I’m the newest JQ—I joined the blog in September 2015—but in some ways it seems like I’ve been part of this group for far longer. Before I knew any of the other Jaunties, I was a fan of their work. When I badgered some of them into becoming my friends, I visited the blog as a guest. When Shana and Vanessa invited me on behalf of the group to be a new member, I was over the moon.
And really, I still am. My favorite thing about spending time online is getting to know people, and over the past 14-ish months, I’ve gotten to know my fellow Jaunties better. Just as delightful, I’ve gotten to know the regular readers of this blog. It feels like we all meet for coffee together, chatting about what’s going on, sharing goofy anecdotes and recipes and (looking at you, Kristan) terrible homemade ornaments. Above all, we’ve bonded over our mutual love of romance novels.
I’ll miss this community a lot. I hope you’ll find me on my other online homes so we can keep up. I’m on Facebook and Twitter almost every day. I have a Pinterest account too, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do amazing things there. I’ve been making boards for my books, though, and that’s fun. You can also stop by my site for all the latest news, plus excerpts and free short stories. While you’re there, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter so we can stay in touch.
Yesterday my newest book—a historical romance novella called My Scandalous Duke—hit ereaders. It’s a friends to lovers story, warm and sassy. I mention this because even though the blog won’t continue, the books will! My fellow JQs and I, past and present, will keep on writing. And I hope very much that we will all see each other around. Thanks for making my time as a JQ a real joy.
It started the night of Halloween. “I don’t feel good,” said Little Miss R.
When questioned about this statement, she clarified: she felt good enough to go trick-or-treating, of course. She just didn’t feel good enough for anything else we might want her to do, like take a shower. (She got to do the first, but she also had to do the second.)
For that matter, I didn’t feel too whippy myself. Just allergies, I thought, since we are having the longest summer evvvveeeerrrrrr and the ragweed is happy about it. But when she and I both woke up the next day with a fever, it was clear: we were sick.
When you call in your sick child on the day after Halloween, you get Peak Skepticism from the school office. It nagged at me all day, overachiever that I am. (“She really is sick! I swear! Cough cough cough me too!”)
When you’re sick on the first day of the month, you get…behind. I was supposed to pay lots of bills and open a new website contest and run a Facebook giveaway and turn in lots of documents to my publisher and, oh yeah, write this post. As of this writing, I am but partway through the list. However, Little Miss R is going back to school tomorrow—thus, no doubt, increasing the Was She Really Sick Skepticism of the office staff—and I’ll play catch up.
And Mr. R just got home with shrimp pho for me, so I think I’ll be feeling better soon too.
Tell me about your favorite way to feel better when you’re sick! To one random commenter, I’ll send a print copy of my historical romance Season for Surrender, which begins when the hero has a cold. International comments welcome. Winner announced on Sunday.
My daughter, known online as Little Miss R, is out of school early this week because of parent-teacher conferences. Since we have extra time together, I asked if she wanted to do an interview. But we could never decide if she was going to interview me or if I would interview her, so…this is what we wound up with. I transcribed, and she made sure I got all the spelling and punctuation just the way she wanted it.
Me: Hi, Little Miss R. How are you?
LMR: Purty good. My back still hurts.
Me: Why does your back hurt?
LMR: Who knows?? [extravagant arm gesture]
Me: What was the most fun thing you did today?
LMR: Recess. I played with my friends. What was your most fun thing you did today?
Me: Hmmm. Maybe when I took a nap. Or maybe when we sat together and ate popcorn while you watched Adventure Time and I read my book.
LMR: That was purty fun.
Me: Do you want to ask another question?
LMR: No, your turn.
Me: Ok. Who do you want to be for Halloween?
LMR: Prolly Fiona or something [an Adventure Time character]. [very clear on use of “purdy” and “prolly” as preferred spellings] What’s your favorite food?
Me: Noodles. Noodles pretty much always sound good. And they can be part of spaghetti or pho or really any kind of food. How about you?
LMR: BACON. [caps lock required]
Me: I could have guessed that. 🙂 What do you think is the best part of being a writer?
LMR: Staying home all day. Cause you can take a nap or read a book or play a game any time of the day.
Me: BUSTED. [LMR was off early today, so I took a nap when she was home at a time I wouldn’t have been working anyway. Does that make it better or worse?] You don’t think you would get lonely if you were home all the time? You like to be around people a lot.
LMR: Yeah, but when I get old, I can have a phone and I can have Skype. So I can do that whenever I want. (I am creative.) [parentheses specified]
Me: If you wrote books, what kind would they be? Wait, you have already written some books.
LMR: They were pirates who love underwear* and I’m writing one about a weird horse. You know about the pirates who love underwear book? I’m writing one about pirates who love pants. Purple pants.
Me: Why purple?
LMR: I don’t know. It’s just a weird color. And underpants is weird so the pants have got to be weird.
Me: And what do you think about the books I write? Are they weird too?
LMR: No, they’re just kind of boring because it’s only about love and presents and mysteries. Wait, not the mystery thing. Just love and presents are boring. Also, it’s kind of weird that you’re writing a book about love and presents, because the presents mostly just love cards and flowers.** And there’s kissing. Don’t forget kissing. Blaaaaeeeeeggggghhhhhh. [she spelled that last word out herself]
Me: You’re eight. It’s fine that you don’t like my books! They’re for grown-ups. And your stories are for kids, so that’s cool.
