Romance Week 2016: Meet Cute

Happy Valentine’s Day Week!

Commercials touting jewelry and flowers as the perfect gift for your love have pervaded the airways here recently. Personally, I don’t go for that kind of stuff.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve never turned down jewelry.

But romance shouldn’t be relegated to a day, it’s a lifestyle.

Anyway, thinking about Valentine’s Day naturally has me thinking about my hubs. We’ve been married 21+ years. (wowzers.)

weddingAnd a lot of people thought we wouldn’t make it 6 months. (aren’t we cute? and look at that 1990’s style scrapbooking!)

We met in July of 1994. At a bar. The Silver Bullet. He was there with friends, I was there with friends. He asked every one of my friends to dance before he got to me. We finally danced and he asked for my number. I hesitated, but jotted it down for him. It was a whirlwind romance. We’d both been married before, and talked about things more seriously and deeply than I think most young couples do, because – quite simply – neither of us wanted to go through another divorce. We were married in December of that year.

Crazy, right? (but when you know, you know.)

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett-ebook/dp/B00M8N210Y/In Denim & Diamonds, Beth meets Beau after she runs off the road in the middle of a thunderstorm. Beau slides down the ditch and rescues her. That damsel in distress bit gets me every time.

So . . . tell me your story. How did you and your significant other meet?

Returning to the Diamond J

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett/dp/1631030035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433871817&sr=8-1&keywords=denim+%26+diamondsAs some of you know, I’ve been working on the 2nd novel in the Diamond J series. The working title is Diamond in the Rough. Though it still needs a lot of revision, it is coming together quite well.

The story takes place in the Diamond J world, shortly after Denim & Diamonds occurs. The male lead is Aidan, who was a ranch hand in the first book. The female lead is Gina, who makes a brief appearance in the first book as owner of the local scrapbook store. Want a peek into what I think the Diamond J world looks like? Pop over to Pinterest and look at my Rough board.

And I’m happy to announce that CaryPress has indicated that they are interested in publishing it.

So . . . help me celebrate this little accomplishment this evening.

SuperFans

http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Impulse-Widows-Web-Novel-ebook/dp/B00UB2U7WS/As most of you know, my second book was just released. My hobby is quickly becoming a second job. As I work harder, I’m looking for a few special SuperFans to help me beta-test ideas. If you are selected, you will get to:

  • read some of my work before anyone else
  • have some say in what makes it to print – and what doesn’t
  • have input about book covers.
  • attend launch parties (virtual and real)
  • enter exclusive giveaways only available to my SuperFans.

As part of the planning process, I am trying to decide whether to just call this group “SuperFans” or give the group a name. What do you think? Do you want to be SuperFans? Or Lori’s Gems? Other suggestions? I’m just spitballin’ here . . .

If you are interested, please send an email to lori(at)lorilrobinett.com and answer the following questions:

  • How many books do you estimate you read a year?
  • What social media outlets are you active in/on?
  • Are you interested in live or virtual events?
  • Do you leave reviews anywhere online? Where?
  • Do you have an e-reader? If yes, Nook, Kindle or Other (please specify)

The importance of Reviews

http://lorilrobinett.comBefore I started writing, I never left reviews on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Goodreads. But after I started writing, I began to pay attention to how I used reviews. Not only did I want them as a writer (and, oh, how I looooooove reviews!), but I want them as a reader.

When I finish reading one book, I’m immediately ready for another. Because I have LOTS of books on my to be read list (I mark mine on Goodreads – feel free to connect with me if you want to share lists/books!), and it’s really hard to decide what to pick up next. Admittedly, part of my decision is made on the cover of the book. But the main thing I do is read reviews. I look on Amazon and Goodreads, look at the average star rating, then read a handful of reviews – from those who liked the book and those who didn’t.

Once I realized how much I used reviews, I decided to start writing them. Some reviews are really long and in-depth – a work of art in and of themselves. Some reviews are short and to the point – “I liked it.” Some are serious, some are hilarious (one of my favorites is the banana slicer – pop over & take a read). My reviews are somewhere in the middle.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Did you like the book?
  • Was the plot engaging? Did it keep your interest?
  • Did you like the characters? Are they people you’d want to have lunch with, travel with, meet at a pub . . . or would you cross the street to avoid meeting them?
  • Was the setting something you could relate to? Someplace you’re familiar with, or did it transport you to an exotic location?

