Favorite Romantic Moment

valentines day couple

For many of us, we eat, drink, and sleep romance. We’re writers. It’s what we do. Especially if you’re a member of NJ Romance Writers and are participating in our 30,000-word February writing challenge, JeRoWriMo (Jersey Romance Writing Month)! Even while I’m working my day job, driving, or even—forgive me—hanging out with my family, a part of me often is thinking about my characters. It’s not enough to write that happily-ever-after for our hero and heroine. We have to write it in a way that evokes the emotion of the reader; to make our characters so real that our readers fall in love with them as much as we do.
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Seriously Obsessed with Series

I wanted to start with a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Femmes Joanna and Michele for their recent contest finals in NJRW’s PYHIAB contest and The Catherines. Check out our ‘Recent News’ page for details. Best wishes, ladies, in the final round. We’re rooting for both of you to win!!

Has a series ever entranced you so much you’ve become obsessed with the characters, the town? In some cases, you get so attached to the story the characters feel like real people—or people you’d like to know. My kids suck me into this scenario all the time. They’ll go on and on about a bunch of people and all of a sudden I’ll ask “are these people you know or from a TV show?” and I’ll get “they’re from XYZ show”. It drives me crazy. But, imagine living in Jill Shalvis’s town of Lucky Harbor with its abundance of hunky men. For me, from a fictional world perspective, it doesn’t get much better than that. Sun, beach, small town, eye candy, all wrapped up with great characters. I don’t recall a lighthouse, but if there was one, I’d buy me a one-way plane ticket.

One of the more recent series I’ve fell in love with (pun intended) is Marie Force’s McCarthys of Gansett Island. The first book, Maid for Love, is a great buy on bn.com. I’m only two books through the series and am itching to read the rest. If you’re getting a sense that I have a thing about beach settings, you’re spot on.

When I started writing, I hadn’t thought my beyond my first story. But as that story evolved, I found myself thinking of the supporting characters and ways to insert teasers of subplots that would eventually amount to their own story. I figure as much fun as it is to read many stories about a town and its various characters, it’d be just as much fun to write about them. As a reader, when the questions raised in those tiny subplots aren’t answered, I want—no need— to know what happens. That’s the kind of interest, as a writer, you want to spark in your readers. A passion to want to know more…to need to read your next story. It’s what builds your readership.

Here are some other series/sequels I’m obsessed about:

  • Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books – Joe Morelli—need I say any more? This series was about twelve books in when I discovered them. I spent months going to the library and reading them in order. It was a sad day when I caught up and had to wait for the next one to be released.
  • Jill Shalvis’s Animal Magnetism
  • Susan Elizabeth Phillips – I recently finished The Great Escape and although it’s not part of a typical series, it has characters from several of her other books. I loved the way she tied up the loose ends from Call Me Irresistible.
  • Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Chicago Stars
  • Susan Mallery’s Fools Gold
  • Rachel Gibson’s Chinooks Hockey Team – I’m not a huge sports fan. But I AM after reading these books.
  • Rachel Gibson’s Writer Friends – I recently picked up a book on the unread shelf of my bookcase (I’m In No Mood For Love) and realized it was Book #2 in this series. Unknowing that it was part of a series, I’d already read the last book, Not Another Bad Date. So, of course, I had to reach the other two books.
  • Tina Gabrielle’s Barrister Series – I just picked up In The Barrister’s Bed at this month’s NJRW meeting. What a fabulous cover. I loved the first book in the series and can’t wait to read this one.
  • Robyn Carr’s Virgin River
  • J.D. Robb’s In Death series and Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters – I’m slowly going through these because I’m listening to them when I drive to work. Now, I’m SO hooked in the character’s voices, I HAVE to listen to them vs read them.

How about you? What series are you obsessed with? What is your writing style? Do you plot a few books in your head or write completely separate stories?

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Maria

The Olympics and Sports-Themed Romance

THE WINNER OF THE VIOLET FEMMES JULY GIVEAWAY IS:    ROSEANN DEFRANCO.  Please send Michele an e:mail regarding your win – three books of your choice!

 

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What Olympian stands six feet two, has eight pack abs you can bounce a quarter off of, and nudged Michael Phelps out of his first win this Olympics? If you haven’t guessed who I’m referring to (hey, there are so many Olympians who fit this description!), I’m talking about swimmer Ryan Lochte.

