Home or Away?

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Someone recently asked me—if I could go anywhere this summer, where would I like to go? I answered—can I stay at home, please?

But then, I’m writing this sitting in the shade of an almond tree on a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean. It’s the middle of a Spanish summer, it’s hot, and I love it!

Summer is my favorite time of year.

I come from the north of England. Growing up, I yearned for the sun, and when I started reading romances in my early teens, I was always drawn to the ones with hot, sultry settings and with tall, dark, handsome heroes; Greeks, Italians, Spaniard’s, all hot-blooded and spectacularly rich (owning their own island always helps). I dreamed of Spanish summers and of one day lying on a sun-kissed Mediterranean beach with a stunningly gorgeous, very-nearly-naked hero of my own. He’d be all golden skin and rippling muscles, and one look from his dark eyes would melt me into a puddle in the sand.

So, at eighteen I headed south in search of a real summer.

I never found my Mediterranean hero, but I did find a lovely English guy instead. We spent a lot of time travelling when I was younger but when it came to settling down, it was hardly surprising that I ended up not far from the Mediterranean. In fact, I now live on a farm in the mountains of Southern Spain, which looks down onto the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a remote area of mountains and steep rugged gorges, where mules still plough the small vineyards, and mains electricity is something they have in the towns. We have no near neighbors and the nearest shop is nearly an hour away. I share the farm with my husband, my horse, two goats, four dogs, three cats, a three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, and a handful of chickens (so it’s just as well we like staying at home).

I love the area, the people, the food, the fiestas, and the summers…

It’s also a fabulously inspiring place and it’s not unsurprising that I now find a few of those smoldering heroes slipping into my own work.
Even in my science fiction romance, Break Out, which takes place over a thousand years in the future, and in a distant solar system, the hero, Ricardo Sanchez, comes from Spain. And he’s hot—just like the summers here.

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So where would you spend your ideal summer…home or somewhere more exotic? And who would you spend it with? Let me know and all comments will be entered into a draw to win a $5 gift card and an ecopy of my soon to be released contemporary romance, Losing Control.

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.

Summer?! Really?

summer2For the first time in many, many years I am working a full-time job during the summer months.  I have been fortunate up until now to have been able to spend the time at home with my kiddos while enjoying the activities that go along with the heat and lack of a schedule.  Luckily, not sure if it can be considered luck or not, I am off work for the rest of this week so I can deal with storm damage issues.  And yes, the little man and I are trying to squeeze in a summer activity or two while I’m home.  Thankfully my new job has a great benefit package but with being a new employee…I will have to wait quite awhile before I can actually take time off for pleasure.  No vacation for us this year.

So what am I missing?  To be honest…nothing I can’t actually do after work or on the weekends.  I do miss being able to shop for groceries without dealing with being run over by wild weekend crowds.  And yes, I do miss being able to sleep in and wear my jammies all day.  I miss not being able to get lost in my current work-in-progress and write when inspiration strikes.  By the time I get home from work I’m scrambling to make dinner and/or do any cleaning or activities we have scheduled.  I am lucky though to have a cowboy who isn’t scared to wash a dish, or two, and help with whatever it is I’m trying to cram in before bedtime.

Long story made short?  Summer?!  The only difference for me now is that it’s hot.  Really, REALLY hot.  And we grill outside more to keep from heating up the house with the use of the stove or oven.  Oh…and swim.  *deep sigh*  Which means more work with cleaning the pool.  Is there anyone else out there sharing my misery?! I won’t try to show my jealousy (too much) if you tell me about the wonderful family vacation you have planned.  😉  Enjoy your summer!  I’m ready for fall and FOOTBALL!!

About Chelle Sandell

Contemporary western romance author, Chelle Sandell, was born and raised in southern Oklahoma but has mostly traded her cowboy boots in for flip-flops. That is unless her cowboy feels the occasional need to go boot scootin' across a dance floor. A foodie at heart, leaning toward the sweet treats, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting on her family and friends. She lives out in the country with her very own cowboy, rowdy boys, Hank & Lilly (blue heeler cowdogs), rescue kitties, and a hungry opossum that loves to sneak up at night to eat the cat food on the back porch.

Summer Schedules

 

dreamstimefree_102201Summer is my favorite season, but as much as I love it, my writing does go down because I’m constantly running kids to the beach or camps or trying to adjust to NOT having a schedule.  But this summer I’m on a mission to finish my manuscript and have it subbed by the end of July (Or early August)

*cough cough*

Anyhew, this self-imposed deadline has forced me to do a few things differently in order to meet my goal.

Here’s what has helped me:

1) I get up earlier. Having a new puppy has certainly helped with that respect, but I found it’s a GREAT time to get some needed editing or writing done while the kiddo is sleeping in.

2) I exercise more. What? Yes, this actually has given me more energy and my mind seems to be in better focus in the early morning.

3) I cut my blogging schedule. As much as I enjoy reading and writing blogs, that is A LOT of time to use that I don’t have until the fall. And guess what? I still have my bloggy friends and my sales have not been affected.

