Since I started writing, I’ve wanted to see my name on a cover.

I wanted the surge of joy, of knowing I made that! I started this blog in 2007, and it’s always been my-name.com. Because, this is me. I have a thing about being real and I don’t want to hide anything about myself. (Yes, I recognize the irony of including my web address name on the image. Wait, is that irony or idiocy?)

In the last few months, though, I’ve started to feel a little discomfort.

Writing is highly personal. I’m not saying I act out the risque scenes in my novels at all, but I do fill every sentence with a bit of my soul. And that, for me, is far more personal. Do I really want to deal with people being able to climb inside my head that way?  Not people, reader people or other writers–they get it. But, say, those I come in contact with at work or who attend church with me.

The argument in favor of #writing anonymously. #pennames Click To Tweet

I just keep bumping into this wall.

Don’t post that, someone who comes into the office might take it the wrong way. Don’t talk about your feelings, you have to look people in the eye. And then, I feel fake. It’s not about being fake, it’s about the freedom to be MORE real because there’s a seperateness. My personal life, my professional life, my writing life, my basketball mom life–all different. My life.

And, in the end, it’s my choice.

So, I’ll give you plenty of warning. If you get here by RSS, email, twitter, or my Facebook page, you won’t have any trouble finding me.

siglori

P.S. On the writing side, I’m writing a novella for a submission call. It’s romance set in the 1950s, which I adore. If I don’t get picked up, I may publish it here. Someone’s going to read the damn thing. ;-)

Image was created using images from elitebackdrops.com and Mel’s Brushes.

What do the things in the title have in common? Me, getting sentimental. And overusing Kleenexes.

Over at Heart-Shaped Glasses today, I’m blogging about (reflecting on, actually, since that’s our theme this month) the tradition I started for my girls when they were little nearly nineteen years ago. Of course, I got sappy. Because, hello? I cry over commercials. Does anyone remember the Kodak one, with the little girl dancing on her dad’s shoes and then they’re dancing at her wedding? I still remember the song. I think Michael Bolton sung it, but don’t hold that against me.

(Tried to embed the video above, but if it’s not showing up, try this.)

Anyway, a little comment love over there wouldn’t hurt my feelings any. And you could win a book. As in more than one chance to win…

I’ll be back here next week. And even I don’t know what I might say.

siglori

Writer’s Digest is studying the romance novel today (and giving you a bit of a glimpse into the book I’m currently reading, On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells by Leigh Michaels).

I say: If you’re not a beginner, the first 85 pages are full of info you’ve heard before.  But then, it’s writing gold.  Give it a shot.

My favorite, the real “formula” of a romance:

What romance novels have in common is this: A romance novel is the story of a man and a woman who, while they’re solving a problem that threatens to keep them apart, discover that the love they feel for each other is the sort that comes along only once in a lifetime; this discovery leads to a permanent commitment and a happy ending.

via Writer’s Digest – Studying the Romance Novel.

’tis be, as described, th’ best character name finder ever. Let’s spy wit’ ye eye, ye can pick which letters it can’t or must start wit’ or end wit’, th’ length ‘n number ‘o syllables, even what letter sequence it contain. Then thar’s style preferences, like: Traditional, Contemporary/Invented, Passin’ Fashion ‘o th’ Past, etc. Then ye decide how popular a name ye want ‘n whether it be popular in locales outside th’ U.S. Extremely awesome. ‘n once it gives ye a list ‘o names, then ye really start diggin’ in.

ETA: This post is in Pirate, because it’s…. Talk Like A Pirate Day! Using the translator at postlikeapirate.com

I make a soundtrack for every story I write. I use them to help me write individual scenes and to create a sense of the full story. Following the advice of Lani Diane Rich (author and creator of Chipperish media), I find one song to be the song that would play over the ending credits of my book. It embodies the fullness and catharsis of my ending.

Exactly Like You had an ending credit song I’d never paid attention to (since I was about 8 when it was released). I’m not entirely sure how I ran across the song, unless it was just story fate, but it was Caught Up in You by 38 Special. Every day, when I prepared to write, I started the playlist with this song. I knew whose viewpoint that song was from and, so, who had to be the one to make the grand gesture at the end.

But I’m jumping ahead. This playlist was heavy on acoustic covers (which makes it my very favorite playlist ever) especially from the 80s. Why? I don’t have a clue. It’s just where my prewriting led me.

In the first kiss scene at a party, I relied heavily on two songs. A cover of I Wanna Dance with Somebody (all slowed down) by Rachel Brown and Crazy For You (a la Madonna but even better) by Alice Lamb. It was an intense scene with a lot of conflicting feelings and these two songs diluted it down to the essence of what was happening emotionally.

Roxie suffers from depression and it was very important to me that no one refer to her as crazy except for Roxie herself, and then only once. All the same, that feeling — that you’re crazy — can be very pervasive when trying to claw your way out of depression. This song, originally by Gnarls Barkley, Crazy covered by Mysha Didi helped me to get in Roxie’s head.

