Friday, December 19, 2014

Tome Tender: The Winner of Nicci Carrera's LOVE CATERS ALL Giveaway ...

Tome Tender: The Winner of Nicci Carrera's LOVE CATERS ALL Giveaway ...

Tim Ferguson and the role of comedy in the entertainment arts

In my last post I talked a little bit about what comedy means to me, and several of you chimed in with your shared thoughts. I was amazed and pleased to discover that others enjoy the same comedies that I do and for much the same reasons. Well, it's not surprising that you liked the same comedies; after all, they were popular for a reason. I guess the thing that surprised me is how the topic struck a common chord. (Speaking of Chords, stay tuned because my next post is going to be about a wonderful romantic comedy from RoseAnn DeFranco, called The Right Chord.)

Back to the little vein of interest I've struck here talking about comedy. Maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised. As I was writing the last post, the topic reminded me of an amazing lecture I recently watched about why comedy is so important. Today I would like to share this amazing Ted Talk with you, featuring Tim Ferguson, an Australian comedian and an author whose book on writing comedy is the top prize at the free writing contest posted at the end of this post.

And here is the writing contest, open to poetry, prose, and prose poetry entries. Word count is just 500 words. If you win any of the top three places, you will win one of three very good books and gain publication on the Poetry Sans Frontieres website.

Give the contest a try, and good luck!


Monday, December 15, 2014

What Romance and comedy mean to me, plus Christmas pictures!

People who don't read Romance sometimes have some misconceptions about the genre. I don't know exactly what to say to them because I don't want to be disrespectful, but what I want to say is, people who don't read Romance really don't understand how vast the genre is (or how hard it is to write (ahem)). To me, Romance novels are about life. Sometimes they are also about fantasy. Sometimes science fiction. Sometimes about police officers, FBI agents, Navy SEALS, or cowboys. But they are always about people doing the hard work to overcome baggage and make a life. Making a meaningful life requires building and sustaining relationships with people. Romance stories examine this very human activity, always fresh because, as with life, the people and circumstances are always at least a little bit different.

My favorite kind of Romance to write at the moment leans toward the light side. With Love Caters All and with its sequel (currently in progress), I am aiming for that banter of classic romantic comedies, the ones my mom introduced to me. I love that back and forth, particularly when the strong and highly verbal woman is keeping the sweet guy off-balance. (Philadelphia Story and His Girl Friday, for example.)

Maybe my preference in writing these tales has to do with remembering all the nice times I had later in life when my mom and I watched shorter comedies. She had a lot of memory loss, and in the end the very best things to watch were comedies like Golden Girls. She had all the seasons on DVD and we'd watch them all the way through and then start over. Golden Girls had great writing, and the best thing for my mom was that the comedy was of the one-liner variety. The humor didn't rely on a long sustained comic set up. Getting that kind of joke requires memory. I would say that the writers, directors, actors and everyone else who made that show made a huge contribution to our lives. They gave us many hours of shared enjoyment.

Mom also liked Friends, but not Seinfeld. When I started watching those re-runs with her, I realized that while I liked Seinfeld a lot, the show did rely on very long comedic plots. The punch line was often at the end of the show. But Friends had physical comedy, goofy stuff, very in-the-moment kinds of humor. There was a sweetness to the character ensemble, and the actors and actresses were pretty. I loved seeing my mom laughing and enjoying that show. I gained a whole new appreciation for the artistry of Friends.

What kinds of books, TV shows or movies do you like?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Luke's #1 Rule, by Cynthia Harrison

The characters come to life in Luke's #1 Rule, a small town contemporary romance set in Blue Lake that is brimming with realistic conflict. Chloe Richards has to move with her two adorable young sons to Seattle, very far away from her mother and the kids' father. Why? Because the father has an addiction problem, and Chloe is on her own to raise and provide for her children as a single mom. Chloe  has secured an executive level job in Seattle. Her solution makes perfect sense, but it will require taking the children away from their grandmother and father. The move will also tear Chloe from her mother, with whom she has been living since the meltdown in her marriage, and from Luke, the good, sweet man she has grown to love. 
Now she knew the rip of kin from kin, and it hurt.
Luke's #1 Rule has the feel of a true story and is riveting. There is nothing artificial or forced about Harrison's writing style. The author handles really challenging themes with clarity, accuracy and heart. It is a book to learn from, to cry over, and to rejoice in. I loved the boys in the book--they act and feel just like real-live boys. The book reminded me a lot of Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek series, especially When Snow Falls. I love small-town contemporary romances like this because they capture the essence of strong communities and show people facing real-life struggles.

