Sunday, July 28, 2013

Looking Forward--And Looking Back

My latest historical novel, The Tempestuous Debutante, is scheduled for release September 9, and I just got my new cover, which I can now show the world. The book is through the difficult editing processing. Just one more round of edits to go, and it'll hit the streets. This is Jasmine's story, and it was a hard book to write, since Jasmine was such a brat in The Abolitionist's Secret, which featured her twin sister, Heather.

The first question I asked myself was why was Jasmine so bad? Because she was losing her best friend, her identical twin, her counterpart. She and Heather would cover for each other to get them through awkward situations.  One of Jasmine's awkward situations was a fear of horses. She was thrown from her horse a few years earlier, and just the thought of getting up on a horse now frightens her to death. Every time she was asked to go riding, Heather would pretend to be Jasmine, so no one knew of her fear. Until Heather married and moved away, that is. Now Jasmine is on her own for the first time in her life, and doesn't know how to handle it.

Here's the back cover copy:

It's Jasmine Fitzpatrick's year to shine at this season's Cotillion and men will be throwing themselves at her. But she sets her sights on a man she's never met, the Viscount of Foxborough. He's wealthy and has an English title. Only a few things stand in her way: a wealthy, young, beautiful widow who captures the viscount's attention immediately, her fear of riding horses when he owns a breeding stable and racetrack, and the viscount's stableboy, Parr.

Parr O'Shaughnessy loses his heart to Jasmine the moment he meets her. However, he has no title to interest her. He left behind an impoverished existence in Ireland when the viscount offered to bring him and his famous horse to America to build a dynasty together. He believes Jasmine barely noticed him when she was introduced, but she only had eyes for the viscount. He struggles with his loyalty to the viscount and his love for Jasmine. But winning her love might mean losing all he has worked for.

The book should ready for pre-orders from Amazon around September 1.

Now for the looking backward part--July marks the one-year anniversary of Crimson Romance, and all books that were published during their inaugeral year are on sale until the end of July. All books are $1.99 each for only a few more days. Go here to fill up your e-reader:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What The @#%& Is Steampunk Anyway?

Despite the genre in which writers find their comfort zone, most authors are always open to new ideas and new types of fiction to explore. One of the genres I find intriguing, and confounding, is steampunk. I understand it in principle, but never could quite grasp how to craft a story line that melded the Victorian era with modern day. Who better to turn to for help than someone who is published in the genre. February Grace's debut, Godspeed, is steampunk at its best. I asked her to explain the genre to me, and to all of you. She's generously offered to give away two copies of her e-book to those of you who leave a comment. So, without further ado, here's February!

Glorious Gadgets and Ingenious Devices:
The Golden Thread That Ties All Steampunk Together by February Grace

Ask a thousand people to give you a definition of “Steampunk” and you will probably get a thousand different answers.

For some, the term speaks specifically of a sub-genre of science fiction: stories set in a specific era (the 1800s) that include technology that would not have existed in that steam-powered time.

Some would say it’s all about the airships, ray guns and goggles. Others may cite names of the many Steampunk musical acts and clothing designers/costumers/jewelers and say that it is these artisans which help to create an entire lifestyle; one carried out with not only a specific outlook on life, but by attendance at conventions and other events where costume play is one of the major features.

If you ask me the question, I would reply that Steampunk is all of those things and many more; and to me specifically it is something yet again. For me it was a way to put a man in the middle of a serious moral dilemma, when his own genius exceeded the lawful limitations society placed upon the practice of his profession.

In the end, to my mind, though, there is one main thing that ties all of Steampunk together with a golden thread (or perhaps, I should say, a set of copper gears) and that is the gadgetry. 

All Steampunk has it, whether it may also have vampires, zombies, other fantastical creatures or, in the case of my book GODSPEED, none of those fantastical creatures.

Inventive spins on devices that we have today and take for granted are written into these stories, and go back to Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, authors hailed as the forefathers of Steampunk.

When my Doctor Quinn Godspeed is confronted with a young woman who is dying right before his eyes and is convinced that he has a chance to save her, he cannot help but take that chance, even if it means breaking the law. The consequences for himself and his patient could be devastating, yet he cannot resist using his knowledge to build machines that could help prolong her life.