Honorable mention for that falling-in-love-feeling, at least from Roxie’s perspective, was Boom Clap covered by Lennon & Maisy. Roxie was feeling again, which is a relief after depression, and it felt great and scary all at once. Aidan, on the other hand, was less than happy to be falling in love after losing his wife two years ago.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite cover of Bad Romance as done by Lissie. Wow, so powerful. So true to the feeling of wanting someone even when you know you’re broken and they’re broken, but you might be whole together.

I could go on and on about how, song after song, this soundtrack is just righteous and perfect. I miss listening to this soundtrack as I fell asleep every night over the five weeks that I wrote the story. I hope you’ll give Exactly Like You a chance and, if you do and you love it, check out the soundtrack. It’s sort of a music behind the story encyclopedia.

(All links open in Spotify)

The music behind the story, Exactly Like You, available June 20. Click To Tweet

ALL IN FOR LOVE

An Inn Decent Proposal By Sharon Buchbinder

Perfect Odds By Lashanta Charles

A Ghost To Die For By Keta Diablo

Raising Kane By Kat Henry Doran

For Money Or Love By Margo Hoornstra

Take A Chance On Me By M.J. Schiller

About ALL IN FOR LOVE

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense Anthology

Release Date: June 1, 2017

ASIN B071V94BWM

Six award-winning authors bring you six *sweet to sensual* romances filled with suspense, thrills and maybe even a ghost or two—for less than the price of a cup of coffee—99 cents!

Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort & Casino!

With thousands of people passing through the casino’s doors on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that a variety of lives and loves are on the line there. It’s said that you’re more likely to lose your heart at La Bonne Chance than a hand of poker. Whether you are the Director of Casino Operations or the guy who created its software, a jilted bride or a black jack dealer, a past guest’s ghost or a sous chef–when it comes to love, the stakes are high.

Thank goodness what happens at La Bonne Chance, doesn’t always stay at La Bonne Chance….

Ready to roll the dice?

An Inn Decent Proposal, Sharon Buchbinder
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?

Perfect Odds, Lashanta Charles
When a jilted bride meets the man of her dreams, will she embrace the new plan, or cling stubbornly to the old one?

A Ghost To Die For, Keta Diablo
She didn’t believe in ghosts…until one showed up in her room.

Raising Kane, Kat Henry Doran
Funny how a night in jail will change a woman’s outlook on life.

For Money Or Love, Margo Hoornstra
She’s the one woman he can’t afford to lose.

Take A Chance On Me, M.J. Schiller
Who do you count on when the chips are down?

Giveaway

To add to the fun, we are giving away one gambling themed handmade item to ONE lucky commenter who will be selected by a Random Number Generator.

Links

Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071V94BWM

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/allinforloveanthology/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35052000-all-in-for-love

Webpage http://lucky6authorsblog.blogspot.com/  

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Today, this super-smart scientist/writer/daydreamer extraordinaire is joining us to answer some questions about herself, her writing, and how to succeed as a writer. She’s also brought her book, A Hundred Kisses, and a killer excerpt.

What made you want to become a writer?

I am a daydreamer. I love art. I love words. I love to lose myself in the beautiful – be it another world or nature and art. My first role model was my mom, who would spend hours at her easel drawing and painting. She also incorporated poetry into her art. My elementary school art teacher was also an inspiration. As much as I loved to draw, I found myself pulled to the art of stories. It began as girlish fictional stories and teenager angst-heartbreak-filled poetry. This morphed into my love or romance in college. Even as I took a career path in science, the desire to write remained steadfast. And here I am.

What are your books about?

I like happy endings. Up until last year, I only wrote historical romance. I dabbled in a time-travel book (that one’s on hold). My next project is the prequel to A Hundred Kisses. However, people remark that you should “write what you know,” so I jumped genres completely for my latest manuscript (in the submission process), which is a contemporary mainstream women’s fiction novel inspired by personal experiences. I’ve also been working on getting some children’s picture books out there (with an autistic main character; again writing from life experiences). I also write for travel magazines. Perhaps I have too many ideas! But I’m enjoying dipping my fishing poles in a variety of pools.

What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?

Aside from the actual writing itself… the things that have taken more time and effort include research, editing, learning the business, and honing my craft/skills. While writing the first few books (my “practice novels”), I spent much of my time learning the process, understanding the craft. There is no shortage of writer’s resource books on my shelf; some I still return to with each manuscript. Research is also par for the course, and I enjoy what I learn along the way, even if it doesn’t make it into the book. Learning the business is worth the time investment, too. That comes with plenty of networking and reading. Editing – the bane of most writers’ existence – is a necessary evil. And now, the next chapter in my writing journey has opened: marketing and promoting my book!

