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Posts tagged with: new release

Nostalgic Romance

Nostalgic Romance is my own personal term for any blast-from-the-past romance novel set between 1950 and present day. (Romance Writers of America® now considers 1950 as the cutoff date for differentiating between historical and contemporary novels). Sorry, RWA®, there isn’t much contemporary about a book set in the 60s or 70s when personal computers, the, Internet, and cell phones didn’t yet exist. Still, that period isn’t exactly historical, either. It is, however, filled with nostalgia—a wistful or sentimental remembrance of places, people, conditions, or things belonging to the past.

Our world and gender roles changed dramatically between the end of World War II  and the late 70s/early 80s when the United Kingdom embraced their first female prime minister, Americans elected a movie star as president, disco died, and the Internet was born. Rosie the Riveter’s husband came home from the war and expected her to return to the kitchen so he could have his job back. The Cold War began between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. And only four short years later, the U.S. became embroiled in another military conflict in Korea, which was a war, officially declared or not.

Two years after our soldiers returned from Korea, Rosa Parks valiantly kicked off the Montgomery Bus Boycott with her arrest for refusing to give her seat on the bus to a white man. Soon our soldiers deployed again, this time to Vietnam for another undeclared war that caused great dissension in America. Young men dodged the draft, rock ‘n roll ruled with the British invasion in American music, and beehive hairdos were all the rage.

Blacks and whites alike cried over the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. NASA fulfilled President Kennedy’s vow to win the race for space when the U.S. landed first on the moon during the summer of ‘69 just before rock ‘n roll stars closed the New York Thruway with their three-day concert at Woodstock. In 1973, during the height of the Watergate scandal, our soldiers and POWs finally came home and the country turned its back on the vets who’d served so selflessly.

It was a time of dissension, an era of protest and conflict, not only in the world, but at home between men and women whose gender roles were rapidly changing. Women decided if black men could be liberated, then why not women. Suddenly, daddy was washing bottles and changing diapers while mpow-mia-braceletommy hopped on the Affirmative Action bandwagon, symbolically burned her bra, and pursued a career, demanding equal pay.

While in high school, I, like a lot of people my age, wore a POW/MIA bracelet. My heart wept for these soldiers and their families who were separated for up to nine years while the men were physically and mentally tortured. Some of our GIs never came home. Others returned to grown children who saw them as strangers, some discovered their wives had moved on to other relationships, and far too many came back as hollow shells of the carefree young men they’d once been.

I’ve never forgotten those families and felt compelled to write some of them happy endings, which resulted in my first novel, The Memory of You, the Prequel to my Return to Redemption series. The stories in that series all feature characters who live in the fictitious small town of Redemption, Pennsylvania.

I’ve just released The Wonder of You, another blast-from-the-past, returning Vietnam POW story, however, it’s NOT set in Redemption. It’s the Prequel to my new, spin-off series called Beyond Redemption. Readers will still get to visit with old friends from my previous books in this new series because it will star characters who have friends or family who live in Redemption. After all, the entire world can’t live in one town, now can it?

the-wonder-of-you-cam-smallerlThe Wonder of You

The Love of You series—Book 2 & The Beyond Redemption series—PREQUEL
Her child’s happiness, or her own? A choice no woman should have to make.
Six years ago, Julie Danvers’ husband was declared missing in action. A single tipsy night of indiscretion left her pregnant, guilt-ridden, and still uncertain whether she’s a widow or a wife. When she learns the love of her life, Rick, is actually alive and coming home, she’s both overjoyed and terrified. Now she’ll be forced to choose between her war-ravaged husband—who may be unable to accept her daughter, a sticky-faced reminder of her infidelity—and her child’s father who wants to make them a real family.
The only thing that kept POW Rick Danvers—also known as Ben—sane during his hellish Hanoi Hilton vacation was the dream of holding his beautiful wife again. During Operation Homecoming, he eagerly returns home to discover his entire world has changed. His country doesn’t respect him, he’s lost his parents, and his so-called best friend has already provided Julie the baby Rick ached to give her before Uncle Sam drafted him.
If that’s not bad enough, while Julie was burning her bra, his aging uncle came out of the closet and appointed her president of their family construction business—a position she has no intention of relinquishing. Rick’s now a visitor in his own home, forced to live with a bossy preschool princess who resents him and has hijacked his faithful dog’s affection. Nevertheless, the passion between Julie and Rick burns hotter than ever. He refuses to give up the woman he still loves—or his business—without putting up a damn good fight. He didn’t survive hell only to lose everything in the end.
The hero in The Wonder of You is a talented singer who loves music and is an avid Elvis fan. Throughout this story many songs from the Vietnam War era are mentioned—some you may remember and others you may not be familiar with. Therefore, I’ve created a YouTube playlist of all the recordings for your listening pleasure.   

