Kristan Higgins

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Kristan Higgins is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been called "perfect entertainment for a girl's night in" (Booklist), "hilarious and heartfelt" (Romance Junkies) and "the best I've ever read" (Kristan's husband).

Kristan is the mother of two lovely children, the wife of a firefighter and the owner of a very naughty dog. She loves to eat out, watch movies and of course, read.

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stacey_cartoon_v2It’s exciting to be back on Jaunty Quills. I am thankful to Kristan Higgins for having me on. But with my new release, JOCKEYING FOR YOU, I owe Kristan so much more. Unfortunately, in some ways I am like my heroine, Ryder Hannon, who lacks the confidence to fulfill deeply-set goals. And that’s where Kristan comes in.

In the Spring of 2015 my Romance Writers of America chapter, CTRWA (Connecticut Romance Writers of America), brought in a terrific speaker, Michael Hauge, for a two day seminar. The first day of the conference ended with a homework assignment. Our task was to come up with a plotline that externally showed our heroine’s internal (a/k/a emotional) journey. Despite wonderful instructions, I was stumped. I vowed to attend the second day of the conference incognito, if not invisible. Hey, if the teacher can’t see you, they can’t call on you, right?
Wrong. Despite hiding, I was called on to present my idea. Since I’m an attorney, I immediately recalled the horrors of law school. Yes, I was back in “1L Civ Pro” where the professor would be sure to call me out if my hand wasn’t up.

jockeyingforyou1800Luckily, I had mused enough on Michael Haugue’s assignment to have some semblance of an answer ready to go. I warily presented my plot line of a female jockey who had fallen off her horse during a race, and in a horrific way. Her fear of failing again made her leave behind the sport she loved. Her character arc would be very literally trying to get “back in the saddle.”

I was nervous enough to scan the conference room for reactions. Had anyone felt the need to make their way out the door? Apparently, not. Michael Hauge gave me a “good job,” and promptly called on others. I begged my heart to quit banging around in my chest.

Kristan Higgins, another conference attendee, was sitting behind me. Not wanting to interrupt those who were speaking, she passed me a note. It said that my idea wasn’t crazy, and that I should take confidence in both it, and myself. That note not only did give me confidence, it helped me frame a story about what it takes to face down fear of failure.
My fear is failing as a creative writer. I’ve always taken comfort in the logical; exposing my creative side leaves me vulnerable. As a writer, I constantly worry whether I’m creating storylines that are fresh and new, and characters that are as real as your neighbor next door. With support from wonderful writers like Kristan Higgins, and terrific teachers like Michael Hauge, confidence now comes a little easier for me. With every new book I start to write, I have to endure a little less time psyching myself up to get “back in the saddle.”

I admit, there are not too many horse racing romances out there. There aren’t too many female jockeys, either. Or too many attorneys who sideline as romance writers. There are, however, countless other people who also face their fear of failure. And who choose to rise up against it. If they can do it, I can, too.

nrmI do my best to pass this can-do attitude along. A few weeks ago, I took my husband and kids to the Saratoga Race Course, and to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. I explained to them everything I had learned about horse racing, all the difficult—and dangerous—challenges. I hope that trip transcended into something higher for my boys. I want them to learn that challenges aren’t only physical. True challenges are about doing what it mentally takes to cross the finish line.

I know that being a successful jockey, like a writer, takes years of training. It is the opposite of a sprint, it is a long haul. It requires talent, hard work, determination, strength, but above all, confidence. Everyday I learn more how to achieve these goals. And to be like Ryder Hannon, the female-jockey heroine I created.

I’d love to know what spurs you on, and what challenges you’ve faced along the way.

 

nrmamericanpharoahFrom JOCKEYING FOR YOU

 

Jake felt his eyebrow arch up. “Dr. Doolittle, I presume?”

A slow smile spread across her lips.

“How far have you gotten with Handsome?”

“He’ll let me ride him now.”

