Thanks so much to my dear friend, Nancy Robards Thompson for inviting me to stop by today. I’m thrilled to be here again! And even more, I was recently delighted to be a part of an anthology with seven talented authors, including two of the fabulous members of the Jaunty Quills—Nancy, and the lovely Katherine Garbera.
More than once over the years, I’ve heard people say things like, ‘working with a group of women is way harder than working with men.’ The logic went that women engage in power struggles and can be too catty to get along. Ironically, it was one of my own gender spouting what I consider the rather sexist viewpoint. But I’m proud to say that I’ve now scaled that female-only wall with not a single scratch!
In all fairness, none of us actually populated a cube farm, gathered around a water cooler or stood on line at a copy machine. Not once. Rather, we created our stories in a twenty-first century version of an office—a virtual office. There were no power struggles, no cattiness. One person stepped in to take the lead and nudge all us as far as deadlines and the like. Another agreed to handle banking, and so on. We utilized a Yahoo group and email loops for communication, signed contracts in tandem, and delegated tasks during the few in-person meetings we were able to have. And in the end, I must say, I’m darn proud of the finished product, as well as the way we were able to work together.
In the course of the project, there wasn’t a single argument. Sure, there were differing opinions on cover concepts, marketing costs and strategies, small things. But overall, for seven women with strong opinions and voices, our visions were fairly uniform. We definitely agreed that we wanted to see a hot, bare-chested man on the cover! I mean, how can you go wrong with that? Although individually we each write varying heat levels, we easily settled on a PG-13 rating. Above all, we all wanted top quality stories.
We named ourselves the Jewel Box Authors. Collectively, we’ve written Enchanted by an Emerald, a box set that’s different from anything I’ve ever read. The set is a combination of seven distinct romance genres, and I’m very excited that the release date is approaching. I can’t wait to see how readers react to the anthology.
The idea started on the trip home from a writers’ conference, four of us in a car, a long stretch of highway ahead of us. Someone threw out an idea, then came the names of those we’d like to pull into the project with us. Despite the fact that we all wrote completely different types of books, we realized that we could start with one theme—a theme that we could weave through time and space.
And so it began. This kernel of an idea. We gave ourselves a year from concept to release, which was about how long it took. Using the concept of a magical emerald through seven stories, from medieval to World War II to New Adult and everything in between—that we all agreed upon. In retrospect, that was quite a feat. But we’re women, and despite having a rep that groups of us have a tough time working together, we did it, and we did it well.
What’s been your experience? Do you think women can work well together?
The Jewelbox Authors have some goodies to offer! I will give away a download of my novella in the collection, titled EMERALD INTRIGUE to one commenter. Nancy Robards Thompson is offering a Kindle copy of her Montana Born Fair novella BEAUTY AND THE COWBOY to another lucky winner. Caro Carson will mail a print copy of her current Harlequin Special Edition, NOT JUST A COWBOY, to one winner! T. Elliott Brown is giving away an e-copy of her book BOMBSHELLS to one winner! Catherine Kean is offering an eBook copy of her boxed set MEDIEVAL ROGUES to one winner. Katherine Garbera is giving away a book from her backlist to one winner. Mimi Wells is giving away a $5 gift card to one lucky winner.
ENCHANTED BY AN EMERALD will be available in EBook and print on September 8.
One enchanted emerald…seven couples in need of its magic to find true love. Follow the magic jewel through time and distance…
Will a medieval Lady risk her heart for the battered knight she believes to be her first and only love?
Can a twenty-first century policewoman find her future after she falls into the arms of an eighteenth century pirate?
A World War II soldier’s luck is in the hands of a beautiful French woman, but is she friend or foe?
A business owner with a tragic past is forced to lean on her neighbor to protect her and the valuable jewel she’s discovered, but can she open her heart before it’s too late?
A woman in an unhappy marriage leaves New York behind to rebuild her life on Iris Island, Florida, but can she find strength in her mother’s wisdom and a special gem to build a future and take a second chance at love?