Read a sample of The Wonder of You

The Wonder of You YouTube Playlist  memories-3d-smaller

BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL!  From today through Saturday, you can get my boxed set, Memories, containing both The Memory of You and A Little Bit of Deja Vu, absolutely FREE at Amazon! 

Do you have a Black Friday special coming up or a current book promotion? If so, please let everyone know about it in the comment section!

 

Fangirl Friday – May 6th Edition

Happy Fangirl Friday!  The day when we gush about new books and give you a heads-up on great deals.  As always, feel free to share your own book news (releases & sales!) in the comments but please be courteous and do not repeatedly re-post the same material.  Thank you! 

And now… to the BOOKS!

New Releases:

Diane_AgainstAgainst the Paw by Diane Kelly

Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner are on the lookout for a convict who has been unleashed. . .

PAW PATROL IS ON THE CASE
Megan has her sights set on finding a convicted burglar who’s broken his parole, and she has the perfect partner to help sniff him out. Unfortunately, her shepherd-mix Brigit’s dog bowl is already full. A Peeping Tom has been spotted in an affluent Fort Worth neighborhood―and concerned citizens are looking for a few good watchdogs…

TO COLLAR A CRIMINAL
To catch the creep, residents start enlisting volunteers to beef up their Neighborhood Watch group. Which is fine with Megan. She needs to focus on catching a burglar who’s still at large. But when the Peeping Tom patrol grows into a virtual vigilante mob, Megan and Brigit have to jump in paws first―before some very angry people take the law into their own hands…

Amazon :: B&N

 

Discounts/Freebies:

CT_Final_Web

MMPFREE for 5/6-5/7 only! Courting Trouble, the most recent release in my Reality Romance series (a series which includes two 2016 RITA Award Nominees for Best Mid-Length Contemporary Romance). FREE from Amazon.

The first book of the series, Marrying Mister Perfect, is also free wherever ebooks are sold:

Amazon :: B&N :: iBooks :: Kobo

 

Discover THE DRAGONFLY CHRONICLES by Heather McCollum – Four powerful sisters, hidden through time, fighting for love and a chance to save the world. Books 1-4 bundled and on sale for only $7.20 from 5/3-6/3 on Amazon! The world-shaking series conclusion, SACRIFICE: Book 5 was just released!

Heather_Prophecy Heather_Magick Heather_Masquerade Heather_Surrender

 

KIM LAW’S TURTLE ISLAND BOOKS ON SALE FOR JUST 99cents THROUGH JUNE 6TH:

Set off the gorgeous Georgia coast, Turtle Island is the perfect destination for fun in the sun—and for finding love when you least expect it. A delightfully lighthearted series of romantic tales from award-winning author Kim Law, the Turtle Island novels feature spirited and charming characters who have survived life’s tougher trials only to find their happily-ever-after against a backdrop of sea spray and warm sands. These heartwarming stories of sweet and sexy getaways are filled with laughs and love.

Kim_Turtle+Island+Series

 

Autumn_ObsessedFrom award-winning author AUTUMN JORDON, comes this fun romantic contemporary with a dash of suspense set in the small town of Mule Post, Texas where the nights can get hotter than the summer days.

Isobel Trinidad vows no man will rope her into the humdrum life of a housewife and take away her dreams of becoming the National Barrel Champion like her father had done to her mother. Her mind is set, until a handsome Yankee comes to Mule Post, Texas and upsets everything she has believed about herself.

A rash of arsons brings State Fire Marshal Warner Keyson to the small Texas community, where a wildfire of a woman stops him in his tracks. Intrigued by Issy’s fire, he contrives ways to keep her close while conducting his investigation. What they create, which neither of them bargained for, is the blaze of a lifetime.

Obsessed By Wildfire is available at all major retailers for the bargain price of $ .99 (Regular Price $3.99). Grab your copy today before the sale ends.

Amazon Link: http://bit.ly/ObsessedByWildfire

Don’t forget to join Autumn’s newsletter at www.autumnjordon.com and receive a free read.

