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So, This Is It

Renee: Sheesh! I don’t even know what to say. Am I sad to see RRT come to a close? Yes! Three years ago, one of our original members saw a need for those of us who were persuing publication to have a public forum. With her help we launched Romance Roundtable. During those three years we’ve seen writers come and writers move on. I have a quote written by Robin Perini on one of my taglines that says, “A successful writer is willing to do that which and unsuccessful writer is not willing to do”. When I first added that quote to my vocabulary it meant staying up late, rising early, sacrificing television shows and skippig dinners. All in all, it meant knowing when to say no. And as hard as it was to do it, the Tablers realized that we could no longer say yes to blog time when we needed to focus on personal writing time. In essence, a successful writer is willing to move on, to move forward.

So as we leave you with this final group post, know that we aren’t disappearing from the writing world, instead we are moving further into the writing world and hope to soon take it by storm!

Until then, blessings!

Laurie:

We’ve had a great ride on the Roundtable! Although it’s sad to bring our time here to an end, it’s also a new beginning. We will still be around writing and hanging out in our forum. We’ve made so many wonderful friends the past three years and will be staying in touch and following your careers. Thanks to all you that have made this such a wonderful place to be. We’ll be seeing you around!

 

Brynna:

When we started the blog three years ago, I added my bio and works in progress and this little tidbit about me:

A Few of My Favorite Things:

–Novels that touch my emotions so deeply that I’ll go without sleep just to finish them and still long for them never to end.

–Music that haunts my mind and my memory and takes me both on journeys to places far away and to places hidden deep within.

–Photographs that tell stories all their own and enliven my imagination with the possibilities of what could be if I simply believe in my dreams.

–Animals (especially dogs) who teach us by example about unconditional love and who teach us to respect every part, every breath of our Father’s creation.

and as we say goodbye (for now), I’ll add:

–Friends who stick by me through the hills and valleys of this road we’re all traveling together, who never let me lose faith in myself though the storms come, who take each little success and celebrate it as if it’s the biggest of dreams, who make memories with me to take into each new day, who teach me, encourage me, laugh with me, and love me just because I’m me.

Here’s to the Romance Roundtable writers and readers–I appreciate each and every one of you.

Christiana:
There are so many things about Romance Roundtable that I enjoyed and that I’ll miss!  I loved seeing other points of view on so many topics.  If I asked a question in my posts, I got a plethora of great answers full of wisdom and good old common sense.

There were great book reviews that have stacked my TBR pile to the ceiling.  There were terrific ideas on what to write, how to write, and finding time to write…

Great posts on pets, day to day living, travel logs, publishing…

I enjoyed Caption Wednesday, Accountability Friday, Question of the Week, the Hunkalicious Hunks, not to mention my SURPRISE PARTY!!

And even though I’ll miss these posts, I’m really glad I got to be a part of a group filled with kind, good natured women who only wanted what’s best for ‘the girls’ on their blog.  Thanks for including me.  It means more to me then you know.

Terri:

RRT began as an idea for me to grow as a writer with a group of warm, welcoming people who accepted me and encouraged my writing.  From the language of flowers to the late Sam’s beer reviews and even to a half baked idea called Hunkalicious Friday, I was never told, “Impossible, you lack the talent to do this.”  In fact, I was encouraged and supported to write more, grow more, and delve more into my creativity no matter how crazy the idea. 

I may never be a published author, and RRT will end with this blog, but to harsh reality there are gems.  I am a proud member of a wonderful group of writers and will cherish this membership forever.

Anastasia:

As someone that has moved from one country to another too many times, I don’t like goodbyes. Through the years, I’ve come to realize that those people I’ve encounter in my journeys, who have touched my heart, are never forgotten. Those are the friendship’s that pass the test of time. So today, three years after we started on these journey and as we close the doors of RRT, I won’t be saying goodbye. I’ll say, thank you for the friendship, the support, and the memories. I’ll see you later! Hasta luego! Tot ziens! Arrivederci! And au revoir!

