Highly Unlikely

February is the Red Hearts Blank Smallmonth for romance. At least from the view of retailers, and all those guys who are not so with it the rest of the year. Whether you’ve found the man of your dreams in real life or not, for us romance fans, there’s a hero just waiting for us in the next story we choose to read. Although he may be digital or between the pages of an actual book, one thing is fairly certain. To the heroine, he’ll be irresistible. And sometimes her polar opposite.

Opposites attract is one of my favorite tropes. For me when the sparks fly and the personal growth happens to a couple who are so different, and yet they manage to find a way to reach a middle ground really works for me. There are so many that have become my favorites over the years. Too many to list here. But my favorite of all time, and one I never get tired of reading is Nora’s Eve Dallas and Roarke.

The straight-laced, uptight cop, who mistrusts people so much she’s almost backward with it, and the charming devil-may-care, Irish con-man, who made the bulk of his fortune illegally. A perfect match!

Ms. Roberts has done a masterful job of weaving personal and relationship growth into every book, keeping their love fresh and entertaining to the reader. Although some of the story lines are serious, there’s plenty of humor to go around. As a reader, it’s pure entertainment.

Do you have a favorite unlikely couple that you enjoy reading about?

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 Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

Guest Post — Emily Mims, Season of Enchantment

The Writing and Revisiting of ‘Season of Enchantment’

Recently I had the pleasure of revisiting my favorite novel of my first writing career when Boroughs Publishing purchased ‘Season of Enchantment’ for reissue.  ‘Season of Enchantment’ is based on the true story of the rescue of one of my husband’s colleague’s sweethearts from behind the bamboo wall of 1985 Vietnam.  The story of the enduring love this young couple had for one another during ten long years of separation struck a chord deep within me and got me to thinking-how many couples, even couples who love each other very much, would survive such a separation?  What kind of love would that take?  And what can the rest of us, especially those of us who are skeptical about the power of enduring love, learn from lovers such as these?  And so two love stories were born-the story of Jim and Li, star-crossed lovers who have been separated by politics and fate, and the second story of Debbie and Ben-a young woman desperately seeks love from a man who refuses to acknowledge that it even exists.

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Dollar Photo Club image, by ricardoreitmeyer

The interwoven love stories were easy to plot and write.  Li and Jim’s story was fairly tightly based in fact-our friend did work for ten long years to save the money to have his fiancée broken out of a Vietnamese work camp.  He did hire mercenaries.  They did rescue the young woman, who did marry our friend.  Ben and Debbie, on the other hand, were complete fabrications of my imagination.  But it was fairly easy to weave together the two stories as Jim and Li’s struggle to overcome their physical separation mirrors Ben and Debbie’s struggle to overcome Ben’s deep skepticism and distrust of love.

Although telling the love stories in ‘Season of Enchantment’ was not difficult, there was a rather large obstacle I had to overcome in putting this story on paper.  Normally I have a hard and fast rule that I do not write about a place I’ve never visited-there is too much potential for errors that are going to have my readers shaking their heads in dismay.  Obviously, I had to break that rule for ‘Season of Enchantment’.  There was no way I could visit 1985 Vietnam, and at that point it was impossible for me to make a trip to California either.  And in 1985 I sure couldn’t Google it!  So I found people who had been to both places and picked their brains.  I got two very different pictures of Vietnam.  Our friend saw his homeland as a wonderful place of enormous beauty and appeal, and the Army captain I talked with?  Let’s just say I got another picture entirely!  I wove the two together into what I hope was something close to the truth.  And a fellow teacher who had lived in Marin County killed a bottle of wine with me and got me up to speed on that portion of the world.

I was faced with an interesting dilemma when I sat down and looked at revising ‘Season of Enchantment’ for the market thirty years after the fact.  Do I leave the manuscript as it is or add the technology to bring it into 2015?  Unlike most of the reissues on the market, with stories that are timeless that could be updated a bit and told in just about any modern timeframe, ‘Season of Enchantment’ is quite specific in its timeframe and had to be left in 1985 for it to make any sense.  (Today Ben and Debbie could have gotten passports and flown in-no problem!)  Yet I didn’t want to just leave the story in the past.  After a bit of thought, I decided that maybe a glimpse into these couples’ lives thirty years later might be in order.  So I wrote a new epilogue which expresses the same sentiments as the original, but in which we get to see how it all turned out for them.  And (shame on me!) I planted the seeds for another generation to have an enchanting season of their own!

***

 photo cebd3bb3-48af-4f28-9cde-016ff0770de2_zpsbea3ae80.jpgIn 1985, to save a friend left behind in fallen Saigon, a young woman will undertake a desperate mission-and discover an even more desperate passion.

