My Fair Fortune

 

My latest release, MY FAIR FORTUNE, hits the shelves today!

This book is part of Harlequin Special Edition’s long-running Fortunes of Texas series. The 2015 series is called Fortunes of Texas: Cowboy Country. I was so honored to be part of this series because it meant that I had the great fortune of collaborating with five other fabulous women I genuinely like and whose work I admire.

Fortunes of Texas: Cowboy Country series takes place in Horseback Hollow where the beloved Fortunes and Mendozas must come to terms with change when a large western-themed amusement park moves in and threatens to tear the fabric of their close-knit community. It’s such a fun series and I felt particularly at home working on it because I live in Central Florida, the theme park capital of the US.

I thought you might like to know a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes of a series like the Fortunes of Texas.  When you have six authors with vivid imaginations and a love of the written word, you can imagine that it takes some coordinating to make sure we are all on the same page – both figuratively and literally.

All of the Fortunes books are connected, but each stands alone. If you come into the series with, say, MY FAIR FORTUNE, which is book five in this series, it will make perfect sense if you haven’t read the first five books, but it’s also fun to see how the books are connected if you read all of them in order. In fact, Debbie Haupt reviewed MY FAIR FORTUNE for RT Book Club magazine and said, “… (Robards Thompson) gives us enough of a series catch up for this to stand alone ….”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Why don’t we start at the very beginning of the process – nearly a year before the books hit the shelves.

When the authors sign on to write a Fortunes book, the editor who oversees the series sends each author a “continuity bible.” This document contains a basic sketch of the series and the over arcing storyline and a brief bio on characters past and present. Harlequin gives us a basic idea of who our characters are and a very general idea of the plot, but it’s up to the authors to flesh out the story and bring it to life.

One of the first things we do after receiving the bible is set up a chat loop so that the authors can communicate and brainstorm to make sure the storylines don’t contradict each other.

After the preliminary brainstorming, but before we settle in to write the books, each author prepares a proposal for the editor so she can see our plans for the stories. While the authors are responsible for their own books, the brave continuity editor has the job of making sure all of the stories flow right into each other and that the characters remain consistent. Each author has a hero and heroine and a central love story, but the heroes and heroines of the other books in the Fortunes series usually figure prominently throughout the series/in the other books. The editor makes sure that each of the authors stays true to the characters. For example, if the author of book one has written it so her heroine has a deathly fear of snakes, the editor makes sure in the other books the heroine isn’t featured as a secondary character who, say,  likes to charm snakes in a side show at the Cowboy Country amusement park.  Okay, I made that up, but you see where I’m going.

Jaunty Quill Cindy Kirk wrote the second book in the Cowboy Country series and as it turned out, our heroes were brothers. Cindy and I worked closely to make sure we each remained true to the characters. In fact, since her book came out in first, I asked her to plant something in her book – a situation that set up my hero getting the job he lands in book five of the series.

Once the editor approves our initial proposals, we each set to work on our books, but we pay close attention to the chat loop in case any of the authors have questions. When I wrote my book, I worked closely with Michelle Major, author of book four, because her hero is a secondary character in my book.

Our deadlines are staggered so that all six books don’t land on the editor’s desk at once. She reads (and edits) them in order and makes sure we’ve crossed all of our t’s and dotted all of our i’s.  Not too long after that, the series is available (one book each month from January-June).

What do you think of this? Do you enjoy reading connected books or books in a series?

If so, what’s your favorite series?

I will choose three winners from those who post to win a copy of MY FAIR FORTUNE.

 

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Nancy’s next release, MY FAIR FORTUNE, book five in the 2015 Fortunes of Texas series, is available April 21, 2015 in Mass Market Paperback  and May 1, 2015 in  E-book 

 

RT Book Reviews gives MY FAIR FORTUNE  4 stars and says:

…Thompson shows us what happens when you pair up a Chicago zoologist and a workaholic  Brit in a small Texas town, and it’s quite funny. Her depiction of the tight knit community and family dysfunction was impressive, plus she gives us enough of a series catch up for this to stand alone as well.

UNBUTTONING THE BRIT…

In the business world, Brodie Fortune Hayes is known as a man of no mercy. The all-work, no-play PR consultant is sure he’ll have no trouble correcting the image problems plaguing the Cowboy Country theme park. There’s just one complication: the green-eyed beauty sitting behind the boss’s desk who makes his pulse race like a roller coaster!

