Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dedicated to a True Lion King

If you’re like me, you’re absolutely sick over the death of Cecil the Lion. It’s a sad thing to see such a beloved animal killed for sport. You can’t avoid hearing or reading about it because it’s all over the news. Social media is currently bombarded with the story and pictures of the beautiful cat. A lot of people are posting about him on Facebook and many are saying that the animal’s cruel killing is bothering them so much they can’t stop thinking about it. Me, too. Why? Because he trusted humans (to a certain extent) and one broke that trust. Now we must all live with the sorrow of that tragedy.

So, why do we love animals so much? Why is Facebook and other social media bombarded with pictures of our beloved pets? I can’t answer that question for others, but I can tell you why I’m so attached to mine. I love my pets because they love me—unconditionally. I love having them with me all the time and I love taking care of them. Even though most of my pets have passed away, their love is still in my heart.
From Hollywood Reporter Article
I once had a white kitty that had to have both ears removed due to skin cancer and I suffered just as much over it as she did. To this day, I still get emotional when I think of her. (Timeout for a Kleenex here…)

Pooh Bear before losing both ears
Have you hugged your pet today? If not, go and do it right now. And when you come back, post a picture of your current pet or one in memory of a beloved pet that has passed on.

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Denise Devine is a USA TODAY bestselling author who has had a passion for books since the second grade when she discovered Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She wrote her first book, a mystery, at age
Sadie is in my next story.
thirteen and has been writing ever since. She lives on six wooded acres in East Bethel, Minnesota with her husband, Steve and her problem (feline) children, Babygirl and Tigger. She’s presently a cat person, but she loves all animals and they often find their way into her books.
You can visit her at


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter by Karen Rock

#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter by Karen Rock

Yesterday, while on Twitter, I came across the hashtag, #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter and clicked on it. The stream of tweets using this hashtag had me laughing, groaning and nodding in agreement so often, I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you. I hope you agree and laugh, groan and nod along with me, too J

#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter :
1.       “Three dollars is a lot to pay for just an ebook.” - @FebruaryGrace

2.       “Now you just need to get it turned into a movie.” -@LaurenDeStefano

3.       “I would never have guessed that you were a writer. You’re so normal.” @HRuthMiller

4.       “I have a great idea for a book you should write. You write it and we'll split the profits 50-50.” - @tiffanyreisz

5.       “Oh. It’s one of THOSE books.” @ColleenHouck

6.       “I don’t read fiction. I only read important things.” -@shirleymccann

7.       “Oh, you’re a writer? Me too! I mean, I haven’t typed it out, but it’s all, y’know, there in my head.”- @EvilMarguerite

8.       “You write romance? Have you ever thought of writing a real book?” - @McCarthySusanne

9.       “Will you send me a free copy?” - @AuthorAngelaS

10.   “So, I want to write a book, too. Will you help me?” - @emeraldbarnes

11.   “Have I read anything of yours?”- I’ve never met you before. How would I know?! @JLArmentrout

12.   “I should try and get published in England. It’s obviously easier there.”- @HolSmale

13.   “So when do you think you are going to finish your book?” x 10 - @BookCountry

14.   “Writing romance is easy, right? I think I should try it. I need some money.” @ashposton

15.   “Self-published, so you’re not really published yet then?”- @chadh1234

16.   “People can buy it? Seriously? In a real book store?” - @KathyReinhart

17.   “It must be lovely working from home. You can combine writing with housework and childcare.” -@Joannechocolat

18.   “I better be careful or you’ll put me in your book!” No. You’re not that interesting. - @OfficiallyAlly

19.   “I had to give it one star because it had way too many five stars.” - @emberian

20.   “I know you’ve sold a ton of books but I found a misspelling in chapter 3.” - @kennbivins

And here’s the one I tweeted:
“So? Are you still writing or working now?” hehe. Would you believe it was retweeted 216 times and favorited over 300 times at the time I’m writing this?

