Friday, June 20, 2014


My guest today is best selling romance author, Marie Harte. She's worn quite a few professional hats in her career including being a former Marine Corps Communications officer (and we thank you for your service Marie), before fulfilling her dream of being an author. 
She talks about the importance of allowing oneself the time to be happy. Sometimes it a hard lesson to learn. J

Sometimes it’s easy to forget to stop and smell the flowers. Not me. I've been smelling them for a while now, but I had to teach myself it was okay to slow down and indulge.

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I never thought about being happy. You don’t think about life as you’re living it. You just do. That is, until you realize you’re not smiling or laughing like you should, and somehow the years are passing you by and you’re not where you thought you would be in life.

Back in 2003, I gave birth to my first child. Before that, I’d been working for a trucking company managing drivers. (Boy, do I have funny stories about my time with that company!) Anyhow, that year before I gave birth, I started seriously writing. I’d spend my lunch hours on my laptop and often had to be reminded to come back to work.

I've always known writing would be my calling, from way back in my childhood when I’d write stories for fun. I continued to write through high school. I attended college and graduated with a major in English, creative writing. But I never figured I’d make a living doing it. That was just a dream.

So fast forward back to 2003. I loved my son like crazy, but I was exhausted with my little guy and family responsibilities. Then in 2005 I had another child. Terrific. A wonderful little boy. Yet as my family grew, my unhappiness with life increased. My husband and I had problems. He was and is a wonderful man, but together we just weren't right. I knew it deep down, but I tried very hard to make my marriage work. While doing so, I got out of shape. I spent A LOT of time reading, escaping into my books in an almost unhealthy way. Oh, and I snacked like crazy, adding on another ten, then twenty pounds.

Years passed, and I stopped being so self-destructive and turned to writing as a form of therapy. When I wrote, I felt better about things. (And I still do. A good writing day is better than anything.) My life might not have been so pleasing to me, but my characters were living the high life. My heroines had great sex and perfect communication and alpha yet understanding heroes. They had happily-ever-afters.

I continued to write.

Then in 2004, my first book, an ebook, was published. I was thrilled. The writer group I belonged to didn't consider me a real author, unfortunately. And it was even worse because I wrote erotic romance. Oh, the horror! *grin* It took several more years before folks began to look at electronic publishing as a real source of making money.

I still wasn't the happiest of individuals, but I loved my children and my life was good if not great. My relationship with my spouse went in huge uplifts and even bigger downward spirals. I kept trying, but it just wasn't working. The thought of leaving became more and more appealing…and scary. I had quit the regular workforce years ago. How would I survive on my own? Would I be ruining my children’s lives if I separated them from their father and family? What was my happiness worth?

I wrote faster and harder. Threw myself into my characters and their worlds. I could be happy through them. And then slowly, I started seeing a financial return on my creative endeavors. By 2008 I was making poverty wages, but still wages! And each year after I made more. Enough to live off of.

Finally in 2011, I knew I’d come to that moment when it was time to make a decision. While visiting my mother in Seattle, I made a difficult choice—to stay out west and split with my spouse. To say it was hard is a putting it mildly. A lot of tears were shed. And this right in the middle of having to write an erotic romance where the heroine gets two loves of her life. I wasn't feeling romantic or loving men at the time—LOL—but the work had to be done. Deadlines had to be met. I never miss deadlines.

I got through it, moved out to Central Oregon, and learned to really appreciate every day. My ex is a wonderful person doing very well, and I’m finally a truly happy person living my dream. I’ll keep living the dream for as long as I can. But I always make sure to stop and smell the flowers, because life is too short not to.

  • What about you? Is it easy or hard for you to take down time? Do you take the time to savor the happy moments?

INTRODUCING...THE McCAULEY BROTHERSWelcome to the rough-and-tumble McCauley family, a tight-knit band of four bachelor brothers who work hard, drink beer, and relentlessly tease each other. When three independent women move in next door, all hell breaks loose.

It's been the day from hell for Maddie. Instead of offering a promotion, her boss made a pass. She quit, then got dumped by her lukewarm boyfriend. As the fiery redhead has a foul-mouthed meltdown, her green-eyed neighbor Flynn McCauley stands in her kitchen...completely captivated.

