Bethanne’s Thirteen Firsts

Hello!! Welcome to our blog, Through Heart-Shaped Glasses. Everyone’s been hitting up the topic of Firsts. Firsts… life is full of firsts, isn’t it? When I found out the topic, I told my husband. He kind of looked at me funny, lifted a brow, and gave a small shake of his head. <grin> Ha!

But then, I thought, this is another first–group blog. And since not everyone knows me, I think I’ll do a Thursday Thirteen Firsts.  A cross between our theme for the month and a meme.

13. First move — 3 years old, from New York to Florida. There have been  many moves since then ranging from New York to Florida to Michigan to Pennsylvania to Ohio to Colorado to Ohio to Virginia to Illinois to Georgia, and finally, back to Colorado.

kiddie photo12. First day of Kindergarten — I had two of those, actually. Flunked out the first time.

11. First Detention — 2nd grade. I forgot my homework, which sounds sooo familiar now that I have two kids who are alot like me. It’s not intentional. It’s a thing…hopefully they get better at organization and remembering than I am.

10. First shot of insulin — November 23, 1988, my Diabetes Birthday

9. First written story — 6th grade, which my teacher loved, but suggested I not end with the cliche of waking from a dream. That was the first writing advice I ever recieved. I have never forgotten it. Later in life–high school, I read a smutty romance novel that actually ended that way…with the heroine waking from a dream. And I thought, “that book was so stupid!” And I knew Mrs. Richter had been right. Happily Ever After is too important to get fudged by a dream.

8. First College — Franciscan University of Steubenville, a good Catholic girl who wasn’t convinced to study nursing and did 3 years of an English Literature degree before getting pregnant, getting married, and moving on with her husband. 🙂

7. First Kiss — from the not-yet-hubby, a lovely asked-for kiss…the ultimate peck on the cheek. Heart racing, hands sweating. It’s a kiss you never forget.

wedding6. First Husband — And only husband! haha. Love that man so much. <3

5. First Baby — Her name is Virginia. She’s 13 now. OMG! THIRTEEN!

4. First Manuscript — A story inspired by Trixie Belden called Certain Suspicions. Well, now it’s called that. I can’t remember the original title.

3. First critique group — Charlotte Dillon’s Crit Group. A nice group, for the most part, yet too big, too anonymous. 🙂 I love my CRITIQUE group, Passionate Critters!

ForLoveorDuty 200x3002. First Book published, June 2012, For Love or Duty

1. First Contract — Wheeeee! With Entangled Publishing! A contract for my Christmas story, Letters from Home.

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.

The Conference Virgin

Conference LanyardSome “firsts” are experienced between two people or witnessed by only a few – attending your first writing conference is not one of them! Every year thousands of romance writers converge on a new city and spend days mingling, networking, going to workshops and putting faces with online names.

Just the thought of signing up for a conference can be enough to send an introvert into terror-mode! Maybe you’ve been convinced by a writing buddy that it’s the next step to take in your career, maybe you’ve simply decided a few days away with people that truly “get” what you do in the wee hours of the night would be fun.

My first conference was a little bit of both…I really wanted to go and meet the women I knew only by their emails, but if I didn’t get the extra push from a friend who offered to be my roommate, I never would have taken the leap and signed up. And I’m glad I did. My first conference was the RWA National in Dallas. I had my first razzarita in a bar with an agent, I pitched my first book to an agent and an editor, and I attended my first standing room only workshop with the wonderful Nora Roberts. I definitely came home on a high.

So what can YOU expect from your first conference? Hoards of writers just like you! Late nights in the bar and lots of laughs. Expect to spend money on food, because not all your meals are included and you’ll want to go out with your new friends! You’ll be overwhelmed both by the crowds and the positive energy pulsing everywhere you go. Expect to take lots of notes in all the wonderful workshops you’ll be attending. EXPECT to come home pumped to write and take your manuscripts to the next level.

Lastly, here’s a few tips on what to bring and what to leave home:

The conference rooms where the workshops are held are usually freezing – definitely pack a sweater. Business casual is the standard dress code, except for awards night when you’ll want to dress up. Bring your comfortable shoes – you’ll be walking a lot! (I know, you’ve got to bring all those great heels in the closet…so if you’re a high heel kinda girl, go for it.)

Most conferences give you a tote bag at check-in, my advice is to keep it light and leave the huge, everyday pocketbook at home. At my first conference I got a lanyard with a large inner pocket and it has gone with me to every conference since. During the day I put some money, my room key, my business cards and my phone in there and that’s it…don’t weigh yourself down.

Business cards are nice to have, but you’ll mostly be handing these out to your new writing friends – agents and editors won’t be looking for your card, if they’re interested in hearing from you, they’ll give you theirs.

Leave your manuscript at home! No passing it over the table or under the bathroom stall. 😉 Again, if an agent or editor requests to see it, they want to you to send it to them.

Have I mentioned the books? OMG…at RWA National you will get more books than could possibly fit in the luggage you arrived with. Most people find a box during the conference, box them up and ship them home (don’t worry about figuring this out – you’ll no doubt see the masses lined up with the hotel staff doing exactly this!)