 

viscountforwebON SALE THIS WEEK ONLY FOR 99 CENTS: LARA ARCHER’S BARED TO THE VISCOUNT!!

Poor, plain spinster Mary Wilkins has no business falling in love with Viscount Parkhurst. They may have been best friends in childhood, but he’s the wealthy, powerful lord of the manor now, and everyone knows he’s bound to marry a beautiful local heiress. Mary tries to resign herself to a life of hopeless yearning, but when she and the viscount find themselves entangled in a stand of wild blackberry vines, unexpected passions flare.

The viscount can’t seem to keep his hands off her. But is he planning to make her his wife—or only his secret mistress?

Buy it on Amazon.

 

 

What are you reading this week?

Quick! Write a Book!

Today is a momentous day for me! SACRIFICE, the fifth and final book in my paranormal romance series, The Dragonfly Chronicles, has released!Sacrifice_w10212_750

 

Amen! The first book in the series, PROPHECY, came out in 2009. Ugh! Really?

So I had some hang-ups in the last seven years, which delayed each book: three busy kids, taking in a crazy golden retriever rescue, spending two years fighting ovarian cancer, etc. Plus each book weighs in at about 350 pages and took mountains of research (five different time periods) and intricate planning to create a complete story arc over all five individual stories. So yeah – seven years. And although I’m exceedingly proud of the books, and they’ve earned lovely reviews (one of them was a finalist in the Golden Heart), I haven’t sold enough copies to bring in decent royalties. Sigh…deskhead

I’ve tried blog tours, networking, social media platforms, better author branding, giveaways, etc. Not really working. So what do I need to do to sell a book?

After reading posts and conversations between my Ruby Sisters, I’ve concluded that I have to write more books, faster. Yes, that sounds obvious, and I can say, “Great, I’ll write more books faster.” But I need a realistic list of action items to help me reach my goal.

First – What is my main goal for my next series? To publish two books together and then subsequent books every three to four months. <Big Breath> I still have three busy kids (without drivers’ licenses) and a crazy golden retriever, along with a lot of ovarian cancer awareness events. So…what steps am I going to take to achieve this goal?

1. Don’t get cancer again : ) Not that I can actually control this, but I do need to make room in my day for exercise and healthy eating.0 to 1

2. Shorten my books. When I look at a number of successful romance authors, their books run about 250 – 280 pages in length, about 100 pages less than mine. So these will be faster paced books, without so many subplots. They will follow a more straight forward path to the conclusion. My paths are usually very convoluted, so this will be a challenge.

3. Chart out my plots and try to stick to them. Sometimes tangents take me to fabulous places, but often times they do not. If a tangent looks crazy-promising I will of course check it out, but I will try not to write in circles.

Collage for MASQUERADE: Book 3

Collage for MASQUERADE: Book 3

4. Keep a story series bible from the start. I’m terrible at remembering where scars are located and the color of eyes and little details that might pop back up in another book. I spent way too much time finding these details in earlier books to keep consistent through the series. With a story bible, I’m writing all this down on One Note (an electronic story bible) and/or in a collage for each book.

 

 

5. Track my word counts. I’ve done this off and on through the years, but just like with counting calories while dieting, counting words written per day can really push me toward success. If I can write 10K words a week, that’s just 2K words every work day, I’ll finish a book in about eight weeks. That should still keep me on track for a three-four month release. So despite my kids needing rides, spring break, cancer awareness talks and events, walking the dog, cooking dinner and cleaning up after my wonderful yet messy family, I will get in 10K words per week.

 

 

Repeats with gusto – “I WILL get in 10K words per week!”

 

 

 

 

 

6. Implement Take-Out Tuesdays and freezer to crockpot dinners twice a week. I tend to make dinner each night for my family. I still want to save money and7-Crockpot-Soup-Freezer-Meals-In-Two-Hours provide healthy food for my family, but I can make a bunch of freezer meals once a month, to pull out twice a week. Here is my favorite site with freezer to crockpot recipes. http://newleafwellness.biz/ And anytime I do make dinner, I make a double batch and freeze half, from hamburgers and meatballs to BBQ chicken and marinated pork tenderloin, making extra takes only a smidgen of extra time.

7. Maintain my quality by keeping reference material and web sites within reach. I won’t lower my quality, but I will make sure to keep my history books on my desk and my etymology and Gaelic translation sites open on my computer. My series sound track will play in the background, while my muse will type away as I sip my Chai tea latte.