Sasha:
If anyone had told me three years ago where I would be today, I would have laughed out loud. Writing for me was little more than a dream that I kept locked away in the deepest darkest corner of my mind. Then came the Avon contest, and a group of writers who decided they had had so much fun they wanted to keep going after the contest ended. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was a bonafide member of the Romance Roundtable, and I was writing! I still have the urge to pinch myself on occasion, and I still feel awed to be included in such a talented group of writers.

In the last three years I’ve grown as a writer. I’ve learned. I’ve laughed. I’ve had my butt kicked. And I’ve been offered any number of shoulders to cry on, no matter the crisis. To say I wouldn’t trade the last three years for anything is an understatement. To say it’s one of the greatest experiences of my life is also an understatement. So all that is left to say now is goodbye, and for that, I offer a few words from an unknown author: Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you until we meet again!

Alice:
Still want to hang out with us?  You can!

You can find us at http://writers.romanceroundtable.com/

There is an enrollment process to be able to see and post on parts of our forum.  This is because we got slammed with some bad spam and had to close ranks in self defense.  This blog was part of our effort to reach out past the barriers we were forced to erect.

Now that we know you, we want to keep up with you.  Come by and say “hi”.  Don’t worry about approval, as soon as we see that you aren’t a spam bot, we’ll let you in.  And thanks for hanging out with us in this little corner of the blogoverse.

Goodbye for Now

The past three years have been a rush! Not only did I enjoy the community of my fellow bloggers and our wonderful visitors, but I loved all of the wonderful guest authors we’ve hosted over the years. Who can forget those fabulous posts by Sherry Thomas, Judi Fennell, Victoria Alexander, Toni Blake, Eloisa James, Jenna Petersen, Michelle Willingham, and the incomparable Anna Campbell! These authors have inspired us, encouraged us, and shared their wisdom and experience.

Then there were the newly minted authors, many of whom were Avon Fanlit alumni just like us, that in their success, we found hope for our own. Beverley Kendell, Tessa Dare, Lori Brighton, and Lisa Marie Wilkinson are some of those authors that we were excited to share in the celebration of their triumphs.

There have been many more authors that were kind of enough to spend the day with us and I can’t possibly list them all here, but we enjoyed visiting with each of them and loved hearing about their journeys.

The Roundtable has been such a great experience for me. It’s taught me how to stretch my wings, push past my barriers, and share a piece of myself with the reading and writing community. It’s been a truly wonderful way to meet other writers and share our experiences on this rocky road to publication.

Renee wrote of beautiful seasons, Brynna of milestones and memories, and Alice of taking a hiatus from The Romance Roundtable. I’d just like to add that this isn’t the end for us, but the beginning of a new chapter in our career paths. So I’m just going to say goodbye for now.

Thanks to all of you! And stay in touch!! You can always find us at the Writers of the Roundtable forum – www.writers.romanceroundtable.com. We look forward to seeing you!

Hiatus

Hiatus.

That’s how I think of this is.

It’s not so much that we are coming to the end of a great idea as that we are taking a little break from it. We’ve decided to stop blogging here for now, knowing full well we might be back some time in the indefinite future. We’re just taking a breather.

It’s been quite the run. When I sold my first book, this was the first place I wanted to visit to make my announcement. And what a reception! Everyone here made me feel so wonderful. I’ve met all kinds of interesting writers here, learned so much from my fellow blogging-author’s from their insight to their research, and generally enjoyed myself here.

It’s hard to believe it was three years. Seems like a year and a half to me. Sure a lot happened. I’m far from the only one to make my first sale in this time. But I it still doesn’t seem that long to me.

I’ll still be blogging on my personal blog. When we were thinking of quitting here, I was also thinking about quitting there. I’d noticed that a lot of blogs and hubs that were going strong a year ago are gone or fading now. But I think I’ll stick it out, if nothing else, so there will be a warm place for my friends from here to guest when their books come out.

Even though we are taking a break now, this was a great idea. I’m glad we did it.

And since it’s Wednesday, I’ll leave you all with one last bit of weirdness. Captions, anyone?