Outstanding physical feats both in and out of the pool dominate the 2012 London Olympics. Newly hatched American heroes have emerged, setting the bar higher and higher for future generations. Successful acts of strength and perseverance abound, such as Ryan Lochte’s win in the 400 meter individual medley.

In honor of the 2012 London Olympics, today’s blog is a review of my top five favorite sports-themed romances. None have an Olympian hero/heroine but I think you’ll discover heroes that rival Ryan Lochte in physique and heroines that you’d gladly step into their heels.

Body Check by Deidre Martin

Publicist Janna MacNeil sets out to transform the naughty reputation of the New York Blades hockey team, and soon discovers success will only be achieved by first reforming their ring-leader, bad-boy team captain Ty Gallagher.

But Ty stubbornly refuses to change. The ice heats up from the sparks set off between their battles, and growing attraction.

This debut book has all the elements of a successful sports-themed novel. For readers who don’t know much about hockey, the author gently leads you into this world of hunky, battle-worn guys who tend to be slightly superstitious, and who play for the love of the game rather than public opinion.

The chemistry between the two characters sizzles.

Body Check will keep you in check from the first page to last.

True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson

Former exotic dancer, Playboy model, and widow Faith Duffy inherits her 81 year old husband’s Seattle Chinooks hockey team, but not without controversy.

She decides to keep the team but has her work cut out for her, given the fact her centerfold still graces the locker room and that, not only has team captain Ty Savage seen it, he resents her from the get-go.

The press has a field day with comments made between the hero and heroine; how she’s a gold digger, and he’s trouble.

Rachel Gibson’s Chinook inspired novels are sports-themed romance classics. This one is my favorite because I love the characterizations—after all, who else has a former stripper as a heroine (and one that the reader simply adores)?

True Love and Other Disasters is a perfect score.

Slow Heat by Jill Shalvis

Publicist Samantha McNead is in damage control mode. She must clean up The Heat’s reputation or the baseball team will lose lucrative corporate endorsements. Her biggest challenge is Wade O’Riley, and toning down his playboy lifestyle.

Samantha pretends to be Wade’s girlfriend—The Heat’s owner and her father insist. To complicate matters, she has a history with Wade, something about monkey sex in an elevator. An act she vows not to repeat.

Jill Shalvis writes one of the best opening scenes in this novel. Right away, the reader knows Wade is going to be a sexy handful, and Samantha is going to have to focus on her job and not him. Great characterization set within the world of baseball and celebrity.

Slow Heat is home run for readers.

The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton
Event planner and single mom, Tara Lincoln, lands the dream job of planning a summer party for NFL team the San Francisco Sabers. What she doesn’t plan for is that star quarterback Mick Riley’s unexpected interest in her. A wonderful night ensues but Tara avoids further commitments. After all, raising a teenager takes up most of her time.

Mick wants her. She’s normal and a welcome change. She becomes the first woman he sees a future with. Now he has to convince her of it.

I bought this book because of the smoking hot cover. Yep, didn’t even read the first few paragraphs like I often do.

Jaci Burton knows how to write spicy sex scenes, and with a hero like Mick, she delves into every woman’s fantasy of being pursued and wanted by a famous, gorgeous, and all-around great guy.

The Perfect Play scores the perfect touchdown on a summer night.

It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Sexy bombshell Phoebe Somerville inherits the Chicago Stars football team but with one stipulation: if they lose once this season, ownership will transfer to her rascal of a cousin. Fortunately, she hires an experience General Manager—knowing nothing about football herself.

Head coach and ultra jock Dan Calebo is skeptical of the beautiful, stubborn bimbo and challenges her every decision. And soon, the championship isn’t the only thing that ties them together.

It Had To Be You is the crème de la crème of the sports-themes romances. It has everything, from a quirky, stubborn, and loveable heroine, to a sexy jock, and with the feeling of what the world of football is all about without it being overwhelming to the reader.

If you are going to pick up a sports-themed romance for the first time, this is the book. Pass complete!

So, have I made you a fan of sports-themed romance? I wonder if any swimmers—like Ryan Lochte—might appear in the next novel? Hmm.

Or better yet, a female athlete/heroine!

I hope you are enjoying the Olympics, as well.

XXOO,

Michele

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