 

So this is my initial plan. What do you think? Do you have other tips on how to create fabulous books in a shorter time frame?

Oh, and I have a giveaway going on in honor of my new release! Check out my web site to enter for a chance to win a $10 gift card to Amazon, signed copy of the first book in the series, and a dragonfly gift pack! Enter here: http://www.heathermccollum.com/

Release Party: Bared to the Viscount by Lara Archer

Break out the champagne, it’s Lara Archer’s release party. Happy book birthday, Lara!

Wait, who is this Lara character, you may ask? She’s a long-time friend and incognito Ruby who also writes under a different pen name. And today I’m happy to announce is her historical erotic romance debut with Bared to the Viscount.

Let’s get right to the good stuff, shall we?

Bared to the Viscount by Lara Archer

Poor, plain spinster Mary Wilkins has no business falling in love with Viscount Parkhurst. They may have been best friends in childhood, but he’s the wealthy, powerful lord of the manor now, and everybody knows he’s bound to marry a beautiful local heiress. Mary tries to resign herself to a life of hopeless yearning, but when she and the viscount find themselves entangled in a stand of wild blackberry vines, unexpected passions flare.

The viscount can’t seem to keep his hands off her. But is he planning to make her his wife—or only his secret mistress?

Available Now at Amazon.com

Find out more at Lara Archer’s website

 

Location, Location, Location!

When it comes to real estate prices, it’s all about location, location, location. But in your novel location becomes all about details, details, details and which ones you choose to focus on. Can your readers imagine the locale of your story, smell the flowers, or hear the birds chirping?

As many of you know, my husband and I recently relocated from Pennsylvania to Texas. We knew this move was coming for a few years now, so I decided to set some of the books in my upcoming spin-off series Beyond Redemption in . . . you guessed it—the great state of Texas.

You know what they say. Write what you know. Well, I’ll be ready to write book one later this year, so I figured I’d better start researching it. I want to use something other than the popular ranch setting and cowboy hero that Texas set books are so well known for. So after a bit of research, I decided to place the story at an old family vineyard and pecan orchard in the Hill Country (west of Austin) where the heroine will probably also breed and train thoroughbreds. (I mean, if the story is in Texas, ya gotta have horses, right?)

What I learned is in order to grow pecans or grapes, you need LOTS of water. Something the Texas Hill Country doesn’t have a lot of. Pecans grow best in the loamy soil along riverbeds and my grapes will need irrigation (from that river).

While scouting for a location to set my story, my husband and I took a ride from Austin, northwest to a large lake (Buchanan) fed by the Colorado River (it’s not THE Colorado River that formed the Grand Canyon, which everyone outside of Texas is familiar with.) We then circled around through Fredericksburg, and Johnson City and back home. We saw lots of vineyards during our auto tour, and my previous research told me there are several pecan farms in that area. (I’ll be touring a pecan orchard later this year to learn about growing them first hand.)

I could’ve gotten all of this info from searching the Internet, right? Maybe.

What I couldn’t get from the worldwide web, however, were the details. Details like how when you’re looking at Lake Buchanan from a distance, the fields of Blue Bonnets (Texas’s state flower), look almost like water.

Field of Blue Bonnets

I also wouldn’t have known how picturesque the back roads in that area are and how profusely the wild flowers grow there. When I left Bucks County, PA, which I thought was one of the most beautiful places in the country, I believed I would miss the green rolling hills.

Back Roads

Unh-uh. Spring in Central Texas is gorgeous! The interstates are lined with dense patches of blue bonnets, pink evening primroses, Indian paintbrushes, black-eyed Susans, buttercups, and daisies, to name a few.  I’ve never seen so many flowers in one place. It takes my breath away. Here are just a few of the shots I took during our drive.

Flowers along the interstate  More Flowers

Flowers  Lots and Lots of Flowers

Do you think I’ve gathered enough inspiration for describing my heroine’s property? My story will definitely HAVE to be set in the month of April, and my hero and heroine will most likely make love on a blanket in a field among those flowers. There’s no way I’m going to pass up this kind of beauty for my readers.

When I absolutely can’t visit the local in my story, I will resort to the Internet and travel magazines and brochures. I also try to find people who’ve been to the location to interview them on their impressions. However, if you get firsthand info, you also be able to deduct some of the expense from your taxes—like the mileage for a nice day out with your hubby.

What about you? Do you try to go to wherever you’re setting your story? What are some of the ways you get information when you can’t?