Jake’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline. “My God, Ryder, you’re amazing,” he exclaimed. With a shake of his head and a hard cough he corrected himself. “I mean, your results with him are amazing.”

Ryder’s grin was now Cheshire cat sized. “Thanks for both compliments.”

Damn. She couldn’t let my mistake go.

Then it hit him. His comment was a slip, but was it really a mistake? Her beautiful face, which had been beaming with pride now had a shy aspect that was even more endearing. She bore a schoolgirl’s blush and averted her eyes from him as she busied herself petting Handsome’s nose.

If only she could stroke me the same way. Though somewhere lower down than my nose. He tensed at the thought. Focus, Jake, damn it! This is business. “Show me,” he said.

She blinked. “Show you what?”

“Show me Handsome Dancer can be ridden. I want you to ride him for me.”

“Now? He’s already had his exercise for today. I don’t want to tire him out.”

Handsome’s head batted her shoulder with a determination that was comical.

“You know,” Jake quipped, “if he actually understands you then you really are Dr. Doolittle.”

“I’m sure he just wanted me to give him an apple.” She wiped a stray blond bang from her hot forehead and looked the horse in one of his eyes. “What are you saying, babycakes? That you want to go on a short ride with me?”

Yes, yes, I do. Jake cleared his throat and gave her a tight smile. “Go ahead, you two. Impress me.”

A few minutes later, he was outside the training track, his hands casually resting on the guardrail while he waited for the show to begin.

Soon, Ryder and Handsome entered the track. He heard her cluck her tongue at the horse, and then watched her lightly kick Handsome’s rear. The horse took off around the track in a fast gallop. The horse’s flight was fluid and astoundingly fast for what was supposed to be an easy go-around. She was doing more than merely riding Handsome Dancer. She was a part of him. One cohesive whole.

Thinking the demo was about to end, he had almost turned around to head back when something caught the corner of his eye. It was a flash of color, a fast burst of brown. What the . . . ? Whipping his head around to the source, he stared open-mouthed at the sight. Handsome Dancer was bolting down a stretch of training track at a speed unheard of for a newbie horse. Or maybe any horse. In all of Jake’s experiences, he doubted he had seen a horse move that fast when not performing in an actual race.

Visit www.stacyhoff.com for more on her books!

Kristan Higgins

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Kristan Higgins is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been called "perfect entertainment for a girl's night in" (Booklist), "hilarious and heartfelt" (Romance Junkies) and "the best I've ever read" (Kristan's husband).

Kristan is the mother of two lovely children, the wife of a firefighter and the owner of a very naughty dog. She loves to eat out, watch movies and of course, read.

Kristan's Website


Social Media


Latest Books

51jwxlk8knl-_sy344_bo1204203200_I’ve been feeling kind of down on myself these days, gang. The September blues, I think. I’m cursed with what I call Middle Child Syndrome—or, as Mindy Kaling says, “Is everyone hanging out without me?” Ever since I can remember, I’ve always felt a bit…insufficient. Like I’m not quite enough—smart enough, nice enough, athletic enough. etc. Growing up in a big family, surrounded by a lot of talented and brilliant people, it was easy to fade into the wallpaper.

So I decided to kick my September blues in the butt and do something we women often have a hard time doing, and that’s listing a few attributes. Here goes nothing.

I’m always kind to children, whether they’re strangers or beloved to me. I hope that every child I see has even a tiny bit better of a day because of me. At cross country meets, I make sure to stay till the last runners come across the finish line and cheer them on. I smile at babies and hug teenagers. I write back to every kid who drops me a line. My children love me.

I’m great in an emergency. I stay calm, try to see where I can help, act quickly but not rashly. Yes, I’ve broken the speed limit driving someone to the ER, but I’ve been careful about doing it. There’s no hysteria here. Blood doesn’t scare me. I know what people need, whether it’s a hug or dinner or a clean house, and it makes me feel good to do provide those things.