Milestones and Memories

Today marks TWO milestones on my writing journey.

 

The first one—

Today, November 2, 2010, I’ve officially written more than

100 words a day for 365 days in a row.

In all the years I’ve been writing and in all the times I’ve written the words on the first page of a spiral—“I want to write, so this year I WILL write every day”—this year is the first year I’ve actually accomplished the task. No fudging. No writing something for work and counting it as part of my 100 words. No writing a blog or a post here or there and counting it. I’ve actually written somewhere around 140+ CREATIVE words every day for 365 days—one WHOLE year. And while the pantser in me knows I’ll have to weave those words together, another big thing for me with this challenge is that all the words have been for my two works in progress—my two Victorian gothics. One is further along than the other with the weaving process, but both have grown in character and shape and story. So I celebrate this “milestone marker” today.

The second one—

TODAY, I’ve written posts for the Romance Roundtable for three years.

When we first started this blog, I had no idea what to write, how to post, how to tag, or how to do ANYTHING associated with a blog. And while this milestone doesn’t mark me a professional, I’m way less anxious about creating my own blog when the time comes. Now, I know a thing or two about what it takes to create a post, but more importantly, now I know I can count on my ROUNDTABLE friends to help me as they’ve done every day for these past three years. So today, I want to say THANK YOU for all of you who’ve contributed posts and guest blogs and have made comments. Each of you has helped to make the ROMANCE ROUNDTABLE more than just another site in the blogosphere. We may have decided to employ our efforts in a different arena of this writing world, but I can say from my heart, that the last three years were special because of each one of you. I am thankful for every memory of these three years and I am thankful for my FRIENDS who travel this writing road with me.

So I celebrate this “milestone marker” today with YOU!

 

What “milestones” have you counted this past year (or these past three)? On this last week of the Romance Roundtable, share YOUR successes with us.

HUGS and BEST WISHES to each of you!
BRYNNA

       

Welcome Guest Author, LORI BRIGHTON!

Please welome a great friend of the Rountable and my personal pal, LORI BRIGHTON.

Lori’s going to answer a few questions, talk about her books, both past, present and future!  And two, yep I said TWO lucky commenters will received a free download of her recent release, THE GHOST HUNTER! 

And here we go!!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?  How long did you write before you subbed your first story?  And how long did you write before you sold your first piece?

No, I didn’t really want to be a writer. I know, that’s not the answer you normally hear. lol. I’d always had a huge imagination and loved to read and watch T.V./movies. But I didn’t even think about becoming an author until I was in my twenties.

After I wrote my first romance, I think I subbed right away, like maybe a year after I started. I was rejected, and rejected and rejected. It took me about seven years to finally sell my debut book, Wild Heart, to Kensington.

Who are your favorite authors?  Do you have a favorite outside the romance genre?

Julie Garwood was the first romance author I read and I totally fell in love with her historicals. I think Johanna Lindsey was second, and again, I just fell in love. They’ll always be my favorites. I just don’t think authors write with that much emotion and romance anymore. As for outside the romance genre…hmm…maybe some books from my younger years like Anne of Green Gables and The Chronicles of Narnia. 

Of all the characters you’ve written, do you have a favorite?  If so, who is he/she and why is that character your favorite?

Honestly, I think Ella from my debut book, Wild Heart, is my favorite. She’s so kind and caring, yet will go to the extreme for the person she loves.

Not sure I can pick a hero. I do like Colin from Wild Desire, which will be out in March. He’s so charming and rakish. He reminds me of Indiana Jones.

WILD HEART is an historical romance with paranormal elements.  When you decided to write THE GHOST HUNTER what made you change to contemporary paranormal romance?

I’ve always planned to write every genre. The first book I wrote was actually a contemporary romantic suspense that finaled in a few contests. And now I’m working on a young adult. So it’s not surprising that I’ve branched out. I’ve always been interested in the paranormal. Even though Wild Heart is a historical, it does have a little paranormal too.

