Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and welcome to our weekly hop. So happy you joined us! And we hope you are healthy and safe! This week’s challenge comes from Clair Brett:

What is your favorite Halloween movie/show and what about it makes it your favorite?

Halloween is definitely one of the best holidays. It’s just so much fun. You don’t have to cook a huge meal or worry about all that other holiday stuff, except maybe decorating and stocking up on candy. Then you can savor the leftovers!

This time of year, the TV is filled with all kind of horror, from the tame to the brutal. I’ve never been a fan of the ‘chop-em-up with a chain saw’ or the torture movies. I have a super-strong stomach, but those are just a little too unnecessarily graphic for me.

I think if I have to choose, my favorite is “Salem’s Lot”. It may not have been the first vampire movie, but it is still one of the most frightening because it is so believable. People move into that old house that’s been scary forever and it turns out – it was scary for good reason. The characters come to life and their terror as they discover the truth becomes my terror. So cool!

It was remade with different actors, but I think I really like the original better. But either one can have me sleeping with the light on.

So, fill your tummy with chocolate since, with COVID there won’t be a bunch of cute kids at your door and you’ll have all that candy to yourself. Then, cozy up on the couch and turn on the TV. Make sure all the lights are on and it’s better if you’re not alone. But then, the person sitting next to you could be a vampire…or a werewolf…

After the movie, how about curling up with a serial killer?

https://amzn.to/3orQPJ0

Now, let’s pop over to the wonderful A.S. Fenichel and read her favorite…and Happy Halloween!

But first, check out her fabulous “Misleading A Duke” – on sale for $3.99 and you can get book one in KU.

 https://www.amazon.com/Misleading-Duke…/dp/B082WQL521

http://asfenichel.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and happy Tuesday. Thanks so much for joining us! We hope you are safe and healthy.

Well, we’re creeping up to Halloween and so I came up with this challenge:

It’s 2 in the morning. You wake up and you hear a scratching sound. What is it?

Waking up in a sweat, Lisa glanced at the clock. It was the middle of the night, which made the trepidation all the more unnerving. Then, she heard it. The scratching at the window. Pressing her eyes shut, she tried to block out every terrifying ghost story she had ever heard. So close now to Halloween, was her house actually haunted? Were vampires trying to get in? Wait, didn’t they have to ask for permission? What if that wasn’t true? What if they could just…no! she refused to think about it.

There it was again. Only this time it was skittering across the roof. Something was trying to find a way in. But what? Should she grab a weapon? But what kind?

Curling up into a tight ball, she hoped that if she was less visible, she might be safer.

The ringing of her phone cut through the black silence and nearly caused her to jump out of her skin. Scrambling to find it, she answered the call.

“Lisa?”

It was her boyfriend, thank god.  She gulped before answering, her voice quavering.

“J-J-John?”

“Are you all right?” Concern edged his tone.

“I don’t know. I heard noises.” She hesitated, wondering why he had called. “Is everything okay?”

“I was worried about you. I had a feeling something was wrong.” He inhaled. “Can I come over?”

“Yes, please. I’m okay, just a little upset.”

“Well, that does it. You’re moving in with me. Okay?”

It was the invitation she’d been hoping for. “Okay.”

“See you in a few.”

Cautiously, she get out of bed and peered out the window. A squirrel squawked at her from the eaves and scurried away. Laughing with relief, she realized it was not a ghost or vampire at all. But John had stepped up, her knight in shining armor. This was going to be the best Halloween ever.

And if you want to read something else scary and romantic….

https://amzn.to/3o49Cdp

Now let’s hop over the fabulous Jenna Da Sie and see what her scratching sound is…..

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and welcome to this week’s challenge. The incredibly talented A.S. Fenichel suggested it:

It’s been a while since we shared anything about our own books. How about we share an excerpt from our work in progress and the inspiration for the book?

“Stay With Me” is one of my latest works in progress. I have always believed that houses retain something of the individuals who have inhabited them. I am also intrigued by the people who lived during the Civil War and how that conflict affected them. And so, this book is the story of two women: one lived in the past, one lives in the present and both call a cottage in Florida home. Each of the women has suffered hardship and has had to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds. But the past has reached out and the two find comfort in each other. Here is an excerpt:

            Schooling her features to neutral, a skill she had perfected over the years as a mean of lessening the abuse, she could not meet his eyes. “Thank you for all you’ve done, but you need to go.”

            He acted as though he thought she was joking. “Oh, no you don’t. You don’t all this food for yourself.”

She raised her gaze. “I mean it. Please. Just go.” She raised her gaze, a sob burning a hole in her throat as she refused to give in to the misery. “I mean it. Please. Just go.”

            He frowned, tilted his head, completely confused. “What are you saying?” His chest heaved.

            She filled her lungs with air, gaining courage. “I like you, Donovan.”

            He grinned. “I like you, too.”

            Holding up her hand, palm out, she shook her head. “I have no desire to form any attachments. And I think we’re getting a little too used to each other.”

            He took a step forward, she took a step back. “Evelyn, I don’t understand. I told you I would never hurt you and I meant it. I don’t want anything but your friendship.”

She was walking on the thin ice of her resolve now and prayed it wouldn’t shatter. “Please, just go,” she repeated, this time a little more forcefully.

The pain in his eyes nearly undid her. It took everything in her not to rush into his arms and tell him everything. But then what? He would think her a monster. He would call the police. No, she could not afford that. She knew she needed to cut ties with him now.

She brushed past him and he reached for her arm, but she pulled back and opened the front door. The tears were relentless, so she dropped her gaze to her feet. “Thank you for everything. Goodbye.”

He stumbled down the porch steps and hesitated, then obviously thinking better of it, got into his car and drove away.

Unable to stem the tide any longer, her chest tore apart with agony. This was her life now. Empty, alone, afraid of discovery. Sinking to the floor, she wrapped her arms around her middle and let the deluge flow. Barely aware of anything but her own misery, it seemed as if a hand stroked her hair and rubbed her back. Nearly bursting out in laughter at the incongruity of it, her sobbing eased. “And so we have each other,” she spoke to the unseen presence. “Both dead in our own way.”

Now let’s hop over to Clair Brett and read some of her latest. But first, check this out!

Courtesan’s Wicked Desire https://books2read.com/courtesanswickeddesire

https://www.clairbrett.com/blog-1

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and happy Tuesday. Hope you are saying safe! Thanks so much for joining us!

This week’s challenge come from the amazing Christina Alexandra:

“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a good book and reading it only once.” ~ C.S. Lewis Do you reread books? Are there certain books you reread at certain times of the year?

Absolutely. But it’s not limited to any specific time of year.

Every time I re-read one of my favorites, I discover something new. As an author, I craft every word that goes into my books. As a reader, sometimes I skim parts or read when I’m tired and miss things. That is the pleasure of re-reading.

My favorite author to read over and over is Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her attention to detail is amazing and her characters are so well-drawn, I feel as if I know them. Her work never loses its freshness.

Others I love are Jude Deveraux (The Velvet Series) and Nora Roberts (The Key Series). I have also re-read the “Twilight” series and “Hunger Games”. In all of these, the attention to detail and the wonderful characters pull me in every time. And they inspire me to be a better writer.

There are so many great books available and incredible authors to discover. Reading is such a great gift. Every time I pick up a book or open my Kindle, I go to another place, with other people and adventures. Sometimes, I like to re-visit and sometimes I move on to discover new favorites. Reading is a never-ending joy!

Now, let’s hop over to the fabulous Brenda Margriet. But first, check out her just released new contemporary, “AFTER WORDS”:

Leeza Boychuk, a 48-year-old bookstore manager with a philandering ex-husband and a failing business, discovers a time-stained WW2 diary and becomes engrossed with returning it to the soldier’s family. She enlists the help of Gavin Fletcher, an enigmatic widower, which leads to an unexpected romance.

https://books2read.com/u/mBG92A

http://www.brendamargriet.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and happy Tuesday. Thanks for joining us. It means a lot! This week’s challenges (yes, there are two this week) come from the amazing Brenda Margriet:  

Today, let’s fill our blog with Fall Photos! Share what it looks like around your part of the world at this time of year.

 It is also Banned Books Week in the US.

Fall in central Florida is just like spring here (minus some of the blooming flowers), which is just like winter (only warmer) or summer (a little cooler). So here are some views of where I live, a gorgeous place but not so seasonal.

More important to me is the second challenge. Banned books. Which, in the past, have included “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, “Animal Farm” by George Orwell and “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. Because some wanted to suppress those ideas.

Writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall summed up Voltaire’s teaching with this quote: ‘I MAY DISAPPROVE OF WHAT YOU SAY, BUT I WILL DEFEND TO THE DEATH YOUR RIGHT TO SAY IT’.

Censorship is dangerous! Period!

A different perspective, a new idea, is stimulating to the intellect. It makes people think. It might make me angry or it might be something I don’t like, but this is America and we have free speech. Which means we have the right to express our opinions.

