• Our books!

On Things That Go “Eww!” in the Night

I have The-Most-Disgusting-Dog-Ever.

Sure, Sneaky Pete looks adorable, and he is very sweet (and he did line up all his bones in a row ALL BY HIMSELF on the embarrassingly dirty carpet), but don’t let that fool you. He eats many disgusting things. He also eats things that aren’t particularly disgusting before he eats them, but are most definitely so afterwards. Last winter, we noticed an unusual uptick in the number of single socks in the laundry basket. In the spring, when the show melted, we found all the missing socks in the back yard, processed by Pete’s digestive system.  I was chastised for reporting on Facebook exactly what I had to pull out of the dog the other day, so I will spare you all.

But it got me thinking about gross things in general, which is apropos for Halloween.

I write romance, so there’s very little gross in what I write. I don’t particularly enjoy reading disgusting or violent things, although if it’s a small part of a good story that’s okay. But I have an 11-year old boy, and he delights in reading about stuff that’s gross, even more so when he can read it aloud to me while I’m making dinner.

Sometimes I wonder what it is about human beings that we enjoy things that are base, visceral, bloody. I Googled “humans gross” and “why do humans enjoy gore” and learned that I am not the only one who has pondered such things, but I still don’t have an answer.

I had a work colleague once who adored horror movies, the gorier the better. She would wait until her husband and kids were out somewhere and she had the house to herself, then turn off all the lights and fire up the DVD. *shudder*

I, as you have probably surmised by now, am not a fan. In high school I saw Phantasm on a disastrous first (and only) date. Can’t remember the guy’s name, but I still remember that movie. In college I saw Don’t Look Now, a 1973 scary-as-hell psychological thriller with Donald Sutherland. To this day, 30 years later, I still freak out just a little when I see a kid in a red raincoat. I tried to binge-watch Supernatural, which is a great show, but just couldn’t take it–after the Bloody Mary episode I couldn’t look in a mirror for a week.

I will admit, however, to having a strange fascination with vampires. I read and watch them all: Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Angel, and of course, Buffy. (Oddly, I have never been able to get into Anne Rice’s novels, although I have read a couple. Go figure.) I recently finished watching the first three seasons of True Blood–so good, but quite possibly the goriest, most disgusting thing I have ever seen on TV. Thankfully I was forced to stop because the remaining seasons weren’t free on Amazon Prime. I much prefer the way vampires died on Buffy–ashes, the outline of a skeleton, poof.

So what about you? Do you enjoy scary, gross, gore, or violence? Not so much?

About Marin McGinnis

Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. She writes Victorian era romance, set in whichever locale takes her fancy at any given moment. When she's not chasing after big dogs or watching tweenagers skate around Ohio hockey rinks, you can find her hanging out here with her HSG friends, Writing History at marinmcginnis.blogspot.com, or on Twitter @MarinMcGinnis.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Guest Post — Aubrey McKnight

Aubrey McKnight writes the Ladies of the Abberly Theater series for Boroughs Publishing Group, with a new release coming soon: A Family for Christmas: An Abberly Theater Christmas Story.

Maddy_coverRomance. In a vaudeville type theater in Victorian London, no less. I’m not sure how I came up with the idea. At the time I was working on a Victorian mystery, and had hit a particularly uncrackable writer’s block. So I set that manuscript aside and began to consider a complete rewrite or perhaps just let it stew for a while. I chose the latter. I hate plotting. I hate rewrites even more.

However, I knew I needed to keep my writing focus going during the break, so my critique partner (Lark Eden aka Quinn Langston) suggested I try writing a short story. Something more than a magazine article, but not a full blown novel. Something to keep my mind working and my hands busy typing (and out of the cookie jar) while the mystery worked itself out. My critique partner and I do that; dare and push each other. A lot.

Iphigenia_cover
Iphigenia and the Showman
was the first book in the Ladies of the Abberly Theater series. A female magician and the theater owner who makes her a star. It’s in Iphigenia that we meet seamstress and former stage performer, Madelyn LeCavalier, one of the characters around which A Family for Christmas centers. At the height of her popularity, Madelyn (featured in book 2: Maddy and the Gambler) was attacked by a zealous fan. The attack left her profoundly disfigured and unable to bear children.

In A Family for Christmas, Madelyn is dealing with her friends, Iphigenia and Calliope (featured in book 3: Calliope and the Viscount) starting families. She knows her husband, Will, would make a wonderful father and mourns the fact she won’t be able to give him children of their own.Christmas at the Abberly4 Enter two homeless, motherless children, Thomas and his sister Annie. Madelyn has never considered adoption, much less discussed it with her husband, but these children need a home and Will is ready to be a father. Everything is wonderful…until their abusive biological father, who had abandoned them just before their mother died, returns from sea. He wants them back, if only to have someone to fetch bottles and take out his anger on. Will he take the children away from the only security they’ve known since their mother died? Or can Madelyn and Will convince a judge to allow them to keep the children safe from harm?