On the subject of THE GHOST HUNTER, many people have commented that they are really interested in what happens to Devon.  Will you be offering a sequel?Yes! I will write a book with

Devon starring as the hero. I’m so bad though, I only work well under a deadline and since these are self published, I don’t have a tight deadline, so I find myself wandering around.

Also, you chose to self-publish THE GHOST HUNTER.  What lead you that decision?

I’ll be honest, every editor I sent to rejected it. One rejected it just because it has ghosts in it and according to her, they didn’t buy books with ghosts. But I wasn’t ready to give up on the book. Fortunately, a friend told me about self publishing and I realized The Ghost Hunter would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. I mean, why not? It was just sitting on my computer.

With that said, I have friends who self published and have never been published by a New York publisher, friends who didn’t even send to New York but self published directly because they wanted to keep control of their work. Three women I know are doing incredibly well, much, much better than I am and making super good money and they (unlike me) were never even published prior to this.

Honestly, just like in the New York publishing world, you never know who will be successful and who won’t.

 Before we offer a blurb of THE GHOST HUNTER, would you mind sharing a little about your upcoming release WILD DESIRE coming in March of 2011?

Yes! I loved writing Wild Desire. It just flowed together so well. It’s a fun, adventurous story and it stars Colin, a secondary character from Wild Heart. Here’s a blurb below:

FIRST HE DROVE HER MAD

In what feels like a moment, Beatrice Edmund goes from being a proper lady cooped up in a stuffy Scottish castle to traveling miles from anything she’s ever known, in the midst of the wildest adventure of her life. And at the center of that adventure is the most infuriating, puzzling scoundrel on earth. She cannot take her eyes off him.

THEN HE DROVE HER WILD

Colin Fitch cannot deny he’s drawn to Beatrice—but lust is all he could possibly feel for the sharp-tongued minx. Still, if there’s a chance she can help him stop the madman he pursues, he must withstand her obvious disapproval. Yet withstanding the longing he feels for her is growing more troublesome by the second… And Colin has never been terribly good at staying out of trouble…

And of course I have to give you a blurb of The Ghost Hunter as well!

When Ashley Hunter inherits the Inn where her father mysteriously vanished years ago, she jumps at the chance to finally uncover the truth about his disappearance. But soon after taking ownership of the decrepit building, Ashley realizes she’s in for far more than she bargained. Not only has she inherited answers to many sought-after questions, she’s also inherited spirits, demons and even fallen angels! Then Cristian arrives, a gorgeous man who insists he merely needs a room to rent. She believes him, until one by one her ghosts start disappearing…

As a fallen angel destined for a life of servitude, Cristian Lucius is relegated to protecting earth from unwanted spirits. But he can’t accomplish this daunting task alone. He requires assistance from the very woman who frustrates him as much as she intrigues him. Cristian is determined to ignore his intense attraction for Ashley, and focus on his mission. If they don’t work together, they won’t have a chance in hell of defeating the demon threatening their lives. The problem is getting Ashley to trust him. No easy task, considering Cristian is the very man responsible for her father’s disappearance.

Thank you Lori for stopping by and sharing your views, your news and your stories! 

And remember to comment for your chance to win THE GHOST HUNTER…Just in time for HALLOWEEN!!!!

You can find Lori’s work on Amazon.com, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble online!

A Ghost of a Good Read

When Kelly suggested we read a Jennifer Crusie book for this month’s review, I jumped at the chance to read this award-winning author’s latest. The funny thing, though, is we both chose this book even though we THOUGHT it wouldn’t quite fit in with the whole Halloween thing happening in the next couple of days. Boy, were we wrong. If you want a must-read, can’t-put-down thrill ride, Jennifer Crusie’s latest, her first solo novel in six years, MAYBE THIS TIME is definitely the book for you.

Maybe This Time

To read more about this fabulous author, her books, and to enjoy her unique wit, please visit her blog at  http://www.jennycrusie.com/

And now the reviews:

Brynna said:  High school English teacher Andromeda Miller and attorney North Archer have been divorced nine years longer than the one they were married. Their passionate, whirl-wind romance ended when North’s negligence of Andie in favor of his job took its toll. But just when Andie decides to return every alimony check North has sent her over the past years, checks she’d never cashed, so she can close that chapter of her life and move on with her new fiancé, North has one last request of her.

To take care of and to teach the two children of whom he’s recently been granted guardianship. For a month. Only a month.

Because the amount he offers to pay her for the task would be enough to move her completely out of debt, Andie agrees.

She just never counts on a cantankerous housekeeper, two surly children, a promiscuous reporter, a cynical professor, an angry fiancé, a madam, a séance, and three ghosts to make it interesting.

Oh, and of course, there’s also North, who says he’s changed. Can Andie really believe him?

Maybe this time.

I approached this book with high expectations of humor and romance and that Crusie flair I’d heard so much about, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although the romance took a back seat to the mystery and the paranormal elements, Andie and North’s connection was the glue and the common sense that made the story work. I’m not much for books that scare me, but I can say there were true moments of REAL tension in this story and the focus on the kids kept me on the edge of my seat. This one is a page turner. Be ready for some surprises, a twist or two, some steam, and a passionate connection between the hero and heroine, and you’ll certainly enjoy this wild Crusie ride, er read.

Kelly said: Andie Miller ran away from a marriage in which she felt like the only participant, and she hasn’t stopped running since. But a final confrontation with her ex, North Archer, which was meant to close the book on that chapter of her life, instead finds her embroiled in a mess. Stuck in the wilds of southern Ohio in a crumbling castle for a month, Andie is tasked with the care and education of North’s wards, two children who want nothing to do with her, him, or the world outside of their home.

Then the dreams start. Or, at least, she thinks they’re dreams. Images of a stern, oddly dressed woman, of a man on the roof, and of a dancing woman who speaks to her at night and has the hots for North.

But they’re just dreams, right? After all, there’s no such thing as ghosts.

The next thing Andie knows, she’s dealing with so much more than recalcitrant children and a shady housekeeper. Suddenly the house is full of ex-family members, her new fiance, experts in the paranormal, a conniving reporter … oh, and North shows up, ready to start anew, just as things start to get interesting.

As I know I’ve mentioned before, Jennifer Crusie is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors ever, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of a new novel, one that hasn’t been co-authored, for the last 5 1/2 years (ever since I read Bet Me while waiting for a delayed train in DC’s Union Station and was completely hooked). Maybe This Time isn’t quite the novel I had expected, but it certainly disappoint. Packed with the quirky characters, witty dialogue, and unexpected plot twists that define a Crusie story, Maybe This Time is a jaunty ride from cover to cover. And if the pacing is a little more frenetic, the sentences a little more meandering than in her previous novels, well, hey – it’s still a darned terrific read.

Let’s Celebrate!

We are excited to welcome to the table a favorite of the Roundtablers, Lori Brighton!

Laurie: Welcome Lori! So, what have you been up to lately?

Lori: Well…I have a new release out. A contemporary paranormal romance called The Ghost Hunter. It’s available…

*Renee runs into the room waving her hands like she’s being attacked by a swarm of bees* Whoa, whoa, whoaaaaaa! What’s Lori doing here?

*Lori takes a sip of her ice water*

*Laurie tilts her head to the side* What do you mean, Renee? She’s our guest blogger.”

No, no, no she’s not *Shaking her head, Renee paces the floor* Christiana’s new release is out today!

Laurie: You’re absolutely right. Lori Brighton is suppose to be joining us on Friday, October 29th. Today we are celebrating the release of Yesterday’s Indiscretions!

Renee: Yep! and we all want to say…

 

Yesterday’s Indiscretion by Harris Channing

Be very careful what you wish for…

Thirty-something kindergarten teacher Lindy Whittaker has decided it’s time to marry and start a family. Steven Hamilton, a successful businessman, seems to be “Mr. Right.”

But when Michael “Mac” MacIntyre, her former lover, who happens to be ten years her junior, comes to town, will he ruin all of Lindy’s well-laid plans? Will she find love in stability or in passion? And will the choice she makes lead her into blissful happiness or terrifying danger?

Congratulations, Christiana, from all your friends!!!

Writing on the Fly

I’m still scratching my head over this, but I’ve recently realized that the only place I’m doing any writing is in the front seat of the pickup while zipping down the road to a football game.  Unfortunately, that’s not a daily event, which means neither is my writing. 

For those of you following the saga of my (non) writing life, I’ve come to such a standstill about putting words on paper that I have felt embarressed and untruthful about calling myself a writer.

But then I began to notice something rather odd.  It all started on the second day of the actual writing part of Book in a Week.  Those of us taking the class were supposed to dive in with both feet and all ten fingers and write like the wind for one week.  I did okay the first day.  Nothing to write home about word count wise, but I was writing.  That was Saturday.  Then came Sunday.  Go to church, eat lunch, hurry home and change clothes so we can head out on a sixty mile drive to watch our grandson play an intermural football game. 

I decided I would take my laptop with me and try to write on the way to the game and on the way home.  Honestly, I didn’t expect to get anything done, but strangely enough, I wrote.  Quite a bit.  For me.  Still nothing to write home about on the word count, but I wrote.

And so it has gone.  Sunday rolls around, I grab my laptop and jump in the pickup.  It doesn’t seem to matter that darling hubby wants to talk as he drives.  I just mutter uh-huh a lot and keep on tappity tapping away.  I’ve even been writing while the grandson is playing.  I know, I know.  Grandma’s supposed to be watching every spine-tingling moment, but when everyone starts yelling and honking horns, I ask Grandpa and he fills me in on the latest greatest play.  I know.  Bad Grandma, but hey, how can I say no to the words oozing out the ends of my fingers.  When you gotta write, you gotta write.

This past Sunday was no exception.  I managed to pound out twelve hundred and some odd words, crafting a scene that I really didn’t know how would work, or even how it was supposed to play out.  There’s one little bit near the end that pleases me immensely.  Just hope I don’t wind up cutting the whole thing out later on.

What about you?  Can you write on the fly?  Or do you need peace and quiet and familiar surroundings to get the words to flow?  What’s the weirdest, or maybe the most unusal, place you’ve ever had the urge to write?  For me, I guess I’ll have to start bribing hubby to drive me around the block a couple hundred times in order to get anything done, but hey, that’s better than not writing at all!

Happy writing, everyone, no matter how you do it!

Of “Dog Years” and Dating

We writers often speak of “showing” a scene rather than “telling” the reader about it, and the concept makes sense to me. People tend to understand things more clearly when we allow them to visualize the images in their minds. Words in and of themselves are really just concrete representations of the images we’ve constructed the letters to represent. We speak and write and communicate with an often necessary metaphorical language.

As a writer I can understand that.

We want to help our audience envision the world we see in our heads, and by making comparisons to a more common reality, we can communicate our visions much more precisely. What fascinates me is that our society still has a tendency to equate certain human characteristics, qualities, and/or actions with those of our animal brethren. The image of certain animals comes quickly to mind when we find we need just the right word for those “special” moments.

Oftentimes children are called kittens or cubs or lambs or pups, and men can be called bears or foxes or dogs or jackasses. And while women have been known by more negative associations, such as hyena and cow and bitch and crow, I’m happy to note a more positive analogy of late.

The cougar.

 

I have no idea who dreamed up the use of this term for a woman who has a relationship with a younger man or even, in reality, what is truly meant by the connotation. Even when I “googled” the word in this context to uncover some sort of answer, I found a mixed reaction and a mixed history. According to Wikipedia, the definition should only be applied to a woman who dates a man her junior by eight years or more. Since I’m only 4 ½ years older than my dh of 20 years, I guess that rules me out. Some say the word is still a negative hit for women—another word for a “catty” female. Others say it means an older woman who is “hot” and “sleek” and “sexy.” Since I find cougars to be unbelievably beautiful and crafty and intelligent, I think I’ll go with the latter.

