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.

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

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…


Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

Discussion:
28 comments

Categories:
Jaunty Post, Nancy Robards Thompson, Writers and Writing, writers habits

As a full-time writer who works from home, I’ve become somewhat of a workaholic. I love what I do and I’m always working – on my work in progress, on proposals for future projects and on planning and promotion. If I don’t have my rear in the chair and fingers on the keyboard, I’m working in my head. My brain never willingly turns off the light and hangs up the “closed” sign.

I’m not complaining. However, sometimes I forget that I’m so much more productive after a short break. Here are my top ten ways to refill the creative well:

pinterest10. Play on Pinterest. It’s my happy place. There, everything is beautiful and the food is calorie-free.

9. Exercise. Okay, maybe this isn’t my favorite thing to do. You might say, I enjoy having exercised. Well, except for walking. I do love my walks and sometimes I forget their therapeutic power.

8. Clean house. I know. That’s weird. But some of my best ideas and breakthroughs come when I’m up to my elbows in dishwater.

7. Watch TV. Yes, I have been known to take in a series or several during the course of the season. tvAnd when the season is over, I may or may not turn to Hulu and Netflix… Gotta love a good binge session.

6. Read. This is one of the gems that tends to go by the wayside unless I consciously make time. I’ve been making time. 

5. Cook/bake. I love to try new recipes. Sadly, when I bring them out from behind the Pinterest veil, the dishes are no longer calorie-free…no matter how I try to pretend.  ;)

4. Play with my dog. She grounds me and helps My little museme remember what is right in the world.

3. Get together with/talk to friends. This is another one that gets neglected. I try to make time at the end of my deadlines to see friends.

2. Work in my art journal. This is yet another love for which I have to consciously carve out time. I’ve made a deal with myself that I will take fifteen minutes that I might otherwise spend on social media and play in my art journal. I set a timer. It’s like a daily mini-vacation. If you’re attending the Romance Writers of America’s national conference in New York, Kathy Garbera and I are presenting a workshop on using art journaling to foster creativity. I hope you’ll join us.

1. Spend time with my family. In fact, when College Girl was home for spring break earlier this week and she and I spent some quality time together in the art room. We made our own journals.  Here’s the one I made: IMG_1625IMG_1623

What do you do for fun or to refresh your spirit?

 

                


Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

Discussion:
28 comments

Categories:
family, Nancy Robards Thompson

The Norwegian had to work on Valentine’s Day (we celebrated in the evening). It gave me a wonderful opportunity to  spend the day with my other best guy, my father.  We went out for lunch and then we did our favorite thing — we took a long walk — about three miles in all — around a lake not far from his place.

My dad and I have always been close and we enjoy walking together.  When he and my stepmom lived in North Carolina (before she passed away), he and I would make time to hike on the Appalachian Trail each time I visited. Now, he’s back in Florida and closer to us. We don’t have the gorgeous wooded trails down here like we did up there (at least not in our area), but we do have each other’s company.   However, now that we’re living in the same town again, we talk on the phone nearly every day, but we don’t walk together as much as we should.  Isn’t that crazy? He’s busy, and sometimes I get so wrapped up in my deadlines and other demands that I lose sight of what’s truly important.

IMG_1443After our Valentine’s Day together, I spent some time reflecting on how lucky I am to have this time with my dad — time to walk and share our thoughts on the large and small things that make up our lives. He has such a great outlook and he’s fun to be around. Our walks are filled with great conversation and laughter and just the right amount of companionable silence. I’ve made a Valentine’s Day vow to make sure we do this regularly. I guess it simply took a walk with my father to remind me of what’s really important.

What’s important to you?  I’ll give a $5 Amazon gift card to one person who comments.IMG_1431

P.S. The two landscape pictures are from our walk around the lake.  


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