To stop one book runs the risk of stopping all books. And reading is the gateway to thinking, to expanding our world, to seeing with new eyes.

You don’t have to agree with someone else’s thoughts and they don’t have to agree with yours. But it’s a scary concept to imagine if the day ever comes when we cannot write what we think or believe. One point of view can lead to stagnation, while many points of view open the universe.

Now, let’s hop over to the fabulous A.S. Fenichel. It’s her release day and I can’t wait to read her newest book.

A.S. Fenichel http://asfenichel.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and welcome to our hop. So glad you decided to join us! It means a lot!

This week the challenge comes from Clair Brett:

What are your 10 best tips as a romance writer to keep your business organized?

First, it is very important to recognize that writing is a business, and not just a hobby. Years ago, I owned my own business (a catering service for NBC in California) and I learned so much – most of it the hard way. So here are my tips:

  1. Get a file and keep track of your receipts. Organization here will save hours at the end of the year when you’re doing your taxes.
  2. Treat writing like you would any other kind of job. Determine your work hours and stick to them.
  3. Set a schedule and prioritize tasks. Writing should be at the top of the list every day.
  4. When you’re writing, shut off your phone and don’t allow other distractions to keep you from your work. (Arterial bleeding, zombie apocalypse, fevers over 103 degrees, fire or other natural disasters excepted).
  5. When you have a thought or idea, write it down. Your memory is never going to be as good as you think.
  6. Get balance in your life. Eating, sleeping, exercise and some relaxation are just as important and will fuel your creativity.
  7. If you’re struggling, give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to music, whatever helps clear your mind. Getting away from the work and then coming back to it gives a fresh perspective.
  8. Stop sabotaging yourself. You have a story to tell and every right to tell it. And keep at it until the story is what you want it to be.
  9. Never quit. Never give up. Do not ever compare yourself to anyone else. Your journey is your journey, theirs is theirs. Any creative pursuit is hard, but if you keep at it, you have a chance at great success. Quitting is the only way to fail.
  10. If you’re feeling frustrated, remember to be grateful for all the good things in your life. Be happy you have a story (or stories) to tell. And tell it or them.

Those are my top ten and I hope they help others stay more focused. Now, let’s pop over to the wonderful A.S. Fenichel and get her top ten. And sign up for her newsletter! You don’t want to miss what’s coming up for her and her books!! http://asfenichel.com

A.S. Fenichel http://asfenichel.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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RRW

Hello and welcome to our weekly blog hop. We are so glad you’re here and hope you are safe and well.

I came up with this week’s challenge:

Have you tried any new activity lately? Learn to sew, garden, paint, cook? Binge watch TV? And how is your new hobby helping your writing?

To tell the truth, staying at home hasn’t really affected my lifestyle very much. I have a lot of hobbies that keep me busy and then there is the writing. I am now working on two books at the same time and luckily they’re different enough so I don’t confuse them.

But, I have to admit, since I seem to have extra time, especially in the evenings, I have taken to binge watching all those shows I missed when they first came out. And, yes, many are addictive. I can’t wait for the next season of “Ozark”. It’s so dark and has enough reality to hold me in my seat. And “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Very scary and I wonder these days if some of it is the portent of things to come. But, of course, we women can’t let that happen!

“Damages” gave me a view into a way of thinking I still can’t fully comprehend: do anything, destroy anyone, kill if necessary, to forward your own agenda. Fascinating but loathsome.

How does this help my writing? Just like reading a variety of books, these shows offer insights into human behaviors that are not in my lexicon. Which expands my ability to create more diverse characters. And, also, because of the superior acting and scripts and direction, they are mesmerizing. I just started to watch “Rectify”…talk about dark….

I really have to try some comedies…

Now, let’s hop over to the creative Clair Brett and check out her hobbies…

But first – she has a fabulous new pre-order…

Clair re-order

https://books2read.com/courtesanswickeddesire

https://www.clairbrett.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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rrw

Hello and happy Tuesday. Hope you are staying safe and well! And thanks for joining us! It means a lot!

This week’s challenge comes from the amazing Christina Alexandra: –

Travel in the Time of Covid: Since the pandemic has cancelled travel plans, we now have to journey through old photos. Pick one photo from past travels and tell us about that day’s adventures.

This really isn’t so much about travels, but the photo I came across inspired me to write about a great adventure. Many years ago, in a place very far away (okay, California), I was finally able to realize my dream of riding horses. I learned the basics on a quarter horse named Willie and then I bought Cinnabar, the horse love of my life.

Cinnabar

Cinnabar was an Arabian with more heart and more spirit than I can say. We loved each other and we trusted each other.

I was lucky enough, at the time, to live across the street from Griffith Park, with fifty miles of trails and wide open spaces. Cin and I would ride up narrow mountain passes and fly across fields, one body, one mind.

He hated water, especially puddles, so my big strong boy would shiver and balk when we had to walk through one. I took him out once in the rain and he looked back at me like I had lost my mind.

And he hated plastic bags. He must have thought of those as some kind of demons. I don’t know.

But nothing else fazed him. He could maneuver like a mountain goat and go like the wind.

There came a terrible time when he got sick with lung problems (I am sure it was the smog) and I had to send him to Idaho to be put out to pasture. He did recover, but he could never come back, so I gave him to a family there with young girls. Those children got their dream earlier than I did and I knew Cinnabar would be loved and cared for the rest of his life.

I still miss that horse, but I have such incredible memories…

Now let’s hop over to the wonderful Jenna Da Sie and check out her memories….

https://jennadasie.com

 

Romance Writers Weekly

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rrw

Hello and happy Tuesday. Thanks so much for joining us today. We really appreciate it! And we hope you are staying well! I came up with this week’s challenge:

Since it’s a pandemic and we’re mostly staying home, do you stay in your pj’s every day or dress up? Do you put on makeup and do your hair?

Confession time. I love clothes. That’s why I learned to sew. I wanted choices and my budget was not unlimited. Sewing gives me so many more options. So, now I have lots of clothes and I want to wear them. Whether I am going out or not. It’s the same for makeup. I feel so much better with a little eyeliner and lipstick. It absolutely lifts my self-esteem.

When I am writing historicals, I find I am more ‘in the moment’ if I am wearing a long skirt. A romantic suspense – well, I don’t wear a gun and handcuffs, or even a badge, but I do dress like I would if I were a detective.

Also, I am on the Board of the RWA and during those zoom meetings, I want to look professional. I think it’s important.

Staying in my pj’s makes me feel as if I have been sick or I’m ready to wind down. Nice clothes and makeup, on the other hand, help get me in the work mode.

And looking nice makes my husband happy. Although, no, I am not going to wear those high heels around the house. My office is upstairs and I would probably break my neck going up and down all day. But, when we can go out again, the shoes go on. Did I mention I love shoes….

Now let’s hop over to the fabulous Christina Alexandra and see what she wears during these days….

https://christinaalexandra.net/blog/

Romance Writers Weekly

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RRW

Happy Tuesday and welcome to our weekly blog. We hope this finds you safe and well. And thanks for joining us. We really appreciate it!

This week’s challenge is a Flash Fiction:

 Write 500 words and include Pickle, Letter and Looking glass.

Here goes…

The flea market was teeming with people this morning. The wares included everything from jars of pickled vegetables lined up like little soldiers to fresh produce that promised to add to any cuisine. There were antiques, some still decorated with the dust from the attic they had rested in until today. A small looking glass, framed with beautifully carved wood, caught the sunlight, and glittered seductively on one table. It had, no doubt, graced the hand of a lady long ago as she fluffed her hair. Teacups and lamps and other assorted items were spread out, hoping for a new home where they would be treasured.

But the thing that caught Celia’s eye was a packet of old letters, tied with a blue ribbon. They had to be ancient. No one wrote real letters anymore. The handwriting was faded on the top envelop and the sheer beauty of the hand drawn letters was magic. Tentatively, she reached out her hand and ran her finger along the edge of one.

 “Love letters,” a male voice said. “Written to my great grandmother,” 

Celia raised her gaze to meet sparkling hazel eyes and she nearly gasped. She was instantly attracted and her body tightened. She swallowed, then licked her lips. “How can you part with them?”

He smiled and her insides lit up.

“I don’t know anything about who sent them. They’re only signed with an initial. And that initial does not belong to my great grandfather. I found them in an old trunk and thought it might be nice to share them with someone who could appreciate them. Maybe write a book or something. You don’t happen to be an author or anything?”

Celia laughed. “As a matter of fact, I write…romance novels.”

He tilted his head. “Well, the market closes at five today and, if you’re up for it, maybe we could talk about a collaboration.”

Now let’s pop over to the fabulous A.S. Fenichel. But first, check out her incredible anthology, just released:

Barfy Clair

https://books2read.com/OnceUponATwelfthNight

A.S. Fenichel http://asfenichel.com/blog