Since time began, men have been able to date women several years younger than they are, but women are just catching up with the trend. I think it’s about time. Why shouldn’t we be able to find the one true heart that matches our own even if he was born a few years later than we were?

What about you? Do you think “traditional” relationships have more of a chance to succeed? Or do you think a woman can find real and lasting love with a man who might be a “dog year” or more younger than she?

What’s Your Favorite Story Premise?

 

We all know that genre fiction tends to follow certain patterns and it’s our job as writers to put a new spin on those patterns.  Even so, there are storylines (even with new twists) we like to see time and time again, such as the secret baby, the reunited lovers, the Cinderella stories, and many many more.  So my question for you today is a simple one:

What story premise (or “generalized” foundation for a story) do you NEVER get tired of seeing?

My answer is easy and it hasn’t changed since I was a child:  I’ll never tire of reading about the little cinder girl getting her prince. :)

What’s Your Game?

I love games. I can spend hours playing the solitaire and other games that came on my computer. Spider, Freecell, Hearts, Mahjong Titans, their insidious whispers call to me. “Sucker, come here. Just play once. I won’t tell anyone.” And I agree. I’ll only play one game and then I’ll get to work, but one game becomes two, then two becomes more until before I know it the evening is shot.

My latest downfall is Bubble Shooter over on Alice Audrey’s website. I get sucked into that game pitting myself against the everfalling bubbles, trying to zap them all before they come down over my head. I use to have dreams about that very subject – something coming down over my head – so it brings with it a certain anxiety. But, I can’t stop playing.

Another game I love is Bejeweled. Thank goodness I ran out of the free trial because that is one addictive game. I think I heard somewhere that Bejeweled is one of the most popular game downloads. I don’t doubt it.

I know I shouldn’t be playing and I won’t buy them, but I can’t get myself to get rid of the ones I’ve got. So, I’ve made a pact with myself. I can play one game for every 500 words I write. I think that’s fair. I’m proud of myself for taking a stand.

Okay, time to write my 500 words – just as soon as I finish this game.

How about you? What’s your game?

Winner of Ashley March’s Seducing the Duchess!

Congratulations… Keena Kincaid!! Please shoot us an email with your snail mail address. Looks like you’re in for a treat! SEDUCING THE DUCHESS looks like a delicious read!

Monday’s Question: Columbus Day, Yay or Nay?

I have a friend who thinks Columbus Day is a meaningless holiday. She refuses to credit good old Chris Columbus with discovering America since natives were here long before those three ships sailed the Ocean Blue in fourteen hundred and ninety two (sorry, couldn’t resist :D ). I’m thinking that since she’s half American Indian, that might have something to do with her viewpoint.

So my questions today are: Do you believe that Christopher Columbus “discovered” America? Should we have a Columbus Day holiday? Can you name some potential holidays we could celebrate instead? And finally, if you don’t have to work, how are you spending your extra day off?

Author Ashley March on Writing About the Temptress Heroine

We are excited to welcome guest author Ashley March to the Roundtable today! Her debut Victorian romance, SEDUCING THE DUCHESS, was just released on October 5 from Signet Books. Congratulations, Ashley! It’s wonderful that you could visit with us today!

First of all, thank you to Laurie and the rest of the Romance Roundtable crew for hosting me today! I’m excited to be here and to tell you a little bit about my struggle (yes, struggle!) in writing my debut novel, Seducing the Duchess.

The reason I say it was difficult to write Seducing the Duchess is because not only did I choose to write a reconciliation story, which is somewhat of a challenge in itself, but I also chose a heroine who has a temptress personality. We always hear people advising us to write what you know, right? When I first thought of Charlotte, my heroine, I had no idea how to write about a temptress because my personality is completely opposite. Whereas I’m introverted and shy, Charlotte is outgoing and overtly sexual at times. She enjoys taunting the hero, her husband Philip, and is accustomed to using her body to get what she wants. This doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s promiscuous, but that she has a talent for manipulating men as a result of their desire for her.

