Springing Forward

The theme this month on Heart-Shaped Glasses is Spring, and somehow it seems very fitting that I should be posting my first blog entry now. Here in Northeast Ohio, Spring held off for an obscenely long time this year. Winter kept us in its icy grip for so long that most of us started to despair. But even in Cleveland, Winter doesn’t last forever, and Spring arrived at last.

As I wasIMG_0140 casting about for a suitable topic for this post, it occurred to me (after an inspiring poke from a friend) that I feel somewhat like Spring after a long, hard Winter. A bit ragged, squidgy ‘round the edges, covered with muddy paw prints. (Okay, I’m not really sure how the paw prints fit into the analogy, but it’s been raining for two days and I have two big dogs, so paw prints are on my mind. And the floor.)

But underneath the mess, there is growth, renewal, and hope. Walking through my neighborhood I see trees beginning to fill with leaves, rose bushes sending up tender new shoots beneath last year’s hard brown stems, babies in strollers, puppies on leashes. Everything old is new again, and full of possibiSpring robinslity.

My writing is feeling new again too, or at least it has finished hibernating. I am finally completing edits for my last book (even if I have to chain myself to my chair). I started a new book. I joined a fabulous critique group, and now a new blog. I am spending more time on me, and my writing. This is my year; I can feel it. (If I say it here, that will make it happen, right?)

I look forward to sharing the journey with you, muddy paws and all.

Easter dogs


About Marin McGinnis

Marin McGinnis has been a voracious reader ever since she could make sense of words on the page, but she came fairly late to writing. She dabbled with a mystery in her 20s, but didn’t start writing in earnest until after she discovered historical romance a decade or so later. While her very first manuscript will forever languish under the bed, the next one, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next three books, Secret Promise, Tempting Mr. Jordan, and Treasure Her Heart, were also published by The Wild Rose Press. Check out her Bookshelf for more info. Marin lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio with her family. She is represented by Margaret Bail of Fuse Literary.

I’m Late, I’m Late…for a Very Important Date

Clock-TracksOr maybe…I’m a day late and a dollar short?

Whatever the saying, I’m here, hanging my head in shame that I missed my scheduled post.


Last week was Spring Break around my house, though sadly we didn’t go away. I still got up at the usual time, wrote new pages in the morning, then trudged off to the day job – while the kids stayed in bed and lounged around the house all week.

I remember being a teenager and looking forward to those lazy days of hanging around with my friends and having nothing to do, nowhere to go.

Lately it just seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to get my whole to-do list tackled, and man, am I ever stressed.

So, tell me…when Spring Break rolls around, do you de-stress with the kids or is it just another date on the calendar?


About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

I Don’t Care What You Think

Yes, I do. Really.RTW 250x400 11.17

For a lot of writers, myself included, nothing could be further from the truth. We worry way too much about what the people closest to us might think of our work. Although I’ve heard many reasons why people won’t write a certain way, or in a certain genre, I can only speak for myself.

When I started seriously writing my first book in 2006, I worried. I worried about the language, the settings, the details, the SEX! Whether the door is closed or thrown wide open with invitations included we all know romance has a physical aspect. But what would my ex-MIL think? What about my teacher from high school? Better yet, I wasted countless hours being concerned about how my family and my partner’s family might perceive my work. What would the people in my office think if they found out? I didn’t write for a long time because I struggled with this.

For the sake of argument, I’ll give you the office one. If you’re in particular fields and you write erotica it’s probably best that some people don’t know. But for the rest, looking back on it, the only thing I really did was waste my own time and resources worrying about it. It only mattered to me. Not them.

Over the years when family members ask, ‘So how are your books doing?’ I’ve come to realize they are doing it to be polite. For us introverts, it’s a conversation starter. Nothing more. And the other big one I get from family and friends a lot is, ‘I’m going to read your book, but I haven’t yet because…(insert any reason here, I’ve heard some doozies). Then they go on to talk about the latest book they have read.

Time has given me a little perspective. As a writer, our creative talents are best served when we are true to ourselves. Even writing to the market there are aspects of our stories that come from deep inside us as artists. We should honor that creative energy, not stifle it because someone else may not approve. That’s just sad.

Even if people don’t approve, I’ve come to understand I need to write my story the way I need to write it. Not alter it based on fear. Fear of disapproval, fear of success, or just plain old what if nobody likes it?

What about you? Have you ever worried about this? Did you get over it, or do you still struggle with it?

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.

Guest Post — Lynn Cahoon

Researching or how to make it to the front of the line at the bookstore.

When I was thinking about The Council series, I wanted to be accurate in my portrayal of a witch out of water. Parris McCall doesn’t know she’s a witch when the story starts. Sure, weird things are more likely to happen to her than to others. And once, when head cheerleader, Brittany the bright, made fun of Parris, one too many times, the queen bee’s hair turned pink.  In English class. In front of the entire junior class.

amemberofthecouncilWhen she got home from school that day, Gran had weaved this fairy tale about her powers and her parents, but even then, Parris had refused to accept or even listen.

So what was an unknowing witch to do?

I didn’t have a clue.

As in most cases, when I’m looking for answers, I visit the information mecca. No, not the internet. I went to the library. There I found all sorts of historical books about the Salem witchcraft trials along with some basic Wiccan handbooks. Not a lot. Most of the how to books were in the area of Tarot reading or horoscopes. I live in a small, conservative town.

After racing through all those books, and probably getting a warning code attached to my library card in case of a plague of locusts or roving witch hunters, I hit the book store.

Visiting the book store actually gave me more options in books. I bought a handbook of spells, one on elementary magic, and one boasting an encyclopedia of spells, castings, and potions.