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Me braiding my little pal’s hair

I’m curious. I’d go back to college in a heartbeat. I read nonfiction books and articles about topics that might not have anything to do with my life, my books or the people I know. I might not be the smartest person in the room, but I’m open to learning, and that’s a good thing.

I’m generous. Not just with the checkbook, though I admit I’m something of a charity slut (the best type of slut to be). But also with my time and my heart. I love a lot of people. I have so many friends. There’s probably a reason for that—and it’s probably that I’m not quite as forgettable as I think I am.

Now it’s your turn. List five of your qualities, and I’ll send one of you whichever of my backlist you’d like, signed and everything. And you’ll get to feel good about yourself. It’s a win-win.

Kristan Higgins

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Kristan Higgins is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been called "perfect entertainment for a girl's night in" (Booklist), "hilarious and heartfelt" (Romance Junkies) and "the best I've ever read" (Kristan's husband).

Kristan is the mother of two lovely children, the wife of a firefighter and the owner of a very naughty dog. She loves to eat out, watch movies and of course, read.

Kristan's Website


Social Media


Latest Books

Jennifer Haines, you’re the one! Email me at k.higgins@snet.net for your prize.

Kristan Higgins

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Kristan Higgins is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been called "perfect entertainment for a girl's night in" (Booklist), "hilarious and heartfelt" (Romance Junkies) and "the best I've ever read" (Kristan's husband).

Kristan is the mother of two lovely children, the wife of a firefighter and the owner of a very naughty dog. She loves to eat out, watch movies and of course, read.

Kristan's Website


Social Media


Latest Books

 

Please give a warm welcome to my friend, Casey Wyattmuseum-junkies!

Hello everyone!

I’m thrilled to be a guest today. I’ve been an admirer of this blog for a few years now and it’s great to meet everyone. Thank you Kristan for hosting me. Please do ask questions or make comments as I’ll be lurking, er, checking back throughout the day.

I have a confession to make. I am a museum junkie.

A proud and unrepentant one.

And it all started after being scared witless. But let me go back a few years. Ahem, a lot of years now.

Once upon a time, when I was six, my family took a vacation to Salem, MA. And I never forgot it. Even though I was young, I retain vivid memories of Salem: Our view out the window of the Hawthorne Hotel, quizzing the tour guide at the House of Seven Gables, and seeing mustard seeds for the first time at the Lighthouse.

2016-08-06-19-46-21-copy-2But, alas, the trip also had a dark side. The Salem Witch Museum made an extreme impression on me. Maybe it was the fact that we were ushered into a dark room and told to stand in an illuminated circle in the center. Or it could have been the first display: two red eyes gleaming in the dark accompanied by a loud voice declaring the devil exists. And possibly it was the tableau of Giles Cory being pressed to death.

Yeah, that definitely left a mental mark.

In hindsight, I’m positive that my life as a museum junkie traces straight to that vacation. I experienced a Great Awakening on that trip. One that cemented my love of old houses and left me jonesing for more historical experiences.

I was the kid on school fields trips who loved visiting the state capital, Plymouth Plantation, and this place called Old Sturbridge Village (more on that in a moment).

During my college years in Washington, DC, I was in museum junkie heaven. I became an intern at not one, but two Smithsonian museums. The Museum of American History and the National Zoological Park. Yes. The experience was cool and amazing. When I graduated with bachelors’ degrees in Anthropology and Psychology, I had a lofty dream that I could work at one of my beloved museums.

I was so clueless!

The first job I applied for when I returned home laden with financial debt was at Old Sturbridge Village. After I was soundly rejected, I didn’t become too bitter even when I settled for a “real” job working for an insurance company (27 years and counting). I still have my reject letter from OSV too. Over the years, I applied for other museum jobs and was also turned down.

Fine. I don’t have a Masters or a PHD. I get it.

So if I couldn’t get a job in an actual museum, I did the next best thing and dragged my husband, henceforth known as Scar, to OSV.

