Dating Disasters: #LoveWriteChat

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Welcome to those who came over from Leslie Hachtel’s blog.

Today we’re discussing date disasters. I could write a book about those, but I’ll limit this post to my first. Thanks to Collette Cameron for the topic.

My dad coached several high school teams when I was younger. He tended to keep me separated from his athletes, especially when I hit adolescence. One summer, however, I needed a sports physical to play soccer at my own high school and his high school had a physician come in to do quick physicals and sign forms. This was long before the days of EKGs for heart murmurs and MRIs for concussions. They took our pulse, blood pressure, slapped us on the ass, and sent us to the field. Never being great with names and faces, I met a lot of his students and remembered none.

A few weeks later, I received a phone call from one of dad’s football players inviting me to the homecoming dance. He’d asked my dad’s permission at practice, but his name drew a blank. I said ‘yes’ anyway, because my dad said he was a nice kid, and I had nothing to do on Friday night.

When he arrived, he was a decent looking kid and, as my dad had said, nice. I would have been fun, except we both were shy and never managed to get deeper than the most simple of sentences during our conversation on the way to the dance.

If the ride was bad, the dance was worse. Maybe it was my complete inability to function in a crush of strangers, or maybe I was just too far outside my comfort zone, but I had a miserable time. I knew no one and everyone kept referring to me as the coach’s daughter.

The date ended as it had begun… awkwardly. No sparks flew and nothing even remotely romantic arose from our date. He dropped me off, and gave me a simple, sweet kiss at the door, more out of obligation than anything else, and then we said our goodbyes.

I figured I’d never see the guy again. Not so. About ten minutes later, he knocked. When I answered, he looked over my shoulder toward the kitchen. I thought he was hungry, but he wasn’t. He asked to see my dad. His car had died, and he couldn’t get it started. He and Dad spent the next hour fixing his car, laughing, and male bonding over the edge of his engine. I think he smiled more with my dad than he did with me.

Never went on another blind date again.
Move on over to Raine Balkera’s blog to read her take on dating disasters.

Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat

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Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride!

If you’ve come over from Elaine Jeremiah’s website, welcome. She’s the author of “Reunion of the Heart”.


We have Vicky Mason to thank for her questions today.

1.)   Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?

I’ve always jotted down stories in my head. Nothing great, nothing formal. A few years ago I decided to try NaNoWriMo. I lost. I made it to 35,000 words though and wanted nothing more than to finish the book. It took me two more years to finish it. When I was done, I had no idea what to do. Luckily, I found a local Romance Writers of America chapter nearby. The day I joined in February 2012, I became focused on making writing more than hobby. Since then, I’ve finished eight other manuscripts and sold seven of them.


2.)   When you write a story, do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?

Even when I know the beginning, middle, and the end of a story, I always add subplots and additional layers into a story as I write. These are generally the best parts. The car that only starts after a push and shove, the chocolate that always remains on the heroine’s lip after eating a donut, or the hero’s fear of flying. Not plot points, but the icing on the cake!


3.)   How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?

I edit as I write, so my work has already been edited about three times before I finish a manuscript. I then print it out and edit it another time. Finally, I read it out loud to make sure everything flows.

My critique partners then pick it apart it. I send it to my agent after I have a solid draft. Then my editor sees it.


Hop on over to Raine Balkeras blog to see a bit of her writing history and techniques.


Meet the Character: Jason Black

I was tagged by Jodi Linton to join the Meet the Character Blog Hop. Jodi is the author of the Deputy Laney Briggs series. Jump back to her site to meet her red hot cowboy Gunner.

Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy: A Deputy Laney Briggs Novella


My character comes from a novella I co-wrote with Susan Scott Shelley “Tackled by the Girl Next Door.” Susan wrote all about our heroine on her blog, so if you want to know more about Samantha O’Brien, check out her post.!Meet-My-Character-Samantha-OBrien-from-Tackled-By-the-Girl-Next-Door-Part-1/ct9f/760C57F4-FBBF-4D83-BD7E-048BDD0CEBE6


Veronica Forand, Susan Scott Shelley, Tackled by the Girl Next Door

Veronica Forand, Susan Scott Shelley, Tackled by the Girl Next Door

I’m introducing Jason Black, our hero. He’s a former pro-football player who came back to his hometown for a few months to figure out his future. In Sam’s words, he’s “six feet four inches of chiseled perfection.”

Jason sees Sam as a good friend, the person he can relax around and be himself. Sam, however, has started seeing him in a whole new light. “They’d shared countless meals over the years. Everything felt nice and easy with him by her side, but she wanted more. Friendship with Jason was wonderful, but the sparks that flew whenever he touched her hinted at something explosive and amazing. More than anything, she wanted fireworks.”

Sam never makes a move toward Jason and their relationship remains neutral until he opens his eyes…

“The treadmill hummed in the background. When Sam started running, her feet created a drumbeat rhythm. He turned up the volume to drown out the sound. A few minutes later, he glanced back at Sam to ask if she wanted some water from the kitchen. His eyes froze on the image behind him. Someone had stolen Sam and replaced her with a knockout in black Lycra shorts, sporting rock solid abs and breasts attempting to escape the skimpy jog bra. Where did those breasts come from? Sam didn’t have breasts, did she? She’d always dressed in baggy sweatshirts, sweaters, or those hideous boxy suits she wore to work.

When she smiled at him, he noticed a dot of chocolate he’d missed at the corner of her mouth. Damn, he was hungry. Heat shot straight to his groin, creating an unwelcome inferno.”

Once their attraction breaks into the open, their previous comfortable existence becomes twisted up. Can they return to the comfortable friendship they enjoyed? Do they want to?

Want more cool characters? Check out Aleah Barley, 

Lauren Smith and

Incy Black


Next week, join Betty Bolte as she gives some insight into one of her characters. Her new release, “Remnants,” a beautifully written romance with ghostly elements comes out October 27th, 2014. Just in time for Halloween!


Also check out Adele Downs. Her new romance is


COMING OCTOBER 7, 2014 from Boroughs Publishing Group!

Naturally Yours


Romance Weekly: Kiss Me Slowly Flash Fiction


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I hope you popped over from Jo Richardson’s blog. She also created our flash fiction challenge with this picture.


Here’s my try…




He was there in front of her. Camouflage uniform, serious expression.

“I have to go.” His hand reached out to urge her closer.

She nodded. Every organ inside of her was jumbled and aching, especially her heart. She couldn’t speak. What could she say? Goodbye wasn’t an option.

She lost control when he stepped to her and kissed her lips. His kiss soothed the trembling of her mouth, his hand curved through her hair in a soft caress. It wasn’t enough. She wanted more.

There was no hurry in his movements, he simply held her close, tasting her, calming her, loving her. Her tears flowed down into the kiss, making the sweetness of his tongue turn salty and sad.

The calls and shouts of the people around them penetrated the moment, but she couldn’t lift her head from his. Perhaps if she didn’t let go, he could stay, and this moment would last forever.

His hands gripped her shoulders and squeezed. The pressure hurt, the pain forced her to lift to her eyes to his. Her hero, the man she’d committed her life to was crying. He must have seen her shock, because he wiped some of the tears streaming down his face and laughed.

“Is it harder to leave or remain behind?” he asked, his forehead leaning against the top of her head.

“It sucks either way.” She pressed her lips into his, and they kissed again, a harder, more intense kiss than before.

When he finally pulled apart, he clasped her face in both hands. His expression serious, his eyes still moist. “I love you, Kate. Take care of yourself.”

“You too.”

A final kiss, a tender squeeze, and he headed to the airplane and an unknown future.


Head on over to Leslie Hatcher and enjoy her flash fiction story!

