It’s drizzling as I write this, but yesterday was a true blue summer’s day, so here’s hoping the sun comes back to Northern BC soon. This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop, Dani Jace says:
We’re on our beach vacation this week. Post a recipe of your favorite summer cocktail or thirst quencher and your favorite place to drink it.
Oh, yum! I love recipe swaps with RWW!
I’m not a huge fan of sweet drinks, and one of my favourite flavours is lime. So you might be able to guess my favourite summer drink – a mojito! It’s even better if you make it with fresh mint from your own garden, but not required, of course. Some people like simple syrup in their mojitos, but I prefer them without.
In a tall Collins glass, muddle together about 10 fresh mint leaves and 3 thin slices of lime. Add sugar (I only put in a half teaspoon, but if you like yours sweeter go ahead and add more to taste) and mix. Fill the glass half full of ice cubes, add an ounce of vodka and club soda to fill. Garnish with a wedge of lime (if you like to get fancy).
As for my favourite place to drink a mojito – well, I was introduced to the drink on a beach in Puerto Vallarta, so that’s my holiday choice. But a hot sunny day in my own backyard is a very close second.
What’s your favourite summer drink? Do you prefer sweet or sour? Feel free to share in the comments, then hop over to A.S. Fenichel for another summer drink recipe!
Well, you wouldn’t know it by the temperature as I write this, but it is technically summer. May often tempts us with hot, sunny weather, but it isn’t unusual for June in Northern BC to be cooler and rainier. Not unusual, but still disappointing!
This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop, we’re talking summer:
The official start of summer has begun and romance is in the air. What tales of summer love do any of your character have to share?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
I’m quite fascinated by how seasons can affect a storyline. A romantic day outside is completely different in summer than winter. In WHEN TIME FALLS STILL, Justice takes Charlotte to his cabin in the depths of winter. They cozy up next to a fireplace and take a trek across a frozen lake. Still romantic – but not the same as skinny-dipping on a hot August evening!
Tomorrow, Book Two in my Bendixon Sisters Series releases. GATEWAY CRESCENT takes place in late June and July. Luke is an outdoorsy kind of guy, although he doesn’t have a many opportunities to take advantage of the beautiful Northern BC region as he would like. In one scene, however, he takes Jo canoeing. In real life, the lake they explore is one of our favourites—Purden Lake. I won’t give any spoilers, but let’s just say the location is a powerful influence on their emotions on that day.
What do you think of when you think of summer love? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Then be sure to hop over to A. S. Fenichel and see what her tale of summer love is.
Authors often talk about how characters take over their own stories, and what they thought they were writing goes an entirely different way. It is true that characters do become very real to me when I’m in the middle of a story. Often, if a scene isn’t working, it’s because I’m writing something that just isn’t right for the character. So this week on Romance Writers Weekly, I posed the following challenge:
Choose a character from one of your books (published or WIP) to answer the following five questions.
I decided to go with Jo, from Gateway Crescent. She’s the youngest of the three Bendixon Sisters, and was great fun to write. Here are her answers.
What's your favourite word?
This might reinforce Mattie and Camryn’s opinion of me, but I think it is “new.” There’s so much potential in that word. The start of something is always the most exciting. And if something is new, that usually means I’m learning, and I’ve always loved to learn.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I think it was my ninth birthday. I’m eight years younger than Camryn, and six years younger than Mattie. We got along pretty well, considering, but they often did things together that left me out. Well, this particular birthday, their gift to me was an entire day together. We went shopping in the morning (Camryn’s idea) and she bought me this awesome dress with her own money. Then in the afternoon Mattie took us to the pool and we went down the slides and jumped off diving boards and had so much fun. It wasn’t long before Camryn went away to university, so I think it was extra special because I didn’t see her as much after that.
What one thing in your past do you wish you could do differently?
This is going to sound weird, but I wish I’d discovered computer coding sooner. It wasn’t on my radar in high school, mostly because only the smartest kids took that class, and I let that scare me away. But coding is about solving problems and thinking with creative logic and making things work, and if I’d only known how much it would hook me I would have started much sooner with it.
Vanilla or Chocolate?
I assume we’re talking ice cream? Then vanilla. Because you can add anything to it and make it different every time.
If you could have lunch with one famous person (alive or not) who would it be and why?
Joni Mitchell. I’m not alone in thinking she’s one of the great songwriters of all time, and is an icon not just in Canada but around the world. She’s listed as the sole producer on most of her albums, plus she designed most of the covers for them. That’s an amazingly talented woman who knows what she wants and is willing to work for it. I’d like a little of that to rub off on me. Beside, she was part of one of the most dynamic and influential periods of music, and must have some awesome stories to tell.
I hope you enjoyed a small look into Jo’s world. I don’t know who was more surprised – her or me – when a minor character in Mattie and Marcus’ story turned out to the love interest for Jo. Luke is steady where Jo is flighty, committed where she is indecisive – and the last person Jo thought she’d fall in love with. I hope you enjoy their story as much as I did writing it. If you're interested, it is available for pre-order right now for only 99 cents! Links are here.
Now, hop over to A.S. Fenichel and see how her character answered the same questions!
We’re sharing up yummy eats, this week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop! Here’s the topic:
Summer is unofficially here! I love a good outdoor party where everyone brings a dish. What’s your signature BBQ/Summer Party dish? Recipes welcome.
I have a few recipes that I make both in the over/on the stove top and on the barbeque. But my favourite versions of all of them are the ones made on the BBQ. Cooking on the grill lends something special to food – as does eating outside. For some reason, the fresh air makes everything taste better.
When we’re having a big group over, hamburgers are my usual fall back. I’ve been lazy the last few years because the frozen patties you can buy are so easy to cook. But the next time we have them I’m determined to go back to the basics, and make them from scratch. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years for making burgers on the barbeque.
No matter what you add to your patty mix, the most important part is to get the texture right using the oatmeal. That’s the real trick to homemade patties that don’t fall about on the grill.
What about you? What barbequing recipe is your favourite? These recipe swap weeks are some of my favourite topics on RWW, and I’d love to hear from you!
Discover another new to you recipe with A. S. Fenichel, next on the hop!
Welcome to this week’s Blog Hop! This week’s topic is presented by—well, actually, I don’t know, because they didn’t give their name. But here you go!
I love daily mantras, they get me through the day and almost always gets me through tough times. What gets you over the hump of a really bad day?
I don’t think I’ve ever recited a mantra in my life. I can understand their usefulness—having something to focus on can certainly centre you and help calm your soul. But I’m more of a “do something” person. When something is going wrong or I’m having a bad day, I like to take action to make it better.
That’s not to say I don’t have some sayings that I use to remind myself to just breathe when the going gets tough. One of my best bosses used to deal with issues by saying “As long as it’s not our fault.” He wanted us to know that, as long as we’d done our best and hadn’t been the cause of the issue, not to sweat it. If it was our fault, we were expected to own up to it, of course, but it is easy when you are leading a team to take all the blame onto your own shoulders, and that way lies madness.
My favourite saying, though, when things go awry, is “nobody died.” I mean no disrespect to people who have gone through the horrible loss a loved one, but I use it to bring things into perspective. When I make a mistake or a client is angry or a job doesn’t get done on time, I take a deep breath and remember what’s really important. Usually that’s enough to get me off the ledge and handle the problem without becoming too emotionally involved.
What about you? What helps you get through a bad day? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Then be sure to hop over to Jenna Da Sie and see how she copes with life.
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, Jenna Da Sie says:
My birthday was a couple of days ago. What do you do to celebrate your birthday and do you have one particular birthday that stands out above the rest?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
We don’t celebrate birthdays in any huge way – not every year at least. There’s always a family dinner, although it often isn’t on the right day. It’s easier to get together on weekends, so we tend to celebrate the Sunday before or after. We don’t even always have cake. I remember one birthday where my son, who isn’t a big sweets eater, asked for a donuts, so that was his birthday treat. And if we do have a cake, it is often an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.
We do celebrate milestone birthdays with a bit more pizzazz. For our children’s sixteenth birthdays, my husband made each of them a collage of photos, and the presents were a little more substantial. But we weren’t even in the country when our oldest daughter turned 25 or son turned 21, so that isn’t a rule. It is my mom’s 75th this year, so we should probably do something extra special this year – although when my dad turned 75 they were snowbirding it in the United States, so we didn’t see him on that day.
For myself, I do have one amazing birthday story. Again – it wasn’t even on my actual birthday. Mr. C and I had often talked about going to see Billy Joel play at Madison Square Gardens, especially after he started doing his residency there. About a month before my 50th birthday, we went out on a date night, and Mr. C handed me an envelope. Inside was a photo of Billy Joel and a copy of two tickets to his November 2017 concert. I have to admit, I might have cried a little. It was so unexpected and so special – partly because it was something we both wanted to do. It’s quite an expense to travel from Northern BC to New York City, so this was no ordinary gift. The trip was awesome – the concert defied all expectations, and then we also saw “Come From Away” on Broadway, which was a true delight. All in all, it was the best birthday gift – yet. 😊
What about you? Do you go whole hog for birthdays? Or do you celebrate quietly? I’d love to hear a story about your best birthday in the comments. Then be sure to head over to Jenna Da Sie and find out what she does for birthdays!
On the Romance Writers Weekly blog, we like to talk about a lot of different things. This week, A.S. Fenichel asks:
What’s the best part of being a writer? What’s the worst?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
The quote “I hate to write, love having written” is usually attributed to Dorothy Parker, but I think most writers share the sentiment. Sometimes, writing is an absolute chore—especially in the dreaded middle of a book, when nothing seems to be working and you begin to doubt your sanity. That to me is the worst part—that inner editor who can sometimes paralyze me from putting anything on the page.
The best part is the joy of completing a new story against all odds (or at least that's what it can seem like), and that feeling beats out all the negative emotions, at least for me.
I love that I can write anywhere. Right now, I am sitting in my backyard, listening to our pond’s waterfall, feeling the warm breeze, and smelling the flowers we just planted this morning. I get a special thrill out of working outdoors. I’ve also written at at airport gate, on a boat, in our holiday trailer, and on a rocky river bank. It’s so portable!
I love knowing people are reading my words and enjoying them. Writing is communicating, and while I would still write even if no one was reading, it is certainly a lot nicer to know others are completing the conversation by reading what I’ve put down.
I love the thrill I get when I find exactly the right way to express a character’s thoughts or actions. Sometimes a sentence simply isn’t ‘right’ and when I finally figure out how to fix what’s bothering me, it is a huge satisfaction.
Writing for me is something I have to do. Even on the bad days, I feel better when I do something, even if it is just a few words, than if I do nothing. What about you? Is there something you do that is vital to your being, but that you share with others when given the chance? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Then be sure to hop over to the instigator of this topic, A.S. Fenichel!
I’ve been MIA on the blogging front the last couple of weeks. I usually prep my blog on Sundays, and the last couple of weekends have been busy with Easter, and then something called QuizMe. My “pay-the-bills” job is TV production manager, and one of the programs we do is a Jeopardy-style quiz show for Grade 7 students in our area. We record 15 half-hour episodes in three days, and those three days were last week. That being said, I was a tad bit busy. If you’re interested in seeing what it looks like, the previous season is available to view online here.
Anyway – enough of that! Time to move on to this week’s Blog Hop! J.J. Devine set the topic.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.” Tell me your favorite love story.
Wow – that’s a doozy of a topic! It’s like asking who is my favourite character, or choosing one book to bring to a desert island.
One of the reasons I write romantic fiction is that I love to hear how people came to together. I know of so many just from my own friends and family:
There are so many wonderful love stories. Tell me yours in the comments below, and then move on to Leslie Hachtel to read more.
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you, but most writers are also avid readers. This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog, Leslie Hachtel asks:
What was the first romance novel you ever read and how did it inspire you?
To be honest, I can’t remember the title or plot of the first specifically romance novel I ever read. When I was about sixteen, the wife of our next-door neighbour passed away, and I was given a large cardboard box of her Harlequin Presents. As I have always been a voracious reader - I’d read the labels on cereal boxes if there was nothing else available - I whipped through that box pretty quickly.
I do remember the plot of the first Harlequin I read that made me sit up and and take notice. It was set in Australia, and the heroine was a seamstress. She was the first I can recall that didn't sit around waiting to be saved. She worked hard, often late into the night, to support herself and her child (chances are, the child was her niece or nephew - this was the mid-Eighties and virgin heroines were much more prevalent). I have no memory of the hero - that’s how impressed I was with the heroine. The story must have ended with the expected happily-ever-after, but I’ve always had the feeling that she would have been okay even without him.
After that, I searched out books where the heroine took an active role in her success. While I am fairly certain the passive heroine is a thing of the past, she has on occasion been replaced by the Too Stupid To Live heroine. You know the one - she's a civilian with no knowledge of military operations, but refuses to take the soldier's advice? Or the one being stalked by a lunatic that goes in the basement without a weapon when she hears a noise?
Reading passive and TSTL heroines made me determined to never write such a woman. While there's been some slips along the way, I think I've been successful at this for the most part. And for that I can trace my inspiration back to the first memorable plot.
The seamstress story was also the first book that got me thinking about why I enjoyed certain others. Before that box of Harlequins, I read mostly mysteries and classics. Anne of Green Gables and Lord of the Rings are treasured favourites – but it is Anne’s relationship with Gilbert and Arwen and Aragorn’s romance that stand out for me in both of these. Dick Francis was my main go-to mystery writer, and my favourite of his is High Stakes, which has a well-developed romantic subplot. In fact, many of his books do, and those that don’t still have a strong relationship arc of some sort (Proof involves a widower coming to terms with his wife’s death that is wonderfully done). Robert B. Parker is another favourite, but the stories where Susan is either not present or has a minor role are the ones I re-read the least.
Of course, there’s always the romance to end all romances, Pride and Prejudice. This is my desert island book, and it is a rare year that goes by when I don’t re-read it. I can’t remember when I first read it – I think I bought it with money from a prize I’d won in high school – but if the question had been what is your favourite romance, this would be it.
How about you? What was the first romance you read? Do you still have a copy? I’d love to hear from you. Then hop on over to Leslie Hachtel to see what the first romance novel she read was. Maybe she can remember the title, unlike me!
Reserved for You goes live tomorrow! You can still get it for 99 cents here.
We’re being silly on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop this week. Jenna Da Sie asks:
What do you carry in your bag/purse? What is in it right now?
If you joined me from A.S. Fenichel, welcome!
I very much dislike having a cluttered purse. I need to be able to reach into it and grab exactly what I want right away. I don’t even like a purse with multiple pockets – I invariably look in the wrong one first! So, right now in my purse is:
Hey – that was kind of fun! What’s the most unusual thing you carry in your purse or bag? Let me know in the comments, and then hop over to Leslie Hachtel!