4) I cut my Facebook time. Yes, I like Facebook and I like all my Facebook friends. But I check in ONCE a day for 5 minutes and then I’m out of there. And guess what? My FB friends still like me and my sales have not been affected.

5) When I have two or three hours of time to work on my writing—I ONLY work on my writing. Yes, I’m tempted to throw in a load of laundry or just quickly empty the dishwasher, but those little things add up to BIG time eaters. I do them AFTER I’ve worked on my writing.

6) I’m reading less. Is that a good thing? Well, for me, summer is usually my reading time, but since I’m writing, something has to be sacrificed. Not that I’m not reading at all, just not reading as much or as fast.

That’s my summer schedule and I’m sticking to it. So far, it’s been working out great. 🙂

 

How about you? Does you writing schedule change in the summer? How do you keep on track?

Don’t forget, every comment this month is entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card AND a FREE digital copy of Nina Croft‘s July release from Entangled, Losing Control.)

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. 🙂

Summer Lovin’

dirtydancingI’m not exactly what you’d call the outdoors type. Let’s be honest–I’m a nerd. I’m far more likely to be stretched out in the A/C reading a book or watching a movie than engaging in any sort of physical activity.

So, when I tried to think of summer, it went something like this: Hot. Sweaty. Humid. Ugh. Wait… summer romance!

My favorite summer romance movie? Dirty Dancing! I love to watch the transformation of Baby from dork to sensual goddess. the angsty attraction she feels for Johnny turn into angsty devotion on his part as he realizes she’s out of his league (I’m sorry, I know that’s a cliche–but… it’s in the song!).

But my favorite part–the favorite part of everyone in the free world, I think–is when Johnny storms into the end-of-summer show to find Baby relegated back to the metaphorical and literal shadows where her family is most comfortable placing her. Then he stands up for her, the way she stood up for him, and says that line. The line that can turn every woman from my generation to instant jelly.

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Damn right, they don’t!

What’s your favorite summer romance story (book or movie)? (Don’t forget, every comment this month is entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card AND a FREE digital copy of Nina Croft‘s July release from Entangled, Losing Control.)

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.

Summer Camp Romance

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The setting of my novel, Canyon Walls, has a special place in my heart. I loved attending camp every summer through my junior high and high school years, but my best memory of camp was meeting the man who became my husband.

The summer after my freshman year of college, I was hired at the camp I had attended since 7th grade. I moved into a tiny cabin with three other girls. I spent my time cooking in the cafeteria and cleaning cabins. Serving cafeteria food and scrubbing bathrooms wasn’t a glamorous job, but it taught me a lot about hard work. It was also fun to spend the summer among the campers.

Toward the end of the summer, a cute guy showed up at the camp to spend the week as a counselor. We became friends, and before the summer ended, he had asked me on our first date.

If you’ve ever attended a summer camp, you know that the time spent in the camp separated from the demands of everyday life can make it feel like another world. For me it also included the awesome experience of falling in love. It made a summer camp the perfect setting for my first novel. Each day writing the story of a camp director fighting to save a struggling camp allowed me to be transported back to that place and time in my life.

Did you attend summer camp? Did you have any special experiences there?

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 two young sons 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

Heart-Shaped Glasses June Mash-Up!

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Welcome to our monthly mash-up of places and things we found interesting this month!

Bethanne likes:

For Writers, Avoiding Cliches, http://suspense.net/whitefish/cliche.htm

Another one for Writers on using a Facebook Fan Page as a website?
http://janefriedman.com/2013/06/29/facebook-cant-replace-website/

Debora likes:

Writers looking to  grow the skills necessary to compete in today’s ever-changing publishing industry have help. This July, join ten speakers in the Muse Camp Telesummit. This online event provides information about marketing, blogging, Twitter, self-care, as well as ways to navigate between digital-first and self-publishing options. It’s free to register for this two week event, which begins July 8, 2013.

Visit http://www.musecamp.com to register for this FREE event and to learn more.
May the muse be with you

And for the history lovers…Interesting photos of the time of an Oklahoma 1913 time capsule.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/treasures-unearthed-from-oklahomas-1913-time-capsule

Julie’s find:

A great blog post I ran across about writers and doubt! http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2011/07/writers-and-doubt.html#.UPna045gslJ

Jennifer recommends:

A few links to guestimate your amazon sales based on ranking:
http://kdpcalculator.com/index.php

http://www.theresaragan.com/p/sale-ranking-chart.html

Visit our special guests!

Because we love our guests…here’s a link to our June guest bloggers one more time!

Melanie Reyes Photography:  http://www.melaniereyesphotography.com

Author Jeannie Moon:  http://www.jeanniemoon.com/blog

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That’s all we’ve got for this month – but if you have a great link you’d like us to check out or would like to see us feature…don’t be shy, add it here in the comment section and we’ll give you a shout-out next month!

As always, every comment is another chance to win our monthly giveaway! Thanks for stopping by and we’ll be back next month with more fun links!

 

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.

  • Our LATEST Buzz!

    Cyn D. Blackburn's Wrapped Up in You releases on November 13. *** The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series were released in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous was 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, A PROPOSAL & PUMPKIN PIE is on sale for .99 through Thanksgiving.