In the writing world we all know that “the call” is when an editor calls you and offers to buy your book. Getting that first call is exhilarating and scary and a myriad of other emotions. For many of us it’s a long time coming. For me, personally, I waited 7 years and in those years wrote 5 manuscripts before that first book sold (Courting Claudia) In any case it’s about as exciting a phone call as you can ever receive. But I’ve received a different kind of phone call. It was nearly 4 years ago and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately as I’m preparing to speak to a group of moms soon about my experience with foster-care adoption.
The Professor and I had been through classes and all the licensing rigamarole you must go through in order to be approved as foster-to-adopt parents. Our social worker (for lack of a better thing to call her) had been in touch with me several times, presenting kiddo options. We’d said no to a few due to some issues we felt we weren’t prepared to handle and some we said yes to. Basically when you say yes they submit your home study and then a handful of people read through that and make a decision based on that. But back to the story…so our social worker called me to tell me about these two little girls and did I want to submit our home study. Well, The Professor was actually in class, but I didn’t need to consult with him, it seemed a reasonable enough situation to say yes to.
And then the waiting began. I knew we would be working on a fast time line because the girls’ social worker wanted them placed like two weeks later. So we waited for what seemed like FOREVER and then we got THE CALL. Selling a book was damn exciting, but getting this call was way cooler. We were picked to be the girls’ parents. Of course we had some issues to deal with over the ensuing months (that’s another blog) but they would be ours. And we had exactly 7 days to get ready. Now most of you get a good 9 months to plan and prep for a baby. We had to plan and prep for a baby and a toddler in just a week. I didn’t get a shower, but plenty of my friends gave me gifts and hand-me-downs to help get me set-up (including my fellow Jaunty sisters!) Much shopping ensued and we were ready when they got here. Okay, let me rephrase that, their room was ready, there was really no readiness (emotionally speaking) for us (but again, that’s another blog).
Tell me, how did you plan for your little ones? I’ll pick two commenters to win my first book, Courting Claudia. You can pick whether you get a ebook or paperback.
The Lady Authors have published their second anthology, At the Billionaire’s Wedding.
A stately home in the English countryside seems the ideal place for a bad boy billionaire and his bride to tie the knot. Until the Internet fails. And the oven breaks. And paparazzi invade. And police crash the bachelorette party. And four unlikely couples discover that passion never waits for perfection, and happily ever after is just an “I do” away.
Last year, after we finished At the Duke’s Wedding, Caroline Linden, Maya Rodale, Katharine Ashe, and Miranda Neville discussed our next collaboration. “Let’s do a contemporary,” someone said. “Yes, let’s!” we all cried as one. So what, that we were four historical authors with almost no experience in writing about modern life. How hard could it be?
“I have a billionaire who needs a wedding,” Maya said. For Maya had briefly ventured into the twenty-first century with her Bad Boy Billionaire series of novellas. So we borrowed Maya’s couple, Duke and Jane, and proceeded to make their weeklong wedding celebration rife with laughs and sexy times and near disasters as four new couples found love and HEA.
As we wrote the connected stories in At the Billionaire’s Wedding, we had to meet the challenge of a whole new time period: The Present. How could we possibly write about things we knew about at first hand? It was difficult, but we are Professional Writers. We buckled down and gritted it out. It turned out there are many similarities between Regency and modern England, where we wisely decided to hold the wedding.
Historicals: Hot dukes.
Contemporaries: Hot showers.
Contemporaries: Shirts that button all the way down.
Historicals: Colin Firth in a wet shirt.
Contemporaries: Strippers dressed as servants.
Historicals: An elopement to Gretna Green in a coach and four.
Contemporaries: Two hours from the airport in an Aston Martin.
Historicals: Gorgeous gowns that require an expert maid to get into.
Contemporaries: Gorgeous gowns that require a “zip!” to get out of.
Historicals: Fantastic foreplay.
Contemporaries: Ultra pleasure condoms.
Historicals: Sex in a closed carriage.
Contemporaries: Sex in a stretch limo.
Historicals: Sex by candlelight in the Gold Saloon.
Contemporaries: Sex by floodlight in the Gold Saloon.
