Yes, Mr. Angry Young Man. There is a Happily Ever After.

If you’re a romance writer, then you are probably aware of the drama going on regarding the question how much romance is necessary for a story to be classified a romance novel. I think of it as the Great Controversy.

If you’re a reader, hopefully you haven’t noticed.

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SInce I’ve always had more romance than plot in my manuscripts, the Great Controversy is something I hadn’t thought much about. Not because I didn’t care but because I know what happens when you try to quantify the subjective.

Fools run errands and those wild geese you’re chasing bite back.

It’s like trying to eat a spaghetti sandwich. It’s possible, but you’re left with a mess and you’ve lost half of your noodles.

So, this summer, I let the Great Controversy go. I left it to others who are more articulate than I to work out the answers. Then I forgot about it.

Until I went to the airport for my flight to San Antonio for the annual RWA Conference and met the Angry Young Man.

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Tall. Shaved head. Sharp tongue. His dark tattoos threatened to slash me, but it was his words that cut.

Romance novels?  Pathetic. Formulaic. Pornographic.

I stepped away quickly, not wanting to engage in an argument before boarding a plane.

Yet, despite his derision, his eyes held desperate questions.

Will I ever be loved?

Will I ever love another?

Are Happily Ever Afters real?

To read more, please join me today at Kiss and Thrill or click here to continue reading. Continue reading

Heather Ashby’s Never Forget: A Suzanne Brockmann Recommendation

I am so excited to welcome back one of my favorite Golden Heart sisters Heather Ashby. Today we’re talking about her newest release  Never Forget and the most amazing author endorsement ever!!!

“A must-read for fans of military romantic suspense. This book is part of a series, but it stands very much alone. If you enjoy my Troubleshooters, Heather’s definitely an author to check out! Amazing book, amazing author, amazing series.”

                                                                                             – Suzanne Brockmann

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HA: Thanks for inviting me today, Sharon. It’s always exciting to visit “Kiss and Thrill.” I’m thrilled to share Book #3 in my “Love in the Fleet” series with your readers.

 Never Forget

 With 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel melted into her bow, what if there are more souls aboard the USS New York than the sailors and Marines stationed there? And what if those souls can help the troops defeat al-Qaeda this time?

When Royal Navy officer Gwyn Pritchard reports for exchange duty aboard USS New York, she’s the only one who sees 9/11 spirits roaming the decks. The daughter of a famous Welsh psychic, Gwyn learns the spirits must complete a mission in order to pass to the other side.

The sole survivor of an IED blast in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor has his own issues. But when he discovers that the British officer sees ghosts aboard their ship, he becomes her confidant—and lover.

Passions rise to fever pitch when New York rushes to liberate British and American hostages in North Africa before al-Qaeda’s deadline. Can the spirits gather the right intelligence to help the Marines save the prisoners? Can Gwyn help the ghosts move on to the light? And can Adam and Gwyn find the love they’ve searched the world over for?

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SW: For my first question I just have to ask, “How did you get Suzanne Brockmann to give you a cover quote?”

HA: I asked Suzanne in person when she presented at our chapter meeting, so I had the opportunity to see her jaw drop when I told her about the USS New York and the 9/11 spirits on board. (Yes, there really IS 7.5 tons of WTC steel in the New York’s bow.) However, since Suzanne is well-known for supporting the troops, I’m sure the deciding factor was that I donate half my royalties to Fisher House Foundation in thanksgiving for my son’s safe return from war. BTW, getting her quote and endorsement on Facebook was a dream come true. It was her Troubleshooters books that got me through my son’s deployments (along with vast amounts of prayer and chardonnay!) And while reading her books, I was inspired to try my hand at military romance.

To read more, please join me today at Kiss and Thrill or click here to read more.  Continue reading

Welcome Sharon Wray, a Firebird Sister and 2014 RS Golden Heart Finalist

Sharon WrayHappy Monday to all our wonderful Firebird blog readers. Today is an extra special treat in our “Meet the Dreamweavers” series. Sharon Wray is our finalist of the day. And it holds special meaning to be able to host her. I met her via the 2012 Golden Heart finalists group. She’s my Firebird sister. And I couldn’t be happier for her. This is her 6th final.

That is amazing–well, that’s no surprise because she is so sweet and amazing herself. It would have to filter into her writing as well.

So, without further ado, here’s a little bit of the 411 on our lovely Sharon Wray.

A librarian/archivist who also studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris, Sharon is a six-time RWA Golden Heart Romantic Suspense author repped by Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency.

As she waits for the “Call”, Sharon writes stories of adventure, suspense and love and blogs at some of her favorite romance sites. In her spare time, she snaps endless photos of her family and her garden while negotiating backyard territory rights with her dog Donut. Sharon lives in Northern Virginia with her three biggest supporters — her amazing husband and twin teenagers.

photo-1See-amazing! Super congrats on your Golden Heart final, Sharon. I’m tickled pink for you. You’ve finaled six (count ‘em people–SIX) times. I love that one of your years was 2012 so we could become Firebird sisters. But what I’m wondering is, is the excitement of receiving that coveted phone call letting you know you’d finaled, the same this time as it was the first time?

I was even more excited this year than in any other year because of the eight manuscripts I’ve written (five of which have finaled in the Golden Heart before), See Her No More is my favorite. It’s also the hardest book I’ve ever written. I was so excited that I can’t even remember who called me!

I love the title and this book is so special to you. It seems like the book that moves us the most is the one that digs deeper into the emotions, drawing out more than we realize until the story is finished. Now, is this finalling entry in the same category as your previous finals? Or do you write in different genres?

All of my finals, including this year’s, have been in Romantic Suspense. I also write YA (near-future adventure and romance), but I have never entered that category.

Please join us over at the Firebirds or click here to read more.  Continue reading

Beautiful Chaos: A Writing Process Blog Tag Post

Last week I was tagged in a blog that’s going through the writing community. The goal is to explore and explain our processes as well as we can (without seeming crazy).

I was tagged by my amazing friend Talia Quinn, a Firebird and Lucky 13 Golden Heart sister, whose next contemporary romance Call Me Saffron comes out June 9th. I can’t wait for this book, the first in her Greenpoint Pleasures series, and I am putting aside some serious time to read it!
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1)  What am I working on?

I am currently revising my 2014 Golden Heart manuscript See Her No More. When a woman determined to protect the life she’s built for herself becomes the target of an arms dealer who believes she holds the key to a 12th Century secret, her only chance to stay alive rests within the arms of her ex-Green Beret husband who abandoned her eight years earlier.

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2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

While the books all have Green Beret heroes, they are all out of the military. And not necessarily by choice. I write military romantic suspense with dishonored men, men desperate to clear their names and regain their honor, men who have nothing to lose. This makes my heroes darker than most, but also more determined to succeed.

My heroines, one the other hand, all have a quiet strength and fierce intelligence. Since the heroes are up against a villain who plays with histories greatest secrets–old conspiracy theories–they need the heroines to help them solve the mysteries. While the men bring their guns, strength, tactical and operational knowledge, the women bring the books and unique intelligence to see obscure clues–clues others miss in their everyday life.

I write about Colonel Torridan’s Black Ops Brotherhood. A group of elite soldiers devoted to each other, determined to seek the truth instead of justice, willing to risk their honor, their lives, and their souls to save themselves and the women they love.

To read more, please join me at at the 2012 Golden Heart Firebirds blog or click here to read more.  Continue reading