the Anniversary Month

You don’t realize how awful March is for an anniversary until you are married in it…and then must spend the next 50-75 years celebrating a wedding anniversary there.

My husband and I have spoken on the idea of getting divorced so we can remarry in July. July 14th is the day I wanted to get married. My parents were married on that day…and so were my grandparents. Alas, my husband and I did the shag-a-lag [thank you to my friend Mary for first using that word in front of me], which pushed up our wedding date to March.

March, a month smack dab in the middle of tax season, which is a big deal when the groom is an accountant. March…too cold for a “fun” honeymoon at Myrtle Beach. March is part of this hibernating season when we just want to curl up and wait for April…or even May.

How did you pick a wedding day? Did it seem like a big deal to you at the time? Or was it more like a random shot in the dark? When you consider dates for your characters, are there always significant reasons–birthdays, anniversaries, deaths?

P.S. Although I sound morose, I’m still happily married. We rarely celebrate our anniversary in an official manner anymore. We’re lucky to get a date night. But, it hasn’t changed the fact that we love each other…

So, maybe the date doesn’t matter. Although, let’s be honest. I’m going to ask my priest about the divorce and remarrying thing. ūüėČ

Happy Spring!

With Love,

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.

New Beginnings #amwriting

There is nothing quite like starting a brand new story. I love all the aspects of writing Рplotting, wording, editing, publishing. I complain about some of it. There are parts I like more than others. One of my favorites is plotting.

I talk about plotting on my own blog on a semi-regular basis. From cool tools to use, to the things I do for my stories. I’m not here to chat plotting today, but actually writing a new story.

I recently wrapped my second book in the Bona Fide series (the first book is coming out on March 6th), but I once again digress.

New stories (my top five things about them):

  • Fresh characters – these are new people, with new flaws, wounds, misconceptions, traits, and histories. I love digging into their backgrounds and discovering the things that make them tick.
  • Discovering the world – there’s something special about a new book’s world. Whether revisiting a previous setting from a series story or visiting a new one – if it’s a different pair of eyes certain things will stick out more than others.
  • The endorphin¬†rush – the slow burn, the first kiss, the falling in love, the simmering attraction. It hits all my high notes.
  • The pet name – every book I write the hero has a pet name for his heroine. Most of the time I don’t know what this is in advance. It’s a discovery as I write.
  • The chapter hooks – it’s a special art to write a good chapter hook. I have no problem hunting for them and my brain is pretty fast at picking up on how a chapter or scene should end. Let’s hope it translates to the reader in the long term.

For my writers – what are your favorite parts of starting a new story?

For the readers – what do you like about reading a new story? Is it tropes? Is it the possibilities? A favorite setting?

 

Bona Fide Beauty ~ Coming 3.6.18 ~ Book 1 in the Bona Fide Series

Blurb: 

She’s going to lose her house.
Kathleen Baum has four months to complete the city’s required code changes to her grandma’s home. Otherwise, she loses it. Strapped for cash, Kat’s only way to get the funds is to bargain with her devil cousin. She agrees to an unwanted makeover, but she’s not good at taking direction, pretend or not.

He’s going to lose his business.
Devid Esposito has worked all his life to¬†build¬†a successful image consulting company, but if he doesn’t start bringing in new clients the business will be bankrupt in three months. The board is ready to oust him when his partner, Kat’s cousin, enters with the opportunity to get his mojo back; all he needs to do is help Kat, with a makeover. Unfortunately, Dev doesn’t take on female clients anymore since the last one broke his heart and used his tips against him.

When they find out they have a common enemy, his heart-breaking client is her code-breaking-whistleblower, and the easiest way to bring the foe down is to accept the other’s help. Losing their hearts to each other was the one thing they didn’t plan for.

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Life on the other side of January

I gave up doing New Year Resolutions a few years ago. The pressure to keep up and succeed was always a disappointment to me. And 2017 was an eye-opening year for me… I moved in unexpected directions–even without those resolutions. I moved away from writing, which is a funny thing to say since I published three books between January and December! But I only wrote one book, Strike Force, and even that one I started in 2016.

The rest of the time, I worked on editing and promoting and releasing.

…and Real Life. I hate calling everything non-writing Real Life, because for me writing is Real Life. But, it’s one of those phrases we use that helps everyone understand exactly what I mean: momming, wifing, lifing, faithing…

I turned to other things. I joined a church group. My husband took command of a squadron and I stuck my toe in a spouse group and helping out with a FRG [family readiness group]. Eeek! What am I doing? I’m filling my life again. And you know what? It feels good to not be so focused on one thing.

January is almost ending, but in a way, it barely started. The entire month is more of a transition and I’m looking forward to what the New Year will bring as I get into the rhythm of juggling writing and work and family. ūüôā I hope your year started off with a bang and filled you with anticipation and joy.

With Love,

 

 

 

 

PS LOOK FOR STRIKE FORCE for FREE in FEBRUARY! And all of Hawk Elite ON SALE with the Give Me Books Blog Tour for February 13. <3

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.

New Year, New Word #oneword365

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I love starting the new year with a fresh slate of goals and dreams. I’m not really one for resolutions though. A few years ago, I was introduced to a new concept when creating goals for the new year. That concept was to just pick ONE WORD.

Yes, one word.

You’d be surprised how focusing on something so simple can impact your life. Start by choosing a word that speaks to you. Check out one word for word choices.

What do you feel you lack or need to work on? What is a word that describes how you want to be or live?

For me, the word I chose for 2018 is DISCIPLINE.

Why? 

I hope to be more disciplined in my writing and in my eating and exercise habits. It’s a word I will think about a lot when I’m making choices this year.