If you haven’t written a review yet, go try it on one of my books. You’ll get some experience and you’ll make my day!

Denim & Diamonds

Fatal Impulse

#FiftyShades of Reality – Part 2

That movie just opened last week and it’s still everywhere – on blogs, on Facebook, on TV, and on the tongues of women everywhere. I just watched a short trailer, and the scene showed the two characters sitting at a long dining room table, one at each end. That got me to thinking about reality vs. TV.

When I got married, I had all sorts of ideas about what married life would be like. It was all romanticized, influenced by movies and TV and books. Even though marriage hasn’t been exactly what I imagined, I’m quite happy with the reality:

http://www.amazon.com/Denim-Diamonds-Lori-Robinett-ebook/dp/B00M8N210Y/

Gracie & Peanut

We sleep in a king-sized bed, but with a miniature Beagle and a miniature Schnauzer wedged between us.

No long dining room table for us – we eat in the living room on our coffee table. At least it’s one of those that swings up to table height.

No gourmet meals at our house. Most nights it’s soup out of a can or grilled cheese because we’re both tired from work.

Jetting off to an exotic location isn’t in the cards, but we did spend Valentine’s Day browsing a really cool antique mall.

While TV romancers send huge bouquets of flowers for Valentine’s Day, my hubby surprised me with a drawer to hold K-cups – and my Keurig sits right on top, so there’s no lost counter space. THAT was a perfect Valentine’s Day. For me.

As I read back over this list, I realize just how lucky I am. This marriage thing may not be straight out of a romantic movie, but it makes me incredibly happy.

How about you? How different is your life than what you imagined?

#FiftyShades of Reality

Seems like everywhere I’ve gone to online for the past week has been papered with cheers and jeers for Fifty Shades of Grey. I haven’t read the book (too many of my writer friends have commented on how poorly written it is – I’m struggling to improve my writing – don’t need to read examples of poorly written stuff!) and have no intention of seeing the movie. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a prude. Whatever two consenting adults do is okay with me. But I do worry about the romanticism of what sounds like an abusive relationship. A BDSM contract? Stalking? Control?

Um, no thanks.

Instead, I love books and movies that tell the reality of relationships (but not too much reality). Everything isn’t all roses and champagne and limo rides and opera. That’s probably why I used to read LaVyrle Spencer books. Her heroines were real, lived in regular houses, and had a little meat on their bones. Her heros had baggage, sometimes did the wrong thing, but always treated the heroine with respect and kindness.

That’s what I strive to do in my writing: create a bit of romance without it being saccharine or fake. That said – it is nice to add a little money to the mix to make the reality of life a bit more fun! ;o)

But I digress. What is it about Fifty Shades that is so attractive? What is fantasy? What is reality?

  • The hero is a millionaire.
  • The hero is a hard-working man.
  • The heroine is a partner at a high-powered law firm.
  • The heroine is a paralegal at a small law office.
  • They live on a beautiful horse ranch, in a big, beautiful, rustic lodge.
  • They live in a modular home with three miniature horses in the pasture.http://lorilrobinett.com

Ah, yes. Pretty easy to figure out what is fantasy and what is reality, isn’t it? Perhaps Fifty Shades is intriguing because it is something we will never experience. But don’t confuse fantasy and reality. If you are in a relationship and the man stalks you, follows you, controls you, isolates you from friends and family. Run. Quickly.

For the record, all the reality above is MY life. And I love it. 🙂

Happy Release Day! The Widows’ Gallery by Marilyn Baron

http://lorilrobinett.comToday is release day for Marilyn Baron’s new Lobster Cove Series Novel, The Widows’ Gallery. I’m happy to share the information with you today.

Curious as to what it’s about? Read on:

Childless heiress Abigail Adams Longley and three other widows bond over a Renaissance masterpiece in Florence, Italy, and find love, friendship and joy in their joint venture to open an art gallery at the Longley mansion in Lobster Cove, Maine.

Since the death of her husband, Abigail has been lonely and drifting in a house that’s too big and a town that’s too small. When she literally runs into sexy widower and whale-watching excursion captain Tack Garrity on the dock, she’s entranced by his adorable five-year-old daughter.

But will Tack, who has harbored a secret crush on Abigail for almost two decades, be able to capture her heart? A secret pact her husband made with Tack could either tear them apart or bring them closer together and change their lives forever.

And I’m delighted to share an excerpt to give you a taste of The Widows’ Gallery:

Abigail Adams Longley looked around at the three women flanking her in Hall 10/14 of the Uffizi Gallery. They were all staring at The Birth of Venus like wide-eyed art students. Admittedly, the painting was as compelling as when the Medici family originally commissioned the tempera on canvas in the fifteenth century. But for Abigail, seeing the painting again wasn’t cathartic. It was beautiful, but that wasn’t the feeling she was going for. Peace. Why couldn’t she get some goddamned peace in this life?

Abigail glanced at the square-cut, four-carat diamond on her finger, gazed at the sparkle of the ring she hadn’t removed since the day Louis had proposed. And now, a whole year after his death, she still hadn’t taken it off. Conventional wisdom dictated that you weren’t supposed to make any major life decisions until a year after a spouse’s death. Well, it had been a year already, and she hadn’t wanted to make even one decision—major or minor—about where to live, where to go, or what to do. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness had devised another dead-on axiom. She had all the money in the world—in fact Louis had left her a big chunk of the globe. He’d left her set for life, monetarily. But she would have traded every cent for the chance to be with him again. Louis was gone, and the sooner she faced the fact that she was alone on this planet, the better off she’d be.

Now . . . go get your own copy!

Amazon ebook

Amazon (Paperback)

The Wild Rose Press

AllRomanceeBooks

Barnes and Noble and other outlets: Available after Feb. 11, 2015

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Marilyn Baron

And now a little about the author:
Marilyn Baron is a corporate public relations consultant in Atlanta. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award and winner or finalist in writing awards in single title, suspense romance, novel with strong romantic elements and paranormal romance.
Marilyn writes in a variety of genres, including: Humorous women’s fiction (The Widows’ Gallery, Stones, and Significant Others; a psychic suspense series (Sixth Sense, Homecoming Homicides and the soon to be released Killer Cruise); and historical (Under the Moon Gate and the prequel, Destiny: A Bermuda Love Story) for The Wild Rose Press; and humorous paranormal short stories for TWB Press (A Choir of Angels, Follow an Angel, The Stand-In Bridegroom, Dead Mix and The Files Death Forgot).
Marilyn is a member of the Roswell Reads Steering Committee and belongs to two book clubs. A native of Miami, Florida, Marilyn now lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband and they have two daughters. She graduated from The University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism [Public Relations sequence] and a minor in Creative Writing.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, going to movies, eating Italian food and traveling. She often sets her stories in places she’s visited, including Bermuda, Australia and Italy, where she spent six months studying in Florence during her senior year in college.
Connect With The Author:
Facebook
Blog Marilyn blogs with Savvy Authors on the 22nd of every month
Twitter
Goodreads
Website

Focus on #womensfiction: Asked For by Colleen L. Donnelly

http://lorilrobinett.com

Asked For

I’m happy to have Colleen Donnelly joining me today. Colleen and I met while both writing madly to win National Novel Writing Month several years ago. She’s now one of my critique partners. Her second book was recently released by The Wild Rose Press, so I asked her to share some info with my readers. Please join me in welcoming Colleen!

Colleen, could you tell us what Asked For is about?

Cletus asked for Lana when she was barely more than a child. He told her grandmother he wanted a wife, not a bride, someone to keep his house the way he wanted it and to give him sons. He got more daughters than sons, and he also got James: “That boy,” the one Cletus claimed wasn’t his. Jim Dillon wanted Lana — he always had. He just hadn’t expected her to be taken away and married to someone else so soon. Glen Morgan recognized the beauty underlying Lana’s worn features, and he stepped in where Cletus hadn’t, offering help to her and her children. Lana grew up under Cletus’ demands, fulfilling what was expected of her — until his accusations that she’d done the unexpected and been unfaithful. Lana no longer looked at what might have been or what could be. She discovered what was most important, and she found it inside of herself.

http://lorilrobinett.com

Colleen J. Donnelly

And what about you? Who is Colleen?