Bring your smile! Romance writers are awesome, generous women and everyone remembers being a conference virgin.

Do you remember your first time at a writing conference or is your first time looming in the near future?

 

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.

The First Line

SONY DSCSince our theme this month is Firsts, I thought I’d write about first lines of books. To me, the first line of a story is like meeting you, the reader, for the very first time. More often than not you will have read the back matter, which may have been written by me, someone else, or a group of marketing professionals. You might have admired the cover, and that tempted you. Covers aren’t usually made by the author, but by a graphic artist. Whatever way it happens, the first line of the story is the first building block for your reading relationship with me, the author. It’s when things get real.

It’s essential that the first line makes you want to keep reading. It needs to spark your curiosity. With any luck, the first line will make you think, OMG! Who? What? Where? Why? I have to know! And you keep reading, turning those pages until the very end.

This holds true whether an author writes historical, inspirational, rom coms, or time travels. The first line should fit the world the author has created and capture the tone of their work.

I write contemporary romance with romantic suspense elements, and I admit to being surprised when I typed the first lines from my series together. They really do fit the tone of my books. Here they are:

Winning this might keep him alive. – Slide Job

Death lingered quietly in the dark, dressed in worn blue jeans. – Beyond the Winner’s Circle

Would he die today, or tomorrow? – Running Three Wide

I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t add the first lines from some of my favorite reads. Here they are in no particular order:

Most people don’t stare at the scars. – Burnt Offerings, Laurell K. Hamilton

Caught in the crosshairs of wind above the Bitterroots, the jump ship fought to find its stream. – Chasing Fire, Nora Roberts

They had betrayed her with a promise of the sea. – My Heart Stood Still, Lynn Kurland

Although in different genres, each first line is tempting. I can’t wait to dig in and find out the rest of the story.

What about you? Do you have a favorite first line?

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 the hills of 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.

First Adventures

I’ve always been a practical person. Okay. Sort of… No, not really. In the earlier years of my life, I used to indulge myself in eating and trying new foods, shopping for everything unnecessary, and spoiling myself with as many books as I can fill my house with (Good thing for e-readers!). I had hobbies, I had great friends, and I was never bored. I worked, I wrote, I went to school. I kept busy and I had more than others, so I should be happy, right?

But life became so unfulfilling… Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t spoiled. I worked hard for everything I wanted, but nothing seemed good enough. I realized it was time to move on…

Time for an adventure.

What did I do?DSC00745

I packed all my belongings, quit my present day job, dumped my boyfriend at the time (Trust me, it was time. Four years with the same man with no future was definitely a good motivator.) and moved out of New York.

Where did I go?

Hawaii! My very first adventure.

For a girl who has never left home, change seemed to be the enemy but I was ready to have some fun! I saw the opportunity and I took it. How could I turn it down? Adventures come in many shapes and sizes.

The first time I stepped foot off the plane, all I could think about was “the air smelling so soapy and why was everyone just smiling?”

I was almost tempted to get back on the plane, but I wasn’t ready to give up.

Everything was a change. The pacing in life was worse…

My first instance with bringing my New York road rage to Hawaii taught me a lesson. There’s no need to rush anywhere. It’s okay to drive 25 mph on a 65 mph highway. It’s okay to take walks to work even if it takes an hour. It’s okay to sit all day at the beach and just watch the blue water or count fish in the Harbor. Or spot men in trees…. I had all the time in the world to do as I pleased. And I got to write, write, and write! I found the chance to concentrate on something I totally wanted. Who would have thought?

I learned so much on my adventure. Not only about the culture, the land, the fabulous food, and the people, I learned about me.

It’s an adventure I wouldn’t trade for anything.

What was your first adventure?

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About Clarissa Yip

Constantly on the run, Clarissa leads the life of adventure and mischief. When she's not getting herself in trouble, she's usually busy studying the art of eating and curling up with a good book or spending numerous hours reading and writing. It's really hard to find her in one place for too long...

First Kiss: Bliss or Miss?

Hi, all! Jennifer here. I’m so happy thrilled to introduce fellow Entangled Pub author Robin Bielman as our guest blogger today!

Robin has a new Bliss romance out called Kissing the Maid of Honor, so be sure to check it out as well as the bottom of this post to see her fun giveaway that will be going on next week!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi everyone! I am so honored and delighted to be the first guest on Through Heart Shaped Glasses! Thanks so much to Jennifer and all the HSG gals for having me here today.

First Kiss: Bliss or Miss?

Since this is a month of firsts, I thought I’d talk about The First Kiss. That moment when you lean in, ready to lock lips with that special someone for the very first time ever. Your heart is racing, your stomach is quivering, your head is spinning. You make contact and then one of two things happens: you don’t ever want to stop or you can’t stop quickly enough.