Historicals: No internet.
Contemporaries: Internet—wait, WTF, WHY is there no internet !?!!?
What’s your favorite similarity/difference between contemporary and historical romances? The Lady Authors will give a digital copy of At the Duke’s Wedding to one commenter. (Winner randomly chosen and announced Sunday).
Hello! It’s me, Jaunty P. Quills, Porcupine Extraordinaire, to speak about my upcoming trip to Scotland, and the book I—
Jaunty: I bet you’ve never seen me in a kilt.
Margo: No. (Thank God).
Jaunty: What was that?
Margo: Nothing. I was just telling you about my Scottish historical, The Highlander’s Desire.
Jaunty: Are there kilts?
Margo: Well, back when this story takes place, they didn’t wear kilts as we know them today, but yes, my hero, Lachann MacMillan, definitely wears plaid. Extremely sexy.
Jaunty: Is it true that Scots don’t wear anything und—
Margo: I’m not going there, Jaunty. But I will tell you a little about Lachann.
Jaunty: You’re a killjoy. I always knew it when you were one of us.
Margo: Well, I do miss some of you guys.
Margo: I thought you wanted to know about my new book.
Margo: As a matter of fact, yes. The heroes of these two books are brothers, but you don’t need to read one in order to enjoy the other.
Jaunty: I think I’d like to visit Scotland. You probably have some extra room in your suitcase—
Margo: NO! I mean . . . no – I pack light.
Jaunty: Hmph. Shana told me that the inhabitants of those Scottish islands eat a diet of pine nuts and clover.
Margo: She did not.
Jaunty: Just kidding. What do the people on your island eat?
Margo: The food is irrelevant, Jaunty. The Highlander’s Desire is a Cinderella story, so it’s all about my heroine overcoming all obstacles and getting her man.
Jaunty: I love Cinderella!
Margo: What’s not to love? I’ve got Anna, a heroine who is oppressed by her step-family – a wicked step-sister and father, and a gorgeous hero who comes to her western isle to marry the stepsister.
Jaunty: Oh no. No, no, no.
Margo: That’s what I said. Absolutely not. But Lachann really needs to marry the stepsister because she’s the daughter of the laird. Their marriage will put Lachann in line to become laird after the old man in an agreement made by both clans. It will benefit everybody.
Jaunty: But not Anna.
Margo: No, because she falls in love with Lachann.
Jaunty: And what about him?
Margo: The feeling is mutual, of course. But it’s sort of an impossible situation. Lachann has to marry the stepsister, and Anna wants to get away from the island.
Jaunty: How do they work it out? Does he push the step-sister over a cliff or something?
Jaunty: Is there a glass slipper?
Margo: No. But there’s a black and white cat.
Jaunty: A cat won’t fit on her foot!
Margo: Of course not, but the cat plays a huge role in defining the heroine and villain.
Jaunty: I don’t really like cats.
Margo: I don’t think they like you, either, Jaunty.
Jaunty: So The Highlander’s Desire ends happily? With Anna taking her cat and riding off into the sunset with Lachann?
Margo: Well, sort of. Definitely a happy ending, but no riding into the sunset – it’s an island, after all. And it’s sort of a steamy ending.
Jaunty: You are making me blush.
Margo: That was my intention! Maybe you should take a break, Jaunty, while I ask my readers to try The Highlander’s Desire when it comes out next Tuesday. You can even visit my website for an excerpt.
And just for the fun of it, I want to start a discussion of favorite fairy tale heroes, heroines and villains. I’ll give away a copy of The Warrior Laird to one participant who weighs in. I’ll start . . . I love the wounded Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Now it’s your turn!
I Dream of Danger is book # 2 of the Ghost Ops series. The Ghost Ops are a team of elite warriors who go dark. There is no mention of them anywhere, their pasts are wiped out, they must have no ties. No friends, no loved ones, no family. Thus, when they are brutally betrayed and must flee, they have only themselves to rely on.
Each man, ‘Mac’ McEnroe, Nick Ross and Jon Ryan, meets his match and finds his mate. They aren’t looking for love, but love finds them. Their women have psychic abilities, gifts they reject at first. In Heart of Danger, Dr. Catherine Young goes looking for Mac on an impossible mission. She is an empath, able to feel emotions at a touch. How would you like to know what people are feeling? I thought not. Catherine, too, has shunned her gift. It becomes much stronger as she falls in love with Mac, because I think that the greatest human connection of all, love, strengthens our native gifts.
In I Dream of Danger, Nick Ross lost his one true love, Elle Thomason, many years ago. He has mourned her for years. When Elle Thomason was lost to him, he joins Ghost Ops, because there will never be another woman for him.
But Elle has a gift, too. She can astrally project and when her life is on the line, she calls to Nick the only way she can—her soul calls to him and he will walk through fire to find her.
Catherine and Elle are women with rare gifts, gifts that in the wrong hands can be abused, misused. Both Catherine and Elle are targets for renegade scientists who would turn their gifts into powerful weapons that could destroy humanity.
But the men of Ghost Ops and their women have a powerful weapon, too. Love and a community. When the world comes crashing down, it is not the size of your gun that will save you but the contents of your heart.
When Nick and Elle find each other again, they form a unit so strong nothing can bring them down. Not even a plague that threatens the world.
Nothing will ever tear them apart again.
The book deals with some scary stuff, stuff that could take civilization down, so let’s be very grateful for what we have, considering we have just celebrated the Fourth of July. Our freedom and all those things that allow us to enjoy life and our loved ones. Enough to eat, shelter, law and order. Modern medicine, schools, hospitals. There’s a lot to be grateful for, don’t you think? Because if it ever goes, it will all go, and we will be sorry we weren’t more grateful.
I live in Italy (I know—poor me!) so I might be a bit late in getting back to you but I would welcome your comments! One participant in today’s discussion will receive an electronic version of I Dream of Danger.
For information on more of Lisa Marie’s books, visit her website.
Hello! Thanks so much to the Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills for inviting me to be with you today. I’m Gayle Callen, author of historical romances (and also Emma Cane, author of contemporary romances—I get around). My newest historical, SURRENDER TO THE EARL, just came out this month. It’s about Robert, who needs to find redemption because of mistakes made during the war where men were killed, and Audrey, the blind widow of his fellow soldier, who accepts his offer of any kind of assistance—as long as he helps her escape her family who’s keeping her in seclusion. Whew, a mouthful!
But I’d rather talk to you today about our kids, the grownup kind that drift into their own lives and drift so easily away from ours. Oh, we talk/text on the phone, but when you only see them a couple times a year because they live so far away, it can be tough. The kids are having fun; it’s wonderful to see them blossom in their lives, but…I miss them. So here’s an idea to stay close: competition brackets. Yes, you heard me, just like the NCAA March Madness but not basketball (unless it’s basketball season, of course). I’m talking about a friendly competition over reality shows, the competitive kind: Survivor, Amazing Race, Iron Chef or whatever. This was my oldest daughter’s
brilliant idea, and boy do we have fun! It’s amazing how much you can enjoy a show when you’ve tossed $5 into a pot and you have a competitor you’re rooting for.
The show we compete over? The Bachelor/Bachelorette. My daughter has created a one-page form, with blocks for each week of the season, leading all the way up to the finals. We watched the first episode together (and in person, this year, which made it even more special), and then we spend the week filling out our brackets, due before the second show. Yes, you have to figure out the eventual winner, all from watching the first show. I’m not kidding, at one point we spent an hour or two slow-motioning through, especially the previews of the whole season, just so we could figure out which guys Desiree kissed, to see if we sensed chemistry. Turns out, she kissed them all, so it wasn’t so much of an indicator…
Here’s the fun part. Monday night rolls around, and we start texting, and even phone calling as we watch the show. There is moaning and gasping and gleeful bragging about who’s winning (this week, it’s me!). But really? I get to connect with my kids over something silly and fun and competitive. And in between, we talk about their lives and their friends and we stay close. I think that’s worth everything.
So let’s talk about ideas to stay close to our kids! How do you do it? One lucky commenter is going to win the first book of my trilogy, RETURN OF THE VISCOUNT, which came out last year. Not that you have to read the books in order, I swear… 😉