When I got in line with my treasures, you could see the tension when people around me noticed my choice of reading material. Several stepped aside, mumbling how they’d forgotten something.  And I hadn’t cast even a little spell.

I’m still researching for the last book of the series. Picking up bits and pieces here and there, I’ll use my writer magic to weave together into a story that finishes Ty and Parris’s quest. Or at least that’s my plan today.

What’s the most unusual subject you’ve researched?


A Member of the Council – The Council #1

A rogue hunter, a clueless witch and a mission to save an unknowing world.

Parris McCall, owner of the dive bar, The Alibi, has finally constructed a life where her

little quirks don’t show or matter to anyone. As for her grandmother’s warnings that she’s different, well, she’ll cross that bridge if she comes to it.

But when Ty walks into her bar, both lives are instantly changed.

Buy Links – http://www.amazon.com/Member-Council-Lynn-Cahoon-ebook/dp/B00IPQX0AI/


CahoonBIO – Lynn Cahoon’s a multi-published author. An Idaho native, her stories focus around the depth and experience of small town life and love. Lynn’s published in Chicken Soup anthologies, explored controversial stories for the confessional magazines, short stories in Women’s World, and contemporary romantic fiction. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

Contact Lynn at her website: www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/LynnCahoonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnCahoon

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.

Things I Love about Category Romance.

OoC_mockupMy first encounters with romance were at the age of eleven when I used to pinch my mother’s Mills and Boons and read them behind the sofa. So started my lifelong love of romance. These days my reading and writing tend to focus on anything speculative: paranormal, sci-fi, or a mixture of both. My heroes tended to be vampires, werewolves, aliens, but I still have a soft spot for my first love—contemporary category romance.

This month, book 2 in my Babysitting a Billionaire series, Out of Control, is released. Out of Control is part of Entangled Publishing’s Brazen imprint—sexy, steamy, contemporary romances.

So what do I love about category romance and why has my love affair lasted so long? Here are a few things that come to mind:

  • I know what I’m going to get. Within a particularly line I can be guaranteed certain things. If I’m in the mood for sweet romance, I know which line to go for. While if I’m in the mood for an alpha male and some sizzling love scenes, then there are lines for that too. Something for every mood.
  • Gorgeous heroes and exotic locations…
  • While the basic stories remain the same, category romances are in fact always evolving, they’re current, and up to date, and actually constantly changing as the readers change.
  • They’re short and can be read at one sitting—I love reading books in one go.
  • They’re pure romance. I love most genres of books, but sometimes I just want the romance! Because of the relatively short word counts of category books, there’s no room in them for complex sub-plots, so the focus always remains on the hero and heroine’s relationship—they can be very intense.
  • Every month there are new stories coming out.
  •  And of course—most important—I always get a happy ever after.

So what do you love best about category romance?

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.

You’re an Author? OMG, You’re Gonna Be Famous!

Shocked woman pointingIf you’re a writer, I’m willing to bet you laughed, didn’t you? That particular statement, or a variation of it, is a classic friends and family response to hearing the big news that you, oh, long lost bestie and all-time favorite cousin, have written a book that, without a doubt, is going to be the book of all books…the next Lord of the Rings or Misery or Montana Sky. The piece of art that will propel you from an ordinary, Cheerios-for-breakfast kind of gal or guy to that of a high-profile celebrity, crepes and strawberries included.

I’ve experienced all sorts of responses from my friends and family since publishing my debut novel in February. The most common is something akin of “YOU wrote a book like THAT? Wow, Mr. McLain must be one lucky guy!” That, of course, meaning there’s lots of sex and four-letter words. I’ll admit that initially…this was embarrassing as heck. I thought my secret was pretty safe until I called in an order to a local restaurant one day and, before I could even the let waitress know my intent, she gushed and congratulated me and told me that everyone was talking about my book. Some of the other staff were even reading it. They wanted to know if I was making a bunch of money. Was I going to quit my day job? Would we (my family) move?

LOL I still laugh at that. Non-writing people truly do not understand that becoming an author do not mean we’ve become instantly famous. Heck, we sometimes never sell more than a handful of books…and even then at least a couple are to ourselves (gifts *wink, wink*) or maybe a few loved ones who feel sorry for us. We definitely don’t become overnight millionaires and we’re really, really lucky to even make a part-time living with writing, let alone garner enough earnings to equate a modest fulltime career. We might be a little famous in our own minds or in our circle of writer friends, but that’s often the extent of it. There can only be so many Tolkiens and Kings and Roberts in the world, after all.

As more and more people find out that I’ve published a book, the more these kinds of responses and questions are coming up. Today, I was all chill in my day job office, doing my thing when a woman from another department came sliding in and shut the door behind herself, all secretive like. “You wrote an effing book? Are you kidding me?” she asked, her jaw dragging on the carpet. “I am so reading it this weekend,” she went on. I blinked a few times and blurted out my standard warning, “It’s kinda trashy,” because I know that the people I work with, even more so than my family, just don’t see me as being the type of person to swear, much less write a steamy, sometimes vulgar novel. Thankfully, I’ve encountered more big grins and confessions about secretly loving sexy books than I have negativity, but it’s no less daunting when the rich and famous assumptions come into play. Mostly because I fear people will end up thinking I must really suck as an author when I remain living in my same little house and driving my same boring car. I might get my hair highlighted or splurge on a cool new purse, but that’s about the extent of it, ya know?

So, I’m curious…if you’re a writer, what are some of the reactions you receive when people find out you write? If you’re a reader, do you know someone who’s written a book? Were you surprised to find out what they wrote, and did you have any preconceived ideas about what writing/selling/publishing a book would mean for them? Tell me, tell me! I curious!


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.

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