THE RESCUE
1985. Before cell phones and Facebook, before Glasnost and our brave new world, America and Communism remained at odds. Vietnam was a front line, and when it fell, there were those left behind. Like Debbie Cheong’s friend Li. Yet there was hope…if someone was willing to go in after her.
Only one man was up to the job. Cold and ruthless, mercenary Ben Sako lived by his own rules and trusted no person or feeling. The ex-Green Beret would take the mission for a price, and he would demand more of Debbie than she expected to pay. But the expedition would also reveal an undeniable attraction and a soul of powerful sensuality-and deep feeling. Debbie’s upcoming journey would be filled with danger and desperation, passion and peril; it would rescue an innocent from imprisonment and a man from himself. It would be a season of enchantment worth any price.
ISBN 978-1-941260-60-9
Buy links:
AllRomanceBooks
Amazon
Smashwords

 

***

Emily_W_Mims_2012Author of nineteen Romance novels, Emily Wright Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time. The mother of two sons, she and her husband Charles split their time between central Texas and eastern Tennessee. For relaxation she plays the piano, organ, and dulcimer. She says, “I love to write Romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman – if she’ll just let 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.

Going from a Plotter to a Seat-of-the-Pants Writer

When writing books, I’ve always been a plotter. In the weeks leading up to beginning a new story, I would meticulously plot every scene of my novel. I loved the process. The analytical side of my brain thrived on creating a spreadsheet with scene summaries, POVs, motivations, etc. I completely nerded-out on this stuff.

On the last two books I’ve written, that all disappeared. I’ve written the last novel and novella as a seat-of-the-pants writer. With the novel, I had a blurb and a pretty good sense of my two main characters. On the novella, I had the synopsis that I turned into the publisher (that I didn’t stick to). But there was no spreadsheet and no scene-by-scene plotting of the story.

This was partly done out of necessity. I had my second child last year, so while writing is still a big part of my life, it hasn’t been my number-one priority. I’ve been too busy changing dirty diapers, taking the six-year-old to karate, and doing my best to survive on limited sleep to obsess about a plot. So with deadlines upon me, I just wrote – freely, quickly, creatively.

It was wonderful.

I’m shocked by how great it has been. I’m a planner by nature. For my own sanity, I thought I had to have a fully plotted novel before I started writing.

I was wrong. All this time, the creative side of me wanted to break free. I just didn’t know it yet. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Instincts will take over – Learning the craft of writing is important, but after years of reading, studying, and listening, I needed to trust that all of that was inside me somewhere and just write. I’m still going to continue to learn, but now is the time when I can begin to trust my own writing instincts.

2. Seat-of-the-pants writing is fun – I don’t always know what’s going to happen next. And that’s exciting. It keeps me interested in the story. Is he going to kiss her? Even I don’t know. 🙂

3. Edits are easier – This sounds backwards, but by trying to force my characters down a particular road, my motivations weren’t ringing true, causing me to have huge rewrites. Now when I get ready to start a new scene, I trust my characters to guide me.

I’m not saying that I’ll never go back to plotting. I think there’s definitely a happy medium for me somewhere, but at this stage in my life, I’m enjoying the thrill of jumping into stories with two feet.

What about you? Are you a planner?

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

Changing it up a little…

I’ve posted our Christmas Story Extravaganza two times this month, and instead of doing it a third time…plain. I’m going to add a giveaway. Readers choice of any of the books posted in our CSE!

Just come on in and comment for a chance to win. We want to know…what’s your favorite Christmas story???

*~*~*

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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.

Taking Control…

I love celebrating Christmas, but just not yet. It’s way too soon to start and each year the decorations seem to appear earlier and earlier.

In a former life, we often took a holiday in the run up to Christmas to get away from all the fuss. Now, we live on a mountain in a really remote area of southern Spain, so it’s easy to ignore.

On Christmas Eve, we’ll put up the decorations, and then I will get into the festive spirit—I promise.

In the meantime, there are other things to celebrate. Like the release of TAKING CONTROL, my latest Brazen contemporary romance which comes out on Monday, 15th December 2014.

And even more reason to celebrate, TAKING CONTROL is on sale at only 99 cents up until release day. So order your copy now!

“…one read you definitely want on your kindle this Christmas to warm you up…” — Kiwi Book Nerd

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Q20YF3A

TC_500

A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…
Why play nice when you can be naughty?
Jessica Bauer is aces when it comes to security, but the PR side? Not so much. Now she has a chance to take over Knight Securities―if she plays nice with the next client. Unfortunately, that client happens to be Declan McCabe. And it’s too bad someone wants him dead, because after he broke her heart ten years ago, Jessica would have cheerfully murdered him herself.
Declan has taken his dad’s not-so-reputable company and turned it around, and in the process, he’s attracted the attention of some vicious killers. The only perk is being reunited with Jessica, who Declan still wants so much he can barely see straight. But Jessica has a plan of her own. She’ll protect Declan. She’ll have unbelievably hot sex with him.  And when the job is finished, she’ll move on. Except that this time, Declan isn’t so willing to walk away…

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.

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.

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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.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.