This was my special place. One that I’d been visiting since a field trip in the fourth grade.

On that first trip together, Scar strolled onto the lush town green and looked around at the lovingly preserved historic buildings. The scent of wood smoke hung in the air while the blacksmith’s hammer clanged. The water-powered mills crushed grain into flour and sawed wood into boards. Upon entering a building, costumed historians would politely greet us and provide the historical background of whatever it was they were doing.

This was my happy place and I couldn’t wait for him to love it as much as I did.

His next words remain forever etched in family lore.

“This is nice. But where’s ye olde whore house?” he joked.

My joy shriveled a bit after that. Clearly history was lost on him. Though I do continue to tease him so I’ve gotten some mileage out of that comment.

<sigh>

Okay, so as it turned out, he didn’t love museums.

But there was hope. I had children. If I started young maybe one of them would fall in love too. As it turned out, one of my kids caught the museum bug! Witness my fellow museum junkie in those early years.

Over time, I purchased memberships at several museums including Old Sturbridge Village, Mystic Seaport and The Springfield Museums. I joined the last one in 2016 as a “happy birthday to me” present. Younger Son and I jointly hold these memberships which often baffles the staff who incorrectly assume we are married when sending out mailings. Um, no!

77630008-copyLucky for me, Younger Son still enjoys museums as much as I do. It’s our thing. We schedule our vacation time around which museum we want to visit next. Scar and my Older Son (who hates anything with the word museum in it), grunt, go back to their respective computer screens, then wave us on our way.

See, we know the secret. We have all the fun.

 

 

 

Your turn to share – what places have made a lasting impression on you? Any fellow museum junkies here?

About Casey:

deadgirlsdontcry-200Casey Wyatt is a multi-published paranormal romance and urban fantasy author. From August 22 – September 19th, she’ll be on tour for her latest book: Dead Girls Don’t Cry. Stop by her website: caseywyatt.com for the schedule. She loves talking to fellow readers and writers, so do stop by and say hello!

Kristan Higgins

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Kristan Higgins is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been called "perfect entertainment for a girl's night in" (Booklist), "hilarious and heartfelt" (Romance Junkies) and "the best I've ever read" (Kristan's husband).

Kristan is the mother of two lovely children, the wife of a firefighter and the owner of a very naughty dog. She loves to eat out, watch movies and of course, read.

Kristan's Website


Social Media


Latest Books

 

Have you had a bad day? Feeling the September blues, like me? Can’t seem to snap out of it? Fear not! Help is on the way in the form of Kristan’s Guaranteed Mood Boosters!

mason-jar-colourful-flowers

  1. Pick yourself some flowers, stick them in a vase or jar and voila! Prettiness ensues. Don’t have a garden? That’s what florists, farm markets, corner delis and grocery stores are for, people! Buy a few stems and treat yourself.
  2. Line dry your sheets. Trust your Auntie Kristan. It’s worth the effort. The smell of line-dried laundry is heavenly. Plus, you’re saving the earth by not running your dryer, so good on you!
  3. Take a nap. Did you know that naps have the same mood-boosting abilities as, um, happy drugs? Okay, I just made that up, but it seems to be true. Also, most of us don’t get enough sleep. Naps are proven to boost creativity, keep you healthier and make you feel deliciously indulgent. Go ahead. Snooze.
  4. Borrow someone’s baby. (Note: Only with permission!) Babies are great. They smell nice (mostly). They can be charmed by holding a piece of grass. Look into those beautiful baby eyes. Smile. Repeat. Come on, now. Isn’t that img_2848the best feeling ever?
  5. Lie on the grass and look at the sky. People, I’m telling you, it’s impossible to feel too down if you do this. We are all creatures of the earth. It’s good to visit our mother once in a while.

 

What are some of your guaranteed mood boosters? I’ll send one commenter a $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card, because guess what? Coffee with whipped cream is also proven to lift a mood. Ditto a tasty donut. : )

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