And proud of it

I recently returned from two writing conferences (posts to follow). One was the Emerald City Writers Conference in Seattle, Washington put on by the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America, and the other was the Surrey International Writers Conference in Surrey (Vancouver), BC. ECWC is all romance, all the time. It’s why attendees show up. When somebody asks you “What do you write?”, and you answer “Historical” or “Contemporary” the “Romance” is assumed. We were loud and proud, and often raunchy since romance often involves sex.

At SIWC, when asked what I wrote, I said, “Contemporary romance.”  One woman’s jaw literally dropped at my answer. “You are the first person I’ve met here who admits to writing romance. Everybody else says “Women’s fiction with an element of romance” or “historical with a secondary love story”. Nobody says they’re a romance writer.” Because, you see, romance isn’t literary and isn’t spoken of in polite writing society.

I AM A ROMANCE WRITER AND I’M PROUD OF IT, BABY!  I like my sweet stories and my super-sexy reads and everything in between. I like reading them, writing them, and talking about them. If you are a fellow romance reader, writer or fan, stand up with me. Be loud and proud. I love romance and I’m not going to let anyone try to shame me about it!

Quick, give me a recommendation – who’s your fave romance author and which book should I start with?

Last chance for a free copy of CUBAN MOON

Cuban MoonThis is it, folks, your last chance to get a free copy of CUBAN MOON from Amazon.  Lisa and Hank’s tropical romance is FREE on October 18th and 19th. If you use another e-reader, don’t forget you can download the free Kindle app and get a copy that way. I love these guys… and only partially because they are in hot, sunny Cuba right as we are starting to dig in to survive another winter. **** If you’re obliged to attend a family event, there are worse options than a tropical destination wedding in February. Lisa Kleyson, representing the bride, didn’t intend to hook up with anybody while on her first Caribbean vacation ever, but when she lays eyes on the groom’s brother, her best laid plans go out the window. She knows she’s not doctor’s wife material … but he’s not on duty. Dr. Hank Anderson, representing the groom, will do his duty to his brother but he’d much rather be spending time with the music teacher who’s caught his eye. It’s nice to be the one doing the chasing instead of fending off women who want to take advantage of his position. Hank’s pursuit is booby-trapped with a stalking maid-of-honor, a Gilligan-worthy boat tour and bad crab cakes but he is determined to catch Lisa and convince her to start a romance under the Cuban Moon. PS – If you like this story, check out PUERTO VALLARTA SUNSETS to find out what Dena and Curtis did on their winter vacation. PPS – Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for chances to get free copies of my books!

Good news!

A really talented friend got some good news and I couldn’t possibly be happier for her. I even hugged her although she has a cold. She was exactly the same way when I got similar news. (I got hugs too; no cold germs were involved.) Unfortunately, I can’t comment further because SOMEBODY hasn’t posted the news on her blog yet.(hint hint)

I can’t understand friends who don’t celebrate each other’s successes. They are your friends. You should be happy for them when they get good news. If all you can think about is that their happiness somehow takes away from your own, you’re doing it wrong.

Life can be a competition and there are winners and losers. People tend to forget, though, that losing at one specific thing does not make you a loser for the rest of your life. It’s okay to want to win. Personally, I go with the “if I don’t get it, I hope you do” gambit because it’s true that you want a friend to do well (but not necessarily as well as you.)

If you aren’t in direct competition, you had better be your buddy’s biggest fan. You lose absolutely nothing by sharing in their joy; in fact, you multiply it. Good news is far too rare in this world not to be celebrated. Friends are even harder to find. Why would you waste the opportunity? Be a cheerleader when a pal has something to celebrate. Everyone will feel better for it.

I do

Well, I didn’t. Two really good friends did. Weddings are awesome. You get to dress up and go see beautiful women (all brides are beautiful) and handsome men (they’re all in suits) stand at the front of the room and give everybody a happy-every-after. Then there is food and drink and dancing. You can’t get a much more perfect day than that. To top if off for these particular friends, the weather co-operated. For the second weekend in October, it was sunny and unusually warm. It was a bit windy but if they wanted outdoor pictures, they could have their choice of fall backdrops. I can’t wait to see the photos.