He was just there to fix the sink as a favor. He's not into relationships. She's done with idiots. But where there are friends...sometimes there are benefits. And sometimes the boy next door might be just what you need at the end of every day. EXCERPT


USA Today bestselling author Marie Harte writes erotic romance and has over hundred titles in print and digital format. A caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, Marie is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. She served in the U.S. Marine Corps and worked for Fortune 500 companies before becoming a full time writer. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. Find Marie: Website, Facebook, Twitter.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


My guest is romance writer, Emily Greenwood. She focuses on something all writers (published or aspiring) have to deal with at some point or another: Self-Doubt. It's something that can stop a writer in their tracks or they can learn how to overcome it and still be successful.

What’s the hardest thing you've had to face as a writer? 

Self-doubt is probably the worst thing I deal with as a writer. 

And unfortunately, from what I know of my own experience and that of other writers, it doesn't go away, no matter how many years you put in.

For instance, while writing MISCHIEF BY MOONLIGHT, my current release, I felt certain I would never be able to finish the story—or at least not a story anyone would want to read, LOL.

I've been writing fiction for eight or nine years now, so I know it’s not always fun, that it’s work and sometimes you just have to soldier on and put words on the page. I know I’ll have to write a lot that will ultimately get thrown out because that’s my process.

But when I sat down to write MISCHIEF BY MOONLIGHT, the final book in my Regency Mischief series, I had nothing. Well, OK, I had a blurb that said the book was going to be about an earl in love with his best friend’s fiancée. The fiancée wanted to set him up with her sister, so she was going to give him a love potion and then realize that she had feelings for him herself. But that little paragraph I’d dreamed up when the book sold as part of a three-book series didn't inspire me now—it downright annoyed me!

Who cared about this Colin person, the hero, and whether he got together with Miss Josie Cardworthy? They didn't exist as the fleshed-out characters they now are, so there was nothing to love, no reason to care what would happen when Josie gave Colin a love potion. 

Every time I sat down at the computer, I wanted to jump up and run away. Doubt assailed me constantly: how would I ever come up with a 90 K story about these people? Who did I think I was?

  • What did you do and how did you over come it?
In between my disappointing efforts to put down words I surfed the internet, read other people’s books for “research,” scrubbed the bathroom floors with toothbrushes so I could make the grout sparkle, and made elaborate dinners for my family—anything to take me away from The Book That Was Never Going to Be Written.

I bought a book on procrastination, which told me that I wasn't procrastinating because I was lazy but because I perhaps had performance anxiety. That was possibly true—after all, I’d managed to write two books, why shouldn't I be able to write another one? But it didn't make me able to tell the story. I worried that I’d have to give back my advance.

So I got busy forcing myself and wrote page after terrible page. I signed up for NaNoWriMo, which I’d never done before, and made myself meet the daily word count. The pages were growing but the story didn't hang together at all, I still didn't care about these characters, and the deadline was getting closer.

So how did I write this story while self-doubt harassed me all day long? The answer isn't exciting. There was no magic cure. It was only this: 
I kept showing up and writing. That’s it. It was persistence, that boring, plodding quality that's probably the main thing that got me published to begin with. I just needed more of it than I ever had before.

  • What did did you learn?
It took a lot of hard work to write Mischief, and that’s what writing is—work. Sometimes it’s joyful work, when the words are flowing from some unknown source, and sometimes it’s nothing but a slog through the marshes of discouragement. 

I’m very proud of MISCHIEF BY MOONLIGHT now. I hope readers will find MISCHIEF funny and bittersweet and sexy and true. 

I’m really happy that I didn't let self-doubt stop me from writing it!


With the night so full of romance...
Colin Pearce, the Earl of Ivorwood, never dreamed he'd desire another man's fiancée, but when his best friend goes off to war and asks Colin to look after the bewitching Josie Cardworthy, he falls under her sparkling spell.
Who can resist mischief?
Josie can't wait for the return of her long-absent fiancé. If only her beloved sister might find someone, too...someone like the handsome, reserved Colin. A gypsy's love potion gives Josie the chance to matchmake, but the wild results reveal her own growing passion for the earl. And though fate offers them a chance, a steely honor may force him to reject what her reckless heart is offering...

