Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

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family, Jaunty Post, Nancy Robards Thompson

The Romance Writers of America’s annual conference is right around the corner. I leave Monday for a week in New York with most of the Jaunty Quills and my other writer friends.  I’m really looking forward to it. However, I’m still working on deadlines and packing. I’m a bit anxious about a workshop I’m presenting with my buddy and sister JQ, Kathy Garbera (it’s all together, but I always get pre-presentation jitters). And, of course, I’m wanting to spend time with my hubby, who will be on his own for the week.

Trying to get it all done and not short anyone or anything always leaves me feeling woefully inadequate, like I’ve left someone or something hanging.  So, in the midst of the craziness, I thought it might be a good time for us to talk about the things we do right.

I admit, I had to stop and think hard to come up with this inventory of “good.” So, please put your thinking caps on, because I want to hear your “Right List,” too.

Here’s my list :

I gave up tanning – I grew up in Florida. The beach is forty-five minutes away. I used to bake myself in the sun. We’re talking baby oil on a tanning blanket. But I’ve since seen the light and I stopped doing that about 22 years ago. My legs may be mushroom white, but they’re healthy.

I’ve learned to let go of things that used to drive me crazy – I wish I could say I’ve arrived at a state of Zen, but I’m a work in progress. Along this path, I’ve learned to breathe deeply and the phrase “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys” has become my mantra.

I’ve learned that I always benefit by planning ahead.  

I make it a priority to get a minimum of 7 – preferably 8 or 9 – hours sleep every night. Of course, there are those times when I don’t get in all my ZZZZs, but I try not to let it happen often because when I’m sleep deprived, the whole world feels like it’s falling apart.

I’ve stopped waiting for special occasions to wear my favorite perfume, use the good china, and buy flowers. Little touches make a big difference.

I know the things that make me feel better when life feels out of control: a hot bath or shower; plenty of sleep (that one’s worth repeating); I clean house when I’m stressed because messiness makes me more stressed and I find cleaning up very gratifying ; I take a hiatus from social media.

I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. Because that just stinks. We all walk different paths. Accepting that has made the biggest difference in my life.

Last, but not least, I’m a good mom. Even though College Girl is away at school, she will always be my baby. 

How about you? Please share so we can celebrate the things you do right.

 

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How to Marry A DoctorNancy’s latest book HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR is abailable in mass-market paperback and e-book.


How to Marry A Doctor

In my new book HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR (July 2015 Harlequin Special Edition) Dr. Jake Lenox and his life-long best friend, Anna Adams, make a bet that that they can find each other’s soul mates within five dates.

Jake said, “…Let’s agree that the first one who succeeds in making a match for the other wins.”

Anna wrinkled her nose. “Knowing you, you’ll let a good woman go just to win the challenge. You’re so competitive.”

“But if you think about it,” he said, “who will be the real winner? One will win the bet, but the other will win love.”

 

Little do they know, their soul mates have been right in front of them all along.

Friends-to-lovers story is one of my favorite kinds to write. I love the idea of a man and a woman building a relationship on a foundation of friendship. There’s something so solid about it since they’ve gotten to know each other from the inside out.

In celebration of Jake and Anna’s five dates to “true love,” here are five behind-the-scenes facts about the story:

1. Kate Walsh and Jake Gyllenhaal were the inspiration for Anna and Jake. Anna Jake

2. In the story, Anna drives a yellow VW Beetle. That was my first car – and it didn’t have air conditioning.

3. Dr. Jake Lennox makes a brief appearance in my bachelor auction book, CELEBRATION’S FAMILY.

4. I make a Pinterest board for each book I write and pin pictures of my characters, their clothing, the book’s setting and anything else that might serve as a visual for the story. Before the book is published, Harlequin authors have to complete an “art fact sheet” for the art department to use when they’re designing the cover. I usually send them links to the pictures I pin during the course of the book.

5. Before Jake and Anna discover that they’re each other’s perfect match, they had to go on some bad blind dates. I may or may not have drawn on personal experience for a couple of the dates  poor Jake and Anna endured. Haha! ;) Hey, you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, right?

Have you kissed (or simply dated) any frogs? Tell me about your worst or best date and I’ll give two people who post a copy of HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR (e-book or print, your choice) so you can read about my –er– Jake’s and Anna’s bad dates.

 

 


Nancy Robards Thompson
Nancy Robards Thompson

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Categories:
Goals, Jaunty Post, Nancy Robards Thompson

 

Venice

 

Hi, Gang!

I’m in Italy right now! Just before I left I finished a deadline and edits! Since I was pressed for time, I hope you don’t mind if I share a post that I wrote a while back. I promise when I get back to share some of the pictures and notes from my travels. Until then, xoxo!

Revisiting The Happiness Project: A Different Way To Look At Goals

In January, I read a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s an account of how she spent one year “test-driving” the theories and practices of happiness. Before starting her research, she’d had an epiphany: “The days are long, but the years are short.” She realized time was passing and she was not focusing enough on the things that really mattered.