A Family for Christmas is coming soon from Boroughs Publishing Group. The other Ladies of the Abberly Theater stories are available at www.boroughspublishinggroup.com, or at Amazon.com for 99 cents.

Author Bio

Kim picAubrey McKnight gave up the glamorous life of a lab rat to do what she’d wanted to do almost since she learned to read: tell stories. By day, she’s a mild mannered mom, but at night she wields a merciless pen, er, keyboard. She enjoys cooking, hockey, and shoving people together only to tear them apart again. She’s lived all over the U.S., and currently resides in Texas with her wonderful husband, their annoyingly smart daughter, and a lovable if lazy St. Bernard named Bongo.

Her first historical series, Ladies of the Abberly Theater, is published through Boroughs Publishing Group. You can contact Aubrey at www.aubreymcknight.com, aubreymcknightauthor@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter @aubreymauthor. She loves to hear from her readers.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Fall Food Favorites

October is one of my favorite months of the year. The changing of the leaves is at the top of the list, but another reason I like it so much is that by this time of the year I’ve had all the salad I can stand. And I’m dying for some comfort food. Food that simmers for hours, makes the house smell like home, and fills your stomach and your heart. Okay, and sometimes your arteries, but we do try to update the recipes.

SONY DSC

Summer heat doesn’t really lend itself to heavy food, even though using the oven isn’t the big deal it used to be. At this time of year breakfast muffins and savory dinners compete for time and attention in our house. Beef stew and fresh biscuits, or homemade chicken pot pie. Roast turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore. I’ve got one in the fridge right now for dinner on Friday. We’ll have it along with some fresh mashed potatoes.

Next week our grandson is coming to visit, so we’ll be making cookies for sure. And a trip to the orchard is in order so we can pick some apples for applesauce and apple pie. I’m guessing we might also snag a pumpkin or two while we’re there. Maybe some acorn squash for roasting. But I digress. Can you tell I’m excited about his visit? Now back to the subject at hand…

I think mashed potatoes are my favorite fall food. We only have them a couple times during the year. I would forgo dessert for serving of a good mashed potato casserole.

Do you have a favorite food you look forward to having in the fall?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in the fast lane of Atlanta for life in the slow lane, in the hills of Bluegrass Country. Her existence is never dull as she works to blend city expectations with country reality. When she’s not writing, you can find her relaxing on the deck with a good book, or cooking for family and friends, which is another story...

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

The Best Movie Boogeymen

boogeymenConfession: I read my first horror novel at nine. And it was The Shining, by Stephen King. My daughter is now nine and while she loves to read Goosebumps, I believe I would draw the line before anything by Stephen King. But, I was an avid reader, there weren’t many books around, and my mom loves horror.

My point is that I cut my reading teeth on Stephen King. Now, though, I find horror books (and movies) to be too depressing. I prefer the happy endings in romance novels. But, I know that lots of people disagree about horror. Especially in October. I guess not watching scary movies in October is like not watching A Christmas Story in December–something I do faithfully.

So, from someone who is easily scared but knows a thing or two about horror, here are my top three favorite movie boogeymen.

1. Freddy Krueger

He’s scary. He is so freaking scary. The only way to be safe is not sleep. That is not only basically impossible, but will cause hallucinations after about three days. They even did an experiment in which they dropped a cat into a tub of water every time it entered REM (dream) sleep. The cat died. Granted, this is horrific in it’s own right and they’d never be allowed to conduct an experiement like this today, but we cannot not sleep.

And so, eventually, this baddy is going to get you.

2. Jason Vorhees

The unstoppable, malicious killer. Who cares if he was wronged in his life? There’s something so essentially frightening about someone who kills in cruelly inventive ways and will not be stopped. Not ever. Oh, you may be the one person who survives. But, come next movie… ice pick to the brain.

3. Chuckie

Another cruel little killer. Except not only will he kill all the people you love, he frames you for it and he wants to displace your soul and take over your body. And no one will believe you. I think that’s the scariest part of all. How awful would it be to try to warn someone you love that they’re in danger (or someone investigating you for murder) only to see them die?

Also, Jennifer Tilly is his doll bride. So much win there.

If you’ve never seen these movies, which took on epic proportion with sequels, I strongly suggest you check them out in the spookiest month of the year.

Who are your favorite supernatural villains?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. It's all about the story. Always.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Things I Love About October

Julie Jarnagin: Hey guys. Can you believe it’s already October? This year is flying by. In honor of the new season, I thought I’d share a few things I love about this month.

Sweater Weather – I love when I can pull my boots and cozy sweaters out of my closet.

fall - sweater

Family Traditions – Taking the kids to the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treating…I get to be a kid again.

fall - pumpkin patch

Coffee – Of course I drink coffee all year round, but there’s something extra satisfying about a cup of warm coffee this time of year – especially a vanilla latte from my favorite coffee place downtown.

