Golden Leaf Spotlight on Contemporary Romance – Long: Casey Hagen

 

“Sunset At Lake Crane” by Casey Hagen (Hagen Novels, LLC)
sunset-at-lake-crane

“I don’t do serious.”

His tone invited no argument, but the reporter in her wanted to know. So did the woman. “Why?”

“I just don’t.”

It was her turn to smirk at him. “Now who’s full of it?”

“Don’t,” he bit out.

“Can’t handle it?”

With surprising speed, he spun toward her. He leaned his face within inches of hers, the muscle along his jaw jumping. “Can you, Erynn? Can you handle it?”

“Absolutely.” She stood her ground, leaning toward him with almost as much aggression as he’d leveled at her.

“I don’t do serious because—” He closed his eyes, and when he opened them again she saw more agony in their depths than she’d thought possible. “I’ll never give another woman enough of me that she has the power to gut me when she walks away. Not. Ever. Again.”

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Casey and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

It’s not too late to register for the conference. Visit http://www.njromancewriters.org/ for more information and to register. Registration is open until October 4th.

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Contemporary Romance Mid-Length: Virginia Kantra

 

“Carolina Dreaming” by Virginia Kantra (Penguin Random House)
carolinadreaming_hires

By seven o’clock, Jane was a mass of nerves, anticipation swarming over her skin like mosquitoes on a hot summer night, making her jump. Itch.

She opened the bottle of wine to breathe. It was a good Italian red, but what if Gabe didn’t like wine? Most of the men she knew were beer drinkers. Travis used to drink a six-pack every night. More on the weekends.

She set the bottle on the stainless steel counter with a little clink. She was not thinking about her ex-husband tonight.

If Gabe wanted beer, she could offer him a beer. She wanted wine. In fact, she could use a glass right now. Or two. Alcohol lowered inhibitions, didn’t it? I was drunk, she could tell herself in the morning. I didn’t know what I was doing.

Except she did. After days (years?) of denying her feelings, she knew exactly what she wanted. And she’d made a plan to get it, too.

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Virginia and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

It’s not too late to register for the conference. Visit http://www.njromancewriters.org/ for more information and to register. Registration is open until October 4th.

In the Mind of Terri Brisbin – 2016 PYHIAB Conference

This week we’ll be getting to know our 2016 Luncheon Keynote Speaker, Terri Brisbin. If you attend the Put Your Heart in a Book Conference next month (October 14-15), you’ll also get a chance to attend her workshop, Hooks and How to Use Them.

For more information about the conference and to register, please go to www.njromancewriters.org.

Welcome, Terri!

I remember you telling us at a meeting that your series Novels of the Stone Circles was a particularly special project for you. Can you tell us why and about the creation of the series?

My Stone Circles series was something that the cosmos sent to me! For months and months, I found books and Facebook posts and messages that drove me to the story of descendants of ancient Celtic gods who had the powers to save humanity from a terrible evil – but who did not know about those powers or how to use them. Signs for locations of the stories and the major characters came at me from all directions, including a book that fell on my head from a shelf that I still don’t remember buying! So, I never planned this series, some force told me this story and I’m writing it!

I see you have an anthology coming out in late September, Once Upon a Haunted Castle, can you tell us a bit about the project and how it came about?

I had done a boxed set of previously published works with Eliza Knight a year or so ago and she invited me to take part in a Celtic ghost anthology of original novellas. They would all be set in or around haunted Scottish castles. It sounded very interesting and a bit of a challenge so I said yes! Of course, finding out who the other authors are (Kathyrn LeVeque, Madeline Martin and our own Ruth Casie) made it more appealing.

I’ve visited the Isle of Skye several times and loved both Dunvegan Castle AND Duntulm Castle ruins (which I used in one of my Brava stories) so I had my haunted locations. With the Scottish clans always fighting each other, it wasn’t hard to come up with a conflict….and then the characters began talking to me. . . . UPON A MISTY SKYE is the novella that resulted from all that.

Why did you decide to write historical romance?

I’m not so sure I DECIDED to write historical romance so much as it was pre-destined that I would. I’ve always been drawn to history and it never occurred to me to write a contemporary. Well, it did occur to me and so I wrote several time travel romances – a great combination of historical and contemporary stories. But, the historical parts were always more interesting and more compelling to me…

Do you read in the genre you write in or do you avoid it as you’re writing?