Because the book is so realistic, I had a lot of questions for the author, all of which (and more) are answered in an interview that is included at the end of Luke's #1 Rule. I was allowed to reprint the interview here for you. 

As a new release, this book is on sale for a few days at The Wild Rose Press.

Cynthia will also answer your questions, so please comment.

An interview with Cynthia Harrison 

1. You said that your husband gave you the idea for this book twenty-five years ago. Why didn’t you write your true love story?

I’m a fiction writer. I like making things up. I also wanted to protect the privacy of the real people involved in this story. Not just my husband and sons, but their father, their other mother, and their siblings.

2. Their other mother? Why not stepmom? Do you mean the character of Bettina?

I’ve always felt, from almost the first day, great respect for the woman who would help raise my children. I feel like I can talk to her about anything and she will understand. She’s very friendly and open and nonjudgmental. I love her. She took great care of my children; she is truly their other mother. Stepmom has such negative connotations in literature. She’s the opposite of that.

3. So the next obvious question is your ex-husband. Is he anything at all like Spence?

Not an iota. Not even close. Spence is the character I had the most trouble with, at first. I didn’t want to make the ex the bad guy. It’s such a cliché. So I did the opposite and that didn’t work. This is fiction, and I needed conflict. I’m a writer who teaches, and the first seven years of my teaching career, I taught at-risk high school children. I learned a lot about addictions and how they destroy families. Then there’s my addiction to chocolate and potato chips, which sounds funny but created serious consequences. I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes. So no more sugar for me. I have an addictive personality. Fortunately, I can’t drink more than a few glasses of wine without getting dizzy and then sick. So food has been my primary addiction, but I am also a binge television watcher, huge movie fan, and constant reader of novels. Aside from the food, these are all soft addictions, but they all gave me insight into Spence.

4. What will happen to Spence? Will he be okay? How can the reader know?

As a reader, I sometimes have questions when a story ends, too. In the literature, the relapse number is very high, but Spence has a unique supportive system in Blue Lake. We will see Spence in other stories, but I don’t know if he will relapse because he hasn’t (yet). Still, it’s true what they say: addicts will always be in recovery.

5. How many books do you plan for the Blue Lake Series?

I still have a lot of stories to tell. I like telling two thematically related stories in every novel. So Fast Eddie’s will be about the reunion of Bob and Lily, who were going off to college in Blue Heaven. They’ve graduated, and Lily comes back to Blue Lake. So does Eddie’s first love. My favorite way to write is to have a new adult storyline and a more mature romance as well.

6. Blue Heaven was more of a traditional romance, but Luke’s #1 Rule had many more characters. There are the four adults and two children, plus the meddling mothers. Why the change?

They say every writer has a “book of her heart.” Luke’s Number #1 Rule was mine. It was not just a love story, although that’s the main plotline. Using the theme of blending a family was the book I’ve always wanted to write. It was a challenge. And it wasn’t a romance. I will always write love stories because I have a romantic soul, but the larger picture interests me, too. 7. You said you’re a reader. Who are some of your favorite authors? If you came to my house, you would look at my bookshelves and know. I use an e-reader these days, but still collect my favorites in hardback. First came Jane Austen and Erica Jong, then Alice Hoffman, Louise Erdrich, Sara Lewis, Elizabeth Berg. I also love poetry and short stories, so add Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro. Also Carol Shields.

8. Do you read male authors?

I do. Raymond Carver is a personal favorite. I also admire TC Boyle and Richard Ford. There is not a book by David Lodge I have not laughed through. Richard Russo is in there, too. I don’t collect any of them except Carver. I think taking two degrees in English literature filled me up with male authors. The classics. After college, I started my own education of contemporary female writers.

9. Do you read contemporary romance?

I do. I never miss a novel by Barbara Delinsky, Pamela Morsi, or Rachel Gibson. I’m also a fan of romantic suspense and several of my fellow TWRP authors write in that line. Mysteries! Sue Grafton and Anne Perry. Lee Childs. Every book.

10. How do you find the time to teach, read, and write? Are your little boys grown up now?

Yes, my boys are grown with families of their own. When they were young, I wrote less and read less. I enjoyed my time with them. More recently, I’ve been teaching less, which gives me time to read and write. I’ve found you can do it all, but you can’t do it all at the same time. I’m also dedicated (again, I could say addicted) to Twitter and my blog. My older son suggested I start a blog in 2002. He set it up for me, and I’m still there at For ten years, I wrote about my efforts to publish my novels. Then it happened and I decided to write about other things, the concerns in my novels, but also the love and joy in everyday life.

11. Do you ever speak to book clubs?

I adore meeting people I’ve only known on the Internet. In real life, I’ve met friends from New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Seattle. I live north of Detroit, but, time permitting, I’d be happy to Skype with a book group from anywhere in the world. One of my favorite things to do is talk books.

Connect with Cynthia here:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Five Star Review for Love Caters All!

Blogger Robena Grant has an advanced reader copy of Love Caters all and writes about her experience here:

The book is now available for pre-order on Amazon:

Print books are already available here:

and here:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another Lobster Cove cover reveal: One More Second Chance, Jana Richards

Dr. Alex Campbell has an agenda—finish his contract to provide medical services in Maine, pay off his medical school debt, and head back to his real life in San Diego. But when he meets Julia, all his carefully laid plans are put in jeopardy.
Julia Stewart, Lobster Cove’s high school principal, swears she’ll never let another man drag her away from the home she loves. Her aging parents need her, and the Cove is where she wants to raise her daughter. When her mother’s illness brings her and the big city doctor closer together, panic sets in. Her marriage taught her men don’t stay.
Can she put aside the heartaches of the past and trust Alex enough to accept the love he’s offering? Or will her fear of abandonment mean she’ll send him away forever?

Friday, November 21, 2014

New Blurb and Release date for Working My Way Back to You, by Doreen Alsen

Beth and her ten-year-old son are living happily in Lobster Cove, Maine--the only place she's felt true love. She works hard as a single mom to provide for her son. Her world is rocked by the appearance of her high school sweetheart. Love for Jeff battles with fear that he will find out he's the father of her precious son. Lies pile upon lies as she dodges his questions about the child. 

PE teacher Jeff Myers can't believe his eyes when he spots a familiar face in the diner. Though the beautiful Beth ducks his advances, his persistence finally wins out and she agrees to a dinner date. But when he discovers she gave birth to a son rather than the daughter she'd told him about, he is over-the-top angry. 

Can they escape the quagmire of emotions, rediscover love, and bring three people together as a family?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another cover for Lobster Cove, The Widow's Gallery

Look at this sumptuous cover. I love it!

Childless heiress Abigail Adams Longley and three other widows bond over a Renaissance masterpiece in Florence, Italy, and find love, friendship and joy in their joint venture to open an art gallery at the Longley mansion in Lobster Cove, Maine. 

Since the death of her husband, Abigail has been lonely and drifting in a house that’s too big and a town that’s too small. When she literally runs into sexy widower and whale-watching excursion captain Tack Garrity on the dock, she’s entranced by his adorable five-year-old daughter. But will Tack, who has harbored a secret crush on Abigail for almost two decades, be able to capture her heart? 

A secret pact her husband made with Tack could either tear them apart or bring them closer together and change their lives forever.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Party in Lobster Cove on November 21st and Win!

Join the "Lobster Cove" authors of The Wild Rose Press at Love Romances Cafe on Friday, November 21st from 7:00 PM -11:00 PM EST for a talk about the wonderful stories of Lobster Cove! There will be book blurbs and excerpts, character interviews and tidbits, and a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press for one lucky person who comments that evening on one of our posts. The winner will be drawn at random and notified on November 22nd. Join the event on November 21st, and comment to win! The event will be held at the Love Romances Cafe loop. See you there!

Here are the book covers:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Angel in Disguise by Mitzi Bridges, another Lobster Cove Romance is available!

After her husband is killed, single mother Julie Whitney opens Julie’s Coffee and Sweet Shop. Suddenly, her business partner and baker falls ill and she needs a new pastry chef. If she doesn't find one fast, she'll go bankrupt.

The mob wants Gabe Vaughn dead. Sleepy little Lobster Cove seems as good a place as any to hide. The red-headed owner of the coffee shop needs help; Gabe's family owned a bakery. He could think of worse ways to occupy his time while he lays low.

On one hand, Julie is convinced heaven answered her prayers when she needed help the most. On the other, the tall, dark stranger with secrets in his eyes has made it clear he is only passing through. Is her mysterious new employee hiding something? Or is he really an angel in disguise?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Another Man's Son and another Lobster Cove book from The Wild Rose Press

Here is the blurb for the latest release in the Lobster Cove series:

Two lovers betrayed, a secret child, a kidnapper, and a man prepared to kill to get what he wants.

Watch This Space for More!

Another Man's Son is available at all book retailers. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Cover is here! Love Caters the blurb

Okay, we are inching toward publication. Here are the cover and blurb for my debut novel, Love Caters All, from The Wild Rose Press:

When hard-driving CEO Rick Nordan arrives in Lobster Cove under strict orders from the family doctor to take a break, he discovers the rental house comes with a family attached, including one sexy dynamo of a caterer. She's nothing like his ex-fiancee who wouldn't sign a pre-nup, but maybe that means she's the real deal and not a gold digger.

Maya Cruz wants life for her widowed mother to get easier by renting out her house during the summer. But teaching Mama business means explaining Rick isn't a "guest," he's a "customer." And the first thing Mama does is invite Rick to join their family activities. Having Rick around wouldn't be so bad if Maya didn't find him so attractive. The last time she fell for a vacationing millionaire, she had her heart broken.

 She swore off his type, and he's not looking, but this might be a recipe for love.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Lobster Cove book is out!

This one is Catch Me if you Can by Mitzi Pool Bridges. I just bought it. It's on sale!

Lobster Cove
The bodies of three missing women are found in Lobster Cove. Sheriff Lynn Lawton has no leads, and not enough staff to handle the investigation.  When help arrives in the form of FBI Special Agent Jake Mackenzie, more than Lynn's job is at stake.

Jake never understood what happened between himself and Lynn fifteen years ago.  To him, it was more than a summer romance.  He loved her deeply, but she let him go to pursue his dream career in law enforcement. Now he's returned to sell his family's vacation home and cut his ties to Lobster Cove for good.

Will Lynn be able to keep him from learning the secret she's hidden from an entire town, or will Jake unwittingly leave her and their love behind a second time?
Rating: Sweet
Page Count: 134
Word Count: 31900
978-1-62830-507-4   Digital
Her eyes stopped on a tall, dark-haired man striding through the crowd with a confidence she remembered all too well. Her heart stopped. When he got to the rope, he lifted it, then looked at her as he came her way. Her deputy tried to stop him. When the man held up an ID, Luther stepped back.
She took a ragged breath. Her fists clenched at her side as he headed straight at her.
He couldn’t be here. Not now. Not ever. He was part of her past. He’d made sure of that.
It took him a minute to get to her. She spent every second willing her heart to still, her anger to subside. His ID was still in his hand. He was working out of the New York office, but she didn’t want him to know she knew that. Or that she looked him up at odd hours of the night when she couldn’t sleep.
“How did you manage to get this case?” she asked when he came within hearing distance.
“Lucky, I guess.”
If her heart had hammered before it was nothing compared to what it was doing now. It thundered in her chest until she could barely take a breath.
Of all the people in the world, the one she never wanted to see again stood in front of her, a polite smile frozen on his lips, questions in his deep blue eyes. He was bigger than when she knew him. Except for the few lines around his eyes, fifteen-plus years looked good on him.
She took a long silent breath. Jake Mackenzie had broken her heart years ago. How would she get through this without him uncovering more than a killer?
She broke out in a cold sweat that had nothing to do with the corpse at her feet.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Lobster Cove Series from The Wild Rose Press

The first book in the new Lobster Cove series from The Wild Rose Press, Juelle's Legacy, by Carol Henry, is available now!

Juelle's Legacy by Carol Henry

After an accident puts Juelle McClintock’s husband, Sebastian, in a coma, she’s left to care for her small daughter on her own—and to deal with the guilt over her plan to divorce him. When Juelle is faced with the decision of whether to remove his life support, her grief-stricken mother-in-law calls her a murderer. Matters become more complicated when Hunter McClintock arrives in town, claiming to be Sebastian’s half-brother. Hunter McClintock is summoned from Hawaii for the reading of his father’s will—a father he never knew. Despite his qualms of dredging up bitter emotions, he goes to Lobster Cove, Maine, and walks head-first into a hornet’s nest, and a beautiful, sexy, grieving widow who is married to his half-brother. An unexpected stipulation is revealed at the reading of the Will, and Hunter and Juelle are faced with decisions that will alter their destinies. Will Juelle’s legacy complicate her life further, or lead to the contentment and love she deserves?

Available in ebook format at all online stores and in paperback as well. Here is a link to the paperback and ebook versions on Amazon.

Lobster Cove is a fictional small town on the coast of Maine, near Bar Harbor. It is quaint and quirky with a colorful history, a friendly population of charming residents, and a vibrant tourist business. It is home to research scientists and small shop owners, grumpy cops and sassy chefs. Back in the day, it was a bustling fishing town and home to many immigrants, from both the state cabins and the lowest decks.

To celebrate this awesome series, The Wild Rose Press is giving away one $25.00 Red Lobster Gift Certificate and one $50 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press! Enter here: The Wild Rose Press Lobster Cove Giveaway