Sin City Seduction Digital Cover

In the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing my next L.L. Kellogg  red-hot, romantic comedy, Sin City Seduction (Yes, I forced my hubby to take me to Vegas to research that one. 🙂 ) If you leave a comment, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for a free digital copy when it’s published.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End… And What to Do When It’s “Over”

 the-end

Because I enjoy things with layers, like onions and ogres, this post about “the end” has many meanings for me. First, some insight into why I’m thinking about “the end”…

 

  • Yesterday was the official release day for my romantic suspense novel, END GAME. I wrote “The End” on that book a few weeks ago, and it has caused all kinds of issues. (More about that below.)

 

  • END GAME is the final book in a six-book series, called The Mindhunters series. While each book has its own happily-ever-after, the SSAM agency ties them together and there has been a mini-mystery running through them: who killed Damian Manchester’s daughter twenty years ago and will the monster be brought to justice? This book solves that mystery, so it’s the conclusion of the series.

 

  • The end of the year is upon us, which typically encourages reflection and a type of mental and physical exhaustion all its own. In addition, it has been an intense year for me, both with family and personal issues and with writing, which makes December another kind of ending all together. After putting out roughly a book a year since 2011, END GAME is my third (and last) release of 2014. I tripled my output this year and really felt it.

Boxing for Our Servicemen

If you’ve shopped at Amazon lately, you can’t have helped but notice the host of multi-author boxed sets for sale­­—many for only 99 cents. I’ve watched a lot of these bundles hit major bestseller lists. So when Chris Keniston, one of my GH sisters from 2010, invited me to take part in a promotional 99-cent boxed set (featuring a total of SEVEN steamy contemporary romance novels by award-winning authors), I—Laurie Kellogg–eagerly hopped on board. I was particularly excited to be part of the project because our set includes only full-length novels rather than novellas and short stories that many other boxed sets contain.

Fast Men, Slow KissesI was thrilled to learn USA Today bestselling author Nancy Warren, author of over 50 novels, would be the lead author. I read my first Nancy Warren book, Whisper, released by Harlequin’s Blaze® imprint, back in 2002. The sizzling love scenes in this secret identity story are all set completely in the dark and left me still fanning myself over a decade later. (Well done, Nancy!)

Chris has been a masterful coordinator, and Sandy Lloyd did a wonderful job formatting the boxed set for the various venues. It’s been great fun teaming up with the other talented authors, Linda Steinberg, Barbara Lohr, Pamela Stone and, Sandy Loyd who are also featured in  Fast Men, Slow Kisses

Collaborating on this kind of the project can be quite time-consuming since it requires a consensus of opinion and vote on many specific decisions about things like a cover artist, cover art, marketing blurb, finances, etc. It quickly became evident the accounting to distribute royalties to seven authors could become a chore, and at only 99 cents, each of our shares wouldn’t amount to a fortune, separately. However, together, profits could become a sizable sum to donate to a charity—especially if Fast Men, Slow Kisses is successful.

We  immediately agreed no charitable organization would be more appropriate for a group of romance authors to give to than one that helps the real-life heroes who’ve defended our freedom and been left in need of assistance for themselves and their families struggling at home. Since we have both American and Canadian authors participating in our boxed set, we’re contributing our profits to military veterans’ charities in both countries.Wounded Warrior Project BannerToday is release day for Fast Men, Slow Kisses at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo. So don’t miss this great opportunity to simultaneously get SEVEN great steamy contemporary romances and help support our servicemen in need for only 99 cents.

Are you part of a multi-author boxed set or considering contributing to one? If so, please share your experience or feel free to ask questions about the process.

Touring with a book in mind

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to travel, particularly to visit historic sites. Like every other writer, I’ll walk into a building or garden or field and the story will start to grow. I thought I’d share some of the sites I used to write The Counterfeit Lady, which came out August 5th.

First off, if you’re going to have a murder, it has to occur somewhere. When I decided Lady Phyllida’s cousin was going to be murdered and her husband blamed, I knew they had to have a period home. It needed to be just south of upper crust. And then I toured the Linley Sambourne house.

The terraced house, townhouse to Americans, at 18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington, London, was built in 1872 and moved into by the newlyweds Linley and Marion Sambourne in 1874. They lived there the rest of their lives. Linley died in 1910 at the end of the Edwardian era and Marion in 1914 just before the outbreak of WWI. Due to some lucky events, nothing in the house was altered until well after the end of WWII. Then the family decided to hand the house over to the city to be a museum of Victorian life and furnishings.