I pretty much read ONLY historical romances, and a few paranormal romances and rarely some contemporary romances of some writer friends.

How much time do you spend researching for each book? Now that you have so many novels to your credit, has the research gotten easier?

I love the research and I get lost in it with every book. I do the majority of it before writing the first book in a new time or place and then look for specifics when writing more in that series. But, it’s always expanding and that’s where new story ideas come from! To me, the research hasn’t gotten easier, as such, but I have a great collection of source materials so I have more at hand now than when I began.

What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you start at page 1 and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?

I’m a pantser BUT I have to create a story synopsis for selling and marketing purposes. Each story is different—some begin with characters (new or from other stories), some come from my research and some come plot first. I have a couple of fabulous brainstorming friends who help me flesh out any ideas and wrangle them into some form of workable stories.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals or routines you have to follow to get into your work day?

I am a procrastinator and tend to write the biggest part of the book in the last weeks leading up to my deadline. Then, I write 12-15 hours a day until it’s done. I used to write almost exclusively later at night but lately, it’s been during the daytime, too.

Do you write multiple drafts or edit as you go, barely needing revisions when typing, The End?

Yes! LOL! I write it once, cleaning up what I’ve written each day before moving on to write more. Sometimes my editors ask for revisions which I then go back and incorporate as needed.

When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters?

My characters are – and they rarely share their information with me! It takes until page 120 or so before I see the story so I write scenes blindly, not really knowing why they’re there.

What are you working on at this very moment?

I am working on the next “A Highland Feuding” story which is the transition story from the Mackintosh Clan to the Cameron Clan.  Then, the first story centered on the Camerons will be next.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an author?

There are truly too many lessons learned to pick a ‘most valuable,’ but I have realized that you never understand the impression you’ve made on people when it happens. So many times, readers and others in the writing community will tell me about remembering something I said or did when we met. And good or bad, they remember it and me. So, what goes around comes around would be one of those lessons.

Are you just traditionally published or are you a hybrid author?

I’m a hybrid author – traditionally published with Harlequin and other publishers and also self-publishing my backlist books and some original stories, too.

Do you have an eReader? If so, which one? Do you prefer eReaders or handheld books?

For a long time, my brain could not read well or fast on digital screens so I resisted. Now, I have a Kindle and I’m learning to like it.  But I still prefer print books….

What makes a man attractive to you?

I like a man who is kind and honest and considerate of others and who has a great ass and nice thighs….!

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Kerrigan Byrne – a new-to-me author – whose Victorian Rebels series is FABULOUS – her newest one is THE HIGHLANDER. I’m also reading Madeline Hunter’s current – THE WICKED DUKE. And I have several others at-the-ready (all historical romances and a couple of research books).

What is your favorite quote?

Beg forgiveness, don’t ask permission!

How long have you been writing?

I’ve written most of my life – from short stories and poetry in junior high and high school to  professional articles in my life as a dental hygienist. I began writing fiction in the mid-90s.

If you were a millionaire would you still write?

If I did not, then I would not be a writer… Yes, I would because the stories are always there. (So are the voices…)

Cat or dog person?

Neither – I do not have the pet gene.

Okay, get ready, we have our rapid response portion. Don’t think about your answers, just say the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?  

Favorite color:  Purple and turquoise

Favorite number: 16

Favorite food: potato chips

Favorite hair color on a hero? black

Favorite eye color on a hero?  green

Favorite Actor: Kevin Spacey

Favorite Actress: Meryl Streep

Wine or liquor?  Liquor

Tea or coffee?  TEA!! FOREVER!!

Decaf or caffeinated?  Yes!

Boxers or briefs?  Boxers

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

Channing Tatum or Chris Hemsworth?  Chris Hemsworth

Thank you, Terri! We’re excited to have you as our Luncheon Keynote speaker Saturday and look forward to your workshop, Hooks and How to Use Them.

Want to meet Terri or attend her workshop? Make sure you check out the information on our conference at http://www.njromancewriters.org. Registration ends October 4th!

terri-1

 

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Contemporary Romance – Mid-Length: Holly Jacobs

Congratulations to Holly, who is a double-finalist in the Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length category! Check out excerpts from both her Golden Leaf nominated books.

“Her Second-Chance Family” by Holly Jacobs (Harlequin Superromance)
hersecondchancefamily

“Okay, let’s try this.” He took a step closer, but didn’t touch her as she turned to face him.