That’s how I work the amazing gadgetry of Steampunk into GODSPEED: in the form of medical devices and advancements that are ahead of their time. Abigail’s ‘clockwork pacemaker’ (as I referred to it in my notes while writing the book) is but one of Quinn’s creations. The moment when he gives her the final apparatus is one of my favorite in the book:

He returned to the workbench behind the surgical table, where I now sat with my legs hanging over the side.
He opened the top drawer, procured a small wooden box, and held it up on display.
“A gift.”
My eyes widened when I saw what at first appeared to be a brilliant silver-tone locket; antique, and fashioned in the arcing shape of a heart.
“This, like most things in life, is more than it first appears.” He removed it with one hand and set aside the box with the other before moving within reach. “This is the means by which we will free you from the torment of harsher treatments.”
I watched with absolute amazement as he unlatched the clasp on the charm and revealed its complicated interior. Gear upon gear, lever upon lever, all churning and clicking away in musical, clockwork time. He leaned in so close now that I could feel the warmth of his cheek against mine.
“Here.” He dangled the necklace in front of me, where it danced and flickered in the light. “This is your new heart. It’s rare, and young, and made of pure white gold.” For an instant he looked upon me with an expression I could not possibly put emotion to. “Exactly, I am certain, like the one it will repair.”
He lowered the chain around my neck, and as he did so, tears I could not deny wound their way down my cheeks and onto his gifted, powerful hands.

I hope you will join me for a little while inside of Doctor Godspeed's clockwork world, and that you will enjoy my own personal take on this expansive, and greatly varying, genre.

Thank you, February, for your revealing explanation of what steampunk it. I can't wait to read  your book. 

Intrigued? You betcha. Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a copy of Godspeed. Or, you can purchase a copy today at one of the following locations: 

Author Bio:
February Grace is a writer, artist, and poet who lives in Southeastern Michigan. She sings on key, plays by ear, and is more than mildly obsessed with colors, clocks, and meteor showers. GODSPEED is her debut novel.
You can learn more about Bru by visiting her website:
Twitter: @FebruaryGrace

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Coming Up Short

Where to begin?

It's a short work week for a lot of people in the romance community. Only one or two more days until people begin boarding planes for flights to Atlanta and the RWA Conference. For those who are going, have a great time and remember that the conference sessions are, for the most part, taped, and you can buy them to listen to later. But the people you talk to may be the exact women and men you need to get your career to the next level. You can find a critique partner, a fellow author published by the same house you are, editors, agents, New York Times bestselling authors--they're all there and rubbing elbows with you. If you look up from your conference schedule and talk to them. Most of all, have fun. You'll be surprised at how short the days and nights are.

I just got the word that I'm going to be a participant in the Soul Mate Christmas anthology, writing a short story, between 5,000 and 7,000 words. I haven't written a short in a long time, and it's a great exercise, since everything has to be shortened up. I presented the first two chapters--about 1/3 of the story--to my critique partner yesterday, and she said I was taking too long to get to the cute-meet. She was right, and I need to trim the front part to make room for the back end. It might be harder to write a short than it is a full-length novel.

I'm a bit more than halfway through my next full-length historical and time is getting short to finish it. The next book in the series is scheduled for release in September, and I like to have the next one out to the publisher when the release date happens. Tick-tock.

Speaking of publishers, Crimson Romance is having a sale for the month of July to celebrate one year in business. All the e-books released during the first year are on sale for $1.99 all month. But July is getting short and running out of days.

And it's Sunday evening. I usually post my blogs on Sunday morning, so you're getting a short version this week. Sorry about that. Short attention span.

So, what are you short on this week?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Robyn Neeley's In The House, Talking About Hawaii.

Today, I'm so pleased to have Robyn Neeley as my guest. She doesn't know this, but I spent many years of my adult life in the DC area, so I feel like we are sisters. We even have the same background, since I worked for a trade association, too!

Anyway, Robyn has written the most delightful story about mistaken identity, in a glorious setting. And here she is, to tell you all about it. (Is anyone else humming "Surfin' Safari" yet?)

 Here's Robyn!
Thanks for having me, Becky!

Tell me about yourself, and your writing journey to this point.
I currently live in Washington, DC, working for an association that supports higher education. I manage a program working with college students around the world (it keeps me young!). My commute to work is 1.5 hours each way (no joke). It was on the train that I started to write.

I used to hate the commute but now I consider it precious time that I devote to either writing, editing or reading – and sometimes it’s great fodder for ideas for my books. One morning, a guy sat next to me literally piecing on his suit. We’re talking buttoning shirt, zipping pants, putting on buckle … someone had a good night! That experience made it in to my holiday romance!

Inspiration can come from anywhere, can't it?

Destination Wedding is your debut novel. How did you come up with the idea for your book, and when can folks purchase it?

I wanted to write a book that involved twins and mistaken identity. I also thought it would be fun to start the book up in the air with a heroine with a major case of in-flight panic that she doesn’t even realize her hero and his twin switch seats mid-flight. What happens up there really set the stage for the tropical antics when they land.

It was super fun to write and is available now on Amazon.

I noticed on your website that you’ve signed three contracts this year. Tell us what we can expect from you soon. (Vanessa and Jack’s story, I hope?)