Fall - latte

Gone Girl - I just finished the book, so I’m extremely excited to see the movie (although, I have a love/hate relationship with the novel. If you’ve read it, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about.) A coworker, and I have recently started a tradition of reading the books that are going to come out as movies and going together. It’s a fun girls’ night out.

fall - gone girl

What are your favorite things about October?

About Julie Jarnagin

Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Editor Spotlight — Sutton Fox

LoneStarTroubleWelcome Sutton Fox from Hearts Desire Press. A fairly new publishing house, they are making ground in the romance industry, acquiring and publishing romance with heat levels ranging from erotic to sweet.

Heart-Shaped Glasses is always interested in what editors are up to, so we’ve created a little spot, just to get the nitty-gritty down and out there. Send us your questions! Send us your curiosities…

And when you see something you like, don’t be afraid to submit! That’s what we’re here for…

We sent over a few probing questions for Sutton and this was what she had to say.

How would you define success as an editor?

Before we get started, let me just say a big ‘Thank You’ to the fabulous ladies of Heart-Shaped Glasses for having me today. I’m honored to be here.

And we’re glad to have you!…

SONY DSCSuccess for me is enhancing an author’s authentic voice and helping it shine throughout the story. Editing is all about collaboration. When the author and I have given our all to a story, and produced a product that we are excited to bring to market, it’s incredibly gratifying.

What kinds of editing (or what part of editing) do you most (and least) enjoy? Why?

Delving into a new story is the most enjoyable thing for me. It’s like opening a Christmas present. Even though I’ve read the synopsis, it’s thrilling to peel it back layer by layer and see how the author plays things out.

What I enjoy least is writing rejection letters. As an author, I’ve had my share of rejections and they all sting. Although it’s a necessary part of the job, it’s the one I don’t like at all.

When someone gives you something to edit, what do you do?

Right out of the box, I simply read. As a reader. I don’t look at what needs work. That comes later. First and foremost, the story needs to reach out and grab my interest. The good ones do. The others, not so much. Once it’s captured my attention and kept it, then I move on to the practical side, because at that point it becomes about the nuts and bolts of writing.

What made you choose editing?

I’ve been an avid reader for more than thirty years, a writer for more years than I can count, and a published author for more than eight years. Perhaps it was a natural progression. One day I realized I enjoyed helping others to refine their stories just as much as I like writing my own. After so many years, and so many classes I realized that maybe in this way I could give back to the craft that’s given so much to me. I’m lucky the publishing industry of today allows me to do both.

What really gets your engine revving in a book? [in other words] What do you like to see in the submissions you get at HEARTS DESIRE PRESS?

Our interests are broad at HDP. We love a good story, period. Contemporary romance and New Adult romance are hot right now, but we also enjoy time travel, erotic romance or a historical tale. It doesn’t matter the time period or the actual setting. If an author writes their best story, it shows up on the page.

What is one of your writing pet peeves?

They change with the seasons I think. Every story brings something unique to the table, but there are two issues that come immediately to mind. The first is being aware of the difference between telling vs. showing, and when to use each. The other is the importance of understanding the difference between passive voice and active voice.

Do you have a favorite author? If so, who is it and how have they influenced your career?

I have many favorites in many genres and all for different reasons. The one that stands out most in romance and romantic suspense is Nora Roberts. She’s prolific, consistent, funny, and professional.
Over the years she’s written stories that have provided an entertaining escape, a breather if you will, from some difficult situations for just a little while. It seems a small thing, but sometimes when life applies the pressure; it helps make things more bearable to just think about something else for a bit. If I could provide someone else that pleasurable relief through editing or writing, all the years of study and work would be worth it.

Dont_Say_NoAbout Hearts Desire Press

Hearts Desire Press is a small, romance only, independent publisher, specializing in adult fiction.

From sweet romance to erotic romance, we publish in digital and print formats. Please see our submissions page for
details. We are a royalty paying publisher, NOT a vanity press, and we do not offer an advance.

Our titles are from established authors and new undiscovered talent. For everyone here, it is our hearts’ desire to
bring you the very best in romance!

It’s time. At HDP we believe it’s time for a publisher who sees an author as a valuable partner in the world of publishing, and treats them like one. You can call us a hybrid publisher, you can call us a small press, in fact, there will be some who’ll call us plain crazy.

HDP is made up of publishing industry professionals who believe an author should have a choice other than traditional and self-publishing. We believe all successful writers work hard to hone their craft. Let us help you continue to shape your career and take it in the direction YOU want to go.

HDPFILBanner

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Out now from Ellora's Cave, HOW TO CAUSE A SCANDAL by Tina Vaughn *** Nina Croft's LOSING CONTROL is out! *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available. *** Congratulations to Julie Jarnagin now represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency!