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Bloggiesta almost over!

The site is currently under redesign, and the bloggiesta is about to conclude! Stay tuned, and in the mean time, line up for some fall reads by my author friends I can’t wait to introduce you to, starting with my dear friend and fellow romance author, Joanne Bischof:

“Bischof kicks off her Cadence of Grace series with a tale of love blossoming in the most daunting circumstances. A gem by an author sure to draw fans.”

~Publishers Weekly

Take 10 minutes for a coffee break that’ll blow your mind…

Okay – I found this one through my twitter Friend @KatMeyer

And how glad am I that she shared it? I just took a ten minute coffee break with Dominic… *sigh*

As he reads from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”

So, find a comfy chair – pour a cup of coffee, and just watch – listen – and see how long it takes until you’re envisioning yourself sitting across from him, hoping for a glance up at you as he reads to you in that rich, melodious, English accent.

What is it about this that appeals to me? Is it the thought of such a handsome man reading literature? Seriously – this is seductive, charming, sensual, and sweet all wrapped in one gorgeous package.

A masterpiece of online advertising.

I’ll be back… coffee mug and comfy chair already picked out.

#RWAChange – What is it? How can you get involved? And, should you?

GreenRibbonThis conversation has been going on for a few weeks, and I’ve had the opportunity to take part – both in my new online RWA Group: ESPAN – and online at the RWAChange Yahoo loop – both which I discovered while participating in the Twitter Hashtag: #RWAChange

So, what is it – and let’s talk about it.

People on Twitter are only too happy to mention when a technology, application, device, or group fails in one way or another. Just create your own hashtag and share it with your followers. See #Amazonfail, #Agentfail, and #queryfail to name a few. (My own personal favorite was born when @SmartBitches mentioned that she looked up something on YouTube, didn’t find it, and stated that there were not enough hashtags for that fail! Hilarious. At any rate, I digress.)

#RWAChange was born when we decided to stop with #RWAFail already. We don’t want RWA to fail. Romance Writers of America serves a key purpose for romance writers of every genre, every heat, whether published or not. Ebook, or print. Mass distribution, or POD. We are romance authors and we need to be informed, in the loop, and talking to each other in order to continue to succeed in growing our careers. Thus – the Change.

Led by the charge of Dierdre Knight, author and agent — we primarily feel left out. Left out of decision making, due to the greening of our industry. The transition to small presses. The inability to enter in the prestigious RWA Rita contest as a published author. And, therein lies the rub.

As the romance writers either dive in (or dip their toes into) the new world of publishing, we just want our founding members to be able to support us. Rate our work. Know that just because a book is POD doesn’t mean you won’t sell enough to qualify as a PAN member (earning over a price point).

My publisher took a gamble on my success. They gave me a fantastic editor who worked with me, and has dragged me into good writing habits. I still shudder from some of the egregious errors I made on All or Nothing, but she did her magic and made it a fun read. I’m getting good reviews. I’d LOVE to enter it into the RITA contest. I cannot. I may enter it into the EPPIE contest. Or may not. But, I’m missing the peer review that I desperately need to keep my head in the game. Build upon my platform, and ultimately succeed in the Romance Marketplace.

Are you a reader of romance? A writer of romance? If not, chances are that you know someone who is — so, wear your green.

Follow #RWAChange on Twitter

Join:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RWAchange/

Read up on the back & forth with the RWA President and industry professionals at ESPAN:

Plus, you can read a whole breakdown of the happenings at GalleyCat.

Join this century, and move with the times. I can’t wait to see what’s next for this exciting group of techno-savvy women, and I’m thrilled to be one of them.

Love Story

Taylor Swift wrote the epitome of a love story in but a few minutes. I was wondering this morning what it is about the song that chokes me up so. Is it watching my 5 year old daughter clasp her hands under her chin, staring dreamy eyed at the prospect of a princess and prince finding each other? Is it watching their dad dance around the room, uninhibited and singing with his little girls? Is it hearing Ellie’s rich, little girl voice belting out “Romeo, Save me! I’ve been feeying so ayone!”