LMR: Yeah. What’s your favorite color?
Me: Gray. Do you want to go watch some more Adventure Time?
LMR: SHYAHHH. [typed by LMR. It means “yeah,” but more so.]
Uh, ok, that kind of wound up being an ad for Adventure Time. Anything else you would want to ask either of us? She’ll be home early again, so I can run questions by her.
*Yes, this is a comic book she wrote and drew. It is called, not surprisingly, “Pirates Who Love Underwear.” In the story, two pirates dig up a solid gold pair of underwear, then fight over who gets it and repeatedly steal it from each other. First in a series, apparently. I can’t wait for the pants story.
**Is she thinking of Valentine’s Day here? I’m not sure.
Last week, my Holiday Pleasures historical romance quartet was re-issued as an ebook bundle. The four books in the series–Season for Temptation, Season for Surrender, Season for Scandal, Season for Desire–were released in time for the holidays in 2011 through 2014. If you haven’t read the series, the bundle offers these four books at a significant discount over buying them all separately. You can find more info here.
It’s been fun to take another look at my first historical romance series. Season for Temptation was my historical romance debut, and it’s got rompy energy out the wazoo. (Not a Regency-correct term.) My style’s changed over time, which you can see if you read all four books in order, but I’ve never had so much fun writing a book as I had coming up with the love story of James and Julia.
In the months before Season for Temptation came out, I amused myself by making comparison tables on my blog. Since at the time I was one of about five people who had ever read SFT, I pretty much amused ONLY myself. Now that the Holiday Pleasures series has been re-issued, I thought it’d be a good time to revisit those comparisons again.
From May 2011:
Lately I’ve been working on the page proofs for SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, and also listening to Harry Potter books on audiotape. (They make great company when you’re cooking, for example.) This is probably why I’ve begun to notice a number of eerie similarities between SEASON and the Harry Potter series–similarities that, I think, cannot fail to turn SEASON into an international publishing phenomenon.
But wait, there’s more!
See what I mean? I can’t fail. I fully expect to see children wearing cravats and waving sword-sticks at the movie version of SEASON FOR TEMPTATION sometime in 2014.
Alas, there was no movie version in 2014. But I continued to be inspired to create parallels; viz. this post from August 2011. Clearly I was into the table functions of Word.
I’ve been watching a lot of Food Network lately, maybe to inspire myself to cook more during these dog days of summer. (Not that the inspiration is very practical, since I usually watch cooking competitions that involve bizarre ingredients like canned haggis.) This is probably why last night, instead of sleeping, I started thinking of how much my favorite show, Chopped, has in common with SEASON FOR TEMPTATION.
If you’ve never seen Chopped, here’s the format: four chefs, three rounds of competition (appetizer, entrée, dessert). In each round, the chefs have to base their dishes on the cray-cray ingredients out of a mystery basket, and after each round, one chef is eliminated from the competition.
So how is SEASON like Chopped? There are several scenes set during meals, and I think the parallels are fairly uncanny:
See what I mean? That. Is. Amazing.
If you’ve read SFT, what do you think of my comparisons? Or if you haven’t, what other goofy and/or inappropriate things would you like to see a romance compared to? I can’t promise I’ll create another table, but I DO promise to give one of you a print copy of a Holiday Pleasures book. Winner’s choice! One winner will be chosen at random from among all comments on this post, and will be announced on Sunday. International entries welcome.
I’m a bit scattered this week working toward two deadlines and preparing to leave for a visit to Louisiana. Ok, “a bit” is a massive understatement. So I’ll take refuge in a list. Here are some things I’ve been loving lately:
*My nieces! About four weeks ago, one was born, and two weeks ago, another turned two years old. Last week, my six-year-old niece had her first meeting as a Daisy Scout. They’re all such cute and fun little people. I would love to see them more often.
*Baking with pumpkin and applesauce. Does that sound like a toddler’s playdate? It’s really good, I swear. Turns out the old baking trick of substituting applesauce for oil is extra-excellent when you’re baking pumpkin goodies. The flavors and spices work beautifully together.
*Wi-fi hotspots. I used my phone as one on our trip to California in July, and it felt like living in the future. “How am I on the Internet when we’re zooming through mountain roads at 60 miles per hour?” Actually, the mountains blocked my cell phone signal, so that was the one place the hotspot did not work well. But you know what I mean. I just got set up with a stand-alone hotspot for my drive to Louisiana. Now that’s the way to handle a road trip (when you’re not the one driving, that is).
*Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. I like Schumer’s comedy (though it’s definitely not safe for watching when Little Miss R is around), and I thought this book would be in the same vein. It is, but it’s also much more. In some truly poignant essays, she talks about everything from domestic partner violence to family-of-origin infidelity. I expected this book to make me laugh, but I didn’t also expect it to punch me in the feelings.
*Library book sales. Our Friends of the Library organization puts on a huge book sale twice a year, and the fall sale is tonight. I can NOT WAIT. Besides hitting the romance section, I’m going to look for large print for my grandparents, some chapter books for Little Miss R, the Twilight books for Mr. R…nah, just kidding about that last one. He already got all the Twilight books at the *last* library book sale.
What’s something you’ve been enjoying lately? Do tell, because positive news is the coolest and best.