MEET MY CHARACTER: Jessica Wonder from “Code Red”

You may have arrived from Susan Peterson Wisnewski’s “Meet My Character.” If not, go check out her blog She is the author of Secrets in San Remo and Chasing the Rainbow, both romantic suspense novels. She will be releasing a new series of paranormal thrillers this fall, tentatively titled Adams Thriller I, II, & III.


MEET JESSICA WONDER, from CODE RED, my newly released novella from Boroughs Publishing.

Instead of describing the heroine of the story- I thought I’d give you a piece of backstory. A tiny slice of why she acted as she did in the first scene of the book!


Jessica had never met his family although they’d been engaged over a year. Somehow, it had never mattered. When Robert had arrived in her life, she just accepted the fact that he’d drive through a few times a year between his parents’ house and his work at the University of Toronto. Now it mattered.

His death came to her through a bare bones obituary, listing only his funeral arrangements and the car accident that took his life, not from a phone call of a family member. A family she’d never be part of now. It took three hundred dollars she’d had to borrow in order to travel to the small town of Eagle’s Den where his family’s farm was located. She was late and didn’t have time to meet the people who would never be her in-laws before the funeral. Instead, she hustled through the parking lot to the back of the small white church and into the cemetery. Her dark blue dress with the Peter Pan collar seemed appropriate among the twenty or so people wearing somber dresses or plain black suits and standing around the casket. She would have fit in nicely in this town.

Jessica sought an older couple being consoled by loving touches and warm hugs of neighbors and friends. She wanted to comfort the parents of the man she loved and gain some comfort as well. But the attention of the crowd fell on a little girl, so tiny and cute in a pink dress, carrying a teddy bear. Her blonde hair was like Robert’s.

A thin elegant woman with dark hair and big brown reddened eyes hugged the girl close. One of the well wishers placed a hand on her shoulder.

“I’m so sorry. Robert was an amazing man. I remember your wedding as though it was yesterday. 

“Thank you.” The woman gazed down at the little girl. “I can’t believe he’s gone. He only had one semester left before he graduated and we could move back here.”

Pain cracked the woman’s voice and shot something lethal into Jessica’s heart. He was married. Jessica inhaled, but her windpipe had tightened and not much air could make it through. It wouldn’t have mattered, because her chest felt as though a boulder had smashed into her, leaving her breathless and sore. He had a daughter and a wife and a life without her. The love of her life was a lying, cheating, sack of shit.

No wonder she’d never met the family. No one introduces the mistress to Mom and Dad. She pulled the tiny diamond and gold off her finger, scraping the knuckle until it bled. She walked over to the casket, already dropped into the hole that would keep him away from her forever. Although the mourners may have noticed her, the blurry images caused by tears she was now embarrassed about shedding provided a shield from caring about what others thought. She tossed the ring back to the demon asshole who had used her for sex and offered only the illusion of a future in return.

She raced back to her car,  struggling for breath, and drove away. Her hand pushed back her dark hair, eerily similar to the almost black waves flowing over the shoulders of Robert’s widow. Jessica needed to change that. Red. Like blood, like hate, like sex disguised as an act of love.

Code Red



Next week, catch Susan Scott Shelley‘s Meet My Character.

Susan Scott Shelley is an award-winning author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense who spends her days writing about tough heroes, smart heroines, and love being the strongest magic there is.

For as long as she can remember, she has been in love with Love, and the sweeping grand gestures, heart-sighing moments, fiery passion, and quiet comforts it entails.

Susan Scott Shelley | Romance Writer

She currently resides outside Philadelphia with her very own Superhero.

Her favorite things include running, sports, hard rock and old Hollywood movies. An unapologetic optimist, she believes life should be lived with laughter and a sense of wonder. 


Tackled by The Girl Next Door | Susan Scott Shelley

Tackled By the Girl Next Door

by Susan Scott Shelley and Veronica Forand
The Wild Rose Press

Available October 15, 2014

When a retired professional football player returns home to sort out his life, he finds his future in the girl next door.

