Guest Post — Becky Lower

Bethanne here, welcoming Becky Lower to Through Heart-Shaped Glasses. Thanks for joining us, Becky and for sharing your writing story with all of our readers. Readers, friends, fellow authors and strangers, don’t forget our October giveaway sponsored by Sutton Fox–a $10 Amazon GC and an eCopy of her book, Beyond The Winner’s Circle.

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48988_1025007027_4423_nMany years ago, I was uncertain of what I wanted from my life. I was unhappy sitting behind a desk all day, getting fat on doughnuts and cake, since it was always someone’s birthday. I left the corporate world and tried to make it as the owner of a small crafts store. But making quilts as a pastime, and trying to make money at it were two entirely different things. So, when the call came from my mother that she needed my help, I didn’t hesitate. Well, I did a bit. I grabbed a friend, loaded up my car, and took off on a three-week cross-country trip. We meandered all over the place, following the Santa Fe Trail, just as so many others had done before us. In honor of this momentous shift in my life, I began hand-piecing an elaborate quilt pattern, appropriately enough called The Wild Goose Chase. When it was my turn to be the passenger, I’d haul out little triangles of cloth and piece them together as we sped down the road.

Years came and went. I spent a few seasons with my Mom and Dad in Arizona, migrated to Texas, and eventually worked my way back to where I began—Virginia. With every move, I packed up the triangles and blocks, and the fabric I was using for the quilt, and brought it with me. It was always in the back of my closet, and in the back of my mind, as an unfinished project, just waiting for the right time for me to complete it and put it on my bed.

I have a manuscript that reminds me of the Wild Goose Chase quilt. Over the years, I’ve done research on the book. I’ve written it and rewritten it numerous times. I’ve taken classes and workshops in an attempt to better my writing. I’ve entered the manuscript into contests and won a few. But, for some reason, I could never finish it to my satisfaction. I guess I’m waiting for the right time to complete it and send it out into the world.

I’m happy to say the quilt has been finished for about ten years now. It’s on my bed every day, and I have noticed some of the fabric has faded, and developed a softness that comes with age.  I think the same will happen with my manuscript. Some of the plot points that I originally hit hard need to mellow and the parts I thought insignificant need to be sharpened. I think about it constantly as it rolls around in my head. I’m just waiting for the right time to complete it. I think I’m almost ready.

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9781440568763It’s Jasmine Fitzpatrick’s year to shine at this season’s Cotillion and men will be throwing themselves at her. But she sets her sights on a man she’s never met, the Viscount of Foxborough. He’s wealthy and has an English title. Only a few things stand in her way: a wealthy, young, beautiful widow who captures the viscount’s attention immediately, her fear of riding horses when he owns a breeding stable and racetrack, and the viscount’s stableboy, Parr.

Parr O’Shaughnessy loses his heart to Jasmine the moment he meets her. However, he has no title to interest her. He left behind an impoverished existence in Ireland when the viscount offered to bring him and his famous horse to America to build a dynasty together. He believes Jasmine barely noticed him when she was introduced–she only had eyes for the viscount. He struggles with his loyalty to the viscount and his love for Jasmine. But winning her love might mean losing all he has worked for.

Available at Amazon HERE.

About Becky:

Ever since submitting my first screenplay to Bonanza at age twelve, I have had a love affair with the American west. Perhaps it has something to do with an old family legend that I have a Cherokee Indian great-great grandfather. That might explain why I tend to plunk my characters into the middle of momentous historical events that helped shape the United States. I pursue my passion for history by watching The History Channel, visiting old graveyards and civil war battle sites and by writing about it.

I also like to intersperse my historical writings with lighter novels about mature women who are getting to reset the dial on their lives with a second chance at love. Romance isn’t exclusive to the young, and there are as many tales of love after forty as there are stars in the sky. I want to write about them all.

I am a graduate of Bowling Green State University and currently live in Oberlin, OH with my puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary.

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.

When did Scary become Sexy?

I write a lot of paranormal romance and my heroes and heroines are often the stuff of old nightmares—blood-sucking monsters, things that turn furry when the moon is full…

But scary monsters as romantic leads are relative new. Growing up, the vampires in the books I read and the films I watched were the bad guys. They were meant to make you scream not swoon. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was probably the first vampire book I read and he was definitely not a heroic figure. And then there were all those early Dracula films where the vampires were the monsters, and the heroes had to destroy them to save the poor heroine.

interview with a vampireSo when exactly did scary become sexy. For me, the first vampire book, which made me look at vampires in a different light, was Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. I fell madly in love with Lestat. Since then, the scary monsters are popping up in romance stories everywhere. Not just vampires, but werewolves, dragons, witches… It seems the bad guys have become loveable.

Why do these former monsters make such good heroes? Is it merely a hang up from our love of being scared, the need for that adrenalin rush, or is there more? Here’s a few reasons why I think they work so well in romance:

  • I love a bad boy hero and these monsters make the ultimate bad boys. Their very darkness lends them to being alpha heroes, lets them get away with a lot of things the heroes in contemporary romance can’t get away with anymore—they have all these inhuman hungers, so we just have to make allowances.
  • Danger heightens emotions. So give us an intrinsically dangerous hero and you already have an edge to the story. And if we doubt he can keep all those inhuman hungers under control, the tension increases even more.
  • People love a redemption story – who isn’t going to root for a woman who can bring out the sweet side in her werewolf, persuade him to kiss her not eat her.
  • Immortality—you know your vampire is never going to grow old—he’ll stay stunning forever.

So which monsters do you think make good romantic characters, or do you think they should all stay firmly in the shadows? Let me know for a chance to enter this month’s draw.

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

DON’T Scare Me

Hey, all! Jennifer here.

© Cristina | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Cristina | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The theme this month at the Heart-Shaped Glasses blog is SCARE ME, which had me thinking…

In all the YEARS I’ve dressed up for Halloween, I’ve never dressed up as something scary!!

This stems from the fact that I scare easily. Or I guess you could say that I am a weenie. 🙂

Either way, here is a list of

The Top 10 NON Scary Things I’ve Been for Halloween

1- Red Riding Hood—I was young. My mom made the costume.

2-A Bunny—Yes, the ultimate in weenie apparel. But my mom made that too.

3- Little Bo Peep—It’s getting worse, isn’t it?

4-A Nurse—not weenie, but maybe too nice

5-A French Maid—ok. Now we’re talking. But still. NOT scary.

6-Thelma from Scooby Doo—Are you seeing a weenie pattern here?

7-1920’s Flapper- Oooh, run for the hills.

8-a Hobo—is that even politically correct today?

9-Pink Poodle– Yes, PINK. I can’t make this up!

10-President Reagan –I was in high school. What was funny was that my friend dressed up as a sheik (complete with stereotypical dark sunglasses and turban) and people made us pose for pictures all day, shaking hands like we were making an oil deal. LOL

Hmm…maybe that last one was a little scary.

Obviously, I am not only a weenie but a GEEK too. 🙂

What about you? Do you like to dress up as scary things for Halloween or are you like me?

**don’t forget** The blog swag this month is a $10 Amazon gift E-card and an eCopy of Beyond The Winner’s Circle courtesy of Sutton Fox! Comment on any post in October to be entered to win.

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH.

Boring is the New Scary

boredThis month, we’re talking about what scares us. I grew up reading whatever the adults around me laid down, and my mom was a horror buff. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub. The Good stuff. (Horror shout-out: Anyone else reading Doctor Sleep this month?)

Who’s a scaredy-cat? This girl.

I was never the kid not scared of anything. I was prone to night terrors and listening in the dark, long after everyone else went to bed, for creaks and whispers. Which, actually, was more of a heaping dollop of anxiety than fear.

As I got older, the things keeping me up at night stopped being faceless monsters and turned into worries like, Do we have enough in savings if something terrible happened? or How would I raise the kids alone if my husband had an accident? Scary, grown-up stuff.

What if nothing happens?

Then, after some soul-searching and crazy living, I realized my own deepest fear was being mundane. What if I never do anything magnificent? What if I never get to stand at some random podium and thank the people in my life because everyone else in the room is applauding me? Are there awards for being really good at assisting in the creation of 2nd grade science projects? I just can’t imagine that fitting on a trophy.

Am I being a total drag and ruining good-time, scary month for everyone else?

At some point, I realized the monsters are actually people and the enemy is time and maybe-tomorrow. Thing is, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. I have a sneaking suspicion that tons of people feel this way. They see time slipping by as nothing great happens. They wonder if they’re up to the task of… an interesting life.