My holiday romance, Christmas Dinner will be coming out November 11, 2013 by Crimson Romance. Even though Destination Wedding is my debut book, Christmas Dinner is the first book I ever wrote. There’s a wonderful twist in it that I’m hoping is the level of a Nicholas Sparks kind-of-twist. Even if it’s half as good as his, I’ll be happy.

I’ve been teasing my characters that Vanessa and Jack *could* be the couple getting hitched in the sequel. Although, the working title is Shotgun Wedding—I don’t think their kids will go for it!

The destination for your book’s wedding is Hawaii, and you do a beautiful job describing your setting. Have you visited there, and if so, how much time do you spend there?

Thank you! All of it was research by reading books and searching the Internet. I’d love to visit one day. The problem – well, I like my heroine, have an intense fear of flying over water.

Now if, like my heroine, I was to have a handsome man sit next to me and kiss me silly all the way to Honolulu … well, that might work! If you know anyone Becky . . .

I love the mistaken identity trope, and think you did an excellent job using the identical twins. I especially enjoyed the way Luke used his 4-minutes older claim to his advantage. My brother used to hold the same thing over his twin sister’s head. Do you know twins or do you just have an active imagination?

I did talk to friends who are twins. I wanted Luke and Drew to be different enough that the reader wasn’t confused who was who, but I wanted them both to be good men at their core. I really love Drew. He and I were recently guests on the Crimson Romance blog where he pretty much demanded his happy ending. Check it out here!

 You seem to understand the wedding planning business, too. Tell me how you got the idea of using a wedding planner for your story.

I’ve planned over 100 events and conferences during my career. I’ve never planned a wedding, so this was a fun opportunity to write about one.

How do you manage the obligations on your life? Do you have a set time for writing, and no one can enter the room, or do you fit it in between all your other activities?

I fit it in each and every day. I often will write first thing in the morning and then as I mentioned, will write, edit or read on the train. On weekends, I try to ramp it up. I set monthly goals. Having an entire month to reach the goal is much more doable and less stressful for me than setting daily or weekly goals that might not be possible to achieve.

Destination Wedding Blurb

Wedding planner Kate Ashby’s fear of flying is eased by a sexy stranger and one slow lip lock that rockets her into another obit.

CEO Luke Cannon has just traded seats with his identical twin. Little did he know that an innocent kiss while pretending he was his brother would soon create havoc.

What happens in the air doesn’t stay up there. Once on tropical land, Kate believes that the handsome stranger who gave her the best kiss of her life is now her new client, Drew Cannon, fiancĂ© to the beautiful and wealthy Lauren Kincaid. While Kate struggles with the intense feelings she thinks she has for Drew, Luke discovers Kate’s been hired to plan his brother’s destination wedding. He also realizes the initial sparks they shared 30,000 feet up are now mistakenly aimed at Drew.

Can Luke get Kate to realize that the feelings she has are for him? He’s got forty-eight hours in paradise to try.

To learn more about Destination Wedding and purchase links, visit

About Robyn

Robyn Neeley is an East Coaster who loves to explore new places; watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee and has never met a cookie she didn’t like. If you have a must read romance suggestion or a fabulous cookie recipe, she wants to know.

Website –
Twitter – @robynneeley
Facebook – 

 Have we teased you enough? Want an excerpt? Well, guess what we have for you!

"I do. I do." 

Wedding planner Kate Ashby quietly repeated her calming mantra. Paralyzed in her window seat, she stared at the illuminated fasten seatbelt sign while her hands gripped the metal buckle strap.

Please turn off. Please turn off. They had to be close to cruising altitude. Soon, she'd be able to request a strong drink to knock her out for the duration of this bumpy flight.

She sat still, trying to ignore the terror pulsating through her. Why hadn't she bought sleeping pills before boarding a twelve-hour flight from New York City to Hawaii? Now, that would have been the smart thing to do.

Glancing out the tiny passenger window, she clutched her gold "K" necklace. It was completely irrational to be terrified and she realized the odds of her and her fellow passengers landing safely in Honolulu were more than in her favor. Still, this was her first time flying such a long duration. Departing Manhattan this evening in turbulent thunderstorms had shot her nerves. She was grateful that her boss had sprung for a first class ticket for the long flight.

A loud rattle caused her to grab hold to her armrests. "What was that?" She turned to the stranger sitting next to her. He had short blondish brown hair and was wearing a blue blazer. His face had a nice tan. She had failed to realize that her row mate was incredibly handsome. Usually the person sitting next to her was a grandparent or couldn't speak English. Perhaps he could help her ease her nerves?

 "Um ... I think it's the drink cart. Would you like something?" He folded his Wall Street Journal.

Sexy and smart. 

"I'll take a tequila and tonic," he said to the flight attendant.

And likes his drinks strong. This could be fun.