Emily Greenwood worked for a number of years as a writer, crafting newsletters and fundraising brochures, but she far prefers writing playful love stories set in Regency England, and she thinks romance is the chocolate of literature. A Golden Heart finalist, she lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.
-Author website

Monday, June 16, 2014


The One and Only Copper


One of my Asian Lilies blooming on the
There’s a brown mess in my flowerbed. It’s managed to take down the bottom stems of a section of my Tiger Lilies, roll right over my yellow marigolds, and stunt the growth of my purple pansies. They’re sort of flattened. My Stargazers are confused as to whether they should be upright or safely lay on the ground and bloom. Ditto with the bed of Asian lilies.

Old fashion Tiger lilies
I worked hard to get those beds looking good. I have to say, I drooped worse then the Gladiolas as I surveyed the mess. I believe the first words out of my mouth was, “Oh. My. GAWD!” (I've been watching reruns of Magnum and I think I was channeling Higgins because he does that phrase so well.) I know the next words out of my mouth, in Higgins style, was not Magnum but JACOB ALEXANDER!  Especially when I noted a flow of white in the beds.

What was the mess? It’s called dawg.

COPPER w/his I'm innocent look.
Six fully functioning toes.
Well two dogs—our latest rescue dog, Copper, and Jake’s Pit Terrier, Isis, almost a year old. Copper we found starving to death at the state nursery two weeks ago. I’m serious when I say that because he literally was a copper-brown skanky, tick filled piece of fur draped over bones with big brown eyes that begged for help.  He’s about 4 months old and a mixture, as best we can tell, of shepherd and Beauceron (with six toes on both back feet) and he was so weak he could barely walk without wobbling and sitting or falling down when we brought him home. I could see he had a strong will to live. I just couldn't walk away. Hubs grumbled about another rescue animal until he took a look at him. That was it and sweet-talking started and grumbling ceased. 

I hate, people who throw away unwanted pets. Puppies are NOT equipped to survive without intervention and neither are most cats unless they've been taught to hunt. Even experienced hunters still misses half of the kills they try to make. Hatred isn't an emotion I feel often and most of that abhorrence is directed at people who hurt kids and mistreat animals. I can get physical very easily in defense of either.  

Copper, still a bit ribby, but healthy.
We got Copper home, tongue lolling and a happy look in his face. The look of hope about breaks your heart. We pulled all the ticks and what a job that was. We gave him a bath and have been feeding him 4 meals a day. We’re beginning week three and although he’s still very thin he looks 100% better and is now in his lets find trouble mode. Isis has her own pen. So far, Copper isn't penned, but he stays close and in the yard, much to my cat’s dismay. See, Copper thinks the cats are his new playmates and they aren't real thrilled with that thought and he’s be slapped upside the nose more than once when he’s gotten rambunctious. He doesn't try to hurt them but he wants them to run and play. Jake lets Isis out every evening to play and run and Copper loves it. Once play time is over it’s time for training Isis and then she comes into the house for the night. 

Gap in the bed of lilies and iris. The streak is Shadow my 15
year old Russian Blue with Callie in the foreground and
Copper's nose to the left by the yellow flower pot.
The mess that rolled through parts of my flowerbeds was two pups at play. To be fair, neither go into my garden beds on their own but when they’re playing they aren't paying attention to where they roll or lay. And neither was my son. They are now all well aware that the wrath of mama is not a pleasant thing to deal with. Yeah, they've all gotten that point firmly in mind. The dogs tend to slink away when I go in mama mode.

Lilies are pretty tough flowers, especially, Tiger lilies. Next year they’ll be fine so far as putting forth stems to bloom and the base bushy greens are somewhat flattened but picking back up and they will be lush again next year when they come up and the Iris and tulips had already bloomed so they’re fine. But all that work, sigh...

Hope all you fathers out there had a great day and that this week is starting out great. This week seems a bit better for me.