The hashtag “TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter has been a top trending topic today (hitting number 2 worldwide as I write this!) for good reason. Although writing is solitary work, it’s a universal experience and one we should share more often! It’s been a treat to read these tweets from other authors as it helps me feel less alone- (although technically I do have my puppy, Zoey, here for company, which counts, right?)

As writers, it’s important to take advantage and join in on experiences like this, whether it’s online or in person with conferences, chapter meetings or just phone chats with other writers. There can be a lot of negative in our profession, whether it’s sales numbers, snarky reviews, publisher rejections or eight page revision letters. (okay- maybe that’s just my experience J) However, interacting with one another is the positive food we need to keep going and embrace, rightfully so, our profession with joy.

As Steven King said in “On Writing” – “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
Hugs to all my fellow authors and readers out there! You make the world’s heart beat. Let's make our own list of #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter! Please share any interesting comments people have made to you about writing :) Thanks!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Slightly Unshelled - by Magdalena Scott

Last week I went to New York City for the first time ever, to attend the Romance Writers of America conference. 

But this blog is about what happened to me in NYC before and after the conference.

When my plane landed at LaGuardia, I ventured out to the Ground Transportation area. The young man who was facilitating bus transport was about my son’s age. I asked him, if it were his mom needing to travel to Manhattan, which option he would suggest. “If she has lots of money, I would say cab. If not…” and then, in his delightful accent, he went on to tell me about the bus. It sounded doable.

I bought a ticket and waiting for the bus to arrive, started talking to a young man who was going to another airport to join his band members on a tour of Europe. At one point while we waited, I said I was stressed. He shrugged and said stress is a waste of life energy. Just talking to him relaxed me. He had more on the line than I, after all—trying to make a connection to get to Europe, for goodness sake.

After boarding the bus, I started chatting with a young woman across the aisle. Of all things, she was originally from a town about 20 miles from where I live! The bus started to fill up, and a young man sat next to me. He had been all over the U.S., but was on his way home to India. We had a nice chat during the long ride, and he even offered me a bite of his sandwich. (Yum—chicken salad!) It smelled great, but although stress is a waste of life energy, my stomach was still a bit fluttery. Due to traffic, the bus ride was slow, which meant I had time to look at some of the city. The bus was also comfortably air-conditioned, and there was classical music playing softly over the speakers. Cabs wormed in and out of traffic, people busily walked along the sidewalks, horns honked constantly. The honking became just part of the background music for the four days I was in the city.

The bus dropped me at a station a few blocks from the hotel, and the nice people there said I could either take a free shuttle to the hotel, or walk there in approximately 7 minutes. I chose to walk, and struck out down the teeming sidewalk pulling my little carry-on bag. At one point a woman crossing the street dropped an envelope from the pile of papers in her hand, and another woman kindly called her attention to it so she could retrieve the item. (Um. New Yorkers not caring about each other?)

I had loads of fun with roomies Ginny Baird and Raine English, took furious notes in some of the workshops, met new people, reconnected with others, and ate lots of delicious food at restaurants in the Theater District/Times Square area. Ginny wrote a fabulous post here about the annual conference. Please read it if you haven’t already.

When the conference was over, Raine and I shared a cab from the hotel, but she got out at Penn Station to catch a train home. Then I was a single traveler again. The young cabbie was pleasant when I asked questions, pointed out a few interesting sights we passed, and as we drove along the freeway, gestured toward the residential area where he lives. It was a quick trip because of the light Sunday morning traffic, and I cheerfully gave him a big tip when he delivered me to the airport.

It seems a different person was in NYC. Now I’m just little ol’ me again, writing this blog while Attila is draped across my leg. But each experience changes us, and coming out of my shell a little bit certainly made the trip more enjoyable.

It just occurred to me that I failed to adhere to some advice I was given before starting out on the trip. “Don’t make eye contact.”


Do you chat with strangers when you travel, or keep to yourself? I’d be interested in your stories.


USA Today Bestselling Author Magdalena Scott writes sweet romance with small town settings. Visit her website:

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Camping by Susan R. Hughes

Last fall, I spotted a six-person tent on sale for half price and had a brilliant idea: this summer, I would take my family camping – something I haven’t done since I was a teenager (a looong time ago).