Born and raised in the Midwest, Colleen is at home in that rural atmosphere but enjoys experiencing other cultures also. She works as a laboratory technician by day, but devotes her nights and weekends to literature, both reading and writing. Other hobbies include outdoor activities, treasure hunting in antique malls and flea markets, yard work, and theater.
Would you share an excerpt from Asked For?
She wore her auburn hair longer now because Cletus liked it that way, but it was pulled back out of Magdalena’s and Betsy’s reaches. And no makeup. She’d come plain, the way she always was, plain and tired.
“I probably am a sight.” Lana felt her face flush, but tried to ignore it. She wasn’t here to be told how good she looked. She was here to see Grandma, see herself and her new life against her old one and the person who’d told her how this new one was supposed to be lived.
“You look just fine, actually.” A tall shadow filled the shed’s doorway behind Grandma. “If anything, you’re a sight for sore eyes.”
“Jim…”
Jim Dillon stepped from the shed’s dark interior. He’d changed. She was shocked at what he’d become. He’d grown in three years, muscles where scrawny arms used to be, tanned skin and chiseled features where softness used to be. There was still the boy in his eyes, though, the boy who’d helped her with chores before she left to get married. The boy Grandma had said really wasn’t there to help Lana but was there because he needed the pay. A bucket half full of milk dangled from one of Jim’s hands. Grandma was right again. He was here not because Lana was but because he needed the pay.
Jim didn’t stare at her daughters, or the bulge of her stomach, or the worn dress that covered it. He just looked at her face, his eyes scanning every feature as if relearning, even admiring, who she’d become.
Where can we find Asked For?
The Wild Rose Press e-book (various formats available)
For the Kindle
Also by Colleen L. Donnelly and available from The Wild Rose Press, Inc., and RomCon Readers Crown finalist – “Mine to Tell
Thanks for stopping by, Colleen!

#Romance Review: Smolder on a Slow Burn By Lynda J. Cox

From the moment I started reading Smolder on a Slow Burn by Lynda J. Cox, I was drawn into the historical setting and immediately wanted to know more about Allison and A.J. It was obvious from the beginning that each character carried secrets and the fact that they shared a connection surprised me – it was a twist that I hadn’t seen coming. A man named Oakten is responsible for destroying both their lives, and his man Garrison is on their trail. Allison is running for her life, accused of the murder of her sister and nephew, guilty of educating the children of slaves. A.J. still carries the terrors and injustices of war upon his shoulders, with the injuries to his soul nearly as bad as those upon his body. The memories of his years as a prisoner of war come back as nightmares that bleed over into wakefulness.

When the two find themselves on the run after barely becoming acquainted on a westbound train in Nebraska, the physical attraction surprises both of them. A.J. was always faithful to his wife, even after her death. For the first time since he lost her, he finds that he can’t resist the wisp of a woman who is stronger than she appears. Allison, on the other hand, tries her darnedest to maintain propriety as a single woman on the prairie, but circumstances throw her into quite improper closeness to a man who is more of a gentleman than he seemed to be at first blush.

After a terrifying night in a sodden shelter during a hailstorm, he tenders a proposal of marriage and she accepts. Though both are damaged, together, they are whole. Together, they must fight the demons of their past – even when those demons turn out to be flesh and blood men determined to destroy their lives.

If you enjoy historicals, Westerns or romances, I recommend this book. The characters are well-written and layered, and a couple of steamy sex scenes pull you in and make you feel the romance between Alli and AJ.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

Book Tour: Smolder on a Slow Burn

Smolder on a Slow Burn Tour Banner

 

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 12/9/14 – 1/6/15

Genres: Western Historical Romance

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Blurb:

When your life has been stolen from you and the man responsible wants you dead, where do you run? Who do you trust?

