In the Shower

This is a quicky…

One thing that has cropped up as my life progresses.

In the shower, flipping my head down so my hair hangs toward the floor and I can wrap it in a towel. Every time I do this, I have a flash of panic that I’m not standing far enough away from the tile wall…

And the image that comes to my mind is not pretty! Blood everywhere, unconscious woman, just me and the kids… or worse! Just Darla.

But then I realize I’m still there, standing with my head hung over my waist…

I haven’t hit my head. So, I wrap my wet hair in the towel and get out. Phew!!

Anyone else have really ODDBALL moments of fear and panic??

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.

Publishing Can Be Scary!

MuffinsandMistletoe 200x300So, you’ve always wanted to be a writer. Seems like a great gig. Eat chocolate, drink lots of coffee, and sit around in your PJs and create stories from your heart. (Okay, I admit that IS a very cool part of the job!)

But what happens after you’ve finished the book? If you choose the traditional route, you take your manuscript that has been critiqued and polished to within an inch of its life and send if off to your list of agents and publishers and wait. Sometimes you get back a generic rejection, if you’re lucky you get a detailed rejection. Sometimes you get “the call!”

Scary? Yes. Rejections are scary. They are play on the inherent fear that every author harbors deep in their souls, the one that dares to suggest we’re frauds and our work is crap. Getting “the call” that your book has been accepted is no less scary. Now you’re signing your name on the dotted line of a contract, you need to promote yourself and your book, you need to edit and revise and pray your book sells. People will love your book or they’ll hate it – and they’ll let you know by posting public reviews. (Scary? yes!)

Now, as authors we have another option. Self-publishing.

The world of self-publishing has exploded in a few short years and no longer is there a stigma attached to saying you are an “indie author.” But is it any less scary?

If you decide to go it alone with your book, you are responsible for getting an editor to make sure you have a polished product. You need to hire a graphic artist to make sure your product is noticed. You need to format your book for all the venues you want your book to be available at, either you hire this out or learn how to do it yourself. You still have to promote yourself and your book. You still have to pray your book sells and still have those good and bad reviews to scare you at night!

We’ve entered into a very exciting time to be a writer, with more than one way to get our work out to the people we’ve been trying to reach – the readers! It’s a wonderful sigh of relief for many to have options – and there is now more than one path to success. Whether you choose traditional, indie or to try both, publishing is still foremost about THE BOOK.

While writing a book and creating characters and plots is an artistic expression – make no mistake that publishing that book is a business. It can be a wonderfully rewarding business, it can be frustrating, get on your last nerve, and make you want to pull your hair out. And yes, it can be very scary!

So, this month in keeping with our Scare Me theme, I will be taking the plunge and self-publishing a holiday novella. Muffins & Mistletoe is the first book I’ve written knowing it would never be submitted to any agents or publishers.

Sometimes we have to face our fears, knowing we’ll be scared, but having faith that it will work out in the end.

Tell me what fear you’re going to face this month and you might win our monthly prize!


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.

Thrill Me, Kill Me

Since we’re talking about scary things this month it’s a great tie in to reading and writing for me. While I love reading contemporary romance, I think my very favorite reads are either romantic suspense or paranormal romance.

First and foremost, there’s got to be a romance. It’s about the relationship. If it weren’t we’d have nothing but police procedurals and straight up thrillers. They have their place, and there are some good ones out there, but again, there must be romance along with the rest. As a reader, it’s not optional.

Broken MirrorA real page turner for me is a book where there’s an out-and-out villain of some sort and a victim. In some stories the victim has a much of a part as the criminal. Someone who’s causing mayhem or committing murder, or well, being murdered. See what I mean? Creepy, huh?

Through the course of my writing, I’ve also discovered I like killing people off in books. Perhaps because in fiction, it’s so opposite of real my life and it’s a way to explore some of the darker sides of our humanity. While I do plot to some degree, the actual manner of death is an organic process. It shows itself as I write and the story unfolds. Which about scared the pants off me when I realized it, but what’s a girl to do? Write it down, of course.

My partner and I have had many conversations over dinner in restaurants about how this or that character could or should die, and it’s turned a few heads. And gave us and our wait staff a few laughs along the way.

Ultimately I think it’s that edge of your seat feeling that comes from good suspense. What’s going to happen next and who’s going to cause it? How is it going to turn out? With a romance involved we know how it’s going to end, but the journey is as individual as every writer out there. And that’s the fun part. I love reading it, and it’s even more of a thrill to write it.

This post wouldn’t be complete without telling you that my favorite romantic suspense author is the ever-talented J.D. Robb. Nora has done such an amazing job with not only the procedural part of the stories but with the ongoing arch between Eve and Roarke. I look forward to reading every one. And I’m a huge fan of J.R. Ward, and LKH’s early Anita Blake novels.

Who is your favorite romantic suspense or paranormal author?

Do tell us in the comments section and you’ll be entered in the drawing for this month’s swag!

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.

Freak me out!

It’s that time of year! Partly through Fall, and of course, ghosts and goblins are here to come out to play, and I’m sure you’ll be dressed as one or you’ll encounter one before the end of the month.

Usually Halloween makes me think of everything scary…and who wants that? Okay, I may be a little boring and not as thrilling as most but…I’m a chicken all right! I get scared from watching Scary Movie 3 (no joke. I see that girl from the well along the side of the road…and I admit, I get nightmares from funny scary movies. Don’t judge!).

Here’s five things that also freak me out:

1. Killer scenes in my writing when I attempt to write suspense – okay, so I scare myself here, but I can’t help it if my muse likes to mess with me.

2. My wardrobe not fitting me – who can afford to buy a whole new wardrobe? You can? Adopt me!

3. Chucky…and his girlfriend-maybe it’s a childhood thing, but my sister used to make me watch it with her and I would have nightmares for a week straight.

4. Superstitions that come true- my parents are pretty superstitious. Every time they call me and tell me that their eye is twitching and to be careful…I want to hide under the bed covers and bubble wrap myself!

5. Extinction of cupcakes – who can live without cupcakes?

Okay, I may sound nutty, but they’re true!

So tell me, what makes you scared or freak out?


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: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

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