Don’t get me wrong–I wouldn’t trade my kids, or my husband, or worrying about which laundry detergent gives me the best value for the world. Not even for a room full of strangers tossing roses at my feet.

It’s just… these are the things that keep me up at night. And so, I’ll read about a spunky heroine rebelling against societal norms or a recovering alcoholic defying the supernatural for a second chance at life. Because those stories, those endings and victories, make me believe.  My day will come.

How about you?

Sure, the zombie apocalypse if crazy scary, but what every day concern scares you? Don’t forget, one winner will be chosen at random this month from all the comments to win an e-copy of Sutton Fox‘s romantic suspense, Beyond the Winner’s Circle plus a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

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. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Why Movies aren’t So Scary

Welcome to the blog, MK Schiller! It’s October and we all love a good scare, but she’s here to remind us of WHY we love a good scare. 😀 Thanks for coming over, Meghan, and sharing with us.

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Why scare movies aren’t so scary

I love horror movies, but there are so few really good ones.  Do you ever wonder why some, especially the ones with fifteen sequels, are so horrible?  Is it because the plot follows such a redundant recipe, you can almost recite the dialogue and who will be the first to go? Is it because the killer himself never dies no matter if you burn him, stab him a million times, or throw him in a lake with a million pounds tied to his back?  Is it because the characters are so one-dimensional?

The answer is yes to all of the above, but especially the character part.  We generally don’t feel a sympathetic attachment to horny teenagers who continually go to a haunted campground.  It’s important to develop strong characters we care about in both books and movies.  In turn, it’s also important to create realism in the killer – he or she has to have some complexity.  A great example is Hannibal Lecter –a man that was feared and respected.  Another example is the movie, Scream.  The characters may have seemed somewhat over the top, but they had real personalities and issues.  They threw out the rules of the typical horror flick and blatantly made fun of them, which is why it was enjoyable to watch.

What are some of your favorite horror movie characters, either villain or hero?

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About MK Schiller

MK Schiller is a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world.  Her debut novel, The Other C-Word, is a contemporary romance out now from Total-E-Bound.  She also has a new book due out October 8th entitled The Do-Over by Loose Id.  When she’s not writing, she’s reading.  She loves nothing more than relaxing wht a good book and some tasty Italian…the food of course!

 

Site – http://www.mkschillerauthor.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MKSchillerauthor

Twitter – @MKSchiller

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18335969-the-other-c-word

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/MK-Schiller/e/B00FE0FGDM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

theothercword_800Can she overcome her consuming desire for him? Can he make her comfortable with the other C-word…commitment?
Marley Mason is dreading the arrival of the new business consultant. After all, this man will most likely outsource her job to China. The last thing she would expect is a case of mistaken identity, leading to false accusations of kidnapping when she attempts to pick up the wrong man at the airport, or worse…that she would have such a visceral reaction to the right man.

Rick Randy is super sexy, scandalously flirty and perfect masturbation material, but a relationship is out of the question. Rick is contracted on a temporary basis to fix Marley’s ailing company, then pull out, although as he expresses to Marley, pulling out is difficult for him, in more ways than one! Marley’s feelings range from utter confusion to intense contemplation as Rick charms his way into her life. All of those C-words Marley can control, but it’s the other C-word she fears—commitment.

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.

Who do you want to be for Halloween?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAMy son is five, and he is pumped about Halloween coming up. We bought his Batman costume last week, and he has worn it so much that it already has signs of a hole in the knee.

While I’m not a big fan of scary movies or haunted houses, I can totally relate to why my son is excited about Halloween. First of all, who doesn’t love Halloween candy? But Halloween also gives kids permission to pretend to be someone else. When he’s in his Batman costume, he’s not the quiet little kid who has a bunch of adults lovingly telling him what to do all day. He’s a crime fighting superhero who gets to drive around in the Batmobile.

Isn’t this the same reason we love fiction? We get to take a break from our demanding jobs and busy lives to be someone else. Books let us travel to new places and meet new kinds of characters. Reading lets us dare to jump into experiences or situations different from our everyday lives.

So I’m allowing my little guy to wear holes in his $20 costume and enjoy what it feels like to explore a new world different from his own.

Do you like Halloween? Do you or your kids/grandkids dress up for Halloween?

Congrats to DeAnna for winning our $10 Amazon gift card for September commenters!

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 young son 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

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