Allison Webster dreams of having an adventure like the characters in the books she loves. But there is no romance in being pursued by a man who wants her dead for educating the children of former slaves. Unlike the heroines she reads about she doesn’t have a trusty companion to rescue her…until she literally runs into A.J. Adams, a former Confederate cavalry officer. Now, she just has to convince A.J. he really is the honorable man and hero depicted in the dime novel she is reading.

When everything you fought for was stripped away, even your honor, what is left to fight for other than revenge?

Branded a “traitor” for more than ten years, scarred by harsh treatment in an inhumane prisoner of war camp, A.J. Adams wants revenge. Allison Webster’s arrival into his life provides the bait to destroy the men who murdered his wife and daughters and kidnapped his little brother. The men pursuing Allison are the very same men he has sworn to kill. Falling in love and admitting he might actually be a hero means surrendering his need for vengeance. Surrender is not part of A.J.’s battle strategy.

See the book trailer on Youtube

 

Excerpt:

A.J. watched her make her way from the boxcar with as much dignity as it appeared she could muster. The memory of that tiny waist in his hands and the slightness of her build had startled him. The barrier of that shapeless dark green sedge skirt vanished the moment his hands closed around her waist, and he could envision long, lithe limbs. He didn’t make it a habit to imagine any woman undressed, but this one knocked every bit of his equilibrium out from under him and he didn’t have the slightest idea why she did.

When she met his eyes, he’d been taken back. Slender, feathered brows lifted and eyes the color of melted chocolate widened—widened enough he was sure she saw all the way into the black abyss that was once his soul. Bright color flooded her cheeks when he told her to have a seat on the hay bale. Her slight Georgia drawl, hidden under layers of what sounded to be years of formal education, knifed into his chest.

He had watched her discreetly tuck several strands of walnut hair back under that ridiculous hat perched on her head. Realizing he had been staring at her, A.J. turned his back, letting the rapidly moving landscape occupy his gaze. She was lovely, he had to admit that. Walnut hair kissed with warm gold, high cheekbones that curved just enough to give her an elfin cast, a pert little nose, and the darkest chocolate eyes he’d ever seen combined into a rather alluring image. It had been a very long time since he had looked at a woman and not compared her to Cathy. He had sworn, as he knelt at Cathy’s grave that there would never be another. Now, a little slip of a thing had gotten in past his carefully constructed battlements and stirred something in him he could have sworn an oath to be long dead and buried beneath a live oak in Kentucky.

She was right, he was no gentleman. Sliding the door shut in her face hadn’t been the most gentlemanly thing he could have done, but he had long ago given up being anything that might even resemble a gentleman. He’d given that up sometime during his tenure in a veritable hell on earth called Camp Infernum. If he’d harbored hopes of regaining anything that came close to gallantry after watching men fight one another like animals for a scrap of moldy bread, all hope died on a warm spring afternoon when he collapsed to his knees at Clayborne at the graves of his wife and daughters and learned his younger brother had been taken by a band of roving deserters. A.J. knew his veneer of civility was just that—a veneer hiding a wounded, dangerous animal.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon

Wild Rose Press

Barnes and Noble

 

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About the Author:

Lynda J. Cox will tell anyone who will listen that she was born at least one hundred and fifty years too late, and most definitely in the wrong part of the country. She holds a master’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from Indiana State University after earning her BA from the same university as a non-traditional student. (Think being old enough to be mom to 90% of the students in her freshman cadre.) She’s kept busy with two spoiled rotten house cats, a 30 plus year old Arabian gelding who has been nicknamed “Lazarus” for his ability in the later years of his life to escape death, and quite a few champion collies. When she isn’t writing, she can be found on the road, travelling to the next dog show. She loves to chat about books, the writing life, and the insanity which is called a “dog show” and can be reached through her Facebook page.

 

Connect With The Author:

Facebook

Blog

Twitter

Website

 

Giveaway:

Enter to win an ebook copy of Smolder on a Slow Burn! This giveaway will run 12/9/14 – 1/6/15. Open worldwide! Enter through Rafflecopter.