The book resonated with me. As a writer, I find life to be a constant juggling act. I’m always mindful of striving for balance between family and work.   More often than I’d like to admit, life gets out of balance. The result: my family and I get very unhappy.

Enter The Happiness Project.

I loved Gretchen’s method: after analyzing what made her happy, what made her unhappy and what felt “right,” she developed twelve personal commandments and devoted one month each and explored short lists (different each month) of resolutions designed to enrich her life and make her truly happy.

Among practical and profound tips for living a happier and more fulfilled life, the book also made me realize that all my New Year’s resolutions and goals didn’t necessarily have to be tackled at once. Why not break them down, assign them specific months in 2013?  Why not look at it as my own personal Happiness Project? I set out with the intention to make it easier to achieve my goals without feeling overwhelmed, with the hope of keeping each ball in the air as I add others (after the previous goals have gained traction). As we prepare to enter the last third of 2013, I wanted to share what my goals were and what I have left to tackle in the final third of the year.

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

 

1. January – Set office hours and guard them

I have definitely been more mindful of “reporting to work.” Because of that, I’ve been more productive this year. I’ve met my Special Edition goals and have been working on some other projects, too.

 

2.  February – Limit social media time to make room for other things in life.

This is a struggle for me. I can get *so* caught up in social media – especially FaceBook and Pinterest. I’ve had to really reign myself in. Sometimes I fall off the wagon, but I get right back on. Many of you know I’ve been MIA on FaceBook recently. I will continue to strictly limit my time until after I meet my October 1 deadline.

 

3. March -  Learn to say, “No, thank you.”

Another difficult task. However, I’ve started to look at time as currency and I’ve been on a pretty strict “budget.” This, along with maintaining my “office hours” had helped me be more productive.

 

4. April – Mental declutter: Let go of what weighs me down/doesn’t make me happy.

This was one of the best things I’ve done for myself. However, I’m often plagued by “mind squirrels.”  I use affirmations to keep the under control.

 

5. May – Refill the well: dedicate at least one hour once a week to art journaling.

As much as I hate to admit it, this one had been hit and miss. I need to focus on it more. See, by revisiting these goals, I’m reminding myself what I need to work on.

 

6. June – Make more time for reading

This had been going well. I should’ve kept a list, and I think I’ll start. I want to concentrate more on the classics – one of my goals (not on this list, but on my actual list of 2013 goals was to read all of Jane Austen’s works this year. I’ve read three so far… I have some catching up to do. Right after I finish MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick. It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year.

 

7. July – Physical declutter part 1: tackling my closet

Just in time for RWA! I did go through my closet and try on EVERYTHING. I sent donated fifteen bags of things I no longer needed. Then, of course, I went out and purchased things for the RWA conference. Not fifteen bags worth, but I didn’t feel as guilty adding more to my closet.

 

8. August – Physical declutter part 2: tackling my office 

This had been interesting. I’ve been deep in deadline since returning from the RWA conference. So, I’ve used the Fly Lady’s suggestion of throwing away or donating seven things every day. It’s a slow method, but I can see the progress. This task will probably stretch to the end of the year.

That’s it so far. I still have the following  on the list:

9. September – Time to get healthy – yoga, water and vitamins

10. October – Continuing education

11. November – Gratitude

12. December – Take inventory and plan for the new year

I’ll check in toward the end of the year and report on my progress. In the meantime, have you revisited your 2013 goals? Or what would you like to accomplish between now and the end of the year? I have some books that I brought back from the conference to give to a couple of people who post.

 

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My Fair Fortune3Nancy’s current release, MY FAIR FORTUNE, book five in the 2015 Fortunes of Texas series, is available in Mass Market Paperback  and  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:
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Categories:
family, Nancy Robards Thompson

 family tree

My father just returned from a road trip back to the town where he was born and raised. He spent a good portion of his time talking to relatives and visiting cemeteries to gather information that will help him trace our family tree.  His research has me thinking a lot about where our people come from. I’ve always wanted to know our ancestry, but I’ve never done much toward that end (in all my spare time ;) ). Having heard some of the information my dad gleaned on his trip, I’m eager for him to keep digging and find out more. Could our roots stretch all the way back to France? Maybe that would explain why I’m such a Francophile.   

 Several years before my maternal grandmother passed away, I asked her to write down the birth and deaths dates of as many relatives a she could remember. But even she could only recall four or five generations. Someday, I will use the information my grandma left me and find out where that sinde of the family originated. I wish I could do it now, and I wish I had time to help my dad trace his side of the family, but since I don’t, I’ll cheer him on as he solves the puzzle of our past.  

Have you ever traced your family tree or do you know of anyone who has? Any interesting findings?  Any good tips on how to start the process and what to expect along the way?

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

My Fair Fortune3Nancy’s current release, MY FAIR FORTUNE, book five in the 2015 Fortunes of Texas series, is available in Mass Market Paperback  and   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…

 


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.

 

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

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…


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