I think it must be all of the above. The romance novelist inside is in awe of such a succinct story – with the pitfalls, heartbreak, and ultimate unabashed joy at the h/h finding their true love. The mommy in me sees the girls as budding romantics. The wife in me only has eyes for her own Romeo, turned amazing dad.

If you haven’t seen it, you must. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wRkoGKQ8qQ

Have a wonderful Saturday!

The Most Romantic Husband Award…

A quick note to recognize my DH as the Most Romantic Husband in Temecula. (Feel free to nominate yours as a comment to this blog!)

Yesterday afternoon, the phone rang. Frazzled, I answered in what Perry calls my “business mode.”

I could almost hear him grinning. “What are you doing at 4:00 today?”

“Getting ready to get the kids.” I quipped back.

“Let me get the kids today. Why don’t you go on over to South Coast Winery, and have an hour-long massage.”

(This is where you hear dead silence from my end of the phone.) Was I dreaming? Did those words just come out of MY husband’s mouth? Mr. Penny Pincher? Mr. I Don’t Even Want To Discuss Buying Anything Right Now? Mr. Rolls His Eyes Every Time I Mention Things I Want To Do To The House?

The answer, dear readers, is yes. He sent me to South Coast Winery for a full body, rose petal massage, to be finished off with — get this — toes curl just thinking about it… Sparkling wine and chocolate dipped strawberries!

So, taking a few minutes to throw dinner in the crockpot (sure I’d return home to crying children and a hungry husband), I wrote a quick note not to expect me for dinner), I set off for Temecula Wine Country and an evening of decadence.

South Coast becons like a Disneyland for adults. It’s tall spire reaching to a SoCal blue sky, feathered with bright white clouds. Arbors reach their welcoming arms out, dripping with flowering geraniums. The low, stone wall seperates this from the rest of the wineries. Individual villas house lovers, away on private trysts in this wine-lover’s paradise.

The spa, set back from a crystal clear pool, waterfall, and bubbling jaccuzi, greets you in its warmth. Classical music wafts from hidden speakers. The staff speaks in low tones, gentle, inviting. And, once you find yourself wrapped in a delightful, ankle length, chennile robe–you have the option of dipping into a private spa, immersing yourself in a steam bath, or retreating to the lounge to await your appointment. I chose the latter, dragging my volume of Twilight along, for the bliss of an uninterrupted half-hour of reading.

Soon, I found a glass of Syrah in my hand, and joined Bella for some quality evaluation time of Edward and her other new classmates. Then, it was my turn for an hour of nothing but breathing. Inhaling rose peta aromatherapy while my masseuse worked out the kinks of five years of parenting from my shoulders, back, arms, legs, hands, and feet. *sigh*

When all was finished, and I lay like a pile of rosy goo, my masseuse informed me that there was a special treat waiting for me in the lounge. After redressing (that robe like silk on my warmed skin), she greeted me with my decadent snack. Thickly dipped strawberries, surrounded by raw sugar, and a lovely brut sparkling wine.

The sun painted Mt. Palomar’s snow covered slope with umbers, fuscia, and amethyst. The observatory gleamed brilliant white. I sighed into the sofa, not even with the slightest desire to see if Bella and Edward had exchanged words. Instead, I spoke softly with a lovely couple from Missouri–sharing tidbits about Temecula, the new home of my heart. When the sweet lady smiled and said, “Wow. You get to live here!”

I tilted my head in wonder. Yes. I do. I get to live HERE. With my fantastic husband — who gives me romance enough to keep wanting to write about it! two rambunctious daughters, and a circle of closely knit friends. I’m grateful. I’m happy. I love my life and thank the good Lord for His many blessings.

I won’t go on about the state of the house when I got home. Who cares! Or the strain on my husband’s face as he offered to take the girls to go visit friends for a bit. I smiled, kissed him deeply, and put the big kabosh on that idea. The massage was a lovely getaway, but I happily shuttled my girls upstairs and got them ready for bed. We curled up and watched American Idol as a family.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Romancing February – First Crushes & True Love! Contest Winner!

Thank you — everyone — for playing yesterday. We loved reading all of your entries, and everyone’s take on true love. I enjoyed them all, and passed the posts on to my DH, who read each with careful precision.

He is announcing the winner – Emma Lai!

* I think he saw a bit of himself in your post, with the turning a blind eye to the number of books you buy! LOL

Congratulations! Please e-mail me – Emma, to receive your Preview Copy of By Another Name!

Check Back on 2/6/2009 – for the Romancing February – True Love – Contest Winner

Read the blog below for some FABULOUS posts from the day! Click to view the new trailer!

The winner will be announced in the morning! Pacific Coast Time, that is! You have until Midnight Tonight to add your definition of True Love… I look forward to reading them all! and remember – Visit Once again… to “compete” in the Romancing February grand prize – a $75 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press – please join our blog-hop, starting with the wonderful blog-talents of Amber Leigh Williams. Next stop: Nan Jacobs – for her Silver Fox Tales!

http://silverfoxtales.blogspot.com/

Remember to visit http://www.mamawriters.com/ – a new blog by writer mamas, for mama writers. It’s all about the love…

Romancing February – First Crushes & True Love!

Good morning, everyone! Let me pour a cup of coffee and tell you a funny story…Ah! Now, then.

As a little girl, I dreamed about who my true love would be. A hopeful romantic, science fiction fan, and want-to-be-author, I remember playing house with Han Solo as my husband at the ripe old age of 7. He was a tough act to follow.

When I was a bit older, my best friend Kymmie and I chased boys in the playground (subtle, huh?), practiced cooking in her mother’s kitchen (mine would have died before she let us concoct such fare at my house!) and wondered what it would be like to grow up, get married, and have homes of our own.

Now, the mother of two little girls – I recently had the honor and horror of discovering my 4 – almost 5 year old has her first crush. First Crush? At almost 5?! I fell out of my chair. Specifically, I tipped off my perch on the bathroom counter as DD#1 splashed in the tub and told me she wanted to talk about boys, because SHE had a secret crush on a BOY! This sent her and her little sis into peals of laughter. Either at the concept of boys, or at the look on my face, I’m not sure which.

Boys?! okay. It’s not like I didn’t know it was coming. I just am not ready for it to come quite this soon. So, briefly closing my eyes and praying for the right words (a new habit of mine – knowing that God knows what the girls need to hear far more than I know what to tell them!)

“Sweetie?” I asked, voice low. “What does it mean to have a crush?”

“It means you whisper a lot.” She laughed, continuing to splash around. “Oh! And that you always have someone to play tag with.” Then, she began chanting her ‘boyfriend’s’ name over and over again.

Watching my baby, in all of her innocence, my heart warmed. True love–brilliantly defined by a 5 year old–means having someone to whisper with, and always having a partner to play your favorite game.

Late in the night, I shared this with my DH as we lay in the dark, my head in the hollow of his shoulder. He is my true love. My someone who whispers with me. Laughs with me. Knows what I need him to say or do, before I realize I need it. And, as a bonus–he shares the day to day like a champ. He will always be my Valentine. Last year he stood in line last year for over an hour to get me my favorite See’s candies — and the best part is, he could care less what it does to my waist-line.

So – for the Romancing February prize of the day -Tell me what True Love means to YOU!

We’ll review the answers, and my DH will help make the decision (Give him some good ideas, ladies!) The winner will receive a preview edition of my redemption-themed contemporary romance, “By Another Name” – Releasing April 11, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press.

Thanks for playing!

Once again… to “compete” in the Romancing February grand prize – a $75 gift certificate for The Wild Rose Press – please join our blog-hop, starting with the wonderful blog-talents of Amber Leigh Williams. Next stop: Nan Jacobs – for her Silver Fox Tales!

http://silverfoxtales.blogspot.com/

Remember to visit http://www.mamawriters.com/ – a new blog by writer mamas, for mama writers. It’s all about the love…

Show Don’t Tell

Here’s a hump-day question for you lovers of romance.

Would you rather your husband SHOW you he loves you, or TELL you he loves you?

I’ve been pondering this one this afternoon – as I am a romance writer, and I have a husband who is a shower. He tells me, too, yes. But sort of in that robotic way. The obligatory “I love you, bye” kind of way.

Now, for those of you who know him, he is a first generation American, born to Germans straight off the boat. Germans are very stoic sorts. They’re gruff. They’re a happy bunch when they’ve had a few brewskies. They’re also not terribly lovey dovey. HOWEVER, back in the day, we were a schmoop-fest. Things change. Kids come. Diapers. Years of spit up in the hair. Later, up all night with sick tummies and snotty noses. The romance is sure to dim somewhat.

So, is it better to have your lover SHOW you they love you – by pulling some weeds? doing dishes? playing with the kids so you can take a night off? bringing home takeout?

Or would you rather a sudden, unexpected heartfelt hug to all the soap bubbles in the world? This tired mommy wants to know, what works for you?

Anniversary…

Today is Perry and my 8th wedding anniversary. Lace and Linen, they say. Ooh la la. Well, it would have been – in life before toddlers! ha. My question to you is – what is the most romantic memory you have of your spouse? Anyone can be sexy… but romance? That is an art form.

My most romantic memory of my sweet husband is this… and it may seem silly to some, but those of you who know him know that Perry – world’s greatest sports fan – is also the world’s biggest softie. Here goes:

It was 1999. Summer. One of those long, lingering Hermosa beach days – where I beat both the marine layer and the sunset home from a marathon day at Adwire. I had the convertible top down on my red Mitsubishi Eclipse as I cruised down Sepulveda Blvd; in 99 I was probably blasting Train on the stereo, singing along about meeting Virginia at the top of my lungs…


That was back when I shared a beach house with two room-mates, our balcony had a sliver view of the Pacific on Manhattan and 2nd. Right across the street from Le Petite Bistro and Mickey’s Deli. This was where the boys played volleyball and girls like me loved the eye-candy. Back when I was going on dates, enjoying the company, the free meals, wine, and deciding for myself if I would or would not even give in to a goodnight kiss. What I loved about Hermosa, was that with so much to drink in, I knew that when a guy REALLY turned my head, I’d be in love for sure.

Perry was different from the get-go. He made me laugh. He made me think. He knew how to have fun and not worry about strings. He knew we were just getting to know each other, and that I was not serious about anything with anyone. Including him. But, one day, when I had a date with someone I don’t even remember his name and was hurrying home to get ready… there, on my doorstep, was a little tiny Star Wars – Phantom Menace dixie cup, full of Hershey’s kisses. He’d left a note, that he’d dropped by knowing I wouldn’t be home – on his way to a Dodgers/Padres game. He just wanted me to know he was thinking of me.

Whoever that guy I went on the date with (yes, I still went…) was toast. Sure, I devoured some Rockin’ Sushi on Hermosa. But, I floated home on a dream of Perry – His smile, his deep, tanned skin, his sweet, thoughtful nature. Was it possible this sexy, romantic guy was really into me? And why, darn it, did he live 90 miles south, in San Diego?

My life in LA LA land was drawing to a close. I knew it. Wendy, my best friend and boss, knew it. I had every intention of being Tucson bound. That summer Perry stepped in and changed all of my plans. He changed my life. He changed my future. And, take it from a gal who’s taken a LOT of wrong turns… He is the true love of my adult life – my soul mate – my partner in parenthood – and my very best friend.

My hope is that Rachel and Ellie will give themselves a chance to find true love, and not sell themselves short – and to find their soul mates – after they’ve gone to college and have fantastic careers, of course. 😉

~Ashley