My first kiss was a big ‘ol miss.  I’d been crushing on this boy forever. He was a black belt and one of the junior instructors at my younger brother’s karate studio. I’d go all the time to watch my brother just so I could secretly stare at this too-cute boy. He was sixteen and so cool, and I was fourteen and well, not. When he called me and asked me out, I thought I’d die. (This was also my very first date, and I had no idea he’d even noticed me.) He took me to the movies and held my hand the whole time. It was nice. It was sweet. On the drive back to my house, I started to get nervous, though. I wanted to kiss him. I really wanted to kiss him. But I was worried I’d do it all wrong.

Well, he walked me to my front door and I didn’t have time to get nervous because he proceeded to immediately shove his tongue down my throat. There was nothing romantic about it. Nothing sweet. The wet, sloppy assault had me reaching for the door handle and hurrying inside. Gross! I thought. And my image of this boy was forever ruined.

We never went out again. I ditched the karate studio for tennis and homework.

In my just-released novel, KISSING THE MAID OF HONOR, a first kiss plays an important role in the story. A fun role because it stirs up conflict. And desire. Wishes, too. Do I wish my first kiss had been bliss? Hmm… I’m not sure. I mean everything happens for a reason, right? I will say future kisses were much, much better.

What about you? Was your first kiss Bliss or Miss?

 

 

*Special note: Next week my publishing sister, Jennifer Shirk, and I are having some fun with our Bliss releases from Entangled Publishing. We’re hosting a Bliss Kiss War in honor of her book, KISSING KENDALL, and my book, KISSING THE MAID OF HONOR. We’ll be blogging, Facebooking, and giving away a $20 GC! We hope you’ll check it out!*

 

 

About KISSING THE MAID OF HONORKissingTheMaidofHonor_cover5 copy

Sela Sullivan is resolved to be the best maid of honor ever, even if it means tolerating the best man. Insufferable, too-handsome Luke Watters is not only the guy who humiliated her at a kissing booth in high school, but he also happens to be her best friend’s older brother. Positive he’s the same arrogant jock, Sela vows to focus on her duties and steer clear of the frustrating—and frustratingly tempting—Luke.

 

As a world-renowned extreme-sports photographer, Luke is used to undertaking life-risking adventures. But risking his heart for the beautiful Sela Sullivan, who clearly still hates him for his rejection all those years ago? He didn’t see that coming. Sela inspires a passion he’s never known, and the more time they spend together, the more he craves her. But can he prove to the maid of honor he’s become a man of honor?

BUY LINKS:

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:

iTunes:

Kobo:

 

Robin in velvet pastel haze 620About Robin Bielman… Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart husband, two sons, and crazy-cute mini Labradoodle, Harry Dresden. When not attached to her laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a book. She also loves to run, hike, and dip her toes in the ocean. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches herself to be sure it’s real.

She is also the author of Worth the Risk and Yours At Midnight from Entangled’s Ever After line. She loves to connect with readers. Visit her online:

Website/Blog: http://robinbielman.com

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/RobinBielman

Facebook: http://facebook.com/robinbielman or http://facebook.com/robinbielmanwriter

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/robinbielman

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. 🙂

First Words…

Hi, I’m Nina Croft and for my first post on Through Heart-Shaped Glasses, I thought I would say a little about how I first started writing and my first book.

I didn’t write when I was younger; probably because I was too busy reading. Then, at the age of twenty-seven, I found myself living in a remote village on the banks of Lake Kariba in Zambia. And almost totally bookless.Lake Kariba at sunset

For the previous few years, I’d been working in London as an accountant. I was bored and restless (I wanted life to be more like the books I read!) and in desperate need of some sun and some excitement. So together with my brand new husband, I signed on with a charitable organization sending volunteers all over the world.

img016Lake Kariba is a man-made lake formed when the Zambezi River was dammed in the 1950s. We were working for a charity helping the people displaced when the dam was built and their homes flooded. They were subsistence farmers and fishermen, living in villages dotted along the edge of the lake, and much of my time was spent whizzing around in boats (dodging hippos and crocodiles!)

It was a stunningly beautiful place, but very remote, with no electricity, no TV, no internet and very limited access to books (and this was way before kindles!). For someone used to reading a book a day, it wasn’t long before I was suffering severe withdrawal symptoms.

Even food was a logistical nightmare. A boat ride away was a small supermarket. Unfortunately, it rarely stocked food; on a good day you could buy toilet rolls and toothpaste. We could order beef locally, but it tended to arrive still warm and with the hoof still attached—a little off-putting. Then there was the local dried fish—kapenta—the most disgustingly smelly stuff to ever come out of the water…

Obviously, I needed something to take my mind off the lack of food and books. What I did have was an extremely large laptop provided by the charity (and powered by a solar panel) and it occurred to me that my only solution was to write my own stories. And that started my first venture into writing and resulted in my first partial submission to Harlequin (several years later) called, The Best of Intentions. Sadly (but not surprisingly) it was rejected but with a very positive letter and a compliment slip for if I wanted to try again.

That was my first attempt at writing, but definitely not my last. So are there any major changes in your life that have made you take up something for the very first time?

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.

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