Caitlyn Moore never imagined working side by side with Brodie after sharing a most out-of-character night of passion with him a few months before! And now, thanks to her dad’s absence-by-illness, she’s his boss? Brodie’s bottom-line mentality is as infuriating as his blue bedroom eyes are intoxicating—but Cait is convinced that there’s a heart lurking beneath his designer armor. Perhaps she can prove to him that love is the greatest Fortune of all…


Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

Discussion:
13 comments

Categories:
Fortunes of Texas, Laugh, Nancy Robards Thompson, shopping, Special Edition

My husband is hard to buy for. He has good taste, but he’s practical and he never wants anything. The things he needs, he usually buys for himself. I’m always on the lookout for unusual birthday and Christmas presents for him (and when I find something I buy it and stash it away for the next holiday). Here are some goodies I’ve run across recently. All but one is not suitable for my husband. I thought you might get a chuckle out of them.  See if you can guess which one the Norwegian owns. Post your answer in the comments below and I’ll reveal the answer Sunday and post the name of one person (who posts) to win a $5 Amazon gift card.

boxes of applause and laughterCookie mouth mug

Catalogue description:

Chomping At The Bite 

Put a smile on that mug with a hungry mouth cubby that bites off more than you can chew. Perfect for serving milk and cookies, coffee and doughnuts, tea and biscotti, or your favorite snack-time combinations. 

Decision wheelCatalogue description:

Wheel Of Choices

Let this clever device ease the burden of having to make so many decisions. Balancing all the pros and cons of every call can be tiresome, and we never know all the possible pros and cons anyway, so why not give someone else the responsibility of deciding? Spin this gorgeous aluminum paperweight to have your questions answered – or should you “sit on it” for a bit first, or “pass the buck” to someone else? 

 

foot tanner

 

Major Scale musical wine glasses

 

Catalogue description:

The Party They’ll Never Forget 

All the usual suspects were there. The conversation felt…flat. A guest glanced at his watch. Then we brought out the Musical Wine Glasses. All hell broke loose.

It’s true: our Musical Wine Glasses have saved many a flagging party. Our customers tell us the same thing. They turn the sophisticated pleasures of wine drinking into an experience that is musical, memorable and above all, fun. Just fill our goblet to the desired note, and run your moistened finger around the rim of the glass. Soon, like a bow on the strings of a violin, your finger will cause the glass to vibrate, and a crystal-clear note will sound. Your guests may applaud – children often shriek with glee. Soon everyone will be trying it, and if you have enough glasses, you may be in for a real concerto. Our Musical Wine Glass is a great gift for any musicians you know, or your child’s music teacher. Each glass accommodates a full A-major scale, with each note labeled with sandblasted fill lines. Glassware made in Germany, decorated in Reno, Nevada. Custom packaging is 100% recycled, recyclable and compostable. 

Nap Anywhere Travel pillowCatalogue description:

NapAnywhere Travel Pillow 

Tired of u-shaped neck pillows that don’t offer the support you need? Travel in style and comfort with the most innovative head-support pillow on the market. The NapAnywhere® makes comfortable traveling easy with its portable shape. Arrive at your destinations refreshed. Winner of a 2014 Product Innovation Award at the International Travel Goods Show.

Stungun phone case

Catalogue description:

Stunning

This phone case is essentially the love child of an Otterbox and a miniature stun gun. Slide the case on your iPhone 5/5s and you’re immediately equipped with a self-defense instrument capable of producing an 18,000 volt shock to a wannabe attacker. New features for the 2014 model include ambidextrous triggers and dual safety mechanisms to prevent accidental discharge.

 

 

Trex wall trophy

 

 ****************************************************************************

My Fair Fortune

Nancy’s next release, MY FAIR FORTUNE, book five in the 2015 Fortunes of Texas series, is available April 21, 2015 in Mass Market Paperback  and May 1, 2015 in  E-book 

 

RT Book Reviews gives MY FAIR FORTUNE  4 stars and says:

…Thompson shows us what happens when you pair up a Chicago zoologist and a workaholic  Brit in a small Texas town, and it’s quite funny. Her depiction of the tight knit community and family dysfunction was impressive, plus she gives us enough of a series catch up for this to stand alone as well.

UNBUTTONING THE BRIT…

In the business world, Brodie Fortune Hayes is known as a man of no mercy. The all-work, no-play PR consultant is sure he’ll have no trouble correcting the image problems plaguing the Cowboy Country theme park. There’s just one complication: the green-eyed beauty sitting behind the boss’s desk who makes his pulse race like a roller coaster!

