No More “Happy Ever After”

How many times have you heard people say, “I’m going to write a book one day?” I muttered that phrase to myself many times. I’d sit down with a legal pad in hand and start writing about love gone wrong because as a teenager that’s usually the case. Later in my thirties when I  was a bit more serious about actually finishing a project, I took a seminar sponsored by Harlequin Books and wrote copious notes about “the formula.” All romance books have guidelines about when the lovers meet, how quickly they fall in love, what obstacles they face in their relationship, and how the book should end. I tried. I really did.  Continue reading

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My Favorite Things

My favorite things are books. When I glance at the new Oprah Magazine, I see a lot of wonderful gifts that could become my favorite things, but I always come back to books. When I’m stuck in a TSA line at the airport I just whip out my small version of the Kindle and start reading. I’m pacified until they ask for my boarding pass and ID. If the plane is late, no worries, my trusty Kindle will keep me occupied.

I have favorite books that I cherish more than gems in my jewelry box. I go back to them years later and delight in them once more. Now that I’m older and an author, I read them with a deeper understanding of the writing process and I savor the rich words and imagery. I’d like to share a couple of those that I cherish.

I am a super fan of author Ann Rice. I once stood five hours IN HEELS just to meet her and have her autograph a book. My feet were swollen to the point of bursting through my shoes.ann-rice-and-kelly-scan

No matter. I met the Queen of the Damned and was thrilled. Rice was gracious to her readers and sat in that chair for hours scribbling her autograph.

Here’s a passage from Rice’s  Interview With A Vampire: “They were all dressed in black, which was their at-home custom, and in the dark the black shapes of their dresses, massed together with their raven hair, so that in the glow of the candles their faces appeared as five soft shimmering apparitions, each uniquely sad, each uniquely courageous.”

One more paragraph from Interview with a Vampire: “She gasped as I broke the flesh, the warm current coming into me, her breasts crushed against me, her body arching up, helpless, from the couch. And I could see her eyes, even as I shut my own, see that taunting, provocative mouth. I was drawing on her, hard, lifting her,and I could feel her weakening, her hands dropping limp at her sides. ‘Tight, tight,’ I whispered over the hot stream of her blood, her heart thundering in my ears, her blood swelling my satiated veins.” Oh, my! Give me more of that.

Another classic book imprinted indelibly in my brain is The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough. The scandalous book is about a life-long love between Father Ralph de Bricassart and Meggie Cleary. Here’s a sample. “The priest smiled wryly and clasped his thin, very beautiful hands together so they made a pointed church roof. ‘I’ve known Meggie since she was ten years old, only days off the boat from New Zealand. You might in all truth say that I’ve known Meggie through flood and fire and emotional famine, and through death, and life. All that we have to bear. Meggie is the mirror in which I’m forced to view my mortality.'” Poor Meggie. She’d fallen for a truly unavailable man. I can only imagine what Dr. Phil would say to her!

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Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward from the TV miniseries The Thornbirds.

These are two of my favorite books. What are yours? Are there books you go back to again and again over the years and relish them just as much as you did the first time? I’d be interested in hearing about your faves. Add your comments below.

I had a wonderful time at the Enumclaw Wine Walk on 11/12/16. It’s always a treat to meet readers. A number of them bought my books and I want to say a big thank you. Congratulations to Maria Wilke of Lake Tapps WA who won a copy of  Black Phoenix.

 

I was recently notified I am a finalist in the AUTHORSHOW.COM contest 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. Earlier, I had asked you to vote for me to get me to the finals. Now, I am asking for you to vote for me to win the grand prize. It includes some very nice things like a marketing package. I’d be ever so grateful if you voted just one more time for me. Here’s the link:http://www.questionpro.com/a/TakeSurvey?id=5429436. I appreciate your help.

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WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS

 Publishing is a carnivorous business. The competition is keen and it’s a struggle to get your material noticed among the hundreds of thousands of books published yearly. One thing has become crystal clear since I became an author-I’ve learned that I need help and lots of it. I rely on my friends to give me feedback and yes, to help promote my book when it’s done. The Beatles said it so well, “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends.”

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One of my best friends is Sandra Nachlinger, a talented writer and terrific editor. She is the first person I turn to when my book is complete. She has an awesome editing eye and catches many mistakes in my raw manuscript.

It’s her other gift that I wanted to share with you today. Sandy has penned two romance novels and I asked her how her journey to successful author began. “I wrote my first love story in elementary school. It takes place on Halloween, and the heroine receives a kiss as the happy ending. I’ve written short stories and articles for magazines for many years. My first book (I.O.U. Sex) was co-written with my best friend Sandra Allen in 2010.”

I.O.U. Sex is such an intriguing title. I had to know how the two Sandras came up with that title. Sandy chuckled when she explained, “The idea for my first book came from my high school diary. I’ve known my I.O.U.Sex co-author since 8th grade, and we nearly died laughing when we read my high school diary. Reminiscing about our high school boyfriends and speculating about their current whereabouts led to the book’s premise.”

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I was curious and asked Sandy if she had ever considered contacting her high school boyfriend. I found mine in Fairbanks, Alaska. Her eyes sparkled and she gave me a big grin. “You wouldn’t believe how many people have asked if I.O.U. Sex is based in reality! No, my co-author and I did not track down our high school boyfriends, and we certainly didn’t hook up with them. But we had a lot of fun imagining what would happen if our characters did that.” Pour a glass of wine and settle in for a charming, funny, bittersweet saga.

https://www.amazon.com/I-O-U-Sex-Sandra-Nachlinger-ebook/dp/B004CFAPA4/

Sandy followed her initial novel with Bluebonnets for Elly. “My second book is a more traditional sweet romance with a younger hero and heroine. It was picked up and released by Sweet Cravings Publishing (an imprint of Secret Cravings Publishing). Unfortunately, like many smaller presses recently, they went out of business. I then re-releasefinal-bread-betterd it as a self-published novel. Although bits and pieces of people I’ve known appear in Bluebonnets for Elly, the plot and characters are purely imaginative. However, I spent many summers at Lake Texoma (the book’s setting) and the nearby small town of Pottsboro, Texas. They definitely inspired my depiction of the area where Elly and her grandmother live.”

https://www.amazon.com/Bluebonnets-Elly-Sandra-Nachlinger-ebook/dp/B01C7KMBN4

Sandy stays busy with a blog of her own called Writing With a Texas Twang and writes articles about a variety of subjects. She often introduces her followers to books that she has recently read and recommends. If you’d like to take a look, here’s the link: https://SandraNachlinger.blogspot.com