He carefully kept his hands at his sides, making it easy for her to pull away if she wanted. Then slowly, so slowly, he leaned down and kissed her. Hardly more than two pairs of lips brushing each other.

She didn’t pull away.

It was a quick kiss, hardly more than a peck, but Sawyer knew he’d been right. He tried not to gloat as he said, “Audrey, that kiss means it was definitely a date.”

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

 


“These Three Words” by Holly Jacobs (Montlake Romance)

thesethreewords

“I am happy,” I said. Those three words summed up my feelings. “This is the honeymoon I always wanted.”

I’d thrown a buffalo-plaid blanket over my shoulders and along with Gray’s arm, I was warm enough.

I looked at Gray, who was looking toward the peninsula as the sun slipped behind it, leaving a blaze of orange and pink in its wake.

“I get it now,” he said, more to himself than to me.

But I asked, “Get what?”

“Why you love sunsets so much. Every time I watch one now, I realize that it’s the end of another day . . . another day I spent with you. That’s a gift.”

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Holly and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

It’s not too late to register for the conference. Visit http://www.njromancewriters.org/ for more information and to register. Registration is open until October 4th.

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Contemporary Romance-Short: Barbara White Daille

 

“The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal” by Barbara White Daille (Harlequin American Romance)
the-lawmans-christmas-proposal

“I belong in LA,” he said. “I’m with the police department.”

“That’s a dangerous job. A tough one for you, and just as hard on your wife and kids.”

As she ought to have seen by her own husband’s death, in the right—or wrong—circumstances, any job had its risks. He shook his head. “I don’t have a wife. Or any family there. It’s just me.”

Alone at home. On his own on the job. And now standing here beside the girl who’d started him down that road.

He reached up to gently stroke the fine, lined skin near her eye.

“I’m not wearing well,” she said with a forced laugh.

“We’ve all gotten older.” But maybe not wiser. He cupped her cheek with his palm.

The warmth spreading through his hand more than made up for the risk he’d taken in touching her.

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Barbara and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

It’s not too late to register for the conference. Visit http://www.njromancewriters.org/ for more information and to register. Registration is open until October 4th.

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Contemporary-Short: Christine Wenger

 

“The Rancher’s Surprise Son” by Christine Wenger (Harlequin Special Edition)
the-ranchers-surprise-son

The pickup was still making its way toward the front of the ranch house, and Laura found herself holding her breath.

Why on earth would Cody Masters be riding in a Duke truck?

More important, how did he get out of prison? 

“Is it really him?” Cindy asked, straining her neck. “Three years. I haven’t seen my brother in three years.” Three years and four days, to be exact.

Georgianna took Cindy’s hand. “It sure is Cody, sweetie. He’s home.”

Laura’s heart beat wildly in her chest. She felt warm, then chilled, then as if she was frying under the desert sun in spite of the shady roof overhead.

She knew that this day would come sooner or later and dreaded it—yet she couldn’t wait to see Cody again.

So many secrets. So many lies. So much heartbreak.

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Christine and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

It’s not too late to register for the conference. Visit http://www.njromancewriters.org/ for more information and to register. Registration is open until October 4th.

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Contemporary-Short: Jennifer Shirk

 

“Wedding Date for Hire” by Jennifer Shirk (Entangled Publishing)
weddingdateforhire_500

He shrugged out of his suit jacket then began unbuttoning his shirt. If she allowed his fingers to continue south much longer, she was sure she’d be admiring other parts of him as well, which was starting to make her feel…edgy.

She hesitated one brief second then held up her hand like a crossing guard. “Halt!” she blurted.

Trent paused and quirked an eyebrow. “Halt?”

“Um, yes.” She swallowed. “Don’t you think you should change in, um, private?”

“No.”

She huffed out a breath. Of course he wouldn’t. Women paid top dollar to drape a body like his over their arm at various functions. He probably even thought he was giving her an added unpaid treat of some sort, thinking the poor girl who had to hire a wedding date hadn’t gotten any in a while and could use a cheap thrill. Well. That may be true, but she still didn’t appreciate it.

“I do think you should change in private. You don’t see me ripping off my clothes in front of you, now do you?”

He gave a deep fake sigh. “Sadly, no.”

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Jennifer and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

It’s not too late to register for the conference. Visit http://www.njromancewriters.org/ for more information and to register. Registration is open until October 4th.