The four story and basement house was perfect as the layout of the home of Kenneth and Clara Gattenger. I admit I redid the furnishings in my mind to suit a naval architect who grew up poor and his aristocratic bride. But the doors, the windows, the stairs, everything was exactly as I wanted it for my murder.

Even without a murder, the house is a fascinating window into Victorian life. I highly recommend a visit if you happen to find yourself in London between September and June. www.rbkc.gov.uk/subsites/museums/18staffordterrace1.aspx

Another source of Victorian details that I found useful came from the London Transport Museum. Train engines and cars, trolleys, buses, both horse drawn and motorized take up the three level building. Visitors get information on how heavily used mass transit was and what it looked like, down to the seat coverings. Open all year. www.ltmuseum.co.uk

One source I couldn’t take advantage of on my last trip to London was the British Library’s newspaper collection. It was being copied onto microfilm, all fifty billion newspapers, with the copies to go to London and the originals to a protected site in Yorkshire. Now, almost all of the newspapers have been copied and they are available in the newspaper reading room in the British Library. Access is by reading pass only, and they recommend anyone overseas apply before coming to London. I certainly plan to try before my next trip. The building is new and huge, near Kings Cross and St. Pancras rail stations. www.bl.uk

And then there’s the place I want to visit, not because it will aid in writing late Victorian mysteries, but because there’s just something so intriguing about Bletchley Park. Now open to the public year round as a museum, this was where code breaking reached its zenith in WWII and where the ladies of the Bletchley Circle on PBS worked. When it comes to secrets and mystery and danger, this place is at the top of everybody’s list. It’s a 45 minute train ride from London. www.bletchleypark.org.uk

Along the same lines, the Cabinet War Rooms, where Churchill spent much of the war and where the cabinet met, is a treat for any history hound. Unfortunately for those working there, it was just one not well-protected story beneath ground level in the center of heavily bombed London. And Churchill would often go up to the roof of the government building above the bunker to watch the aerial battles at night. I imagine his security people didn’t sleep for the entire war. At the end of the war, the government just closed it up and walked away, opening it decades later as a museum. www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms

One of the best things about any of these sites (except the British Library) is the scores of books sold in their gift shops. Research gems you can take home with you as a souvenir of a fascinating tour.    

You can guess my favorite city to tour, which explains why The Counterfeit Lady is set in London in the late Victorian period. What is your favorite place to tour for ideas and settings for your stories?

 

The second in the Victorian Bookshop Mystery series, following The Vanishing Thief, is in book stores now. The Counterfeit Lady features the continuing adventures of bookshop owner Georgia Fenchurch and the Duke of Blackford as they solve a case of murder and treason.

 

Foreign Affairs: An Interrogation Report for Suspected Russian Spy

SUBJECT:  Ex-KGB Agent Nikolai Markov, hero of THE RUSSIAN TEMPTATION by Nikki Navarre

State secrets have never been this sexy.

State secrets have never been this sexy.

INTERROGATOR:  CIA Agent James Riley, hero of AN AFFAIR OF DECEIT by Jamie Michele

LOCATION:  CIA Interrogation Facility, Washington, D.C.

DATE:  Yesterday 

RILEY:  Given these anomalies in your travel documents and your, ah, colorful history, you’ll understand why we need to ask a few questions, Mr. Markov.  Mind if I call you Nikolai?

MARKOV (lighting a Gauloise cigarette): I’d prefer it if you didn’t, Dr. Riley. As I’ve explained repeatedly to your CIA underlings, my name is Nikolai Kirov, and I’m an independent security consultant. A simple case of mistaken identity, no doubt, that you seem to have confused me with this ex-KGB hit man I take it you’re looking for.

Should We Dumb It Down

While revising my new release, A Heart Decision, my editors and proofreaders questioned the accuracy of several words and statements in my manuscript. For example: My hero’s heritage is Italian (his mother was born in Italy). In Italian, the affectionate address for mother is Mamma with two Ms, however, the average American reader believes it should be spelled Mama with one M. So now I’m torn. Which should I use for this hero?

As writers, we all run into the dilemma of deciding whether we should choose accuracy over meeting our readers expectations in our stories. We want our books to be authentic, but none of us wants to receive negative reviews or e-mails from more savvy readers, calling us on the carpet for inaccuracies. Every profession has its unique vocabulary and standards, however, the public isn’t always well-versed on all job-related specifics. The same holds true for historical terms and social customs.