Caitlyn Moore never imagined working side by side with Brodie after sharing a most out-of-character night of passion with him a few months before! And now, thanks to her dad’s absence-by-illness, she’s his boss? Brodie’s bottom-line mentality is as infuriating as his blue bedroom eyes are intoxicating—but Cait is convinced that there’s a heart lurking beneath his designer armor. Perhaps she can prove to him that love is the greatest Fortune of all…


Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

Discussion:
58 comments

Categories:
Fortunes of Texas, health, Nancy Robards Thompson, Stress busters

no-stress

 

Recently, I read an article about how “busy syndrome” is wreaking havoc on society. Being overly busy has become a way of life that leaves people stressed and wrung out. I know I can relate to this. So, I’ve done some research on how to handle my own personal stress. I’d like to share what I’ve learned. I’m not an expert. I didn’t invent these tips, but I’ve adopted them. It’s made a big difference.

Here are eight stress-busting tips I’ve taken to heart:

 

Think ahead and get ready the night before. Pack lunches; locate keys and cell phones; lay out your clothes; have kids pack backpacks; etc. Even if you’re exhausted, push through (or plan ahead) to get it done the night before. Anything you can do ahead will help you sleep better and get your day off to a smoother start.

 

Stressed dessertsAvoid negative people. While it’s not realistic to purge all negativity from our lives, you can make up your mind not to react to drama. One of my favorite quotes is, “You don’t have to attend every argument (or battle) to which you’re invited.” People are different. What works for one might not work for you. Or some people just might not like you and you don’t have to feel bad about that. Usually, it’s their problem and not yours. So, stop trying to please everyone and don’t spend too much time worrying about what people think of you. Another thing that’s helped is I’ve adopted a key word that I say (sometimes aloud, but usually in my head) when my mind is wandering down dark, pessimistic paths (usually spurred on when someone hurts my feelings or I allow something someone says to get under my skin). My word is STOP! It’s my mind’s cue to curtail the negativity, reframe and refocus in a more positive direction. It really works.

 

Lose the all-or-nothing attitude. This is a hard one for me. I like to complete things in one go. But I’ve learned I accomplish a lot more when I allow myself to do tasks incrementally. Five or ten minutes of exercise is better than none at all. I’ve learned to write in twenty minute sprints, or on days when life makes sprints impossible, my bare minimum is 100 words per day (and usually the  words flow so that it ends up being more.) You’d be surprised at how the words will accumulate. When College Girl was in elementary school, I’d over-committed myself to volunteering. It felt impossible to write in long sessions. I stuck to the 100-per-day minimum and ended up amassing 60 pages during this time when I thought I might accomplish no writing at all. On the house cleaning front, I follow the Fly Lady‘s advice and “swish and swipe” on most days and take five minutes daily to clear “hot spots” where clutter tends to accumulate.

 

Go on a news and/or social media fast. This is another difficult one for me. I was a journalism major. It goes against my grain to not be informed. However, there’s so much bad news out there (and so much “stuff” on social media), sometimes it weighs too much to carry. When you’re stressed, it doesn’t hurt to put down the news (or Facebook and Twitter) for a while. It’ll be there when you get back.

 

deep breathBreathe. As basic as it sounds, this can change your life. I’m not talking short, shallow, hyperventilating breaths. Take slow, mindful, deep belly breaths. I’ve heard that deep breathing can lower your blood pressure, and I know for a fact it can stop the mind squirrels from commandeering your sleep. When I’m stressed and anxious (especially at night), I practice the 4-7-8 method. Breathe in for a count of four, hold it for seven counts, exhale for eight counts and repeat.  

 

Get plenty of sleep. Life always seems off kilter when we’re tired. So, when you’re stressed, don’t skimp on the sleep. Studies have shown that being sleep deprived will not only cause fuzzy-headedness, but it can compromise your immune system.

 

Learn to say, NO! I suffer from a condition called FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Sometimes this insidious disorder tempts me to take on way too much. And then I hate myself. I’ve learned that while saying no might be difficult in the short-term, in the long run it makes life so much easier.

 

Finally, schedule downtime. Read a book, take a walk, play with your kids or your friends, or your pets or your spouse. Did I mention read a book?

 

How do you handle stress? I have a grab bag of books by several different authors for one person who shares a stress-busting tip below. I’ll announce the winner Sunday.