In my enthusiasm, I neglected to consider that the five of us would also need sleeping bags and mattresses, as well as a shelter, cookware, dinnerware, a stove, etc. Fortunately, my parents never get rid of anything, and in their basement they still have most of the gear from our annual camping trips when I was a kid. Even their 40-year-old Coleman stove still works just fine. What a feeling of nostalgia to revive the avocado green plastic plates and bowls we used in the 1970s and 80s.

We planned a one-night excursion to Fitzroy Harbour Provincial Park on the Ottawa River, only about 45 minutes from home, where we could rough it in the outdoors and still have all the amenities I can’t live without (flush toilets, showers).

Turns out camping is a lot more work than I remember. Pitching the tent, rolling out the bedding, cooking, cleaning up, etc. And I used to be able to sleep a lot better in a tent. It doesn't help when the night owls at the next site stay up chatting and laughing until well after midnight. Luckily a rainstorm drove them into their tents in the wee hours. 

Another thing I learned – don’t leave your good leather purse by the door of a tent overnight during a rainstorm. Or maybe just don’t take your good leather purse camping in the first place.

And as for the tent going back into the bag it came in – never going to happen.

The important thing is that the kids had a blast. We roasted hot dogs and made s’mores. They insisted on taking a dip in the cold river and had to be dragged out, teeth chattering, at dusk. They got lost searching the campground for Sasquatch (I had a minor heart attack, but they were unfazed when we found them). We saw a deer in the woods and a pair of turtles in the creek (but no Sasquatch). 

Who knows, maybe next year we’ll venture farther and stay a couple of nights. The simple adventures are often the most fun and create the warmest memories.

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Susan R. Hughes writes contemporary and historical romance novels. Want to keep up with news from Sweet Romance Reads authors? Sign up for the SRR newsletter today. Like chatting about Sweet Romance? Join the authors of Sweet Romance Reads in our cyber Café!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

RWA...Okay! by Ginny Baird

The day this blog publishes, I’ll be finishing up my time at RWA 2015. RWA stands for Romance Writers of America. It’s a professional organization that supports those who write romance as well as the genre in general. I’ve been a member for several years now and have learned so much from my fellow authors. There’s no group more capable of sharing and caring than a bunch of romance writers!

Each year, RWA hosts an annual conference in some enticing location. This year’s event is being held in New York City. I look forward to attending the informative workshops on romance publishing and marketing, but most of all I’m excited about meeting many folks in person that I’ve only connected with online. One wonderful thing about the Internet is it provides a way for people living far apart to connect with each other. I’ve been fortunate to meet many other writers this way, including the very talented ladies of this writing cooperative, Sweet Romance Reads. I’ll be rooming with two of them, and sharing meals and meetings with others during my five days in New York. What fun!

This photo is of me signing books in Atlanta at RWA 2013.

On the final night of the conference, a group of us will also attend the famed Rita Awards, a celebration honoring the recipients of the genre’s highest award for excellence in romance fiction. One winner will be chosen in each category (such as novella or historical fiction), and it’s such a joy to see the winners bubbling over with excitement.

The morning this blog posts, the excitement will be over and I’ll be packing my bags for a quick twenty-four-hour visit with my two daughters who live in Brooklyn: a definite highlight of my trip! Then it will be off on a full day’s train ride that will carry me home. Have you ever attended a professional conference? If so, what was it like, and what part of it did you enjoy most? I look forward to reading your responses when I return and will award a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card to one person who shares their experiences, or comments on mine at RWA 2015! The winner will be selected on Tuesday.

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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Ginny Baird writes contemporary romance novels and novellas. Her newest sweet romance release is My Best Friend’s Bride, now available at Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and B&N. Want to keep up with news from Sweet Romance Reads authors? Sign up for the SRR newsletter today. Like chatting about Sweet Romance? Join the authors of Sweet Romance Reads in our cyber Café!