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

It depends on the book [wink, wink]. My historicals are completely fictional (although real history is packed in there). Of course , here is a little of the writer in all her characters.  Two very minor characters in A Hundred Kisses, Peter and Sham, are actually named from a town (Petersham) I drove through one day. My contemporary books tend to have more real-life inspirations. People I know. Family members. People who have wronged me or a loved one. Yup. No one is safe! I will say that I do love my secondary characters. On the querying road, I’ve had some agents say that they detract from the central story (of hero/heroine), where others have enjoyed their presence. I lean toward the later. In fact, the secondary characters quite often become leads in a future novel idea. I feel that a well-rounded cast brings life to a story.

What advice would you give a writer just starting out. Share three pearls of wisdom.

My three P’s:

  1. Patience. There is a lot of waiting in writing. It all works out on its own timeline, not ours. What to do while waiting (impatiently)? Write something else. Read. Research. Network. Do something to kill the time while you wait.
  2. Perseverance. Never, ever give up. No matter how many rejections or no’s you get, don’t give up if it’s your dream. I wrote 3 novels before the fourth one finally made it. It took me 19 years. Granted, there was some stopping and starting in there for jobs and early childrearing years, so it took a while. Rejections can hurt. Use them for good. How can you take that rejection and spin it to help you? (e.g. agent/editor/fellow author feedback on your writing/characters/plot – use that in the next manuscript or revise with that feedback in mind – that’s exactly how A Hundred Kisses came to be! I took the advice from an agent and ran with it.)
  3. Put in the time. This ties into #1. It takes time. There is no magic formula for writing success. I am still at the beginning of my publication journey. I put plenty of time into learning, honing, understanding. I am still journeying and learning. Like any career, it takes some time before you can truly blossom to your full potential. So this also ties into #2. Don’t give up.

Author bio:

Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about…

Website: http://www.jeanmgrant.com

Twitter: @JeanGrant05

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanmgrantauthor/

Buy Links

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press: E-book or Paperback

Blurb

1296

Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.

Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the façade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt

She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…

Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.

Muffled words yelled at her.

Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.

“Wh—?”

“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”

His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”

She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.

She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.

When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.

She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.

His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.

Welcome to my stop on the Highway Cafe Spring Tour!

Spring is hands down my favorite time of year. I live in rural West Virginia, in the US, and Spring is incredibly, blissfully green. Even the sunlight seems to reflect the greenness of the grass and budding leaves giving the air a refreshing quality.

I wanted to share a picture of typical West Virginia beauty. We get a bad rep in the media, but I won’t go into that. What we do have in spades is mountains, trees, flowers, creeks, and rivers.

This isn’t my view but it’s pretty damn close to what I see driving from my house to town on any given day. (Click either the picture above or the one to the left to get a full size view.)

I love my mountain home, but never more than in the Spring.

More about my novel, Infamous

Justine Montgomery, daughter of a divorced beauty queen and TV magnate, is a tabloid disaster after her infamous sex tape. She’s so desperate to help save her family’s home she turns to her deal-making dad. Can she prove to him she’s cut out for a career in television or will she lose it all?

Sawyer has his own past and a successful career is his only goal. Seeing Justine fail would mean the promotion of a lifetime, but things get complicated when he develops feelings for her. Suddenly, the lines between work, life, sex, and love are blurry.

They will have to overcome the bitterness of a rejected ex, the controlling actions of her father, and the half-truths they’re telling one another to forge a lasting partnership both on the job and off the clock.

Buy from Amazon right now!

Win a copy, plus many more books!

You can check out the home page of the Spring Tour here. My book, Infamous, along with several others can be won by visiting that page. Mention that you spotted the Easter eggs on my site (you’ll have to look for them) in the comments there.

Win a ton of great books in the Highway Cafe Spring Tour and find out why I adore Spring in WV. Click To Tweet

I said you’d have to look for them. I never said you’d have to look hard. ;-)

 

Remember the year I forgot to get my husband a chocolate bunny and he was devastated? Which was like three years ago, so go me for remembering. Sort of. As Meatloaf said, “Two outta three ain’t bad.”

So, anyway, I really stepped up my Easter game this year. Got to make a basket for my granddaughter (which I filled with books because Nana Lori is going to make a reader out of that girl). And my daughters got things they were dying for but had no idea they were getting. It was great. Part of the reason I indulged so much is because my husband helped me do the shopping this year (first time ever). He completely negates the better judgment side of me by saying, “Get it if you want.” I can’t argue with that.

Naturally, he was there so I couldn’t surprise-buy him a chocolate bunny.

And then… well, I forgot. I had Easter in the bag. A literal bag, hidden in my closet, all finished. I remember thinking about it once, but then I was in a hurry.

Come Easter, I had to tell him I’d forgotten. He wasn’t really as emotionally bereft as the first time so I kind of wonder if he didn’t buy himself one, to be honest. But, that’s not the point.

The worst part is, the man bought me a Twix Easter egg. He got me candy and I had forgotten his favorite thing. Well, his favorite thing about Easter. I’m pretty sure his favorite things are his Harley, the kids, and me–in that order.

So, basically, I just lost at marriage. Beat at my own game. It’s a good thing I have a Twix Easter egg to drown my shame in.

I forgot to buy one damn thing and I lost at marriage--Easter Edition! Click To Tweet