Romance Weekly Blog Hop: Revising and Revising and Revising

Thanks to Ronnie Allen for this week’s questions. If you’ve just come from Raine Balkera’s blog, welcome. If not, head on back and check out her answers.


1.When do you decide that you’ve done enough editing and changes would now be making it different, not better? So it’s the time to submit

My finished draft goes to my critique partner before anyone else. She finds plenty of issues with my plot, characters, and strangely worded sentences that made sense when I first wrote them down. From her notes, I make changes, reread the book out loud, and then send the manuscript to two other critique partners who challenge character motivations and anything that pulls them out of the story. After revising from their comments, I send it to my agent for her opinion.

Charles Dicken's revisions of "A Christmas Carol"

Charles Dicken’s revisions of “A Christmas Carol”

2. When and how do you accept change advice by rejection letters and critique partners?

My critique partner has a fantastic grasp of my voice and understands what emotions I’m trying to layer into a scene. I use her suggestions almost 99% of the time.

When I began writing, I tended to ignore good advice because reworking major components of the story seemed overwhelming. I’d once received a critique about how my heroine came across as unlikeable. I didn’t care. I liked her. The drunken little felon haunted me in several rejections from various agents and editors. They loved my voice, hated my heroine. I’ve learned my lesson. When I hear the same critique over and over again, I take the advice seriously.

This is NOT me!

This is NOT me!

3. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your day or do you create your day around your writing?

Finding time to write is never a problem. I prefer writing to just about anything else. I use every moment available to move my work forward. Housework tends to suffer. If forced to choose between writing and the laundry, I pick writing every time.

I force myself away from my computer to be with my family, especially when I’m writing a scene that is completely formed in my head and ready to be written. Now that the kids are back to school, my schedule has more structure and I can carve out a balance between writing time and family time.

When not writing, I exercise, read from my huge “to be read” list, and spend time with my family.

Dani Jace is next. While you’re over there, check out her book, White Doe.




Romance Weekly Blog Hop: First Kiss

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Thanks to Kim Handysides for the topic this week…first kisses.

Did you just come from J.J. Devine If not, head back and find out about her first kiss with the boy on her street. Picture

This is the first kiss with my future husband.



The summer after my first year in college I returned home to three summer jobs; waitressing, coaching, and interning at the Statehouse. I planned on using all of my free time to watch television and hang out at a local pool.

The second week of break, however, I ran into an old friend in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts. Hanging out with him in high school had been easy. We had a similar sense of humor and both were on a quest to leave town and find adventure. After talking for hours in the parking lot, we vowed to get together the next day. We never spent more than a day apart the rest of the summer. We hiked, went scuba diving, watched movies, and drove for miles listening to Stevie Wonder. Inseparable and yet completely unattached. Just friends.

Imagine roller skating with your perfect match, holding hands during couples only skates, or lying with your head on his stomach to watch the stars from the top of a mountain, and always feeling perfectly at home. I don’t think either one of us wanted to break the magic. Pushing for more could destroy the friendship and that would be unbearable.

 August arrived and I’d be returning to college within two weeks. Returning to school didn’t have the same appeal as before, because I had to leave my best friend behind. Tension wormed into my gut and started destroying the purity of our time together. He must have felt it as well, this strange desperation. 

One night, I remained at his parents’ house for hours longer than appropriate. We stared at mindless shows on television and talked about nothing, but neither wanted the night to end. The pauses, however, became awkward. The relationship had to evolve or fizzle 

“Can I use your Chapstick?” I asked, my eyes glancing at the mint tube on the table.

He’d just put some on, so the question wasn’t all that odd. As soon as he answered in the affirmative, I inhaled a few deep breaths, moved to his side, and then brushed my lips over his. I didn’t pull away. He wouldn’t have let me. His hand held me in place and I removed every bit of the Chapstick from his lips. The kiss lasted until all the awkwardness of the previous days transformed into a renewed level of comfort and something so much more.

And I’ll take all the credit!


Head over to Vicki Mixon Does she dish on herself or a character?