Can a dark-headed mystery man and one magical stone help a down-on-her-luck young woman discover what Fortune has in store for her?
A jewel collector’s plans to thwart her father by stealing a famous emerald might be derailed by the man who wants to throw her in jail—unless the enchanted jewel has another destiny for the lovers.
Wynter Daniels lives in Central Florida with her family. After careers in marketing and the salon industry, Wynter’s wicked prose begged to be set free. She has authored more than two dozen books in several genres including contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. You can find her on the web at WynterDaniels.com and on Facebook
Thank you so much for having me back on Jaunty Quills – I love visiting with everyone here. One of my favorite things about creating a new book or series is coming up with names for the main characters. To me, it’s a chance to dust off all those potential baby names I loved but never used and to match up the personality of the hero or heroine with the perfect name.
What I don’t love is naming secondary characters. I have this bad habit of accidentally choosing familiar or famous names for the people who populate my books. Let’s see, his last name will be Daniels. I’ll call him Jack. Yes, Jack Daniels, that’s original. Or maybe the town gossip is named Betty. How about Betty Crocker? Or Betty White? So creative.
It may not be that extreme, but it’s close.
In my current release, A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH, the hero is an ex-bull rider with a career-ending injury. When it came time to mention his accident, I wanted the bull to have a name. We had just spent a week with friends at a Minnesota lake and one of the huge inner tubes was called ‘Big Mable’. My daughter dared me to let her best friend’s dad pull me around the lake on the tube (note to self: never take a dare from a blood-thirsty 8 year old). She convinced my husband to take out a second boat to create extra wake behind my boat. If you haven’t tubed for a while–in my case close to thirty years–the wake makes it extra bumpy and sends the tube flying. I ended up bruised and sore and wondering whether the ride was worth the ‘cool mom’ points I got in the process. But there was no question what I was naming the bull: Big Mabel (I changed the spelling just a touch).
We went back to Minnesota this year and I made sure that my co-rider for the tube was 6 years old. He demanded slow and smooth and, not surprisingly, we didn’t fall off once.
What do you think about character names? Do they help you understand the hero and heroine better? Do you notice if the name is familiar or one you don’t love? Do you have an all-time favorite romance character name? Leave a comment below and I’ll draw two winners to receive a copy of A KISS ON CRIMSON RANCH.
Michelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. Soon after graduating with a degree in Journalism, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Her life and house are filled with one great husband, two beautiful kids, a few furry pets and several well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion writing stories with happy endings. Michelle loves to hear from her readers. Visit her on her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Welcome Marissa Clarke, my good friend and author of the new release Sleeping with the Boss.
The meet-cute is exactly what it sounds like.
Definition: A scene in which future romantic partners first meet in unusual and often comic circumstances.
In film, the meet-cute can be traced back to the 1920’s and was often a way to get a couple from different socio-economic backgrounds together. Today, that’s not as much of a consideration, but it’s a great device that not only adds immediate humor or awkwardness, it can act as a time machine to speed up the relationship. (Source: HollywoodLexicon.com)
I love meet-cutes. There are lots of great ones in movies and books, but my favorite meet-cute is my own when I met my now husband, Laine.
Once upon a time, long, long ago…
A friend begged me to go on a blind date because there was a guy she liked whose friend wanted to go hear the band they were planning on seeing, but he didn’t want to be a third wheel and needed a date.
Operative words: he needed a date.
Nope. Not doing it. I did not need a date. I had other things to do besides babysit some guy who couldn’t find a girl to go hear a band with him.
After lots of discussion, and perhaps some threats from my friend, I agreed, just to shut her up—but I wasn’t going to go along easily. I had never been on a blind date, and was certain it was a loser proposition before I even left to go pick my friend up to meet the guys. (I insisted on driving so I could make a quick escape.)
To make sure it was a short night, I threw on on a white polka dotted sundress with a sweetheart neckline, pulled my hair in a ponytail and wore no makeup at all—spot on for a Junior League luncheon and the worst possible choice for a nightclub. Perfect! This was going to be the shortest date in history.
When we pulled up in the parking lot to meet the guys, a hot man was leaning against the bumper of a car. He was exactly the kind of guy I found attractive—complete with a runner’s build and jeans faded in all the right places. I thought to myself what a shame it was I wasn’t meeting up with him instead of some dud who couldn’t find a date for himself.
You guessed it. That was my blind date.
My friend, dressed to the nines in a tight black dress and heels busted out laughing. I was mortified. I was decked out for a picnic, not a night on the town. I didn’t find it quite so amusing. Fortunately, my date did, and disclosed to me years later that the Pollyanna look followed by several embarrassing events that took place that night involving a new car with manual transmission I hadn’t mastered yet (imagine that horrifying grinding sound of a poorly executed gear shift) and a broken heel, were what had attracted him the most. Well, that and my sparkling personality and fine-tuned wit. Ha!
And to think, if I hadn’t been an unsuitably dressed klutz that night, we might not have celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last week.
Definitely my favorite meet-cute.
There’s a meet-cute in my recent release, Sleeping with the Boss, in which the heroine spills her purse in the elevator, then rips the back seam of her skirt when she leans over to collect her things, giving the hero (a total stranger who turns out to be one of the owners of the company for which she’s temping) an eyeful of the results in the polished brass doors of the elevator. Embarrassing and awkward—well, for one of them at least.
I wonder why I related so well to the heroine… I can’t imagine.
Marissa is offering a Rafflecopter giveaway: Kindle Paperwhite + two $25 Amazon or B&N gift cards
Sleeping with the Boss
For the last five years, bookish Claire Maddox has been living for the dying. Now that her stint as caretaker is over, she’s off to see the world. She needs quick cash first, so a temp job at Anderson Auctions seems perfect, especially with the unexpected benefits, including the hottest man she’s ever laid eyes—or hands—on.
Former Marine William Anderson has been burned one time too many. His military training makes him the perfect man to flush out the spy undercutting his family business, but no amount of training can prepare him for the kind of undercover work he’ll have to do when the sexy new temp is implicated. Desire lands them in bed…but duty may cost him his heart.
Buy Links (only 99 cents for a limited time!):
Marissa Clarke lives in Texas, where everything is bigger, especially the mosquitoes.
When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, husband, and a Cairn Terrier named Annabel, who rules the house (and Marissa’s heart) with an iron paw.
Marissa Clarke is a pseudonym. Her real name is Mary Lindsey and she also writes young adult novels for Penguin USA. www.marylindsey.com
She loves to connect with readers and can be found at www.marissaclarke.com and on Twitter at @MaryL_MarissaC
For updates and insider information on Marissa’s upcoming books, subscribe here: http://tinyurl.com/marissanews
Please join me in welcoming my friend Manda Collins, who also happens to be a fabulous historical romance writer. Manda’s books are lovely, emotional, and spiced up with a nice dash of romantic suspense–how great is that?
First of all, thank you so much to the always wonderful Vanessa Kelly for inviting me today! You, madam, are awesome!
So, Tuesday marked the release of the third and final book in my Wicked Widows trilogy, WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS. In it, the heroine, Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormond, finally figures out who is behind the threats that have been plaguing her over the course of the trilogy. One of the most chilling messages from the mysterious villain was one reading “I know what you did last season.”
Yep, you read that right! “Last season.” I got the idea for my Regency Historical series from a Jennifer Love Hewitt movie.
Story ideas can literally come from anywhere. But one of the most fruitful places to hunt for ideas is in pop culture. Films, television shows, other novels, the news. If it has people in it (and sometimes even if it doesn’t) it can start an author’s imagination soaring.
In the case of the Wicked Widows, my story began as a joke. A couple of friends and I—being writers—liked to play with words and puns. And one of my favorite games was to twist utterly modern titles into Regency versions. So Dude, Where’s My Car? became Duke, Where’s My Carriage? And MTV’s Pimp My Ride became Polish My Equipage. And of course I Know What You Did Last Summer turned into I Know What You Did Last Season. Which is just that Jennifer Love Hewitt movie set during the Regency.
Well, sort of. The Wicked Widows aren’t a rewrite of the JLH movie into Regency speak. Aside from the “I know what you did last season” line my stories bear little resemblance to the film (or the book by the same name). The originals are really just a jumping off point.
I took the loose idea: a group of people (in my case three Regency ladies—two sisters and their friend) who did/saw something awful happen, and are then threatened by some unknown person about what they did/know. In the movie there’s a supernatural element, which is not present at all in my stories. And I could go on and on about the differences. The idea isn’t to re-create the contemporary story in a historical time period, it’s to use that one element to create a brand new story out of whole cloth.
This playful using and refashioning of ideas has gone on as long as there were people around to tell stories. Shakespeare was notorious for it. Many of his plays took tales that were popular in other countries and adapted them for his specific era in England. That’s why so many of his plays are set outside of England. Like Hamlet in Denmark, and The Taming of the Shrew in Padua. And even now, many US television shows are re-makes or refashionings of shows that were popular in other countries. AMC’s The Killing was first a huge hit in Denmark. And Broadchurch, a BBC movie starring David Tennant, that was hugely successful in England last year is coming stateside this fall. Starring, David Tennant. (Not sure if he’s going to be using his real Scottish accent or an American one.)
The cool thing about adapting concepts and language from other places is that it adds layers to the story. If you know about the movie I Know What You Did Last Season, you might see the reference and get the joke and think it’s funny (or be jolted out of the story and think it’s awful—in which case, sorry!) But at the same time you’re also thinking it’s really creepy that this villain knows what was going on with our heroine last season. And hopefully you get sucked into the story and forget about that Jennifer Love Hewitt altogether.
My point is—and I do have one!—is that I like to think of all storytelling as being part of one big ongoing conversation. And my books are responding not only to every Georgette Heyer or Mary Balogh story I’ve ever read, but also current television and movies and all kind of ideas floating around in popular culture.
But you don’t have to know or care about any of this stuff to read or enjoy my books. In fact, I’d hope that you could enjoy them even if you’d never even heard of a television. For me, as a reader as well as a writer, though it’s fun to look for these little easter eggs that authors hide within the text that mark their particular historical moment.
So, is there a contemporary television series or movie, or even a song, that you think would work well adapted into a romance novel? Or a different historical time period? Inquiring minds want to know! I’ll give a copy of my new book WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS to one lucky commenter.
And all other retailers!
I was so excited to be invited to participate in Montana Born Books summer fair series. I’d already fallen in love with Marietta while reading the earlier series that have been set there and even though Marietta, Montana, is a fictional town it certainly felt quite real to me as a reader. Bringing that reality to my novella was a challenge but the great team of gals who write for Tule Publishing were super supportive and I had a world of fun exploring Pinterest for photos of my hippie chick heroine, her taciturn cowboy and the beautiful setting of Montana.
So what happens when a hippie chick meets a cowboy? Sparks fly, that’s what.
“Life is simple for Booth Lange–work hard, save hard, stay out of trouble–until Willow Phillips arrives in Marietta and turns his entire world upside down. The superstitious hippie is everything he can’t stand—transient, careless, and trouble with a capital T. He wants her out of town before she can upset more than his equilibrium, and yet, he can’t seem to stay away or keep his hands off her.
‘Willow, retracing her late mother’s journey through Montana twenty-seven years ago, has one goal. To meet Willow’s father. Maybe then she can face the life-altering decision that awaits her. But meeting her father proves more elusive than she anticipated, and just why is Booth Lange so determined to drive her out of town?’
I hope you’ll enjoy reading about Booth and Willow’s journey to love, I know I enjoyed every minute of writing it and I look forward to releasing more stories with Tule Publishing.
So tell me, what’s your favorite Tule story so far, or even your all time favorite romance? All comments will go into the draw to win a book from my backlist. I’ll be at the RWA National conference in San Antonio this week so while I will be reading all your comments, I may not be able to respond to each one individually. But don’t let that hold you back from sharing your thoughts :-)!
Best wishes and happy reading!