How about you? Have you made a resolutions or goals for the new year?

Or will you choose a word for 2018?

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: BARGAINING WITH THE BOSS.

HSG Top Reads of 2017

Greetings Readers!

The end of the year is upon us and 2018 is only days away from arrival. I sound super upbeat, right? Well, if not… I am! I can’t wait to see what the new year brings and am anxious for better days.¬† To gear up for those better days all the ladies of Through Heart Shaped Glasses thought we would bring you our top reads of 2017.

Jennifer’s Top Pick of 2017:¬†Hillbilly Elegy¬†by JD Vance

I picked up this book originally because I thought it was an American dream story: poor boy pulls himself out of poverty. Yes, it was that but much more. Fascinating and raw insight on a part of American culture that is often overlooked or pigeonholed. My attention was captured from the very first paragraph of the introduction all the way to the very last sentence of the acknowledgment page. Read this book in a weekend, which is impressive because it’s not a short or quick read.¬†
If you’re looking for a non-fiction read, I highly recommend
Amazon~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Marin’s Top Pick of 2017:¬†Secrets of Nanreath Hall, by Alix Rickloff

I picked up this book at a publisher event at the RWA National Conference in July. I’d never heard of the author, but the book sounded interesting. I read the entire thing on the plane home from Orlando. I have since told anyone who will listen about this book–I loved it that much.

Set during WWII in Cornwall, Secrets of Nanreath Hall tells the story of a nurse who is assigned to a military hospital in her late mother’s ancestral home. Her mother had defied convention and run off with a painter and had never made peace with her estranged family. Rickloff weaves past and present in a beautifully written and complex book that explores the intricacies of family, heritage, duty, and love. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Her related book, The Way to London, just released, and it promises to be as engaging as the first.

Amazon~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Keri Kelly’s Top Rom Com Pick(s) for 2017:¬†¬†Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Intrigued by the modern retelling of my favorite classic, Pride and Prejudice, and the literary praise for Sittenfeld, I opened Eligible with high expectations. The novel lived up to the hype. Sittenfeld stays true to the classic while incorporating twenty-first-century tidbits. Fun, lively, and light, Eligible is the perfect read for fans of Pride and Prejudice and Romantic Comedies.
Amazon~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Honorable Mention: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
My Not So Perfect Life is classic Kinsella Рfunny, timely, and smart.
Amazon~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Beth’s Top Pick 2017: The Purest Hook by Scarlett Cole
The Purest Hook was my first MC Romance ever. I went into it with some trepidation. I didn’t want too much Sons of Anarchy!! But I was pleasantly surprised. The characters drew me in. The longer time frame of the story created depth, much like an old Nora Roberts novel, which I love. My reading list was short this year, so there wasn’t a ton to choose from, but I’m still a woman who loves her romance, wants something to make her heart pound, and values a good story with a Happily Ever After! Here’s to a New Year of MORE READING! Cheers!
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Lori’s Top Pick for 2017: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

This book is so sweet and funny. Not sweet in the no sex way–because the slow, slow burn that this couple has is rewarded with some steamy, emotional love scenes. It’s sweet because the heroine is so earnest and giving–I think I fell in love with her along with the hero. The descriptions (setting and food, specifically) are rich and generous. And the ending–no spoilers–is right up my alley with the family hijinks and the hunky hero fighting for the less-than-sophisticated heroine. I recommend it for devout romance readers and those who are maybe making their first foray into romancelandia.

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Landra’s Top Pick for 2017: The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian

While this isn’t the first historical M/M romance ever published, it is the first from Avon. This book was a pleasant surprise. I love historical romance, call me the head junkie of such regency fare, and I love Avon authors. So, I had to give this book a chance. Sebastian does an amazing job of writing historical romance with characters who don’t hate themselves for being LGBT. In fact, these characters accept themselves as they are, even in a challenging and difficult world. These books become more about the situations and lives of the characters, the conflict driven by class differences and not their sexual orientation. The entire series is fabulous. For a person who doesn’t typically purchase M/M, I believe Sebastian has created a fabulous, tasteful world with characters I can adore.

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads 

Honorable Mention: Say Goodbye to Hollywood by Jenny Trout

This is a fabulous first person POV (which I am normally not a fan of) and a fine take on some satire with a little BDSM sprinkled in. It’s a good story that pokes fun at all the hubbub and crazy that came with 50SOG and not the least bit preachy. I’ll be re-reading this one for sure.

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads

Nicola’s Top Pick of 2017: Year One by Nora Roberts

This was a late-in-the-year read for me, but I absolutely loved it, and it kept me totally engrossed right to the end. I love books that mix up the genres, and Year One definitely does that. It tells the story of “The Doom” a deadly pandemic disease that decimates the human race and is somehow tied to magic, both dark and light. It’s told from multiple POVs, and while not a romance, there were several romance strands threaded through out the book. I can’t wait for book 2!

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Goodreads 

About Landra Graf

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Merry Christmas!

If you aren’t finished with your shopping, you might be in trouble.

But there is something poignant and exciting about heading out that last day. It makes me think that the unexpected can happen. It makes me think of old movies… holiday surprises… and romance.

Silly, I know.

I think of Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember. Or, David Duchovny in Return to Me. Romantic characters who raced to get to The One.

It makes me think of chance meetings at old diners in the city…

And Fate.

Let the magic of Christmas and the spirit of Love overwhelm you this year!

Smile at a stranger. Put an extra quarter in that bucket. Call a friend. Leave an extra tip.

Shed light in a dark world!

With Love,

PS Don’t miss out on my next books! Visit my webpage to find me online and to sign up for my newsletter. <3

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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