With that being said, she doesn’t sound much like a heroine any reader would root for, does she? We may like our heroines to be strong, smart, and independent, but usually (at least in my experience) we don’t want them to be too self-assured or cocky. Yet that’s what Charlotte has become. Just as the stoic and self-controlled Philip has his own masks to wear, so Charlotte wears the temptress mask as a measure of self-defense. The key—and challenge—in writing her this way was that I had to show the reader over the course of the book that while Charlotte does have a certain femme fatale aspect to her, beneath the mask she is vulnerable and even fragile when it comes to Philip.

Because I couldn’t draw from my own personality, I based my inspiration for Charlotte’s character on Scarlett from Gone with the Wind (although I didn’t intend their names to be so similar). Just like Scarlett is beautiful, impulsive, and strong, so is Charlotte in Seducing the Duchess. And just as no man except Rhett can pierce through Scarlett’s armor, so is Charlotte weakest when it comes to Philip.

While I struggled to write Charlotte, knowing that she must gain the reader’s sympathy, I also discovered it was a lot of fun. Delving into her character was almost like putting on my own mask, saying and doing things I would otherwise never think of doing. Although I was skeptical of writing a temptress heroine at the beginning, now I’m grateful for the idea. Not only do I think it’s made me a better writer in terms of developing characters, but I’m also more willing now to go for the unusual in writing historical romance…whether that means a different type of character, setting, or plot line.

As for Charlotte…I think I succeeded in making her a heroine readers can root for. But just to be sure, I’d love for you to have a chance to win a copy of Seducing the Duchess and let me know what you think! Simply comment below and tell me if a) you’ve ever taken a risk in writing about something unusual in your own story, or b) the last romance novel where you read about something (character, setting, plot line, etc.) you don’t normally see in romances, and why you liked it. One random commenter will win the copy of Seducing the Duchess.

Here’s a taste of SEDUCING THE DUCHESS:

It was just another scandalous night…

Gambling. Carousing. Flirting. Charlotte, Duchess of Rutherford, will do anything to create a scandal large enough to force her husband to finally petition for a divorce. Once madly in love with Philip, she is now determined to escape from their less than civil marriage and the reminders of his betrayal.

Until he stole her away…

Philip Burgess, Duke of Rutherford, is not a man to tolerate regrets. He wed Charlotte for revenge, not for love or convenience, knowing she would come to hate him. But he never expected he would one day find himself craving her attention or desiring her company….

And gave her something more…

Philip is no longer the cold, deceitful man she married years ago. And when he promises Charlotte a divorce if she will help him become a better husband for another woman, she wonders if she truly wants to lose him—and if Philip may still possess her heart after all….

Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win a copy!

A Second Chance at Love

I recently watched the movie Letters to Juliet. From those of you that haven’t seen it, here is the movie trailer and blurb from the official website:

In Verona, Italy – the beautiful city where Romeo first met Juliet – there is a place where the heartbroken leave notes asking Juliet for her help. It’s there that aspiring writer Sophie finds a 50-year-old letter that will change her life forever. As she sets off on a romantic journey of the heart with the letter’s author, Claire, now a grandmother, and her handsome grandson, all three will discover that sometimes the greatest love story ever told is your own.

“Sorry I’m late.”

“When we speak about love, it’s never too late.”

Claire and Lorenzo after missing their first chance at love, get a second fifty years later. How delicious that the two actors who played them also got their second chance at love.

Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero met in 1967 during the filming of Camelot, she playing Guenevere and he Lancelot. In 1969 they had a son, Carlo. They remained in touch over the years and worked together in several movies, often in relationships with other people. They exchanged vows in 2006, almost 40 years from when they first met.

The chemistry between these two beautiful people is evident on the screen and they portrayed a couple very much in love. Not surprising considering that’s what they are.

In a May 14, 2010 interview written by Susan King in the LA Times:

“I always loved her,” he says.

“I did love him,” adds Redgrave.

“I think when you become a little bit older, I think you become wiser,” says Nero.

~*~*~

Do you like books and movies where after being pulled apart by circumstance, the characters find each other again years later and get a second chance at love?

Can you name any?