So my question is—should we dumb down our writing for general consumption, or should we cover subjects and use facts, vocabulary, or spellings many readers aren’t familiar with.

In my case, I usually feel compelled to cater to my audience, all the while crossing my fingers that no  authority on the subject will fling my book across the room. The human body fascinates me, so I frequently include medical elements in my stories. More often than not, though, I’m constrained by the public’s expectations of the romance genre and must explain a lot less about a topic than I’d like to. I’ve learned a lot while reading fiction, and I’d like my novels to be informative to readers, however, in order to keep my romances marketable, I can only include the basics of any subject.

The balancing act of indulging my own interests and educating readers, while still keeping most of my audience invested in the story, is like walking a tightrope. If the average reader doesn’t learn at least one new thing while reading my novel, I feel as if I’m failing as an author. So I’m always left wondering if my book quenches my readers’ thirst for interesting tidbits of information or leaves their minds dehydrated.

Today, I’m pleased to announce my 2013 Holiday release, A Heart Decision, which is Book 5 in my Return to Redemption series. Some of you may recall that I posted the cover and blurb a while back, asking for help choosing a title. I decided Janet Gardner’s suggestion, not only fit the story well, but was a humorous play on words. So Janet, THANK YOU. I’ll be sending you a copy of my newest book.

 A Heart Decision Digital Christmas Cover 300X450On her wedding night,

Sabrina will share the bridal suite

with one of her brother’s best friends.

Which one?  She has no idea!

 Sabrina Fitzpatrick helped plan her dream wedding last year—for her brother and his wife. Now, she wants her own Christmas Eve ceremony. She’s tired of waiting for commitment-phobe, Detective Luke Marino, to realize she’s been crazy about him since puberty. Consequently, when Luke’s billionaire friend asks her to marry him, she’s compelled to accept BJ Elliott’s proposal, especially after he suggests their impending marriage might induce his idiot pal to finally step forward. Unfortunately, a week later, adrenaline-junkie Luke risks his life again and ends up temporarily confined to a wheelchair.

 BJ would love to give Sabrina an unforgettable wedding night, but he fears she’ll never be happy with him if she doesn’t resolve her feelings for his buddy, first. Therefore, even knowing he could lose her, BJ persuades her to become Luke’s live-in nurse—offering her one last chance to convince the man she loves to take BJ’s place at the altar (which BJ doubts his friend will ever do). If nothing else, he hopes Love’em and Leave’em Luke can convince Sabrina he’ll make a lousy husband.

 Luke has two secrets not even his best friends know. The first is he aches for Sabrina with every fiber of his being. The second is he loves her enough to spare her the heartbreak that being his wife would undoubtedly entail. Much to Luke’s dismay, his resolve to resist his buddy’s fiancée is tested after Sabrina steps in as his nurse and starts prancing around in nothing but his threadbare T-shirt. If he surrenders to her seduction, it may destroy his relationship with BJ. And, worse still, if he gets a taste of loving Sabrina, how can he ever stand by and let her marry his friend?

To celebrate the release of Book 5 of the Return to Redemption series, I’ve placed Book 4, No Exchanges, No Returns on sale, at only 99 cents, for a few days at Amazon, Barnes & NobleKobo, and I-Tunes. I’m also holding a drawing tonight from those who leave a comment for a digital copy of The Parent Pact, which stars Sabrina’s brother Tyler as the hero and introduces, Sabrina, BJ, and Luke.

Now I’d love to hear how you handle the predicament of choosing between presenting irrefutable facts and commonly-held beliefs.  Do you sometimes dumb down a subject, or do you dare to irritate your audience by including elements that are, in reality, one hundred percent correct but seem totally wrong to the general population?

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The Latest Comments

  • Rita Henuber: Yeah! Hard to know what to look for if you haven’t seen them. I’m told they can be...
  • jbrayweber: Wonderful reminders and advice, Rita! Thank you for posting pictures of what skimmers look like. I rarely...
  • Rita Henuber: Thank you. Yes we tend not to pay attention this time of year.
  • Addison Fox: Outstanding post, Rita!!! Very good information to keep top of mind any time of the year, but definitely...
  • Rita Henuber: O. YES. The phone thingie makes you a brilliant target. I’d love to have a car horn that blared...

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