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MY FAIR FORTUNE

Mass Market Paperback Available April 21 ~ EBook Available May 1

My Fair FortuneIn the business world, Brodie Fortune Hayes is known as a man of no mercy. The all-work, no-play PR consultant is sure he’ll have no trouble correcting the image problems plaguing the Cowboy Country theme park. There’s just one complication: the green-eyed beauty sitting behind the boss’s desk who makes his pulse race like a roller coaster!

Caitlyn Moore never imagined working side by side with Brodie after sharing a most out-of-character night of passion with him a few months before! And now, thanks to her dad’s absence-by-illness, she’s his boss? Brodie’s bottom-line mentality is as infuriating as his blue bedroom eyes are intoxicating—but Cait is convinced that there’s a heart lurking beneath his designer armor. Perhaps she can prove to him that love is the greatest Fortune of all…


 

 

Falling for Fortune

 

Initially, I was going to blog about my new book, FALLING FOR FORTUNE.  I really love this story. It’s book five in the current Fortunes of Texas series.  It features Christopher Fortune Jones, a tortured hero who is suffering an identity crisis, and Kinsley Aaron, a strong  level-headed heroine, who helps him find himself.

But then something funny happened on the way to the blog. My daughter and I found ourselves cast as the strong, level-headed heroines of our own story — or at least we were trying to be. Please let me tell you about it.

We moved College Girl home from school for the summer on Monday. The Norwegian drove the U-Haul. College Girl and I drove her car home. The entire day, everything went like clockwork. She had done a great job getting mostly packed. What wasn’t packed was nicely organized. In no time at all we were ready to head for home. The only thing was she had conveniently forgotten to fill up the car with gas. Imagine that. ;)

She and I stopped at the gas station before we got on the highway. Since she is a princess, I paid for and pumped the fuel.  Of course. Really, I didn’t mind because she’s a pretty good kid and I was so glad to see her. We had so much catching up to do.  She rolled down the window to talk to me as I gassed up the car. Mid-conversation, she shrieked and  jumped up on her seat, yanked off her flip flop and started pounding the passenger side floor.  

                “What are you doing?” I asked.

                “A bug! A bug! A bug! A great big palmetto bug just flew in here!”

                “Oh. Ew. Really??”

Who knows what a palmetto bug is? Those of you who do probably also said, “Oh. Ew. Really??”   

For those of you who don’t know…imagine the biggest cockroach you’ve ever seen. Now put wings on it and give it fearless flying superpowers. They fly at anything. I think they’re attracted to screaming and flailing arms. Palmetto bug

**Note: I just Googled palmetto bug and discovered that the AVERAGE size is around 1.6 inches long. College Girl swore the one that flew at her was gargantuan. That’s what they look like. And don’t forget they fly. —>

She climbed out of the car.

                “Did you get it?” I asked.

                “NO.”

                “No? How could you miss? I thought it was gargantuan?”

                “It WAS. And it climbed up behind the glove compartment.”

                “Oh. Ew. Really?”

                “I think so,” she said. “Because I don’t know where it went.”

                Oh. Great.

I climbed onto the front passenger seat, armed with her flip flop and a pizza special door hanger. With my butt in the air, I slapped and poked around until I was sure  that the bug  wasn’t in the car. Five or ten minutes later (how can you measure time at a moment like this?) I realized that the bug probably wasn’t coming out – maybe it crawled out into the engine – and  guy at the pump next to us was watching us intently.

And he was laughing.

                “Need some help?” he asked.

Clearly, he found our predicament amusing. The nerve.

                “No, I think we’re good,” I said.

College Girl suggested we start the car to see if the sound and heat of the engine would drive it out. That’s when I remembered the time I saw a gecko in my car and recalled how it disappeared, never to be seen again. That was years ago and I never found the lizard – dead or alive.

                “I’ll bet the bug got out,” I said.  ”Those nasty things can squeeze through a tiny crack. Besides, we can’t spend the night here at the gas station. Don’t you think we should go?”

So, we set off, both acutely aware of the fugitive flying roach.

                “So, do you think we should make a plan just in case the bug comes out?” College Girl asked. “Just in case it flies out when we’re on the interstate. So that we don’t freak out and have a wreck?”

                Oh, dear God.

                “Not a bad idea,” I said, suddenly having visions of us traveling on the crowded  highway, and the bug either flying at me as I drove, or making its way over to the driver’s side, dropping onto my ankle and crawling up my pants leg.

Are you mentally doing the “icked-out dance of repulsion” as you read this?

I reminded myself over and over again that I could NOT – under any circumstance – do that dance. Even if the bug flew at me and landed on my nose as I drove. If I freaked out, it could cause a deadly crash. That thought instantly sobered me. Do any of you remember the blog I posted a year ago about our headlights going out on the way home from one of College Girl’s school concerts? This is the same scary highway.

