Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Just a Number

Today is "J" day in the monthlong A-Z Challenge. Our guest today is author Janie Mason talking about why, when it comes to love, age is Just a number.

Thanks Kat for the invitation. I’m thrilled to be visiting.

Almost everyone’s heard the saying, Love Is Ageless, right? Perhaps whoever brought it into everyday use was referring more to an epoch or era, but I believe it also applies to couples. And I’ll say up front, I’m talking about the emotion of love. There have been stories on the internet about elderly couples so devoted that they pass away within days of each other. And every Sunday in my local newspaper there are photos of couples celebrating milestone wedding anniversaries. Fifty, sixty, even seventy years of loving one another.

I’ve heard it said numerous times that women who read romance often put themselves in the place of the story’s heroine. I’ve done it. And yes, I’d rather imagine myself a twenty-three year old who wears a size four. (After all it’s fiction) But I’m not ashamed to say that I’m into my fifth decade and yet my husband and I are just as much in love as we were in our twenties. Correct that; more so.

My latest release, Worth the Wait, features a middle-aged hero and heroine (not the most flattering descriptor, I admit). Looking back, I didn’t intentionally set out to write about a couple closer to my own age. The hero simply appeared on the page organically, as a secondary character in Redhead Blitz. But the deeper I went into that story, the more I knew his relationship with the love of his life would encompass the last story in The Greenville Girls series.

And Sia, I hope you’re feeling better and stronger each day.
Let's chat: So, what do you think? Are you only interested in romance novels featuring twenty-somethings or are you open to reading romances about heroes and heroines who need two boxes of candles for their birthday cakes?

Janie enjoys her retro convertible Mustang and brand new motor scooter in Central Ohio, along with her very supportive husband, two college-aged kids, and a big loveable fuzzball of a dog named Bonnie.
High-school athletic director Al Matthews is as alpha as they come. But when his administrative assistant, widow Annie Marcum, confesses that she's in love with him, then quits and disappears, he'll do anything to track her down and win back her heart. The books in The Greenville Girls series are:  Servicing Rafferty, Redhead Blitz ,and Worth the Wait. For more information’s about Janie, check out her web site at
The "J" book list:
Josiah's Treasure by Nancy Herriman: Inspirational (clean) romance set in 1882 San Francisco. I also loved her other book, also an inspy, The Irish Healer.
John D. MacDonald: prolific writer of pulp fiction. Though his novels are noir-ish in tone, his best known hero, Travis McGee, is too much of a solid good guy to be an actual noir hero. Still, his novels are addictive.
Jayne Castle: Futuristic romances set in a near-Earth look alike, with sci-fi/paranormal elements. Also writes as Jayne Ann Krentz (contemporary romance) and Amanda Quick (historical romance).
Jennifer Ashley: The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie. Historical romance. Gotta love a hero who's spent time in an insane asylum.
Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young /

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Harlequin and a BONUS Manuscript Submission Opportunity!

Every avid romance reader at one time or another has read Harlequin, the grande dame of the romance genre. With dozens of categories, they’ve been the launch pad for hundreds of today’s biggest romance writers. Our guest today is Robin Gianna, talking about her own debut with Harlequin’s Medical Romance line. BONUS: Want to write for Harlequin? We also have exciting news about a manuscript submission opportunity for you!

Hello, All! I’m happy to say I’m a newbie Harlequin author. My first Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance came out in January, and my second one was released this month. It’s been a thrilling, crazy ride! 

If you’ve been submitting to Harlequin, wanting to break into one of their series lines, you know it’s very competitive out there! I decided to take advantage of one of the events periodically held inviting submissions, and I also decided to increase my odds by focusing on a line I knew was actively looking for new authors.

If you don’t have a medical background, it might never have occurred to you to look at the medical romance line. Admittedly, my hubby is a doctor, so I do have a built in consultant! But to be honest, I have asked questions of others as much as I have him, and I’ve also found great stuff online. The stories still focus on the romance and development of the characters through the story, they’re just set in a medical background, which can be anything and anywhere. My first two books both take place in fictional mission hospitals in West Africa. I decided on that setting because I wanted to stand out from the crowd of submissions, but chose a traditional romance trope—the secret baby—so it wouldn’t be too ‘out there.’ I guess it worked, because I sold from that submission! And that January release is still selling in the top twenty of medical romances right now.

 And now, the BONUS!!!

Harlequin Mills & Boon is again conducting an author search, and this one is even faster than the ‘fast track’ I sold through!  Here’s a link to the event, which goes on through April 24th.

You can read about me and other new authors who have sold through prior fast track events at

If writing for Harlequin is something you want, I so hope it happens for you! Think about the medical line. And if you have any questions, you can contact me via email: or Facebook, or my website 

Let's chat:

Which of the Harlequin series lines are your favorites to read? Have you ever read a medical romance? Which lines have you submitted to in the past, and why?

The Last Temptation of Dr. Dalton

When cool, collected hospital director Charlotte Edwards throws caution to the wind for one hot, reckless night with Dr. Trent Dalton she has no idea it’s going to backfire on her so spectacularly—because the next morning she has to bury her pride and ask for his help!

Trent shouldn’t mix business with please...again!  But Charlotte is a delicious temptation he just can’t resist.  Yet when Trent finds out she’s been keeping him around under false pretenses he might just have to teach this little minx a passion!

After completing a degree in journalism, working in the advertising industry, then becoming a stay-at-home mom, Robin Gianna had what she likes to call her ‘awakening’, deciding to write the romance novels she'd loved since her teens. Robin loves pushing her characters toward their own happily-ever-afters! When she's not writing, Robin's life is filled with a happily messy kitchen, a needy garden, a wonderful husband, three great kids, a drooling bulldog and one grouchy Siamese cat.


The "H" list of Books
Kay Hooper: psychological detective investigation/suspense with a horror twist. You'll be sleeping with the lights on for a few days.
Karen Harper: romance in every flavor, from Amish to well-researched historical fiction.
Harry Potter: hero of the famed boy wizard series. I devoured the series like it was Skittles.
Dashiell Hammet: hard-boiled detective noir. You'll be hearing more about my love for this author on the 16th when I write about "N is for Noir".
Heartbeat Image courtesy of digitalart /


Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Fairy Tales

Today’s letter in the month long A-Z challenge is F. (No, we’re not going there! Get your mind out of the gutter, people. LOL!) Our guest today is Oberon Wonch, lover of Medieval romance, Renaissance Faires, fairy tales, gardening, and a soon-to-be-published romance author.

F is for Fairy tales, those magical stories we all heard growing up, the ones that feature youngest sons, princesses, cruel stepmothers, and talking animals. The stories where good triumphs over evil and an honest knight or virtuous princess earns a blissful happy ending. 

Scholars who like to debate this sort of thing actually don’t agree on what exactly distinguishes a fairy tale from other folk tales. Though most agree an actual fairy needn’t be involved, they dispute whether magic is an integral part of a fairy tale and whether some form of mythical being—goblins or giants, for example—must be included. Despite the arguments, several motifs are common: a handsome prince, a beautiful maiden, a fantastic location such as a castle or a beanstalk that climbs to the clouds.

Though stories resembling what we identify today as fairy tales go back thousands of years, the term fairy tale was first coined in the 17th century by Countess d’Aulnoy. She compiled anthologies of French folk tales meant to be discussed by adults in Parisian salons. Gathering her stories from nursemaids and other laboring class women who told stories to children, she emphasized the magical elements in such tales and built up the motif of strong female characters who prevail over evil stepmothers and overbearing royal fathers. (Perhaps because those were the subjects that appealed most to her fellow salon-goers.)

One thing that seems to be a modern invention is the idea of a happily ever after. This might be attributed to the Brothers Grimm, who in the early 19th century recorded on paper many German folk tales from oral tradition. Hoping to market their books as family-friendly but finding the stories too gruesome for children, they took the liberty of cleaning up the tales. Stabilized through printing, their versions have become the standard in cultures of English descent.

Did you know Hans Christian Andersen mostly wrote new stories rather than relayed traditional fairy tales? He employed some familiar motifs, but the characters and plots were all his. Eloisa James did a series of historical romances where each book was founded upon a fairy tale. When Beauty Tamed the Beast was my favorite.

Let's chat: What are your favorite fairy tales, the ones that resonate with you? Do you recognize the fairy tales in your nodern reading?

A two-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist in Historical Romance, Oberon Wonch writes passionate tales about heroes, both modern and medieval, winning the hearts of their lady loves. Visit her at or her gardening blog at

The "F" book list:

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley: historical fiction, paranormal, romance all in one. I love just about everything this author writes.

Judi Fennell: lighthearted romance. Her early works are paranormal romance, and now she's coming out with contemporary romantic comedies about a group of brothers working as housemaids!

Firefly: Graphic novels, multiple authors/artist. The comic-book continuation of the beloved television space opera series that, like most of Joss Whedon's stuff, died a tragic and far-too-early death. They live on in these. Start with this one. 

Images: The Frog Prince y Anne Anderson (1874-1930) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Red Riding Hood: By Charles Perrault, Harry Clarke (ill.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons