was different now. It had changed but not in a bad way.
How much she had in common with this leaf. All long, hot summer she’d tried desperately to hang onto her old life—a life that had run its course. Now, she’d changed, but she realized it wasn’t in a bad way. She was emerging to a new brighter self. Different in appearance from her old self, but still the same person, just a new and improved version.
She sipped her coffee and stuck the leaf between two pages of her book to preserve it—a reminder that we are all meant to change. It was the natural course of life, and she vowed to celebrate every day.
Before you go. let me know what you think and then hop on over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and check out her scene. I did, and I loved it! https://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com