So, we spent the next bit of time devising “the bug evacuation plan.”

If the bug appeared, we would both remain CALM. College Girl would CALMLY say the word, “Bug.”  There would be no screaming. No swatting. No swerving.  And definitely no impromptu “icked-out dances of repulsion.” She would CALMLY roll down the windows (so that it could fly out if it was so inclined). I would CALMLY keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road and SLOWLY guide the car over to the shoulder.  Then I would remain CALM and NOT jump out into the path of an oncoming car as I hopped into the “icked-out dances of repulsion.” I would CALMLY let myself out, being mindful of oncoming cars, and get well into the grass, then I was free to break into the dance.

We both laughed and acknowledged that if we had such a plan in place that the bug, who was probably winging its way around the gas station back in her college town, would never emerge. Hahaha! 

Right?

Wrong.

About an hour into our trip, College Girl gasped. In her quiet, CALM hysteria, she might’ve even uttered a word that is not normally in her vocabulary. All this mama heard was a composed, “Bug.”

Keeping my eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel,  I said, “Oh! Ew. Really?”

She did not roll down the windows. Instead, she started beating the ever living daylights out of the passenger side floor mat.

                “Got it,” she said.

                “Really?” I hadn’t even had a chance to pull off onto the side of the road. 

                “Yep.”

                “Good job,” I said.

We agreed that we would stop at the next exit, which happened to have a Dunkin Donuts, and dispose of the evidence and then reward ourselves for remaining so calm in the face of danger.

I would like to celebrate our level-headed victory with you. Tell me if you’ve ever had a situation where you remained calm even though it would’ve been very easy to freak out. What did you do? Or what would you have done if you’d been in our car? Would you have stayed in the college town until the bug emerged (keeping in mind that it might not have crawled out as fast as it had flown in) or would you have gotten on the highway? Five people who post on this blog will each receive a copy of my new book, FALLING FOR FORTUNE.

               

 

 

                


Please give a warm welcome to our special guest, Judy Duarte!  I had the pleasure of working with Judy on Harlequin’s 2014 Fortunes of Texas series, and I was thrilled when she agreed to join us today.  So, without further adieu…

JDPHOTOS_003_crop

You Gotta Love Those Kids… 

One of the things I love about writing a romance—in addition to creating a beautiful love story—is the chance to create unique and entertaining secondary characters who add that special something to the book.   And that’s why I especially enjoyed writing A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES!

 

 Everyone loves a funny sidekick, a dastardly villain, or an older and wiser friend.  But personally, my favorite secondary characters are children.

                                                                        

Having raised five of my own, I’ve also been blessed with their cousins, their friends, and now kids at the pooltheir children—my grandchildren.  Needless to say, I’ve put in my share of babysitting, volunteering in the classroom, chaperoning field trips, and teaching Sunday school.  I’ve cooked for kids, cleaned up after them, rocked them to sleep and disciplined them.   Over the years I’ve come to understand kids and to always expect the unexpected whenever they’re in the room. 

 

When writing Toby and Angie’s romance, I had the opportunity to create not one, but three children.   Toby Fortune Jones had taken in three foster kids who had nowhere else to go.  And while his heart was in the right place, he found that it isn’t always easy to juggle the needs and personalities of three youngsters.  He soon found himself relying on Angie Edwards to help him with his adorable brood.  

Kids-Say-the-Darndest-ThingsArt Linkletter was right.  Kids really do say the darnedest things.  That’s what makes them so fun to include as secondary characters.   But when doing so, a writer needs to make them as realistic as possible.

 

 My daughter, who is also an author, once stopped reading a book because she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that the heroine’s son kept asking his grandmother for more helpings of her delicious okra and vegetable stew.  My daughter said, “Have you ever heard a seven year old boy beg for okra?  I’m sure there might be one or two out there, but at my house, it’s a battle just to get my kids to eat carrots with ranch dressing.  I’m not buying it.”

A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES!So kids can be cute, they can be funny, and they can be a challenge.  But when created realistically, they can add so much to the layers of a book.  I tried my best to do that with Brian, Justin, and Kylie.  I hope my readers agree—and that they’ll enjoy watching Angie and Toby fall in love, in spite of  all the antics and obstacles they have to overcome in A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES!

Judy is giving away an Amazon gift card to one person who posts. So, please join in on the fun and leave a comment below. 

 

 


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