I’ve known the groom for fourteen years and the bride for eleven. And I still learned new things about them from the stories told by friends around the dinner tables, and from the speeches. I felt closer to them after the wedding than I did before, and I thought we were pretty good friends beforehand. I was honoured to be invited to be invited to the ceremony and to have the chance to become even closer to the couple.

Weddings renew my faith in people and relationships and families. It’s so common to hear about break-ups and separations and divorces. It’s nice to see people coming together than heading out on their own. Besides, I’m a romance writer at heart. I’m all about soul mates and finding the other half of your heart. I believe in happy endings and the fact that two friends got theirs makes me want to sing. (I like you so I’ll refrain.)

The next time you get a wedding invitation, don’t think of whether or not it’s convenient, or how much the babysitter cost. People have asked you to share one of the most important days of their lives with you. Just do it.

October Reading List

free photo booksI may have gone a wee bit overboard when it came to books in September. I couldn’t help myself – so many of my favourite writers had new releases that my wallet acted of its own accord!

TO DIE FOR  by Linda Howard. A funny, sexy mystery with a great cast of characters. I loved it. (Apparently, Howard writes funny mysteries and more serious ones. I prefer the funny ones but you should definitely try both.)

NOT YOUNG, STILL RESTLESS by Jeanne Cooper. I found “The Young and the Restless” in high school and Katherine Chandler was the queen of the screen. Jeanne Cooper’s bio runs from her first days as a contract movie player, through the early days of Y&R up to when the book was written in the late 2000s. Ms. Cooper has since passed away but her story is a great read (with lots of backstage glimpses of Hollywood if that appeals to you.)

ROCK ADDICTION (book 1) and ROCK COURTSHIP (novella 1.5) by Nalini Singh. Singh is quite possibly my favourite romance writer ever. She usually writes paranormal romances but for this new series, she’s moved to contemporary times in New Zealand and Los Angeles. It’s a huge change from her usual fare but I recommend it for its scorching hot rockers.

STORM by Nina Levine. I got onto a motorcycle club romance kick a while back and I jumped back on with Levine’s STORM series. Bossy alpha males, strong women who are sometimes in distress and fun all over. As an interesting twist, this particular MC is located in Australia. I inhaled the first 4 books of this series in a week and I’m now waiting for the author to catch up.

A SEDUCTIVE MELODY by Christa McHugh (Part of the Rockers After Dark collection). This is book 5 of the Kelly Brothers series but I jumped in without a problem. Ethan is a tough hero to like at first, a drug addict who is going through recovery, but his fight is part of the reason you’ll fall in love with him (just like Becca did.) A heartstring-pulling romance.

Where in the world

We are down to single digit temperatures in Winnipeg and you know what that means? It means it’s time to start making escape plans for February.  I’ve been to Varadero, Cuba and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and loved both experiences so much I set books there. Since I’m running out of places to set my resort romances, I think I have to book a new destination – for research purposes only. I promise not to enjoy myself at all.

Option one is Hawaii. Where in Hawaii? I really don’t care.  Any trip that starts of with you getting lei’d when you get off the airplane can’t be bad (yep, I went there :) )  Seriously, there is some incredible history there and tons of gorgeous beaches for inspiration. And there’s a volcano. I’ve always wanted to visit a volcano!

Option two is Jamaica. I’m more of a vodka girl but there is an entire subset of rum named after this Caribbean island. That must mean they know how to party. Again, there are amazing beaches from what I hear.

Option three is a cruise. The Caribbean is broken into three segments so I could go to any islands I wanted. Unfortunately, the island stops are only for the day. I left this one for last because although I hear the food and shows are decadent, I’ve never been at sea before.

I don’t actually get to book any of these trips. It’s all a nice daydream. In the real world, I’ll curl up under a blanket and keep a sharp look-out for falling white stuff.